Hiram, King of Tyre
Hiram, King of Tyre, was the son of Abibal, and the contemporary of both David and Solomon. In the beginning of the former's reign, he sent messengers to him, and King Hiram provided the Hebrew king with "cedars, carpenters, and masons; and they built David a house." Nearly forty years afterward, when Solomon ascended the throne, and began to prepare for the building of the Temple, he sent to the old friend of his father for the same kind of assistance.
The King of Tyre gave a favorable response, and sent workmen and materials to Jerusalem, by the aid of which Solomon was enabled to carry our his great design. Historians have documented the friendly discourse between these monarchs, and state that the correspondence between them in respect to the building of the Temple was reserved in the Archives of the kingdom of Tyre.
In return for this kindness, Solomon gave King Hiram 200,000 bushels of wheat and 1,500,000 gallons of oil -- an incredible amount, but not disproportioned to the magnificent expenditure of the Temple in other respects. After Solomon had finished his work, he presented the King of Tyre with twenty towns in Galilee. But when King Hiram viewed these places, he was so displeased with their appearance that he called them "the land of Cabul" -- which signifies barren or desolate.
The connection of the King of Tyre with King Solomon in the construction of the Temple has given him a great importance in the legendary history of Freemasonry. The tradition is that King Hiram had been Grand Master of all Masons, but when the Temple was finished, King Hiram came to survey it before its consecration, and to commune with Solomon about wisdom and art. On finding that the Great Architect Of The Universe had inspired Solomon above all mortal men, King Hiram very readily yielded the pre-eminence to Solomon Jedediah, the "beloved of God."
King Hiram reigned over the Tyrians for thirty-four years. He permitted Solomon's ships to participate in the profitable trade of the Mediterranean, and Jewish sailors, under the instructions of Tyrian mariners, were taught how to bring from India the gold necessary to enrich their people and to beautify the Temple of their king. Tradition says that King Hiram gave his daughter in marriage to King Solomon.
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