1. So King Solomon was king over all
Israel—This chapter contains a general description of the
state and glory of the Hebrew kingdom during the more flourishing or
later years of his reign.
2. these were the princes—or chief
officers, as is evident from two of them marrying Solomon's
Azariah the son of Zadok the
priest—rather, "the prince," as the Hebrew word
frequently signifies (Ge 41:45; Ex 2:16; 2Sa 8:18); so that from the precedency
given to his person in the list, he seems to have been prime minister,
the highest in office next the king.
3. scribes—that is, secretaries of
state. Under David, there had been only one [2Sa 8:17;
20:25]. The employment of
three functionaries in this department indicates either improved
regulations by the division of labor, or a great increase of business,
occasioned by the growing prosperity of the kingdom, or a more
extensive correspondence with foreign countries.
recorder—that is, historiographer, or
annalist—an office of great importance in Oriental courts, and
the duties of which consisted in chronicling the occurrences of every
4. Benaiah … was over the
host—formerly captain of the guard. He had succeeded Joab as
commander of the forces.
Zadok and Abiathar were the
priests—Only the first discharged the sacred functions; the
latter had been banished to his country seat and retained nothing more
than the name of high priest.
5. over the officers—that is, the
provincial governors enumerated in 1Ki 4:17-19.
principal officer, and the king's
friend—perhaps president of the privy council, and Solomon's
confidential friend or favorite. This high functionary had probably
been reared along with Solomon. That he should heap those honors on the
sons of Nathan was most natural, considering the close intimacy of the
father with the late king, and the deep obligations under which Solomon
personally lay to the prophet.
6. Ahishar was over the
household—steward or chamberlain of the palace.
Adoniram—or Adoram (2Sa 20:24;
1Ki 12:18), or Hadoram (2Ch 10:18),
was over the tribute—not the
collection of money or goods, but the levy of compulsory laborers
(compare 1Ki 5:13, 14).
His Twelve Officers.
7. Solomon had twelve officers over all
Israel—The royal revenues were raised according to the
ancient, and still, in many parts, existing usage of the East, not in
money payments, but in the produce of the soil. There would be always a
considerable difficulty in the collection and transmission of these
8:15). Therefore, to
facilitate the work, Solomon appointed twelve officers, who had each
the charge of a tribe or particular district of country, from which, in
monthly rotation, the supplies for the maintenance of the king's
household were drawn, having first been deposited in "the store cities"
which were erected for their reception (1Ki 9:19; 2Ch 8:4, 6).
8. The son of Hur—or, as the
Margin has it, Benhur, Bendekar. In the rural parts of
Syria, and among the Arabs, it is still common to designate persons not
by their own names, but as the sons of their fathers.
21. Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the
river—All the petty kingdoms between the Euphrates and the
Mediterranean were tributary to him. Similar is the statement in 1Ki 4:24.
22, 23. Solomon's provision for one
day—not for the king's table only, but for all connected with
the court, including, besides the royal establishment, those of his
royal consorts, his principal officers, his bodyguards, his foreign
visitors, &c. The quantity of fine floor used is estimated at two
hundred forty bushels; that of meal or common flour at four hundred
eighty. The number of cattle required for consumption, besides poultry
and several kinds of game (which were abundant on the mountains) did
not exceed in proportion what is needed in other courts of the
24. from Tiphsah—that is, Thapsacus, a
large and flourishing town on the west bank of the Euphrates, the name
of which was derived from a celebrated ford near it, the lowest on that
even to Azzah—that is, Gaza, on the
southwestern extremity, not far from the Mediterranean.
25. every man under his vine and … fig
tree—This is a common and beautiful metaphor for peace and
security (Mic 4:4; Zec 3:10), founded on the practice, still common
in modern Syria, of training these fruit trees up the walls and stairs
of houses, so as to make a shady arbor, beneath which the people sit
26. forty thousand stalls—for the royal
mews (see on 2Ch 9:25).
28. Barley … and straw—Straw is
not used for litter, but barley mixed with chopped straw is the usual
fodder of horses.
distinguished for their great fleetness.
1Ki 4:29-34. His
29. God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding
exceeding much, and largeness of heart—that is, high powers
of mind, great capacity for receieving, as well as aptitude for
30. Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all
the children of the east country—that is, the Arabians,
Chaldeans, and Persians (Ge 25:6).
all the wisdom of Egypt—Egypt was
renowned as the seat of learning and sciences, and the existing
monuments, which so clearly describe the ancient state of society and
the arts, show the high culture of the Egyptian people.
31. wiser than all men—that is, all his
contemporaries, either at home or abroad.
than Ethan—or Jeduthun, of the family
of Merari (1Ch 6:44).
Heman—(1Ch 15:17-19)—the chief of the temple musicians
and the king's seers (1Ch 25:5);
the other two are not known.
the sons of Mahol—either another name
for Zerah (1Ch 2:6); or
taking it as a common noun, signifying a dance, a chorus, "the sons of
Mahol" signify persons eminently skilled in poetry and music.
32. he spake three thousand
proverbs—embodying his moral sentiments and sage observations
on human life and character.
songs … a thousand and
five—Psalm 72, 127, 132, and the Song of Songs are his.
33. he spake of trees, from the cedar … to
the hyssop—all plants, from the greatest to the least. The
Spirit of God has seen fit to preserve comparatively few memorials of
the fruits of his gigantic mind. The greater part of those here
ascribed to him have long since fallen a prey to the ravages of time,
or perished in the Babylonish captivity, probably because they were not