I Kings 4



                        Solomon’s State and Court Officials (vs. 1-19)



The account of Solomon’s marriage and entry upon his religious and judicious functions is

appropriately followed by a description of his court, of the great functionaries of the realm,

of his royal state and magnificence, and, lastly, of his varied and unprecedented wisdom.

It must not be supposed, however, from the occurrence of the lists in this particular place,

that they necessarily represent the appointments of the early part of Solomon’s reign.

The mention of two of the married daughters of the king (vs. 11, 15) has been generally

thought to prove that the record belongs to a much later period, and it certainly affords

a powerful presumption in favor of a later date. Too much stress, however, must not be

laid on this consideration, as the girls of the East marry early, and these may well have

been given to officers much their seniors, who had long been in office, and who had

merited this distinction (Joshua 15:16; I Samuel 17:25; 18:17) by the important services

they had rendered to the State.  If the historians of Israel were the prophets, nothing is

more natural than that they should record such details of the Augustan age of their race.


1  So king Solomon was king over all Israel.”  All later kings ruled but a part

of the land of Israel, as also did David at first. 


2 “And these were the princes which  he had; Azariah the son of Zadok the priest,”

It is worthy of remark that in the lists of David the military officers of the kingdom

occupy the first place; in those of Solomon, the civil and religious dignitaries.

“The princes of  Solomon are, with one exception (v. 4) ministers of peace.”  

And these were the princes [i.e. ministers, officers. Compare II Samuel 8:15-18,

and 20:23-26] which he had, Azariah the son [i.e., descendant, probably grandson.

See on 1 Chronicles 6:10] of Zadok the priest. [We are here confronted by two

questions of considerable difficulty. First, to whom does the title “priest” here

belong, to Azariah or to Zadok? Second, what are we to understand by the term,

a spiritual, or a more or less secular person — ἱερεύς - hiereus - priest or βουλευτής -

bouleutaes - counselor?  As to:


1. the Vulgate (sacerdotis) and apparently the Authorized Version, with

the Rabbins, Luther, and many later expounders, connect the title with

Zadok (who is mentioned as priest in v. 4), and understand that Azariah,

the son of the high priest Zadok, was, together with the sons of Shisha, one

of the scribes (v. 3). It is true that this view obviates some difficulties,

but against it are these considerations.


  1. The accents.
  2. The Chaldee and Septuagint,  Codex Alexandrinus; Codex

Vaticanus versions omits the words ἱερεύς (the priest)

      c.   Hebrew usage, according to which the patronymic is regarded as

almost parenthetical.

      d.  The fact that in every other case in this list the title is predicate

nominative (vs. 3-6).

      e.  The position of Azariah’s name, first in the list — a position which

would hardly be assigned to a scribe.

      f.  The absence of any copula (ו), which, it is submitted, would be

required if Azariah and the sons of Shisha alike were scribes. The question

is one of some nicety, but the balance of evidence is distinctly in favor of

connecting the title with Azariah, i.e., Azariah son of Zadok was the

priest.” This brings us to:


2. What are we to understand by “the priest”— הַכֹּהֵן? It is urged by

Keil, Bahr, al. that this cannot mean “priest” in the ordinary sense of the

word, still less “high priest,” for the following reasons:


  1. Because the high priests of Solomon are mentioned presently, viz.,

Abiathar and Zadok, and the Jews never had three high priests.

      b.  Because the Azariah who was high priest under Solomon for the words

of 1 Chronicles 6:10, “He it is that executed the priest’s office,” etc,

must belong to the Azariah of v. 9, and have got accidentally misplaced

— was the son of Ahimaaz, not of Zadok.

       c. Because no grandson of Zadok could then be old enough to sustain the

office of high priest.

       d.  Because in one passage (II Samuel 8:18, compared with 1 Chronicles 18:17)

כֹּהֲנִים is used of privy councilors and of the sons of David, who cannot

have been sacrificing priests. Keil consequently would understand that

Azariah was “administrator of the kingdom, or prime minister.” Similarly

Bahr. But in favor of the ordinary meaning of the word are these powerful



(1) All the versions translate the word by “priest,” i.e., they understand by

      the term a spiritual person.

(2) Whatever may be the case with  כֹּהֵןהַכֹּהֵ,the priest” (par

      excellence) can only be understood of the high priest (ch. 1:8, 38;

            Exodus 29:30; Leviticus 21:21; II Kings 11:9, 15; 22:4, 8, 10,

      12, 14. Compare II Chronicles 26:17).

(3) It is extremely doubtful whether כֹּהֵן is ever used except in the sense of

      is ever used except in the sense of ἱερεύς , Rawlinson, who says it sometimes

      indicates “a civil officer, with perhaps a semi-priestly character,” refers to

     Gesenius sub hac voce (under this word), who, however, distinctly affirms

     that the word only means priest, and accounts for the application of the

     term to the sons of David (II Samuel 8:18) on the supposition that the Jews

     had priests who were not of the tribe of Levi.  The question is discussed

     with great learning by Professor Plumptre (Dict. Bib., art. “Priest”),

     who suggests that “David and his sons may have been admitted, not

      to distinctively priestly functions, such as burning incense (Numbers 16:40;

      II Chronicles 26:18), but to an honorary, titular priesthood. To wear the

       ephod in processions (II Samuel 6:14) at the time when this was the

       special badge of the order (1 Samuel 22:18), to join the priests and

       Levites in their songs and dances, might have been conceded, with no

       deviation from the Law, to the members of the royal house.” There is

       one difficulty however in the way of accepting this ingenious and

       otherwise sufficient explanation, namely, that it seems hardly

       likely that the title of priest would be freely accorded by Hebrew

       writers to men who were expressly excluded from all “distinctively

       priestly functions,” especially after the use of the same word in the

       preceding (ibid. v. 17) to designate the high priest. And I venture to

       suggest that the discharge by David’s sons of the semi-priestly

       functions just referred to occasioned so much remark as to head to

       the application of the term “priest” to them in a special conventional

       sense; in fact, that it became a sort of soubriquet (nickname), which rather

       implied that they were not priests than that they were. (Notice the order

       of II Samuel 8:18, Hebrew) And observe


(4) if we are to understand by “the priest” in v. 2, “prime minister;” by

    priests in v. 4, “high priests,” and by “priest” in v 5, “principal

      officer,” language has no certain meaning.

(5) The mention of Azariah as “the priest” in the same list with Zadok and

     Abiathar is easily accounted for. We know that Abiathar was deposed at

      the beginning of Solomon’s reign (ch. 2:27), and Zadok must then

      have been an old man. Their names consequently are recorded (v. 4)

      because they were high priests for a brief period of the reign, but

      Azariah is mentioned first as “the priest” because he was high priest

      during most of the time.

(6) Azariah the son of Zadokis quite compatible with the fact that

      Azariah was really the son of Ahimaaz.  בֵּן  is constantly used in the sense

      of “descendant,” and especially “grandson.” (Genesis 29:5: 31:28, 55:

      and see on ch. 2:8,”the son of Gera.”) Zadok is no doubt mentioned as

      better known than Ahimaaz, and probably because Azariah succeeded him

      directly in the office.

(7) The age of Azariah must be uncertain, and Solomon’s reign was a long


(8) The position of his name — first — accords well with the idea that he

      was high priest, which I conclude that he was. It is worthy of remark that

       in the lists of David the military officers of the kingdom occupy the first

       place; in those of Solomon, the civil and religious dignitaries. “The

       princes of Solomon are, with one exception (v. 4) ministers of peace.”




                                                The Servants of Solomon (v. 2)


“All Scripture is… profitable for instruction,  (II Timothy 3:16)  A bare list of names

may teach some lessons. We shall find in this list, first, some proofs of Solomon’s wisdom,

and secondly, some principles to guide our own conduct. First, however, let us remember

that to select faithful and efficient servants is one of the most difficult tasks of rulers.

(This is quite evident in the current leadership of the United StatesCY  - 2010)

The welfare of the whole State depends very largely on the choice. “Mine eyes shall

be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in

a perfect way, he shall serve me.  He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within

my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.   I will early destroy all

the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the

LORD.”  (Psalm 101:6-8.)   Now observe that here”



            minister of religion takes precedence of the ministers of state. The

            universal tendency is to put man first and God second. Solomon — if this

            list preserves the order of his arrangenments — put God first, in the person

            of His high priest. (This the mistake of the populace of the United

            States of America in their rush to “separation of church and state

            OVERKILL” – CY – 2010)



            Scribes come before warriors. In David’s day it was otherwise. But there

            has been an advance, and here is the proof of it. War is essentially

            barbarous. Among savage tribes warfare is chronic. As men become wiser

            and more civilized, the appeal to brute force is less frequent. Wiser, for war

            means unwisdom somewhere. More civilized, for the history of civilization

            tells how the wager of battle, which is now confined to nations, was once

            employed by tribes, provinces, and private persons. So that, in this

            particular, the wise son was greater than the pious father. For this reason

            Solomon may build the temple which his father’s blood-red hand may not

            touch. For this reason the son, not the father, is the favorite type of the

            Prince of Peace. One of the world’s greatest generals (Napoleon) said

            there were but two great powers, the sword and the pen, and that, in the

            long run, the former was sure to be overcome by the latter. Solomon

            would seem to have been of the same opinion. The “scribes” and the

            recorder precede the “captain of the host.”



