2Ch 2:1,2. SOLOMON'S LABORERS FOR BUILDING THE TEMPLE.
1. Solomon determined to build--The temple is the grand subject of this narrative, while the palace--here and in other parts of this book--is only incidentally noticed. The duty of building the temple was reserved for Solomon before his birth. As soon as he became king, he addressed himself to the work, and the historian, in proceeding to give an account of the edifice, begins with relating the preliminary arrangements.
2Ch 2:3-10. MESSAGE TO HURAM FOR SKILFUL ARTIFICERS. 3-6. Solomon sent to Huram--The correspondence was probably conducted on both sides in writing (2Ch 2:11; also see on 1Ki 5:8). As thou didst deal with David my father--This would seem decisive of the question whether the Huram then reigning in Tyre was David's friend (see on 1Ki 5:1-6). In opening the business, Solomon grounded his request for Tyrian aid on two reasons: 1. The temple he proposed to build must be a solid and permanent building because the worship was to be continued in perpetuity; and therefore the building materials must be of the most durable quality. 2. It must be a magnificent structure because it was to be dedicated to the God who was greater than all gods; and, therefore, as it might seem a presumptuous idea to erect an edifice for a Being "whom the heaven and the heaven of heavens do not contain," it was explained that Solomon's object was not to build a house for Him to dwell in, but a temple in which His worshippers might offer sacrifices to His honor. No language could be more humble and appropriate than this. The pious strain of sentiment was such as became a king of Israel. 7. Send me now therefore a man cunning to work--Masons and carpenters were not asked for. Those whom David had obtained (1Ch 14:1) were probably still remaining in Jerusalem, and had instructed others. But he required a master of works; a person capable, like Bezaleel (Ex 35:31), of superintending and directing every department; for, as the division of labor was at that time little known or observed, an overseer had to be possessed of very versatile talents and experience. The things specified, in which he was to be skilled, relate not to the building, but the furniture of the temple. Iron, which could not be obtained in the wilderness when the tabernacle was built, was now, through intercourse with the coast, plentiful and much used. The cloths intended for curtains were, from the crimson or scarlet-red and hyacinth colors named, evidently those stuffs, for the manufacture and dyeing of which the Tyrians were so famous. "The graving," probably, included embroidery of figures like cherubim in needlework, as well as wood carving of pomegranates and other ornaments. 8. Send me . . . cedar trees, &c.--The cedar and cypress were valued as being both rare and durable; the algum or almug trees (likewise a foreign wood), though not found on Lebanon, are mentioned as being procured through Huram (see on 1Ki 10:11).
10. behold, I will give to thy servants . . . beaten wheat--Wheat, stripped of the husk, boiled, and saturated with butter, forms a frequent meal with the laboring people in the East (compare 1Ki 5:11). There is no discrepancy between that passage and this. The yearly supplies of wine and oil, mentioned in the former, were intended for Huram's court in return for the cedars sent him; while the articles of meat and drink specified here were for the workmen on Lebanon.
2Ch 2:11-18. HURAM'S KIND ANSWER. 11. Because the Lord hath loved his people, &c.--This pious language creates a presumption that Huram might have attained some knowledge of the true religion from his long familiar intercourse with David. But the presumption, however pleasing, may be delusive (see on 1Ki 5:7). 13, 14. I have sent a cunning man--(See on 1Ki 7:13-51). 17, 18. Solomon numbered all the strangers, &c.--(See on 1Ki 5:13; 1Ki 5:18).