1 Kings 9:15
And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) The levy.—This (see 1Kings 5:13; 1Kings 5:15) was both of Israelites and of the subject races, first originated for the building of the Temple, afterwards extended to the other great building works.

The building works enumerated are, first in Jerusalem, then in various parts of the country of critical importance, either for war or for commerce.

Millo, or (as it always has the definite article), “the Millo.” The Hebrew word seems to signify “piling up,” or “heaping up,” and its most simple meaning would be a “fortified mound.” From the mention, however, in Judges 9:6; Judges 9:20, of the “house of Millo,” in connection with the men of Shechem, it has been supposed to be a Canaanitish word; and it is possible that “the Millo” of Jerusalem may have been the name of a quarter of the old Jebusite city, especially as it is first used in connection with the narrative of its capture (2Samuel 5:9; 1Chronicles 11:8). That it was a part of the fortification of “the city of David” is clear by this passage, by 1Kings 9:24 and 1Kings 11:27, and by 2Chronicles 32:5; and the LXX. invariably renders it “Acra,” or “the-citadel,” a name always applied in the later history to the fortification on Mount Zion. Josephus, in describing the works of Solomon, merely says that he made the walls of David higher and stronger, and built towers on them. From the derivation of the word it is possible that the work was the raising a high fortification of earth crowned with a wall, where the hill of Zion slopes down unto the valley known subsequently as the Tyropœon.

Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer.—These cities were all of important geographical positions, and all had belonged to the subject races.

Hazor was in the north, on high ground near the waters of Merom. It had been the city of Jabin, head of the northern confederacy (Joshua 11:1). After the great victory over this confederacy, Joshua burnt Hazor (Joshua 11:13), and the territory was assigned to Naphtali (Joshua 19:36). But it must have been regained by its old possessors, and rebuilt, for it appears again under another Jabin in Judges 4. It was evidently important, as commanding the great line of invasion through Hamath from the north. Hence it was fortified by Solomon, and probably the native inhabitants were dispossessed.

Megiddo lay in the great plain of Jezreel or Esdraelon, the battle-field of Northern Palestine, commanding some of the passes from it into the hill country of Manasseh, to which tribe it was assigned after the conquest (Joshua 17:11). But it was not subdued by them (Joshua 17:12-13; Judges 1:27-28), and, with Taanach, appears as a hostile city in the Song of Deborah (Judges 5:19). Now it was fortified, and is named subsequently as an Israelite city (2Kings 9:27; 2Kings 23:29). In later times the Romans seem to have occupied it, and their name for it, Legio (now el-Łejjûr), superseded the old title.

Grezer or Gazer, was near Bethlehem, close to the maritime plain. Its king was conquered by Joshua (Joshua 10:33; Joshua 12:12), and the city was allotted to the Levites in the territory of Ephraim (Joshua 21:17), but it remained unsubdued (Judges 1:29). From the notice in the next verse, it must have been in rebellion against Israel, perhaps in the early and more troubled days of Solomon; and was accordingly taken by the Egyptian army (which could easily march up the plain, and attack it therefrom). The passes here were of critical importance, as appears in the Philistine wars (1Chronicles 20:4; 2Samuel 5:25), in relation to any advance from the plain.

