Verse 33. "He spake of trees-beasts-fowl-creeping things, and of fishes." - This is a complete system of natural history, as far as relates to the animal and vegetable kingdoms, and the first intimation we have of any thing of the kind: Solomon was probably the first natural historian in the world.
O, how must the heart of Tournefort, Ray, Linne, Buffon, Cuvier, Swammerdam, Blosch, and other naturalists, be wrung, to know that these works of Solomon are all and for ever lost! What light should we have thrown on the animal and vegetable kingdoms, had these works been preserved! But the providence of God has not thought fit to preserve them, and succeeding naturalists are left to invent the system which he probably left perfect. If there be any remains of his wisdom, they must be sought among the orientals, among whom his character is well known, and rates as high as it does with either Jews or Christians. I shall give some extracts from their works relative to Solomon when I come to consider his character at the end of chap. xi. 43.
Verse 34. "There came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon" - We learn from chap. 10, that the queen of Sheba was one of those visitants, and perhaps the most remarkable, as we have the particulars of her visit, but not of the others.
It is astonishing that of a person so renowned for wisdom, so little should be left to prove the truth of a fact of which all the civilized nations of the world have heard, and of which scarcely any man has ever doubted. The people that came from all kings of the earth were probably ambassadors, who came to form and maintain friendship between their sovereigns and the Israelitish king. We cannot understand the place as speaking of people who, either through an idle or laudable curiosity, came to see and converse with Solomon; to give free access to such people would ill comport with the maintenance of his dignity.