And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do,
Verse 1. - And it came to pass when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the Lord, and the king's house [1 Kings 7:1], and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do [By "desire" we are not to understand "pleasure buildings" (cf. vers. 10, 19). The chronicler gives the true meaning: "all that came into Solomon's heart." It is, however, somewhat doubtful what works are comprehended under this term. 2 Chronicles 7:11 limits it to the two great erections already described - "all that came into his heart to make in the house of the Lord and in his own house." But it is by no means certain that our author intended the word to be thus restricted; it is quite possible, e.g., that some of the buildings mentioned below (vers. 15-19) are to be included. But another question of much greater importance presents itself here. In the Divine communication of vers. 3-9 there is constant and unmistakeable reference to the prayer of dedication (see especially ver. 3); in fact, this message is the answer to that prayer. It has been held, consequently, that the answer must have followed, if not immediately, yet soon after the petitions were uttered; if so, the dedication must clearly have taken place, not on the completion of the temple (1 Kings 6:38), but on the completion of the palace, etc.; in other words, the temple must have been finished fully thirteen years before it was consecrated and occupied. Rawlinson suggests that the delay was perhaps occasioned by the circumstance that the furniture of the temple was not till then ready; but 1 Kings 6:38, Hebrews, seems to state distinctly that all the vessels and appointments of the sanctuary were finished at the date there given. Reasons have been given elsewhere (see note on 1 Kings 8:1) in support of the position that the dedication possibly have been delayed for so long a period, especially after the strenuous efforts which had been made to hurry on the undertaking. Nor does the text, when carefully examined, really require this hypothesis; indeed, it suggests some reasons for thinking that a considerable period must have intervened between the prayer and the response. For the tone of this response is unmistakeably foreboding, if not minatory. Vers. 6-9 contain a stern warning. But there was nothing, so far as we know, in the attitude of Solomon or of Israel at the time of the dedication to call for any such denunciation. At that time, as the prayer surely proves, Solomon's heart was perfect with the Lord his God. But the response has unmistakeably the appearance of having been elicited by signs of defection. The wide difference, consequently, between the spirit of the prayer and the tone of the answer suggests that some time must have elapsed between them, and so far supports the view that the dedication was not delayed until the palace, etc., was completed. And it is also to be remembered that the prayer of dedication had not been without acknowledgment at the time. The excellent glory which filled and took possession of the house was itself a significant and sufficient response. No voice or vision could have said more plainly, "I have heard thy prayer, I have hallowed this house." But when, some thirteen years later - about the very time, that is, when he was at the height of his prosperity, and when, owing to the completion of his undertakings, we might fear lest his heart should be lifted up with pride - when Solomon and his court began to decline in piety and to go after other gods, then this merciful message opportunely refers him to the prayer which he was in danger of forgetting, and warns him of the consequences of the apostasy to which he was tending.]
That the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.
Verse 2. - That the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time [see on 1 Kings 6:11, and 1 Kings 11:9; Solomon had received a message during the building of the temple], as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon [i.e., in a dream (1 Kings 3:5) ].
And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
Verse 3. - And the Lord said unto him [This message is given at greater length in 2 Chronicles 7:12-22. Vers. 13, 14, e.g., contain a reference to that part of the prayer which related to drought and rain], I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication [These two words are found similarly united in Solomon's prayer, vers. 38, 45, 54], that thou hast made [Heb. supplicated] before me; I have hallowed this house which thou hast built [sc. by the manifestation described 1 Kings 8:11. Cf. Exodus 29:43: "the tabernacle shall be sanctified" (same word) "by my glory." In 2 Chronicles we read, "I have chosen this place to myself for a house of sacrifice," where, however, it is worth considering whether instead of the somewhat singular בית זבח the original text may not have been בית זבל, as in 1 Kings 8:13] to put my name there [1 Kings 8:29; cf. vers. 16, 17, 18, 19; also Deuteronomy 12:11; Luke 11:12] forever [1 Kings 8:13. As Solomon offered it, so God accepted it, in perpetuity. That the house was subsequently "left desolate" and destroyed (2 Kings 25:9) was because of the national apostasy (vers. 8, 9) ], and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. [In 1 Kings 8:29 Solomon asked that God's "eyes may be open... towards the house." The answer is that not only His eyes shall be open, but eyes and heart shall be there [Ephesians 3:20; see Homiletics on 1 Kings 3:5); - the eye to watch, the heart to cherish it.]
