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Wednesday, September 27th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 9

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 2

This appearance is fixed by 1 Kings 9:1 to Solomon’s twenty-fourth year, the year in which he completed his palace 1 Kings 6:37-38; 1 Kings 7:1. The fact seems to be that, though the temple was finished in Solomon’s eleventh year, the dedication did not take place until his twenty-fourth year. The order of the narrative in Kings agrees with this view, since it interposes the account of the building of the palace 1 Kings 7:1-12, and of the making of the furniture 1 Kings 7:13-51, between the completion of the building of the temple 1 Kings 6:38 and the ceremony of the Dedication 1 Kings 8:0.

Verse 3

The answer given by God to Solomon’s prayer is reported more fully in 2 Chronicles 7:12-22.

When God puts His Name in the temple He does it, in intention, “forever.” He will not arbitrarily withdraw it; there it will remain “forever,” so far as God is concerned. But the people may by unfaithfulness drive it away 1 Kings 9:7-9.

And mine eyes and my heart - An answer in excess of the prayer 1 Kings 8:29; “Not Mine eyes only, but Mine eyes and Mine heart.”

Verse 4

See 1 Kings 3:14. Solomon’s subsequent fall lends to these repeated warnings a special interest.

Verse 6

At all turn - Rather, “If ye shall wholly turn from following Me.” (See 2 Chronicles 7:19.) The Israelites were not to be cut off, except for an entire defection.

Verse 8

The Hebrew text runs - “And this house shall be high: every one,” etc. The meaning appears to be, “This house shall be high” (i. e., conspicuous) “in its ruin as in its glory.”

And shall hiss - In contempt. This expression first appears in the time of Hezekiah 2 Chronicles 29:8; Micah 6:16. It is especially familiar to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 19:8, etc.).

Verse 10

The “twenty years” are to be counted from the fourth year of Solomon, the year when he commenced the building of the temple. They are made up of the seven years employed in the work of the temple 1 Kings 6:38, and the thirteen years during which Solomon was building his own house 1 Kings 7:1.

Verse 11

By the spirit, if not by the letter, of the Law, Solomon had no right to give away these cities, or any part of the inheritance of Israel Leviticus 25:13-34. But the exigences of a worldly policy caused the requirements of the Law to be set aside.

Verse 12

They pleased him not - It is a reasonable conjecture that, when a question arose with respect to a cession of land, Hiram had cast his eyes on the bay or harbour of Acco, or Ptolemais, and was therefore the more disappointed when he received an inland tract of mountain territory.

Verse 13

Cabul is said to be a Phoenician word, and signified “displeasing” (see margin). There is some reason to believe that the cities thus despised by Hiram were restored to Solomon 2 Chronicles 8:2, and that Solomon rebuilt them and colonized them with Israelites.

Verse 14

Hiram sent sixscore talents of gold - Apparently, to show that, although disappointed, he was not offended. The sum sent was very large - above a million and a quarter of our money, according to one estimate of the weight of the Hebrew gold talent; or about 720,000 according to the estimate adopted in Exodus 38:24-29 note. At any rate, it was more than equal to a sixth part of Solomon’s regular revenue 1 Kings 10:14.

Verse 15

Levy - See the marginal reference note.

Millo - See 2 Samuel 5:9 note. The Septuagint commonly render the word ἡ ἄκρα hē akra, “the citadel,” and it may possibly have been the fortress on Mount Zion connected with the Maccabean struggles (1 Macc. 4:41; 13:49-52). Its exact site has not been determined.

And the wall of Jerusalem - David’s fortification 2 Samuel 5:9; 1 Chronicles 11:8 had been hasty, and had now - fifty years later - fallen into decay. Solomon therefore had to “repair the breaches of the city of David” 1 Kings 11:27.

Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer were three of the most important sites in the holy land. For the two first places, compare the marginal references and notes.

Gezer was a main city of the south. It was situated on the great maritime plain, and commanded the ordinary line of approach from Egypt, which was along this low region. The importance of Gezer appears from Joshua 10:33; Joshua 12:12, etc. Its site is near Tell Jezer, and marked now by Abu Shusheh. Though within the lot of Ephraim Joshua 16:3, and especially assigned to the Kohathite Levites Joshua 21:21, it had never yet been conquered from the old inhabitants (marginal references), who continued to dwell in it until Solomon’s time, and apparently were an independent people 1 Kings 9:16.

