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The first book of the Kings : with map, introduction and notes online

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Akabah, where the ships were built. 27. that had knowledge of
the sea] For which knowledge the Phoenicians were most famous.

28. they came to Ophir] There is not sufficient evidence to
decide where Ophir was. The most probable conjectures have
been Africa, India and Arabia. But on account of the productions
named in connexion with the place in chap. x. 11 Africa has been
almost universally given up. And in the decision between India
and Arabia, the latter seems the more likely, partly because it is
nearer to reach from Ezion-geber, and partly because the first
mention of Ophir (Gen. x. 29) makes it refer to the descendants of
Joktan, whose home was in Arabia. four hundred and twenty

talents] The sum seems enormous, £2,250,000. What could a
country like Palestine furnish in exchange? Perhaps the sum
represents the total of many expeditions.

X. 1. And when the queen of Sheba heard] The 'Sheba* of
which the queen is here mentioned was in Arabia and embraced
the greater part of Arabia Felix. concerning the name of the

Lord] From the expressions so frequent in chap. viii. about 'a
house built for the name of the Lord God of Israel' we may be sure
that wherever the grand building was mentioned, there would be

I. KINGS, X. 2—8. 67

hard questions. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great 2
train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and
precious stones : and when she was come to Solomon, she
communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solo- 3
mon told her all her questions : there was not any thing hid
from the king, which he told her not. And when the queen of 4
Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had
built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, 5
and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his
cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house
of the Lord ; there was no more spirit in her. And she said 6
to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land
of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the 7
words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and behold,
the half was not told me : thy wisdom and prosperity exceed-
eth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are s
these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and

heard something about the name of Him to whose honour it was
built. she came to "prove him with hard questions] Josephus

{Ant. viii. 6. 5) says, 'she could not trust to hearsay, for the
report might have been built upon false judgement, and might
change, as it depended solely upon the persons who brought it.'
The 'proving with hard questions' recalls the story of Samson's
riddle (Judges xiv. 12). 2. spices'] For which Arabia has

always been famous. 3. there was not any thing hid from

the king, which he told her not] i.e. nothing was too deep for him
in all she asked, he discovered the correct answer and gave it to
her. 4. the house that he had built] This refers to his

own palace. 5. the sitting of his servants] Here ' servants '

signifies the officers and distinguished persons who were privileged
to sit at the king's table. the attendance of his ministers]

This refers most probably to those persons who stood to serve the
guests. and his ascent by which he zoent up unto the house of

the Lord] This passage is rendered by the light of the parallel
place in 2 Chron. ix. 4. there was no more spirit in her]

Apparently the queen had come with some hope that she might
get the better of Solomon, either in her display of queenly splen-
dour, or in the questions which she propounded. What she found
was so far in excess of what she had expected, that all thought of
comparison of herself with Solomon's state was gone, and she was
lost in admiration. 6. of thy acts] The word may mean

'sayings,' as is represented on the margins of A.V. and K.V. But
as she had seen all the king's state, as well as listened to his
answers, it seems better to refer this word to the buildings and
other splendour. 7. thy icisdom and prosperity exceedeth the

fame] This is a good idiomatic representation of the Hebrew, which
is literally ' thou hast added wisdom and goodness to the fame &c.'
8. Happy are thy men] The LXX. has here 'happy are thy
women.' Syriac and Arabic versions have the same variation.


68 I. KINGS, X. 9—13.

9 that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the Lord thy God, which
delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel : because
the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to

10 do judgment and justice. And she gave the king an hundred
and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and
precious stones : there came no more such abundance of spices

n as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. And
the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought
in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.

12 And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of
the Lord, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries
for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen

13 unto this day. And king Solomon gave unto the queen of
Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, besides that which

9. Blessed be the Lord thy God] We need not suppose that
the queen had become a convert to Judaism, any more than
that Hiram was so from the words put into his mouth above
in chap. v. 7. It could not matter, hi the mind of the heathen
queen, whether she included one divinity more or less in the
number of those she honoured. To her, Jehovah was for Israel
the national god to whom the prosperity of the king and his sub-
jects had been a special care. to set thee on the throne of
Israel] In 2 Chron. ix. 8 the sentence runs 'to set thee on His
throne, to be king for the Lord thy God.' 10. And
she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold] Large
presents of this nature are still the rule among Oriental princes
when they visit one another. 11. And the navy also of Hiram]
This verse and the next are a parenthetic insertion, brought
in by the mention of the spices in the previous verse. Hiram's
fleet went to distant parts, and in the direction of Sheba, but
it brought back no such spicery among its imports. great
plenty of almug trees] The name is spelt in the text of Chronicles
'algum, ' and is probably a word adopted from the language
of the country where the wood was produced, and about the
spelling of which Hebrew writers were not very sure. Most
moderns incline to the opinion that sandal-wood is intended,
though some, considering the words of 2 Chron. ii. 8 to imply a
tree grown on Lebanon, prefer to regard it as a kind of cedar or
cypress. 12. pillars for the house of the Lord] The
noun signifies" a 'prop,' and it may be that some ornamental work
like that indicated in the margin of the K.V., 'a railing,' is in-
tended. It was some later addition, not any part of the fabric,
which was already completed. for singers] The word is
definite, the singers. Cf. Eccl. ii. 8. almug trees] Here the
LXX. adds 'unto the land,' and the thought is perhaps of the
things brought by the fleet of Hiram. In all their voyages they
could not find the like. 13. besides that which Solomon
gave her of his royal bounty] The Hebrew is literally 'beside that
which he gave to her according to the hand of king Solomon.' Cp.
Esther i. 7, ii. 18.