And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:
Verse 4. - And [Heb. And thou, emphatic] if thou wilt walk before me as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart before me and in uprightness [cf. 1 Kings 3:6, 14; 1 Kings 11:34. David was not perfect, as our author tells us elsewhere (1 Kings 15:5; cf. 1 Kings 1:6; 2 Samuel 24:10). His integrity consisted in his unvarying loyalty to the true God. Even when overcome by that fierce temptation (2 Samuel 11.) he never faltered in his allegiance to the truth. There was no coquetting with idolatrous practices; cf. Psalm 18:20-24], to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments [the echo of David's last words, 1 Kings 2:3, 4. It is probable, however, that the historian has only preserved the substance of the message. It is doubtful whether Solomon himself would remember the exact words]:
Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.
Verse 5. - Then I will establish [same word as in ch. 1 Kings 2:4, where see note. Surely he would remember this word as it would recall his father's charge to his mind] the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel forever [this is the answer to the prayer of 1 Kings 8:26] as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. [2 Samuel 7:12, 16; 1 Kings 2:4; 1 Kings 6:12; Psalm 132:12. But the primary reference is to 1 Kings 8:25; see Introduction, sect. III.]
But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them:
Verse 6. - But if ye shall at all [rather altogether, or assuredly] turn from following me [The A.V. entirely misrepresents the force of the Hebraism, If to turn, ye shall turn, which must mean complete, not partial, apostasy. Cf. 2 Chronicles 7:19, and 2 Samuel 7:14, 15], ye or your children [as the promises of God are to us and our children (Acts 2:39), so are His threatenings], and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I [LXX. Μωυσῆς; Qui facit per allure, etc.] have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them [Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 5:9; Deuteronomy 13:2]:
Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people:
Verse 7. - Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them [Cf. Deuteronomy 4:26, 27; and for the fulfilment see 2 Kings 25:11, 21;] and this house which I have hallowed for my name [Jeremiah 7:14] will I cast out of my sight [same expression, 2 Kings 24:20]; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people [the exact words of Deuteronomy 28:37. Similar words in Isaiah 14:4; Micah 6:16. Much the same punishment is denounced in Leviticus 26:14-38, and Deuteronomy 4:45, 63]:
And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house?
Verse 8. - And at this house, which is high [Heb., And this house shall be high, עֶלְיון יִהְיֶה. Our translators were probably influenced by 2 Chronicles 7:21, the text of which is אֲשֶׁר הָיהָ עֶלְיון which would seem to be an emendation, designed to clear up the difficulty rather than an accidental variation of the text. But here the literal rendering is probably the truer, the meaning being "this house shall be conspicuous, as an example" - so the Vulg. domus haec erit in exemplum. The LXX. accords with the Hebrew text, ὁ οῖκος οῦτος ἔσται ὁ ὐψηλὸς, but the Syriac and Arabic read, "this house shall be destroyed." Keil sees in the words an allusion implicite to Deuteronomy 26:19, and Deuteronomy 28:1, where God promises to make Israel עֶלְיון, and says "the blessing will be turned into a curse." The temple should indeed be "high," should be what Israel would have been, but it shall be as a warning, etc.; but this connexion is somewhat far fetched and artificial. Thenius would read for, עִיִּין עֶלְיון. "ruins," after Micah 3:12; Jeremiah 26:18; Psalm 79:1; but it is hardly right to resort to conjectures, unsupported by a single version or MS., so long as any sufficient meaning can be extracted from the words as they stand, and no one can deny that "high" may surely signify "conspicuous." Cf. Matthew 11:23], every one that passeth by it shall be astonished. [שָׁמֵם primarily means to be dumb with astonishment, Gesen., Thessalonians 3. p. 1435] and shall hiss [שָׁרַק, like "hiss," is an onomatopoetic word. It does not denote the hissing of terror (Bahr) but of derision; cf. Jeremiah 19:8; Jeremiah 49:17; Job 27:23; Lamentations 2:15, 16. Rawlinson aptly remarks, as bearing on the authorship of the Kings, that this is a familiar word in Jeremiah (see 1 Kings 18:16; 25:9; 29:18; 50:13; 51:37, in addition to the passages cited above), and that the other prophets rarely use it. The fact that much of this charge is in Jeremiah's style, confirms the view taken above (note on ver. 4), that the ipsissima verba of the dream are not preserved to us. The author indeed could hardly do more than preserve its leading ideas, which he would naturally present in his own dress]; and they shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land and to this house? [Similar words Deuteronomy 29:24, 25; Jeremiah 22:8.]