Pharaoh took it before the marriage of Solomon with his daughter, and gave it “for a present” - i. e., for a dowry. Though in the East husbands generally pay for their wives, yet dower is given in some cases. Sargon gave Cilicia as a dowry with his daughter when he married her to Ambris king of Tubal: and the Persian kings seem generally to have given satrapial or other high offices as dowries to the husbands of their daughters.

Verse 17

Beth-horon the nether - See the marginal reference note.

Verse 18

Tadmor - The Hebrew text here has, as written, Tamor (or Tamar), and as read, Tadmor. That the latter place, or Palmyra, was meant appears, first, from the distinct statement of Chronicles 2 Chronicles 8:4 that Solomon built Tadmor, and the improbability that the fact would be omitted in Kings; secondly, from the strong likelihood that Solomon, with his wide views of commerce, would seize and fortify the Palmy-rene Oasis: and thirdly, from the unanimity of the old versions in rendering Tamar here by Tadmor. The probability seems to be that Tamar was the original name of the place, being the Hebrew word for “a palm,” from where it is generally agreed that the town derived its name. Tadmor was a corrupt or dialectic variety of the word, which was adopted at the city itself, and prevailed over the original appellation. No reference is found to Tadmor in the Assyrian inscriptions, or in any Classical writer before Pliny.

Verse 19

“The cities of store” contained provisions stored up for the troops (compare 2 Chronicles 32:28). They seem to have been chiefly in the north - in Hamath 2 Chronicles 8:4 and Naphtali 2 Chronicles 16:4. On the “cities for his chariots,” see 1 Kings 10:26 note.

By “that which Solomon desired to build” (see the margin) seem to be intended “pleasaunces” in or near the capital, and in the Lebanon range, built especially for the enjoyment of the king.

Verse 21

See 1 Kings 5:15 note.

Verse 22

Comparing this with 1 Kings 5:13-14, it would seem that a modified service of forced labor for one-third of each year was not regarded as reducing those who were subject to it to the condition of bondmen.

Verse 23

Five hundred and fifty - See 1 Kings 5:16 note.

Verse 24

Compare the marginal reference. Solomon was not satisfied that Pharaoh’s daughter should remain in the palace of David, which was on Mount Zion, in the immediate vicinity of the temple, because he regarded the whole vicinity of the temple as made holy by the presence of the ark of God. His own palace was on the other (western) hill, probably directly opposite to the temple, the valley of the Tyropoeum running between them.

Verse 25

Three times - i. e., (see the marginal reference) the three solemn Feasts - the Feast of unleavened bread, the Feast of weeks, and the Feast of tabernacles.

Did Solomon offer ... and he burnt incense - Not with his own hand, but by his priests 1Ki 8:6; 2 Chronicles 5:7-14. In sacred, as in ordinary, history, men are said to do that which they cause to be done.

Verse 26

On Ezion-geber and Eloth, see the notes to marginal references. As the entire tract about Elath (Akaba) is destitute of trees, it is conjectured that the wood of which Solomon built his fleet was cut in Lebanon, floated to Gaza by sea, and thence conveyed across to Ezion-geber, at the head of the E anitic Gulf, by land carriage. (Compare 2 Chronicles 2:16.)

Verse 27

Shipmen - See 1 Kings 5:6 note. With respect to the acquaintance of the Phoenicians with this particular sea, it may be observed that they are not unlikely to have had trading settlements there, as they had in the Persian Gulf, even at this early period. The commerce with Ophir was probably an established trade, previously either in their hands or in those of the Egyptians, when Solomon determined to have a share in it. The Egyptians had navigated the other arm of the Red Sea, and perhaps its lower parts, from a much more ancient period.

Verse 28

On Ophir, see the marginal reference note. Among the various opinions three predominate; all moderns, except a very few, being in favor of Arabia, India, or Eastern Africa. Arabia’s claims are supported by the greatest number.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/1-kings-9.html. 1870.
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