1 Kings 9:15. This is the reason of the levy, &c. — That the raising of a great tribute upon the people, and employing so many men in his works, might not seem strange, the sacred writer here shows the cause of it; which was, his great and numerous buildings, suitable to the high dignity to which God had advanced him. The Hebrew word, מס, mass, here rendered levy, as Mr. Selden hath shown, by many instances, is not only used for pecuniary tribute, but also for bodily labour; it means a levy of men as well as a levy of money. And he thus interprets this clause: This is the cause of requiring the labour of so many men; it was to build, &c. Having thus declared the cause, the historian proceeds (1 Kings 9:20) to relate who they were that he employed in this service. And Millo — David had built round about Zion, from Millo inward, (2 Samuel 5:9,) but had left the structure of Millo itself imperfect, which Solomon now completed, with a particular respect to Pharaoh’s daughter, whose house was near it, 1 Kings 9:24. It seems, from 1 Kings 11:27, and 2 Chronicles 32:5, to have been an eminent, large, and strong fort, or castle, in that part of Jerusalem termed the city of David, where the fortress which David took from the Jebusites anciently stood. Here, it is thought, the people of Israel assembled when there was any consultation to be made about public affairs. The name מלוא, Millo, appears to be derived from the word מלא, malee, which signifies full. Kimchi thinks it was so called because it was frequently full of people, being “locus amplus et latus, comitiis et conventibus publicis destinatus,” a large and open place, appointed for holding public courts and assemblies. And the wall of Jerusalem — Which was a great structure: for there were three walls, one within another, as Abarbinel and Joseph Ben-Gorion explain it; the inner wall encompassing the house of God and the house of the king; the middle wall encompassing the houses of great persons; (termed the College, 2 Kings 22:14;) and the third the houses of all the people. And Hazor — Which had been a very eminent city, and the head of some kingdoms before the conquest of Canaan, (Joshua 11:10,) and was given to the tribe of Naphtali, Joshua 19:36. Megiddo — A city in the tribe of Manasseh, Joshua 17:11. And Gezer — In the tribe of Ephraim, Joshua 21:21.9:15-28 Here is a further account of Solomon's greatness. He began at the right end, for he built God's house first, and finished that before he began his own; then God blessed him, and he prospered in all his other buildings. Let piety begin, and profit follow; leave pleasure to the last. Whatever pains we take for the glory of God, and to profit others, we are likely to have the advantage. Canaan, the holy land, the glory of all lands, had no gold in it; which shows that the best produce is that which is for the present support of life, our own and others; such things did Canaan produce. Solomon got much by his merchandise, and yet has directed us to a better trade, within reach of the poorest. Wisdom is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold, Pr 3:14.Levy - See the marginal reference note.

Millo - See 2 Samuel 5:9 note. The Septuagint commonly render the word ἡ ἄκρα hē akra, "the citadel," and it may possibly have been the fortress on Mount Zion connected with the Maccabean struggles (1 Macc. 4:41; 13:49-52). Its exact site has not been determined.

And the wall of Jerusalem - David's fortification 2 Samuel 5:9; 1 Chronicles 11:8 had been hasty, and had now - fifty years later - fallen into decay. Solomon therefore had to "repair the breaches of the city of David" 1 Kings 11:27.

Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer were three of the most important sites in the holy land. For the two first places, compare the marginal references and notes.

Gezer was a main city of the south. It was situated on the great maritime plain, and commanded the ordinary line of approach from Egypt, which was along this low region. The importance of Gezer appears from Joshua 10:33; Joshua 12:12, etc. Its site is near Tell Jezer, and marked now by Abu Shusheh. Though within the lot of Ephraim Joshua 16:3, and especially assigned to the Kohathite Levites Joshua 21:21, it had never yet been conquered from the old inhabitants (marginal references), who continued to dwell in it until Solomon's time, and apparently were an independent people 1 Kings 9:16.

Pharaoh took it before the marriage of Solomon with his daughter, and gave it "for a present" - i. e., for a dowry. Though in the East husbands generally pay for their wives, yet dower is given in some cases. Sargon gave Cilicia as a dowry with his daughter when he married her to Ambris king of Tubal: and the Persian kings seem generally to have given satrapial or other high offices as dowries to the husbands of their daughters.

15-24. this is the reason of the levy—A levy refers both to men and money, and the necessity for Solomon making it arose from the many gigantic works he undertook to erect.

Millo—part of the fort of Jerusalem on Mount Zion (2Sa 5:9; 1Ch 11:8), or a row of stone bastions around Mount Zion, Millo being the great corner tower of that fortified wall (1Ki 11:27; 2Ch 32:5).

the wall of Jerusalem—either repairing some breaches in it (1Ki 11:27), or extending it so as to enclose Mount Zion.

Hazor—fortified on account of its importance as a town in the northern boundary of the country.

Megiddo—(now Leijun)—Lying in the great caravan road between Egypt and Damascus, it was the key to the north of Palestine by the western lowlands, and therefore fortified.

