1 Kings 4:25
Throughout the days of Solomon, Judah and Israel lived in safety from Dan to Beersheba, each man under his own vine and his own fig tree.
National ProsperityN. Emmons, D. D.1 Kings 4:25
Prosperity Under the Reign of WisdomN. L. Frothingham.1 Kings 4:25
The Great Gain of GodlinessAlexander Maclaren1 Kings 4:25
A Kingdom Unified1 Kings 4:1-28
The Church TriumphantJ. Parker, D. D.1 Kings 4:1-28
A Prosperous ReignJ. Waite 1 Kings 4:20-25
Solomon's FeastJ. Parker, D. D.1 Kings 4:22-28

This chapter presents a general view of the prosperity of Solomon's reign, much of which was owing to the extraordinary, glory of the reign of David. Such a rule as David's sowed seeds of blessing m the land which it was Solomon's privilege to reap. David united the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, and Solomon came into quiet possession of the completed commonwealth. David laid the foundation, Solomon developed the fabric and adorned it. Each succeeding generation inherits the good stored up for it by those that went before. Happy they who are the descendants of a noble ancestry. If it is true that "the sins of the fathers are visited on the children," etc., equally true is it that "the good men do lives after them." We all reap the fruits of the care and toll and suffering of our fathers. "Other men labour and we enter into their labours." The text suggests -

I. THE GRANDEUR OF A MULTITUDINOUS PEOPLE. "Judah and Israel were many, etc. What is the secret of the feeling of solemnity akin to awe with which we gaze upon a vast concourse of human beings? It is the fulness of life - not mere physical force, but thinking, emotional life, with all its latent capacities that impresses us. But think of a great nation - what a world of busy, many-sided life is here! What complex relations; what slumbering energies; what rich resources; what mines of undeveloped thought; what tides of feeling; what boundless possibilities of good or evil, of glory or of shame! Consider the mutual action and reaction of the individual and corporate life in such a nation; the conditions of its well being; the tremendous responsibility of those who are set to guide its forces, to guard its interests, to control its destinies. We can understand the trembling of spirit Moses felt when he looked on the thronging host of Israel in the wilderness. "Wherefore layest thou the burden of all this people upon me?" etc. (Numbers 11:11). So with Solomon - "Who is able to judge this thy so great a people?" (1 Kings 3:9). Rulers who show that they are alive to the dread significance of their position claim our deepest sympathy. Well may we pray for them (1 Timothy 2:2) that they may be inspired by the right spirit, prompted by purest motives, never allowed to fall into the sin

"Of making their high place the lawless perch
Of winged ambitions."

II. THE FAR REACHING INFLUENCE OF A WISE AND RIGHTEOUS RULE. "And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms," etc. (ver. 21). These were tributary kingdoms. It was not the division of one great empire into many provinces, but the recognition by outlying principalities of the superior sovereignty of the Hebrew monarch. What was the cause of this widespread influence? Won by force of arms in David's reign, it was retained, probably, by force of good government and beneficent policy. Israel presented an example of a well-ordered state - entered, under Solomon, On a remarkable career as a commercial people - Solomon himself a royal merchant. Note his sagacity in "making affinity" with the king of Egypt (1 Kings 3:1), and in his treaty with Hiram, king of Tyre (ch. 5.) This was the secret of Solomon's influence. As far as we can judge, it was not so much the result of overmastering force, but of a policy by which the bonds of mutual confidence and helpfulness were strengthened. We are reminded that this is the real stability of any nation - the spirit of justice, integrity, beneficence that inspires it, coupled with the disposition to form friendly and helpful relations. The influence that arises from the display of military strength not worthy to be compared with this. "Righteousness exalteth a nation" (Proverbs 14:84). "The throne is established by righteousness" (Proverbs 16:12). Every nation is strong and influential just in proportion as its internal order and external relations are conformed to the law of righteousness.

