How did King Hiram of Tyre help the kings of Israel?

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Historical background

King Hiram is also called Huram (1 Chronicles 14:1; 2 Chronicles 2:3) or Ahiram. He was a Phoenician king of tyre, a port city on the Mediterranean coast about 140 miles northwest of Jerusalem. He ruled from 969–936 BC. During his reign, Tyre became an important Phoenician city and a large trading empire. Hiram had a prosperous reign that led the Phoenicians toward the exploitation of Mediterranean trade. His voyages to Ophir, a region probably in either East Africa or India, brought supplies of gold, peacocks, and sandalwood to Palestine.

Hiram and David

The Bible records that King Hiram of Tyre ruled during the reign of King David and his son King Solomon. Hiram had good relationship with them. “Now Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram always loved David” (1 Kings 5:1).

Because of his deep respect for David, King Hiram sent skilled workmen and materials to David for the building of his house: “Now Hiram king of Tyre sent envoys to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David” (2 Samuel 5:11). For at that time, the Phoenicians were more experienced and skilled in building more than the Hebrews.

David desired to build a temple“a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, for the footstool of our God” (1 Chronicles 28:2). But God forbade him to do so because he had been a warrior and has shed blood (1 Kings 5:3). Therefore, the Lord appointed Solomon to do this work instead for during his reign there was rest from war (1 Kings 5:4). And, the Lord fulfilled his promise to David (1 Kings 5:5).

Hiram and Solomon

So, David gave over his treasure of gold, silver, bronze and precious stones for the Temple’s adornment and he recommended Hiram as the man who could help Solomon built the temple. Therefore, King Solomon asked Hiram for assistance saying: “Once you dealt with my father David and sent him cedar to build himself a house to live in. I am now about to build a house”for God (2 Chronicles 2:3).

Hiram responded “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son, endowed with discretion and understanding, who will build a temple for the Lord” (2 Chronicles 2:11). And he assisted King Solomon in building the Temple, from 967 BC on wards. He supplied Solomon with wood, skilled workers to work with precious metals, fabric and engraving (1 Kings 9:11a). And Solomon provided thousands of laborers.

Afterwards, when the Temple was finished, Solomon blessed and magnified the Lord for giving him the ability to finish this great work (2 Chronicles 6:11). And King Solomon in return, gave Hiram wheat, barley, wine, and oil (2 Chronicles 2:15) for his household. He also gave him twenty cities in the territory of Galilee (1 Kings 9:10–14; 26–28). And Hiram’s friendship with Solomon continued as they collaborated in the profitable trade of the Mediterranean and Red Sea voyages.

The historian Josephus quoted Menander of Ephesus, who had recorded, in Greek, a history of Tyre about 300 B.C. Josephus wrote that Hiram was the son of Abibaal and that he reigned 34 years, dying at the age of 53. And he was succeeded by his son Baleazar (Against Apion 1. 18). The historian recorded that the Temple was built in the 11th (Antiquities viii. 3. 1) or the 12th (Against Apion 1. 18) year of Hiram. Since the founding of the Temple occurred in the 4th year of King Solomon (1 Kings 6:1), the rule of Hiram must have overlapped the rule of King David by around 7-8 years.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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