No Free Lunch: Economics for A Fallen World

7 | Production: Man At Work

Solomon’s Building of the Lord’s Temple

2 Chronicles 2

Solomon Will Build a Temple and Palace

1Now Solomon decided to build a house for the name of the LORD and a royal palace for himself. 2So Solomon assigned 70,000 men to carry loads and 80,000 men to quarry stone in the mountains and 3,600 to supervise them.

3Then Solomon sent word to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, "As you dealt with David my father and sent him cedars to build him a house to dwell in, so do for me. 4"Behold, I am about to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, dedicating it to Him, to burn fragrant incense before Him and to set out the showbread continually, and to offer burnt offerings morning and evening, on sabbaths and on new moons and on the appointed feasts of the LORD our God, this being required forever in Israel. 5"The house which I am about to build will be great, for greater is our God than all the gods. 6"But who is able to build a house for Him, for the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain Him? So who am I, that I should build a house for Him, except to burn incense before Him? 7"Now send me a skilled man to work in gold, silver, brass and iron, and in purple, crimson and violet fabrics, and who knows how to make engravings, to work with the skilled men whom I have in Judah and Jerusalem, whom David my father provided. 8"Send me also cedar, cypress and algum timber from Lebanon, for I know that your servants know how to cut timber of Lebanon; and indeed my servants will work with your servants, 9to prepare timber in abundance for me, for the house which I am about to build will be great and wonderful. 10"Now behold, I will give to your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber, 20,000 kors of crushed wheat and 20,000 kors of barley, and 20,000 baths of wine and 20,000 baths of oil."

Huram to Assist

11Then Huram, king of Tyre, answered in a letter sent to Solomon: "Because the LORD loves His people, He has made you king over them." 12Then Huram continued, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who has made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son, endowed with discretion and understanding, who will build a house for the LORD and a royal palace for himself.

13"Now I am sending Huram-abi, a skilled man, endowed with understanding, 14the son of a Danite woman and a Tyrian father, who knows how to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone and wood, and in purple, violet, linen and crimson fabrics, and who knows how to make all kinds of engravings and to execute any design which may be assigned to him, to work with your skilled men and with those of my lord David your father. 15"Now then, let my lord send to his servants wheat and barley, oil and wine, of which he has spoken. 16"We will cut whatever timber you need from Lebanon and bring it to you on rafts by sea to Joppa, so that you may carry it up to Jerusalem."

17Solomon numbered all the aliens who were in the land of Israel, following the census which his father David had taken; and 153,600 were found. 18He appointed 70,000 of them to carry loads and 80,000 to quarry stones in the mountains and 3,600 supervisors to make the people work.

This account (and the broader report throughout Chronicles) is very detailed, and is the source for many artists to draw Solomon’s Temple; an example is in Figure 7.1. It also gives us details on economic production processes, and how factors of production are organized (land, labor, and capital) in a cooperative fashion to produce final goods and services. We see exchange and the division of labor; we see cooperation and gains from specialization. We also see perhaps the most important factor of production unveiled: the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur has the vision of what to produce with what combination of inputs. Make no mistake; if we subtracted the inspiration God gave Solomon from this picture, this magnificent temple would not have been created. Economic analysis that minimizes the role of entrepreneurship does not truly capture the essence of the market process. While in this biblical example the entrepreneur is non-traditional (a king), the attributes demonstrated are essential to entrepreneurship; we will see additional examples of entrepreneurship in chapter 9.

Solomon's Temple
Figure 7.1, Solomon’s Temple. Just one artist’s rendering of Solomon’s Temple based on biblical accounts.

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