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Phoenician King Hiram building palaces and temple for Kings David and Solomon

Phoenician King Hiram of Tyre building palaces and temple for Kings David and Solomon of Judah-Israel.


The Phoenician king Hiram of Tyre (989-936 BC) built a palace for David and two palaces and a temple for Solomon. The Bible provides a vast amount of information about them.


David’s Palace
King Hiram of Tyre sent a trade mission to David; he provided him with cedar logs and with stonemasons and carpenters to build a palace. (1 Chronicles 14:1)
David was 30 years old when he became king, and he ruled for 40 years. He ruled in Hebron over Judah for seven and a half years, and in Jerusalem over all Israel and Judah for 33 years. (2 Samuel 5:4-5)
Solomon’s Temple
After king David’s death, Hiram continued to maintain friendly relations with king Solomon, David’s son, who explained in a letter to Hiram:
You know that because of the constant wars my father David had to fight against the enemy countries all round him, he could not build a temple for the worship of the Lord his God until the Lord had given him victory over all his enemies. But now the Lord my God has given me peace on all my borders. I have no enemies, and there is no danger of attack. The Lord promised my father David, ‘Your son, whom I will make king after you, will build a temple for me’ and I have now decided to build that temple for the worship of the Lord my God. (1 Kings 5:3)
Solomon’s temple was built by Phoenician master craftsmen alongside Hebrew workmen and 30,000 unskilled navies pressed by Solomon into forced labor. They worked for a month on and two months off in shifts of 10,000 at a time.

They used wood, stone and metal from Lebanon and worked by Phoenician craftsmen.

Wood
When he was ready to build the temple, Solomon wrote to Hiram:
So send your men to Lebanon to cut down cedars for me. My men will work with them, and I will pay your men whatever you decided. As you well know, my men don’t know how to cut down trees as well as yours do. (1 Kings 5:6)
Then Hiram sent Solomon the following message:"I have received your message and I am ready to do what you ask. I will provide the cedars and the pine trees. My men will bring the logs down from Lebanon to the sea, and will tie them together in rafts to float them down the coast to the place you choose. There my men will untie them and your men will take charge of them. On your part, I would like you to supply the food for my men." (1 Kings 5:8-10).
Solomon wrote:
I know how skillful your woodmen are, so send me cedar, cypress, and juniper logs from Lebanon. I am ready to send my men to assist yours in preparing large quantities of timber, because this temple I intend to build will be large and magnificent. As provisions for your workmen, I will send you two thousand tones of wheat, two thousand tones of barley, four hundred thousand liters of wine, and four hundred thousand liters of olive oil. (2 Chronicles 2:8-10)
And Hiram replied:
In the mountains of Lebanon we will cut down all the cedars you need, bind them together in rafts, and float them by sea as far as Joppa. From there you can take them to Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 2:16)