Gezer—on the western confines of Ephraim, and, though a Levitical city, occupied by the Canaanites. Having fallen by right of conquest to the king of Egypt, who for some cause attacked it, it was given by him as a dowry to his daughter, and fortified by Solomon.

The levy which king Solomon raised; both the levy of men, of which 1 Kings 5:13, and the levy of money upon his people and subjects, which is sufficiently evident from many scriptures. And this sentence may look both backward and forward. He raised this levy, both to pay what he owed to Hiram, which is mentioned before; and to build the works here following.

Millo seems to have been an eminent, and large, and strong fort or castle in Jerusalem, as may be gathered from 1 Kings 11:27 2 Chronicles 32:5.

Hazor, in Naphtali. See Joshua 11:10 Joshua 19:36.

Megiddo, in that part of the tribe of Manasseh within Jordan; of which see Joshua 17:11.

Gezer, in Ephraim, Joshua 21:21. It now was, and long had been, in the possession of the Canaanites, Joshua 16:10 Judges 1:29, and permitted so to be by David and Solomon, either by neglect, or because they were busied in greater and more necessary employments. And this is the reason of the levy which King Solomon raised,.... Both of men to work, 1 Kings 5:13, and of money to defray the expense:

it was for to build the house of the Lord; the temple:

and his own house; or palace:

and Millo; which he repaired: See Gill on 1 Samuel 5:9.

and the wall of Jerusalem; which, as Abarbinel says, was a large building, there being three walls one within another:

and Hazor; a city in the tribe of Naphtali, and which had been a royal city with the Canaanites; see Joshua 11:1.

and Megiddo; which was in the tribe of Manasseh, Joshua 17:11.

and Gezer; which was in the tribe of Ephraim, and formerly a royal city of the Canaanites, Joshua 10:33.

And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and {f} Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.

(f) Millo was as the town house or place of assembly which was open above.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15–25. Of the levy which king Solomon raised (2 Chronicles 8:4-11)

15. the reason of the levy] On the nature and amount of this compulsory service see notes on chap. 1 Kings 5:13 seqq. The present passage explains the whole purpose for which it was enforced.

and Millo] This word is always found in the original with the definite article ‘the Millo’ (2 Samuel 5:9; 1 Kings 11:27; 2 Chronicles 11:8; 2 Chronicles 32:5). Wherever it occurs it is in connexion with the walls or fortifications of Jerusalem. In 2 Chronicles 32:5 it is stated to be in the city of David. Now the most common rendering of the word in the LXX. is ἡ ἄκρα = ‘the citadel,’ a word which is constantly used in the Books of the Maccabees for the fortress on Mount Zion. It seems probable therefore that ‘the Millo’ was some specially important, and hence strongly fortified, portion of the oldest walls where they approached most closely to Zion. From 2 Samuel 5:9 we should conclude that the fortress was already existing before David conquered Jerusalem, and the name itself may have been given by the Jebusites.

and Hazor] A strong city, south of Kedesh-Naphtali in the north of Palestine. When the Israelites entered Canaan it was in the possession of king Jabin, but was taken and burnt by Joshua. Standing on a lofty position it was a post of much importance for the defence of the kingdom on the north. For this reason no doubt Solomon fortified it, but it must have already been rebuilt since its destruction by Joshua, for we read of it in Jdg 4:2; Jdg 4:17, as the city of another Jabin, whose commander in chief was Sisera, slain by Jael.

Megiddo] This city (Joshua 12:21) lay on the south side of the plain of Esdraelon, between Mt. Tabor and the modern bay of St Jean d’Acre, and must have been important as a protection against inroads from the northern highlands and from the direction of Phœnicia, commanding, as it would, the great road from the sea to the plain of the Jordan. Megiddo lay within the tribe of Issachar, but was allotted to Manasseh (Joshua 17:11; 1 Chronicles 7:29). The city was famous for the overthrow of Sisera, but most especially as the place where king Josiah was slain in the war against Pharaoh-Necho (2 Kings 23:29).

