and my servants shall be with thy servants: to assist them, and to carry the timber from place to place, and to learn how to hew timber:
and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants, according to all that thou shalt appoint; pay them for their work and service, as Hiram himself should judge fit and reasonable for them; no mention being made of paying for the timber, seems to countenance the notion that the trees were Solomon's; but when the quantity of provisions sent yearly to Hiram for his household, besides what the servants had, is observed, it seems to have been sent as an equivalent to the timber received by Solomon, see 1 Kings 5:10;
for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians; it is not said Tyrians, the Sidonians, perhaps, being more skilful in this than they were; and the Sidonians are said by Homer (y) to be very ingenious: and they were both under the jurisdiction and at the command of Hiram; so Eupolemus (z) makes the inscription of Solomon's letter to him to run thus, to Suron (that is, Hiram) king of Tyre, Sidon, and Phoenicia. The Jews being chiefly employed in husbandry, and in feeding cattle, were very unskilful in mechanic arts, and in this of cutting down trees, and hewing timber; for there is skill to be exercised therein; the proper time of cutting down trees should be observed, the part in which they are to be cut, and the position in which they are to be put when cut down, as Vitruvius (a) directs, with other things, and Pliny (b) observes the same.
(y) Iliad. 23. ver. 743. (z) Ut supra. (Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 32, 34.) (a) De Architectura, l. 2. c. 9. (b) Nat. Hist. l. 16. c. 39.