II Chronicles 1
I and II Chronicles are the names originally given to the record made by the
appointed historiographers in the
Septuagint, these books are called Paralipomena (i.e. things omitted),
which is understood as meaning that they are supplementary to I and II
Kings. The constant tradition of the Jews is that these books were for the
most part compiled by Ezra. One of the greatest difficulties connected
with the captivity and return must have been the maintenance of that
genealogical distribution of the lands which yet was a vital point of the
Jewish economy. To supply this want and that each tribe might secure
the inheritance of its fathers on its return was one object of the author
of these books. Another difficulty intimately connected with the former
was the maintenance of the temple
and after him Ezra and Nehemiah, labored most earnestly to restore the
worship of God among the people, and to reinfuse something of
national life and spirit into their hearts. Nothing could more effectually
aid these designs than setting before the people a compendious history
to its overthrow; the captivity and return. These considerations
explain the plan and scope of that historical work which consists of
the two books of the Chronicles.
In II Chronicles the author continues the story, giving the history of the
As regards the materials used by Ezra, they are not difficult to discover.
The genealogies are obviously transcribed from some register, in which
were preserved the genealogies of the tribes and families drawn up at
different times; while the history is mainly drawn from the same
documents as those used in I and II Kings.
The above introduction is taken from:
A Dictionary of the Bible by William Smith, L.L.D.
THE CAREER OF SOLOMON AS KING OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
The period here commenced, covering the ground to the end of ch. 9 is the same period
described in I Kings 1-11. And the following table of parallel passages (as given by Keil)
may be put here for convenient reference:
· II Chronicles 1:2-13. — I Kings 3:4-15.
· II Chronicles 1:14-17. — I Kings 10:26-29.
· II Chronicles 2. — I Kings 5:15-32.
· II Chronicles 3:1-5:1. — I Kings 6, 7:13-51.
· II Chronicles 5:2-7:10 — I Kings 8.
· II Chronicles 7:11-22. — I Kings 9:1-9.
· II Chronicles 8. — I Kings 9:10-28.
· II Chronicles 9:1-28. — I Kings 10:1-29.
· II Chronicles 9:29-31. — I Kings 11:41-43.
The present chapter of seventeen verses tells:
accompanied by “all the congregation” (vs. 1-6). Next
answer vouchsafed to it (vs. 7-12). And lastly,
Solomon’s Sacrifice (vs. 1-6)
1 "And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom,
and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him
exceedingly." Was strengthened in his kingdom. This expression, or one
very closely resembling it, is frequently found both in Chronicles and
elsewhere, so far as the English Version is concerned. But the verb in its
present form (hithp. conjugation) is found in Chronicles, omitting other
books, just fifteen times, and rarely, if ever, to the level of the mere passive
voice. It carries rather the idea of a person who exerts himself, and does all
that in him lies to nerve himself with strength for any object (ch. 12:13; 13:7-8, 21;
15:8; 16:9; 17:1; 21:4; 23:1; 25:11; 27:6; 32:5; I Chronicles 11:10; 19:13;).
It may suggest to us that Solomon threw the force of moral energy and resolution
into his work and life at this period. (And so can and should we all! - CY - 2016)
The Lord his God was with him; i.e. Jehovah his God was with
him. The parallels of this very simple and natural expression are too
numerous for quotation. Some of the earliest are found in well-known
connections in the Book of Genesis, as e.g. 21:22; 26:28; 28:15, 20-22; 31:3.
Again, Numbers 14:14, 43; 23:21; Joshua 14:12; Judges 6:13; Ruth 2:4;
I Samuel 17:37; II Samuel 5:10; I Chronicles 11:9; 22:11, 16; II Chronicles
15:9; 19:11; 36:23; Amos 5:14. The beautiful New Testament equivalent occurs
in II Thessalonians 3:16, and elsewhere. Like some other of those early and
concise religious expressions, brevity and simplicity are fully charged with
suggestion. And the above quotations will be found to furnish examples of the
manifold practical use of THE LORD'S PRESENCE with ANY ONE! That
presence may infer the help just:
Ø of companionship, or
Ø of sure sympathy, or
Ø of needed counsel, or
Ø of strength in the hour of temptation, or
Ø of absolute practical help, or
Ø of the highest revealings of faith.
The whole circle of need, of human and Christian need, THE DIVINE
PRESENCE “will supply” (Philippians 4:19). The “need” of Solomon in his
present position was patent and pressing. Would that he had always kept by the
true supply of it! Magnified him exceedingly. This verb in its piel conjugation,
signifying “to make grow,” occurs twenty-six times in the various books of the
Old Testament, some of the more characteristic occurrences of it being found in
the following passages: Genesis 12:2; Numbers 6:5; Joshua 3:7; 4:17; I Kings
1:37, 47; II Kings 10:6; I Chronicles 29:12, 25; Esther 3:1; Job 7:17; Psalm 34:4;
69:31; Isaiah 1:2; 44:14; Ezekiel 31:4; Daniel 1:5; Hosea 9:12.
A Bright Beginning (v. 1)
It is far from being everything when we make a good beginning; for many a
bright beginning has a very dark ending. Yet is it a very great advantage to
start well on our course. Few men ever commenced their career under
more favorable auspices than did King Solomon, when “he sat on the
throne of the Lord as king, instead of David his father” (I Chronicles 29:23).
He had much to sustain and to encourage him.
that he was “Solomon, the son of David.” He was known to be the
favorite son and chosen heir of his illustrious father. All the strong
attachment which the people felt for the late (or the dying) sovereign went
to establish his son upon the throne. Solomon acceded to the gathering and
deepening affection which his father David had been winning to himself
through a long and prosperous reign. All the influence which an honored
and beloved leader can convey to his successor was communicated to him:
thus was he “strengthened in the kingdom.”
magnified him exceedingly.” Taking this with the same expression (and the
words that accompany it) in I Chronicles 29:25, we may safely infer
that God had given him:
Ø A noble and commanding presence, such as attracts and affects
those who behold it (see Psalm 45:2).
Ø A winning address, a bearing and demeanor which drew men to
him and called forth their good will.
Ø A mind of unusual capacity, an intellectual superiority that enabled
him to acquit himself honorably in private and in public affairs.
Thus was he “magnified exceedingly;” he was held in high
honor, was “made great” in the estimation of all the people.
with him.” How much is held and hidden in that simple phrase, "God was
with him” (see Genesis 21:22; 39:2; I Samuel 18:14)! It meant that
God was with him to shield him from harm, to direct him in difficulty, to
inspire him with wisdom, to sustain him in trial, to enrich him with every
needful good. God was attending his steps and “laying His hand upon him.”
We may say that this was not only a bright, but even a brilliant, beginning
of the king’s career. We cannot hope for a commencement like that; that is
only granted to the few, to the very few indeed. This is true, but it is also
true that to most if not to all men, certainly to those of us who have a
knowledge of God in Christ Jesus, there is possible a bright beginning of
active life. In all or nearly all cases there is:
Ø A heritage from those who have gone before us. From our parents, from
our forefathers, from the toil and struggle and suffering of our race, there
comes to us a heritage of good. This may be material wealth; or, if not that,
knowledge, truth, wisdom, precious thought in striking and powerful
language, inspiring examples of heroic deeds and noble lives. If not sons
of such fathers as David, we are the children of privilege, we are “the
heirs of all the ages.”
Ø Some personal advantages; either in bodily skill, or in address, or
in mental equipment, or in strength of will, or in force of character.
Ø God’s gracious and favoring presence. For if we are “reconciled to
him by the death of His Son,” we may most surely count on the
promise that He will be “with us;” with us not only to observe our
course and mark our life, but to direct our ways, to “strengthen”
us in our sphere, however humble our kingdom may be:
o to make our life fruitful of good and blessing,
o to enrich us with much pure and elevating joy,
o to guide us to the goal and to the prize.
Let us but yield ourselves to Him whose we are, and to that service
where our freedom and our duty alike are found, and ours
will be a bright beginning that shall have promise of a STILL
FAIRER AND BRIGHTER ENDING!
2 "Then Solomon spake unto all Israel, to the captains of thousands
and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to every governor in all
the one verse, I Kings 3:4; and the five together give us, of course, a much fuller
view of the events of the sacrifice. Our present verse purports to show the
Captains of thousands and of hundreds (see first I Chronicles 13:1;
27:1; 28:1; and then Exodus 18:21, 25; Numbers 31:14, 48, 52, 54;
Deuteronomy 1:15; I Samuel 8:12; 17:18; 18:13; 22:7; II Samuel 18:1;
II Kings 11:9, 15, 19). The judges. The office and the
person of the judge were held in high honor among the Jewish people
from the first, and perhaps, also, with a noteworthy uniformity, even in the
more degenerate periods of their history. Their commencement in
patriarchal simplicity can be easily imagined, and receives illustration from
such passages as Job 29:7-9; 32:9. Their more formal development
may be considered to date from the crisis related in Exodus 18:14-24.