III. THE PEACE THAT IS THE RESULT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. "He had peace on all sides round about him" (ver. 24). This was the fulfilment of a prophecy that attended his very birth. David, the "man of war," yearned for a time of peace, and the yearning expressed itself in the names he gave his sons - Absalom, "the father of peace;" Shelomoh, Solomon, "the peaceful one." The peacefulness of Solomon's reign was the natural outcome of his own personal characteristics, and of the policy he adopted. "When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him" (Proverbs 16:7). False maxim of international life, "If you want peace prepare for war" - multiply the means and provocations of strife! Maintain an attitude of distrust, defiance, menace! Men have strange confidence in the pacifying effect of desolating force. They "make a solitude and call it peace," forgetting that tranquillity thus gained does but cover with a deceptive veil the latent seeds of hostility and revenge. How much better the Scripture idea, "The work of righteousness shall be peace," etc. (Isaiah 32:17); "The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace" (James 3:18).

IV. THE SECURITY THAT SPRINGS FROM PEACE (ver. 25). "And Judah and Israel dwelt safely," etc. - this became almost a proverbial expression (2 Kings 18:81; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10). Suggests the quiet enjoyment of the good of life, the fruit of honest labour, under the protection of impartial law. This is the result of peace. Often urged that war is an education in some of the nobler elements of national character; safeguard against luxury and indolent self indulgence, etc. But may not these good results be bought at too terrible a price? Are there no other fields for the healthy development of a nation's energies? - no foes of ignorance, and vice, and social wrong, to say nothing of forms of beneficent world wide enterprise, that call them forth in manly exercise? It is the reign of peace that fosters the industries that enrich the life of a people, and the beneficent activities that beautify it. 'Tis this that "makes the country flourish and the city smile." The happy condition of things here described is said to have lasted through "all the days of Solomon;" chiefly true of the earlier part of his reign. Sins and disasters involved the latter part in gloom. So far, however, we have in it a prophecy of the reign of David's "greater Son." Psalm 72. has its partial fulfilment in the days of Solomon; but the grandeur of its prophetic meaning is realized only in the surpassing glory of His kingdom who is the true "Prince of righteousness and peace." - W.

Judah and Israel dwelt safely.
The text presents to us a perfect picture of a peaceful and prosperous commonwealth. It is painted with few touches, but they are all full of expression. We have before our eyes a fruitful land. Cities, of different but united tribes, shine at a distance. Quiet fields repose between. Families are grouped here and there under the shadow of the leaves and the wealth of the fruit. And over all spreads the rule of the prince, whose name has been but another name for wisdom over the eastern and western world. The text invites us to draw a parallel between the Hebrew commonwealth, at this highest point it ever reached of growth and refinement, and our own country.

1. First, then, it enjoyed the most perfect political independence. It was in itself an empire; compact at home, respected abroad. Its commerce spread its sail to all the winds, and extended its traffic as far as the Spanish coast and the pillars of Hercules. It was independent of the customs of others, as well as of their dictation; for it was a peculiar people. It was independent of the teaching of others; for it was Divinely instructed.

2. Though one, it was composed of several well-defined parts. It was a confederacy of states, owning a common chief.

3. The third particular that calls for our notice in this pleasant scene is the safety, the content, the enjoyment, of each individual citizen — protected in his rights, and surrounded with the bounties which his industry had gathered, or which fortune, without any effort of his own, had bequeathed to him. "Every man under his vine and fig-tree." Here, after all, is the test of a truly flourishing state: what is done for the private person, and what his opportunities are, in point of civilisation and enjoyment. For such persons is the state appointed, and not they for the state. The improvement and happiness of its members must be its leading aim. Such was the happy position of Jacob's united states during the reign of the third of their kings. Though hardly even the third who could be truly called so, he was the last that ruled over their associated people. Irreligion first made its inroads. The service of the Lord was neglected or defiled. The customs of the heathen were adopted. The nations that could not withstand their arms inflicted upon them their superstitions, and so were avenged for their overthrow. Then came the insolence of despotic sway. Oppression provoked resistance. Ten tribes revolted, and two adhered. The bond of political brotherhood was cut through by the sword, and Judah and Israel, so prosperous together, fell wretchedly apart, and became rivals and foes. Where was now their independence? They were intriguing at foreign courts, and seeking disastrous alliances — so unlike their own — with the North and the South. Where was their peace? It was sacrificed in civil strife — that most monstrous of iniquities, and mother of sorrows. Where was their glory? It was all extinguished, except that which burnt in the lamps of the sanctuary, and glowed upon the lips of prophets and holy men. Where was their abundance? It flowed away among their divisions and their sins. The fig ripened for the invader. The wine-press was dabbled with blood.

