and they blessed the king; returned him thanks for his care, and charge, and pains, in building the temple; for prayers for them, and the feast he had now made, and wished all health and happiness to him:
and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart; or to their cities, as the Targum, to their several habitations; being greatly delighted with what they had seen and heard, and partook of especially:
for all the goodness the Lord had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people; in 2 Chronicles 7:10, it is added, "unto Solomon"; for David, in giving him such a son and successor, who according to promise had built the house of the Lord; and for Solomon, in raising him up to such dignity, and enabling him to build such a temple for the worship of God and his glory; and for the people of Israel, in giving them such a king to rule over them, under whom they enjoyed so much peace and prosperity, and the full and free exercise of the true religion, with such accommodations, and in such a splendid manner as now.
INTRODUCTION TO 1 Kings 9
This chapter relates a second vision Solomon had at Gibeon, in which he received an answer to his prayer in the preceding chapter, 1 Kings 9:1 that passed between him and Hiram king of Tyre, 1 Kings 9:10, the places that Solomon built or repaired, 1 Kings 9:15, the Canaanitish people that became bondmen to him, and the officers he had among the children of Israel, 1 Kings 9:20 the removal of Pharaoh's daughter to the house built for her, 1 Kings 9:24. Solomon's attention to religious services, 1 Kings 9:25 and the navy of ships he employed, which brought him in great riches, 1 Kings 9:26.
and the king's house; his own palace, which was finished in thirteen years, 1 Kings 7:1,
and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do; all his other buildings, the house for Pharaoh's daughter, the house of the forest of Lebanon, and may include his vineyards, gardens, orchards, and pools of water, made for his pleasure, Ecclesiastes 2:4 in which he succeeded and prospered, 2 Chronicles 7:11.
as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon; in a dream and a vision, and by night, 1 Kings 3:5, see 2 Chronicles 7:12.
I have hallowed this house which thou hast built; by the cloud of glory filling it, and by fire descending from heaven, and consuming the sacrifices offered in it, 2 Chronicles 7:1.
to put my name there for ever; there to grant his presence, so long as his pure worship should be continued in it; so the Targum adds,
"and my Shechinah or divine Majesty shall abide in it, if my will is done there continually:''
and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually; his eyes of Providence should be upon it, to watch over it, and protect it, and his worshippers in it; and he should have a cordial regard to the sacrifices there offered, and to the persons of the offerers, so long as they offered them in a right way, and to right ends and purposes.
to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments; observe all the laws of God, moral, ceremonial, and judicial.
as I promised unto David thy father, saying, there shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel; not fail one of his posterity to sit upon it; see 2 Samuel 7:12.
and will not keep my commandments and my statutes, which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: neglecting the will and worship of God, go into idolatrous practices, as Solomon himself did.
(e) "si avertendo aversi fueritis", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.
and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight: as it was when burnt by Nebuchadnezzar:
and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people; both for their sins and for their miseries; see Deuteronomy 28:37, in 2 Chronicles 7:20 the house or temple is said to be made a proverb of.
"and this house which was high shall be destroyed:''
everyone that passeth by it shall be astonished; at the ruins of the temple, and of the city of Jerusalem, which had been so magnificent:
and shall hiss; in scorn and derision of the people of Israel, rejoicing in their ruin:
and they shall say, why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and to this house? or suffered it to be done, to lie thus in waste and ruins; a land in which it had been said he delighted, and looked unto from one end of the year to the other, and a house he had taken up his dwelling in; surely something more than ordinary, they suggest, must be the cause of all this.
because they forsook the Lord; the worship of the Lord their God, as the Targum:
who brought forth their fathers out of the land Egypt; which is observed as an aggravation of their sin:
and have taken hold upon other gods: the gods of the people, as the Targum; of the Gentiles, who knew not the true God:
and have worshipped them, and served them: even idols of gold and silver, wood and stone; an instance of judicial blindness they were left unto, who had been favoured with a revelation from God:
therefore hath the Lord brought upon them all this evil; their idolatry was the cause of it, than which nothing is more provoking to God.
and with gold, according to all his desire): which is not before mentioned, and accounts for it from whence Solomon had his gold; if he made no use, as some think he did not, of what his father left him; see 1 Kings 7:51 with which he covered several parts of the temple, and made several vessels in it. Hiram traded to Ophir, and had it from thence; and he could supply Solomon with it, and did, before he sent a navy thither:
that then Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee; that is, by or near it, for they were not in the land of Canaan; for then Solomon could not have disposed of them, being allotted and belonging to one of the tribes of Israel, and part of the Lord's inheritance; but they were upon the borders, particularly on the borders of Asher, if Cabul in Joshua 19:27, can be thought to be the same with these; though some think that Solomon did not give Hiram the possession of these cities, but the royalties and revenues of them, their produce until the debt was paid: but they rather seem to be a gratuity, and a full grant of them, and might be cities which David had conquered, and taken out of the hands of the ancient inhabitants of them; and so Solomon had a right to dispose of them, being left him by his father; for it is plain as yet they were not inhabited by Israelites; see 2 Chronicles 8:2. They are by a Jewish writer (f) said to be twenty two, very wrongly.