And the allusions to the judge and his office thenceforward sustain our
impression of the honor in which they were held, arising, no doubt,
largely from the deep-felt necessity for them, the more society crystallized
(Numbers 25:5; Deuteronomy 16:18; 19:17-21; 21:2; Joshua 8:33;
I Chronicles 23:24; 26:29; II Chronicles 19:8-10). In I Chronicles 23:24 we are
told how David set apart “six thousand Levites” to be “officers
and judges.” Every governor. The word employed here (נָשִׂיא) is
rendered by five different words in our Authorized Version:
Ø “prince” (Genesis 17:20, passim),
Ø “ruler” (Exodus 16:22, passim),
Ø “captain” (Numbers 2:3, passim),
Ø “chief” 3:24, passim), and
in the present passage only. It is evidently a term of generic signification, used:
Ø of a king (I Kings 11:34; Ezekiel 12:10);
Ø of leaders of the Ishmaelites (Genesis 17:20);
Ø of the captains of the tribes of Israel (Numbers 7:11);
Ø of the chiefs of families (Numbers 3:24);
while the use of it (Genesis 23:6) to set forth the position of Abraham as one raised
to eminence so high and undisputed that it might be clearly said to be God’s
doing, is sufficient to determine its central signification. The chief of the
fathers; i.e. the heads of the fathers. The first occurrence of the
expression, “the heads of their fathers’ houses” (Exodus 6:14-25), and of
“the heads of the fathers of the Levites according to their families”
(ibid. v. 25), sufficiently explains the original and perfectly natural
meaning of the phrase. The great importance and significance of the
position of the heads “of families” and “of houses” and "of fathers” in early
patriarchal times must necessarily have declined by the time of Solomon,
when the nation had received so much more of civil form and system. But
the name remained, and the family and social position did not fail to make
themselves felt, and finally the official recognition of them in David’s time
is evidenced by I Chronicles 27:1, and in Solomon’s time both by the
present passage and II Chronicles 5:2 with its parallel I Kings 8:1.
Our present use of the expression ought probably to show it, in close
apposition with the foregoing words, “to all
pointing of the verse does not favor the supposition, it may be that the
writer means to emphasize Solomon’s summons as made both to the
kingdom as such, and to the people also as a united people. We are not,
indeed, told here, in so many words, what it was that Solomon said “to all
Israel.” But there can be no doubt as to his object, as betrayed in the first
clause of the following verse.
3 "So Solomon, and all the congregation with him, went to the high
place that was at
of God, which Moses the servant of the LORD had made in the wilderness."
All the congregation; i.e. in the persons of their captains, judges, princes,
and family representatives. The high place… at Gibeon.
It may readily be allowed that even nature and instinct would suggest a
certain fitness in selecting high places, and the impressive grandeur of
groves, for the worship of the High and Lofty One and for the offerings of
sacrifice to Him. It was not otherwise historically (Genesis 12:7-8;
22:3-4; 31:54). However, first, it was part of the education of a nation
(situated in the heart of the young world) in the unity of the ONE GOD, that
its worship should be offered in one place, and the smoke of its sacrifices
ascend from one altar; and secondly, it was not difficult to foresee that the
very force that lay in the associations, which dictated the choice of some
places (not least, certainly, “the grove”), would constitute their weakness
and snare. The prohibitions, therefore, of the Mosaic Law
(Deuteronomy 12:5, 11, 14, 19, 21, 26-32), witnessed to by such
corroborations as are found in commands to obliterate certain Canaanitish
traces, that looked long time a different way (Leviticus 17:8; 26:30;
Numbers 33:52-53; Deuteronomy 33:29; Joshua 22:29; I Kings 20:23),
approve themselves as in thorough harmony with what all would
feel to be the genius of the
religious education of
that means were not found to abide by the “letter” of the Law to a far
greater degree during all the generations that elapsed before the people
were settled in their land, and were gathered in their temple so typical. Is it
not possible to regard this as an impressive instance of how, even in a
system that sought to be of the closest and most exclusive, the “spirit,” by
force of circumstances, resented the tyrannous bondage of the “letter”?
Anyway, for ages from the time of that prohibition, the nation had the
moral principle as their guide rather than any possibility of keeping safe
within a commandment’s “letter” (so see Judges 6:25-26; 13:17-24;
I Samuel 7:10; 13:9; 16:5; I Chronicles 21:26; I Kings 18:30).
Even now, accordingly, the prohibited is still the observed, and by
Solomon, too, in the steps of David, even if it be necessary to describe it as
the “winked at.” And to the “high place” at Gibeon Solomon and all the
representatives, the congregation of
sacrifice. The tabernacle was now at Gibeon, whither it had come from
Nob (I Chronicles 16:39-40; I Samuel 21:1, 6; from which latter
reference, speaking of the “shew-bread,” it comes that we know the
tabernacle to have resided at Nob awhile; for the circumstance is not
positively narrated in any passage of the history (but see also I Samuel
22:9, 11). Gibeon was one of the four Hivite cities, the other three being
Beeroth, Chephirah, and Kirjath-jearim. It had its first fame from its
“wiliness” (Joshua 9:3-4, etc.). By the most direct road, it was five miles
the encounter between Joab and Abner (II Samuel 2:12-17). Again, for
the slaying of Amasa by Joab (ibid. ch. 20:6-10), and for the death of
Joab himself at the hand of Benalak, at the very horns of the altar (I Kings
2:28-34). Although the exact date of the lodging of the tabernacle at
it there, yet there can be no reasonable doubt that it was David, as we read
(I Chronicles 16:40) of his appointing the priests to offer “the daily
sacrifices” there, on the brazen altar of Moses, when Zadok was at their
head, and Heman and Jeduthun were their resident musicians. In what
particular part of
was stationed cannot be said with any certainty. Amid a considerable
choice of likely places, one forming part of
El-Tib, seems the likeliest, and to be preferred to the suggestion of Stanley
(‘Sinai and Palestine,’ p. 216), of Neby-Samuil, which is a mile distant. The
present imposing occasion is the last of any importance on
brought before us (see also I Kings 8:3; I Chronicles 9:35). There
was the tabernacle. The removal of the tabernacle to Gibeon no doubt
followed immediately on the destruction of Nob by Saul (I Samuel
22:9-19; I Chronicles 16:39-40, compared with 37; 21:28-29). Moses…
made in the wilderness (see Exodus 25., 26., 27., 33:7-10).
4 "But the ark of God had David brought up from Kirjathjearim to the
place which David had prepared for it: for he had pitched a tent for
emphasizes the fact of the temporary divorce that had obtained between
the ark and the tabernacle (so I Samuel 6:20; II Samuel 6:2-19;
I Kings 3:2, 4, 15; I Chronicles 13:3-14; 15:1-3, 12-15, 23-29).
David’s pitching of the tent for it is recorded emphatically I Chronicles
15:1; 16:1; II Samuel 6:17.
5 "Moreover the brasen altar, that Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur,
had made, he put before the tabernacle of the LORD: and Solomon and the
congregation sought unto it." The brazen altar. This statement is introduced
to lay stress on the fact that, though the ark indeed was not with the tabernacle,
the brazen altar of burnt offering assuredly was there, this constituting the place,
the proper spot, for sacrifice and worship. (For the account of the brazen altar
and its making, see Exodus 27:1-8; 38:1-7; also Numbers 16:38- 39.) This altar
of burnt offering is often spoken of as the altar, to distinguish it from the altar
of incense (Exodus 30:1; 39:38; Numbers 4:11). Bezaleel. (For detailed genealogy,
see on I Chronicles 2:3-20; also Exodus 31:2-5; 35:30-35.) He put before. The
reading (שָׁם;), “was there before,” is to be preferred, tallying as it does
exactly with Exodus 40:6. This was the reading understood by the
Septuagint and Vulgate. The majority of manuscripts, however, and the
Syriac Version, have שָׂם. Sought unto it. The analogy of the use of this
word would make to be preferred the translation “sought Him,” i.e. the
“Jehovah” just spoken of. But whether the object of the verb be in this
place Jehovah or the altar, it would seem probable that the clause purports
to say that Solomon and his people were accustomed to repair thither,
while now they were about to repair thither with a very vast burnt offering.
