1 Kings 9

CHAPTER IX

The Lord appears a second time to Solomon, and assures him that

he had heard his prayer; and that he would establish his

worship for ever in that temple, and him and his successors on

the throne of Israel, provided he and they would keep his

statutes and judgments, 1-5;

but if they should transgress and forsake the Lord, then they

should be cast off, the temple itself abandoned, and their

enemies permitted to prevail over them, 6-9.

Solomon having finished the temple and the king's house, about

which he was employed twenty years, and having received

assistance from Hiram king of Tyre, he gave him in return

twenty cities in Galilee, with which he was not pleased, 10-14.

Solomon's levies, buildings, and the persons employed, 15-23.

Pharaoh's daughter comes to the city of David, 24.

He sacrifices thrice a year at the temple, 25.

Solomon's navy, and the gold they brought from Ophir, 26-28.

NOTES ON CHAP. IX

Verse 2. The Lord appeared to Solomon] The design of this

appearance, which was in a dream, as that was at Gibeon, was to

assure Solomon that God had accepted his service, and had taken

that house for his dwelling-place, and would continue it, and

establish him and his descendants upon the throne of Israel for

ever, provided they served him with an upright heart; but, on the

contrary, if they forsook him, he would abandon both them and his

temple.

Verse 7. A proverb and a by-word among all people] And so they

are to the present; the unbelieving Jews, the stubborn,

stiff-necked Jews, are words still in common use. They forsook the

Lord, rejected his Christ, and are cast off, their temple

destroyed, and they scattered over the face of the earth.

Verse 9. Have taken hold upon other gods] When an indigent

person claims the protection of a superior, he casts himself down

before him, and lays hold of his feet; and this expression is

frequently used when there is no prostration: I have taken hold of

thy feet. When a person is called into the presence of the Burman

monarch, he is said to go to the golden foot.-WARD'S Customs.

Verse 10. At the end of twenty years] He employed seven years

and a half in building the temple, and twelve years and a half in

building the king's house; see 1Ki 7:1; 2Ch 8:1.

Verse 11. Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities] It is very likely

that Solomon did not give those cities to Hiram so that they

should be annexed to his Tyrian dominions, but rather gave him the

produce of them till the money was paid which he had advanced to

Solomon for his buildings. It appears however that either Hiram

did not accept them, or that having received the produce till he

was paid, he then restored them to Solomon; for in the parallel

place, 2Ch 8:2, it is said,

The cities which Hiram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built

them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there. Some think

that they were heathen cities which Solomon had conquered, and

therefore had a right to give them if he pleased, as they were not

any part of the land given by promise to the Israelites.

Verse 13. Called them the land of Cabul] Whether this epithet

was given to this land by Hiram as a mark of disapprobation, or

what is its proper meaning, the learned are not agreed. That there

was a country of this name in the promised land in the time of

Joshua, is evident enough from Jos 19:27, as it was one part of

the boundary of the tribe of Asher; hence some interpret the word

border or boundary, and so, the Septuagint understood it, for

they have translated the Hebrew word οριον, which signifies the

same. The margin gives another meaning.

Verse 14. Sixscore talents of gold.] This was the sum which

Hiram had lent, and in order to pay this Solomon had laid a tax

upon his people, as we afterward learn. The whole is very darkly

expressed.

Verse 15. This is the reason of the levy] That is, in order to

pay Hiram the sixscore talents of gold which he had borrowed from

him (Hiram not being willing to take the Galilean cities mentioned

above; or, having taken them, soon restored them again) he was

obliged to lay a tax upon the people; and that this was a grievous

and oppressive tax we learn from 1Ki 12:1-4, where the elders of

Israel came to Rehoboam, complaining of their heavy state of

taxation, and entreating that their yoke might be made lighter.

And Millo] This is supposed to have been a deep valley between

Mount Sion and what was called the city of Jebus, which Solomon

filled up, and it was built on, and became a sort of fortified

place, and a place for public assemblies.-See Calmet.

