Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


1 Kings 5:6

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Any that can skill to hew timber - An obsolete and barbarous expression for any that know how to cut timber. They had neither sawyers, carpenters, joiners, nor builders among them, equal to the Sidonians. Sidon was a part of the territories of Hiram, and its inhabitants appear to have been the most expert workmen. It requires more skill to fell and prepare timber than is generally supposed. Vitruvius gives some rules relative to this, lib. ii., cap. 9, the sum of which is this:

  1. Trees should be felled in autumn, or in the winter, and in the wane of the moon; for in this season the trees recover their vigor and solidity, which was dispersed among their leaves, and exhausted by their fruit, in spring and summer; they will then be free from a certain moisture, very apt to engender worms and rot them, which in autumn and winter is consumed and dried up.
  • Trees should not be cut down at once; they should be cut carefully round towards the pith, that the sap may drop down and distil away, and thus left till thoroughly dry, and then cut down entirely.
  • When fully dried, a tree should not be exposed to the south sun, high winds, and rain; and should be smeared over with cow-dung to prevent its splitting.
  • It should never be drawn through the dew, but be removed in the afternoon.
  • 5. It is not fit for floors, doors, or windows, till it has been felled three years. Perhaps these directions attended to, would prevent the dry rot. And we see from them that there is considerable skill required to hew timber, and in this the Sidonians excelled. We do every thing in a hurry, and our building is good for nothing.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    Solomon‘s message to Hiram and Hiram‘s answer 1 Kings 5:8-9 are given much more fully in 2 Chronicles 2:3-16.

    Cedar-trees - The Hebrew word here and elsewhere translated “cedar,” appears to be used, not only of the cedar proper, but of other timber-trees also, as the fir, and, perhaps, the juniper. Still there is no doubt that the real Lebanon cedar is most commonly intended by it. This tree, which still grows on parts of the mountain, but which threatens to die out, was probably much more widely spread anciently. The Tyrians made the masts of their ships from the wood Ezekiel 27:5, and would naturally be as careful to cultivate it as we have ourselves been to grow oak. The Assyrian kings, when they made their expeditions into Palestine, appear frequently to have cut it in Lebanon and Hermon, and to have transported it to their own capitals.

    Skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians - The mechanical genius and nautical skill of the Phoenicians generally, and of the Sidonians in particular, is noticed by Homer and Herodotus. In the reign of Hiram, Sidon, though perhaps she might have a king of her own, acknowledged the supremacy of Tyre.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    Here is Solomon's design to build a temple. There is no adversary, no Satan, so the word is; no instrument of Satan to oppose it, or to divert from it. Satan does all he can, to hinder temple work. When there is no evil abroad, then let us be ready and active in that which is good, and get forward. Let God's promises quicken our endeavours. And all outward skill and advantages should be made serviceable to the interests of Christ's kingdom. It Tyre supplies Israel with craftsmen, Israel will supply Tyre with corn, Eze 27:17. Thus, by the wise disposal of Providence, one country has need of another, and is benefitted by another, that there may be dependence on one another, to the glory of God.