🔼The name Hiram in the Bible
There are two men named Hiram in the Bible, and both are closely related to the building of the temple of Solomon (and see our article on the name Hannibal for a further discussion on Phoenician influence on Israel):
- The king of Tyre, who supplied building materials and workers to David in order to have his house built (2 Samuel 5:11, 1 Chronicles 14:1), and later to Solomon to build the temple of YHWH (1 Kings 5:1). Hiram and Solomon made a peace pact (2 Samuel 5:2), and Solomon gave Hiram's men food and lodging and signed twenty cities in Galilee over to him. Upon inspection, Hiram didn't like these towns very much and the area in which they were situated was called Cabul ever since (1 Kings 9:13). Still the two stayed friends, and somehow Hiram gave Solomon also some cities, which the latter fortified and peopled with folks from Israel (2 Chronicles 8:2). And when Solomon built his celebrated fleet to trade for gold with Ophir, king Hiram sent sailors to man the vessels (1 Kings 9:27, 10:11, 2 Chronicles 8:18). Note that king Hiram is called Huram (חורם) in Chronicles, and Hirom (חירום, Hirom) in 1 Kings 5.
- The famous craftsman of Tyre, the "widow's son" from the tribe of Naphtali, who king Solomon contracted to create all the bronze items for the temple (1 Kings 7:13). He is mostly called Hiram, but in 1 Kings 7:40 he's called חירום (Hirom) and in 2 Chronicles 4 he's known as חורם (Huram). 2 Chronicles 4:16 even speaks of Huram-abi.
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Hiram
There is no consensus among the consulted sources about the etymology of our name Hiram. NOBSE Study Bible Name List (we assume) and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names think that the name Hiram comes from the noun חר (hor), meaning noble or nobleman, from the root חרר (hrr II):
The final letter mem of Hiram could be explained (as does Jones) by taking it to be an intensive. Hence Jones translates our name with Most Noble, and NOBSE reads Highborn.
But NOBSE might also have taken our name from the ubiquitous verb רום (rum), meaning to be high:
BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate the name Hiram, but decrees that it is an abbreviated form of the name אחירם (Ahiram), and that name (says BDB) consists of the verb רום (rum), meaning to be high, and the common noun אח (ah), meaning brother:
BDB Theological Dictionary equates the name Hiram with Ahiram, and that name they translate with Brother Of (The) Lofty.