2 Chronicles 2 (New Living Translation)
Preparations for Building the Temple
1 Solomon decided to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord,
Scripture is clear that Solomon’s claim to fame is not his wisdom, or his wealth, or his writings. Rather, he is honored for building the temple for “the name of the Lord.” (Of course, Solomon did not build a temple for a name but for a living God. This is a good example of avoiding direct mention of the name of God in Hebrew writing and speaking. They did this out of reverence to God.)
and also a royal palace for himself. 2He enlisted a force of 70,000 laborers, 80,000 men to quarry stone in the hill country, and 3,600 foremen.
3 Solomon also sent this message to King Hiram at Tyre:
“Send me cedar logs as you did for my father, David, when he was building his palace. 4 I am about to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God. It will be a place set apart to burn fragrant incense before him, to display the special sacrificial bread, and to sacrifice burnt offerings each morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, at new moon celebrations, and at the other appointed festivals of the Lord our God. He has commanded Israel to do these things forever.
5 “This must be a magnificent Temple because our God is greater than all other gods. 6 But who can really build him a worthy home? Not even the highest heavens can contain him! So who am I to consider building a Temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices to him?
Other religions of that time saw a temple as a place where their god resided. Some Canaanite and Babylonia temples even had rituals which saw to the provision of food and drink for their gods. Clearly Solomon understands that his temple is only a symbol of God’s presence among his people, and God is not confined to it. But even as such, it must be beautiful and excellent in every regard, as befits the God who created the heaven and the earth!
7 “So send me a master craftsman who can work with gold, silver, bronze, and iron, as well as with purple, scarlet, and blue cloth. He must be a skilled engraver who can work with the craftsmen of Judah and Jerusalem who were selected by my father, David.
8 “Also send me cedar,
The cedar trees of ancient Lebanon were legendary for their excellent timber.
Psalm 92:12 (NIV)
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.
cypress, and red sandalwood logs from Lebanon, for I know that your men are without equal at cutting timber in Lebanon. I will send my men to help them. 9 An immense amount of timber will be needed, for the Temple I am going to build will be very large and magnificent. 10 In payment for your woodcutters, I will send 100,000 bushels of crushed wheat, 100,000 bushels of barley, 110,000 gallons of wine, and 110,000 gallons of olive oil.”
The Sidonians were noted as timber craftsmen in the ancient world, a fact substantiated on the famous Palmero Stone. Its inscription from 2200 BCE tells us about timber-carrying ships that sailed from Byblos to Egypt about four hundred years previously. The skill of the Sidonians was expressed in their ability to pick the most suitable trees, know the right time to cut them, fell them with care, and then properly treat the logs. (Dilday)
11 King Hiram sent this letter of reply to Solomon:
“It is because the Lord loves his people that he has made you their king! 12 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who made the heavens and the earth! He has given King David a wise son, gifted with skill and understanding, who will build a Temple for the Lord and a royal palace for himself.
13 “I am sending you a master craftsman named Huram-abi, who is extremely talented. 14 His mother is from the tribe of Dan in Israel, and his father is from Tyre. He is skillful at making things from gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and he also works with stone and wood. He can work with purple, blue, and scarlet cloth and fine linen. He is also an engraver and can follow any design given to him. He will work with your craftsmen and those appointed by my lord David, your father.
15 “Send along the wheat, barley, olive oil, and wine that my lord has mentioned. 16 We will cut whatever timber you need from the Lebanon mountains and will float the logs in rafts down the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Joppa. From there you can transport the logs up to Jerusalem.”
17 Solomon took a census of all foreigners in the land of Israel, like the census his father had taken, and he counted 153,600. 18 He assigned 70,000 of them as common laborers, 80,000 as quarry workers in the hill country, and 3,600 as foremen.
Jesus, when clearing the Temple before his crucifixion, quotes Isaiah and says, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17). With all the foreign laborers and foreign materials, the temple is a house of all nations even during construction!
HERE is “Give Me that Old Time Religion” — a clip from the movie Sergeant York (1941) with Walter Brennan and Gary Cooper. I love the various verses!
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.