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HIRAM, HURAM ():

1.—Biblical Data:

King of Tyre in the time of David and Solomon. After David had conquered Jerusalem, Hiram sent him cedar-wood and carpenters and masons so that he might build a house (II Sam. v. 11; I Chron. xiv. 1). Hiram was a friend of David throughout the latter's life (I Kings v. 15); and after David's death he continued on terms of friendship with Solomon (ib. v. 21 et seq.). Hiram supplied Solomon with cedar-trees, fir-trees, and Tyrian constructors for the building of the Temple; and Solomon repaid him with wheat and olive-oil (ib. v. 24, 25, 32; II Chron. ii. 14, 15). Twenty years later Hiram sent to Solomon gold and another large supply of cedar- and fir-trees; and Solomon gave him in return a present of twenty towns in Galilee (I Kings ix. 10, 11). Although Hiram was dissatisfied with the present, his friendship for Solomon did not diminish; and he sent Solomon a hundred and twenty talents of gold (ib. verses 12-14). Hiram permitted Solomon's ships to sail with his own to Ophir; and the Jewish sailors were guided by the Tyrians, who were the better mariners (ib. ix. 27, 28; x. 22).

—In Rabbinical Literature:

Hiram, Solomon's friend, is identified by some with Judah's friend Hirah (Gen. xxxviii. 1); and even those who regard Hirah and Hiram as two personages, admit Hiram's great age, as he was still living at the time of the prophet Ezekiel, whose prophecy concerning the King of Tyre is directed against Hiram (Ezek. xxviii. 2 et seq.; Gen. R. lxxxiv. 8; Jerome in his commentary on Ezek. xxviii. 11 calls the identification a "fabula Hebræorum"; comp. Aphraates, "Homilies," v., ed. Wright, pp. 84, 85). In Ḥul. 89a a tanna of the middle of the second century speaks of "Hiram, the Prince of Tyre" (comp. Mek., Beshallaḥ. Shirah, ix.). Hiram's friendly correspondence with Solomon, which is mentioned in Scripture, was for centuries after preserved in the archives of Tyre (Josephus, "Ant." viii. 2, §§ 6-8; idem, "Contra Ap." i. 18-19; Eupolemus, in Eusebius, "Præparatio Evangelica," ix. 33, 34, calls King Hiram "Suron"). Their intercourse was not confined to the exchange of gold, silver, and cedar- and fir-wood for grain, oil, and wine; for they also exchanged questions and answers. On one occasion Solomon sent Hiram riddles, asking for some in return; and he proposed that the one who could not solve them should pay a forfeit in money. Hiram accepted this proposition, and subsequently had to pay many sums, since he was unable to solve Solomon's riddles. Later, however, a Tyrian, Abdamon by name, came to Hiram's aid and propounded riddles to Solomon; and as the latter could not solve them, he was obliged to pay large sums to Hiram (Josephus, "Ant." viii. 5, § 3).

Traditional Tomb of Hiram.(From a photograph by Bonfils.)

Hiram, instead of being grateful to God for allowinghim to attain to a good old age, began to imagine that he himself was a god, and endeavored to make people believe in him by means of seven heavens that he had artificially constructed. He had four iron pillars fastened to the bottom of the sea, and on these he erected seven heavens, the first being of glass, the second of iron, the third of lead, the fourth of molten metal (brass), the fifth of copper, the sixth of silver, and the seventh of gold. These heavens were separated from each other by channels of water, ranging in size from 500 to 3,500 square ells, so that each heaven was 500 square ells larger than the one below it. Furthermore, Hiram collected huge boulders in the second heaven, the rolling of which resembled thunder; and flashes of lightning were produced by great precious stones. While Hiram was floating on high the prophet Ezekiel was brought to him through the air, to reprove him for his arrogance. But the Prince of Tyre replied haughtily that he, like God, was sitting on the sea and in seven heavens, and had already survived David, Solomon, twenty-one kings of Israel, twenty kings of Judah, ten prophets, and ten high priests. Thereupon God said: "What! a mortal dares to deem himself a god because he has furnished cedars for the building of My Temple? Well, then, I will destroy My house in order that meet punishment may come upon him." And this was brought about; for, after the destruction of the Temple, Nebuchadnezzar dethroned his stepfather Hiram (read "ba'al immo," following Lev. R. xviii. 2); and every day a piece was cut from his body, which he had to eat until he died a miserable death. The wonderful palace sank into the earth, where it is preserved for the pious "in the future world" (Yalḳ, Ezek. 367; variants to this text in Jellinek, "B. H." v. 111-112; H. M. Horowitz, "Bet 'Eḳed ha-Aggadot," iii. 28-31). According to one haggadah Hiram entered paradise alive, and in order to reconcile this statement with the story as given above, it is said in the Second Alphabet of Ben Sira (ed. Venice, 29a): "God brought Hiram, the King of Tyre, alive into paradise because he built the Temple; at first he was God-fearing and lived in paradise a thousand years; but then he became haughty and claimed to be a god, whereupon he was driven out of paradise into hell." It is highly probable, however, that this haggadah was originally referred to Hiram, the builder of the Temple (I Kings vii. 13; comp. Hiram [2], below).