And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.
Verse 9. - And they shall answer, Because they forsook the Lord their God who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt [Based on Deuteronomy 29:25. Solomon in his prayer referred repeatedly to this great deliverance, vers. 16, 21, 51, 53], and have taken hold upon other gods and have worshipped them and served them; therefore hath the Lord brought upon them all this evil.
CHAPTER 9:10-28. SOLOMON'S BUILDINGS AND UNDERTAKINGS. - So far the historian has spoken exclusively of the two greatest works of Solomon's reign, the Temple and the Palace, and principally of the former. Even the message just related was, as we have seen, the response to the prayer offered when the temple was consecrated. But he now proceeds to mention other proofs of Solomon's greatness, and of the prosperity of his reign - doubtless because the glory of Israel then reached its climax, and the author would be tempted to linger over these details because of the dark contrast which his own time supplied - and this leads him to speak of the means by which all these enterprises were accomplished. The particulars here given are but fragmentary, and are grouped together in a somewhat irregular manner. It would seem as if both this account and that of the chronicler had been compiled from much more copious histories, each writer having cited those particulars which appeared to him to be the most interesting and important. But the design of the historian in either case is evident, viz.,
(1) to recount the principal undertakings of this illustrious king, and
(2) to indicate the resources which enabled him to accomplish such ambitious and extensive designs. These latter were
(1) the alliance with Hiram, which secured him the necessary materials (vers. 11-14);
(2) the forced labour of the subject races (vers. 20-23); and
(3) the voyages of his fleet (vers. 26-28).
And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the LORD, and the king's house,
Verse 10. - And it came to pass at the end of twenty years [seven of which were occupied on the temple and thirteen on the palace (1 Kings 7:1) ], when [or, during which. LXX. ἐν οῖς ὠκοδομὴσε. This may well be the meaning of אֲשׁר בָּנָה, though אֲשֶׁר, qui, undoubtedly sometimes has the sense of quum] Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord and the king's house. [Observe how all the palaces are regarded as one house. Note on 1 Kings 7:1.]
(Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.
Verse 11. - (Now Hiram the king of Tyre [Here we have a parenthesis referring us back to 1 Kings 5:8-10] had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and with fir trees and with gold [The gold is here mentioned for the first time, No doubt Hiram's shipping had brought it in Before the Jewish navy was built. It was this probably that led to the construction of a fleet] according to all his desire), that then [this is the apodosis to ver. 10] king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities [really they were mere villages. "It is a genuine Eastern trick to dignify a small present with a pompous name" (Thomson). But עִיר is a word of very wide meaning] in the land of Galilee. גּלִיל lit., circuit, region (like Ciccar, 1 Kings 7:46), hence often found as here with the art. = the region of the Gentiles (Isaiah 9:1; 1 Macc. 5:15; Matthew 4:15), so called because it was inhabited by Phoenicians (see 2 Samuel 24:7, and Strabo, 16. p. 760), originally designated but a small part of the considerable tract of country later known as the province of "Galilee," viz., the northern part in the tribe of Naphtali (Joshua 20:7; 2 Kings 15:29; Isaiah 9:1. Cf. Jos., Ant. 5.1.18). It is easy to see why this particular region was surrendered to Hiram.
(1) It was near his country (2 Samuel 24:7);
(2) the people were Phoenicians, allied to Hiram, but strangers to Solomon, both in race and religion;
(3) Solomon could not with propriety alienate any part of Immanuel's land, or convey to a foreigner the dominion over the people of the Lord. Leviticus 25:23 forbade the alienation of the land; Deuteronomy 17:15 the rule of a stranger.
And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they pleased him not.
Verse 12. - And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they pleased him not. [Heb. were not right in his eyes. It has been conjectured that Hiram had hoped for the noble bay of Acco or Ptolemais (Milman, Rawlinson), but surely he had seaboard enough already. It was rather corn lands he would most need and desire. His disappointment is amply accounted for by the fact that the country assigned him was a hungry and mountainous, and therefore comparatively useless, tract. "The region lay on the summit of a broad mountain ridge" (Porter).]
And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day.
