King Hiram was the ruler of the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre. This particular king ruled Tyre during the reign of King David of Israel which appears on the Bible Timeline Poster with World History during the 12th century BC.
King Hiram held a monopoly on the Mesopotamian trade routes that stretched across the sea. Tyre was a commercial center for activity, trade and wealth. King David had managed to gain control over many of the territories that surrounded Israel. After he subdued and controlled the foreign nations that were problematic for Israel, he began to focus his attention on building God a temple.
In 2 Samuel 7 God tells King David that he is happy with his desire to build a permanent temple to house the Ark of the Covenant. Though God is happy with King David’s motive for wanting to build the temple he doesn’t allow him to start the project. The Bible states that King David was a man of war and that he shed too much blood to be able to build God’s temple. At this point, God decided to bless King David by allowing his lineage always to sit on the throne of Israel. And he allowed David to gather the supplies that would be needed to complete the building of the temple. King David’s son, Solomon was going to start and complete the building of the temple.
King David apparently had established good diplomatic connections with King Hiram before or after his many successful conquests of the Ammonites, Moabites, Arameans and Edomites (2 Samuel 8). Once King David held control of these lands, he turned his attention toward gathering the materials that his son Solomon would one day use to build the temple.
Tyre was the greatest economic center in the ancient world. This city had a vast amount of wealth from many goods that it traded with other empires and kingdoms. King David knew about the Phoenicians, and he knew that he could rely on them to purchase the materials that he needed to build the temple. King Hiram of Tyre had sent skilled craftsmen to build King David a house or fortress (1 Chronicles 14:1). King Hiram sided with King David out of the treaty that they had signed together (2 Samuel 5:11 and 1 Kings 5:1).
King Hiram probably established this treaty out of fear since he realized that God was with King David. He also was trying to keep good diplomatic relations with the Israeli King since he knew that his nation was going to be a good investment during his time in power. Tyre prospered financially from their business relations with Israel since they purchased wood, gold, purple dye, linen, iron and brass. King Hiram also sent King David many skilled craftsmen and servants to aid him in the construction process of the temple.
King Hiram’s and King David’s alliance might seem to be an unlikely one since both of these rulers had believed in different deities. The belief in gods was of extreme importance to people who lived in the ancient world. The Phoenicians chief deity was Baal, and the Israelis believed in God. Many of the Canaanite people who believed in Baal were usually the enemies of Israel. On this occasion, these two monarchs had managed to set aside their differences and created a mutually beneficial diplomatic relationship. This relationship was so strong that it continued with King David’s son (Solomon) after he died.