Hiram king of Tyre sent ambassadors to Solomon when he heard that he had been crowned king in David's place. Hiram had loved David his whole life.
Solomon responded, saying,
"You know that David my father was not able to build a temple in honor of God because of the wars he had to fight on all sides, until God finally put them down.
But now God has provided peace all around - no one against us, nothing at odds with us.
"Now here is what I want to do: Build a temple in honor of God, my God, following the promise that God gave to David my father, namely, 'Your son whom I will provide to succeed you as king, he will build a house in my honor.'
And here is how you can help: Give orders for cedars to be cut from the Lebanon forest; my loggers will work alongside yours and I'll pay your men whatever wage you set. We both know that there is no one like you Sidonians for cutting timber."
When Hiram got Solomon's message, he was delighted, exclaiming, "Blessed be God for giving David such a wise son to rule this flourishing people!"
Then he sent this message to Solomon: "I received your request for the cedars and cypresses. It's as good as done - your wish is my command.
My lumberjacks will haul the timbers from the Lebanon forest to the sea, assemble them into log rafts, float them to the place you set, then have them disassembled for you to haul away. All I want from you is that you feed my crew."
In this way Hiram supplied all the cedar and cypress timber that Solomon wanted.
In his turn, Solomon gave Hiram 125,000 bushels of wheat and 115,000 gallons of virgin olive oil. He did this every year.
And God, for his part, gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised. The healthy peace between Hiram and Solomon was formalized by a treaty.
King Solomon raised a workforce of 30,000 men from all over Israel.
He sent them in shifts of 10,000 each month to the Lebanon forest; they would work a month in Lebanon and then be at home two months. Adoniram was in charge of the work crew.
Solomon also had 70,000 unskilled workers and another 80,000 stonecutters up in the hills
- plus 3,300 foremen managing the project and supervising the work crews.
Following the king's orders, they quarried huge blocks of the best stone - dressed stone for the foundation of The Temple.
Solomon and Hiram's construction workers, assisted by the men of Gebal, cut and prepared the timber and stone for building The Temple.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)