How came it to pass that the ark was in one place, and the tabernacle and
the brazen altar in another? How did it happen that the ark was in
been together. So it was originally ordained; so it was at the beginning; and
that was the final disposition. There was something irregular and not
according to the commandment in the arrangement described in the text. It
is difficult to understand how such a departure from the Divine plan could
exist in a dispensation in which careful and even minute conformity to
detail was accounted a virtue. The connection and the disconnection of
these two institutions may suggest to us:
AND THE ALTAR.
Ø Of these one is worship or sacrifice. Men approached the altar of
Jehovah with their gifts or sacrifices, and they then came consciously
into His presence; they brought their oblations to Him; they made a
direct appeal to Him for His mercy and His blessing. This forms one
part, and a large part, of the obligation under which we rest toward God.
Jew or Gentile, under any dispensation whether old or new, we are
sacredly bound to draw near to God in reverent worship, to bring to
Him our pure and our costly offerings, to entreat of Him His Divine
favor, to pay unto Him our vows.
Ø The other is obedience. The ark contained the sacred tables of the Law
on which were written the ten commandments of God. This
was the great treasure of the ark, and it was always associated with these
two tables; it was, therefore, the symbol of obedience. Both Jew and
Gentile are under the very strongest bonds to “obey the voice of the
Lord,” “to keep His commandments,” to do that which is right in
His sight, and to shun all those things which He has condemned.
what was pictured here — to put a distance between the altar and the ark,
between worship and obedience. Too often there is a very wide gap, even a
deep gulf, between the two. One man makes everything of forms of
devotion, and nothing of purity and excellence of conduct. Another makes
everything of behavior, and nothing of worship. We are led:
Ø either by the current of the time or
Ø by the inclination of our own individual temperament,
to go off in one direction and to leave the highway of Divine
wisdom; to exaggerate one aspect of truth and to depreciate another; to
put asunder what God has joined together and meant to go together. And
this exaggeration, this separation, ends in error, in faultiness, in serious
departure from the mind and the will of God.
they both stood within the precincts of the temple, and spoke of the vital
connection between sacrifice and obedience, so should we see to it that, if
there has been any separation of these two elements of piety in our
experience, there should be a reunion and, in future, the closest association.
Ø The habit of obedience should include the act of worship; for worship is
one of those things which God has enjoined.
Ø Each act of obedience should spring from the impulse which worship
fosters — a desire to please and honor the present and observant Lord.
Ø Worship should lead up to and end in obedience; for “to obey is better
than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (I Samuel 15:23)
The devotion that ends in service, in purity, in truthfulness, in fidelity,
in self-forgetting kindness, is after the mind of Jesus Christ. Let the ark
never be far from the altar, but worship and obedience be always in close
6 "And Solomon went up thither to the brasen altar before the LORD, which
was at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt
offerings upon it." A thousand burnt offerings. The first instance of the burnt
offering is Genesis 8:20, and thereafter in the same book Genesis 15:9, 17;
22:2, 7, 13. It was manifestly the chiefest of the eucharistic kind
of sacrifices, and for manifest reasons also was preceded by a “sin” offering
(Exodus 29:36-38; Leviticus 8:14, etc.). (For full details of the
ceremonial, see Leviticus chapters 1., 6., 7., 8.) The extraordinary number
of the burnt offerings on this and some similar occasions may well excite
our wonder (Numbers 7:3, 17; I Kings 8:64; here ch. 4:1 compared with
ch. 7:7. See also Herod., ‘Hist.,’ 7:43). The priests, of course, performed the
sacrifices at the command of Solomon.
The Beginning of a Reign (vs. 1-6)
Ø The owner of an auspicious name — Solomon, “Peace,” equivalent to
Friederich or Frederick Perhaps:
o alluding to the fact that when he was born his father was at peace with
God (II Samuel 12:24). God’s mercies, especially to the soul, are
worthy of commemoration (Psalm 103:2).
o Reflecting the peace which at that time prevailed in the land, his birth
most likely not having taken place till after the capture of Rabbah, and
the termination of the Ammonitish war (Keil). When David’s greater
son, the Prince of Peace, was born, “the (Roman) empire was peace.”
o Prognosticating the peaceful character of his rule (Psalm 72:7), and
the undisturbed rest of his reign (I Kings 4:24; I Chronicles 22:9).
Ø The son of a distinguished father — David.
shepherd-lad (I Samuel 16:1), Jesse’s youngest son climbed the giddy
heights of fame with marvelous celerity and success, becoming in swift
succession a brilliant warrior, a skillful harper, an agreeable courtier, a
popular leader, a trusted sovereign, a sweet singer, a devout psalmist, a
far-seeing prophet. Possessed of almost every qualification requisite to
render him the idol of his fellows, he found the pathway of greatness easier
to tread than do men of smaller stature and less-gifted soul. To have been
the son of such a sire was no mean honor to Solomon, though it entailed
upon him correspondingly large responsibility; while, if it multiplied his
chances of achieving in the future a similar distinction for himself, it no less
certainly created for him difficulties from which otherwise he might have
heir of a prosperous empire —
Solomon had been carved by the sword of David. The Philistines had been
back to their plains, retaining, however, the strongholds of
had been taken, and the census embraced all the
to the Bible,’ p. 281).
representative of a Divine
David’s throne by Divine right, because by Divine grace and for Divine
ends (Psalm 2:6). Solomon was Jehovah’s vassal, and held his regal
power only on condition of ruling in Jehovah’s name and for Jehovah’s
glory (II Samuel 22:3). If Solomon was
Ø By removal of his enemies. In particular by the execution of three
o Joab, his cousin (I Chronicles 2:16), a general of commanding
abilities and restless ambition, who with the army at his back might
soon have embroiled the land in war and prevented the hope of a
peaceful reign from being realized.
o Shimei, a Benjamite, a personal enemy of David (II Samuel 16:5-13),
who, besides having broken his parole (I Kings 2:36-46), could
not be trusted not to contrive mischief against David’s son.
o Adonijah, a half-brother of Solomon (II Samuel 3:4),
a formidable rival, who, in virtue of his right of primogeniture,
pretended to the crown, and might have been the means of
stirring up civil faction in the land, Difficult to justify on grounds of
Christian morality, these assassinations nevertheless contributed to
the establishment of Solomon’s throne.
Ø By the union of his subjects. As yet the empire was undivided. The ten
still adhered to the house of David. “All
the princes and the mighty men, and all the sons likewise of King David,
submitted themselves unto Solomon the king” (I Chronicles 29:23-24).
Ø By the help of his God. “The Lord his God was with him, and magnified
him exceedingly.” As Divine grace set, so Divine power kept him on the
throne. Without Heaven’s favor and assistance kings just as little as
common men cannot prosper. As Jehovah giveth the kingdom to whomsoever
He will (Daniel 4:25), so through Him alone can kings reign
(Proverbs 8:15). He also removeth and setteth up kings (Daniel
2:21); yea, the hearts of kings are in His hand (Proverbs 21:1). Jehovah
was with Solomon in virtue of the promise made to David (II Samuel
7:12), and because of the piety which still distinguished himself (v. 6;
compare II Chronicles 15:2). This was the true secret of Solomon’s
prosperity upon the throne no less than of Joseph’s in the prison
Ø Before the tabernacle of the Lord. This then at
and afterwards the scene of a clever fraud perpetrated upon Joshua
by its inhabitants, as well as of a bloody battle in their defense (Joshua
10:1-14), it latterly became in David’s time, because of the presence of the
tabernacle, a Levitical city with a high place presided over by Zadok and
his brethren (I Chronicles 16:39). Thither accordingly Solomon repaired to
inaugurate his reign by professing fealty and submission to the King of kings.
Ø With the offering of sacrifice. Within the tabernacle court stood the
brazen altar of Bezaleel (Exodus 38:1), upon which were offered a
thousand burnt offerings — a magnificent service, even for a king, and
o the homage he presented to Jehovah,
o the consecration he then made of himself to the work to which
Jehovah had called him, and
o the desire he cherished that his reign might be begun and ended in
Jehovah’s favor and under Jehovah’s protection.
Ø “In the presence of his people. “All the congregation,” in its
representatives, “went with him to the high place at
of his religion, Solomon acknowledged his dependence on and submission
to Jehovah in the most public manner. So are kings, princes, subjects, all
men, expected to confess GOD and CHRIST before men (Matthew 10:32).
Ø The value of a good beginning, in business as in religion.
Ø The need of DIVINE ASSISTANCE in all undertakings.
Ø The propriety of consecrating all to God in youth.
Ø The possibility of declining from early faith.
Ø The duty of never being ashamed of religion.
Ø The melancholy fact that good men may do doubtful actions.
The Vision and Prayer of Solomon, and God’s Answer to that Prayer
(Compare I Kings 3:5-15; 9:2.)