The carpenters and woodcarvers did a huge work. The whole interior of the temple was paneled in cedar, the roofs were cedar, the floors were pine. Everything was carved with gourds, flowers, fruit, palm trees and cherubim.
He put in a ceiling made of beams and boards of cedar. The three-storied annex, each story 2.2 meters high, was built against the outside walls of the temple, and was joined to them by cedar beams. (1 Kings 6:9)
The inside walls were covered with cedar panels from the floor to the ceiling, and the floor was made of pine. An inner room, called the Holy of Holies, was built in the rear of the temple. It was 9 meters long and was partitioned off by cedar boards reaching from the floor to the ceiling. (1 Kings 6:15-16)
The cedar panels were decorated with carvings of gourds and flowers; the whole interior was covered with cedar, so that the stones of the walls could not be seen. (1 Kings 6:18)
The altar was covered with cedar panels. (1 Kings 6:20)
Tyre was famous for its purple dye and Sidon for its embroidered cloth. Embroidered linen dyed with Phoenician purple was used in the Holy of Holies:
A curtain for the Holy of Holies was made of linen and of other material, which was dyed blue, purple, and red, with designs of the winged creatures worked into it. (2 Chronicles 3:14)
Stone
At King Solomon’s command they quarried fine large stones for the foundation of the temple. Solomon’s and Hiram’s workmen and men from the city of Byblos prepared the stones and the timber to build the temple. (1 Kings 5:17-18)
The temple was quite small but none the less impressive:
Inside it was 27 metres long, 9 metres wide, and 13.5 metres high. The entrance room was 4.5 metres deep and 9 metres wide, as wide as the sanctuary itself. The walls of the temple had openings in them, narrower on the outside than on the inside. Against the outside walls, on the sides and the back of the temple, a three-storied annexe was built, each storey 2.2 metres high. Each room in the lowest storey was 2.2 metres wide, in the middle storey 2.7 metres wide, and in the top storey 3.1 metres wide. The temple wall on each floor was thinner than on the floor below so that the rooms could rest on the wall without having their beams built into it. The stones with which the temple was built had been prepared at the quarry, so that there was no noise made by hammers, axes, or any other iron tools as the temple was being built. The entrance to the lowest storey of the annexe was on the south side of the temple, with stairs leading up to the second and third storeys. So King Solomon finished building the temple. (1 Kings 6:2-9)
An inner court was built in front of the temple, enclosed with walls which had one layer of cedar beams for every three layers of stone. (1 Kings 6:36)
Metal
In the rear of the temple an inner room was built, where the Lord’s Covenant Box was to be placed. This inner room was 9 meters long, 9 meters wide, and 9 meters high, all covered with pure gold. (1 Kings 6:19)
The inside of the temple was covered with gold, and gold chains were placed across the entrance f the inner room, which was also covered with gold. The whole interior of the temple was covered with gold, as well as the altar in the Holy of Holies. (1 Kings 6:21-22)
Even the floor was covered with gold. (1 Kings 6:30)
King Solomon sent for a man named Huram, a craftsman living in the city of Tyre, who was skilled in bronze work. His father, who was no longer living, was from Tyre, and had also been a skilled bronze craftsman; his mother was from the tribe of Naphtali. Huram was an intelligent and experienced craftsman. He accepted King Solomon’s invitation to be in charge of all the bronze work. (1 Kings 7:13-14)
Solomon wrote to Hiram of Tyre:
Now send me a man with skill in engraving, in working gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and in making blue, purple and red cloth. He will work with the craftsmen of Judah and Jerusalem whom my father David selected. (2 Chronicles 2:7)
Hiram replied:
I am sending you a wise and skillful master craftsman named Huram. His mother was a member of the tribe of Dan and his father was a native of Tyre. He knows how to make things out of gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone and wood. He can work with blue, purple, and red cloth, and with linen. He can do all sorts of engraving and can follow any design suggested to him. Let him work with your skilled workers and with those who worked for your father, King David. So now send us the wheat, barley, wine and olive oil that you promised. (2 Chronicles 2: 13-15)
Huram cast two bronze columns, each one 8 meters tall and 5.3 meters in circumference, and placed them at the entrance of the temple. He also made two bronze capitals, each one 2.2. meters tall, to be placed on top of the columns. The top of each column was decorated with a design of interwoven chains, and two rows of bronze pomegranates. The capitals were shaped like lilies, 1.8 meters tall, and were placed on a rounded section which was above the chain design. There were 200 bronze pomegranates in two rows round each capital. Huram placed these two bronze columns in front of the entrance of the Temple: the one on the south side was named Jachin (he establishes), and the one on the north was named Boaz (by his strength). The lily-shaped bronze capitals were on top of the columns. And so the work on the columns was completed. (1 Kings 7:15-22)
Huram made a round tank of bronze, 2.2. metres deep, 4.4. metres in diameter, and 13.2 metres in circumference. All round the outer edge of the rim of the tank were two rows of bronze gourds, which had been cast all in one piece with the rest of the tank. The tank rested on the backs of twelve bronze bulls that faced outwards, three facing in each direction. The sides of the tank were 75 millimeters thick. Its rim was like the rim of a cup, curving outwards like the petals of a lily. The tank held about 40,000 litres. (1 Kings 7:23-26)
Huram also made ten bronze carts; each was 1.8 metres long, 1.8 metres wide and 1.3 metres high. They were made of square panels which were set in frames, with the figures of lions, bulls, and winged creatures on the panels; and on the frames, above and underneath the lions and bulls, there were spiral figures in relief. Each cart had four bronze wheels with bronze axles. At the four corners were bronze supports for a basin; the supports were decorated with spiral figures in relief. There was a circular frame on top for the basin. It projected upwards 45 centimetres from the top of the cart and 18 centimetres down into it. It had carvings round it. The wheels were 66 centimetres high; they were under the panels, and the axles were of one piece with the carts. The wheels were like chariot wheels; their axles, rims, spokes, and hubs were all of bronze. There were four supports at the bottom corners of each cart, which were of one piece with the cart. There was a 22 centimetre band round the top of each cart; its supports and the panels were of one piece with the cart. The supports and panels were decorated with figures of winged creatures, lions, and palm trees, wherever there was space for them, with spiral figures all round. This, then, is how the carts were made; they were all alike, having the same size and shape. (1 Kings 7 27-37)
Huram also made ten basins, one for each cart. Each basin was 1.8 metres in diameter, and held about 800 litres. He placed five of the carts on the south side of the temple, and the other five on the north side; the tank he placed at the south-east corner.
