Chapter 5: Shlomo’s monarchy and building of the Temple

Chapter 5: Shlomo’s monarchy and building of the Temple

1.      King Shlomo’s kingdom and daily meals consistencies:

  • Shlomo ruled over all the kingdoms.
  • The king receives tributes and servants from the nations: From the river of [the Euphrates until[1]] the land of the Philistines, until the border of Egypt, the kingdoms [feared his reign and therefore[2]] would give tributes and presents to the king and they served Shlomo for all the days of his life.
  • The consistency of his meals: One days’ worth of the meals of Shlomo [i.e. the king’s table which would support many visitors and guests[3]] consisted of 30 Kor [i.e. 900 Seah[4], which is equivalent to 7,500 kilo] of fine flour and 60 Kur of regular flour [1,800 Seah, which is equivalent to 15,000 kilo]. The livestock for the meal consisted of 10 fattened oxen and 20 oxen which were taken from grazing the land, and 100 sheep. This is aside for the livestock that was taken from the rams, dear, Yachmor [Dama], and the fattened Barburim [i.e. fattened chickens[5]].
  • His reign: Shlomo ruled over all the land that was past the river, from Tifsach until Gaza, and throughout all the kingdoms that were across the river [and was brought the above livestock which was not found in his region as a tribute from the various nations[6]].

2.      The state of the Jewish people during Shlomo’s reign:

  • The people of Judah and the people of Israel lived in security, each man under his vineyard and under his fig tree, from the land of Dan until the land of Beir Sheva throughout all the days of Shlomo.

3.      King Shlomo’s horses and chariots, and the foods he was provided with:

  • The number of horses: Shlomo had 40,000 horse feeding troughs on behalf of the horses of his chariot, and he had 12,000 chariots. I.e. his heart was able to hold the understanding and comprehension of a multitude of wisdom’s
  • The Kings meals: The above-mentioned governors would all provide sustenance for King Shlomo’s table and for all of his relatives and individuals who ate on the king’s table. Each governor provided sustenance on behalf of his month without lacking any foods or dishes [even if they were out of season[7]].
  • The horse food: The barley and straw was brought to the horses and other animals called Rachesh. These foods were brought to the area that the horses were found. Each governor provided the above in his corresponding month.

4.      The wisdom of Shlomo:

  • God granted wisdom to Shlomo and he gave him great understanding and comprehension. His heart was as open as the sand of the beach [i.e. his heart was able to hold the comprehension of the multitude of wisdom’s endless in number similar to the sand of the beach[8]].
  • The wisest of all men: The wisdom of Shlomo surpassed the wisdom of all the previous generations, including of the people of Kedem, and the wisdom of the people of Egypt. He was wiser than all other men, from [the brothers[9]] Eisan the Ezrachi [i.e. from the tribe of Yehuda, descendants from his son Zerach] and Heiyman and Chalkol and Darda, the sons of Machol. [Alternatively, this refers to the forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, and Yosef, and is saying that Shlomo surpassed even their wisdom.] He became famous amongst all of the nation’s surrounding him.
  • His songs in parables: He would speak 3000 parables and compiled 1,005 songs [including Shir Hashirim and Koheles]. [These parables and songs have been lost from us.[10]]
  • Knowing the natures of the trees, plants, animals, birds, and fish: He would speak of the trees [i.e. he would know their medicinal capabilities and what they can be used for construction and planting]. He had knowledge of the cedarwood tree that grew in Lebanon up until the hyssop bush which would grow on the wall. He would speak of the animals, and the birds, and the creeping creatures, and the fish.
  • The nations come to hear his wisdom: People would come from amongst all the nations of the world to hear the wisdom of Shlomo. Amongst them were all the kings of the world who heard of the great wisdom of Shlomo.