7 "In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask
what I shall give thee." That night. This can mean no other night than that which
followed the day (or the days) of sacrifices so multitudinous. The parallel
account in I Kings 3:5 tells us the way in which “God appeared to
Solomon,” viz. by dream. The words of God’s offer, Ask what I shall
give thee, are identical in the parallel place.
God’s Offer to the Young (v. 7)
“What a splendid and enviable position!” we are inclined to say; “one
removed from ours by the whole breadth of fortune. How utterly unlike the
conditions under which we freed ourselves today!” But is it so? Is there
not, on the other hand, quite as much of comparison as of contrast between
the position of the young sovereign and our own, as we look forward to
the future that awaits us? Does not God say to each one of us, “Ask what I
shall give thee?”
fraction of mankind may look for royalty or high rank, for large wealth or
extensive power. But it is highly probable that if this were our lot, we
should envy those who, in humbler spheres, were saved the many penalties
of prominence and power. And, apart from this, there is a very true
heritage which is open to us all. More or less at our command. are —
beginning at the bottom of the scale, and moving upwards:
Ø Bodily comforts; and these lowest gratifications are the more worthy
and lasting as they are more pure and moderate.
Ø Human friendship — domestic love, the sweet and sacred ties of the
heart and the home.
Ø Mental activity — the intellectual enjoyment which comes from the
observation of the works of God and the mastery of the works of men; all
the keen, strong, elevating delights of the active mind.
Ø The service of God, the friendship of Jesus Christ; thus realizing the end
and attaining the true satisfaction of our being.
Ø Working with God; out-working with Him the great redemptive scheme
He has designed and is effecting.
Ø A high and happy place in the heavenly kingdom. Such large and noble
heritage God offers to give the children of men, whether born in a palace
or in a cottage.
Solomon was not absolutely unconditional; he would not have been the
wise or learned man he became if he had not studied; nor the rich man he
became if he had been a mere spendthrift, etc. God is too kind to any of His
children to grant them His gifts without attaching conditions which must be
fulfilled. He says, “Here is my gift, but you must ask me for it; and the way
to ask for it is to fulfill the conditions on which I bestow it. Shall I give you
temporal prosperity? ask for it by being diligent, temperate, civil, faithful.
Shall I give you human love, the esteem of those around you? ask for it by
being virtuous, honorable, generous, amiable. Shall I give you knowledge,
wisdom? ask for it by being studious. Shall I give you eternal life? ask for it
by fulfilling the conditions on which it is promised — repentance toward
God, and faith in Jesus Christ. Ask what I shall give you; take the course
which you know is the one constant antecedent of my bestowal.”
Ø It is sad to think that many go through life without caring to accept
God’s challenge at all; they pass through a life charged with precious
opportunities, freighted with golden chances, never caring to inquire how
much they may make of the life that is slipping through their hands.
Ø Others deliberately choose the lower good; they ask for comfort, for
pleasure, for gratification, for abundance of earthly good, or for nothing
higher than human love.
Ø Our wisdom is to ask God for the highest good; for the diamond, and
not the granite; for the cup that heals, and not for that which soothes; for
the key that opens to the rich treasury, and not that which unlocks only a
cabinet of curiosities; for that which will make the heart pure and holy, and
the life noble and useful, and which will make death to be lighted up with
a glorious hope; — to ask for heavenly wisdom and ETERNAL LIFE!
We should ask for the best because it is the best and highest; and also
because, as with Solomon, it commands the lower good as well (vs. 11-12).
Let us seek
supreme thing to seek, and also because other and lower things are added
to it (Matthew 6:33).
8 "And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto
David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead."
Thou hast showed great mercy unto David my father. These
also are the exact words found in the parallel place, but they omit the
words, “thy servant,” before “David,” found there. And hast made me to
reign in his stead. This concise expression takes the place of two
equivalent expressions, found at the end of the sixth and beginning of the
seventh verses in the parallel passage, the former of which passages also
describes it as “this great kindness,” i.e. kindness on the part of God — a
description very much in harmony with David’s own grateful
acknowledgment to God (I Kings 1:48). Up to this point our present
account differs from its parallel in cutting out Solomon’s eulogy of his
father (“According as he walked before thee in truth and in righteousness
and in uprightness of heart with thee”), and his humbler disparagement of
himself (“And I, a little child, know not how to go out or come in”).
9 "Now, O LORD God, let thy promise unto David my father be
established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust
of the earth in multitude." Now, O Lord God, let thy promise unto David
my father be established. This challenge on the part of Solomon, intended,
without doubt, most reverently, is not given in the parallel place, and forms not
only a distinctive but an interesting additional feature of the present
account. It is thought by some that the “promise” here challenged is not
very distinctly recorded anywhere, but surely passages like I Chronicles
17:12-14; 22:10; 28:6-7 amply meet the case. See also II Samuel 7:12, 15.
King over a people like the dust. It is noteworthy that, though the
equivalent of this phrase is found in the parallel, the distinctiveness of this
simile is not found there. (For the use of the simile to express a vast
number, see Genesis 28:14; Numbers 23:10; Zephaniah 1:17; Zechariah 9:3.)
It is not at all of frequent use in Scripture.
10 "Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come
in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?"
Give me now wisdom and knowledge. The force of the
opening of this verse, and the relation of it to the former, are both
prejudiced by the “now” (עַתּה) being deposed from its right position as
the first word in the verse. For the rest of this verse, the parallel passage
has “an understanding heart” in place of our “wisdom and knowledge;” and
“that I may discern between good and bad,” in place of our that I may go
out and come in before this people. In using the words, “wisdom and
knowledge,” Solomon seems to have remembered well the prayer of his
father (1 Chronicles 22:12). (For the pedigree of the simple and effective
phrase, “know how to go out and come in,” see Numbers 27:17;
Deuteronomy 31:2; I Samuel 18:13, 16; II Samuel 3:25). It is at
the same time refreshing to revisit the times when the most exalted nominal
ruler was also the real ruler, as being the leader, the judge, the teacher in
the highest sense, and “the feeder” of his people. Nor is it less refreshing to
notice how, in
honored, that justice and to judge just judgment lay at the deepest
foundation of CIVIL SOCIETY!
11 "And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and
thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honor, nor the life of thine
enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom
and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over
whom I have made thee king:" With this verse the answer to Solomon’s prayer
begins. It is here concisely given in two verses, but occupies five (vs. 10-14) in the
parallel place, including the verse not found here, which says, “The speech
pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.” Otherwise there is
no essential difference of any importance, though it may be noted that the
parallel gives voice to the promise of “length of days,” on the condition of
Solomon fulfilling his part in showing obedience to the Divine will, and in
following the steps of his father. Riches, wealth (עשֶׁרנְכָסִים). The most
elementary idea of the former of these two words seems to be “straight
growth,” “prosperity;” of the latter, “to gather together” or “heap up.” The
former is found first in Genesis 31:16; and in the verb (hiph. conjugation) in
Ibid. ch.14:23. Afterwards it is found in almost all of the historical books, in
the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and in the prophets Jeremiah and Daniel.
The latter word occurs only five times (Joshua 22:8; in this and the following
verses; and in Ecclesiastes 5:19; 6:2). Its Chaldee form is also found in
Ezra 6:8 and 7:26. A comparison of these passages scarcely sustains the
supposition of some, suggested by the derivation of the word, that it marks
specially those stores of useful things which constituted largely the wealth
of Old Testament times. Wisdom and knowledge. The distinction between
these is evident, as also that they are needful complements of one another
for the forming of a universal, useful, sound character.
