II Chronicles 1

 

I and II Chronicles are the names originally given to the record made by the

appointed historiographers in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.  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 services at Jerusalem.  Zerubbabel,

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

of the kingdom of David, its prosperity under God; the sins that led

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

kings of Judah, without those of Israel, down to the return from

captivity.

 

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

(chapters 1-9)

 

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:

 

  • of Solomon’s sacrifice at “the high place of Gibeon,” whither he was

accompanied by “all the congregation” (vs. 1-6). Next

  • of the vision given to him that same night, with his prayer and the

answer vouchsafed to it (vs. 7-12). And lastly,

  • of the wealth and the signs of it which became his thereupon (vers. 13-17). 

 

 

Solomons 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.

 

  • THE HERITAGE HE HAD FROM HIS FATHER. It was much to 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.”

 

  • CONSIDERABLE PERSONAL ADVANTAGES. “The Lord

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.

 

  • THE FAVORING PRESENCE OF GOD. “The Lord his God was

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      Gods 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

Israel, the chief of the fathers."  This verse and the following four supersede

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

representative components of “all Israel in a fourfold classification.

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

Ø      “governor”

 

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 Israel (wrongly translated “in

all Israel” in the Authorized Version), and which itself is a repetition of the

“to all Israel” in the beginning of the verse. Although the existing Hebrew

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 Gibeon; for there was the tabernacle of the congregation

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 Israel, and, through

Israel, of the nations of the world. The wonder that impresses us is rather

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 Israel, have to repair in order to do

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

distant from Jerusalem, in the direction of the sea. It was further noted for

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

Gibeon is not told us, nor even the person who was answerable for bringing

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 Gibeon or of its immediate neighborhood the tabernacle

was stationed cannot be said with any certainty. Amid a considerable

choice of likely places, one forming part of Gibeon itself, and just south 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 which Gibeon is

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

it at Jerusalem."  But the ark. Again, as in I Chronicles 16:39, the writer

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.

 

 

    The Ark and the Altar; Obedience and Sacrifice (vs. 3-5)

 

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

Jerusalem, and the altar of sacrifice at Gibeon? Surely they should have

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:

 

  • OUR TWOFOLD OBLIGATION AS SYMBOLIZED BY THE ARK

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.

 

  • OUR TEMPTATION. We are often tempted to do in life and in fact

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.

 

  • OUR WISDOM. As, later on, the ark and the altar were reunited, as

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

companionship.

 

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)

 

  • THE KING’S PERSON MAGNIFIED.

 

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. Originally a Bethlehem

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

been exempt.

 

Ø      The heir of a prosperous empire — Israel. The kingdom inherited by

Solomon had been carved by the sword of David. The Philistines had been

driven back to their plains, retaining, however, the strongholds of Gath and

Gezer at the edge of the hill country. The capital of the Ammonites,

Rabbah, had been taken, and the census embraced all the Holy Land from

Beersheba to Sidon, ruled by the king at Jerusalem” (Courier, ‘Handbook

to the Bible,’ p. 281).

 

Ø      The representative of a Divine Superior — Jehovah. Solomon ascended

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 Israel’s king, Jehovah was

Solomon’s.

 

  • THE KING’S THRONE ESTABLISHED.

 

Ø      By removal of his enemies. In particular by the execution of three

dangerous characters:

 

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

tribes still adhered to the house of David. “All Israel obeyed him, and 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

(Genesis 39:2).

 

  • THE KING’S ALLEGIANCE TENDERED.

 

Ø      Before the tabernacle of the Lord. This then at Gibeon, five miles northwest

of Jerusalem. Originally a Canaanitish royal city (Joshua 9:17; 10:2),

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

symbolic of:

 

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 Gibeon.” Not ashamed

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).

 

  • LEARN:

 

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 Gods Answer to that Prayer  

                                                (vs. 7-12)

       (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?”

 

  • THERE IS A NOBLE FUTURE IN FRONT OF US. Only a very small

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 activitythe 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.

 

  • GOD MAKES THIS OFFER ON CONDITIONS. His offer to

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.”

 

  • EVERYTHING HANGS ON THE WISDOM OF OUR CHOICE.

 

Ø      It is sad to think that many go through life without caring to accept

Gods 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 first the kingdom of God, because that is the one good, the

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 Israel at least, the fact was so well recognized and

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 Israel, and the

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

waking state.

 

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.

 

  • THAT WE MAY CONFIDENTLY RECKON ON THE DIVINE

RESPONSIVENESS. Solomon went to Gibeon with “all the

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.”

(Hebrews 4:13)

 

  • THAT GOD HAS MANY WAYS OF ACCESS TO HIS CHILDREN.

(v. 7.) In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon “in a dream by night”

(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.

 

  • THAT SOLOMON SHOWED A DEEPER WISDOM THAN ANY

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.

 

  • THAT WE SHOULD BE CONCERNED TO MAINTAIN AND

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.

 

  • THAT IF WE SEEK THE BEST WE SHALL FIND MORE THAN

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)

 

  • THE PERMISSION GRANTED TO SOLOMON. “Ask what I shall

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

asked.

 

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.

