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Solomon and Hiram

Hiram was the king of Tyre. He had always been David’s friend. So when Hiram heard that Solomon had become the new king after David, he sent his servants to Solomon. This is what Solomon said to King Hiram:

“You remember that my father, King David, had to fight many wars all around him. So he was never able to build a temple to honor the Lord his God. King David was waiting until the Lord allowed him to defeat all his enemies. But now the Lord my God has given me peace along all the borders of my country. I have no enemies, and my people are in no danger.

“The Lord made a promise to my father David. He said, ‘I will make your son king after you, and he will build a temple to honor me.’ Now, I plan to build that temple to honor the Lord my God. And so I ask you to help me. Send your men to Lebanon to cut down cedar trees for me. My servants will work with yours. I will pay you any price that you decide as your servants’ wages, but I need your help. Our carpenters[a] are not as good as the carpenters of Sidon.”

Hiram was very happy when he heard what Solomon asked. He said, “I praise the Lord today for giving David a wise son to rule this great nation!” Then Hiram sent this message to Solomon:

“I heard what you asked for. I will give you all the cedar trees and the fir trees you want. My servants will bring them down from Lebanon to the sea. Then I will tie them together and float them down the shore to the place you choose. There I will separate the logs, and you can take them from there. As payment for this, you will give food to all those who live in my palace.”

10 So Hiram gave Solomon all the cedar and fir logs that he wanted.

11 Solomon gave Hiram about 120,000 bushels[b] of wheat and about 120,000 gallons[c] of pure olive oil every year for his family.

12 The Lord made Solomon wise as he had promised. Hiram and Solomon made a treaty between themselves and were at peace with one another.

13 King Solomon forced 30,000 men of Israel to help in this work. 14 He chose a man named Adoniram to be in charge of them. Solomon divided the men into three groups with 10,000 men in each group. Each group worked one month in Lebanon and then went home for two months. 15 Solomon also forced 80,000 men to work in the hill country cutting stone. There were also 70,000 men to carry the stones. 16 There were 3300 men to supervise the workers. 17 King Solomon commanded them to cut large, expensive stones for the foundation of the Temple. 18 Then Solomon and Hiram’s builders and the men from Byblos[d] carved the stones and prepared them and the logs for use in building the Temple.


  1. 1 Kings 5:6 carpenters People who work with wood. In ancient times, this also meant that they cut the trees.
  2. 1 Kings 5:11 120,000 bushels Literally, “20,000 cors” (4,400,000 l).
  3. 1 Kings 5:11 120,000 gallons Literally, “20,000 baths” (440,000 l).
  4. 1 Kings 5:18 Byblos Literally, “Gebal.”

Preparations for Building the Temple(A)

[a]When Hiram(B) king of Tyre heard that Solomon had been anointed king to succeed his father David, he sent his envoys to Solomon, because he had always been on friendly terms with David. Solomon sent back this message to Hiram:

“You know that because of the wars(C) waged against my father David from all sides, he could not build(D) a temple for the Name of the Lord his God until the Lord put his enemies under his feet.(E) But now the Lord my God has given me rest(F) on every side, and there is no adversary(G) or disaster. I intend, therefore, to build a temple(H) for the Name of the Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David, when he said, ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.’(I)

“So give orders that cedars(J) of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. You know that we have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians.”

When Hiram heard Solomon’s message, he was greatly pleased and said, “Praise be to the Lord(K) today, for he has given David a wise son to rule over this great nation.”

So Hiram sent word to Solomon:

“I have received the message you sent me and will do all you want in providing the cedar and juniper logs. My men will haul them down from Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea(L), and I will float them as rafts by sea to the place you specify. There I will separate them and you can take them away. And you are to grant my wish by providing food(M) for my royal household.”

10 In this way Hiram kept Solomon supplied with all the cedar and juniper logs he wanted, 11 and Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand cors[b] of wheat as food(N) for his household, in addition to twenty thousand baths[c][d] of pressed olive oil. Solomon continued to do this for Hiram year after year. 12 The Lord gave Solomon wisdom,(O) just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.(P)

13 King Solomon conscripted laborers(Q) from all Israel—thirty thousand men. 14 He sent them off to Lebanon in shifts of ten thousand a month, so that they spent one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram(R) was in charge of the forced labor. 15 Solomon had seventy thousand carriers and eighty thousand stonecutters in the hills, 16 as well as thirty-three hundred[e] foremen(S) who supervised the project and directed the workers. 17 At the king’s command they removed from the quarry(T) large blocks of high-grade stone(U) to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple. 18 The craftsmen of Solomon and Hiram(V) and workers from Byblos(W) cut and prepared the timber and stone for the building of the temple.


  1. 1 Kings 5:1 In Hebrew texts 5:1-18 is numbered 5:15-32.
  2. 1 Kings 5:11 That is, probably about 3,600 tons or about 3,250 metric tons
  3. 1 Kings 5:11 Septuagint (see also 2 Chron. 2:10); Hebrew twenty cors
  4. 1 Kings 5:11 That is, about 120,000 gallons or about 440,000 liters
  5. 1 Kings 5:16 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 2 Chron. 2:2,18) thirty-six hundred