Agreement with Hiram for Temple Construction (1 Kings 5; 2 Chronicles 2) December 27
Hiram, king of Tyre, had been David's ally, and had helped him build his palace at Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:11). Some see the words "Hiram had always loved David" (1 Kings 5:1) to simply denote their political alliancethe word for ally in a number of Old Testament passages literally meaning "lover." But "Solomon's note about the temple begins, 'You know,' suggesting that David had shared his dream of building a temple with Hiram as well, and that the two may have been [actual] friends" (Bible Reader's Companion, note on 1 Kings 5:1-6). The area of modern Lebanon along the border between the two ancient kingdoms contained some of the best timber around. And Hiram has some highly skilled workers. So Solomon arranges for workmen from this Phoenician king to help cut and deliver wood for the temple, and to assist in stonecutting. Hiram offers Solomon one craftsman in particular, also named Hiram (or Huram), the son of a man of Tyre and an Israelite woman, who will make most of the temple furnishingsas Bezalel made things for the tabernacle in the wilderness.
Solomon also drafts thousands of Israelite workers. "In addition to slave labor, Solomon relied on the corvee [labor exacted in lieu of taxes by public authorities] to provide workers. This practice was common in ancient times, and involved claiming a person's labor as sort of a personal tax. By alternating shifts Solomon was able to maintain agricultural production at home, while keeping work moving on his massive construction project. Not many years ago some rural counties in the Midwest had a form of corvee: farmers would keep the roadsides mowed in return for reduction of local taxes" (note on verses 13-17).