Verse 13. - And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? [Cf. 1 Kings 20:32. It would seem, at first sight, as if this form of speech was then, as now, the usage of courts. But the Fellahin of Palestine, the "modern Canaanites," still address each other as "my father" or "my brother." See Conder, "Tent-work," p. 332]. And he called them the land of Cabul [The meaning of this word is quite uncertain. The LXX. reads Οριον, which shows that they must have read גבול instead of כבול; indeed, it is possible that the words have the same meaning (Gesen.) Stanley (S. and P. p. 364) thinks these cities formed the boundary between the two kingdoms, and refers to the use of ὅρια in Matthew 15:21; Luke 6:17, etc. According to Josephus, Ξαβαλὼν, is a Phoenician word, meaning displeasing; but his etymologies are to be received with caution, and Gesenius justly pronounces this a mere conjecture from the context. Thenius and Ewald regard the word as compounded of כ and בל = as nothing; Keil connects it with the root חבל, which would yield the meaning pawned or pledged, and hence concludes that, this strip of territory was merely given to Hiram as a security for the repayment of a loan (see below on ver. 14); while Bahr derives it from כבל, an unused root, akin to the preceding - vinxit, constrinxit, and would see in it a name bestowed on the region because of its confined geographical position. He does not understand the word, however, as a term of contempt. "How," he asks, "could Hiram give the district a permanent name which contained a mockery of himself rather than of the land?" But the word was obviously an expression of disparagement, if not disgust, which, falling from Hiram's lips, was caught up and repeated with a view to mark not so much his displeasure as Solomon's meanness. But it is not necessary to find a meaning for the word, for it is to be considered that a city Bearing this name existed at that time and in this neighbourhood (Joshua 19:27), the site of which, in all probability, is marked by the modern Kabul, eight miles east of Accho (Robinson, 3:87, 88; Dict. Bib. 1:237; Thomson, "Land and Book," 1:281, 511). It is possible, indeed, that it may have been one of the "twenty cities" (ver. 11) given to Hiram. And if this city, whether within or without the district of Galilee, were notorious for its poverty or meanness, or conspicuous by its bleak situation, we can at once understand why Hiram should transfer the name to the adjoining region, even if that name, in itself, had no special significance] unto this day. [See on 1 Kings 8:8.]
And Hiram sent to the king sixscore talents of gold.
Verse 14. - And Hiram sent וַיְִּשלַח must be understood as pluperfect, "Now Hiram had sent," referring to verse 11. This fact is mentioned to explain the gift of the cities, viz., that they were in payment for the gold he had furnished. The timber and stone and labour had been paid for in corn and wine and oil See on 1 Kings 5:11] to the king sixscore talents of gold. [This sum is variously estimated at from half a million to a million and a quarter of our money. (Keil, in loc., and Dict. Bib. 3:1734. It equalled 3000 shekels of the sanctuary (Exodus 38:24-26). Keil, who, as we have seen, interprets Cabul to mean pledged, says somewhat positively that these 120 talents were merely lent to Solomon to enable him to prosecute his undertakings, and that the twenty cities were Hiram's security for its repayment. He further sees in the restoration of these cities (2 Chronicles 8:2, where see note) a proof that Solomon must have repaid the amount lent him. The "sixscore talents "should be compared with the 120 talents of ch. 10:10, and the 666 talents of 1 Kings 10:14.]
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.
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.
For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon's wife.
Verse 16. - For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up and taken Gezer and burnt it with fire [The total destruction of the place and its inhabitants by fire and sword looks more like an act of vengeance for some grave offence than like ordinary warfare], and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city [Though Gezer was allotted to Ephraim (Joshua 16:3) and designated as a Levitical city (ib., 21:21), the Canaanite inhabitants had never been dispossessed (Joshua 16:10; LXX. "Canaanites and Perizzites;" cf. Judges 1:29), and they would seem to have enjoyed a sort of independence], and given it for a present [שִׁלֻחִים, dotatio, dowry. It is the custom of the East for the husband to purchase his wife by a present (Genesis 29:18; 2 Samuel 3:14, etc.); but in royal marriages a dowry was often given. "Sargon gave Cilicia as a dowry with his daughter .... Antiochus Soter gave his claims on Macedonia as a dowry to his step-daughter Phila, when she married Antigonus Gonatas. Coele-Syria and Palestine were promised as a dowry to Ptolemy Epiphanes, when he married Cleopatra, sister of Antiochus the Great," etc. (Rawlinson). Gezer being a wedding present, its conquest must have taken place years before the date to which the history is now brought down] unto his daughter, Solomon's wife.
