Hiram was the king of Tyre. Great business executives are constantly on the lookout for win-win alliances with other key businesses, and King Hiram of Tyre was a business leader par excellence.
Hiram was king over the tiny island fortress of Tyre in modern-day Lebanon, but it would be a mistake to think that his small city was also small in power and wealth. Under the leadership of Hiram and those who came after him, Tyre grew into a world-renowned trading empire, like an ancient version of the New York Stock Exchange. Tyre also capitalized on Lebanon’s vast forests of highly prized cedar and its abundance of skilled carpenters and stonemasons.
During David’s and Solomon’s days, Hiram forged alliances with Israel, no doubt to ensure both peace with them and access to the key trade routes that passed through Israel’s territory. Hiram supplied cedar, trimmed stones, and skilled labor for the building of the Lord’s temple, and Solomon provided him with food as well as twenty cities in Galilee (1 Kings 5).
Later Hiram would partner with Solomon in several trading expeditions to faraway places, bringing back gold, silver, and exotic goods (1 Kings 9:26–28; 10:22). These alliances and expeditions resulted in great wealth for both Hiram and Solomon.
Tyre was originally two distinct cities, one located on the mainland and the other on a small island just off the coast. In 332 BC, however, Alexander the Great conquered the city by building a causeway from the mainland almost to the island fortress. Over time the causeway continued to silt up and permanently turned the island into a peninsula, as it is today.