1 Kings 5:2–3 (ESV)

2 And Solomon sent word to Hiram,

It is hard to see a reason for the verse division between 1 Kings 5:2 and 1 Kings 5:3, so we will deal with them as a unit. Verse 2 tells us that Hiram’s ambassadors provided Solomon with an opportunity to send a message to Hiram in return. Verse 3 begins the message, which is an explanation of David’s relationship with the plans for the temple.

In beginning the message in such a manner, Solomon was able to tie his request to the friendship or love that had existed between Hiram and David. As yet there were no personal relations between the two monarchs, so it was good diplomacy for Solomon to begin his request by reference to his father, whom Hiram had been well acquainted with and also liked.

Solomon opens his message with the statement that he was going to begin with a matter that Hiram already knew, that is, that David was unable to build the temple because of his preoccupation with the warfare against Israel’s enemies. We must be careful at this point, that on the one hand, we do not accuse Solomon of shading the truth, and on the other hand be mistaken as to Solomon’s meaning.

It is possible to read the message as if Solomon was suggesting that the wars of David created a distraction that rendered him unable to give his attention to the construction of the Temple, but in 1 Chronicles 28:2–3, David explains that what disqualified him from the erecting of the temple was that he was a man of war who had shed blood. David’s statement made it clear that the issue about war was not its distraction from other matters but the fact that they rendered David a man of blood.

We ought to mention that if Solomon had used the language of his father from 1 Chronicles, it also could be subject to misinterpretation. This statement is true, since it could be read as if the wars that David fought were somehow under God’s disfavour. Yet we know from the accounts of them that are given in the historical book that they were fought at the command of the Lord. The enemies that David battled were the enemies of the Lord.