            HIS FATHER (vs. 3, 4, 6, and compare. v. 16). An Eastern autocrat

            generally appoints his associates of the harem (ch. 12:10), his

            personal favorites, to positions of trust. Solomon showed his wisdom in

            retaining the faithful servants of his predecessor (compare the folly of

            Rehoboam,  (ch. 12:8), and his example thus confirms his precept

            (Proverbs 27:10), “Thine own friend and thy father’s friend forsake not.”



            11, 15). This does not argue nepotism, or favoritism as the hand of the

            king’s daughter was often bestowed as the reward of distinguished services

            as mentioned above. It may have been the due recognition of fidelity and

            ability. In any case the alliances would strengthen Solomon’s throne.


“The friends thou hast, and their adoption, tried,

Grapple them to thy heart with hooks of steel.”


            Alien princes would, no doubt, have been proud to espouse Solomon’s

            daughters, but he preferred to marry them to faithful subjects. Blood is

            thicker than water.



            PIETY. The number of priests’ or prophets’ sons employed by Solomon is

            very remarkable (vs. 4, 5, 14, and possibly 15). He knew that those who

            were taught in the law of the Lord would best keep and best enforce the

            law of the realm. Those who “fear God” are those who “honor the king”

            (I Peter 2:17). Witness Joseph, Obadiah, Daniel, and the three Hebrew

            children. Even irreligious masters know the value of God-fearing servants.

            God blesses the house of Potiphar for the sake of its pious steward. (Genesis

            39:1-6) – Piety involves probity and excludes peculation and malfeasance.



            definite duties, definite districts. The prefectures were so many parishes.

            Each was responsible for his own and for that only. Order is Heaven’s first

            law. The prosperity of Solomon’s reign may have been largely due to his

            system and method. There is a hierarchy and a due order in heaven. The

            angels would almost seem to have their districts (Deuteronomy 32:8, Septuagint)

            The great King gives “to every man according to his work” (Mark 13:34).


3  Elihoreph and Ahiah, the sons of Shisha, scribes; Jehoshaphat the son of

Ahilud, the recorder.”  Elihoreph and Ahiah, the sons of Shisha [probably the same

person who is mentioned in II Samuel 20:25 as Sheva; in ibid. 8:17, as Seraiah; and in

1 Chronicles 18:16, as Shavsha, David’s scribe. The office thus descended from father

to sons. The variations in this name are instructive. Compare Kishi and Kushaiah,

Abijah and Abijam, Michaiah and Maachah, Absalom and Abishalom, etc. Names 

written ex ore dictantis (from the mouth of the dictates) are sure to differ. See below

on v. 12], scribes [the scribes, סֹפְדִים,, were Secretaries of State: they wrote letters

and proclamations, drew up edicts, and apparently kept the accounts (II Kings 12:10).

Their position in the list indicates their importance]; Jehoshaphat the son

of Ahilud, the recorder. [He held the same office under David, and is

mentioned in all three lists (II Samuel 8:17; 20:25; 1 Chronicles 18:15).

The recorder or “remembrancer” (margin) was, perhaps, “chancellor” (Keil),

or keeper of the king’s conscience, rather than, as is generally supposed, chronicler

of public events, and keeper of the archives.


4 “And Benaiah  the son of Jehoiada was over the host: and Zadok and

Abiathar were the priests:” And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada [see on ch. 1:32]

was [the Authorizrd Version supplies was and were quite needlessly in this and

succeeding verses. This is simply a list of Solomon’s princes and of the

offices they discharged] over the host [compare ch. 2:35]: and Zadok

and Abiathar were the priests [the mention of Abiathar’s name after his

deposition (ch. 2:27, 35) has occasioned much remark, and has

even led to the belief that he was subsequently pardoned and restored to

office (Clericus). Theodoret remarks quite truly, τὴν ἀρχὴν ἀφείλατο οὐ

τῆς ἱερωσύνης ἐγύμνωσεν, and similarly Grotius. But a simpler

explanation is that his name is put down here because he had been high

priest, though for a brief period only, under Solomon. See above on v. 2.]


5 And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers: and Zabud

the son of Nathan was principal officer, and the king's friend:” 

And Azariah the son of Nathan [Azariah was clearly not an uncommon name

(v. 2, and compare 1 Chronicles 2:39; 6:36-40 Hebrew; Authorized Version

 6:9-14), especially in the high priest’s family. Keil and Bahr

pronounce somewhat positively that this Nathan is not the prophet of that

name, but Nathan the son of David (II Samuel 5:14; Luke 3:31). It

is quite impossible to decide with certainty which is meant, if either, though

Zechariah 12:12 undoubtedly favors the supposition that the latter is

here intended] was over the officers [the twelve prefects mentioned in

vs. 7 sqq.]: and Zabud the son of Nathan was principal officer [Hebrew

priest, Vulgate sacerdos. Singularly, as before, the Septuagint omits the

word. The expression can hardly mean “the son of Nathan the priest,” but

it may either signify that “Zabud ben Nathan, a priest, was king’s friend,”

or that (as in the Authorized Version) he was a priest and king’s friend.

But the former is every way preferable. I find it easier to believe that the

true import of II Samuel 8:18 the passage which is cited (sometimes along with

ibid. ch. 20:26, where the Septuagint, however, has ἱερεύς) to prove that there

were secular “priests” — is not yet understood, than to hold (with

Gesenius, Ewald, etc.), that there were sacrificing priests who were not of

the sons of Aaron (compare II Chronicles 26:18), or that the word כּהֵן, the

meaning of which was thoroughly fixed and understood, can have been

familiarly applied, except in the strictly conventional way already indicated,

to lay persons], and [omit] the king’s friend. This appears to have been

now a recognized office (II Samuel 15:37; 16:16; 1 Chronicles 27:33),”


6 “And Ahishar was over the household: and Adoniram the son of

Abda was over the tribute.”  And Ahishar was over the household:

We meet this office here for the first time, an evidence of the growing size

and magnificence of the court (ch.18:3; II Kings 18:18; Isaiah 22:15) -

That such an officer was needed, the fact mentioned below (on v. 23) as to

 the enormous size of the royal household will prove]: and Adoniram [see on

ch.12:18] the son of Abda was over the tribute. [Margin “levy,” i.e., the

forced labor ch. 5:13-14).


7 “And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, which provided

victuals for the king and his household: each man his month in a year

made provision.”And Solomon had twelve officers [literally, persons

placedor “set over” others, i.e., superintendents. The term is used of Doeg

(1 Samuel 22:9). They were twelve, not because of the twelve tribes, but the

twelve months] over all Israel, which provided victuals for [Hebrew

nourished] the king and his household: each man his month in a year

made provision [literally, a month in the year it was (i.e., devolved) upon each

to nourish. It has been thought by some that these superintendents were

also governors of provinces (ἡγεμόνες καὶ σταηγοί, Jos. Ant. 8:2,

3), as well as purveyors. But of this nothing is said in the text. Their

principal function was to collect the royal dues or taxes which were

evidently paid, as they still are in the East, in kind].


8 “And these are their names: The son of Hur, in mount Ephraim.”

And these are their names [the order is not geographical, nor do

the districts correspond, except roughly, with the territories of the tribes.

The order is probably that of the months for which they were severally

responsible, and the districts were marked out according to the capabilities

of the country.]: The son of Hur [Hebrew as margin, Ben Hur. Of the twelve

prefects, five are only known by their patronymics (a name from their father

or ancestor), for it is hardly likely that these are proper names, like Ben-hanan

and Ben-zoheth (1 Chronicles 4:20). No satisfactory explanation of this curious

circumstance has hitherto been given. The most probable is that in the document

from which this list was compiled, the part of the page containing the missing

names had been accidentally destroyed], in mount Ephraim. [See on ch.12:25.

This district, which practically coincided with the territory of Ephraim, was

one of the most fertile in Palestine. Hence, possibly, it stands first.]


9 “The son of Dekar, in Makaz, and in Shaalbim, and Bethshemesh, and

Elonbethhanan.” The son of Dekar [Ben. Dekar], in Makaz [unknown

otherwise], and in Shaalbim [Joshua 19:42; Judges 1:35] and

Beth-shemesh [called Irshemesh, Joshua 19:41. Now Ain Shemes],

and Elon-beth-hanan. [Elon, ibid. v.43. Probably Beth-hanan is a

different place, the “and” (ו) having accidentally dropped out of the text.

The Septuagint (ἕως Βηθανὰν - hoes Baethanan) favors this view. It has been

identified by Robinson with Beit Hunun. This second district embraces Dan.


