Solomon, the son of King David, ascended to the throne of Israel and desired to build a magnificent temple for the worship of God in Jerusalem. He sent a message to King Hiram of Tyre, a renowned Phoenician ruler known for his skill in construction and trade. Solomon expressed his admiration for Hiram’s expertise and requested his assistance in the construction of the temple.
King Hiram responded positively to Solomon’s request and sent his skilled craftsmen, particularly a man named Huram-Abi (also known as Hiram-Abiff), who was half-Israelite and half-Tyrean. Huram-Abi was an expert in working with bronze, and he played a crucial role in the temple’s construction.
Furthermore, King Hiram provided Solomon with the necessary materials for the temple. The account in 1 Kings 5:8-11 describes how Hiram sent cedar and cypress logs from Lebanon to Jerusalem. These logs were used for the construction of the temple’s structure and its interior decoration.
The relationship between Solomon and Hiram went beyond mere trade and construction. They established a friendly alliance and engaged in peaceful relations. They even exchanged gifts as a symbol of their friendship and cooperation. In 1 Kings 5:12, it is mentioned that Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand cors of wheat and twenty thousand baths of pure oil each year.
The cooperation between Tyre and Israel continued throughout the construction of the temple. Skilled Tyrean workers collaborated with Israelite craftsmen and laborers under Solomon’s supervision. The temple gradually took shape and became a splendid edifice, renowned for its grandeur and magnificence.
The diplomatic relations between Tyre and Israel during Solomon’s reign were vital in facilitating the construction of the temple. Tyre’s contribution of skilled workers and building materials, coupled with the friendly alliance between the two kingdoms, ensured the successful completion of the project. The temple of Solomon stood as a testament to the cooperation between these two nations and served as a central place of worship for the Israelites for centuries to come.
(i) Diplomatic relations provide a platform for dialogue and negotiations, enabling nations to resolve conflicts peacefully.
(ii) It facilitates economic cooperation between nations such as engaging countries in trade agreements, investment partnerships, and economic collaborations which foster economic growth, create employment opportunities, and enhance prosperity by promoting the exchange of goods, services, and knowledge.
Moses was born into a Hebrew family during a time when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt. Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, had ordered the killing of all Hebrew baby boys to control their population. To save Moses’ life, his mother placed him in a basket and set it adrift on the Nile River. The basket was discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter, who took Moses as her own and raised him in the Egyptian royal court.
As Moses grew older, he became aware of his Hebrew heritage and felt a deep connection to his people. One day, while witnessing an Egyptian taskmaster mistreating a Hebrew slave, Moses intervened and ended up killing the taskmaster. Fearing the consequences, Moses fled Egypt and found refuge in the land of Midian.
In Midian, Moses came across a well where he saw seven daughters of the priest of Midian, Jethro, attempting to water their father’s flock. Some shepherds were harassing them and preventing them from accessing the water. Moses came to their aid, driving away the shepherds and helping the women water their flock.
Impressed by Moses’ chivalry and strength, the daughters returned home and told their father, Jethro, about the incident. Jethro invited Moses to their home and offered him hospitality. Moses accepted and stayed with Jethro, working as a shepherd and helping tend Jethro’s flocks.
During his time in Midian, Moses developed a close relationship with Jethro’s family. Moses’ kindness, righteousness, and his encounter with the burning bush, where he received a divine call from God to free the Israelites from bondage, earned him Jethro’s respect and trust.
Moses eventually expressed his desire to marry one of Jethro’s daughters, Zipporah. Jethro gave his consent, and Zipporah became Moses’ wife. They had two sons together, Gershom and Eliezer.
After his marriage, Moses received his divine mission from God to return to Egypt and confront Pharaoh, demanding the release of the Israelites. With Zipporah and their children, Moses embarked on the journey back to Egypt to fulfill his God-given purpose.
(i) Persecution: Many people seek asylum due to persecution based on factors such as their race, religion, nationality, political beliefs, or membership in a particular social group. Seeking asylum allows them to escape persecution and find refuge in a country where they can live without fear of harm.
(ii) War and Conflict: Individuals fleeing war-torn regions or areas plagued by armed conflict seek asylum to protect themselves and their families from the perils of war. Seeking asylum provides them with a chance to seek safety and rebuild their lives in a more stable environment.
The believers’ communal living was such that the Christians shared their possessions in common. Ananias and Sapphira sold their own piece of land, but brought only a part of the money to the Church. This was strictly against the spirit of communal life of the Christians. Peter asked Ananias why satan had led him to lie to the Holy Spirit, telling him that the land and the proceeds were theirs and they were free to handle them the way they wished. But by declaring publicly that they were handing over the entire proceeds, they had not lied to man but to God. When Ananias heard these words of rebuke from Peter, he fell down and died. Young men later carried away his body for burial. His wife / Sapphira came in, unaware of what had happened to her husband. Peter asked her whether they had sold the land for the amount surrendered, she affirmed it. Peter asked her why she conspired with her husband to tempt the spirit of God telling her to listen to the approaching footsteps of those who had gone to bury her husband: Immediately she heard this she fell down and died. Her body was carried away by the same young men who had earlier carried her husband for burial. Great fear came upon the Church and upon all who heard the news.
(i)Ananias and Sapphira were misguided into thinking that they could serve both God and Mammon at the same time.
(ii)One can deceive a fellow man, but cannot deceive God who reads the heart of man.
(iii) The Church was established by God and controlled by the Holy Spirit. Members must work in accordance with guidelines set up by the Holy Spirit.
(iv) God punishes sin of disobedience and His judgment is certain. We should give with sincerity / honesty.
Peter advised elders to look after God’s flock with tender care. They should work not as being under any external constraint, but willingly; not with the desire to make material gains, but with the eagerness that comes from the heart; not with a presumptuous and domineering spirit but as examples to be copied by the flock, so that at the appropriate time, they might attain the crown of glory.
Peter advised the young ones to be in humble subjection to the leaders, for God humiliates the proud and exalts the humble. However, for both young and old, Peter recommends the humble approach. They should leave all cases of anxiety in the able hands of God. They should, in all soberness, be vigilant against the temptation of the devil who is always around to lead the spiritually weak ones to destruction in hell. Armed with patient faith, they should remember that suffering is part of their Christian calling, knowing that suffering will lead to glory in Christ who has eternal dominion.
(i)Pride: People often behave with self-centeredness, ego, and pride.
(ii)Spiritual and Emotional Immaturity: Maturity helps a person understand that differences in perspective broaden understanding.
(iii)Change and Inflexibility: In reality, change is the norm.