And Solomon built Gezer, and Bethhoron the nether,
Verse 17. - And Solomon built Gezer [In the case of Gezer it was an actual rebuilding. But as applied to Beth-boron, etc., "built" probably means enlarged, strengthened] and Beth-horon the nether [mentioned in connexion with Gezer, Joshua 16:3 (cf. 10:10). It is deserving of mention that the two cities of Beth-horon still survive in the modern villages of Beitur el-tahta and el-fok," names which are "clearly corruptions of Beth-horon "the Nether" and "the Upper" (Stanley, S. and P., p. 208): One lies at the foot of the ravine, on an eminence, the other at the summit of the pass. Like Megiddo and Gezer, this town, too, lay on a high road, viz., that between Jerusalem and the sea coast. The selection of Beth-horon for fortification by Solomon is also justified by history - three decisive battles having been fought here (see Joshua 10:10; 1 Macc. 3:13-24, and Jos., Bell Jud. 2.19.8. The object of the king in fortifying this place was to protect the uplands of Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim against invasion from the Philistine plain. It is perhaps not unnoteworthy that, according to our author, it was Beth-horon the nether that Solomon "built," as this would naturally have suffered more than its loftier neighbour from war. According to 2 Chronicles 8:5, however, Solomon built Beth-horon the upper also.
And Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land,
Verse 18. - And Baalath [probably the place mentioned in Joshua 19:44, and therefore a town of Daniel By some it has been identified, but on wholly insufficient grounds - the mention of Tadmor immediately afterwards being the chief - with Baalbek. This is one of the names which prove how ancient and widespread was the worship of Baal (Gesen., Thesaurus, 225; Dict. Bib., 1:147,148) ] and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land. [Whether this is
(1) the famous Palmyra, or
(2) Tamar, an obscure town of south Judah, is a question which has been much disputed. It should be stated in the first place that the Cethib has תמר, but the Keri, after 2 Chronicles 8:4, reads תדמר, as do all the versions; and secondly that a Tarnar is mentioned Ezekiel 47:19 and Ezekiel 48:28 a place which may well be identical with "Hazazon Tamar, which is Engedi" (2 Chronicles 20:2; cf. Genesis 14:7. In favour of (1) are the following considerations:
(1) the statement of the chronicler that Solomon did build Palmyra (for of the identity of "Tadmor" with Palmyra there can be no reasonable doubt; see Dict. Bib. 3:1428).
(2) The probability that Solomon, with his wide views of commerce, would seize upon and fortify the one oasis in the great Syrian desert in order to establish an entrepot there (see on ver. 19).
(3) The words "in the wilderness," which, of course, are eminently true of Palmyra. Against it, however, may be urged
(1) that Tamar was much more likely to be changed into Tadmor than Tadmor into Tamar.
(2) That this place is distinctly described as "in the land," which, strictly, Palmyra was not. But here it is to be observed that the chronicler omits these words, and that the Syriac, Arabic, and Vulgate render, "in the land of the wilderness." Keil says our text is manifestly corrupt, and certainly the expression is a singular one. Some would, therefore, alter בארץ into באדם, or into בחמת (after 2 Chronicles 8:4). Both of the emendations, however, while undoubtedly plausible, are purely conjectural. Wordsworth, who thinks Palmyra is meant, says it is described as "in the land" to indicate that God had fulfilled his promise to extend the land of Solomon far eastward into the wilderness (Psalm 72:9). And a Jewish historian, especially in the time of his country s decadence, might well recount how this great city had once been comprised within the boundaries of Israel. In favour of (2) are these facts:
(1) That it is the reading of the text. It is said, however, that the ancient name of Tadmor was Tamar, and the place clearly owed its name to the Palm trees. But the name is always Tadmor in the Palmyrene inscriptions.
(2) That this place was "in the wilderness," i.e., of Judah.
(3) That it was "in the land," and
(4) that it was in close proximity to the places just mentioned. The evidence is thus so evenly balanced that it is impossible to decide positively between the two.
And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.