Verse 16. Pharaoh-had gone up, and taken Gezer] This city Joshua

had taken from the Canaanites, Jos 10:33; 12:12, and it was

divided by lot to the tribe of Ephraim, and was intended to be one

of the Levitical cities; but it appears that the Canaanites had

retaken it, and kept possession till the days of Solomon, when his

father-in-law, Pharaoh king of Egypt, retook it, and gave it to

Solomon in dowry with his daughter.

Verse 18. And Tadmor in the wilderness] This is almost

universally allowed to be the same with the celebrated Palmyra,

the ruins of which remain to the present day, and give us the

highest idea of Solomon's splendour and magnificence. Palmyra

stood upon a fertile plain surrounded by a barren desert, having

the river Euphrates on the east. The ruins are well described by

Messrs. Dawkes and Wood, of which they give fine representations.

They are also well described in the ancient part of the Universal

History, vol. i., p. 367-70. The description concludes thus: "The

world never saw a more glorious city; the pride, it is likely, of

ancient times, and the reproach of our own; a city not more

remarkable for the state of her buildings and unwontedness of her

situation than for the extraordinary personages who once

flourished there, among whom the renowned Zenobia and the

incomparable Longinus must for ever be remembered with admiration

and regret."

Verse 19. And all the cities of store] Though, by the multitude

and splendour of his buildings, Solomon must have added greatly to

the magnificence of his reign; yet, however plenteous silver and

gold were in his times, his subjects must have been greatly

oppressed with the taxation necessary to defray such a vast public

expenditure.

Verse 21. A tribute of bond-service] He made them do the most

laborious part of the public works, the Israelites being generally

exempt. When Sesostris, king of Egypt, returned from his wars, he

caused temples to be built in all the cities of Egypt, but did not

employ one Egyptian in the work, having built the whole by the

hands of the captives which he had taken in his wars. Hence he

caused this inscription to be placed upon each temple:-

ουδειςεγχωριοςειςαυταμεμοχθηκε.

No native has laboured in these.

Diodor. Sic. Bibl., lib. i., c. 56.

It appears that Solomon might with propriety have placed a

similar inscription on most of his works.

Verse 25. Three times in a year did Solomon offer] These three

times were: 1. The passover. 2. The feast of pentecost. 3. The

feast of tabernacles.

Verse 26. A navy of ships] Literally, oni, a ship: in the

parallel place, 2Ch 8:17, it is said that Hiram sent him

oniyoth, ships; but it does not appear that Solomon in this case

built more than one ship, and this was manned principally by the

Tyrians.

Verse 28. And they came to Ophir] No man knows certainly, to

this day, where this Ophir was situated. There were two places of

this name; one somewhere in India, beyond the Ganges, and another

in Arabia, near the country of the Sabaeans, mentioned by Job,

Job 22:24:

Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust; and the gold of Ophir as

the stones of the brooks. And Job 28:16:

It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious

onyx, or the sapphire. Calmet places this country at the sources

of the Euphrates and Tigris.

But there are several reasons to prove that this was not the

Ophir of the Bible, which it seems was so situated as to require a

voyage of three years long to go out, load, and return. Mr. Bruce

has discussed this subject at great length; see his Travels, vol.

ii., chap. iv., p. 354, &c. He endeavours to prove that

Ezion-geber is situated on the Elanitic branch of the Arabian

Gulf or Red Sea. 2. That Tharshish is Moka, near to Melinda, in

the Indian Ocean, in about three degrees south latitude. 3. That

Ophir lies somewhere in the land of Sofala, or in the vicinity

of the Zimbeze river, opposite the island of Madagascar, where

there have been gold and silver mines in great abundance from the

remotest antiquity. And he proves, 4. That no vessel could perform

this voyage in less than THREE years, because of the monsoons;

that more time need not be employed, and that this is the precise

time mentioned in 1Ki 10:22. 5. That this is the country of the

queen of Sheba, or Sabia, or Azeba, who on her visit to Solomon,

brought him one hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices

and precious stones great store, 1Ki 10:10. And that gold, ivory,

silver, &c., are the natural productions of this country. To

illustrate and prove his positions he has given a map on a large

scale, "showing the track of Solomon's fleet in their three years'

voyage from the Elanitic Gulf to Ophir and Tharshish;" to which,

and his description, I must refer the reader.

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