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border of Israel. Their inhabitants had never been at enmity with Israel, excepting when they joined the general confederacy, and David was not commissioned to destroy them. It is said of Hiram their king, (who is supposed to have been the son of that monarch who supplied David with materials for his city) that he was ever a lover of David; and we have reason to think that he was a worshipper of the true Gop, though he might not have had power to reform his subjects.
Lebanon was a noble forest in the north of Canaan, included in the grant of that land to Israel, so that Solomon was a proprietor of all its products; but his subjects who had been mostly trained to war in David's time, were now chiefly employed in cultivating and dispensing the plenty of their land, and were not skilled like the Sidonians in arts and manufactures; but they were able to spare corn, and other valuable commedities, in return for the assistance they required from their neighbours.
The alliance with Hiram was convenient to Solomon in another particular of great consequence to his work; which was the skill of the Tyrians in maritime affairs, in which it seems the Israelites were deficient. No nation in those days was so well acquainted with navigation as we are at this time; for the use of the loadstone was as yet undiscovered, and having no compasses, ships, could not venture far out to sea, but made only what are called coasting voyages.
Huram, the man who was sent by Hiram, seems like Bezaleel to have been endued with peculiar ingenuity, in order to qualify him for preparing the ornaments of the temple; his assistance must have been esteemed by Solomon a valuable acquisition.
Those among the Canaanites, who had embraced the true religion, were allowed to dwell with the Israelites,
and there is no doubt but their lives were made comfortable to them; and by being employed in preparations for the temple, they were in some measure sanctified; for, though a laborious, it was an honourable business; and on this account the Israelites thought it no disgrace to hew timber, and cut marble and stone, to be wrought by the Tyrian masons and carvers. Different workmen were employed in levelling mount Moriah, in order to prepare it for the foundation of the temple.
From the interchange of commodities between Solomon and Hiram, we may take occasion to observe the great advantages of COMMERCE. GOD has scattered his bounty among all lands; but every country produces some things peculiar to itself, and desirable to others, which lead men to travel from place to place, in order to procure those conveniencies and delicacies which are not to be found at home:` and as they carry with them what others wish to possess, they are joyfully received, and willingly supplied: by this means the earth might become one great family, receiving assistance from their brethren, and sharing amongst them the gifts of their HEAVENLY FATHER. Those nations who live secluded are generally savage and ferocious; but commerce introduces the arts of civilization, and serves as a means of propagating true religion and humanity.
THE BUILDING OF SOLOMON'S TEMPLE.
From 1 Kings, Chap. vi. 2 Chron. Chap. iii, iv.
AND it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel,
Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
In mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
David had given to Solomon his son the pattern of all that he had received by the Spirit, also gold and silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service.
And the house when it was in building, was built of stone, made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer, nor ax, nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.
And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judg ments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them: then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father.
And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.
And Solomon built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the ceiling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir.
And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops, and open flowers: all was cedar, there was no stone seen; and he overlaid the house within with pure gold.
And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty, and the gold was gold of Parvaim.
And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the LORD. And in the most holy house he made two cherubims of image work, and overlaid them with gold.
The wings of these cherubims spread themselves fortla twenty cubits: and they stood on their feet, and their faces were inward.
And he made a partition before the oracle with chains of gold.
And he made the vail of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon.
And he made also ten candlesticks of pure gold, and set five on the right hand, and five on the left, with their lamps before the oracle.
And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree.
And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple, and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about. And Solomon built a porch before the temple.
And he cast two pillars of brass, and two chapiters of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars; and nets of chequer work, and wreaths of chain work, seven for one chapiter, and seven for the other, with granates and the chapiters were of lily work. And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz.
Moreover he made an altar of brass; also a molten sea, and under it was the similitude of oxen; it stood upon twelve oxen, three looking towards the north, three towards the west, three towards the south, and three towards the east.
He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand and five on the left to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt-offering they washed in them but the sea was for the priests to wash in.
He made also ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. And he made an hundred basons of gold, and vessels in great abundance.
Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court overlaid with brass. And he built the inner court round about with three rows of hewed stones, and a row of cedar beams.
And Solomon built the chambers round about, and the treasures of the house of God, and of the dedicated things, namely, The meat-offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, the tithes of the corn, the new wine and the oil, and the offerings of the priests.
And Solomon made a brazen scaffold, and set it in the midst of the court.
In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the month Zif.
And the eleventh year, in the month Bul, (which is the eighth month) was the house finished, throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it; so was he seven years in building it.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
We have here a description of the magnificent temple which Solomon erected to the name of the LORD in Jerusalem.
The second day of the month Zif, on which it was begun, answered to our 27th of April. Mount Moriah where it was situated, was either a part of mount Sion, or a hill of less compass near it. The front of the tem ple was turned towards the east.
It is not material to explain the exact dimensions of its several parts; we may judge, from this general account of it, that it was very capacious; but a few par ticulars require explanation.