The self-deification of Hiram is also mentioned several times in the Midrash: an old midrash (Gen. R. ix. 5; comp. B. B. 75a, foot) says that the only reason why God pronounced death on Adam and on the human race was because he foresaw that Nebuchadnezzar and Hiram would pretend to be gods. The identification of the anonymous Prince of Tyre in Ezek. xxviii. with Hiram was probably due in part to the fact that the Biblical Hiram was confounded with Hiram, a contemporary of Nebuchadnezzar, of whom Josephus speaks ("Contra Ap." i. 21).

Bibliography:
  • L. Ginzberg, Die Haggada beiden Kirchenvätern und in der Apokryphischen Litteratur, pp. 126-128;
  • idem, in Jew. Encyc. i. 289, s.v. Aḥiḳar concerning the Hiram and Akiba legend;
  • Jellinek, B. H. Introduction. v. 33-35.
S. S. L. G.—In Non-Jewish Sources:

According to Dius the Phenician and Menander the Ephesian (see Josephus, "Contra Ap." i., §§ 17, 18), Hiram, the son of Abiba'al, reigned thirty-four years, and died at the age of fifty-three. Solomon built the Temple in the twelfth year of Hiram's reign, which, according to this statement, must have lasted from 969 to 936 B.C. This does not agree with the Biblical data; for if Hiram sent materials to David after his conquest of Jerusalem and was still alive twenty years after the construction of Solomon's Temple, his reign must have lasted about sixty years. It is likely, however, that the Hiram of David's time was the father of the Hiram of Solomon's; and this supposition is confirmed by II Chron. ii. 12. Josephus, relying on the two above-named historians, relates further (l.c.) that Hiram built first the temple of Hercules, and then the temple of Astarte when he made his expedition against the Tityans. According to other Phenician historians (quoted by Tatian, "Contra Græcos," § 37), Hiram gave his daughter in marriage to Solomon.

E. G. H. M. Sel.

2. Artificer sent by Hiram, King of Tyre, to Solomon. He was apparently of a mixed race; his father being a Tyrian, and his mother of the tribe of Naphtali (I Kings vii. 13, 14) or of the tribe of Dan (II Chron. ii. 12 [A. V. 14]). The words "ḥuram abi," which terminate II Chron. ii. 11 (A. V. 13), generally translated "Huram my father's" (see No. 1), are taken by some to be the name of the artificer; with this name compare "Hammurabi," of which "Hiram Abi" may be a local variant or misreading. The name is curiously used in Freemasonry. There is an essential difference, as regards the nature of Hiram's technical specialty, between I Kings and II Chronicles. According to the former, Hiram was an artificer only in brass; and the pieces which he executed for the Temple were the two pillars Jachin and Boaz, the molten sea with its twelve oxen, the ten lavers with their bases, the shovels, and basins, all of brass (I Kings vii. 14-45). But in II Chron. ii. 13 [14] it is said that Hiram was "skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving." Thus he seems to have superintended all the work of the Temple. Josephus says ("Ant." viii. 3, § 4) that Hiram's father was Ur of the stock of the Israelites, that he was skilful in all sorts of work, but that his chief skill lay in working in gold, silver, and brass. Josephus apparently interprets the words "ish ẓori" to mean a man who lived in Tyre, and the name of "Ur" probably originated in the confusion between "Hiram" and "Bezaleel." In I Kings vii. 40 (A. V. margin) the form "Hirom" () occurs.

E. G. H. M. Sel.
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