 

  • THE REQUEST PREFERRED BY SOLOMON. “Give me now

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

Israel. A hopeful sign for Solomon it was that he knew and was willing to

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        darkness,

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.

 

  • THE ANSWER RETURNED TO SOLOMON. 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 have

the like.”

 

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 Jericho who were cured (Matthew 20:34).

 

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

kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [food, raiment,

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).

 

  • LEARN:

 

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

reigned over Israel."  Solomons return after sacrifice from Gibeon to Jerusalem,

and from before the tabernacle of the congregation to before the ark of

the covenant of the Lordin Mount Zion. (I Kings 3:15)  This verse

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 μαρτυρίουskaenae tou marturiouthe 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 Mount Zion, and offered burnt offerings and

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 Israel.

These words seem nugatory both in themselves and as placed

here. They probably stand for I Kings 4:1.

 

 

 

The Attraction to Jerusalem of the Signs of Wealth —

   Chariots, Horses, etc. —  on the Part of Solomon

(vs. 14-17)

 

The excitement attending the great sacrifices at Gibeon, and before the ark in

Jerusalem, had now subsided. And we obtain just a glimpse of the range of thought

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

at Jerusalem."  The contents of this and the following three verses are

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

chariots and horsemen. The chariot was no institution of Israel (so

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 Egypt (v. 17; also ch. 9:28), the

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 Egypt, where Joseph, as a mark of distinction, was placed 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

pursuing Israel took with him 600 chariots. (I recommend – arkdiscovery.com

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,

( 2 Samuel 8:4 ) and from the Syrians a little later 700, ( 2 Samuel 10:18 )

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

matters. ( 1 Kings 9:19 ; 10:25 ) From this time chariots were regarded as among

the most important arms of war. ( 1 Kings 22:34 ; 2 Kings 9:16 2 Kings 9:21 ;

2 Kings 13:7 2 Kings 13:14 ; 18:24 ; 23:30 ; Isaiah 31:1 ) Most commonly two

persons, and sometimes three, rode in the chariot, of whom the third was

employed to carry the state umbrella. ( 1 Kings 22:34 ; 2 Kings 9:20;

2 Kings 9:24 ; Acts 8:38 ) The prophets allude frequently to chariots as

typical of power. ( Psalms 20:7 ; 104:3 ; Jeremiah 51:21 ; Zechariah 6:1 )

 

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’sCyclopaedia,’ 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, Καὶτιμὴ 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

and

Best Rewarded Prayer of Life.

                   (vs. 1-17)

 

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.

 

  • THE APPEARANCE TO SOLOMON.

 

Ø      The veritable fact in it; i.e. that it was God who appeared. What we

often vaguely call Providence; or a happy thought; or a sudden suggestion;

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

feared.

 

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

ages.

 

  • THE UNHESITATING PRAYER OF SOLOMON. There cannot be

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”?

 

  • THE ANSWER WITH PROMISE MADE BY GOD TO SOLOMON.

 

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

held, and “all Israel” — “thy people” — over whom he reigned.

 

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:

 

  • THAT HE DID WELL TO STEP TO THE THRONE FROM THE

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.

 

  • THAT ONE MAN MAY HOLD IN HIS HAND THE WELL-BEING

OF MANY.  Solomon “reigned over Israel.” In those days reigning meant

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.

 

  • THAT AFFLUENCE MAY BE A GOOD SIGN, BUT IT IS A

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)

 

 

  • HIS SPLENDID EQUIPAGE. “Solomon gathered chariots and

horsemen.”

 

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,

Ant. Jud.,’ 8:2. 4); 12,000 horsemen and 1400 chariots (v. 14;

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

then the people put their trust in, Egypt (II Kings 18:24; Isaiah 31:1;

Hosea 7:11). The glory of princes does not always harmonize

with the commands of the King of kings. Solomon’s horsemen and chariots

were partly kept in Jerusalem to augment his magnificence, and partly

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.

 

  • HIS ENORMOUS WEALTH. The revenues of Solomon were:

 

Ø      Varied. Gold and silver and cedar wood; the precious metals obtained

from Ophir, in South Arabia (Ewald, Keil, Bahr, etc.), by means of

Tarshish ships (cf. the modern expressions, “India-men,” “Greenlanders”),

which sailed from Ezion-geber, on the Red Sea (ch. 9:21;

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,

and procured from Mount Lebanon (I Kings 5:10).

 

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

political reasons.

 

  • HIS COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE.

 

Ø      How far it extended. To Egypt, The first mention of commercial

intercourse between Israel and Egypt, this is also one of the earliest

indications of contact between these two peoples since the Exodus;

and the silence of Scripture as to Egypt during the long interval

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).

 

Ø      In what it consisted. Horses and chariots. A native of Armenia and

Media, whence it was fetched by the Jews to Palestine (Ezra 2:66),

the horse had been used in Egypt from the earliest times (Genesis

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 Nile valley when he thought of

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)

 £100 sterling.

 

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

Egypt, purchasing the animals in droves, and fetching them up for

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.

 

  • LESSONS.

 

Ø      The criminality of disobedience.

Ø      The danger of wealth.

Ø      The advantages of trade and commerce.

 

 

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