King Solomon decided to build a temple where the Lord would be worshiped, and also to build a palace for himself.
He put 70,000 men to work transporting materials, and 80,000 to work cutting stone in the hill country. There were 3,600 others responsible for supervising the work.
Solomon sent a message to King Hiram of Tyre: "Do business with me as you did with my father, King David, when you sold him cedar logs for building his palace.
I am building a temple to honor the Lord my God. It will be a holy place where my people and I will worship him by burning incense of fragrant spices, where we will present offerings of sacred bread to him continuously, and where we will offer burnt offerings every morning and evening, as well as on Sabbaths, New Moon Festivals, and other holy days honoring the Lord our God. He has commanded Israel to do this forever.
I intend to build a great temple, because our God is greater than any other god.
Yet no one can really build a temple for God, because even all the vastness of heaven cannot contain him. How then can I build a temple that would be anything more than a place to burn incense to God? 1
Now send me a man with skill in engraving, in working gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and in making blue, purple, and red cloth. He will work with the craftsmen of Judah and Jerusalem whom my father David selected.
I know how skillful your lumbermen are, so send me cedar, cypress, and juniper logs from Lebanon. I am ready to send my men to assist yours
in preparing large quantities of timber, because this temple I intend to build will be large and magnificent.
As provisions for your lumbermen, I will send you 100,000 bushels of wheat, 100,000 bushels of barley, 110,000 gallons of wine, and 110,000 gallons of olive oil."
King Hiram sent Solomon a letter in reply. He wrote, "Because the Lord loves his people, he has made you their king.
Praise the Lord God of Israel, Creator of heaven and earth! He has given King David a wise son, full of understanding and skill, who now plans to build a temple for the Lord and a palace for himself.
I am sending you a wise and skillful master metalworker named Huram.
His mother was a member of the tribe of Dan and his father was a native of Tyre. He knows how to make things out of gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and wood. He can work with blue, purple, and red cloth, and with linen. He can do all sorts of engraving and can follow any design suggested to him. Let him work with your skilled workers and with those who worked for your father, King David.
So now send us the wheat, barley, wine, and olive oil that you promised.
In the mountains of Lebanon we will cut down all the cedars you need, tie them together in rafts, and float them by sea as far as Joppa. From there you can take them to Jerusalem."
King Solomon took a census of all the foreigners living in the land of Israel, similar to the census his father David had taken. There were 153,600 resident foreigners.
He assigned 70,000 of them to transport materials and 80,000 to cut stones in the mountains, and appointed 3,600 supervisors to make sure the work was done.