10 “The son of Hesed, in Aruboth; to him pertained Sochoh, and all the land

of Hepher:”  The son of Hesed [Ben. Hosed], in Aruboth (Hebrew Arubboth,

unknown]; to him pertained Sochoh [there were two cities of this name,

one in the mountain (Joshua 15:48), and one in the “valley” (the

Shefelah, Joshua ibid. vs. 33, 35), and both in the tribe of Judah, from

which, therefore, this third district was taken], and all the land of Hepher.

[Joshua 12:17. Ewald holds that this place was in Manasseh, and that

it is impossible in the twelve districts to find any portion of… Judah.” But

see above.]


11 “The son of Abinadab, in all the region of Dor; which had Taphath

the daughter of Solomon to wife:” The son of Abinadab [Ben Abinadab.

Possibly the Abinadab of 1 Samuel 16:8; 17:13. If so, this officer, who married

Solomon’s daughter, was also his cousin], in [Hebrew omits] all the region [פָה,

height; the term is only used in connection with Dor] of Dor [Joshua 11:2;

12:23; 17:11. Dor, now represented by the miserable village of Tantura,

lies on the strand of the Mediterranean, north of Caesarea. A “spur of

Mount Carmel, steep and partially wooded, runs parallel to the coastline, at

the distance of about a mile and a half” (Porter). This is the “height of

Dor.” Thenius supposes this fourth district embraced the plain of Sharon.

Josephus (8. 2. 3.) limits this prefecture to the sea coast, which may well

include Sharon. Indeed, without it, this district would have been destitute

of cornlands] which had Taphath, the daughter of Solomon, to wife.

[“It has always been a practice amongst Oriental potentates to attach to

themselves the more important of their officers by giving them for wives

princesses of the royal house .... The practice of polygamy has generally

enabled them to carry out this system to a very wide extent” (Rawlinson).



12  Baana the son of Ahilud; to him pertained Taanach and Megiddo,

and all Bethshean, which is by Zartanah beneath Jezreel, from Bethshean to

Abelmeholah, even unto the place that is beyond Jokneam:

Baana, the son of Ahilud [compare v. 3. Probably the recorder’s

brother], to him pertained [the original, true to its character as a list,

omits these words, simply giving the name of the officer and then the

towns of his district or province] Taanach and Megiddo [similarly

associated, Joshua 12:21; Judges 5:19; 1:27. These towns, which

became famous in later Jewish history (II Kings 23:29; II Chronicles

35:22), lay at the foot of the E. spurs of Carmel, on the margin of the plain

of Esdraelon. See Conder’s “Tent Work in Palestine,” p. 67] and all

Bethshean [Joshua 17:11, 16; Judges 1:27. Otherwise Bethshan

(1 Samuel 31:10, 12; II Samuel 21:12), now Beisan. The Septuagint here

translate the word οῖκος Σὰν - ho oikos San -; elsewhere they write βαιθσὰν -

baithsan or βαιθσὰμ - baithsan -  , and in Judges 1:27 explain ἐστι Σκυθῶν

πόλις - ae esti Skuthon polis - hence its later name Scythopolis. Rawlinson,

by an oversight, interprets the name to mean “house of the sun,” which is

the translation of Bethshemesh.  Bethshan proably means “house of rest.”

“The site of the town is on the brow of the descent by which the great plain

of Esdraelon drops down to the level of the Ghor.” The present writer was

much struck (in 1861) by its situation. See Conder, pp. 233, 234. The text shows

that it gave its name to the adjoining district], which is by Zartanah [probably

the Zaretan of Joshua 3:16 and the Zarthan (same word in the Hebrew) of here

ch. 7:46,  which place is called Zeredathah in II Chronicles 4:17, and is

probably the Zererath of Judges 7:22. (The variations in spelling are

again to be noticed). Here Solomon cast the Temple vessels. By some it is

identified with Kurn Sartabeh (but see quart. Stat. of Pal. Explor. Fund,

July, 1874, and Conder, pp. 233, 234), a few miles below Bethshan. It is

noticeable (in connexion with Joshua 3.16) that at this point the Jordan

valley narrows (Keil). It occupies high ground and commands an extensive

view (Robinson)] beneath [or below] Jezreel [Wordsworth remarks that

Jezreel, now Zerin, is a lofty site.” But the idea of “beneath” is not that of

depression, but of geographical position=the district southeast of Jezreel]

from [Septuagint and from) Bethshean to Abelmeholah [literally meadow of the

dance. It lay ten miles south of Bethshean. It is mentioned in connection

with Zererath (Zaretan) in Judges 7:22, but is best known as the home

of Elisha (ch.19:16)] even unto the place that is beyond [Hebrew -

unto the other side of] Jokneam. [Properly, Jokmeam. Identified by the

Survey (Conder, p. 68) with Tell Keimun. A Levitical town (1 Chronicles 6:68)

probably the same as Kibzaim (compareJoshua 21:22). This district coincided

practically with the tribe of Manasseh. It embraced a part (see v. 17) of the fertile

plain of Esdraelon and of the Jordan valley.]


13 “The son of Geber, in Ramothgilead; to him pertained the towns of Jair

the son of  Manasseh, which are in Gilead; to him also pertained the region

of Argob,  which is in Bashan, threescore great cities with walls and brasen bars:”

The son of Geber [possibly son of the Geber mentioned in v. 19] in Ramothgilead [

two districts east of the Jordan are now enumerated. And first, the territory of Gad.

Bamoth-gilead was a Levitical city (Deuteronomy 4:43; Joshua 21:38). Its selection

as a city of refuge (Joshua 20:8), and as the seat of Ben-geber’s prefecture,

together with the constant wars waged for its possession (ch. 22:3;

II Kings 8:28; 9:14) show that it was a position of great strength and

importance]; to him pertained the towns of Jair [the Havoth Jair are

strictly the lives (i.e., villages, because men live there) of Jair. So Gesenius,

who cites Eisleben and similar names] the son Manasseh [it is doubtful

whether the judge of that name (Judges 10:3) or Jair, the son of Segub

(called a “son of Manasseh” in Numbers 32:41, because his

grandmother was a daughter of the great Machir, though his father

belonged to Judah, 1 Chronicles 2:21), is intended. Probably it is the

latter. (They can hardly be one and the same person, though they are often

identified, as, e.g., in the Speaker’s Commentary on Judges 10:3. But they

belong to different periods.) Curiously enough, the Havoth Jair are

mentioned in connection with each (see Numbers 32:41; Deuteronomy 3:4, 5, 14;

Joshua 13:30; 1 Chronicles 2:22; Judges 10:4), but in every case except the

last the reference is to the son of Segub. As the judge was probably one of his

descendants, it is not surprising that the judge’s sons should possess some of

the villages of Jair], which are in Gilead; to him also pertained the region [חֶבֶלj

literally, measuring cord, came to signify the region measured] of Argob

[elsewhere “the Argob,” i.e., the stony. This is the region subsequently

known as Trachonitis, now called the Lejah. It is distinguished here and in

Joshua 13:30, and 1 Chronicles 2:22 from the Gileadite district just

mentioned, with which it is sometimes confounded. Both seem to have

been conquered by Jair, but the towns of the former bore the name of

Havoth Jair and these of Bashan Havoth Jair. Compare Deuteronomy

3:4, 5,14  with Numbers 32:41. The latter consisted of threescore cities,

with walls, gates, and bars. This remarkable district, twenty-two miles in

length by fourteen in breadth, is “wholly composed of black basalt, which

appears to have issued from innumerable pores in the earth in a liquid state

.... Before cooling, its surface was violently agitated, and it was afterwards

shattered and rent by convulsions .... Strange as it may seem, this ungainly

and forbidding region is thickly studded with deserted cities and villages”

(Porter, “Giant Cities of Bashan,” also in Kitto’s Cycl. 3. p. 1032; Dict.

Bib. 1:104)] which is in Bashan, threescore great cities with walls and

brazen bars. [These words are a reminiscence of Deuteronomy 3:4-5.]


14Ahinadab the son of Iddo had Mahanaim:  Ahinadab the son of Iddo

[probably the seer of that name, II Chronicles 9:29] had Mahanaim [Hebrew -

to Mahanaim, as in the margin. That is, went, or was appointed, to Mahanaim.

Rawlinson understands that his district was “from the places last mentioned

to Mahanaim,” but for this the usus loquendi (common usage in speaking)

of the writer would lead us to expect עַד. For Mahanaim, see Genesis 32:2;

Joshua 13:26].


15Ahimaaz was in Naphtali;  he also took Basmath the daughter of

Solomon to wife:”   Ahimaaz [probably the son of Zadok, II Samuel 15:27;

17:17] was in Naphtali; he also [like Ben-Abinadab, v. 11] took Basmath the

daughter of Solomon to wife.


16Baanah the son of Hushai was in Asher and in Aloth:” 

Banaah [or Baana, the second prefect of that name (v. 12).

The names are identical in the Hebrew. In II Samuel 4:2 the name is

Baanah] the son of Hushai [the Archite, David’s friend. Compare II Samuel

15:32] was in Asher and Aloth. [No town or district of this name is

known. Probably the word should be Bealoth, as in the Septuagint, Syriac, and

Vulgate. Our translators have taken the initial בְּ for a prefix, but it is almost

certainly part of the name. There was a Baaloth in Judah (Joshua 15:24)

and a Baaloth in Dan (ibid. 19:44), but neither of these can be meant here.]


17Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah, in Issachar:  He had consequently

the plain of Esdraelon, with the exception mentioned above, v. 12.]


18Shimei the son of Elah, in Benjamin:  Shimei the son of Elah

[by some identified with the Shimei of chapter 1:8. But see note there],

in Benjamin. [It is noteworthy that Shimei was a Benjamite name,

II Samuel 16:5, 11.]


19Geber the son of Uri was in the country of Gilead, in the country of

Sihon king of the Amorites, and of Og king of Bashan; and he was the

only officer which was in the land.”  Geber the son of Uri was in the country

of Gilead [i.e., he presided over the parts not already assigned to Bengeber

(perhaps his son) and Ahinadab. Gilead is often used (see Deuteronomy 34:1;

Judges 20:1) to designate all the country east of the Jordan. And so apparently

here, for] the country of Sihon king of, the Amorites, and of Og king of

Bashan] embraced the whole trans-Jordanic region, Deuteronomy 3:8;

Numbers 21:24-35: compare Psalm 135:11; 136:19-20]; and he was the

only officer which was in the land. [This cannot mean “the only officer in

Gilead,” notwithstanding the great extent of territory — the usual

interpretation — for that would contradict vs. 13-14. Nor can can it

mean the only officer in his district, or portion, of Gilead, for that is self

evident, and the remark would apply equally to all the other prefects. And

we are hardly justified in translating נְצִיב אֶחָד  “he was the first (i.e.,

superior), officer” (set over those mentioned above, vs. 13-14), as

Schulze. סך אֶחָד  is used as an ordinal number, but it is only in connection with

days and years (Gesenisus  s.v.) Some, following the Septuagint (εῖς ἐν γῇ Ἰούδα -

eis en gae Iouda - ) would detach Judah from v. 20, where it must be allowed it

occurs with a suspicious abruptness, and where the absence of the copula, so

usual in the Hebrew, suggests a corruption of the text, and would connect it with

this verse, which would then yield the sense, “and he was,” (or “there was”)

one officer which purveyed in the land of Judah.” it is to be observed,

however, that though no mention has as yet been made of Judah in any of

the districts, yet the prefecture of Ben Hesed (v. 10) appears to have

extended over this tribe, and the remark consequently seems superfluous.

(Can it be the object of the writer to show that the royal tribe was not

favored or exempted from contributing its share?) On the whole, the

difficulty would seem still to await a solution. We can hardly, in the teeth

of v. 7, suppose with Ewald, al. that a thirteenth officer is here intended.




The Twelve Prefects and the Twelve Apostles (vs. 7-19)


“And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel.” Considering how

closely he foreshadows our blessed Lord, the twelve officers of Solomon

can hardly fail to remind us of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. It may be

instructive to compare their dignities, functions, etc. Observe:


·         THEIR RESPECTIVE POSITIONS. The officers of Solomon were

princes (v. 2); the officers of Jesus were peasants and fishermen. Ability,

energy, etc., dictated Solomon’s choice; humility, dependence, weakness,

our Blessed Lord’s (Matthew 18:3-4; 23:11; and compare 11:11). “Not

many mighty, not many noble are called,” etc. (1 Corinthians 1:26).

“Unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13).


·         THEIR RESPECTIVE REPUTATIONS. The officers of Solomon

were reverenced and feared; the apostles of our Lord ,were despised and

defamed. Each of the twelve prefects was, no doubt, a little potentate. The

court of Abinadab in Mahanaim, or Shimei in Benjamin, would be a copy in

miniature of that of the king in Jerusalem. And we know what the Eastern

tax-gatherer is like, what despotic powers he wields, etc. Witness the

Pashas and Valis of Turkey. How different were the twelve apostles. The

contrast could not well be greater. “Hated of all men,” esteemed “the filth

and offscouring of all things; .... a spectacle unto the world, and to angels,

and to men” (1 Corinthians 4:9-13). What the life of an apostle was like

we may learn from II Corinthians 11:24-29. “Behold, they which are

gorgeously apparelled and live delicately are in king’s courts” (Luke

7:25). “Behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee” (Matthew 19:27).


·         THEIR RESPECTIVE JURISDICTIONS. The twelve officers

presided over tribes; the twelve apostles ministered to continents. The

whole of Palestine is about the size of Wales, and this strip of territory was

divided into twelve parts. Compare with this the apostolic commission,

“GO ye into all the world and preach the gospel,” etc. “Ye shall be witnesses

unto me .... unto the uttermost part of the earth” Judaism was tribal religion;

the faith of Christ is for humanity.




Ø      The twelve officers were receivers-general; the twelve apostles were

general givers. The first took from the people to give to the king: the

latter received from their King to bestow on the people. To the former,

the subjects of Solomon brought taxes or tribute; the latter have obtained

blessings and gifts from their Lord for men. (Compare Acts 1:8; 2:18;

8:18; 1 Timothy 4:14; II Timothy 1:6, etc.) “It is more blessed to give

than receive.”  (Acts 20:35)


Ø      The officers nourished the king (v. 27, Hebrew) and his armies: the

apostles fed the Church. (Compare Acts 20:28.) The 14,000 dependants

of the court, the 4000 charioteers, the 12,000 horsemen, all were

maintained by the twelve purveyors. Through the apostles, the Lord fed,

now 4000, now 7000, and through them, their doctrine and their

successors, He still feeds, with word and sacrament, the millions of the

Church. So far the comparison is largely in favor of the prefects. As

regards this world’s gifts and dignities, they bear away the palm. In their

lifetime they received their good things and the apostles evil things.

 But an old authority — it is the dictum of Solon to Croesus (Herodotus

1:30-38) — warns us to pronounce on no man’s fortune or happiness

until we have seen the end. And the real end is not in this world.

Let us therefore consider:


(1) What is the verdict of posterity? and

(2) What will be the issue of futurity as to these two classes? Here we observe:




REMEMBRANCE. The fame of Solomon’s twelve was short-lived. Several

of them are now known to us only by their patronymics. Those much

dreaded satraps, before whom subjects trembled, their very names are in

some cases lost in oblivion. But the apostolic college, every member is still

famed, reverenced, loved throughout the whole round world. Their names

are heard, Sunday by Sunday, in the Holy Gospel (compare Matthew 26:18).

Better still, their “names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20; compare

Philippians 4:3). As to:



In their time, the latter sat on twelve thrones, each in his

capital city, ruling the twelve tribes of Israel. But their glory, like that of

the Roman general’s pageant, “lacked continuance.” In the midst of their

brief authority


“Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears

And slits the thin-spun life.”


The dominion of the apostles is in the future. It belongs to the

regeneration.” “When the Son of Man” — the true Son of David — “shall

sit on the throne of His glory,” then shall they “sit on twelve thrones,

judging the twelve tribes,” etc. (Matthew 19:28). The despised

fishermen shall judge the high and mighty officers — yes, and magnificent

Solomon himself. Even now, it may be, their glory is in part begun.


“Lo, the twelve, majestic princes

In the court of Jesus sit,

Calmly watching all the conflict

Raging still beneath their feet.”


Shall we follow the officers of Solomon, or the twelve apostles of the

Lamb? Shall we, that is, desire earthly advancement, high position,

contemporary fame, or shall we count all as dross that we may “win Christ

and be found in Him” (Philippians 3:8-11). “What shall it profit a man,

if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?,” etc. We cannot all be

ἡγεμόνες καὶ σταηγοί, (rulers or governors) still less can we all wed kings’

daughters. But we may all sit with Christ upon His throne (Revelation 3:21);

may all receive the crown of life (Romans 2:10); may all be “called unto the

marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7-9).




                        Solomon’s Rule, State, and Wisdom (vs. 20-34)


The remainder of this chapter, which describes to us the extent and character of

Solomon’s sway (vs. 20-21, 24, 25), the pomp and provision of his household

(vs. 22-23, 26-28), and his profound and varied wisdom (vs. 29-34), has every

appearance of a compilation from different sources. It scarcely has the order and

coherence which we should find in the narrative of a single writer.


20  Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude,

eating and drinking, and making merry.”  Judah and Israel were many, as the

sand which is by the sea in multitude [a reminiscence of Genesis 13:16; 22:17;

32:12 (compare here, ch. 3:8). In the reign of Solomon these promises had their

fulfillment], eating and drinking, and making merry. [Compare 1 Samuel 30:16.

The Hebrew here begins a new chapter. The Septuagint omits vs. 20-21, 25-26,

and places vs. 27- 28, “and those officers,” etc., after the list of prefects, v. 19.]

In the reign of Solomon, (1014 B.C.) God’s promises to Abraham (1872 B.C.)

were fulfilled  858 years later – see Genesis 22:17.


