Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Corroborating Biblical History with Undesigned Coincidences: The Building of Solomon's Temple

In a previous article, I introduced an example of an undesigned coincidences relating to Mount Hermon. I discussed Moses' incidental mention in Deuteronomy 3:8-9 of the Sidonian name for the Mountain, which is Sirion (despite the fact that Mount Hermon is geographically very distant from Sidon). The solution, which I discern in my earlier article, is that at its foot there was dwelling a Sidonian colony, who spoke the Sidonian language, of which we read in Judges 18:7. The city was called Laish, but following the conquest of this city by Israel, its name is changed from Laish to Dan. I invite readers to go back and read my earlier article, in order to better make sense of the undesigned coincidence I lay out here.

Turn with me to 1 Kings 7, in which we read of the building of Solomon's temple. Let's zero in on verses 13-14:
And King Solomon sent and brought Hiram from Tyre. He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in bronze. And he was full of wisdom, understanding, and skill for making any work in bronze. He came to King Solomon and did all his work.
There is a parallel account given in 2 Chronicles 2:13-14, in which we read of what the king of Tyre wrote in a letter to Solomon:
Now I have sent a skilled man, who has understanding, Huram-abi, the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre. He is trained to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and wood, and in purple, blue, and crimson fabrics and fine linen, and to do all sorts of engraving and execute any design that may be assigned him, with your craftsmen, the craftsmen of my lord, David your father.
It is clearly the same individual being spoken of here that we read of in 1 Kings 7. However, there is an apparent discrepancy (which I have highlighted in bold font in our texts above) -- the text in 1 Kings asserts his mother to be a woman of the Tribe of Naphtali; the other, in 2 Chronicles, asserts her to be a woman of the daughters of Dan. Now, we could just simply dismiss this as a contradiction on the part of Scripture -- as many liberal critics would like to do. Or we could dig deeper to see whether there is a resolution.

As discussed in my earlier article, six hundred people from the tribe of Dan seized the city of Laish, which was a city of the Sidonians (see Judges 18). We also know that the Sidonians were subjects of the king of Tyre, since in 1 Kings 5:6 we read of Solomon sending to the king of Tyre for workmen, saying,
Now therefore command that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. And my servants will join your servants, and I will pay you for your servants such wages as you set, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.
As I showed in my previous article, Laish/Dan was close to the springs of Jordan. There is thus evidence to support that Dan/Laish stood in the Tribe of Naphtali, since we read in Joshua 19:32-34:
The sixth lot came out for the people of Naphtali, for the people of Naphtali, according to their clans. And their boundary ran from Heleph, from the oak in Zaanannim, and Adami-nekeb, and Jabneel, as far as Lakkum, and it ended at the Jordan. Then the boundary turns westward to Aznoth-tabor and goes from there to Hukkok, touching Zebulun at the south and Asher on the west and Judah on the east at the Jordan.
We are thus told that the outskirts of the territory of Naphtali is said to have been at the Jordan. Again, this implies that Dan/Laish stood in the Tribe of Naphtali.

This, then, makes sense of our apparent discrepancy between 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles. The woman is said to be of the Tribe of Naphtali since her hometown, according to 2 Chronicles 2:13, was Dan/Laish -- just as Jacob is also called a Syrian because he had lived in Syria (see Deuteronomy 26:5). By birth, she was of the Tribe of Dan -- the very tribe which had conquered and colonized the city of Laish, renaming it Dan (Judges 18). This also illuminates why her husband is said to have been a man of Tyre (since the Sidonians were subjects of the king of Tyre).

What at a superficial glance appeared to be a contradiction between 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles in fact, on closer inspection, reveals an undesigned coincidence that ends up corroborating the Biblical account. In future articles, I will continue to document cases of undesigned coincidences throughout the Scriptures, thereby further corroborating Biblical history.

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