Hiram’s trade in timber, logs, boats

Image result for phoenician ships

 by

Damien F. Mackey

 

“King Hiram’s ships brought gold, juniper wood, and jewels from the country of Ophir. Solomon used the wood to make steps for the temple and palace, and harps and other stringed instruments for the musicians. It was the best juniper wood anyone in Israel had ever seen”.

I Kings 10:13

  

 

Living the life of Hiram

 

The biblical (i) King Hiram has been enlarged in this series, both biblically and historically, to embrace (ii) King David’s chief organiser of the labour force, Adoniram (Adoram); and (iii) Joram (Hadoram) of Hamath; and (iv) Iarim-Lim of Aleppo; and (v) Idrimi of Alalakh.

In textbook history, (iv) would pre-date King David by not too much short of a millennium; whilst (v) would pre-date King David by about half a millennium.

 

It would seem that Hiram and his father had belonged to the royal house of Aleppo (Haleb) – for both (iv) and (v) are connected with Aleppo – with the father having been deposed by the powerful Mitannian king, Parratarna (c. 1500 BC, conventional dating).

Following Emmet Sweeney, I have tentatively identified this Parratarna (or Barratarna) with (iv)’s contemporary, Shamsi-Adad I (conventionally c. 1800 BC), now revised to be identified as King David’s Syrian foe, “Hadadezer” (c. 1000 BC).

 

This could be a key to the solution of the problem of the enigmatic Mitannians.

 

Due to pressure from Parratarna, Hiram as (v) Idrimi was forced to flee to Canaan and dwell amongst the habiru, or refugees from the crown. I have surmised that Hiram may have linked up with David and his merry band roaming the wildernesses of Canaan, and that he became David’s trusted official (ii) Adoniram, who, like Hiram, had charge of Lebanon’s logs and timber. Hiram as (v) Idrimi was apparently very content dwelling amongst the habiru.

 

Then King Saul was killed by the Philistines and David took his place on the throne, first ruling at Hebron (7 years) and afterwards in Jerusalem (33 years). He and Hiram had become firm friends – and no doubt their friendship was greatly strengthened when King David smashed the Syrian (-Mitannian) troublemaker, Hadadezer.

{The biblical Hadadezer was, as noted above, Shamsi-Adad I, and also, as I am now inclined to think, Parratarna king of Mitanni}.

Hiram and his father may have been, at this stage, governing Hamath (which Dean Hickman has identified with Iarim-Lim’s kingdom of Iamkhad), because we read in 2 Samuel 8:9-11:

 

“Now when Toi king of Hamath heard that David had defeated all the army of Hadadezer, Toi sent Joram [var. Hadoram] his son to King David to greet him and bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and defeated him; for Hadadezer had been at war with Toi. And Joram brought with him articles of silver, of gold and of bronze. King David also dedicated these to the LORD, with the silver and gold that he had dedicated from all the nations which he had subdued …”.

 

Thanks probably to the military successes against the Syrians of King David, Hiram was able to reclaim his former land, choosing now to rule from neighbouring Alalakh, which became the chief city of the region (of Mukish). He as (v) Idrimi returned to Mukish via “ships” that he had built:

 

“After seven years living among the Habiru in Canaan … seeking an opportunity to take back his throne, Idrimi found his chance. Edward Greenstein and David Marcus’ translation of the inscription on lines 29–34 revealed that following the storm-god Teshub’s advice in a dream, Idrimi “made ships and had auxiliary troops board them and proceeded via the sea to Mukishe (Mukish)”.

 

Likewise, Iarim-Lim would build ships, he having supplied “500 boats” to the prince of Der in Babylonia.

And we have already read above of “King Hiram’s ships”

 

King Hiram as both (iv) and (v) ended up ruling for decades over the important city of Alalakh.

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