21 “And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the

land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought

presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life.” And Solomon reigned

[Hebrew - was reigning] over all kingdoms [Hebrew -  the kingdoms. That is, as

suzerain, as is explained presently. So that Psalm 72:10-11 had its fulfillment]

from the river [i.e., the Euphrates, the river of that region: so called Genesis 31:21;

Exodus 23:31; II Samuel 10:16. In Genesis 15:18 it is called “the

great river, the river Euphrates.” Similarly Joshua 1:4] unto [not in the

Hebrew. It is found in the parallel passage, II Chronicles 9:26, and

perhaps we may safely supply it here. Its omission may have been

occasioned by the recurrence of the same word (עַד) presently. Some

would render, “reigned… over the land,” etc., supplying בְּ] in thought from

above. But “unto” seems to be required after “from.” Compare v. 24] the land

of the Philistines [this, i.e., the Mediterranean shore, was the western

border of his realm], and unto the border of Egypt (even earlier promised,

1913 B.C. – another promise of God fulfilled – Genesis 15:18 – in ch. 8:56,

Solomon says “Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto His people

Israel, according to all that He promised:  there hath not failed one word of

all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses his servant”

also compare Joshua 21:45, 23:14-16 – all God’s promises will be fulfilled, even

to the end of time – CY – 2010) [this was his southern boundary. We have here

a reference to Genisis 15:18, the promise which now first received its fulfilment]:

they brought presents [i.e., tribute. Similar expressions, II Samuel 8:2; II Kings

17:3-4, and especially Psalm 72:10. What the presents were we are told in ch. 10:25,

where, however, see note], and served Solomon all the days of his life.

The daily consumption of the royal household is now related to show the

grandeur and luxury of the court. And it agreed well with the greatness of

the kingdom. The lavish provision of Oriental palaces was evidently a

subject of wonder and of boasting to the ancients, as the inscriptions and

monuments show.


In America, the parallel idea is “a chicken in every pot!”  Solomon’s empire was a

foreshadowing of the Golden Age of the world, Jesus Christ ruling the earth

in the Millennium  - “and behold, a greater than Solomon is here”(Matthew



What if you are not around to experience it?  (see Matthew 8:11-12;  

Luke 13:28-30; Revelation 21:22-27;


The daily consumption of the royal household is now related to show the grandeur

and luxury of the court. And it agreed well with the greatness of the kingdom. The

lavish provision of Oriental palaces was evidently a subject of wonder and of boasting

to the ancients, as the inscriptions and monuments show.


22  “And Solomon's provision for one day was thirty measures of fine

flour, and threescore measures of meal,”  And Solomon’s provision

[margin -  bread, but לֶחֶם, strictly signifies any kind of food] for one day

was thirty measures [Hebrew -  cors. The כֹּר was both a liquid and a dry measure

(ch. 5:11) and was the equivalent to the homer (Ezekiel 45:14), but its precise

capacity is doubtful. According to Josephus, it contained eighty-six gallons;

according to the Rabbins, forty-four] of fine flour and threescore measures of

meal. [Thenius calculates that this amount of flour would yield 28,000 lbs.

of bread, which (allowing 2 lbs. to each person) would give 14,000 as the

number of Solomon’s retainers. This computation, however, could have

but little value did not his calculations, based on the consumption of flesh,

mentioned presently (allowing 1.5 lbs. per head), lead to the same result.


23 “Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep,

beside harts, and roebucks, and  fallow deer, and fatted fowl.”  Ten fat

[Hebrew -  fatted, i.e., for table] oxen, and twenty fat oxen out of the pastures,

and an hundred sheep, beside harts and roebucks [or gazelles] and fallowdeer

[Roebucks. The name Yahmur is still current in Palestine in this sense (Conder, p. 91)],

and fatted fowl [This word (בַּרְבֻּדִים) occurs nowhere else. The meaning most

in favor is geese.]


24 “For he had dominion over all the region on

this side the river, from Tiphsah (a town on the west side of the Euphrates) even

to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all

sides round about him.  For [the connection seems to be: Solomon could well

support such lavish expenditure, because] he had dominion over all the region

on this side [בְּעֵבֶר  strictly means, on the other side, beyond (עָבַר,

transiit). But here it must obviously mean on the west side, for Solomon’s

rule did not extend east of the Euphrates. The use of this word in this sense

(Joshua 5:1; 9:1; 12:7; 1 Chronicles 26:30; Ezra 8:36; Nehemiah 2:7) is generally

accounted for on the supposition that the writers were living in Babylon in the time

of the captivity; but this appears to be by no means certain. (See, e.g., Ezra 4:10-11.)

The truth seems to be, not that “the expression belonged to the time of the captivity,

but was retained after the return and without regard to its geographical

signification, but that from the first it was employed, now of one side, now of

the other, of the Jordan; of the west in Genesis 1:10-11; Joshua 9:1, etc.; of the east

in Numbers 22:1; 32:32; “and even in the same chapter is used first of one and then

of the other Deuteronomy 3:8, 20, 25” (Speaker’s Commentary  on Deuteronomy 1:1),

and that it was subsequently applied, with similar variations of meaning, to the

Euphrates. See Introduction, section 5.] from Tiphsah [compare II Kings 15:16,

apparently the town on the west bank of the Euphrates, known to the Greeks as

Thapsacus. It derived its name from the fact that the river at that point was

fordable  פָּסַח ; = pass over; תִּפְסַה = crossing. A bridge of boats was

maintained here by the Persians. It was here that the river was forded by

Cyrus and the Ten Thousand, and was crossed by the armies of Darius

Codomannus and Alexander] to Azzah [i.e., Gaza, now called Guzzeh, the

southernmost city of Philistia, ten miles from the Mediterranean, and the

last town in Palestine on the Egyptian frontier. Compare v. 21], over an the

kings on this side the river [“Petty kings were numerous at this time in all

the countries dependent upon Judaea” (Rawlinson). Compare 1 Samuel 6:16;

II Samuel 8:3-10; I Kings 20:1. The “kings on this side the river” were

those of Syria (II Samuel 8:6. Compare ch. 10:19) conquered by David, and of

Philistia, ibid. v. 1]: and he had peace on all sides [Hebrew -  from all

his servants] round about him [in fulfillment of 1 Chronicles 22:9. The

objection of Thenius that this statement contradicts that of ch. 11:23, sqq.,

is hardly deserving of serious notice. The reign of Solomon, on the whole,

was undoubtedly a peaceful one.


25 “And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and

under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of

Solomon.” And Judah and Israel [here we have the copula, the absence

of which in v. 20 suggests a corruption or confusion of the text] dwelt

safely [Hebrew -  confidently. Compare Judges 8:11; 1 Samuel 12:11],

every man  under his vine and under his fig tree,” – a proverbial expression (see

II Kings 18:31, where it is used by Rabshakeh; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10) 

to denote rest and the undisturbed enjoyment of the fruits of the earth -  

In invasions, raids, etc., it is still the custom of the East to cut and

carry off all the crops, and fruits. Wordsworth notices that the vine often

clustered on the walls of houses (Psalm 128:3), or around and over the

courtyards”, from Dan even to Beersheba [i.e., from the extreme northern

to the extreme southern (not eastern, as the American translator of Bahr)

boundary, Judges 20:1; 1 Samuel 3:20; II Samuel 3:10] -all the days of Solomon. 




                                    The Golden Age (vs. 20-25)


It has been cynically said that men always place the golden age in the past

or in the future. Possibly they are not so far wrong after all. For, if our

historian is true, there has been such a period in the history of the world.

And if the Holy Gospel is true, there will be such a period hereafter. The

reign of Solomon was the Augustan, the golden age, of Israel. The reign of

Jesus, of which Solomon’s empire was a foreshadowing, will be the golden

age of the world. Let us then consider what light the first period — the

past — throws upon the future; in what respects, that is to say, the sway of

Solomon is a type and prefigurement of the holy and beneficent rule of our

Redeemer. Observe:


·         THE MONARCH.


Ø      He was the wisest of men. This was the root of the universal prosperity.

He was capax imperii (capable of government); he had the understanding

to judge that great people (ch. 3:9). From a throne established in equity

and intelligence (Psalm 72:2) flowed a tide of blessing through the land.

But “Messiah the Prince” is the Incarnation of Wisdom. He is “made

unto us wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:30). In Him “are hid all the treasures

of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). He is “the wisdom of God”

(1 Corinthians 1:24).


Ø      He ruled in the fear of the Lord. The precept of his father (II Samuel

23:3) was not forgotten (ch. 3:6-9). Compare the account of Messiah’s

reign — the reign of the Branch of the root of Jesse in Isaiah

2:2-5. This “King shall reign in righteousness” (ibid. ch. 32:1).


·         THE EMPIRE.


Ø      Its extent. He had dominion from “the river to the border of Egypt,”

from Tiphsali even to Azzah.” The petty kings brought presents and

did fealty (sworn loyalty). Now observe how Psalm 72., descriptive or

prophetic of the reign of Solomon, is also prophetic of the reign of our

blessed Lord. Of Him alone is it strictly true that “He shall have

dominion from sea to sea,” etc. (v. 8), that “all kings shall fall down

before Him,” etc. True, His enemies do not yet “lick the dust” (v. 9),

forwe see not yet all things put under Him” (Hebrews 2:8;

I Corinthians 15:24-28)), but we  know that all power is given to

Him in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18), and that “the kingdoms

of this world” shall “become the kingdoms of our Lord and of

His Christ” (Revelation 11:15).


