In our study of 1 Kings chapter five, we will look at building on the legacy of the past. In chapter 3, we saw that King David left Solomon a legacy of following God and, in chapter 4, we saw that he left a legacy of a large kingdom at peace. Now, we will see that King David also left a legacy of respect.
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When Hiram king of Tyre heard that Solomon had been anointed king to succeed his father David, he sent envoys to Solomon, because he had always been on friendly terms with David.
We see that King David had been respected by Hiram king of Tyre. Hiram had even provided the lumber for the construction of David's palace. Because of that respect, Hiram sent a delegation to congratulate the new king of Israel.
Solomon sent back this message to Hiram: 'You know that because of the wars against my father David from all sides, he could not build a temple for the Name of the Lord his God until the Lord put his enemies under his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster. I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David, when he said, "Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name."'
Solomon told Hiram of his father's wish to build a temple for the Lord. He also spoke of the legacy of peace that had been left to him as well as the work to be done. He goes on to explain that this was a part of God's plan that had been reserved for him. Solomon was not only grateful for the legacy that King David left but he was also willing to build on that past. He was not only going to build a physical building but he was also contributing to the family legacy of following the will of God for their lives. As Christians, some of us do not have a family legacy of following God as we were not raised in a Christian home. In this case, we can begin to lay the groundwork of the legacy to be passed on. This can be passed on to our physical children as well as to those we tell about Jesus Christ. For those that were raised in a Christian home, you can build on that legacy by remembering what God has done in the past and telling others about what He is doing today.
'So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. You know that we have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians.'
Solomon ended his letter to Hiram with a request to purchase cedars from Lebanon. The cedars of Lebanon were the finest of cedar trees which grew very tall and wide. They had a wonderful smell and were resistant to bugs and decay. Solomon offers to pay whatever price Hiram asks for the lumber.
When Hiram heard Solomon's message, he was greatly pleased and said, 'Praise be to the Lord today, for he has given David a wise son to rule over this great nation.' So Hiram sent word to Solomon: 'I have received the message you sent me and will do all you want in providing the cedar and juniper logs. My men will haul them down from Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea, and I will float them as rafts by sea to the place you specify. There I will separate them and you can take them away. And you are to grant my wish by providing food for my royal household.'
We see the legacy of respect that David had left to Solomon as Hiram praises a God that he did not even know. He answered Solomon with the price which was to provide food for the King of Lebanon's table. The logs were to be cut from the mountains of Lebanon and floated through the Mediterranean Sea to the coast of Israel at Joppa.
In this way Hiram kept Solomon supplied with all the cedar and juniper logs he wanted, and Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand cors of wheat as food for his household, in addition to twenty thousand baths of pressed olive oil. Solomon continued to do this for Hiram year after year. The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.
This business arrangement continued for years and there was peace between the two leaders.
King Solomon conscripted laborers from all Israel - thirty thousand men. He sent them off to Lebanon in shifts of ten thousand a month, so that they spent one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the forced labor.
Solomon made foreigners living in Israel slaves and sent them to Lebanon to help with the cedar trees. King David had used forced labor but Solomon expanded it tremendously for his building projects.
Solomon had seventy thousand carriers and eighty thousand stone cutters in the hills, as well as thirty-three hundred foremen who supervised the project and directed the workers. At the king's command they removed from the quarry large blocks of high-grade stone to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple.
This was a massive construction project as we see by the large number of workers. They did not have modern machines so they required many men to do the work. Most of the work was done off site as the stones were cut and dressed at the quarry.
The craftsmen of Solomon and Hiram and workers from Byblos cut and prepared the timber and stone for the building of the temple.
Byblos was a city on the coast of Lebanon and the workers that are referred to would have been the men that made the logs into floating rafts and delivered them to Israel.