1 Kings 5:15-26
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
15 When Hiram, king of Tyre, heard that Solomon had been anointed king in place of his father, he sent an embassy to him; for Hiram had always been David’s friend.[a] 16 Solomon sent back this message to Hiram: 17 (A)“You know that David my father, because of the wars that beset him, could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God until such time as the Lord should put his enemies under the soles of his feet. 18 But now the Lord, my God, has given me rest on all sides, without adversary or misfortune. 19 (B)So I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord, my God, as the Lord said to David my father: Your son whom I will put upon your throne in your place shall build the house for my name. 20 Give orders, then, to have cedars from the Lebanon cut down for me. My servants shall accompany yours, and I will pay you whatever you say for your servants’ wages. For you know that there is no one among us who is skilled in cutting timber like the Sidonians.” 21 When Hiram had heard the words of Solomon, he was overjoyed, and said, “Blessed be the Lord this day, who has given David a wise son over this numerous people.” 22 [b]Hiram then sent word to Solomon, “I have heard the proposal you sent me, and I will provide all the cedars and fir trees you desire. 23 My servants shall bring them down from the Lebanon to the sea, and I will arrange them into rafts in the sea and bring them wherever you say. There I will break up the rafts, and you shall take the lumber. You, for your part, shall furnish the provisions I desire for my household.” 24 So Hiram continued to provide Solomon with all the cedars and fir trees he desired, 25 while Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand kors of wheat to provide for his household, and twenty kors[c] of hand-pressed oil. Solomon gave Hiram all this every year. 26 The Lord gave Solomon wisdom as he promised him. So there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made[d] a covenant.Read full chapter
- 5:15 David’s friend: the term “to be a friend,” lit., “to love,” is political, and means that David and Hiram had been allies. The purpose of Hiram’s embassy is to determine whether Solomon is willing to continue the alliance. This unspoken agenda lies behind the negotiations about materials for the Temple, as the concluding v. 26 makes clear.
- 5:22–23 Although his reply is couched in polite, diplomatic language, Hiram renegotiates Solomon’s terms in his own favor. No Israelites are to enter Tyrian territory, and Solomon is not to pay the salary of Hiram’s laborers but rather to furnish “provisions” for his household—the same language used of the tribute Solomon received from his own vassals in v. 2.
- 5:25 Twenty kors: this means about two thousand gallons of the finest olive oil available, hand-pressed rather than produced in large olive presses, so that no debris (such as crushed olive pits, powder from the grinding stones) would contaminate the oil. Also see note on 2 Chr 2:9.
- 5:26 Made: lit., “cut.” The story of Solomon’s arrangements with Hiram is framed by references to political alliance between Israel and Tyre (vv. 15, 26). Since, in Hebrew idiom, Hiram and Solomon “cut” a covenant, this suggests that the agreement they reach for “cutting” wood (which clearly favors Hiram) reflects the terms of the larger treaty.