OU TORAHDedicated by the Jacobs and Chill Families in Memory of Harold and Pearl Jacobs
Dora Bas Rivka Silver O'H
Hiram Hires 'em
Solomon ruled from the Euphrates River to the Philistine territory to the border of Egypt; the kings of neighboring lands paid him tribute. One day's supplies for Solomon's household included well over 1,000 bushels of wheat, 30 oxen, 100 sheep and goats, as well as many other types of meat and fowl. It is estimated that this fed 60,000 people. (Now you know why the 12 local officers of the previous chapter had to work so hard!) The whole country lived securely in peace during Solomon's tenure as king.
Solomon had 40,000 horses for chariots and 12,000 riders. This may seem impressive, but the Torah (Deut. 17:16) commands a king not to have more horses than necessary. We'll discuss this more in chapter 10.
Solomon's wisdom became renowned and he was famous for his proverbs, collected in (of all places) the Book of Proverbs (Mishlei). He was also the author of famous songs, including Ecclesiastes (Koheles) and, appropriately, The Song of Songs (Shir HaShirim).
Hiram, king of Tyre (modern day Lebanon), had been a friend to David and he sent servants with greetings and an offer of assistance. Solomon replied that, while David was not permitted to build the Temple, he was about to do so and could use Hiram's help. According to the arrangement made between the two kings, Hiram's men would cut down cedars in Lebanon and Solomon would pay their wages. The logs would be made into rafts and sailed as far as possible, then disassembled and carried over land.
Solomon drafted 30,000 men in a three-month rotation; 10,000 would work for a month in Lebanon, then go home for two months. There were 70,000 porters, who would carry stones from the mountains and 80,000 masons who chiseled the stones into shape before shipping them. (No iron tools could be used on-site, but they could be used off-site.) In this way, the builders of Solomon and the builders of Hiram prepared the wood and stone for the Temple.
A short Insight into I Kings, Chapter 5In our chapter, we learn that Shlomo is described as wiser than all men. As the Navi says (verses 11-12), “He was wiser than all men – than Eisan Ha’ezrachi, Heiman, Chalkol and Dardar sons of Machol. His fame spread to all to all the nations around him. He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs were one thousand and five.”
The Radak explains that these three thousand proverbs and one thousand and five songs are not extant. In addition, the wisdom which Shlomo possessed regarding the trees, birds, creepy creatures, fish and medicines were all contained in books which we no longer possess. Over the years of exile we have lost many books.
While the depth and breadth of wisdom that Shlomo was blessed with is impressive relative to other human beings, the Chofetz Chaim (Sheim Olam 12, annotation) attempts to share with us an idea that will enable us to improve our understanding of the wisdom of Hashem.
The Chofetz Chaim begins, “The Torah is called ‘a parable of the Earliest One (G-d).’ Just like we might draw a picture as a representation of a person, so too, the Torah is a bit of a representation of the essence and honor of Hashem. We know that the Holy Torah has its holy roots in the highest reaches of Heaven. However, Hashem, who is abundantly kind and calls us his children, has dressed the “light” of the Torah in a facade fitting for this world in order for us to be able to cleave to Him [through it]. This world, finite as it is, is too small to contain all of Hashem’s wisdom as is clear [to anyone who studies the Torah] that there is no end to Hashem’s wisdom. When Zecharya Hanavi viewed it (the Torah) in ‘Olam Hayetzirah’, the world of the angels, he described the Torah as he saw it there. It seemed to him to take up the space of three thousand of our worlds …. If one would see it in ‘Olam Habri’a (the World of Creation) we can not imagine how infinite it might seem.
Seemingly, represented in the three thousand proverbs of Shlomo Hamelech were revelations of G-d's wisdom that are hinted at in the prophecy of Zecharya.