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Lebanese Cedars for Solomon's Temple

Phoenician Tyre Worked Closely with Israel under kings David and Solomon


How close were relations between Phoenician cities and the Israelite kingdom?
Lebanese Cedars for Solomon's Temple: Phoenician Tyre Worked with Israel under David and Solomon

Lebanese Cedars for Solomon's Temple: Phoenician Tyre Worked with Israel under David and Solomon

Source: Jupiter Images

King Hiram of Tyre not only helped David build his palace, but also sent to Solomon (961-922 BCE) famous Lebanon cedars and cypress wood for the construction of his famous temple (1 Kings 9:11, 2 Chronicles 2:3). Both the chief architect and the master workers for the First Temple, constructed under Solomon's rule, were Tyrians. It's possible, in fact, that the Temple was designed in the same style as the temples of the Phoenicians. Lebanon's cedar trees were highly prized throughout the Middle East - so much so, in fact, that today only small tracts survive high in the Lebanese mountains.

In exchange for all this help Solomon transferred to Hiram's control the Galilean district of Cabul. This area included twenty cities, but Hiram doesn't appear to have liked them very much (1 Kings 9:11-14). The agricultural importance of the region was much more important. The grain and olive oil produced here might have allowed Tyre to cease agricultural imports, no minor feat. Tyre's lack of significant inland agricultural resources for itself was an important factor in its lower status when compared to Sidon in the north. Jerusalem itself became a significant consumer of Phoenician goods from Tyre, a fact which probably helped relations between the kingdoms.

Later Hiram and Solomon joined forces to create a large merchant fleet, piloted by Phoenician sailors. These ships were constructed on the Red Sea and designed for the sole purpose of opening up trade to the east. In theory, they could have travelled as far as India, but precise records for their voyages no longer exist.

At the very least, this demonstrates that economic and political relations between the Israelites and the Phoenicians - who may have called themselves Canaanites in ancient times - could be very close, very strong, and very productive.

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