(1 Kings 7:38-39)
Huram also made pots, shovels, and bowls. He completed all this work for King Solomon for the Lord’s temple making:
o The two columns
o The two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the columns
o The design of interwoven chains on each capital
o The 400 bronze pomegranates, in two rows of a hundred each round the design on each capital
o The ten carts
o The ten basins
o The tank
o The twelve bulls supporting the tank
o The pots, shovels and bowls
All this equipment for the temple, which Huram made for King Solomon, was of polished bronze. The king had it all made in the foundry between Sukkoth and Zarethan, in the Jordan Valley. (1 Kings 7:40-46)
The pots, shovels and bowls: the Bible details as:
30 gold basins, 1000 silver basins, 30 golden bowls, 40 silver bowls, and 1029 other vessels. He covered the altar in gold and manufactured gold flowers, lamps, snuffers, tongs, cups, incense dishes, pans to hold burning charcoal, and hinges for the inner and outer doors
.
Solomon also had gold furnishings made for the temple; the altar, the table for the bread offered to God, the ten lampstands that stood in front of the Holy of Holies, five on the south side and five on the north; the flowers, lamps, and tongs; the cups, lamp snuffers, bowls, dishes for incense, and the pans used for carrying live coals; and the hinges for the doors of the Holy of Holies and of the outer doors of the temple. All these furnishings were made of gold. (1 Kings 7 48-50)
The temple which King Solomon built was 27 meters long and 9 meters wide. The entrance room was the full width of the temple, 9 meters, and was 54 meters high. The inside of the room was overlaid with pure gold. the main room was paneled with cedar and overlaid with fine gold, in which were worked designs of palm trees and chain patterns. The king decorated the temple with beautiful precious stones and with gold imported from the land of Parvaim. He used the gold to overlay the temple walls, the rafters, the thresholds, and the doors. On the walls the workers carved designs of winged creatures. The inner room, called the Holy of Holies, was 9 meters long and 9 meters wide, which was the full width of the temple. Over 20 tones of gold were used to cover the walls of the Holy of Holies. 570 grammes of gold were used for making nails, and the walls of the upper rooms were also covered in gold. The king also ordered his workers to make two winged creatures out of metal, cover them with gold, and place them in the Holy of Holies, where they stood side by side facing the entrance. Each had two wings, each wing 2.2. meters long, which were spread out so that they touched each other in the center of the room and reached the wall on either side of the room, stretching across the full width of about 9 meters. (2 Chronicles 3:3-13)
The king made two columns, each one 15.5 meters tall, and placed them in front of the temple. Each one had a capital 2.2. meters tall. The tops of the columns were decorated with a design of interwoven chains and one hundred bronze pomegranates. The columns were set at the sides of the temple entrance: the one on the south side was named Jachin, and the one on the north side was named Boaz
. (2 Chronicles 3:15-17)
King Solomon had a bronze altar made, which was 9 meters square and 4.5 meters high. He also made a round tank of bronze, 2.2 meters deep, 4.4. meters in diameter, and 13.2 meters in circumference. All round the outer edge of the rim of the tank were two rows of decorations, one above the other. The decorations were in the shape of bulls, which had been cast all in one piece with the rest of the tank. The tank rested on the backs of twelve bronze bulls that faced outwards, three facing in each direction. The sides of the tank were 75 millimeters thick. Its rim was like the rim of a cup, curving outwards like the petals of a flower. The tank held about 60,000 liters.
They also made ten basins, five to be placed on the south side of the temple and five on the north side. They were to be used to rinse the parts of the animals that were burnt as sacrifices. The water in the large tank was for the priests to use for washing.
They made ten gold lampstands according to the usual pattern, and ten tables, and placed them in the main room of the temple, five lamp-stands and five tables on each side.
They also made a hundred gold bowls.
They made an inner courtyard for the priests, and also an outer courtyard. The doors in the gates between the courtyards were covered with bronze. The tank was placed near the south-east corner of the temple.
Huram also made pots, shovels, and bowls. He completed all the objects that he had promised King Solomon he would make for the temple:
o The two columns
o The two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the columns
o The design of interwoven chains on each capital
o The 400 bronze pomegranates arranged in two rows round the design of each capital
o The ten carts
o The ten basins
o The tank
o The twelve bulls supporting the tank
o The pots, shovels and forks
Huram the master craftsman made all these objects out of polished bronze, as King Solomon had commanded, for use in the temple of the Lord. The king had them all made in the foundry between Sukkoth and Zeredah in the Jordan Valley. (2 Chronicles 4:1-17)
King Solomon also had gold furnishings made for the temple: the altar and the tables for the bread offered to God; the lampstands and the lamps of fine gold that were to burn in front of the Holy of Holies, according to plan; the flower decorations, the lamps, and the tongs; the lamp snuffers, the bowls, the dishes for incense, and the pans used for carrying live coals. All these objects were made of pure gold. The outer doors of the temple and the doors to the Holy of Holies were overlaid with gold. (2 Chronicles 4:19-22)
Two winged creatures were made of olive wood and placed in the Holy of Holies, each one 4.4 meters tall. Both were of the same size and shape. Each had two wings, each wing 2.2 meters long, so that the distance from one wing tip to the other was 4.4. meters. They were placed side by side in the Holy of Holies, so that two of their outstretched wings touched each other in the middle of the room, and the other two wings touched the walls. The two winged creatures were covered with gold. The walls of the main room and of the inner room were all decorated with carved figures of winged creatures, palm trees, and flowers... A double door made of olive wood was set in place at the entrance of the Holy of Holies; the top of the doorway was a pointed arch. The doors were decorated with carved figures of winged creatures, palm trees, and flowers. The doors, the winged creatures, and the palm trees were covered with gold. For the entrance to the main room a rectangular door-frame of olive wood was made. There were two folding doors made of pine and decorated with carved figures of winged creatures, palm trees, and flowers, which were evenly covered with gold. (1 Kings 6: 23-35)
King Hiram seems to have been given a bit of a raw deal by Solomon:
King Hiram of Tyre had provided him with all the cedar and pine and with all the gold he wanted for this work. After it was finished, King Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the region of Galilee. Hiram went to see them, and he did not like them. So he said to Solomon, "So these, my brother, are the towns you have given me!" For this reason the area is still called Cabul (worthless). (1 Kings 8:10-13)