I. KINGS, X. 14—18. 69

Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and
went to her own country, she and her servants.

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year 14
was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, besides that 15
he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice
merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of tbe governors
of the country. And king Solomon made two hundred targets 10
of beaten gold : six hundred shekels of gold went to one target.
And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound 17
of gold went to one shield : and the king put them in the
house of the forest of Lebanon. Moreover the king made a ik

14. six hundred threescore and six talents of gold] Taking the
gold shekel at the value of £2, and 3000 shekels in one talent, the
sum here spoken of would amount to nearly four millions of our
money, which for the time of Solomon appears a very enormous
revenue, especially when there are additions to be made to it, such
as those spoken of in verses 15, 22, and 25. There can be no doubt
that Solomon was one of the wealthiest monarchs in the East at
that date. But the taxation must have been crushing.

15. besides that he had of the merchantmen] There are two kinds
of traders specified in this verse, and the participle here used to
describe the first signifies ' those who go about ' with their goods,
hawkers of their wares, which is a general characteristic of Oriental
traffickers. Hence in E.V. the word chapmen has been adopted,
and the clause a little differently worded. and of the traffick
of the spice merchants] A mistaken identification of the word de-
scriptive of this second class of traders with a Syrian noun which
means ' a dealer in aromatic herbs ' has led to the rendering ' spice
merchants.' Render (as there is no preposition with this clause)
and the traffick of the merchants. and of all the Icings
of Arabia] R.V. ' and of all the kings of the mingled people.'
The word in the original, though it has the same consonants, has
not the same vowels as the proper name. That the two are dis-
tinct designations is proved by Jer. xxv. 24, where both occur in
the same verse, 'all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the
mingled people.' The word in our text is used very early in the
history of Israel (Exod. xii. 38) of 'the mixed multitude' which
came up with the Israelites out of Egypt. and of the governors
of the country] Most likely those officers are meant whose positions
were described iv. 7 — 19. 16. tivo hundred targets of beaten
gold] The ' targets ' here spoken of appear, from the gold consumed
in them, to have been much larger than the ' shields ' mentioned in
the next verse. six hundred shekels of gold] It was not un-
usual in Hebrew to omit the word ' shekels ' as is done here. So
Gen. xxiv. 22; Exod. xxx. 23. No Englishman misunderstands
such an expression as 'three hundred a year.' 17. three
pound of gold went to one shield] The word rendered pound here is
'maneh,' and according to the parallel passage (2 Chron. ix. 16) is
equal to 'one hundred shekels.' The maneh was equal to about
2n lbs. in the house of the forest of Lebanon] On this see above

70 L KINGS, X. 19—26.

19 great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. The
throne had six steps, and the top of the throne teas round
behind : and there were stays on either side on the place of the

20 seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. And twelve lions
stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six

21 steps : there was not the like made in any kingdom. And all
king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the
vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure
gold : none were of silver : it was nothing accounted of in the

22 days of Solomon. For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish
with the navy of Hiram : once in three years came the navy of
Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and

23 peacocks. So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the

24 earth for riches and for wisdom. And all the earth sought to
Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.

25 And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and
vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses,

26 and mules, a rate year by year. And Solomon gathered toge-

vii. 2. These gulden shields were probably only used on grand oc-
casions, and when not in use were suspended against the numerous
pillars in the royal armoury. 18. a great throne of ivory]

Like Aliab's ivory house, mentioned later on (xxii. 39), the throne
was no doubt only inlaid with ivory. toith the best gold] K.V.