(f) Gloss. in T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 54. 1.
and they pleased him not; being either out of repair, as some think; see 2 Chronicles 8:2 or the ground barren, and unfruitful; which is not likely, being in a very fruitful country, as the tribes on which they bordered were: but they were not agreeable to him, they did not suit with the disposition of him and his people, who were given not to husbandry, but to merchandise; and the land about these would require a good deal of pains and labour to till, which they were not used to.
what cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? so he called him, being not only his neighbour, but his ally, in friendship and covenant with him; and this he said of them not by way of complaint, or contempt, as unworthy of his acceptance; for so munificent a prince as Solomon would never offer to a king to whom he was so much obliged anything mean and contemptible; but as being unsuitable to him, however valuable they might be in themselves, or of advantage to others:
and he called them the land of Cabul unto this day; or rather the words should be rendered impersonally, "they were called so"; for Hiram could not call them by this name to the times of the writer of this book; nor is there any reason to think he would give them any name at all, and much less a contemptible one, as this is thought to be, when he did not choose to accept of them. Some interpret (g) the word shut up, or unfruitful, sandy, dirty, clayey; so in the Talmud (h) it is said to be a sandy land, and called Cabul, because a man's foot was plunged in it up to his ankles, and is represented as unfruitful. Josephus (i) says, in the Phoenician tongue it signifies "not pleasing", which agrees with what Hiram says, 1 Kings 9:12. Hillerus (k) interprets it "as nothing", they being as nothing to Hiram, of no use to him, whatever they might be to others; and therefore he restored them to Solomon, 2 Chronicles 8:2, which seems to be the best sense of the word. They are the same with Decapolis, Matthew 4:25 so called from ten cities therein (l).
(g) David de Pomis, Lexic fol. 58. 2.((h) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 54. 1.((i) Antiqu. l. 8. c. 5. sect. 3.((k) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 435. (l) Vid. Castel Lex Heptaglot. col. 1669. & Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 18.
(m) "miserat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (n) De Ponderibus & Pretiis, Vet. Num. c. 5. (o) Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 3. p. 571.
it was for to build the house of the Lord; the temple:
and his own house; or palace:
and Millo; which he repaired: See Gill on 1 Samuel 5:9.
and the wall of Jerusalem; which, as Abarbinel says, was a large building, there being three walls one within another:
and Hazor; a city in the tribe of Naphtali, and which had been a royal city with the Canaanites; see Joshua 11:1.
and Megiddo; which was in the tribe of Manasseh, Joshua 17:11.
and Gezer; which was in the tribe of Ephraim, and formerly a royal city of the Canaanites, Joshua 10:33.
and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city: for though it was given to the tribe of Ephraim, yet they could not drive the Canaanites out of it, who seem to have remained in it to this time; see Joshua 16:10.
and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon's wife; not as a dowry with her, but as a present to her; perhaps some time after marriage.
and Bethhoron the nether; and the upper also, 2 Chronicles 8:5, which belonged to the tribe of Ephraim, and were on the borders of it, between that and Benjamin, Joshua 16:3.
and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land; or "Tamar", as in the Cetib, or Scriptural reading; for we go according to the marginal reading, and so Thamato in Ptolemy (p); and is thought by some to be the same with Tamar in Ezekiel 47:19, which Jerom there says is Palmyra. Tamar signifies a palm tree, from whence this city had its name Palmyra, the situation of which place agrees with this; hence we read both in Ptolemy (q) and Pliny (r) of the Palmyrene deserts: the ruins of it are to be seen to this day, and of it this account is given; that it is enclosed on three sides with long ridges of mountains, which open towards the east gradually, to the distance of about an hour's riding; but to the south stretches a vast plain, beyond the reach of the eye; the air is good, but the soil exceeding barren; nothing green to be seen therein, save some few palm trees in the gardens, and here and there about the town; and from these trees, I conceive, says my author, it obtained its name both in Hebrew and in Latin: it appears to have been of a large extent, by the space now taken up by the ruins; but there are no footsteps of any wall remaining, nor is it possible to judge of the ancient figure of the place. The present inhabitants, as they are poor, miserable, dirty people, so they have shut themselves up, to the number of about thirty or forty families, in little huts made of dirt, within the walls of a spacious court, which enclosed a most magnificent Heathen temple (s). Benjamin of Tudela says (t), it is situated in a wilderness, far from any habitable place, and is four days' journey from Baalath before mentioned; which place he takes to be the same with Baalbek, in the valley of Lebanon, built by Solomon for Pharaoh's daughter; which, according to the Arabic geographer (u), was situated at the foot of Mount Lebanon; and Tadmor seems to be in the land of Hamathzobah, 2 Chronicles 8:3.
