Hiram the king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress and gold … King Solomon then gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. Then Hiram went from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him, but they did not please him. So he said, “What kind of cities are these which you have given me, my brother?” And he called them the land of Cabul. 1 Kings 9:11–13 NKJV

The Story of Three Kings

Hiram, the King of Tyre, had greatly facilitated King Solomon’s building of the temple (2 Chr. 2:1–15). King Solomon, in turn, gave Hiram a section of land in Galilee as a gift of appreciation for his assistance. When King Hiram came out to see the land that had been given to him, he was not impressed! He coined a derogatory name for the land of Galilee, calling it, “Cabul.” This word literally means “good for nothing.” We do not read of King Solomon’s reaction to this, but his silence would suggest that he did not disagree with Hiram’s assessment.

These two kings of the Old Testament had both visited Galilee. But we read of a third King who not only visited Galilee, but lived there during His youth and most of His adult life. The people of Galilee who sat in darkness saw “a great light” (Mt. 4:15–16). The Lord Jesus lived among the poor people of Galilee. His disciples were “men of Galilee.” His first recorded miracle was in Galilee (Acts 1:11; Jn. 2:11).

What a contrast between Hiram and the Lord Jesus! Hiram thought that Galilee was not a place fit for kings to dwell in and that it was “good for nothing.” Christ did not wear royal apparel or live in a king’s palace; He lived in Galilee among “the poor of the flock.” In lowliness He identified Himself with them—so much so that He was known as a “Galilean” (Lk. 22:59). This King is worthy of all our praise and adoration.

Brian Reynolds