1 Kings 5:3
"As you are well aware, due to the wars waged on all sides against my father David, he could not build a house for the Name of the LORD his God until the LORD had put his enemies under his feet.
The Co-Operation of HiramJ. Parker, D. D.1 Kings 5:1-18
The TempleJ. Waite 1 Kings 5:2-6

Read also 2 Chronicles 2:1-10, where additional light is thrown on this transaction. It marks a period of extreme interest and importance in Hebrew history. It introduces us, by anticipation, to that which was the crowning glory of the reign of Solomon, for his name must ever stand connected with the magnificence of the first Temple, though it be but as a gorgeous dream of the far distant past, which imagination strives in vain to reproduce with distinctness and certainty. Whether the Hiram who entered into this treaty with Solomon is the same as the Hiram who was the friend of David is a matter of doubt. Menander of Ephesus (quoted by Josephus) describes him as a man of great enterprize, a lover of architecture, noted for his skill in building and adorning the temples of the gods. And in this we have a valuable indirect confirmation of the Biblical history. Look at this purpose of Solomon to build a splendid temple to the Lord in two or three different lights.

I. IT EXPRESSES HIS DESIRE TO CARRY OUT THE GOOD DESIGNS OF HIS FATHER DAVID. Filial feeling prompted it. It drew the inspiration of its enthusiasm from the warmth of a filial heart. "Thou knowest how that David my father could not," etc. We are told why he "could not" (1 Chronicles 22:7, 8; 1 Chronicles 28:5). He had been "a man of war," and had "shed much blood." Noble purposes may be conceived in a time of discord and confusion; they can be actualized only in a time of rest. The hands must be free from the blood of men that would build a worthy dwelling-place for a righteous God. Nothing was more natural than that Solomon, under happier auspices, should resolve to do what his father had the "heart to do," but "could not." To how large an extent is human life a record of thwarted purposes! A tale cut short before it is half told; a laying of plans that are never worked out; a reaching forth towards fair ideals that men have not the power or the time to turn into realities. What can the high mission of each succeeding generation be but just to take up the good purposes that a previous generation failed to accomplish and develop them to their ripe issues? This is the real law of human progress. All honour to the son who, knowing what was truest and deepest in his father's heart, endeavours worthily to fulfil it.

II. IT IS THE SPONTANEOUS OUTCOME OF HIS OWN DEVOUT FEELING. Solomon never had the pure and lofty spirit of devotion that inspired the soul of David; but as yet, at least, his religious sentiment is deep and true. A "house great and wonderful," dedicated to the Lord, in the royal city, will give it fitting public expression. All religious feeling instinctively seeks to body itself forth in appropriate forms. Forbidden as the Jews were to "make any likeness or image" of the great Object of worship (Exodus 20:4), it was quite in harmony with the Divine dispensation of the time that the spirit of worship should robe itself in a grand symbolic garb. Solomon only sought to develop the service of the tabernacle into a system more imposing and enduring (2 Chronicles 2:4, 5). In every age symbolism has its place as the spontaneous and natural expression of religious thought and feeling. Let it be relied on as the means of awakening such thought and feeling, as the prescribed form in which it shall move - an artificial substitute for it - and it becomes a mockery and a snare. The magnificence of Solomon's design for the Temple indicated not only the fervour of his devotion, but the breadth of his view as regards the essential sacredness of all natural things. "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof." All things beautiful and precious are turned to their true use when dedicated to Him. We cannot be too careful to give Him our richest and best. The true heart says," I will not offer burnt offering to the Lord of that which doth cost me nothing." Let us not be more concerned for our own houses than we are for the Lord's. The history of the Temple, however, and of all ecclesiology, shows how easily the wealth of outward adornment in worship may become the grave of the spiritual and the veil of the Divine. In proportion as care for the symbolic form - the mere shrine of worship - has increased, the living reality - the worship of the Father "in spirit and in truth" - has passed away.

