2 Chronicles 2
Solomon's trading, which we read of in the close of the foregoing
chapter, and the encouragement he gave both to merchandise and
manufacturers, were very commendable. But building was the work he was
designed for, and to that business he is here applying himself. Here
I. Solomon's determination to build the temple and a royal palace, and
his appointing labourers to be employed herein,
2 Chronicles 2:1,2,17,18.
II. His request to Huram king of Tyre to furnish him both with artists
2 Chronicles 2:3-10.
III. Huram's obliging answer to, and compliance with, his request,
2 Chronicles 2:11-16.
|Preparations to Build the Temple.
||B. C. 1015.|
1 And Solomon determined to build a house for the name of the
LORD, and a house for his kingdom.
2 And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear
burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three
thousand and six hundred to oversee them.
3 And Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, As thou
didst deal with David my father, and didst send him cedars to
build him a house to dwell therein, even so deal with me.
4 Behold, I build a house to the name of the LORD my God, to
dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and
for the continual showbread, and for the burnt offerings morning
and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the
solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for
ever to Israel.
5 And the house which I build is great: for great is our
God above all gods.
6 But who is able to build him a house, seeing the heaven and
heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I
should build him a house, save only to burn sacrifice before
7 Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in
silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson,
and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that
are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did
8 Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of
Lebanon: for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in
Lebanon; and, behold, my servants shall be with thy servants,
9 Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I
am about to build shall be wonderful great.
10 And, behold, I will give to thy servants, the hewers that
cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty
thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine,
and twenty thousand baths of oil.
Solomon's wisdom was given him, not merely for speculation, to
entertain himself (though it is indeed a princely entertainment), nor
merely for conversation, to entertain his friends, but for action; and
therefore to action he immediately applies himself. Observe,
I. His resolution within himself concerning his business
(2 Chronicles 2:1):
He determined to build, in the first place, a house for the
name of the Lord. It is fit that he who is the first should be
served--first a temple and then a palace, a house not so much for
himself, or his own convenience and magnitude, as for the kingdom, for
the honour of it among its neighbours and for the decent reception of
the people whenever they had occasion to apply to their prince; so that
in both he aimed at the public good. Those are the wisest men that lay
out themselves most for the honour of the name of the Lord and the
welfare of communities. We are not born for ourselves, but for God and
II. His embassy to Huram, king of Tyre, to engage his assistance in the
prosecution of his designs. The purport of his errand to him is much
the same here as we had it
1 Kings 5:2-6,
&c., only here it is more largely
1. The reasons why he makes this application to Huram are here more
fully represented, for information to Huram as well as for inducement.
(1.) He pleads his father's interest in Huram, and the kindness he had
received from him
(2 Chronicles 2:3):
As thou didst deal with David, so deal with me. As we must show
kindness to, so we may expect kindness from, our fathers' friends, and
with them should cultivate a correspondence.
(2.) He represents his design in building the temple: he intended it
for a place of religious worship
(2 Chronicles 2:4),
that all the offerings which God had appointed for the honour of his
name might be offered up there. The house was built that it might be
dedicated to God and used in his service. This we should aim at in all
our business, that our havings and doings may be all to the glory of
God. He mentions various particular services that were there to be
performed, for the instruction of Huram. The mysteries of the true
religion, unlike those of the Gentile superstition, coveted not
(3.) He endeavors to inspire Huram with very great and high thoughts of
the God of Israel, by expressing the mighty veneration he had for his
holy name: Great is our God above all gods, above all idols,
above all princes. Idols are nothing, princes are little, and both
under the control of the God of Israel; and therefore,
[1.] "The house must be great; not in proportion to the greatness of
that God to whom it is to be dedicated (for between finite and infinite
there can be no proportion), but in some proportion to the great value
and esteem we have for this God."
[2.] "Yet, be it ever so great, it cannot be a habitation for the great
God. Let not Huram think that the God of Israel, like the gods of the
nations, dwells in temples made with hands,
No, the heaven of heavens cannot contain him. It is intended
only for the convenience of his priests and worshippers, that they may
have a fit place wherein to burn sacrifice before him."
[3.] He looked upon himself, though a mighty prince, as unworthy the
honour of being employed in this great work: Who am I that I should
build him a house? It becomes us to go about every work for God
with a due sense of our utter insufficiency for it and our incapacity
to do any thing adequate to the divine perfections. It is part of the
wisdom wherein we ought to walk towards those that are without
carefully to guard against all misapprehension which any thing we say
or do may occasion concerning God; so Solomon does here in his treaty
2. The requests he makes to him are more particularly set down here.
(1.) He desired Huram would furnish him with a good hand to work
(2 Chronicles 2:7):
Send me a man. He had cunning men with him in Jerusalem
and Judah, whom David provided,
1 Chronicles 22:15.
Let them not think but that Jews had some among them that were artists.
But "send me a man to direct them. There are ingenious men in
Jerusalem, but not such engravers as are in Tyre; and therefore, since
temple-work must be the best in its kind, let me have the best workmen
that can be got."