'finest gold.' 19. And the top of the throne was 7-otmd

behind] The word 'top' is literally 'head,' and points to some
erection in the nature of a canopy or baldachino. 21. all

Icing Solomon's drinking vessels] The LXX. here leaves out the
defining word, merely putting 'vessels.' 22. For the

king had at sea a navy of Tharshish] i.e. of ships such as were
used in the trade with Tarshish (ci. 1 Kings xxii. 48). These
would probably be of the largest build then possible. Tarshish
is most likely Tartessus in the south of Spam, with which place
the Tyrians had considerable trade. once in three years

came the navy] The voyage here alluded to was most likely the
voyage to Ophir mentioned in ix. 28. The time consumed between
voyage and voyage would be partly spent in loading and unloading,
and in traffic at the various marts at which the fleet touched.

ivory, and apes, and peacocks] The words used for the two first
of these are most likely of Sanskrit origin, the second entirely, the
first in part; and as peacocks are natives of India these names
point to India as the source from which Solomon's imports were
drawn. 24. And all the earth sought to Solomon] 111 2 Chron.

ix. 23 the words are 'and all the kings of the earth sought the
presence of Solomon,' and, the fuller form mil be better in this
verse. 25. they brought every man his present] After the

fashion in royal visits. vessels of silver] These do not appear

in the LXX., which also omits any notice of ' armour.' gar-

ments] Changes of raiment formed a very common gift in the East,
and were highly valued. 26. And Solomon gathered together

I. KINGS, X. 27—29. 71

ther chariots and horsemen : and he had a thousand and four
hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he be-
stowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem.
And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and 27
cedars made he to be as the sycomore trees that are in the vale,
for abundance. And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, 2S
and linen yarn : the king's merchants received the linen yarn
at a price. And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for 29
six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for an hundred and

chariots and horsemeii] By reason, as Josephus tells us, of the
great number of horses which were brought to him in these yearly
offerings. Here Ave find the first institution of cavalry in Israel in
defiance of the Deuteronomic law. Though the defiance is not ex-
pressly specified here, the mention of this gathering of cavalry
makes a significant introduction to the history of Solomon's decline,
which follows in the next Chapter. at Jerusalem] After this the

LXX. adds ' and he was chief over all the kings from the River even
unto the land of the Philistines and to the borders of Egypt.'

27. i7i the vale] The word (Shefelah) here rendered 'vale' is the
name of that low-lying part of Palestine which stretches westward
from the mountains of Judah to the Mediterranean (cf. Josh. ix. 1,
xii. 8). The R.V. has always distinguished this as the lowland.
It was a district fertile and specially well- wooded. 28. And

Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt] The first clause of the
verse ends here according to the Hebrew punctuation, and this
appears to be a general statement, of which the particulars are
given in what follows. But the literal rendering is 'and the export
of horses which was to Solomon (was) from Egypt ; ' and this the
R.V. represents by And the horses which Solomon had were
brought out of Egypt. and linen yarn] The word so trans-

lated, is derived from a verb which implies 'a stringing together,'
and a kindred noun is used (Josh. ii. 18) for the line of scarlet cord
which Rahab was ordered to bind in her window. But the word in
the text is used for gathering together in other senses, and here
seems to be intended for 'a string of horses,' which sense the R.V.
has represented by 'a drove.' The word occurs twice over and
must have the same sense in both places of the same verse. The
whole is rendered in R.V. and the king's merchants received
them in droves, each drove at a price. The king's represent-
atives dealt wholesale with the Egyptian breeders, afterwards
they brought the droves away, and disposed of them, as retailers,
and hence secured for king Solomon a considerable revenue by
the profits. 29. And a chariot] The word is used

(Exod. xiv. 25; Josh. xi. 6, 9, &c.) for a 'chariot employed in
war,' and that is probably the sense here. These also Solomon's
merchants supplied from Egypt, and in this verse we have the
notice of their retail trade. for all the kings of the Hittites]

The Hittites were divided into numerous small kingdoms, situated
in the country between the Euphrates on one side and Hamath
and Damascus on the other. Their two chief cities were Car-

72 I. KINGS, XI. 1—5.

fifty : and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings
of Syria, did they bring them out by their means.
11 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with
the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites,

2 Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites ; of the nations concerning
which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not
go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you : for surely
they will turn away your heart after their gods : Solomon clave

3 unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, prin-
cesses, and three hundred concubines : and his wives turned

4 away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old,
that his wives turned away his heart after other gods : and his
heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart

5 of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the
goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of

chemish and Eadesli. and for the kings of Syria] Syria

(If eh. Aram) is the name given in the Old Test, to all the country
north-east of Phoenicia and extending beyond the Euphrates and
Tigris. It was for the princes of these districts that Solomon's
merchants brought up horses and chariots from Egypt. All these
small kingdoms became afterwards subject to Damascus.

hi/ their means] Literally 'in their hand.' That is, these mer-
chants were the agents through whom the various princes obtained
their supplies.

XL 1. Solomon loved many strange women] Where polygamy
was common there would be a great temptation to a powerful king
to connect himself by marriage with all the nations about him.