12 "Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee
riches, and wealth, and honor, such as none of the kings have had
that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have
the like." Such as none of the kings… before thee, neither… after
thee. These words were sadly ominous of the short-lived glory of the
kingdom. Only two kings had
reigned before Solomon in
glory of the kingdom too surely culminated in his reign, and even before
the end of it (ch. 9:22-23; I Chronicles 29:25; Ecclesiastes 2:9). On the
other hand, the gratuitous and spontaneous fullness of promise in the
Divine reply to a human prayer that “pleased” the Being invoked is most
noticeable, and preached beforehand indeed, the lesson of the life of Jesus,
“Seek ye first the kingdom… and all these things shall be added unto you”
(Matthew 6:33). The contents of this verse are followed in the parallel by
the words, “And Solomon awoke; and behold it was a dream.” There can be
no doubt that what is here rehearsed did not lose any force or anything of
reality from its transpiring in a dream, of which the abundantly open statement
of the method of it, as in “sleep,” and in “a dream,” may be accepted as the
first cogent evidence. But beside this, the frequent recital in the Old Testament
of occasions when significant and weighty matters of business import were
so conducted by the Divine will forms ample ground and defense for the other
class of occasions, of which more spiritual matter was the subject (Genesis 28:12;
41:7; 20:3; 31:10, 24; 37:5; 40:5; 41:32; Judges 7:15; Job 33:15; Daniel 2:3;
7:1; Matthew 1:20; 2:13, 22; 27:19). On the other hand, side by side
with such passages are those that refer to dreams for their emptiness and
transiency of impression, when similes of this kind of thing are required
(Job 20:8; Psalm 73:20; 126:1). This is not the place to enter into
any argument of a metaphysical or physiological character respecting
dreams, and what they may or may not avail. But as some persons know
even too well how dreams have brought them most vivid, most torturing,
and most exquisite experiences in turn, there will seem, to them at least,
the less difficulty in admitting utterly their availableness for
communications of highest import, not only from God to man, but under
certain conditions from man to God. Without doubt, certain disabilities
(and those, perhaps, more especially of the moral kind) attach to our mind
in dreams. But do not dreams also find the scene of the keener activities of
mind pure? Granted that the mind is then under ordinary circumstances
without a certain control and self-commanding power, yet is it also in some
large respects much more at liberty from that besetting tyranny of sense
with which waking hours are so familiar! Hence its consummate daring and
swiftness and versatility in dream beyond all that it knows in the body’s
The Divine Responsiveness (vs. 7-12)
From the interesting scene described in these verses (more fully in 1 Kings
3.) we may glean some lasting truths.
Solomon went to
congregation,” in very great state, to seek the Lord there, and there he
offered abundant sacrifices (v. 6). And God responded to his act of piety
by seeking him, by coming to him and making him a gracious and generous
offer. Without any state, in lowliest obscurity, we may repair to the quiet
and solitary place, and there seek God; and there, too, He will seek us and
manifest Himself to us, and He will bless and enrich us also. There is an
unfailing and a large responsiveness in “Him with whom we have to do.”
(v. 7.) In
(I Kings 3:5). At other times he appeared to His servants in a vision in
their wakeful hours (Exodus 3:2; Isaiah 6:1). Our Lord was seen by
the Apostle Paul under circumstances that were unique (Acts 9.), and
subsequently He manifested himself in other ways to His servant. God has
access to us — His children — in many ways. At any time He may “lay his
hand upon us;” He may make known His will to us. It is our wisdom to
expect it; it is our duty to pray and to look for it.
HE ASKED GOD TO GIVE HIM. He asked for “wisdom and knowledge”
(v. 10); and the wisdom he asked for was cleverness, penetration,
political sagacity, subtlety of mind to read the thoughts of men, readiness
to see at once what was the expedient policy to adopt, range of human
learning. All this was valuable, and much to be desired; but all of this
together was not wisdom of so deep and precious a kind as that shown by
Solomon in making the choice he made. To ask for that gift which would
enable him to fill well the sphere in which Divine providence had placed
him, — this was better than all possible intellectual equipments. No
learning, no talent, no genius, is of such value and importance as the spirit
of fidelity. Everything else without that will leave life a failure and make
man a guilty being. But to be possessed with the spirit of faithfulness, to be
supremely desirous of taking the part and doing the work to which God
has called us, — this is the true success, and this will end in well-being of a
pure and lasting kind.
EVEN TO ENLARGE THE HERITAGE WE HAVE RECEIVED. (v. 8.)
Solomon evidently felt deeply impressed, if not oppressed, with the
thought that his father, David, had left a very great and serious charge in
his hands, and he was rightly anxious that it should be well maintained. It
becomes us, as members of a family, as citizens of the nation, to consider
what we have inherited from those who have gone before us — from their
labors and sufferings and prayers, and to ask ourselves what we are about
to do to guard and to strengthen, and, if it may be so, to enlarge and enrich
that precious legacy.
WE SEEK. (vs. 11-12.) Solomon’s happy experience of God’s
graciousness is very far indeed from being singular. We may all participate
here. If we seek rightness of soul with him we shall find it, and not only
that, but a profound and most blessed peace of mind as well. If we seek
purity of heart, we shall find what we seek, and happiness beside. If we
seek the good of others we shall secure that end, and we shall at the same
time be building up our own Christian character. Pursue the very best and
with the best of all will come that which is good, that which is not the
highest, but which we shall be very glad to have and to enjoy.
A Young King’s Choice (vs. 7-12)
give thee.” Granted:
Ø By whom? God (Elohim), the Giver par excellence, of whom David had
said, “All things come of thee” (I Chronicles 29:14); “The earth is full
of the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 33:5); and whom a New Testament
writer describes as “the Father of lights,” etc. (James 1:5,17).
The invitation here accorded to Solomon, after the manner of Oriental
monarchs (Esther 5:6; 9:12; Matthew 14:7), was and is preeminently
after the manner of the King of kings (Matthew 7:7; James 1:5). Christ
extends the same to His followers: “If ye shall ask anything in my Name,
I will do it” (John 14:14; 16:23-24).
Ø When? “In that night;” i.e. after the day in which Solomon had been
offering sacrifice — not without significance. God is not likely to appear at
night, at least in grace, to them who have been unmindful of Him
throughout the day.
Ø How? In a dream-vision (I Kings 3:5), which, however, warrants not
the deduction that the incident had no solid basis of reality, and that here is
only the record of a dream. Even were this correct, it would not be without
value as showing the current and tenor of Solomon’s thoughts and feelings
during the preceding day. Men seldom have pleasant dreams of God upon
their midnight couches who have not had Him in their thoughts all their
waking hours. Yet that in Solomon’s dream were a veritable manifestation
of God to his soul, and a bona fide transaction of asking and answering, of
giving and receiving, is proved by the fact that Solomon obtained what he
Ø Why? To prove what was in Solomon’s heart, to test whether the
ceremonies of the preceding day had been the outcome and expression of a
genuinely devout soul, to ascertain whether he had ascended the throne
with a clear grasp of the situation, whether he knew what he most required
for the successful execution of his kingly office. So God still tests His
people and men in general by extending to them a similar permission to that
He gave Solomon (Matthew 7:7), and by occasionally in His providence
bringing them into situations where they must choose, as Solomon was
invited to do, what they shall have as their chief good.
wisdom and knowledge.”
Ø The purport of this request. If “wisdom” and “knowledge” are to be
distinguished, which is doubtful, the former will be the general and the
latter the particular, the former the principle the latter the application, the
former the root the latter the fruit (compare Proverbs 8:12; Ephesians
1:17); “wisdom,” the soul’s capacity for seeing truth and discerning its
adaptations to the particular exigencies of life; “knowledge,” that truth as
apprehended and possessed by the soul. Solomon craved the spirit of
wisdom, that with clear and single vision he might “see” God’s will
concerning himself in every situation in his future career, and the faculty of
apprehension that he might always know what that will required him to do.
No prayer could have been more appropriate in his lips at the important
juncture in life at which he stood. No prayer could better befit any one at
ANY juncture. The prime necessities of the soul are:
o an eye to see and light to see with, and
o a capacity to find out and comprehend God’s will concerning itself
(Psalm 143:8). The Gentiles walk in the vanity of their minds,
through the ignorance that is in them (Ephesians 4:18). God’s
people go astray mostly through defect of knowledge (Isaiah 5:13;
Hosea 4:6; I Corinthians 15:34).
Ø The reason of this request. Solomon, conscious of inexperience and
inability to discharge the duties of the kingly office, felt he could not rightly
“go out and come in before” or “adequately judge” so great a people as
confess his want of wisdom and knowledge. As the first step towards
holiness is to acknowledge sin, so the first genuine movement in the
direction of self-improvement of any kind is the admission of defect.
Solomon confessed himself a little child, who knew not how to go out or
come in (I Kings 3:7), and Tennyson in similar language depicts the
natural condition of the race —
“Behold, we know not anything;
So runs my dream; but what am I?
An infant crying in the night,
An infant crying for the light,
And with no language but a cry.”
(‘In Memoriam,’ 54.)
It is doubtful, however, if that expresses the mood of any but the loftier
spirits. When souls begin to cry for light they are no longer absolutely
blind, but have become conscious of and are pained by the darkness.
(Ponder the four woes mentioned in Ephesians 4:18:
o alienation from God,
o ignorance and
o blindness. CY - 2016)
Ø The plea of this request. Not that he was a great man’s son, and indeed
a great man himself, at least in social position, or that his youth had been
virtuously spent, and that he was even then piously inclined; but that God
had graciously covenanted with David his father, promising to be a father
to David’s son, and to establish David’s throne for ever (II Samuel
7:12-16). So with no plea but that of grace, and no argument but that of
God’s covenant with men on the ground of Christ’s sacrifice, need
suppliants on any errand approach the throne of God.
knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches,
and wealth, and honor, such as none of the kings have had
that have been before thee, neither shall there any after have
Ø What Solomon had asked was obtained. So God still gives to them that
ask Him for the higher blessings of His grace — gives unconditionally,
freely, and exactly as men ask. So Christ says to His disciples, “All things
whatsoever ye desire in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew
21:22). And even when they ask temporal or material blessings not
inconsistent with their higher good, these are not withheld (Psalm 84:11).