III. IT EXPRESSES HIS SENSE OF THE FACT THAT THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GOD IS THE HEAL STRENGTH AND GLORY OF A NATION. The Temple was to be dedicated "to the name of Jehovah" - the visible sign and symbol of the sovereignty of that name over the whole life of the people. There was worth in the sign just so far as that sovereignty was real. The Jewish commonwealth was a theocracy - the Temple the palace and throne of the great invisible King. Judaism was not the union of Church and State as two separate or separable powers, but their identification. No distinction between the political and ecclesiastical, the secular and spiritual spheres. The two were one. The ideal Christian nation is a theocracy in which Christ is king. Not made so by its institutions, but by the spiritual life that pervades it. True to its name only so far as the law of Christ is honoured in the homes of the people, moulds the form and habit of their social life, controls commerce, rules in Parliament, strengthens, ennobles, glorifies the Throne. Its Christian Churches are thus the very flower of a country's highest life.

"Those temples of His grace,
How beautiful they stand!
The honour of our native place
And bulwark of our land." As the graveyard - where "the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep" - tells of the vanity of all earthly things, how the pride and glory of man must one day moulder down to dust, so the church is the memorial of the unfading inheritance of truth and purity and love - the blessed fellowship of the redeemed - the "House of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

IV. IT EXPRESSES HIS DESIRE THAT ISRAEL SHOULD HAVE A CENTRE OF RELIGIOUS ATTRACTION AND BOND OF RELIGIOUS UNITY. The tabernacle had been the movable sanctuary, of a wandering people, the Temple should be the resting place of the Divine presence (Psalm 132:14). Hitherto there had been a divided worship, connected both with the tabernacle at Gideon and the ark in the city of David (1 Chronicles 16:37-39). But in future all sacred associations are to be gathered up in the central glory of the Temple. One nation, one faith, one God, one sanctuary. But this localization of the highest forms of worship had its dangers. Men came to think of" the Holy Presence as belonging to the building, instead of the building as being hallowed and glorified by the Presence." Christ proclaims the infinite Presence, the impartial Love. "The hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain," etc. (John 4:21). "One greater than the Temple is here" - in whom all its sacred symbols are fulfilled - the attractive centre and bond of union for redeemed souls of every age and nation. Our thoughts are led on to the glorious vision of the holy city of which it is written, "I saw no temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it" (Revelation 21:22). - W.

The foundation of the house.
"The king commanded": that is the beginning of all Holy zeal waits for the king's orders. But as soon as the command was given there was neither pause nor hesitation; "the king commanded, and they brought." Solomon began to build the temple at the foundation. Begin with the foundation. The foundation, in his case, had to be carried to a great height, because the area upon which the temple stood was on high above the valley. Very much of foundation work is out of sight, and the temptation is to pay but small attention to its finish. It was not so with Solomon. I want to urge that all our work for God should be done thoroughly, and especially that part of it which lies lowest, and is least observed of men.


1. Observe the work of creation. God took care that even in the material universe there should be a grand foundation for His noble edifice.

2. The same is true of God's work called Providence. No event happens but He has planned it, and ordained that a multitude of other events should precede or follow it. The doings of Providence are threaded together, like pearls upon a string; there is a relation of this to that, and of that to another. Events dovetail the one into the other. Every fact is fitted and adapted to take its place in the design of the Great Architect.

3. But we come into clearer light when we look at the Lord's greatest work of redemption. You and I are not saved haphazard. It is not as though God had saved us on the spur of the moment, as an after-thought which was not in His first intent. No; redemption plays an essential part in the purposes of the Lord.

II. THIS MUST BE OUR METHOD. We must build after this fashion, and make sure of our foundations.

1. Let it be so in the building up of our own life.

2. So it must be, next, in the building up of a church. Is that a church of God which is not founded on everlasting truth? There are numbers of hasty builders with wood, hay, and stubble; but these neither attend to foundation nor to material laid thereon.

3. In the building up of character in others we must mind that we do the foundation work well. Sunday-school teachers are those who do the foundation work; for they begin first with young hearts, while they are tender and susceptible. It is a most important thing that we have our children and young people well instructed in Divine truth and soundly converted.


1. Because it is suitable for God. You build your temple for God, and not for men: you should, therefore, make that part of the building good which will be seen by him; and as he sees it all, it must be all of the best.

2. Next, look well to the foundation that is out of sight, for your own sake. No builder can afford to be negligent over the unseen part of a building; for it would involve a serious injury to his character. The very act of scamping is mean and degrading, and lowers a man's tone.