(2.) With good materials to work on
(2 Chronicles 2:8),
cedar and other timber in abundance
(2 Chronicles 2:8,9);
for the house must be wonderfully great, that is, very stately
and magnificent, no cost must be spared, nor any contrivance wanting in
3. Here is Solomon's engagement to maintain the workmen
(2 Chronicles 2:10),
to give them so much wheat and barley, so much wine and oil. He did not
feed his workmen with bread and water, but with plenty, and every thing
of the best. Those that employ labourers ought to take care they be not
only well paid, but well provided for with sufficient of that which is
wholesome and fit for them. Let the rich masters do for their poor
workmen as they would be done by if the tables were turned.
|Solomon's Treaty with Hiram.
||B. C. 1015.|
11 Then Huram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he
sent to Solomon, Because the LORD hath loved his people, he hath
made thee king over them.
12 Huram said moreover, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel,
that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a
wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might
build a house for the LORD, and a house for his kingdom.
13 And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with
understanding, of Huram my father's,
14 The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father
was a man of Tyre, skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in
brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and
in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of
graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him,
with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David
15 Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the
wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his
16 And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt
need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and
thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem.
17 And Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the
land of Israel, after the numbering wherewith David his father
had numbered them; and they were found a hundred and fifty
thousand and three thousand and six hundred.
18 And he set threescore and ten thousand of them to be
bearers of burdens, and fourscore thousand to be hewers in the
mountain, and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the
people a work.
Here we have,
I. The return which Huram made to Solomon's embassy, in which he shows
a great respect for Solomon and a readiness to serve him. Meaner people
may learn of these great ones to be neighbourly and complaisant.
1. He congratulates Israel on having such a king as Solomon was
(2 Chronicles 2:11):
Because the Lord loved his people, he has made thee king. Note,
A wise and good government is a great blessing to a people, and may
well be accounted a singular token of God's favour. He does not say,
Because he loved thee (though that was true,
2 Samuel 12:24)
he made thee king, but because he loved his people.
Princes must look upon themselves as preferred for the public good, not
for their own personal satisfaction, and should rule so as to prove
that they were given in love and not in anger.
2. He blesses God for raising up such a successor to David,
2 Chronicles 2:12.
It should seem that Huram was not only very well affected to the Jewish
nation, and well pleased with their prosperity, but that he was
proselyted to the Jewish religion, and worshipped Jehovah, the God
of Israel (who was now known by that name to the neighbouring
nations), as the God that made heaven and earth, and as the
fountain of power as well as being; for he sets up kings. Now that the
people of Israel kept close to the law and worship of God, and so
preserved their honour, the neighbouring nations were as willing to be
instructed by them in the true religion as Israel had been, in the days
of their apostasy, to be infected with the idolatries and superstitions
of their neighbours. This made them high, that they lent to many
nations and did not borrow, lent truth to them, and did not borrow
error from them; as when they did the contrary it was their shame.
3. He sent him a very ingenious curious workman, that would not fail
to answer his expectations in every thing, one that had both Jewish and
Gentile blood meeting in him; for his mother was an Israelite (Huram
though she was of the tribe of Dan, and therefore says so here,
2 Chronicles 2:14,
but it seems she was of the tribe of Naphtali,
1 Kings 7:14),
but his father was a Tyrian--a good omen of uniting Jew and Gentile in
the gospel temple, as it was afterwards when the building of the second
temple was greatly furthered by Darius
who is supposed to have been the son of Esther--an Israelite by the
4. He engaged for the timber, as much as he would have occasion for,
and undertook to deliver it at Joppa, and withal signified his
dependence upon Solomon for the maintenance of the workmen as he had
2 Chronicles 2:15,16.
This agreement we had,
1 Kings 5:8,9.
II. The orders which Solomon gave about the workmen. He would not
employ the free-born Israelites in the drudgery work of the temple
itself, not so much as to be overseers of it. In this he employed the
strangers who were proselyted to the Jewish religion, who had not lands
of inheritance in Canaan as the Israelites had, and therefore applied
to trades, and got their living by their ingenuity and industry. There
were, at this time, vast numbers of them in the land
(2 Chronicles 2:17),
who, if they were of any of the devoted nations, perhaps fell within
the case, and therefore fell under the law, of the Gibeonites, to be
hewers of wood for the congregation: if not, yet being in many respects
well provided for by the law of Moses, and put upon an equal footing
with the native Israelites, they were bound in gratitude to do what
they could for the service of the temple. Yet, no doubt, they were well
paid in money or money's worth: the law was, Thou shalt not oppress
a stranger. The distribution of them we have here
(2 Chronicles 2:2,
2 Chronicles 2:18),
in all 150,000. Canaan was a fruitful land, that found meat for so many
mouths more than the numerous natives; and the temple was a vast
building, that found work for so many bands. Mr. Fuller suggests that
the expedient peculiar to this structure, of framing all beforehand,
must needs increase the work. I think it rather left so much the more
room for this vast multitude of hands to be employed in it; for in the
forest of Lebanon they might all be at work together, without crowding
one another, which they could not have been upon Mount Sion. And, if
there had not been such vast numbers employed, so large and curious a
fabric, which was begun and ended in seven years, might, for aught I
know, have been as long in building as St. Paul's.