Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider further the builder of the pillars, the skillful Hiram (1 Kings 7:13-14; 2 Chron. 2:13-14).
It is not easy to know the Bible. Sometimes when translators have difficulty with a particular passage, they assume that the manuscripts are in error. However, when we probe into the depths of the revelation of the Bible, we must worship God. Often what at first glance appears to be a mistake in the manuscripts turns out to be a mysterious truth hidden in the Scriptures. This is true with respect to 1 Kings 7:14. The King James Version renders the verse as, "He [Hiram] was a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali." According to this rendering and the understanding of most translators, the modifier, "of the tribe of Naphtali," goes with the word "widow." This would mean that this verse says that the widow was of the tribe of Naphtali. But 2 Chronicles 2:14 says that Hiram was "the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan." How could a daughter of Dan also be of the tribe of Naphtali? Some translators, neglecting the Hebrew text of 1 Kings 7:14, tried their best to reconcile this discrepancy, but they failed. By studying the Hebrew text we have learned that this verse should be translated as follows: "The son of a widowed woman; and he was of the tribe of Naphtali." Thus, Hiram, the son, was of the tribe of Naphtali. This solves the problem.
In this record of Hiram, the pillar builder, we have three peoples: the people of Dan, the people of Tyre, and the people of Naphtali. Hiram's mother was of Dan, his father was of Tyre, and he himself became one of the tribe of Naphtali. We do not know how a man whose mother was of Dan and whose father was of Tyre could be of the tribe of Naphtali. We only know that the Bible tells us so.
The Bible is profound, and many things revealed in it are mysterious. Although there seems to be no reason for Hiram to be of the tribe of Naphtali, the Bible clearly tells that he was of this tribe. If we consider the significance of Dan, Tyre, and Naphtali, we shall worship God. Dan was a people of the serpent that bit the horse in the race of God (Gen. 49:17), and Tyre, a center filled with commerce, was related to Satan (Ezek. 28:12, 16). How marvelous that a man born of a woman of the people of the serpent and of a man of the people related to Satan could eventually become one of the tribe of Naphtali.
Naphtali is a hind (Gen. 49:21), which is useful to God. The description of the hind in the Old Testament record is very significant. According to the Bible, a hind signifies a person who trusts in God when he is in a desperate situation. Due to this trust, the Lord causes him to walk, even to skip, upon the high places (Hab. 3:17-19). The title of Psalm 22 reveals that the hind also signifies the very Christ who, having passed through the suffering of crucifixion, has entered into resurrection for the sake of the church. Hebrews 2:11 and 12 reveal that the resurrected Christ is for the church. Therefore, the hind signifies a person who trusts in God, who walks upon the mountaintops, and who lives by the resurrected Christ for God's building.
Which do you prefer to bea serpent, a "Tyrian," or a hind? I certainly prefer to be one of the tribe of Naphtali, trusting in God, walking upon the high places, and living in the resurrected Christ for God's building. Hiram was such a person.
When some read this, they may think that it is merely allegorization or inference. It is not wrong to make inferences. If we see the letters b-o-y, we may rightly infer that they spell the word "boy." This inference is not only correct, but also necessary. In order to make inferences related to what is found in the Bible, we must firstly know the Bible. Many who do not know the significance of the tribe of Dan or of the country of Tyre would say, "Dan is Dan and Tyre is Tyre. We don't care for all these things." Genesis 49:21 says, "Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth beautiful words" (Heb.). Perhaps you have never paid attention to this verse. Naphtali is a hind that is released and freed. This hind knows no bondage and is not held in any fold; rather, it is freed to skip on the mountaintops. We must be such persons, persons who are freed from every bondage and man-made fold.
Now we must ask how a man born of a Danite mother and a Tyrian father could become one of the tribe of Naphtali. It is mysterious. A portion of the personal history of every Christian should be mysterious. Every Christian has a mysterious history. When I was young, I enjoyed playing soccer. I could play soccer all day long. But when I went to play again after I was saved, a strange thing happened. As I waited for the ball to come my way, I found that my feet would not move. When the ball did come to me, I simply could not play. Formerly, I was the fastest one in running and carrying the ball, but now I could not move and I eventually withdrew from the game. Others were shocked, and some said, "What happened?" I answered, "It is difficult for me to say." This is mysterious. Have you not had mysterious experiences like this? If not, then I doubt that you are my brother or sister in the Lord. Although I was a natural born soccer player, I suddenly became another person. For about fifty-five years I have not returned to play soccer.
There is a mysterious element in our regenerated life. Yes, we were born of a "Danite" mother and of a "Tyrian" father, but we have been regenerated to be another person. Even the young ones among us can testify that certain mysterious things have happened to them. Part of their human history is mysterious. The more you take this way, the more mysterious you will become. My wife has to admit that many times she cannot understand me. On occasion, something causes anger to rise up in me, but a few minutes later I begin to say, "O Lord Jesus! Praise the Lord! Amen!" Although my wife exercises her ability to understand what is going on within me, she simply cannot fathom what happens to me. Because this is so mysterious, I can only say, "Praise the Lord!" How mysterious this is!
Both Dan and Tyre are visible, but Naphtali is invisible. People could see that I was born of my natural mother and father, but they could not see how I became such a mysterious person. Every spiritual "Naphtalite" is invisible and mysterious. People should not be entirely able to understand you. If your classmates in school can understand everything about you, you are finished. You are not a wonderful Christian, for a wonderful Christian should not be that understandable. Instead, you should be a puzzle to your classmates or those with whom you work. You must also be a mysterious person in your married life. Although your dear wife may be a good sister, you should be somewhat mysterious in her eyes. If you are not mysterious, I do not believe that you are a good brother. The sisters should likewise be somewhat mysterious to their husbands. Before the Lord, I can testify that I do not understand certain things about my wife. She should not be able to bear so much, but due to the mysterious life within her she is able to bear much more than I think. We Christians have a mysterious source and origin. We even have a mysterious Originator within us.
It is a secret to us how Hiram became one of the tribe of Naphtali. We must bow our heads and worship God for this mysterious element concealed in Hiram's history. How marvelous that his history not only records that his mother was of the tribe of the serpent and that his father was of the nation of commerce, a country related to Satan, but that he became one of the tribe of Naphtali. Hence, his history implies a mysterious part of his life that was used by God for His building. Although in the Bible the reason for this point is not mentioned, according to our experience we can understand that this is the mysterious part of our Christian life. The greater this mysterious portion is, the better, because it is this part that made Hiram one of the tribe of Naphtali and that made him the builder of pillars. Likewise, it is this mysterious part that makes us good for God's building. We should not live as one born of "Dan" or of "Tyre." Rather, we must live as one who has been transferred into the tribe of Naphtali. Hallelujah! Today, I am not of "Dan" or of "Tyre"I am of the tribe of "Naphtali."
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