Solomon’s Palace and his Egyptian Wife’s Palace

King Solomon built himself a palace and called it 'Forest of Lebanon' and built his Egyptian wife another palace using the Phoenician craftsmen and the materials of Lebanon:
Solomon also built a palace for himself, and it took him thirteen years. The Hall of the Forest of Lebanon was 44 meters long, 22 meters wide, and 13.5 meters high. It had three rows of cedar pillars, fifteen in each row, with cedar beams resting on them. The ceiling was of cedar, extending over store-rooms, which were supported by the pillars. In each of the two side walls there were three rows of windows. The doorways and windows had rectangular frames, and the three rows of windows in each wall faced the opposite rows. The Hall of Columns was 22 meters long and 13.5 meters wide. It had a covered porch, supported by columns. The Throne Room, also called the Hall of Judgment, where Solomon decided cases, had cedar panels from the floor to the rafters. Solomon’s own quarters, in another court behind the Hall of Judgment, were made like the other buildings. He also built the same kind of house for his wife, the daughter of the king of Egypt. (1 Kings 7:1-8)
All these buildings and the great court were made of fine stones from the foundations to the eaves. The stones were prepared at the quarry and cut to measure, with their inner and outer sides trimmed with saws. The foundations were made of large stones prepared at the quarry, some of them 3.5 meters long and others 4 meters long. On top of them were other stones, cut to measure, and cedar beams. The palace court, the inner court of the temple, and the entrance room of the temple had walls with one layer of cedar beams for every three layers of cut stone. (1 Kings 7:9-12)

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Sources:
Khalaf, Salim George. A Bequest Unearthed, Phoenicia -- Encyclopedia Phoeniciana, Chapel Hill, NC, USA, 2003 , http://phoenicia.org
The Holy Bible: 2 Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles and II Chronicles

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