Ø      Its duration. Solomon’s was a long reign, and would have been much

longer (ch.  3:14) had he been faithful But He who shall

possess “the throne of his father David shall reign over the house of

Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33;

compare Daniel 2:44; 7:14, 27; Psalm 145:13; Micah 4:7).


·         THE SUBJECTS.


Ø      Their number. They were “many,” “as the sand which is by the sea in

multitude.” Compare Daniel 7:10, “ten thousand times ten thousand

stood before Him,” and Revelation 5:11; 7:9, “a great multitude which

no man could number.”


Ø      Their character. Solomon’s sway extended over Gentiles as well as

Jews (vs. 21, 24). A foreshadowing of the inclusion of Gentiles in the

kingdom of Christ. In the one fold, two flocks (John 10:16). Compare

Acts 26:23; 28:28; Romans 11:15; Ephesians 3:6; 2:14, etc.

There are three particulars, however, in which the subjects of our

Lord will differ from those of Solomon.


o       There will be no bondage, no forced labor, none to bear burdens.

o       The free labor of love will require no rest (ch. 5:14). The

       servants who serve Him “rest not day and night” (Revelation 4:8),

       yet keep perpetual sabbath (Hebrews 4:9.)

o       All shall be holy. No Jeroboam shall “lift up his hand” against the



·         THE REIGN.


Ø      It was peaceful (v. 24; compaere ch. 5:4 and 1 Chronicles 22:9). In

Messiah’s reign they shall “beat theft swords into ploughshares, etc.

(Isaiah 2:4). Into His court “neither foe entereth nor friend departeth.”

He is the King and Prince of Peace (Hebrews 7:2).


Ø      It was joyous and prosperous. “Eating and drinking and making merry.”

The vine and the fig tree may remind us of the tree of life with its twelve

manner of fruits; the security (v. 25) of the pillars in the temple of God

(Revelation 3:12). “In his days Israel shall dwell safely” (Jeremiah 23:6;

compare Isaiah 11:6-9). That golden age lasted “all the days of Solomon”

(v. 25). That which is to come shall be coeternall with THE ENDLESS

LIFE OF THE SON OF GOD! (Hebrews 7:16; John 14:19; Psalm 16:11).





                                    A Prosperous Reign (vs. 20-25)


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 labor and we enter into their labors.”  (John 4:38)

The text suggests:



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

fullness 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?” (ch. 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.”



RIGHTEOUS RULE. “And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms,” etc.

(v. 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 (ch. 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 is

not worthy to be compared with this. “Righteousness exalteth a nation”

(Proverbs 14:34). “The throne is established by righteousness”

( ibid. 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.



had peace on all sides round about him” (v. 24). This was the fulfillment

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). It is a 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 tranquility 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).



Judah and Israel dwelt safely,” etc. — this became almost a proverbial

expression (II Kings 18:3 of the good of life, the fruit of honest labor,

under the protection of imp1; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10).

It suggests the quiet enjoyment artial 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 fulfillment 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.”


26nd Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve

thousand horsemen.” And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses [40,000 is

certainly a clerical error, probably for 4000 (i.e., אַרְבָּיעים  for אַרְבָּעָה). For:


(1) in the parallel passage in Chronicles the number is stated as 4000.

(2) 4000 agrees, and 40,000 does not, with the other numbers here given.


The chariots, e.g., numbered 1400; the horsemen 12,000. Now for 1400

chariots the proper allowance of horses would be about 4000. We see from

the monuments that it was customary to yoke two horses (seldom three) to

a chariot; but a third or supernumerary horse was provided to meet

emergencies or accidents. 4000 horses would hence be a liberal provision

for Solomon’s chariots, and it would also agree well with the number of his

cavalry. 12,000 cavalry and 40,000 chariot horses are out of all proportion.

As to stalls, it seems clear that in ancient, as in modern times, each horse

had a separate crib (Vegetins in Bochart, quoted by Keil). Gesenius,

however, understands by אֻרְות,, not stalls, but teams, or pairs] for his

chariots [or chariotry: the word is singular and collective] and twelve

hundred horsemen [rather, horses, i.e., riding or cavalry, as distinguished

from chariot horses above. See note on ch. 1:5. It has been supposed that this

warlike provision is mentioned to account for the peace of Solomon’s reign, and

was designed to overawe the tributary kings. But it is more probable that the idea

of the historian was, partly to exhibit the pomp and circumstance of Israel’s greatest

king, and partly to record a contravention of the law (Deuteronomy 17:16), which

was one of the precursors of his fall.



27  And those officers provided victual for king Solomon, and for all that

came unto king Solomon's table, every man in his month: they lacked nothing.”

And those [rather, these, i.e., the officers mentioned vs. 7-19]

officers provided victual for [Heb. nourished] king Solomon and for all

that came unto king Solomon’s table [we can hardly see here (with Keil)

a further proof of the blessings of peace.” The words were probably

suggested by the mental wonder how the cavalry, etc., could be

maintained, and so the author states that this great number of horses and

horsemen depended on the twelve purveyors for their food] every man in

his month; they lacked nothing [rather, suffered nothing to be lacking.

So Gesenius.; and the context seems to require it].


28  Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto

the place where the officers were, every man according to his charge.”

Barley also [the food of horses at the present day in the East,

where oats are not grown -  and straw for the horses and dromedaries

[margin mules or swift beasts. Coursers, or fleet horses of superior breed are

intended. רֶכֶשׁ = Germ. Renner. These coursers were for the use of the king’s

messengers or posts. See Esther 8:10, 14] brought they unto the place where

the officers were [“officers” is not in the Hebrew. The Septuagint and Vulgate

 supply “king “(the verb is singular, “was”). But the true meaning is to be gathered

from ch. 10:26. There we learn that the horses were distributed in different towns

throughout the land. To these different depots, therefore, the purveyors must

forward the provender, “unto the place where it should be” (יִהְיֶה),] every

man according to his charge.


29  And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much,

and  largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.”

- in fulfilment of the promise of ch. 3:12 - wisdom and understanding (חָכְמָה,

wisdom, knowledge; תְּבוּנָה), discernment, penetration. The historian, after

describing the prosperity of the realm, proceeds to speak of the personal endowments

of its head -  and largeness of heart exceeding much - the Easterns speak of the heart

where we should talk of head or intellect. (ch. 3:9, 12; 10:24. Compare

Matthew 15:19; Ephesians 1:18 (Greek); Hebrews 4:12). The “large heart”

is the ingenium capax, as Thenius. These different words indicate the variety

and scope of his talents, in agreement with v. 33 -  as the sand that is on the

seashore. [Same expression in Genesis 22:17; 32:12; 41:49] (God is consistent

throughout time and so is He with us!  CY - 2022)


30 “And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of

the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.” And Solomon’s wisdom

excelled [or exceeded; same word as in v. 29] the wisdom of all the children

of the east country [By the Beni-Kedem we are hardly to understand a distinct

tribe on the banks of the Euphrates. It is true that the land of the Beni-Kedem

is identified with Haran or Mesopotamia (Genesis 29:1), and the

mountains of Kedem (Numbers 23:7) are evidently those of Aram. It is

also true that “the children of the East” are apparently distinguished from

the Amalekites and Midianites (Judges 6:8, 33; 7:12; 8:10). It is

probable, nevertheless, that the name is here employed to designate all the

Arabian tribes east and southeast of PalestineSabaeans, Idumeans,

Temanites, Chaldeans. What their wisdom was like, we may see in the

Book of Job. Compare Jeremiah 49:7; Obadiah 1:8] and all the wisdom of

Egypt. [The learning of Egypt was of great repute in the Old World. It

differed very considerably from the wisdom of Kedem, being scientific

rather than gnomic (Isaiah 19:11-12; 31:2, 8; Acts 7:22) and

including geometry, astronomy, magic, and medicine. See Josephus Antiquities.

8:2.5; Herodotus. 2:109. 160. Wilkinson, “Ancient Egyptians” vol. 2. pp. 316-465.


