World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Hiram I

Hiram I
King of Tyre
Reign 980 – 947 BC
Predecessor Abibaal, ?? – 981 BC
Successor Baal-Eser I (Beleazarus I, Ba‘l-mazzer I) 946 – 930 BC
Born 1000 BC
Tyre, presumed
Died 947 or 946 BC
Dynasty Dynasty of Abibaal and Hiram I
Father Abibaal
Mother Unknown

Hiram I (Hebrew: חִירָם, "high-born"; Standard Hebrew Ḥiram, Tiberian vocalization Ḥîrām, Modern Arabic: حيرام), according to the Hebrew Bible, was the Phoenician king of Tyre. He reigned from 980 to 947 BC, succeeding his father, Abibaal. Hiram was succeeded as king of Tyre by his son Baal-Eser I.[1] Hiram is also mentioned in the writings of Menander of Ephesus, as preserved in Josephus’s Against Apion, which adds to the Biblical account. According to Josephus, Hiram lived 53 years and reigned 34.


  • Reign 1
  • Hypotheses regarding the chronology of Hiram’s reign 2
  • Tomb 3
  • In modern fiction 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6


During Hiram's reign, Tyre grew from a satellite of Sidon into the most important of Phoenician cities, and the holder of a large trading empire. He suppressed the rebellion of the first Tyrean colony at Utica, near the later site of Carthage (Against Apion i:18).

The Hebrew Bible says that he allied himself with King David of the United Kingdom of Israel (2 Samuel 5:11, 1 Kings 5:1, 1 Chronicles 14:1). After the death of King David, Hiram continued the alliance with David's son and successor Solomon, again as an equal ("אחי", meaning "brothers" 1 Kings 9:13, Amos 1:9)[2] Through the alliance with Solomon, Hiram ensured himself access to the major trade routes to Egypt, Arabia and Mesopotamia. The two kings also jointly opened a trade route over the Red Sea, connecting the Israelite harbour of Ezion-Geber with a land called Ophir (2 Chronicles 8:16,17). Some schools of thought suggest that this land of Ophir was the port city of Sopara near modern Mumbai.[3]

According to the Bible, both kings grew rich through this trade, and Hiram sent Solomon architects, workmen, cedar wood, and gold to build the First Temple in Jerusalem. Josephus says that he also extended the Tyrean harbour, enlarged the city by joining the two islands on which it was built, and constructed a royal palace and a temple for Melqart (Against Apion i:17). Modern archaeology has found no evidence for these expansions.[4]

Hypotheses regarding the chronology of Hiram’s reign

The beginning date of Hiram’s reign is derived from a statement by Josephus, citing both Tyrian court records and the writings of Menander,[5] relating that 143 years passed between the start of construction of Solomon’s Temple until the founding of Carthage (or until Dido’s flight that led to its founding). Josephus also related that Hiram’s reign began 155 years and 8 months before this event, and that construction of Solomon's Temple began in the twelfth year of Hiram's Reign, which would be 143 years before the building of Carthage. The redundancy inherent in these multiple ways of expressing the total years (the 143 years is mentioned twice, and the 155 years minus 12 years once) has guaranteed that all extant copies of Josephus/Menander that contain these passages give 155 years and 8 months between the start of Hiram’s reign and the foundation of Carthage. (One copy has 155 years and 18 months, but this is an obvious error for 155 years and eight months.) Modern historians have therefore had confidence in the 155-year figure and have used it to date Hiram’s reign.

As pointed out by William Barnes, the date for the start of Temple construction using the Tyrian data is derived “wholly independently” of the way that date is derived using the Scriptural data.[6] It is this consideration, plus the evidence of the tribute from Baa‘li-maanzer/Baal-Eser II to Shalmaneser III, that has led to the adoption of the chronologies of Frank M. Cross and other scholars for the Tyrian kings in the present article. Hiram’s first year is therefore accepted as 980 BC instead of the 969 BC that was favored before publication of the Shalmaneser inscription.


The supposed tomb of Hiram (Qabr Hiram) is located roughly kilometers southeast of Tyre near the village of Hannaouiye on the road to Qana. It has the form of a colossal limestone sarcophagus on a pedestal. The monument in fact dates from the Persian period.[7]

In modern fiction

King Hiram is a character in the time travel story Ivory, and Apes, and Peacocks (1983) by Poul Anderson.

See also


  1. ^ Vance, Donald R. (March 1994) "Literary Sources for the History of Palestine and Syria: The Phœnician Inscriptions" The Biblical Archaeologist 57(1) 2-19.
  2. ^ Michael D. Coogan, "A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament" page 213-214, Oxford University Press, 2009
  3. ^ A L Bashman, "The wonder that was India" page 232, Picador press India
  4. ^ Demand, Nancy H. (2011). The Mediterranean Context of Early Greek History. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 230.  
  5. ^ Against Apion i:17,18.
  6. ^ William H. Barnes, Studies in the Chronology of the Divided Monarchy of Israel (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1991) 31.
  7. ^ The "Tomb of Hiram" at, , accessed 9 December 2014
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Fair are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.