Solomon now decided that the time had come to build a Temple for the LORD and a royal palace for himself.
He enlisted a force of 70,000 common laborers, 80,000 stonecutters in the hill country, and 3,600 foremen.
Solomon also sent this message to King Hiram a at Tyre: "Send me cedar logs like the ones that were supplied to my father, David, when he was building his palace.
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 incense and sweet spices 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.
"This will be a magnificent Temple because our God is an awesome God, greater than any other.
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?
"So send me a master craftsman who can work with gold, silver, bronze, and iron; someone who is expert at dyeing purple, scarlet, and blue cloth; and a skilled engraver who can work with the craftsmen of Judah and Jerusalem who were selected by my father, David.
Also send me cedar, cypress, and almug b logs from Lebanon, for I know that your men are without equal at cutting timber. I will send my men to help them.
An immense amount of timber will be needed, for the Temple I am going to build will be very large and magnificent.
I will pay your men 100,000 bushels of crushed wheat, 100,000 bushels of barley, c 110,000 gallons of wine, and 110,000 gallons of olive oil. d "
King Hiram sent this letter of reply to Solomon: "It is because the LORD loves his people that he has made you their king!
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who made the heavens and the earth! He has given David a wise son, gifted with skill and understanding, who will build a Temple for the LORD and a royal palace for himself.
"I am sending you a master craftsman named Huram-abi. He is a brilliant man,
the son of a woman from Dan in Israel; his father is from Tyre. He is skillful at making things from gold, silver, bronze, and iron. He also knows all about stonework, carpentry, and weaving. He is an expert in dyeing purple, blue, and scarlet cloth and in working with 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.
"Send along the wheat, barley, olive oil, and wine that you mentioned.
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."
Solomon took a census of all foreigners in the land of Israel, like the census his father had taken, and he counted 153,600.
He enlisted 70,000 of them as common laborers, 80,000 as stonecutters in the hill country, and 3,600 as foremen.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)