(p) Geograph. l. 5. c. 16. (q) Ib. c. 15. (r) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 26. & 6. 28. (s) Halifax apud Philosphic. Transact. vol. 3. p. 504. (t) Itinerar. p. 57, 58. (u) Geograph. Nub. par. 5. clim. 3. p. 117.
and cities for his chariots; chariots of war, iron chariots, which were kept in times of peace, in case of necessity, of which Solomon had 1400, 1 Kings 10:26,
and cities for his horsemen; of which he had 12,000, a standing cavalry:
and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem; besides the temple and his own palace before mentioned; see Ecclesiastes 2:4,
and in Lebanon; the house of the forest of Lebanon, which Junius on 1 Kings 7:2 thinks he built after he had taken Hamathzobah, a royal city of Lebanon; see 2 Chronicles 8:3 or fortresses on Mount Lebanon, which was the northern border of his kingdom:
and in all the land of his dominions; where he might repair or fortify cities, or erect new forts for the safety of his kingdom; now for the doing of all this was the levy both of men and money raised, and of whom next follows.
whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy; in later times, though now it is thought by some it was not for want of power, but because they had made a covenant with them, as the Gibeonites did, and therefore they could not, because it would have been a breach of covenant to have destroyed them; see 2 Chronicles 8:8,
upon these did Solomon levy a tribute of bond service unto this day; not a tribute of money, which being poor they were not able to pay, but of service, and which being once laid on was continued, and even to the time of the writing of this book.
but they were men of war; which he kept in pay, a standing army, maintained even in time of peace, in case of necessity, should an enemy attempt to invade or surprise them:
and his servants; in his family and court, who had offices and employments there:
and his princes; ministers of state, counsellors, governors of cities, &c.
and his captains; officers in his army:
and rulers of his chariots and his horsemen; war chariots and troopers; see 1 Kings 9:19.
five hundred and fifty which bore rule over the people that wrought in the work; in 2 Chronicles 8:10 they are said to be but two hundred and fifty; now it may be observed, as is by the Jewish writers, that there were three sorts of those rulers; the lowest rank and order of them consisted of 3300, the next of three hundred which were over the 3300, and being numbered with them made 3600, 2 Chronicles 2:18 and the highest rank of them were two hundred and fifty, and the middlemost and highest being joined together, as they are here, made five hundred and fifty. Abarbinel reconciles the places thus, the two hundred and fifty were only over those that wrought in the temple; and the five hundred and fifty here were those that were over such that were employed in the various parts of the kingdom.
then did he build Millo: this being particularly repeated from 1 Kings 9:15, and following upon what is said of Pharaoh's daughter, has led many Jewish writers to conclude her house was built at Millo; and indeed, without supposing this, it is hard to conceive why it should be observed here; the Targum on 2 Chronicles 8:11 calls her name Bithiah.
and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the Lord; the altar of incense, which stood in the holy place, right beside the most holy, in which was the ark, the symbol of the divine Presence; not that Solomon burnt incense in person, but by the priests, whom he furnished with incense; for no king might offer incense, as the case of Uzziah shows:
so he finished the house; which respects not the building of it, that had been observed before, but the service of it; as he had provided all vessels and utensils for the furniture of it, and all things to be used in them; as sacrifices for the altar of burnt offering, incense for the altar of incense, bread for the shewbread table, and oil for the lamps; so he appointed the courses of the priests, Levites, and porters, to do their duty, who went through every part of service assigned them, and completed the whole; see 2 Chronicles 8:14.
which is beside Elath, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom; and when Edom was subdued by David, this port fell into his hands, and so was in the possession of Solomon; and there being plenty of timber in the parts adjacent, and this being a port in the Red sea, Solomon chose it as proper place to build ships in. Elath, near to which was, is the same the Elanitic bay had its name from; or which See Gill on Deuteronomy 2:8. Trajan, the Roman emperor, formed a navy in the Red sea (b), that by it he might ravage and waste the borders of India; and here it seems Solomon's navy went; see 1 Kings 9:28.
(w) Harris's Voyages, vol. 1. B. 1. ch. 2. sect. 3. p. 377. (x) Antiqu. l. 8. c. 6. sect. 4. (y) De Situ Orbis, l. 3. c. 8. (z) Clayton's Chronology, &c. p. 407. (a) Vossius in Melam ut supra, (Harris's Voyages, vol. 1. B. 1. ch. 2. sect. 3.) p. 386. (b) Eutrop. Rom. Hist. l. 8. Ruti Fest. Breviar.
shipmen that had knowledge of the sea; of sea coasts and ports, of the manner of guiding and managing ships at sea, and of the whole art of navigation, so far as then known, for which the Tyrians were famous; see Ezekiel 27:3,
with the servants of Solomon; to instruct and assist them in naval affairs, they not having been used thereunto.
(c) Ebr. Comment p. 628. (d) In Aben Ezra in Jon. ii. 5. (e) Texelii Phoenix, l. 3. c. 6. p. 243, 244. (f) Miscellanies, c. 18. vol. 1. p. 1002, 1003. (g) Apud Manasseh, Spes Israelis, sect. 2. p. 20. (h) "Prima ratem ventis credere docta Tyros", Catullus. (i) Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 56.