31  For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and

Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round

about.”  For (Hebrew - and) he was wiser than all men -  It is very doubtful

whether the names mentioned presently are those of contemporaries] than Ethan

the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda [It is impossible to say whether

these are the same persons as the Ethan and Heman and Chalcol and Dara of

1 Chronicles 2:6, or the Ethan and Heman who were David’s singers.

The resemblance is certainly remarkable. Not only are the names practically

the same (Dara may well be a clerical error: many manuscripts, together with the

Syriac and Arabic, read Darda), but they occur in the same order. Our first

impression, consequently, is that the two lists represent the same persons,

and if so, these four sages were the “sons” of Zerah, the son of Judah

(Genesis 38:30). But against this it is urged that Ethan is here called the

Ezrahite, as are both Ethan and Heman in the titles of Psalms 89, and 88.

respectively. The resemblance, however, of Ezrahite (אֶזְרָתִי,) to Zerahite

(זַרְתִי) is so close as to suggest identity rather than difference. There is,

perhaps, more weight in the objection that Chalcol and Darda are here

distinctly said to be “the sons of Mahol,” though here again it has been

observed that Mahol (מָחול) means pipe or dance, and the “sons of

Mahol,” consequently, may merely be a synonym, agreeably to Eastern

idiom (Ecclesiastes 12:4, with which compare II Samuel 19:35), for

musicians.” We may therefore allow that the four names may be those of

sons (i.e., descendants) of Zerah. But the question now presents itself: Are

Ethan and Heman to be identified with the well known precentors (choir

leaders) of David? Against their identity are these facts:


1. That Ethan the singer (1 Chronicles 6:31) is described as the son of

Kishi (ibid. v. 44), elsewhere called Kushaiah (ibid. ch. 15:17), and of the

family of Merari; as a Levite that is, instead of a descendant of Judah, and that

Heman, who is called the singer, or musician (ibid. ch. 6:33), and the “king’s seer”

(ibid. ch. 25:5) is said to be a son of Joel, a grandson of the prophet Samuel, and

one of the Kohathite Levites (ibid. ch. 15:17). The first impression in this

case, therefore, is that they must be distinct. But it should be remembered


a.  that the sons — in the strict sense — of Zerah are nowhere else named

     for their wisdom, whereas the royal singer and seer probably owed their

     appointments to their genius, and


            b.  that though Levites, they may have been incorporated (possibly like

                 Jair, through marriage — see note on v. 13 above, and compare Ezra 2:61)

                 into the tribe of Judah. The Levite in Judges 17:7 is spoken of as

                 belonging to the family of Judah, because he dwelt in Bethlehem of Judah,

                 and Elkanah the Levite is called an Ephraimite in 1 Samuel 1:1, because

                 in his civil capacity he was incorporated into the tribe of Ephraim.”

                 It must be admitted, however, that the natural interpretation of

                                1 Chronicles 2:6 is that the “sons” of Zerah there mentioned were his

                 immediate and actual descendants, and not Levites who long centuries

                 afterwards were somehow incorporated into his family. But the question

                 is one of so much nicety that it is hardly possible to come to a positive

                 conclusion] and his fame [Hebrew - name] was in all [Hebrew -  all the]

                 nations round about. [compare ch. 10:24, etc.]





                        The Greatest, Wisest, Meanest of Mankind (v. 31)


It is a spirited and glowing description which the historian here gives of

Solomon’s wisdom. We may believe that it was not without a pardonable pride that he

recounted the rich endowments and the widespread fame of Israel’s greatest monarch.

But it is really one of the saddest chapters in the whole of Scripture — and one

of the most instructive. Manifold as were his gifts, marvelous as was his wisdom,

they did not preserve him from falling. It is a strange, shuddering contrast, the

record of his singular powers and faculties (vs. 29-34), and the story of his shameful

end (ch.11:1-14) How came it to pass that a man so highly gifted and blessed of God

made such complete shipwreck of faith and good conscience; that over the grave

of the very greatest and wisest of men must be written, “Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen

 from his high estate”?  The causes of Solomon’s fall:


(1) The character of his wisdom; and

(2) The causes of his fall. As to (1), observe:



UNEQUALLED. The sages of Hebrew antiquity, the shrewd Arabians, the

sagacious Egyptians, he has eclipsed them all. “Wiser than all men,” such

was the judgment of his contemporaries. And such is also the verdict of

posterity. At the present day, among Jews, Christians, and Mohammedans,

no fame equals his. Among the wise men of the world Solomon stands

facile princeps. (easily first; acknowledged leader)


·         IT WAS PRODIGIOUS (enoromous). To the writer it seemed inexhaustible,

illimitable. He can only compare it to “the sand that is on the sea shore;”

and he could hardly use a more forcible illustration of its boundless and

infinite extent.


·         IT WAS VARIED AND COMPREHENSIVE. It was both scientific

and sententious. He was at once philosopher and poet. Nothing was too

great and nothing too small for him. It is seldom that a man excels in more

than one or two branches of knowledge, but Solomon was distinguished in

all. He could discourse with equal profundity of the cedar and the hyssop,

of beast and bird. It was lofty, it was wide, it was deep.


·         IT WAS TRUE WISDOM. Not superficial, and not mere book

learning. Book. worms are often mere pedants. Students often know little

of the world and know less of themselves. But Solomon knew man (“The

proper study of mankind is man”) knew himself. He needed not the charge,

γνῶθι σεαυτὸν - gnothi seauton - know yourself. He was not one of the

μετεωροσοφισται whom the Attic poet justly ridicules (Aristoph. Nub. 360).

His writings proved that he had studied the world, and was familiar with the

heart. pedants 



·         IT WAS GOD GIVEN WISDOM (v. 29; compare vs. Daniel 2:21).

Not “the wisdom of this world which is foolishness with God”

(1 Corinthians 3:8), and which descendeth not from above” (James

3:15), but that which the Supreme wisdom teacheth. (Compare Proverbs

2:6.) Solomon was truly θεοδίδακτος - theodidaktos - God taught!


·         IT WAS GOD-FEARING WISDOM. “The fear of the Lord,” he says,

is the beginning of wisdom.” (Compare Proverbs 1:7; 9:10.) There is a

wisdom (falsely so called) which dishonors and despises God. This did

not Solomon’s. The Proverbs point men to the Lord.



Some of the thousand and five songs (Psalm 72:126.) are still chanted

by the Catholic Church. (It is significant, though, how few of this vast

number remain to us. David was not as wise as Solomon, nor so prolific a

writer, but his songs have survived in considerable numbers. They are

among the greatest treasures of Christendom. Piety is before wisdom.

“Knowledge shall vanish away,” but “charity never faileth.” - I Corinthians

13:8) Some of his Proverbs are still read to the congregation.  He still warns

the young and the sensual (chps. 2-7.) He is fallen, but his words stand.

Now turn we to:



(2) The causes of his fall. How came this wisest of men, without fellow

before or since, whose wisdom was so profound, so real, so boundless,

whose wisdom came from God and led to God, and who though dead yet

speaketh, how came he of all men to go astray? Was it not:


  • BECAUSE THE HEART WAS NOT KEPT. The intellect, was

            developed and cultivated at the expense or to the neglect of the spiritual

            life. “His wives turned away his heart” (ch. 11:4).  But how came one of so

            much wisdom to let his wives turn it away? Because the wisdom had dwarfed

            and overshadowed the soul; because the moral did not keep pace with the

            intellectual growth, and it became flaccid and yielding. It is dangerous for

            wisdom to increase unless piety increases with it. The higher the tower, the

            broader should be its foundations. If all the weight and width is at the top,

            it will come to the ground with a crash. Even so, if wisdom is not to

            destroy its possessor, the basis of love and piety must be broadened.

            “Knowledge bloweth up, but charity buildeth up” (I Corinthians 8:1). The head

            of a colossus needs the trunk of a colossus to sustain it.



      leaned to his own understanding that this giant form fell prostrate (Proverbs

      3:5-6).  It was because he forgot his warnings against the strange woman

      that he fell a prey to strange women (Proverbs 2:16-19; 5:3-5, 20-23;

      6:24-29; 7:1-27).  The keeper of the vineyards did not keep his own (Song of

      Solomon 1:6). He was not true to himself, and he soon proved false to his God.

      After preaching to others, he himself became a castaway. (I Corinthians 9:27)

       A solemn warning this to every preacher and teacher that he should not do


                        “As some ungracious pastors do,

                        Show men the steep and thorny road to heaven,

                        While, like a puffed and reckless libertine,

                        Himself the primrose path of dalliance tread

                        And recks not his own rede.”



      HIS GIFTS. There was no decay of mental power; the force was unabated,

            but it was misdirected. Pride took her place at the helm. It is pride, not

            sensuality, that accounts for his army of wives and concubines. But if pride

            brought them, pleasure kept them. And when he put his heart into their

            keeping, they turned him about at their will (James 3:3-4). The heart carries

            the intellect along with it. (Here again compare his own words, Proverbs

            16:18; 4:23; Daniel 5:20.) Magnificent Solomon, unequalled in wisdom, how

            art thou fallen from heaven! Aye, and if we could but draw aside the veil; if we

            could but visit the spirits in prison (I Peter 3:19), we might perchance find among

            them one clothed of yore “in purple and fine linen” (Luke 16:19; 12:27), and

            who “fared sumptuously every day,” and looking into the anguished face

            might find it was none other than the brilliant and illustrious son of David,

            the chosen type of the Messiah, the very wisest and greatest of mankind.

            “The wisest, greatest, meanest of mankind.” We know of whom these

            words were spoken. But their true application is not to England’s greatest

            chancellor, but to Israel’s greatest king.


32 “And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.” 

Of the former, less than one-third are preserved in the Book of

Proverbs (see Proverbs 1:1; 25:1); the rest are lost to us.  The Book of Ecclesiastes,

even if the composition of Solomon, can hardly be described as proverbs. Of his songs

all have perished, except the Song of Solomon, and possibly Psalms 72; 127; (see the

titles), and, according to some, Psalm 128.   


