A biblical debt still being repaid by the Jewish nation to Iran and Lebanon sheds light on the ongoing conflict between Israel, Iran and Hezbollah.
Rabbi Nachman Kahana, author, Torah scholar and teacher who lives in the Old City of Jerusalem, offers a Biblical approach to understanding why Hezbollah and Iran continue to provoke Israel with violence and hostility.
Kahana says, “The world owes the Jewish people an enormous debt for our contributions to humanity: monotheism, Shabbat, justice, morality, science and so much more. But there are two nations to whom we owe a religious and national debt – Iran-Persia and Southern Lebanon.”
Kahana recounts the story of Hiram, the King of Tyre (a city in southern Lebanon), who earned a tremendous reward for helping King Solomon build the First Jewish Temple. As told in I Kings 5:15-25, Hiram gladly gave King Solomon as much cedar and cypress wood as he needed to build the First Temple (I Kings 5:24) along with servants to help. King Solomon rewarded Hiram with 20,000 measures of wheat to feed his household and 20 measures of oil. (I Kings 5:25).
Kahana asserts that although Hiram “was paid handsomely, it appears that his merit has not been fully recompensed.” The Jewish people still owe a spiritual debt to Lebanon, which is the home base of Hezbollah.
In Ezra 1, Cyrus, King of Persia (modern day Iran), granted permission for the Jewish people who were exiled in his kingdom to return to Israel and rebuild the Jewish Temple. Cyrus not only released the Jews from exile, he also returned the precious gold and silver vessels that had been stolen from the First Jewish Temple (Ezra 1:7-11). “For this we owe the Persians a debt,” states Kahana.
Kahana affirms that God’s system of justice is perfect. He concludes that the Jewish nation still owes a portion of the debt to Lebanon for the generosity of Hiram, who helped the Jewish people build the First Jewish Temple and to Persia (Iran) for the kindness of Cyrus, who encouraged the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem and build the Second Jewish Temple.
However, this Biblical debt is being wiped away day-by-day. Kahana concludes powerfully, “With every day of increasing belligerence and hatred by Iran and Hizbullah, the debt becomes smaller, until the hate neutralizes any residual good that they have done for us.”