II Chronicles – Chapter 2

Hiram, Jr.

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Solomon wrote to Hiram and asked if he would provide aid and material as he did when David built a palace. Solomon told Hiram that he was building a Temple to serve G-d by offering sacrifices and burning incense, so it had to be sturdy and long-lasting. And it has to be an impressive-looking building because G-d is the most awesome Power in the universe. It is only a “house” for G-d in a metaphorical sense, as not even the Heavens can truly contain Him.

Solomon requested that Hiram send him a skilled craftsman, who could oversee work in all forms of metal and fabric. He also asked for precious woods from Lebanon, with which Hiram’s men were skilled. (Solomon said he was going to need a lot of it because this was going to be one impressive Temple!) Solomon laid out what he intended to pay the work force, in barley, wine and oil.

Hiram replied that G-d clearly loved the Jewish people to give them such a wise king. He added that he had just the man in mind for the job, a craftsman who had worked for his father (who, apparently, was also named Hiram). He was the son of a woman from Dan, whose father was from Tyre, skilled in metalwork, plus stone, lumber, and cloth. So send the provisions for the workers, Hiram said, because they’re coming!

They arranged to float the logs from Lebanon to Jaffa, from where they would be carried to Jerusalem. Solomon counted his “resident aliens” and assigned them all jobs in the construction project.

One discrepancy still needs ironing out: here, we are told that the artisan’s mother was from Dan, but I Kings chapter 7 calls her a widow of the Tribe of Naftali. This is not a problem; she could have been descended from Dan, but the widow of a man from Naftali. But the text says the father was from Tyre? That’s not a problem; people are often called by the place they resided. (Uriah the Hittite, for example, was clearly Jewish and not Hittite. He was merely referred to by his place of residence, like “Tex.”)

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