Gezer] The position of this ancient city has not been identified, and it is not clear that there were not two places of the same name. One Gezer is mentioned (Joshua 10:33) in connexion with Lachish and Eglon and other places in the south part of Canaan, but a Gezer is also spoken of as in the land assigned to the children of Joseph (Joshua 16:3), that is, the tribe of Ephraim, and as being not far from Beth-horon. If these two be references to the same place the king of Gezer came a long distance to help the king of Lachish. It seems more likely that they were distinct towns. The Gezer in Ephraim did however remain in the possession of the Canaanites (see Joshua 16:10), and so the king of Egypt may have come against it (as we read in the next verse) without being at war with Israel. Yet the fortification by Solomon of a place to protect his dominions on the south makes it perhaps a little more probable that some place nearer Eglon and Lachish is meant in the present passage, for there Canaanites might also be dwelling.Verse 15. And this is the reason [or manner, account, דָּבָר. Keil: "This is the case with regard to," etc. The historian now proceeds to speak of the forced labour. The LXX. inserts this and the next nine verses after 1 Kings 10:22] of the levy [see on 1 Kings 5:13, and 1 Kings 12:18] which Solomon raised; for to build [The punctuation of the A.V. is misleading. The Hebrew has no break - "which Solomon raised for building," etc.] the house of the Lord and his own house and Millo [Heb. invariably, the Millo, as in 2 Samuel 5:9; 1 Kings 11:27; 2 Kings 12:20; 2 Chronicles 32:5; LXX. ἡ ἄκρα. The import of the word is much disputed, but Wordsworth has but slight warrant for say. ing that it means fortress. According to some it is an archaic Canaanitish term, "adopted by the Israelites when they took the town and incorporated into their own nomenclature" (Dict. Bib. 2. p. 367), an idea which finds some support in Judges 9:6, 20. Mr. Grove would further see in it a name for Mount Zion, ἀκρα being the invariable designation of that part of the city in the Maccabees. But see Joshua, B. J. 5:04.1; Ant. 15:11.5; and Porter, 1. pp. 96, 109. Lewin ("Siege of Jerusalem," p. 256) identifies it with the great platform on which temple and palace alike were built. But the word yields a definite meaning in the ( = aolm], "the filling in"). Gesenius Hebrew consequently understands it to mean, a rampart (agger) because this is built up and filled in with stones, earth, etc. And the name would have a special fitness if we might suppose that it was applied to that part of the wall of Jerusalem which crossed the Tyropaeon valley. This ravine, which practically divided the city into two parts, would have been the weakest spot in the line of circumvallation, unless it were partly filled in - it is now completely choked up by debris, etc. - and protected by special fortifications; and, if this were done, and we can hardly doubt it was done (see on 1 Kings 11:27), Hammillo, "the filling in," would be its natural and appropriate name. And its mention, here and elsewhere, in connexion with the wall, lends some support to this view] and the wall of Jerusalem [We learn from 2 Samuel 5:9 that David had already built Millo and the wall. Rawlinson argues from 1 Kings 11:27 that these repairs had been "hasty, and had now - fifty years later - fallen into decay," and that Solomon renewed them. More probably the words indicate an enlargement of the Tyropaeon rampart, and an extension of the walls. See note there and on chap. 3:1. Solomon, no doubt, wished to strengthen the defences of the capital, on which he had expended so much labour, and where there was so much to tempt the rapacity of predatory neighbours] and Hazor [For the defence of the kingdom he built a chain of fortresses "to form a sort of girdle round the land" (Ewald). The first mentioned, Hazor, was a place of great importance in earlier times, being the "head of all those (the northern) kingdoms" (Joshua 11:10). It stood on an eminence - as indeed, for the sake of security, did all the cities of that lawless age (ib., ver. 13 marg.) - overlooking Lake Merom. It was at no great distance from the north boundary of Palestine, in Naphtali (Joshua 19:36), and being favoured by position, it was strongly fortified - Hazor means fortress - and hence Joshua made a point of destroying it. It appears, however, to have speedily regained its importance, for in Judges 4:2, 17 we find it as the capital of