2. of the nations concerning which the Lord said] The prohibi-
tion of intermarriage with the nations of Canaan is given in
Exodus xxxiv. 16; Deut. vii. 3, 4. Like so much else in the
Law, it was a great ideal toward which neither the people nor
their rulers were earnest in advancing, when they once became
settled in some portion of the land. 3. seven hundred wives,

princesses] The numbers in this verse are far in excess of those in
the Song of Solomon, which makes mention (vi. 8) of threescore
queens. 4. when Solomon was old] At least half of the

king's reign was over before the Temple and the king's house
and the other buildings were completed. It was therefore in the
latter half of his reign, when the influence of his wives gained
undue sway over him. perfect with, the Lord] i.e. Com-

pletely devoted to His service, see note on viii. 61.

5. Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians] Ashtoreth was the
chief female divinity of the Phoenicians, as Baal was their chief
male deity. The worship of Ashtoreth was very widespread, as
might be expected from the wide commercial relations, and distant
colonies, of the Phoenicians. Why Ashtoreth is here named
'goddess' while the other deities are called 'abominations' may
be due to the greater intercourse between Sidon and the Holy
Land than existed with other countries. Milcom the abomina-

tion of the Ammonites] This is the same divinity who is called

I. KINGS, XI. 6—11. 73

the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the 6
Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his
father. Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh, 7
the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem,
and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt 8
incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart 9
was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared
unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this 10
thing, that he should not go after other gods : but he kept not
that which the Lord commanded. Wherefore the Lord said n
unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou
hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have
commanded thee, I will surely rend the k ingdom from thee,

below (verse 7) Molech, and in Zepb. i. 5 Malcham. Molech was a
fire god, and was worshipped with human sacrifices. 7. a

high. place) That ' high places ' were not abolished in Solomon's time
we can see from iii. 2, 3, where see notes. The idea was that on
a lofty height the worshipper drew nearer to his god, and so was
able to offer a more acceptable sacrifice. for Chemosh, the

abomination of Moab'] Chemosh, though generally called the national
god of the Moabites, is said (Judges xi. 24) to have been also the
god of the Ammonites. He is first mentioned in Numb. xxi. 29.
The worship now introduced into Jerusalem by Solomon was put
down by Josiah (2 Kings xxiii. 13). in the hill that is before

Jerusalem'] The hill facing Jerusalem is the mount of Olives. It is
described in Ezek. xi. 23 as ' the mountain which is on the east
side of the city,' and in Zech. xiv. 4 as ' the mount of Olives, which
is before Jerusalem on the east.' The name 'Mons offensioms '
was given to this height in consequence of these buildings. This
name is said to be of late origin. But the words occur in the
Vulgate (2 Kings xxiii. 13) 'ad dexteram partem montis offen-
sionis.' and for Molech] See above on Milcom in verse 5.

8. And lihetoise did he for all his strange wives] i.e. for such of
them as desired a special place for their worship. Ashtoreth,
Chemosh and Molech would suffice for the greater number, but we
know of other gods among the nations round about, and the text
implies that all were equally regarded.

9. which had appeared unto him twice] See in. 5 for the first
appearance of the Lord in Gibeon ; and (ix. 2) for the second when
the Temple and the king's house were finished. 10. and had
commanded him concerning this thing] The command is recorded hi
substance in vi. 12 and ix.' 6. 11. the Lord said unto Solomon]
The message was perhaps by the mouth of one of the Prophets.
The visions vouchsafed to Solomon had been in the time of his
obedience. Forasnmch as this is done of thee] Literally ' this
is with thee.' This is not an unusual form of expression for the
plan or course of action which anyone has adopted. / will
surely rend] The same verb is used of the symbolical action of

74 I. KINGS, XI. 12—17.

12 and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days
I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it

13 out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all
the kingdom ; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my
servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, which I have chosen.

14 And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad

15 the Edomite : he was of the king's seed in Edom. For it came
to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the
host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every

16 male in Edom; (for six months did Joab remain there with all

17 Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:) that Hadad
fled, he and certain Edomites of his father's servants with him,

Aliijah (see below, verse 30), by which this tearing away of the
greater part of the kingdom was typified. to thy servant] For

the position occupied by Jeroboam, see below, verse 28.

12. in thy days I will not do it] For a similar postponement of
God's penalty, cf. the history of Abab (1 Kings xxi. 29). for

David thy father 's sake] An example of God's mercy shewn towards
the descendants of them that love Him. 13. but will give

one tribe] The reference is to the tribe of Judah, from which the
southern kingdom took its mime. Benjamin which went with
Judah was so small as to be hardly worth accounting of, and
Simeon was also absorbed in Judah. for Jerusalem' s sale,

which I have chosen] In Deut. xii. 5 it is signified that God will

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Online LibraryJoseph Rawson LumbyThe first book of the Kings : with map, introduction and notes → online text (page 9 of 18)