33 “And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even

unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of

beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.”

And he spake of  [i.e., discoursed, treated, not necessarily

wrote] trees [In his proverbs and songs he exceeded the children of the

East. But his knowledge was not only speculative, but scientific. In his

acquaintance with natural history he outshone the Egyptians, v. 20],

from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon [A favorite illustration. The

Jews had a profound admiration for all trees, and of these they justly

regarded the cedar as king. Compare Judges 9:15; Psalm 80:10; 104:16;

Song of Solomon 5:15;Ezekiel 31:3] unto the hyssop that

springeth out of the wall [His knowledge, i.e., embraced the least

productions of nature as well as the greatest. The common hyssop

(Exodus 12:22; Leviticus 14:4) can hardly be intended here, as that

often attains a considerable height (two feet), but a miniature variety or

moss like hyssop in appearance, probably Orthotrichura saxatile]: he

spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.

[“The usual Biblical division of the animal kingdom” (Rawlinson). The

arrangment is hardly according to manner of motion (Bahr). If anything, it

is according to elements — earth, sky, sea.





The Voice of Nature Speaking for God (v. 33)


This is given as an example of the wisdom for which Solomon was justly

famed. His information was at once accurate and far reaching. Nothing

escaped the notice of his observant eye, nothing was too insignificant to

deserve his attention. The “hyssop” which was remarkable neither for size

nor beauty, neither for fragrance nor utility, as well as the noble “cedar,”

was the subject of his research and discourse.



enriched with natural capacities above the average, as the preceding

chapter shows. Men do differ widely in keenness of perception, in

retentiveness of memory, in power of imagination, in love or dislike for the

studies of natural science. A remembrance of this is of peculiar value to us

in the training of children. The dullard in mathematics may prove the

scholar in classics, etc. The wisdom of the Divine arrangement which

makes differences between us in our natural tastes and capacities is seen in

this, that it is on the one hand a blessing to society, enabling all spheres of

life to be filled, and on the other a means of culture to character, by calling

forth our sympathy, our forbearance, and our generosity in rejoicing over

the triumphs of others.



Solomon did not have all the mysteries of nature unveiled to him by

revelation. No “royal road to learning” existed then, or ever. His

studiousness as a youth may be fairly inferred from his strenuous

exhortations to diligence and his frequent rebukes of sloth. Out of the

depths of personal experience he declared that the “hand of the diligent

maketh rich” — in thought, as well as in purse. See also Proverbs 10:5;

19:24; 26:13, etc. Press home on the young the value of habits of diligence.

Illustrate by examples from biography. It would be interesting to know

with certainty the substance of Solomon’s discourses. Probably he knew

more than any other of his own day of horticulture, physiology, and

kindred topics. But the reference is not so much to scientific treatises and

orderly classifications as to the ethical use he made of the phenomena of

nature. This may be inferred, partly from the fact that in those days, and in

Eastern lands, this rather than that would be accounted “wisdom;” and

partly from such writings of his as are still extant — certain of the Psalms,

the Song of Solomon, and the Proverbs. Study the text in the light thrown

by these books, and it will be seen that through Solomon’s wisdom the

voice of Nature spoke to his people for God, in the same fashion as in far

nobler tones it spoke afterwards through Him who made the lilies whisper

of God’s care, and the fallow fields speak of Christian duty. Inanimate

things and dumb creatures spoke to Solomon’s people through him, and

should speak to us.



Solomon, like his father, could say, “The heavens declare the glory of

God;or like One greater than himself, “Consider the lilies of the field,”

etc. See how he speaks (Proverbs 16:15) of the cloud of the latter rain

that rifled out the ears of corn; of the dew upon the grass (ibid. 19:12);

of the gladness of nature, when the winter is past and the rain is

over and gone (Song of Solomon 2:11-13). To see God’s hand in all

this is true wisdom. The phenomena are visible to pure intellect, but He

who is behind them can only be “spiritually discerned.” Many now are

losing sight of God because the mental perception only is employed, and

believed to be necessary. Once the world appeared to men as the

expression of God’s thought, the outcome of His will. Now some look on

it as you may look on a friend who is not dead so far as natural life is

concerned, but is worse than dead, because intelligence and will are gone,

and he is an idiot! May we be aroused by the Divine Spirit to yearn for the

lost Father, for the vanished heaven.



DEPENDENCE. Neither “hyssop” nor “cedar” can grow without

Heaven’s benediction, and of every “beast,” and “fowl,” and “creeping

thing,” and “fish,” it may be said, “these all wait upon Thee.” Man, with all

his attainments and powers, cannot create a single element required by his

life. He can use God’s gifts, but they are God’s gifts still; and because He

is good, our Lord bids us learn the lessons of content and trust

(Matthew 6:25-34). We depend on these creatures in the natural world

for food, clothing, shelter, etc., and they only live because God cares for




How often in Proverbs we are reminded of that. Agur, who had wisdom

similar to that of Solomon, speaks of the diligence of the ant, of the

perseverance of the spider, of the strength in union of the locusts, of the

conscious weakness and provided shelter of the conies. Solomon speaks of

the blessing that came to the keeper of the fig tree (Proverbs 27:18) as

an encourament to servants to be faithful and diligent. Adduce similar




DANGERS. Take three examples of this.


Ø      In Song of Solomon 2:15 Solomon alludes to “the little foxes who

so stealthily approach and spoil the vines and their tender grapes”

as illustrations of the small evils which desolate men’s hearts and

homes. Apply this.


Ø      Then in Proverbs 24:30-34 he draws a picture of a neglected garden,

grown over with thorns and nettles, and shows how looking on it he

received instruction,” and warning against sloth.


Ø      Again turn to ibid. ch. 23:32, where, speaking of intoxicating drink,

he says, “at last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”

It was in this way he referred to the animals and plants around him.



those days, as in other days, foolish favorites, and unworthy.men, were

exalted to places of trust and honor. Seeing it Solomon draws again on

his observance of nature; and having noted the disorder and injury caused

by untimely storms, says, “As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so

honor is not seemly in a fool” (Proverbs 26:1). Another example of this

teaching occurs in ibid. ch. 28:3. A heavy rain after long drought,

raising the streamlets to floods, would sweep away the mud-built dwellings

of the poor and the harvest already reaped; and to those who had seen that

the wise king said, “A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping

rain which leaveth no food.”



POSSIBILITIES. Solomon saw growth around him on every side. The

seed dropped in the crevice of a wall was not forgotten, but appeared in

the “hyssop;” and the sapling, which a child could break, at last became the

great “cedar of Lebanon.God’s benediction and man’s toil developed life;

and the feeblest was not forgotten, the smallest not despised. We can

imagine how from such facts Solomon would draw lessons of trust and



·         IN CONCLUSION let us learn from the subject the following lessons:


Ø      Never be afraid of the teachings of natural science. Show how geology,

botany, astronomy, etc., are regarded by some Christians with terror, as if

their influence would affect the spiritual truths revealed of God.

Demonstrate the folly of this. Let theology recognize the sisterhood of

science.  (Science was commanded by God when He told man to

“subdue the earth” [find out its secrets] - Genesis 1:28 - CY - 2022)


Ø      Never become absorbed in pursuits which are merely intellectual. The

soul of man needs more than his intellect can win. The “hunger and thirst

after righteousness” ONLY A LIVING GOD CAN SATISFY! Use the

suggestions of nature as the witnesses of God.


Ø      Never neglect the wonderful works of God. Many a frivolous life would

be redeemed from emptiness and boredom if young people were trained

to observe and take interest in the habits of animal life and the marvels

of inanimate existence.  But let us walk through this fair world as

those who follow Christ, and then from the fragrant lilies and golden

harvest fields He will speak to us of our Father in heaven.


34 “And there came of all people (Hebrew - the peoples; nations) to hear the

wisdom of Solomon (ch. 10:1), from all kings of the earth (i. e., messengers,

ambassadors, as in the next chapter), which had heard of his wisdom.” 

Both Jewish and  Mohammedan writers abound in exaggerated or purely fabulous

accounts of  Solomon’s attainments and gifts. We may see the beginning of these in

Josephus, Ant. 8:2.5.  (There are millions in America that will not walk across the

street to attend church where Jesus is met and “BEHOLD, A GREATER THAN

SOLOMON IS HERE!” – CY  - 2010)


 Solomon was a zoologist, he spake of beasts.

He was an ornithologist - he spoke of birds.

He was an entomologist - he talked of insects.

He was an ichthyologist - he spoke of fishes.


But in Jesus Christ, the Messiah the Prince, is the incarnation of Wisdom

He is “made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and

redemption”  - (I Corinthians 1:30)  and “in Him are hid all the treasures of

wisdom and knowledge”  (Colossians 2:3).


There is a wisdom in this world that is “foolishness with God”  (I Corinthians  3:8)

and there is a wisdom which descendeth not from above” –(James 3:15)

For example:


 How bad off is secularism in America?   In 2003 my Microsoft Works program

in spell check wanted to replace Immanuel with e-mail.





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