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HIRAM'S BRASS

45 (K) And the pans, and the shovels, and the basins; and all these utensils, which Hiram made to king Solomon for the house of the Lord, were of burnished bronze.

46 In the plain of the Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zaretan. I Kings 7:45-46.

Hiram of Tyre son of a widow of the Tribe of Napthali, not to be confused with King Hiram was a "cunning worker of brass" who was brought in by King Solomon to make all the vast number of brass artifacts for the Temple.

There are two mysteries that interest us regarding these events.

1) The location of the two cities mentioned.

2) If the foundries were found, when are the dated? We are interested in this because hopefully you remember that under the conventional chronology Solomon is dated to Iron Age II A and under our revision to the end of the Late Bronze Age. Under the conventional chronology the Late Bronze Age comes to an end around 1200 BCE under our revision it ends about the time of Shishak, 925 BCE.

The question then is "does the archaeology of the area help us in determining which is correct?" After all the smelting of the brass needed for Solomon's Temple was an enormous task and MUST have left some considerable evidence.

LOCATION.

It is generally agreed that the archaeological site of Deir Alla is Succoth although it must be noted that its excavator H.J. Franken preferred to identify that site with Gilgal.  Glueck said Succoth was tell Umm Hamad , S.W. of Deir Alla whilst Ottosson thought it to be Tell es Saidiyeh, 5 miles NW of Deir Alla.

Whichever the exact location of the site what is important is that it is in an area of rich clay deposits as described in the Biblical account and a prerequisite for the smelting of brass.

ARCHAEOLOGY.

A number of sites have been excavated in the region but evidence for smelting has been restricted to Deir Alla. It is interesting to note the report.

The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land says this in their entry under Tell Deir 'Alla.

"After the destruction of the Late Bronze Age temple complex, bronze smiths used the area of the ruins for their craft for about half a century. There are indications that this population, at least in part, lived in tents, staying there in winter and spring only".

Of course this is puzzling to the conventional archaeologists. They know of bronze making 250 years later in the area but not at the end of the Late Bronze Age. The Bible says one thing, the archaeology says another. The additional question of course is why would bronze workers behave like nomads.

Under our revised chronology however, everything becomes clear. The end of the Late Bronze Age is the time of Solomon and the workers WERE transients. They came from Tyre and went home to their families part of the year.

No bronze foundries are found anywhere dated to Iron Age IIB the conventional time of Solomon.

Any Questions?

Michael S. Sanders
Irvine, May 2000


 




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