III Solomon marries Pharaoh's daughter, ver. 1. His religion, ver. 2-4. His prayer for wisdom, and the answer, ver. 5-15. He decides the dispute between the two harlots, ver. 16-28.
Verse 1. Pharaoh - As being a powerful neighbour, whose daughter doubtless was first instructed in, and proselyted to the Jewish religion. It seems, this was designed by God to be a type of Christ, calling his church to himself, and to the true religion, not only out of the Jews, but even out of the Gentile world. City of David - Into David's palace there. The wall - Which though in some sort built by David, yet Solomon is here said to build, either because he made it higher, and stronger, in which sense Nebuchadnezzar is said to have built Babylon, Dan. iv, 30, or because he built another wall besides the former, for after this time Jerusalem was encompassed with more walls than one.
Verse 2. Only - This particle is used here, and ver. 3, as an exception to Solomon's integrity and as a blemish to his government, That he himself both permitted and practiced this which was expressly forbidden, Levit xvii, 3, 4 Deut. xii, 13, 14. High places - Which were groves, or other convenient places upon hills, in which the patriarchs used to offer up their sacrifices to God; and from them this custom was derived both to the Gentiles and the Jews: and in them the Gentiles sacrificed to idols, the Hebrew to the true God. Because, &c. - Which reason was not sufficient, for there was a tabernacle, to which they were as much confined as to the temple, Exod. xl, 34-38, &c.
Verse 3. Yet - Although he miscarried in the matter of high places, yet in the general, his heart was right with God. Statutes - According to the statutes or commands of God, which are here called the statutes of David; not only because they were diligently practiced by David, but also because the observation of them was so earnestly pressed upon Solomon, and fortified with David's authority and command.
Verse 6. Truth - In the true worship of God, in the profession, belief, practice and defense of the true religion. So truth here contains all duties to God, as righteousness doth his duties to men, and uprightness the right manner of performing both sorts of duties. With thee - That is, in thy judgment, to whom he often appealed as the witness of his integrity.
Verse 7. Child - So he was in years: not above twenty years old; and withal (which he principally intends) he was raw and unexperienced, as a child, in state affairs. Go out, &c. - To govern my people, and manage affairs.
Verse 8. In the midst - Is set over them to rule and guide them. A metaphor from the overseer of divers workmen, who usually is in the midst of them, that he may the better observe how each of them discharges his office. Chosen - Thy peculiar people, whom thou takest special care of, and therefore wilt expect a more punctual account of my government of them.
Verse 9. An understanding heart - Whereby I may both clearly discern, and faithfully perform all the parts of my duty: for both these are spoken of in scripture, as the effects of a good understanding; and he that lives in the neglect of his duties, or the practice of wickedness, is called a fool, and one void of understanding. Discern - Namely in causes and controversies among my people; that I may not through mistake, or prejudice, or passion, give wrong sentences, and call evil good, or good evil. Absalom, that was a fool, wished himself a judge: Solomon, that was a wise man, trembles at the undertaking. The more knowing and considerate men are, the more jealous they are of themselves.
Verse 13. All thy days - Whereby he signifies that these gifts of God were not transient, as they were in Saul, but such as should abide with him whilst he lived.
Verse 14. And if - This caution God gives him, lest his wisdom should make him proud, careless, or presumptuous.
Verse 15. A dream - Not a vain dream, wherewith men are commonly deluded; but a divine dream, assuring him of the thing: which he knew, by a divine impression after he was awakened: and by the vast alteration which he presently found within himself in point of wisdom and knowledge. The ark - Which was there in the city of David, 2 Sam. vi, 17, before which he presented himself in a way of holy adoration. Burnt offerings - Chiefly for the expiation of his and his peoples sin, through the blood of Christ, manifestly signified in these sacrifices. Peace offerings - Solemnly to praise God for all his mercies, and especially for giving him quiet possession of the kingdom, and for his glorious appearance to him in the dream, and for the promise therein made to him, and the actual accomplishment of it.
Verse 16. Harlots - Or, victuallers: for the Hebrew words signifies both. Yet that they are unmarried persons, seems probable, both because there is no mention of any husbands, whose office it was, if there were any such, to contest for their wives; and because they lived a solitary life in one house.
Verse 19. Overlaid it - And so smothered it: which she justly conjectures, because there were evidences of that kind of death, but no appearance of any other cause thereof.
Verse 25. Said - Though with a design far above the reach of the two women, or of the people present, who probably with horror expected the execution of it.
Verse 27. She is the mother - As is evident from her natural affection to the child, which she had rather have given away from her, than destroyed.
Verse 28. Wisdom of God - Divine wisdom with which God had inspired him for the government of his people.