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Solomon’s Wisdom: Architecture

Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon when he heard that they had anointed him as king in place of his father, for Hiram had always been a friend for David. Then Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, “You knew David my father, that he was not able to build a house for the name of Yahweh his God, in view of the warfare[a] which surrounded him, until Yahweh placed them[b] under the soles of his feet. But now Yahweh my God has given me rest all around me. There is no adversary, and there is no bad occurrence. Here I am, intending to build a house for the name of Yahweh my God, as Yahweh promised to my father David, saying, ‘Your son, whom I will set in your place on your throne, shall build the house for my name.’ So then, command that they may cut cedars for me from Lebanon, and let my servants be with your servants. The wage of your servants I will give to you according to all that you say, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.” When Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly, and he said, “Blessed be Yahweh this day, who has given to David a wise son over this great people.” Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, “I have heard what you have sent to me; I will do all of your desire concerning the timber of cedars and concerning the timber of cypresses. My servants will bring them down from Lebanon to the sea, and I will make them into rafts in the sea to float to the place which you indicated to me. Then I shall break them up there, and you may carry them further, and you shall meet my needs[c] by giving food for my house.” 10 So Hiram was giving to Solomon the cedar timbers and the cypress timbers, everything he needed.[d] 11 Then Solomon gave to Hiram twenty thousand dry measures of wheat as food for his household, and twenty dry measures of specially prepared olive oil;[e] thus Solomon gave to Hiram year by year. 12 Yahweh gave wisdom to Solomon as he promised to him, and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made[f] a covenant.

13 Then King Solomon conscripted a forced labor from all Israel, and the forced labor numbered thirty thousand men. 14 He sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand every month;[g] the work groups were a month in Lebanon and two months at home; now Adoniram was over the forced labor. 15 Solomon had seventy thousand common laborers[h] and eighty thousand stone craftsmen in the hill country. 16 Besides the chiefs of the officers Solomon had, there were three thousand three hundred having charge over the people who were doing the work. 17 When the king commanded, they quarried great stones and precious stones to lay the foundation of the house with hewn stones. 18 So Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders and the Gebalites hewed stones, and they prepared the timber and the stone to build the house.


  1. 1 Kings 5:3 Literally “because of the face of the warfare”
  2. 1 Kings 5:3 That is, David’s enemies
  3. 1 Kings 5:9 Literally “you shall do my desire”
  4. 1 Kings 5:10 Literally “all of his desire”
  5. 1 Kings 5:11 Literally “beaten olive oil”
  6. 1 Kings 5:12 Literally “cut”
  7. 1 Kings 5:14 Literally “in the month”
  8. 1 Kings 5:15 Literally “carrying burden”