Biblical Personalities: Hiram & His Palace
Hiram, King of Tyre, entered the sea, made himself 40 iron pillars of equal length, and place them facing one another. Then he made seven levels to parallel the seven firm amends, each separated from the next by a duct of water.
He also made a throne, beasts, thunder, comets, and lightning.
In the first level, 500 crew cubits by 500 cubits of glass, he made a sun, moon, and stars. The second, of iron, he made 1000 cubits by 1000 cubits. In the third, of iron, 1500 cubits by 1500 cubits, he made round stones which crashed against each other to produce the sound of thunder. The fourth, of lead, he made 2000 cubits by 2000 cubits; the fifth of copper, 2500 cubits by 2500 cubits; this six, of silver, 3000 cubits by 3000 cubits. In the seventh, of gold, 3500 cubits by 3500 cubits, he placed precious stones and pearls a cubit square. It was transparent.
On one side there was lightning; on the other, comets. The structure would shake, sending the stones crashing into one another to produce the sound of thunder. When it was built, Hiram seated himself upon the highest level.
Said the Holy One, Blessed is He, to Ezekiel, “Son of Man, tell Hiram King of Tyre, why are you proud? You are born up of a human being!“ Said Ezekiel, “Master of the universe, how can I go to him when he is suspended in mid air?”
Thereupon the Holy One, Blessed is He, sent a wind, which blew through Ezekiel’s hair and raised him up to Hiram.
Upon seeing Ezekiel, Hiram was frightened and shaken. “Who raised you up here?” He asked. Ezekiel replied, “The Holy One, Blessed is He, has commanded me to tell you: why are you proud? You were born of a human being!” Said Hiram, “I am born of a human being? I will live forever! Just as the Holy One, Blessed is He, as in the sky, so am I. Moreover, many kings have died and I have outlived them: 21 Kings of the house of David, 21 of the house of Israel, five prophets and 10 high priests. I have buried them all, and I am still alive! Am I not a God?”
What was his end? The Holy One, Blessed is He, sent Nebuchadnezar against him. The Nebuchadnezar concerted with Hiram’s mother before he Hiram’s very eyes and the deposed him from his throne. Every day Nebuchanezar cut pieces from Hiram’s flesh, dipped them in vinegar, and fed them to Hiram, so that he died a horrible death.
And what became of the palace? The Holy One, Blessed is He, caused the earth to to open and swallow the structure, in order to store for the righteous in the World to Come. (Yalkut Shimon, Yechezkail 367)
Hiram was hired by King Solomon to help with the construction of the Beit Hamikdash. Hiram was so moved and inspired by his participation, that he became a greater person, for which he was rewarded with an extraordinary long life. However, the Midrash makes it clear, that his mother was so blessed as well. This was either for her merit of bringing such a son into the world, or, I suspect, to remind him that he was not alone in being blessed with such a long life; to prevent his blessings from going to his head.
But, it did. He began to believe in his own divinity, which leads to the Midrash above.
This is a warning to all who achieve great things “for God,” to not become arrogant and believe that they are divine, or even speak for God.