Verse 19. - And all the cities of store that Solomon had [cities where the produce of the land was stored for the use of the troops or household, or against a season of scarcity (Genesis 41:35; Exodus 1:11), or possibly (Ewald) they were emporiums for the development of trade. The fact that these store cities are mentioned in the same breath with Tadmor, is an argument for the identification of that place with Palmyra, which Solomon could only have built as a means of gaining or retaining control over the caravan trade between the East and the Mediterranean. Cf. 2 Chronicles 17:12; 2 Chronicles 32:28, and Genesis 41:48. They would seem to have been chiefly on the northern frontier, 2 Chronicles 8:4 ("in Hamath"), ib. 2 Chronicles 16:4 speaks of "the store cities of Napthali." It should be remembered that Solomon had an adversary in Damascus], and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen [Cf. 1 Kings 4:26. These were not so much fortresses (vers. 15-18) as places adapted to accommodate his cavalry, etc. For horsemen we should perhaps read horses. See note on 1 Kings 5:6], and that which Solomon desired to build [Heb. and the desire of Solomon which he desired; cf. ver.
1. The use of the cognate verb refutes the idea that Solomon's "desire" is another name for pleasure buildings or pleasaunces, as does also "desire" in ver. 11. It is certain, however, that such buildings were erected, and it is probable that they are referred to here] in Jerusalem and in Lebanon [It is highly probable that pleasure houses were built in Lebanon (Song of Solomon 7:4, passim), for which Solomon may well have had a strong affection, and pleasure gardens in Jerusalem (Ecclesiastes 2:4-7). See Stanley, pp. 197-199); and we may reasonably imagine (with Ewald) that in these latter he sought to grow specimens of the plants, etc., about which he "spoke" (ch. 4:33; cf. Ecclesiastes 2:5). "It is a curious fact that in the ground hard by the 'fountains of Solomon' near Bethlehem, which exhibit manifest traces of an ancient garden, and where the intimations of Josephus would lead us to suppose that Solomon had a rural retreat, are still to be found a number of plants self sown from age to age, which do not exist in any other part of the Holy Land" (Kitto, "Bib. Illus." vol. 4. p. 101). Some of Solomon's journeys to these favourite resorts, we can hardly doubt, are referred to in Song of Solomon 3:6-10; Song of Solomon 4:8 sqq.; Song of Solomon 6:11] and in all the land of his dominion.
And all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which were not of the children of Israel,
Verse 20. - And all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites [Judges 1:21-36; Judges 3:5; 1 Chronicles 22:2] which were not of the children of Israel.
Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day.
Verse 21. - Their children that were left after them in the land [this is explicative of ver. 20], whom the children of Israel also [also is not in the Hebrew, and is meaningless] were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bond service [see on 1 Kings 5:13, and cf. Judges 1., passim, and 1 Chronicles 22:2] unto this day.
But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no bondmen: but they were men of war, and his servants, and his princes, and his captains, and rulers of his chariots, and his horsemen.
Verse 22. - But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no bondmen [see however 1 Kings 5:13, 18. This service, though compulsory, was not servile. Bondage was forbidden Leviticus 25:39. The levy were treated as hired servants and had wages]; but they were men of war, and his servants [cf. 1 Kings 1:9. Not only "officials of the war department" (Bahr) but officers of every kind], and his princes [these were the heads both of the military and civil services], and his captains [Heb. שָׁלִשָׁיו. LXX. τρωτάται. Exodus 14:7; Exodus 15:4; 2 Samuel 23:8; 2 Kings 9:25; 2 Kings 10:25, etc. These third men were really "a noble rank of soldiers who fought from chariots" (Gesen.), each of which would seem to have held three men, one of whom drove, while two fought: thence used of the bodyguard of kings. That they formed a corps, and were not literally "captains," is clear from 1 Samuel 23:8, etc.] and rulers of his chariots, and his horsemen.
These were the chief of the officers that were over Solomon's work, five hundred and fifty, which bare rule over the people that wrought in the work.
Verse 23. - These were the chief of the Officers that were over Solomon's work; five hundred and fifty, which bare rule over the people that wrought in the work [see on 1 Kings 5:16].
But Pharaoh's daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her: then did he build Millo.
Verse 24. - But [אַך, lit. only. Keil rightly connects the word with אַז below. "So soon as.. then." Cf. Genesis 27:30. This and ver. 25 are not interposed arbitrarily, as might at first sight appear, but refer to 1 Kings 3:1-4. The completion of the palaces rendered it no longer necessary or proper that Solomon's daughter should dwell in a separate house. The chronicler tells us that she had dwelt in David's palace on Mount Zion, and that Solomon was constrained to remove her, because he looked upon all the precinct as now consecrated (2 Chronicles 8:11) ]. Pharaoh's daughter came up [עָלְתָה. Keil hence argues that the palace stood on higher ground than David's house. But this conclusion is somewhat precarious. The approach to the palace involved an ascent, but Zion was certainly as high as Ophel] out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon [Heb. he] had built for her: then did he build Millo. [Thenius infers from these words that Mille was a fort or castle for the protection of the harem. But there is no warrant for any such conjecture. In the first place, this wife would seem to have been lodged in her own palace apart from the other wives.
