1 Kings 5:1-7:51 – Solomon Prepares to Build the Temple


1 Kings 5:1-7:51


Solomon’s greatest achievement was the building of the temple in Jerusalem, which is meticulously related in 1 Kings 5-7. The account of the preparations for the temple is very different from that in 2 Chronicles.


The construction of the temple dominates the presentation of Solomon in both Kings and Chronicles. Chronicles has altered the presentation in Kings in order to present Solomon the chosen temple builder in complete control of the temple’s construction (1 Chronicles 28:6, 10; 29:1). In Kings, Hiram is depicted as a wise negotiator, equal to Solomon. While the comparison with Chronicles is instructive for both traditions, important differences exist:

  • In Kings, Hiram contacts Solomon after hearing of his anointing, out of deference to Solomon’s father David with whom Hiram had a treaty; “a friend to David” is literally “loved David” and is treaty nomenclature (1 Kings 5:1). In 2 Chronicles 2, Solomon immediately contacts Huram following worship at Gibeon and the recruitment of the temple workers to depict Solomon as totally committed. Nothing is more important than building the temple.
  • In Kings, Hiram the king of Tyre initiates contact with Solomon, probably in order to continue the profitable trade relations already established with David (v. 1). In Chronicles, Solomon, the chosen temple builder, needs no such prompting and so makes the first move (2 Chronicles 2:3).
  • In Kings, Hiram sets the terms in an arrangement that is completely businesslike (1 Kings 5:8-9). In Chronicles, Solomon dictates the terms (2 Chronicles 2:7-10) to a religiously motivated (though Gentile) Huram (vv. 11-12).
  • In Kings, Solomon repays on the installment plan “year by year” (1 Kings 5:11). In Chronicles, Solomon pays a lump sum (2 Chronicles 2:10).
  • In Kings, Solomon’s description of the temple is terse (1 Kings 5:5). In Chronicles, it resonates with glory and grandeur, and incorporates the cultic functions of the priests (2 Chronicles 2:3-5).
  • In Kings, the correspondence is a businesslike affair between equals (compare the “treaty” in v. 12, omitted in Chronicles). Not so in Chronicles, where Hiram deferentially refers to both David and Solomon as “my lord” (2 Chronicles 2:14-15).
  • In Kings, the treaty between Hiram and Solomon is the stated reason for God’s bestowal of wisdom upon Solomon (v. 12). In Chronicles, mention of the treaty and bestowal of wisdom are omitted lest they detract from God’s bestowal of wisdom upon Solomon for his dedication to the temple.