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1Ki 4:1-6. SOLOMON'S PRINCES.
2. these were the princes--or chief officers, as is evident from two
of them marrying Solomon's daughters.
3. scribes--that is, secretaries of state. Under David, there had
been only one
[2Sa 8:17; 20:25].
The employment of three functionaries in this department indicates
either improved regulations by the division of labor, or a great
increase of business, occasioned by the growing prosperity of the
kingdom, or a more extensive correspondence with foreign countries.
4. Benaiah . . . was over the host--formerly captain of the guard. He
had succeeded Joab as commander of the forces.
5. over the officers--that is, the provincial governors enumerated in
6. Ahishar was over the household--steward or chamberlain of the
1Ki 4:7-21. HIS TWELVE OFFICERS.
7. Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel--The royal revenues were raised according to the ancient, and still, in many parts, existing usage of the East, not in money payments, but in the produce of the soil. There would be always a considerable difficulty in the collection and transmission of these tithes (1Sa 8:15). Therefore, to facilitate the work, Solomon appointed twelve officers, who had each the charge of a tribe or particular district of country, from which, in monthly rotation, the supplies for the maintenance of the king's household were drawn, having first been deposited in "the store cities" which were erected for their reception (1Ki 9:19; 2Ch 8:4, 6).
8. The son of Hur--or, as the Margin has it, Benhur, Bendekar. In the rural parts of Syria, and among the Arabs, it is still common to designate persons not by their own names, but as the sons of their fathers.
22, 23. Solomon's provision for one day--not for the king's table only, but for all connected with the court, including, besides the royal establishment, those of his royal consorts, his principal officers, his bodyguards, his foreign visitors, &c. The quantity of fine floor used is estimated at two hundred forty bushels; that of meal or common flour at four hundred eighty. The number of cattle required for consumption, besides poultry and several kinds of game (which were abundant on the mountains) did not exceed in proportion what is needed in other courts of the East.
24. from Tiphsah--that is, Thapsacus, a large and flourishing town on
the west bank of the Euphrates, the name of which was derived from a
celebrated ford near it, the lowest on that river.
25. every man under his vine and . . . fig tree--This is a common and beautiful metaphor for peace and security (Mic 4:4; Zec 3:10), founded on the practice, still common in modern Syria, of training these fruit trees up the walls and stairs of houses, so as to make a shady arbor, beneath which the people sit and relax.
26. forty thousand stalls--for the royal mews (see on 2Ch 9:25).
1Ki 4:29-34. HIS WISDOM.
30. Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the
east country--that is, the Arabians, Chaldeans, and Persians
31. wiser than all men--that is, all his contemporaries, either at home
32. he spake three thousand proverbs--embodying his moral sentiments
and sage observations on human life and character.
33. he spake of trees, from the cedar . . . to the hyssop--all plants, from the greatest to the least. The Spirit of God has seen fit to preserve comparatively few memorials of the fruits of his gigantic mind. The greater part of those here ascribed to him have long since fallen a prey to the ravages of time, or perished in the Babylonish captivity, probably because they were not inspired.