(N. L. Frothingham.)

I. THAT IT IS GOD WHO BESTOWS NATIONAL PEACE. This, God claims as His peculiar prerogative. "I form the light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things." The voice of Scripture here concurs with the voice of reason. National peace is one of the links in the great chain of providence, and of consequence comes under the Divine direction. It belongs to God to determine when and where national peace shall be enjoyed. And it is easy to see how God can give this blessing to different nations, notwithstanding their native pride and selfishness.

1. God can make it the mutual interest of native and foreign nations to be at peace with each other. This was the ease in the days of Solomon. Just so God is able to unite the hearts of other nations, by uniting their interests. It has long been a maxim in politics, that national interest is the first principle of national policy. It is only for God, therefore, to make it the mutual interest of different nations to be at peace with each other, and they themselves will naturally seek and promote this agreeable object.

2. God is able to govern the hearts of nations, and in that way dispose them to mutual peace and harmony. It was a proverb in Israel, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will." There is a supreme power in every nation; and the men who possess that power, have the right of making war or peace.

II. THAT NATIONAL PEACE IS A GREAT NATIONAL BLESSING, So long as Solomon had peace on all sides round about him, it diffused universal happiness through his widely extended kingdom. National peace is naturally productive of the greatest national prosperity.

1. National peace naturally tends to increase the numbers of a people. It is almost incredible how fast a people will increase in numbers, while they are free from public and wasting calamities. And the increase of numbers not only adds to the happiness of a people, but to the glory of their government. So Solomon thought, and so he said: "In the multitude of people, is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.

2. National peace directly tends to promote national wealth. Wealth is a temporal favour to nations, as well as to individuals, though it be often perverted and abused by both. Solomon says, "The blessing of the Lord it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it." Peace is the parent of wealth. For peace promotes industry, industry promotes commerce, and commerce promotes the wealth of any nation.

3. National peace has a happy influence upon every branch of human knowledge. Leisure and learning go together.

4. National peace affords a favourable opportunity for forming public designs and performing public works. Every rising nation finds that, in order to be happy as well as respectable, it must build cities, erect churches, endow colleges, open canals, make bridges, repair highways, remove public nuisances, and perform many other expensive works of general utility. To promote such national objects was highly reputable among the Romans in the zenith of their prosperity. Pliny congratulates one of his friends upon being appointed a surveyor of the highways; an office to which he, and even Caesar himself, had been promoted. It is only when nations are settled in peace that they can form and execute public designs.

5. It is the direct tendency of national peace to promote personal as well as public prosperity. There is no other national blessing so extensive in its kindly influence.

6. National peace is very friendly to the interests of religion. During the peaceful reign of Solomon, religion greatly flourished.


1. If peace be the greatest national blessing, then war is the greatest national calamity. War and peace are diametrically- opposite to each other in their nature and tendency. War tends to destroy all that prosperity which peace tends to produce.

2. If peace be the greatest of national blessings, then it is the wisdom of those who possess the supreme power in any nation, to promote and maintain this desirable and important object.

3. If it be the natural tendency of national peace to promote national prosperity, then it is the wisdom of a people to do all in their power to retain this invaluable blessing. A prosperous people are very prone to forget the source of their prosperity, and to become extremely stupid, avaricious, and revengeful

4. We learn, from what has been said, that we are under peculiar obligations to God for the bestowment and continuance of our national peace.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

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