3. Further, lay the foundation well, and look to that part which is out of sight, because in this way you will secure the superstructure. There was a bit of a flaw in the foundation, but nobody saw it; for the builder covered it up very quickly, and ran up the whole concern as quickly as possible. The walls were built, and built well. It seemed clear that the fault down below was of no consequence whatever; and as it had a little cheapened the underground construction, was it not so much the better? How long was this the case? Well, the next year nothing happened: a longer time passed away, and then an ugly crack came down the wall. Had there been an earthquake? No, there was no earthquake. Perhaps a cyclone had beaten upon the work? No, there was no cyclone: the weather was the same as usual. What was the cause of that gaping space which marred the beauty of the building, and threatened to bring it down? It was that blunder long age: that underground neglect produced the terrible mischief above, which would involve a great expense, and perhaps render it needful to take all the building down. That which was out of sight did not always remain out of mind; it only needed time to produce a dangerous settlement.

4. Besides, to lay a good foundation, on Solomon's hart was the way to save himself from future fears. Buildings which have to hold a crowd endure seasons of test and trial. Years ago, I was preaching in a building which was exceedingly crowded, and, to my apprehension, there was a continuous tremor. I grew so anxious that I said to a friend, who understood such matters, " Go downstairs and see whether this building is really safe; for it seems hardly able to bear the weight of this crowd." When he returned he looked anxious, but gave me no answer. The service ended quietly, and then he said, "I am so glad that everything has gone off safely. I do not think you should ever preach there again; for it is a very frail affair; but I thought that if I frightened you there would be more risk in a panic than in letting the service go on." Solomon had built with "great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones"; and therefore, when the vast multitudes came together around the temple, it never occurred to him to fear that the great weight of people might cause a subsidence of the foundation.

5. Do look well to the foundation, and to the secret part of your dealings with God, because there is a fire coming which will try all things. "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is."

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

There is no kind of construction known to the modern engineer or builder which requires at all times so perfect and absolutely secure a foundation as a bridge. So, precisely, there is no faculty of the soul known to man's keenest spiritual sense which requires so perfect and absolutely secure a foundation as faith, and since faith is the bridge between man and God over the otherwise impassible chasm of doubt and destruction, the Great Constructor, the Engineer of the Universe, has seen to it that its foundations shall rest upon nothing less secure than His own Almighty Word.

As you gaze with admiration at the wonderful tower of the cathedral of Antwerp, it looks as if it were made of lace suspended by some invisible chain from the heavens; but you know when you come to examine it, that all the exquisite lacery and tracery is built upon a most solid foundation. So the experience of the saint, which seems to pierce the very heavens, and is lit up with the light of God, rests on a firm basis. That is assurance of a personal interest in the salvation, procured by the atoning love and sacrifice of Jesus.

(R. Venting.)

Adoniram, David, Gebalites, Giblites, Hiram, Sidonians, Solomon
Gebal, Lebanon, Tyre
Able, Build, David, Enemies, Hast, Putting, Round, Sides, Soles, Surrounded, Temple, Till, Unable, Waged, Warfare, Wars
1. Hiram, sending to congratulate Solomon, is desired to furnish him with timber
7. Hiram, blessing God for Solomon, furnishes him with trees.
13. The number of Solomon's workmen and laborers

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Kings 5:3

     5088   David, character
     5151   feet
     9125   footstool

1 Kings 5:1-11

     4424   cedar

1 Kings 5:1-13

     7467   temple, Solomon's

1 Kings 5:3-4

     8728   enemies, of Israel and Judah

Great Preparations for a Great Work
'And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David. 2. And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, 3. Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the Lord his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. 4. But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Promise in 2 Samuel, Chap. vii.
The Messianic prophecy, as we have seen, began at a time long anterior to that of David. Even in Genesis, we perceived [Pg 131] it, increasing more and more in distinctness. There is at first only the general promise that the seed of the woman should obtain the victory over the kingdom of the evil one;--then, that the salvation should come through the descendants of Shem;--then, from among them Abraham is marked out,--of his sons, Isaac,--from among his sons, Jacob,--and from among the twelve sons
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The book[1] of Kings is strikingly unlike any modern historical narrative. Its comparative brevity, its curious perspective, and-with some brilliant exceptions--its relative monotony, are obvious to the most cursory perusal, and to understand these things is, in large measure, to understand the book. It covers a period of no less than four centuries. Beginning with the death of David and the accession of Solomon (1 Kings i., ii.) it traverses his reign with considerable fulness (1 Kings iii.-xi.),
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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