HIRAM (hī'rām, Heb. hîrām, sometimes also hûrām and hîrôm). 1. King of Tyre in the reigns of David and Solomon, with both of whom he was on friendly terms. His father was Abibaal. Hiram is first mentioned in 2Sam.5.11, almost at the beginning of his reign, when he sent messengers to David with cedar logs, carpenters, and masons who built David a house. The wood was floated in rafts down the coast to Joppa and then brought overland to Jerusalem. Hiram, an admirer of David, sent an embassy to Solomon after David’s death (1Kgs.5.1); and Solomon promptly took advantage of the situation and arranged for Hiram to send him cedar and fir timber from Lebanon. It is evident that Tyre was predominant over Phoenicia at the time, for the Sidonians (1Kgs.5.6) are spoken of as servants of Hiram, and the “stone-squarers” (1Kgs.5.18 kjv) were men of Gebal (modern Jebail) north of Beirut.
2. A worker in brass whom Solomon brought from Tyre to help build the temple (1Kgs.7.13-1Kgs.7.14, 1Kgs.7.40-1Kgs.7.45 jb, kjv, mlb, mof, nasb, rsv; “Huram” in 2Chr.2.13-2Chr.2.14; 2Chr.4.11-2Chr.4.16). See also Huram.
Josephus says (Apion I. 17, 18) that the father of Hiram was Abibalus, who had been king of Tyre before him; that Hiram and Solomon wrote many letters to each other, consulting one another on problems they had—at which Solomon was the better at offering solutions; and that he died at the age of fifty-three after a prosperous reign of thirty-four years.
2. A skilled craftsman sent by Hiram to Solomon to help him build his palace and the Temple. His father was a native of Tyre of a family of craftsmen, but his mother was of the tribe of Naphtali (1 Kings 14:2). 2 Chronicles 2:13 says she was of the daughters of Dan. He was skilled in working with all sorts of materials—gold and silver, copper and iron, wood, and cloth—and was a fine engraver. Among the important metal parts of the Temple and its furnishings that he made were the two bronze pillars, called Jachin and Boaz, the elaborate capitals on the pillars, the molten sea and the twelve oxen on which it rested, ten bases of bronze, ten basins of bronze, and the pots, shovels, and tossing-bowls used in the Temple.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
There is some confusion regarding the form of this name. In the books of Samuel and Kings the prevailing form is "Hiram" (chiram); but in 1Ki 5:10,18 margin (Hebrew 24,32); 7:40 margin "Hirom" (chirom) is found. In Chronicles the form of the word is uniformly "Huram" (churam).
(1) A king of Tyre who lived on most friendly terms with both David and Solomon. After David had taken the stronghold of Zion, Hiram sent messengers and workmen and materials to build a palace for him at Jerusalem (2Sa 5:11; 1Ch 14:1). Solomon, on his accession to the throne, made a league with Hiram, in consequence of which Hiram furnished the new king of Israel with skilled workmen and with cedar trees and fir trees and algum trees from Lebanon for the building of the Temple. In return Solomon gave annually to Hiram large quantities of wheat and oil (1Ki 5:1 (Hebrew 15) ff; 2Ch 2:3 (Hebrew 2) ff). "At the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the two houses, the house of Yahweh and the king’s house," Solomon made a present to Hiram of twenty cities in the land of Galilee. Hiram was not at all pleased with these cities and contemptuously called them "Cabul." His displeasure, however, with this gift does not seem to have disturbed the amicable relations that had hitherto existed between the two kings, for subsequently Hiram sent to the king of Israel 120 talents of gold (1Ki 9:10-14). Hiram and Solomon maintained merchant vessels on the Mediterranean and shared mutually in a profitable trade with foreign ports (1Ki 10:22). Hiram’s servants, "shipmen that had knowledge of the sea," taught the sailors of Solomon the route from Ezion-geber and Eloth to Ophir, whence large stores of gold were brought to King Solomon (1Ki 9:26; 2Ch 8:17 f).
Josephus (Apion, I, 17, 18) informs us, on the authority of the historians Dius and Menander, that Hiram was the son of Abibal, that he had a prosperous reign of 34 years, and died at the age of 53. He tells us on the same authority that Hiram and Solomon sent problems to each other to solve; that Hiram could not solve those sent him by Solomon, whereupon he paid to Solomon a large sum of money, as had at first been agreed upon. Finally, Abdemon, a man of Tyre, did solve the problems, and proposed others which Solomon was unable to explain; consequently Solomon was obliged to pay back to Hiram a vast sum of money. Josephus further states (Ant., VIII, ii, 8) that the correspondence carried on between Solomon and Hiram in regard to the building of the Temple was preserved, not only in the records of the Jews, but also in the public records of Tyre. It is also related by Phoenician historians that Hiram gave his daughter to Solomon in marriage.
(2) The name of a skillful worker in brass and other substances, whom Solomon secured from Hiram king of Tyre to do work on the Temple. His father was a brass-worker of Tyre, and his mother was a woman of the tribe of Naphtali (1Ki 7:14), "a woman of the daughters of Dan" (2Ch 2:14 (Hebrew 13); 1Ki 7:13 ff; 2Ch 2:13 f (Hebrew 12,13)).
Jesse L. Cotton