See the case of
the blind men of
Ø What Solomon had not asked was superadded. He had not asked wealth,
fame, power, or long life; and just because he had asked none of these
things, lo! all these things were added. So Christ says, “Seek ye first the
etc.] will be added” — thrown into the bargain (Matthew 6:33); and
Paul adds that “God is able to do for us exceeding abundantly above all we
can ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Ø The liberty God’s people have in prayer.
Ø The superiority of wisdom, i.e. of heavenly wisdom (James 3:17),
over all earthly things (Proverbs 4:7).
Ø The reality of answers to prayer.
Ø The profit of sometimes limiting our requests at God’s throne.
13 "Then Solomon came from his journey to the high place that was at
Gibeon to Jerusalem, from before the tabernacle of the congregation, and
and from “before the tabernacle of the congregation” to “before the ark of
the covenant of the Lord”
not merely bears the trace of a slightly corrupt text in the presence of the
Hebrew preposition: before בָּמָה, where there can be no doubt the
preposition ְ should stand, but also suggests (keeping in view our v. 3,
and comparing I Kings 3:15) the condensed and cut-down method of
Chronicles, and its strong preferences for selecting out of the various
material at its command. The tabernacle of the congregation. This
styling of the “tabernacle” is of very frequent occurrence. It is found above
thirty times in Exodus, and fully as often in Leviticus and Numbers.
Afterwards it is sprinkled more rarely in the historical books. The reason of
its being styled “the tabernacle of the congregation” (מועֵר) is doubtful —
perhaps because of the gatherings of the people in front of it, or possibly
because of its being the place where God would meet with Moses. The
other name, the tabernacle of “witness” or “testimony” or “covenant”
(עֵדוּת; Numbers 9:15, etc.), is not unfrequent. Hence the Septuagint
σκηνὴ τοῦ μαρτυρίου – skaenae tou marturiou – the Tent of Meeting
the Vulgate, tabernaculum testimonii; and Luther’s Stifisuitten. This
verse very much stints the information contained in the parallel, to the
effect that Solomon forthwith took his place before
the ark of the covenant in
peace offerings, and gave a feast to all his servants (II Samuel 6:17-19;
I Chronicles 16:1-3; Deuteronomy 14:26-29). And he reigned over
These words seem nugatory both in themselves and as placed
here. They probably stand for I Kings 4:1.
The Attraction to
Chariots, Horses, etc. — on the Part of Solomon
The excitement attending the great sacrifices at
and purpose present to the mind of the reigning king. The large expenditure of
money would infer without fail the show of brilliant prosperity in the grand
city for the time. Whether this would last, and whether it would not infer
oppressive taxation somewhere or other (I Kings 9:15, 21-22; 10:25)
among the people, time would show. Had this expenditure been all to
record, none could suppose the commencing of the practical part of the
king’s reign either sound or auspicious. But, of course, it is to be qualified
by other things that were transpiring, with which the parallel acquaints us
(e.g. I Kings 3:16-28), only in different order. We now, however,
begin a rapid and self-contained sketch of the reign of Solomon to his very
death (ch. 9.) — the sketch one of marked characteristics, and in consistent
keeping with the presumable objects of this work. For it is very much
monopolized by the account of the temple.
14 "And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had a
thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand
horsemen, which he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king
identical with the parrallel I Kings 10:26-29, except that the words,
“and gold,” of our v. 15 (ch. 9:20) are not found there. The
position of these four verses in the parallel, towards the close of the
account of Solomon, would seem more natural than their position here,
which has somewhat the appearance of a fragment interpolated, as on the
other hand the account of the harlot-mothers there. Solomon gathered
horsemen. The chariot was no
Deuteronomy 20:1), neither of their earliest ancestors, nor of those
more proximate. The earliest occasions of the mention of it (Genesis
41:43; 46:29; 50:9) are in connection with Egypt, and almost all
subsequent occasions for a long stretch of time show it in connection with
some foreign nation, till we read (II Samuel 8:4; I Chronicles 18:4)
of David “reserving horses” unhoughed “for a hundred chariots,”
apparently also “reserved” out of the very much larger number which he
had taken in battle from Hadadezer King of Zobah. The very genius of the
character of God’s people, a pilgrim-genius, as well as their long-time
pilgrim-life, quite accounts for the “chariot,” though it be a war-chariot,
having never ranked among their treasures (Deuteronomy 17:16;
I Samuel 8:11). Now, however, Solomon thinks it the time to make it a
feature of the nation’s power and splendor. He gives the large order for
fourteen hundred chariots apparently to
appropriate number of horses to which would be probably four thousand
(ch. 9:25; compare I Kings 4:26, where note the corrupt numeral forty thousand,
ibid. ch. 10:26). Solomon’s fourteen hundred chariots were probably intended
to exceed the numbers of the Egyptian king (ch. 12:3; compare ch.14:6), of
Hadadezer’s (II Samuel 8:4; I Chronicles 18:4), and of the Syrians (II Samuel
10:18). But, on the other hand, see I Samuel 13:5 and I Chronicles 19:7,
unless, as seems very probable, the numerals in these places are again incorrect.
Dr. Smith’s ‘Dictionary of the Bible’ contains an interesting article on the
chariot (see below).
Chariot - a vehicle used either for warlike or peaceful purposes, but most
commonly the former. The Jewish chariots were patterned after the Egyptian,
and consisted of a single pair of wheels on an axle, upon which was a car with
high front and sides, but open at the back. The earliest mention of chariots in
Scripture is in
Pharaohs second chariot. ( Genesis 41:43 ) Later on we find mention of Egyptian
chariots for a warlike purpose. ( Exodus 14:7 ) In this point of view chariots
among some nations of antiquity, as elephants among others, may be regarded
as filling the place of heavy artillery in modern times, so that the military power
of a nation might be estimated by the number of its chariots. Thus Pharaoh in
click on Red Sea Crossing – CY – 2016) The Philistines in Sauls time had 30,000.
( 1 Samuel 13:5 ) David took from Hadadezer, king of Zobah, 1000 chariots,
who in order to recover their ground, collected 32,000 chariots. ( 1 Chronicles 19:7 )
Up to this time the Israelites possessed few or no chariots. They were first introduced
by David, ( 2 Samuel 8:4 ) who raised and maintained a force of 1400 chariots,
( 1 Kings 10:25 ) by taxation on certain cities agreeably to eastern custom in such
persons, and sometimes three, rode in the chariot, of whom the third was
For significant allusions to the horsemen, reference may be made to I Samuel 8:11;
I Kings 20:20; II Kings 2:12; Isaiah 21:7. Twelve thousand horsemen. These
probably purport what we should call horse-soldiers, or cavalry. And. it is
likely that they come to designate these in virtue of the Hebrew word here
used (פָרָשִׁים) meaning horses of the cavalry sort (see Gesenius,
‘Lexicon,’ sub voce). The chariot cities. In ch. 8:5-6 we are
expressly told that Solomon “built” purposely these cities, for the chariots
and for the horsemen, just as he built the “store” cities (see also I Kings 9:17-19).
15 "And the king made silver and gold at Jerusalem as plenteous as stones, and
cedar trees made he as the sycamore trees that are in the vale for abundance."
And gold. The omission of these words in the parallel (I Kings 10:27) is remarkable
in the light of what we read here in ch. 9:20. We find the contents of this verse
again in ibid. v. 27; as also in the parallel just quoted with the exception
already named. Cedar trees. The meaning is felled trunks of cedar (I Chronicles
22:4) (אֲרָזִים). Whether the wood intended is the cedar of Lebanon (Pinus cedrus,
or Cedrus conifera), “tall” (Isaiah 2:13; 37:24; Amos 2:9), “widespreading”
(Ezekiel 31:3), odoriferous, with very few knots, and wonderfully resisting decay,
is considered by authorities on such subjects still uncertain. Gesenius, in his ‘Lexicon,’
sub voc., may be consulted, and the various Bible dictionaries, especially Dr. Smith’s,
under “Cedar;” and Dr. Kitto’s ‘Cyclopaedia,’ under “Eres.” The writer in Dr.
