Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Not Without My Hiram

You may have heard something about King Solomon and a temple.

In the Old Testament books of 2 Samuel and 1 Kings, we read that God did not allow David to build a temple but promised that his son Solomon would build one (2 Samuel 7). We read about this building project which took place under Solomon in 1 Kings 6 and 7.

When that building project is described, a man named Hiram is introduced. He’s a “worker in bronze…full of wisdom, understanding, and skill for making any work in bronze” (1 Kings 7:14). These are lofty words of praise, proving that you don’t have to be a king or priest to be recognized by God. It’s what we call the priesthood of all believers—God gives gifts of all kinds, and what matters is using them to His glory.

So, as you read along in 1 Kings 7, Hiram’s work is described in some detail. The Bible tells us, for example, the height and circumference of some bronze pillars that Hiram made. It tells us about lattices, basins, pots, shovels, all sorts of things. It goes on for a whole page and, if you’ve read the Bible, you know that there’s a lot of words on each page.

Personally, it’s tough reading for me. Nothing is underlined in my Bible after that part about him being full of wisdom, understanding, and skill. I even had to spell check “circumference” because I haven’t used that word since geography—oops, I mean geometry—class in 10th grade.

So I was thinking, this may not be very interesting to me but I’m sure it’s pretty interesting to a metalworker. Or, for that matter, to anyone who works daily with their hands, building stuff—unlike me.

Then you get to the end of this chapter that laboriously details Hiram’s work and you read this: “Thus all the work that King Solomon did on the house of the Lord was finished” (1 Kings 7:51).

Great work, “Solomon”!

“He gave gifts to men” – Ephesians 4:8.


Jeff said...

Ken - this is a clever post. I've been studying that tabernacle texts is Exodus a lot lately, and so I have an appreciation for long detailed (boring) passages describing the building of things! I love your closing line.

You did make me wonder a bit with your line about the priesthood of all believers. I don't think the giving of gifts of service (as in Eph), or wisdom and understanding are actually what is meant by the priesthood of believers. Do you?

Ken said...


I take the term "p of all b's" to refer specifically to the fact that we do not have to approach God through a mediator other than Christ, and are in fact priests ourselves in terms of offering God the service of worship. But more broadly, I take it to refer to the fact that there are not ranks of believers - some closer to God (the priest) and some further away (the layman).

I was using the term in this second, broad sense.

But you make an interesting point. Perhaps there is a different term for the broad sense in which I'm using the term? Perhaps I'm alone in that?