2. We can offer a better explanation of the word Mille (see ver. 15).
3. The word "then" may mean either
(1), that when her palace was completed, Solomon then had workmen who were liberated and were employed on Mille (Keil), or
(2), that when she vacated David's house, the building of Mille could be proceeded with.
And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the LORD, and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the LORD. So he finished the house.
Verse 25. - And three times in a year [i.e., no doubt at the three feasts, the times of greatest solemnity, and when there was the largest concourse of people. See 2 Chronicles 8:12. The design of this verse may be to show that there was no longer any offering on high places. It would thus refer to 1 Kings 3:2, as ver. 24 to 1 Kings 3:1] did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the Lord [the chronicler adds, "before the porch"], and he burnt incense. [It has been supposed by some that Solomon sacrificed and burnt incense propria manu. According to Dean Stanley ("Jewish Ch." 2. pp. 220, 221), "he solemnly entered, not only the temple courts with sacrifices, but penetrated into the Holy Place itself, where in later years none but the priests were allowed to enter, and offered incense on the altar of incense." But this positive statement is absolutely destitute of all basis. For, in the first place, there is nothing in the text to support it. If Solomon ordered, or defrayed the cost of, the sacrifices, etc., as no doubt he did, the historian would properly and naturally describe him as offering burnt offerings. Qui facit per alium facit per se, and priests are expressly mentioned as present at these sacrifices (1 Kings 8:6; 2 Chronicles 5:7-14; 2 Chronicles 7:2, 5). We have just as much reason, and no more, for believing that the king built Mille (ver. 24) with his own hands, and with his own hands "made a navy of ships" (ver. 26), as that he sacrificed, etc., in propria persona. And, secondly, it is simply inconceivable, if he had so acted, that it should have attracted no more notice, and that our historian should have passed it over thus lightly. We know what is recorded by our author as having happened when, less than two centuries afterwards, King Uzziah presumed to intrude on the functions of the priests (2 Chronicles 26:17-20); cf. 1 Kings 13:1), and we know what had happened some five centuries before (Numbers 16:35), when men who were not of the seed of Aaron came near to offer incense before the Lord. It is impossible that Solomon could have disregarded that solemn warning without some protest, or without a syllable of blame on the part of our author. And the true account of these sacrifices is that they were offered by the king as the builder of the temple, and probably throughout his life, by the hands of the ministering priests (2 Chronicles 8:14). Thrice in the year he showed his piety by a great function, at which he offered liberally] upon the altar [Heb. upon that, sc. altar אתּו. See Gesen. Lex., p. 94; Ewald, Syntax, 332a (3) ] that was before the Lord. [The altar of incense stood before the entrance to the oracle, the place of the Divine presence. See on 1 Kings 6:22-3. So he finished the house. [Same word, but in the Kal form in 1 Kings 7:51. The Piel form, used here, may convey the deeper meaning, "he perfected," i.e., by devoting it to its proper use. It was to be "a house of sacrifice" (2 Chronicles 7:12).
And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.