Smith’s ‘Dictionary’ suggests that under the one word “cedar,” the Pinus
cedrus, Pinus deodara, Yew, Taxus baccata, and Pinus sylvestris (Scotch
pine) were referred to popularly, and were employed when building
purposes are in question. That the said variety was employed is likely
enough, but that we are intended to understand this when the word “cedar”
is used seems unlikely (see for further indication of this unlikeliness, the
instancing of “firs” occasionally with “cedars," (ch. 2:8; I Kings 5:10; 9:11;).
Sycomore trees (שִׁקְמִים). This word is found always in its present masculine
plural form except once, Psalm 78:47, where the plural feminine form is found.
The Greek equivalent in the Septuagint is always συκάμινος - sukaminos -
but in the New Testament, and in the same treatise, i.e. the Gospel according
to St. Luke, we find both συκάμινος and συκομωρέα - sukomorea - (Luke 17:6
and 19:4 respectively). Now, the former of these trees is the well known mulberry
tree. But the latter is what is called the fig-mulberry, or the sycamore-fig; and this
is the tree of the Old Testament. Its fruit resembles the fig, grows on sprigs shooting
out of the thick stems themselves of the tree, and each fruit needs to be punctured a
few days before gathering, if it is to be acceptable eating (Amos 7:14;
Isaiah 9:10). In the vale; i.e. in the lowland country, called the
Shefelah. This is the middle one of the three divisions in which Judaea is
sometimes described — mountain, lowland, and valley. This lowland was
really the low hills, between mountains and plain, near Lydda and Daroma
(the “dry,” 1.q. Negeb), while the valley was the valley of Jordan, from Jericho
to Engedi (Conder’s ‘Handbook to the Bible,’ pp. 302, 309, 2nd edit.).
16 "And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the
king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price." Horses brought.., out
of Egypt. Later on we read that horses were imported from other countries as
well (ch.9:24, 28), as, for instance, from Arabia and Armenia (Ezekiel 27:14).
Linen yarn. The words are without doubt wrong here. But it is impossible to say
with any certainty what should be in their place. The Vulgate shows here from
Coa, presumably meaning Tekoa, a small place on the road from Egypt to
Jerusalem. It might not have been easy to surmise, however, so much as
this, but for the fact that the Septuagint shows in the parallel place, “And
from Tekoa” (Amos 1:1). The Septuagint, however, has for the present
place, Καὶ ἡ τιμὴ τῶν ἐμπόρωντοῦ βασίλεως πορεύεσθαι καὶ ἠγόραζον -
Kai hae timae ton emporontou basileos poreuesthai kai aegorazon - and
from Kue; the king’s merchants purchased them from Kue. The Hebrew word
here translated “linen yarn” is מִקְואֵ (i.q. מִקְוֶה niph. of קָוָה;, “to be gathered
together”).’ Gesenius, followed by De Wette (and others), and himself following
Piscator (born tire. 1480) and Vatablus (born circa. 1546), would translate the
word “company,” and read, “a company of the king’s merchants took a company
(of horses) at a price.” Others would translate the word “import;” and read,
“the import of the king’s merchants was an import at a price,” i.e. in money.
Neither of these renderings can be considered really satisfactory. Some slight
corruption of text still baulks us, therefore.
17 "And they fetched up, and brought forth out of Egypt a chariot for
six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and
fifty: and so brought they out horses for all the kings of the
Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, by their means."
Six hundred shekels of silver. Some add up in this amount
the vehicle itself, harness, horse or horses necessary to it, and the expense
of carriage of the whole. Whether or no horses are included may be
doubtful. The amount added up reaches, according to various estimates,
£90 or £70. If we take the silver shekel at 3s. 4d. according to one of the
later authorities (Conder’s ‘Handbook to the Bible,’ p. 81, 2nd edit.), the
amount will be £100; and so for a horse £25. For all the kings of the
Hittites, and the kings of Syria; see ch. 8:7-8; 9:14, 23-24, 26;
I Kings 4:21, 24; II Kings 7:6; which last place in particular
suggests that Solomon would be the more willing to assist neighboring
peoples in the purchase of horses, etc., who might be already tributary to
him, or even vassals, or who might in future be in the better position to
help him, when either required or hired to do so.
Each Highest Need of Life Offers to Turn into the First Accepted
Best Rewarded Prayer of Life.
This chapter of seventeen verses might remind us of a picture and its
mount and frame, a precious stone and its setting. In this sense it is a unity.
The first six verses are used just to prepare us for the contents of the six
that follow; and the last five summarily assure us that the fulfillment did not
fall short of, nor halt long behind, promise. The now sole reign of
Solomon, begun with the blessing that causeth to prosper, seemed (all too
briefly, perhaps) to direct itself spontaneously to those religious
observances that alike rightly acknowledged the past goodness of God, and
augured the very best of auguries for the future. For Solomon acted
promptly and religiously himself, and also taught and led a whole nation,
his own nation, to do the same, when he sought and repaired to “the
brazen altar before the tabernacle of the Lord” — that sacred and time
honored tabernacle which “Moses the servant of the Lord had made in the
wilderness.” Since that date, oh, what journeys it had made! — what much
more varied, stranger, wanderings and history it had representatively
shared! What a career that nation escaped from Egypt now just five
centuries had already run! what a mark on the very world’s history it had
availed to make! But to the picture itself, rather than its surroundings —
picture, parable, solemn and sweet reality, all in one! There are to be
noticed and studied:
(1) the appearance to Solomon;
(2) the unhesitating prayer of Solomon;
(3) the answer and promise vouchsafed to Solomon.
Ø The veritable fact in it; i.e. that it was God who appeared. What we
or an unaccountable impression; or, worst of all, a chance of the waking
mind or of the dream; — should in devout language, and equally in devout
truth, be called by the name that is Love, and that is also to be supremely
Ø The method of it. Probably enough in dream, in one or other of the kinds
of dream, with which Scripture makes us familiar; the deeper dream, or
that which young Samuel’s more resembled; or thinking in night’s deep
stillness, with all its unstinted retrospect of the day on which it had just
closed. In brief, whatever the absolute fact was, it is not necessary to
suppose that God appeared then any more literally or visibly than now
sometimes to us, or that he appears any less really many a time to us.
Ø The times; i.e. immediately upon Solomon’s practical conduct, right
conduct, devout and religious conduct, and conduct that drew in with itself
the nature, the idea, the fact of public worship, public service, the action of
the combined Church. To human works no merit belongs. They claim no
worthiness of this kind. They cannot earn or deserve anything of God. Yet
is it to be most distinctly and unequivocally noted how often God appears
to view in connection with human works, interposes to aid and bless in the
very crises or sequel of rightly intended human endeavor or bold deed. It
is as though He would graciously ever associate His noblest, kindest, freest
giving with our deeds, so that they be simple and sincere deeds, that these
may be reacted upon at other times by the quickening, encouraging
memory thereof. It is not simply written that “God appeared” in the night,
but emphatically “in that night.”
Ø The object, or very matter of it. Astonishing to say, it is not to hear a
petition, not to answer a petition, but positively to ask for a petition — to
ask to be asked for some good gift. This, when projected upon the plain
page of the Divine book, is recognized as amazing condescension; but it is
nothing in excess of what is ever going on in God’s dealings with us. It
comes of the fullness of His overflowing goodness, of Hhis natural liberality,
and of His unfeigned forgiving-ness of spirit, to His erring family.
Ø The contradiction couched in it, to the idea of human life, character,
action, being based on any fatalistic scheme emanating from above. A
man’s own choice is here asked, elicited, challenged, acceded to, and
granted! And herein, in all five particulars, we have but expressed in
graphic parable the facts between God and human, individual life in all
held to be any doubt that this prayer was approved, divinely approved, in
what it contained. It cannot, perhaps, be asserted as positively that it
“lacked nothing,” and was as unchallengeable in what it did not contain.
When we have traveled many a mile with Solomon, and have come to the
latter milestones of his journey, thoughts make themselves a voice, and we
fear that the prayer erred by defect. Let us take note first of what was
incontestably good in it.
Ø It found its spring in the sense of genuine responsibility — responsibility
that had come from father to son, and more sacred and venerable for this;
responsibility that was heightened by the memory of its being in matter that
had enlisted special Divine promise, and which promise must not be
allowed to fall to the ground through lack of human co-operation; and
responsibility because of the intrinsic nature of the subject in hand. Prayer
thus rising to the surface is earnest, sincere, deep; and no doubt it was so
now with Solomon.
Ø It was prayer relatively high in its aim, by the expressed Divine
admission and commendation here. “Wisdom and knowledge” were above
“riches, wealth, honour, the life of enemies, or long life for self.”