5.      Chiram sends wood for the building of the temple:

  • Their relationship: Chiram the king of Tzur sent his servants to Shlomo, as he had heard that he had been anointed king to replace his father. Chiram was considered a beloved friend to Dovid throughout the all the days of his life.
  • Shlomo requests from Chiram that he sends him craftsman: Shlomo sent messengers to Chiram to relay to him the following message: “You had known my father Dovid and that he was unable to build a temple for Hashem his God due to the many wars that surrounded him, and until that Hashem would subjugate them under his rule. Now, Hashem my God has blessed me with tranquility, without there being any danger or enemies surrounding me. I would like to build a temple for Hashem my God to fulfill the instruction that Hashem had told my father Dovid that the son who will rule after him on the throne will be the one to build a temple for His name. Now, please instruct your servants who cut for me cedar trees from the Lebanon [which was an area with in Israel[11]]. My servants will work together with your servants, and I will pay you for the work of your servants whatever amount you desire. We need the help of your servants as you are aware that there is no man who knows how to woodshop as do the people named Tzidonim.”
  • Chiram acquiesces to the request: When Chiram heard the message of Shlomo he was very happy, and said that God should be blessed for having given Dovid a wise son over the great nation. Chiram sent back a message to Shlomo saying, “I heard the request that you sent to me, and I will do all that you desire regarding the cedarwood trees and regarding the Beroshim wood trees. My servants will bring the wood from Lebanon down to the sea and we will pack them into bundles [that are able to float on water similar to a ship] and place them in the sea, to have the wood brought to whatever area you send me. We will unload the wood in that area of final destination and your servants will then carry it [to the area of the temple[12]]. Now, in exchange for this you will do is I desire to financially support my household.”
  • The woods are provided to Shlomo: Chiram provided for Shlomo as much as he desired cedarwood as well as Beroshim wood.
  • Chiram is provided sustenance by Shlomo: Shlomo provided Chiram annually with 20,000 Kur of wheat to sustain his household, and 20 Kur of pure refined olive oil.
  • Peaceful relations with each other: God provided Shlomo with wisdom as he had spoken to him, and there was peaceful relations between Chiram and Shlomo and they made a treaty with each other.

6.      The taxes and workers collected by Shlomo from the Jewish people to help build the temple:

  • King Shlomo collected a tax from all the Jewish people of an amount [that can pay the salaries[13]] of 30,000 men [to assist with the wood chopping].
  • The men who went to Lebanon to chop wood: 10,000 men were sent to Lebanon [to join the servants of Chiram in the wood chopping[14]]. The men who were there would switch each month, and thus every month there would be 10,000 men in Lebanon and 20,000 at home for a period of two months.
  • The tax collector: Adoniram was in charge of collecting the tax.
  • The stone carriers: Shlomo had 70,000 stone carriers [who would bring the stones from the mountain until the city[15]].
  • The excavators of stone: Shlomo had 80,000 excavators of stone [who would excavate the stone from the mountains and then send them off with the carriers[16]]. [All these workers were converts who had converted out of awe of Shlomo’s greatness.[17]]
  • The administrators in charge of the workers: There were 3,300 administrators appointed by Shlomo to oversee the workers [45 workers under his patrol].
  • The stones: The king instructed that very large and very heavy stones be brought to build the foundation of the temple. The stones were excavated with iron and were all smoothly cut.

[1] See Radak and Metzudos Dovid 5:1

[2] Radak 5:1

[3] See Metzudos Dovid 5:2

[4] See Meam Loez 5:2

[5] Rashi 5:3

[6] Radak it

[7] See Rashi 5:7

[8] See Radak 5:9

[9] Rashi 5:11

[10] See Metzudos Dovid 5:12

[11] Radak 5:20; however, see Metzudos Dovid ibid that it was part of the land of Chiram

[12] Metzudos Dovid 5:23

[13] Rashi 5:27

[14] Metzudos Dovid 5:27

[15] Rashi 5:29

[16] Rashi 5:29

[17] Rashi 5:29

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