Jabin, king of Canaan. It was selected by Solomon as the best site for a stronghold, which should protect his northern border, and as commanding the approach from Syria. As it is not mentioned in 1 Kings 15:20, it would appear to have escaped in the invasion of Benhadad. Possibly it was too strong for him] and Megiddo [Joshua 12:21; Joshua 17:11; Judges 5:19. This place was chosen partly because of its central position - it stood on the margin of the plain of Esdraelon, the battlefield of Palestine, and the battles fought there prove its strategical importance, Judges 5:19 (cf. 1 Samuel 31:1); 2 Kings 23:29; Judith 3:9, 10 - and partly, perhaps, because the high road from Egypt to Damascus passed through it. It dominated the passes of Ephraim (see Judith 4:7). It has till recently been identified with el-Lejjun (from Legio. Compare our Chester, etc.) (Robinson, 2:116 sqq.; Stanley, S. and P., p. 347; Porter, 286, 287); but Conder ("Tent-work," p. 67) gives good reasons for fixing the site at the "large ruins between Jezreel and Bethshean, which still bears the name of Mujedd'a, i.e., on the eastern side of the plain] and Gezer [This commanded the approach from Egypt, and would protect the southern frontier of Solomon's kingdom. See Joshua 10:33; Joshua 12:12; Joshua 21:21; Judges 1:29; 2 Samuel 5:25; 1 Chronicles 20:4. It stands on the great maritime plain, and is also on the coast road between Egypt and Jerusalem. The site was identified (in 1874) by M. Clermont Ganneau with Tell Jezer. The name means "cut off," "isolated" (Gesen.) "The origin of the title is at once clear, for the site is an out-lier - to use a geological term - of the main line of hills and the position commands one of the important passes to Jerusalem" (Conder, p. 6). The mention of Gezer leads to a parenthesis of considerable length (vers. 16-19). The question of the levy is put aside for the time, whilst the historian explains how it was that the king came to build Gezer. He then proceeds to mention the other towns built during the same reign. 1 Kings 9:4, 1 Kings 9:5 contain the special answer to 1 Kings 8:25, 1 Kings 8:26. - 1 Kings 9:6-9 refer to the prayer for the turning away of the curse, to which the Lord replies: If ye and your children turn away from me, and do not keep my commandments, but worship other gods, this house will not protect you from the curses threatened in the law, but they will be fulfilled in all their terrible force upon you and upon this temple. This threat follows the Pentateuch exactly in the words in which it is expressed; 1 Kings 9:7 being founded upon Deuteronomy 28:37, Deuteronomy 28:45, Deuteronomy 28:63, and the curse pronounced upon Israel in Deuteronomy 29:23-26 being transferred to the temple in 1 Kings 9:8, 1 Kings 9:9. - פּני מעל שׁלּח, to dismiss, i.e., to reject from before my face. "This house will be עליון," i.e., will stand high, or through its rejection will be a lofty example for all that pass by. The temple stood upon a high mountain, so that its ruins could not fail to attract the attention of all who went past. The expression עליון is selected with an implied allusion to Deuteronomy 26:19 and Deuteronomy 28:1. God there promises to make Israel עליון, high, exalted above all nations. This blessing will be turned into a curse. The temple, which was high and widely renowned, shall continue to be high, but in the opposite sense, as an example of the rejection of Israel from the presence of God.

(Note: The conjecture of Bttcher, Thenius, and Bertheau, that עליון should be altered into עיּים, has no support in Micah 3:12; Jeremiah 26:18, and Psalm 79:1, and has all the ancient versions against it; for they all contain the Masoretic text, either in a verbal translation (lxx), or in a paraphrase, as for example the Chaldee, "the house that was high shall be destroyed;" the Syriac and Arabic, "this house will be destroyed;" and the Vulgate, domus haec erit in exemplum. - In 2 Chronicles 7:21 the thought is somewhat varied by the alteration of יהיה into היה אשׁר. For it would never enter the mind of any sober critic to attribute this variation to a misinterpretation of our text. Still less can it be an unsuccessful attempt to explain or rectify our text, as Bttcher imagines, since the assertion of this critic, that עליון is only used to signify an exalted position, and never the exaltation of dignity or worth, is proved to be erroneous by Deuteronomy 26:19 and Deuteronomy 28:1.)

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