2 Chronicles Chapter 2

During the reign of Solomon, the temple of the Lord was built in Jerusalem. This chapter is about the beginning of that work, which was a huge task in that day.

1 And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the Lord, and an house for his kingdom.
2 And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them.

Solomon was obedient to the commands of his father, David, who had charged him with this great task. Not only did he plan to build the temple, but he prepared to build a palace as well. 70,000 men were tasked with bearing loads, 80,000 were tasked with cutting stones in the mountains, and 3,600 were assigned to oversee the work they did.

3 And Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, As thou didst deal with David my father, and didst send him cedars to build him an house to dwell therein, even so deal with me.
4 Behold, I build an house to the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the Lord our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel.
5 And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods.
6 But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?
7 Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide.
8 Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon: for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in Lebanon; and, behold, my servants shall be with thy servants,
9 Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great.
10 And, behold, I will give to thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil.

Solomon sent a request to Huram, king of Tyre, to assist him as he had helped his father to build his house (see also 1 Kings 5 regarding Hiram). Huram was a friend to both Solomon and his father David. He told Huram, that he planned to build a house to the Lord, which would be dedicated to God for burning incense and making offerings according to the ordinances in Israel. He explained that this house was to be great, because God is great and above all other Gods. Solomon was not equal to the task he had been given and he needed help, so he asked Huram to send craftsmen who were skilled with working with gold, silver and other metals, as well as other materials they would need. These men would be needed to help those he had already in Judah and Jerusalem. He also asked Huram to provide trees of cedar, fir and algum from Lebanon, along with skilled me for doing the work of cutting the trees along with the servants of Solomon. Solomon was going to need a great amount of wood, in order to build the temple. In return for their work, Solomon was prepared to given the servants wheat, barley, wine and oil.

11 Then Huram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, Because the Lord hath loved his people, he hath made thee king over them.
12 Huram said moreover, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the Lord, and an house for his kingdom.
13 And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father’s,
14 The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David thy father.
15 Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants:
16 And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem.

Huram sent a response, which said that the Lord made Solomon King of Israel, because He loved the people. He glorified the Lord for blessing David with a wise, prudent and understanding son. It seems that Huram knew David had wanted to build the temple and praised the Lord for allowing the son of David to do that work. He sent a very talented and skillful artisan and designer or architect along with the letter, just as Solomon had requested. He mentioned that this man was the son of both Tyre, by his father and Israel through Dan, by his mother. He also would be adding the help of cutting trees needed and sending it to Joppa, which Solomon could then have brought up to Jerusalem. Huram, or Hiram, is an example of the kindness of friendship. This was not a small thing for his kingdom to do, but was a great service and kindness extended to Solomon, his friend.

17 And Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of Israel, after the numbering wherewith David his father had numbered them; and they were found an hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand and six hundred.
18 And he set threescore and ten thousand of them to be bearers of burdens, and fourscore thousand to be hewers in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people a work.

Solomon had a count done of all the strangers or foreigners found in Israel, which were in number 153,600. As mentioned above, he assigned 70,000 to carry loads, 80,000 to cut the materials needed from the mountain, and 3,600 as supervisors of the work. With this the preparations for building the temple had begun and Solomon could begin the task his father had given him.

Why would this information be included in the records of the Bible? To understand this, it seems there is a need to understand just how significant the temple was. The Lord commanded the people of Israel to have the tabernacle in their midst, so that there would be a sacred place the people could go to, and know that the presence of the Lord was in their midst. The tabernacle led them in the wilderness for over forty years and was the physical representation of the people coming unto God. This temple that Solomon was to build, would continue to represent that promise to Israel, so long as the people continued to be sanctified and bring sacrifices to the Lord. The temple was a place which was sacred, holy and dedicated to the Lord. Knowing the work and sacrifices it would take to build such a place, shows the dedication of the people of Israel, and of Solomon, to put the Lord first. It should be an example to us in modern times, of the efforts we should be willing to go to, to make a place for the Lord in our own lives.

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