Verse 26. - And king Solomon made a navy of ships [Heb. ךאנִי, a collective noun, classis. The chronicler paraphrases by ךאנִיות, plural. This fact finds a record here, probably because it was to the voyages of this fleet that the king was indebted for the gold which enabled him to erect and adorn the buildings recently described. (As to form, etc., of the ships, see Dict. Bib. 2. p. 1014). But no historian could pass over without notice an event of such profound importance to Israel as the construction of its first ships, which, next to the temple, was the great event of Solomon's reign] in Ezion-geber [lit., the backbone of a man (or giant). Cf. Numbers 33:35; Deuteronomy 2:8; 2 Kings 4:22; 2 Chronicles 8:17. The name is probably due, like Shechem (see note on 1 Kings 12:25) to a real or fancied resemblance in the physical geography of the country to that part of the human body. Stanley (S. and P. p. 84) speaks of "the jagged ranges on each side of the gulf." Akaba, the modern name, also means back. 2 Chronicles l.c. says Solomon went to Ezion-geber, which it is highly probable he would do], which is beside [Heb. אֵת = aloud (Gesen., Lex. s.v.)] Eloth [lit., trees akin to Elim, where were palm trees (Exodus 15:27; Exodus 16:1). The name is interesting as suggesting that Solomon may have found some of the timber for the construction of his fleet here. A grove of palm trees "still exists at the head of the gulf of Akaba" (Stanley S. and P. p. 20). Palms, it is true, are not adapted to shipbuilding, but other timber may have grown there in a past age. But see note on ver. 27. For Elath, see Porter, p. 40; Deuteronomy 2:8; 2 Samuel 8:14 (which shows how it passed into the hand of Israel); 2 Kings 8:20; 2 Kings 14:22; 2 Kings 16:6. It gave a name to the Elanitic Gulf, now the Gulf of Akaba], on the shore [Heb. lip] of the Red sea [Heb. Sea of Rushes. LXX. ἡ ἐρυθρὰ θάλασσα. The redness is due to subaqueous vegetation. "Fragments of red coral are forever being thrown up from the stores below, and it is these coral-line forests which form the true 'weeds' of this fantastic sea" (Stanley, S. and P. p. 83). There is also apparently a bottom of red sandstone (ib. p. 6, note). It is divided by the Sinaitic peninsula into two arms or gulfs, the western being the Gulf of Suez, and the eastern the Gulf of Akabah. The former is 130 miles, the latter 90 miles long], in the land of Edom. [The subjugation of Edom is mentioned 2 Samuel 8:14.]
And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.
Verse 27. - And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea with the servants of Solomon. [The chronicler states (2 Chronicles 8:18) that he sent ships as well as servants, and it has been thought that ships were transported, in parts or entire, by land across the Isthmus of Suez, and there are certainly instances on record of the land transport of fleets. (Keil reminds us that Alexander the Great, according to Arrian, had snips transported - in pieces - from Phoenicia to the Euphrates, and that, according to Thucydides (Bell. Pelop. 4:8) the Peloponnesians conveyed 60 ships from Corcyra across the Leucadian Isthmus, etc.) But this, especially when the state of engineering science, etc., among the Hebrews is taken into account, is hardly to be thought cf. It is quite possible, however, that timber for shipbuilding was floated on the Mediterranean down to the river of Egypt, or some such place, and then transported either to Suez or to Akaba. Probably all that the chronicler means is that Hiram provided the materials and had the ships built. The Israelites, having hitherto had no fleet, and little or no experience of the sea, were unable to construct ships for themselves. And the Tyrians may have seen in the construction of a fleet for eastern voyages, an opening for the extension of their own maritime trade. Possibly in the first voyages Tyriaus and Jews were copartners.]
And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.
Verse 28. - And they came to Ophir [It is perhaps impossible to identify this place with any degree of precision. The opinions of scholars may, however, be practically reduced to two, The first would place Ophir in India; the second in southern Arabia. In favour of India is
(1) the three years' voyage (but see on 1 Kings 10:22);
(2) most of the other treasures brought back by the fleet, exclusive of gold, are Indian products. But against it is urged the important fact that no gold is now found there, south of Cashmere, whilst south Arabia was famed for its abundant gold (Psalm 72:15; Ezekiel 27:22). On the other hand, it is alleged that in ancient times India was rich in gold (Ewald, 3. p. 264), and that there are no traces of gold mines in Arabia. The question is discussed at considerable length and with great learning by Mr. Twisleton (Dict. Bib. art. "Ophir"). He shows that it is reasonably certain
(1) that the Ophir of Genesis 10:29 is the name of some city, region, or tribe in Arabia, and
(2) that the Ophir of Genesis is the Ophir of the Book of Kings. And Gesenius, Bahr, Keil, al. agree with him in locating Ophir in the latter country. Ewald, however, sees in Ophir "the most distant coasts of India," and it is probable that the Hebrews used the word somewhat loosely, as they did the corresponding word Tarshish, and as we do the words East and West Indies. They were not geographers, and Ophir may have been merely an emporium where the products of different countries were collected, or a nomen generale for "all the countries lying on the African, Arabian, or Indian seas, so far as at that time known" (Heeren). See on 1 Kings 10:5], and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents [The chronicler says 450. The discrepancy is easily accounted for, 20 being expressed by כ; 50 by נ. Wordsworth suggests that "perhaps thirty were assigned to Hiram for his help"] and brought it to king Solomon.