Ø It was prayer for means, strength, grace to do duty, to be equal to the
requirements of lofty duty, and duty that in its significance and its results
looked far outside individual interest or individual interest and honour
combined. The standpoint of duty is equally grand and momentous! There
may be prayer for high possessions — possessions of knowledge and
wisdom even, that have selfishness and ambition in them, but not a grain of
grace or an atom of sense and love of duty, and acknowledging of solemn
responsibility. Solomon’s prayer stands in vivid contrast to this sort of
thing. He prayed for wisdom and knowledge that he might fill his father’s
place worthily, his own place aright — “serve his generation by the will of
God,” and in thus doing “please God” Himself!
Ø It was prayer that failed to make provision for the highest, deepest,
surest needs of all; viz. humility, personal, practical, preserving piety, ever
“a clean heart” and the renewing ever of “a right spirit.” Of these things,
masked in the prayer, nothing is promised in its answer; and the sad clue
may lie herein to much in Solomon’s subsequent life. Thinking hereof, may
we not lay it to heart for our own timely warning, when we are compelled
to say of Solomon at this critical moment, “He left unprayed the things he
ought to have prayed”?
Ø It expressly said to him, it reminds ourselves, how God knows the heart
and measures prayer by the heart. “Because,” He says, “this was in thy
heart.” There is many a prayer of the lip, of memory, of habit, of
superstitious sentiment, of some vague feeling of duty, but the heart is far
away, and from such prayers, so-called, God Himself is equally far away.
Ø God granted that petition, not simply because it was a heart’s true
desire, but because it was also “most expedient” — it was a true heart’s
true desire! It was “most expedient” for Solomon, for the high place he
Ø God crowns the answer with promise as well. The precious thing
granted by way of answer, incomparably the best thing by far, God
wreathes with splendor — a splendor, He expressly says, unknown
before, and hereafter never to be eclipsed! So, how often has it been that
those who have with single eye, steadfast heart, sought first the kingdom of
God, and His righteousness, have found all other things added to them! So,
how often has it been that “those who feared God” have found they
“lacked no good thing”! And even earthly honor, earthly wealth, earthly
good, have been bestowed with overflowing cup on those who could safely
receive it, because they had shown they desired first, prayed first, for purer,
higher good — the real, the right, the true, the lasting.
From the Altar to the Throne (vs. 13-17)
A great step was now taken. Solomon, the young man, mounted the throne
of his father David; in so doing he assumed the function of one who had
behind him a large and varied experience, and who had above and around
him the assured and proved loving-kindness of God. Solomon began his
reign most promisingly. We gather:
ALTAR. He came “from before the tabernacle… and reigned” (v. 13).
There could have been no place so suitable as that where Jehovah was
worshipped from which to ascend to kingly power. There is no resort so
good as the throne of grace, from which we can ascend any throne of
authority or power today. It is well, indeed, to pass from intercession with
God to association with men and to the conduct of human affairs. The visit
to the house of the Lord, fellowship with Christ at His table or in our own
chamber, will give:
Ø a calmness of spirit,
Ø an unselfishness of aim, and
Ø a steadfastness of principle
which will go far to qualify us for the difficult duties and heavy burdens
and (it may be) the serious battles of daily life.
OF MANY. Solomon “reigned over
governing. And though the Hebrew monarchy was not actually absolute, it
was invested with great power. A good sovereign wrought great blessings,
and a bad one caused terrible evils to his country. Great power, in the
shape of royal authority, has passed or is passing away. But still men
“reign” over others — lead, direct, rule, influence, mightily affect them for
good or evil. Very great power has the statesman, the preacher, the poet,
the principal, the teacher. The possession of power is usually esteemed a
thing to be greatly coveted. But it is as full of solemn responsibility as it is
of noble opportunity; it calls for a deep sense of obligation and
accountability; also for peculiar prayerfulness of spirit and of habit.
Humble and not proud, conscious of dependence on God and not self-
sufficient, should be the man of high position and commanding influence.
PERILOUS CONDITION. All those instances of national prosperity
related in the text — the abundance of horses and chariots, and of gold and
silver, the cultivation of choice trees, etc. — were signs that Jehovah was
favoring the land, and that Solomon was fulfilling his early promise. But
affluence, whether individual or national, is a dangerous condition. It tends
to luxury; and luxury leads only too often to sloth and self-indulgence; and
these lead straight to wrong-doing and impiety. It is “a slippery place,”
where a few can walk without stumbling, but where the many slip. and fall.
Ø Envy not the greatly prosperous; plenteousness of gold and silver may
impoverish the soul while it enriches the treasury.
Ø Care much, care most, for the abundance of Christian truth, of sterling
principle, of generous helpfulness.
The Glory of Solomon (vs. 13-17)
Ø A sign of great prosperity. Mentioned on this account rather than as a
proof of the expensiveness and burdensomeness of Solomon’s reign (Ewald).
o A discrepancy. Solomon had 40,000 stalls (I Kings 4:26; Josephus,
ch. 10:26); 4000 stalls and 12,000 horsemen (ch. 9:25).
o An explanation. The stalls probably were 4000, the horsemen
12,000, and the chariots 1400. The Israelitish war-chariot, like
the Egyptian and Assyrian, may have been two-horsed, in which
case 1400 chariots would represent 2800 horses. A reserve force
of 1200 would bring the total number of horses to 4000, which
would require 4000 stalls: That the horsemen should be 12,000
may be explained by supposing that, as Solomon’s equestrian
equipage was more for show than action, each horse
may have had a rider as well as each chariot a charioteer; or
the term “horsemen” may have embraced all persons connected
with the equestrian service.
Ø An act of great wickedness. If the Divine prohibition (Deuteronomy
17:16) forbade not the actual possession of horses by Israelitish kings, it
certainly condemned their indefinite multiplication. David respected this
prohibition (II Samuel 8:4; I Chronicles 18:4); Solomon
overstepped its limits, consequently what Moses had predicted ensued —
first Solomon sought a matrimonial alliance with (I Kings 3:1), and
people put their trust in,
Hosea 7:11). The glory of princes does not always harmonize
with the commands of the King of kings. Solomon’s horsemen and chariots
distributed through chariot-cities, not so much to overawe the people as
for convenience in providing fodder for the beasts, and meeting the state
necessities of the king.
Ø Varied. Gold and silver and cedar wood; the precious metals obtained
from Ophir, in
Tarshish ships (cf. the modern expressions, “India-men,” “Greenlanders”),
sailed from Ezion-geber, on the
I Kings 9:26-28), and also from the numerous Eastern potentates —
“all the kings of the earth” (ch. 9:23), who came to hear his
wisdom, and brought every man his present, vessels of silver and vessels
of gold (ibid. v. 24); the timber purchased from Hiram of Tyre,
Ø Abundant. Making large allowance for rhetorical exaggeration, the
crown wealth in Solomon’s days was immense. Even if the gold and silver
were barely as plentiful as stones (v. 15), one may judge of its quantity
by the statements that “the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one
year was six hundred and sixty-six talents” (equivalent to £3,646,350,
estimating the gold talent at £5475), besides that brought by chapmen,
merchants, foreign kings, and provincial governors (ch. 9:13-14;
I Kings 10:14-15). This accumulation of wealth in the hands of the
crown, more accordant with ancient than with modem practice, was
likewise then more excusable than now for obvious religious as well as
How far it extended. To
indications of contact between these two peoples since the Exodus;
and the silence of Scripture as to
between the Exodus and the age of Solomon receives a striking
confirmation from the monuments, which show “no really great or
conquering monarch between Rameses III and Sheshonk I.”
(Rawlinson, ‘Egypt and Babylon,’ p. 328).
In what it consisted. Horses and chariots.
A native of
Media, whence it was fetched by
the Jews to
the horse had been used in
41:43; 47:17), and in Solomon’s time had been brought by the
Egyptians to a high degree of cultivation in respect both of swiftness
and courage — two qualities highly serviceable for war. Hence
Solomon naturally turned to the
setting up an equestrian establishment. The manufacturing of war-
chariots had also engaged the attention of the Pharaohs and their
people; and these likewise were imported by the Israelitish
monarch. Taking the shekel at 3s. 4d., the price of a horse was
£25, and of a war-chariot (perhaps with two horses and harness)
Ø By whom it was conducted. By the king’s merchants, who were so
called, not because, as foreign horse-dealers settled in the country,
they were required to contribute to the king’s treasury a portion of
their gains in the shape of an income-tax (Bertheau), but because
they traded for the king (Keil), acting as his agents, going down to
his use. So skilful did these merchants show themselves both in
judging of the animals and in driving bargains with Egyptian
dealers, and so far had their fame traveled, that their services
were sought for by the Hittite and Syrian kings of the day.
Ø The criminality of disobedience.
Ø The danger of wealth.
Ø The advantages of trade and commerce.
"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.
Materials are reproduced by permission."
This material can be found at:
If this exposition is helpful, please share with others.