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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 4

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-34

Solomon’s Officers and Court

2. Azariah the son of Zadok] he was really the grandson of Zadok (1 Chronicles 6:8-9).

3. Shisha] also called Shavsha and Sheva. In David’s reign he filled the same office now discharged by his sons (2 Samuel 20:25). Scribes] i.e. the royal secretaries. Jehoshaphat] he had previously served David (2 Samuel 8:16; 2 Samuel 20:24). Recorder] probably the keeper of the state archives (RM ’chronicler’), though some suppose that his function was to remind the king of state matters that required his attention.

4. Abiathar] Abiathar was priest during a very brief period of Solomon’s reign: see 1 Kings 2:26, 1 Kings 2:27.

5. The officers] probably the officers named in 1 Kings 2:7-19. Principal officer] RV ’priest.’ The term is used in 2 Samuel 8:18 of David’s sons, and in 2 Samuel 20:26 of Ira a Jainite, who perhaps belonged to the tribe of Manasseh—both being, to all appearance, instances of priests of other than Levitical descent. The king’s friend] The same title is applied to Hushai in 2 Samuel 15:37.

6. Over the household] i.e. steward or treasurer: cp. Isaiah 22:15. The position was one of sufficient dignity to be filled sometimes by the son of the sovereign (2 Kings 15:5). Adoniram] The name appears in a shortened form as Adoram in 2 Samuel 20:24; 1 Kings 12:18. Tribute] RV ’levy.’ This was a body of men subjected to forced labour and employed on Solomon’s buildings (1 Kings 9:10). It corresponded to the French corvée.

8. Mount Ephraim] RV ’the hill country of Ephraim’: and so elsewhere.

9-12. Of the localities mentioned in these vv. several (Makaz, Elon-beth-hanan, Aruboth, Hepher) are unknown. Shaalbim was in Dan; Beth-shemesh (modern Ain shems) and Sochoh were in Judah; Dor was on the coast, near Carmel; Taanach, Megiddo, Jezreel, Jokneam (RV ’Jokmeam’) were in or near the plain of Esdraelon; Beth-shean (the modern Beisan), Zartanah, and Abel-meholah were in the Jordan valley.

13, 14. The places named in these vv. were E. of Jordan. Argob is the Trachonitis of the NT., a volcanic district, now called the ’Leja,’ lying S. of Damascus.

19. He was .. land] The text is probably corrupt. It will be observed that in the division, of the land between the several officers, the tribal boundaries were to some extent ignored, only five or six tribes being retained as departments. Possibly this was done to weaken tribal sentiment, which tended to disunion.

21. The river] the Euphrates.

22. Measures] Heb. cors (a cor = a homer, and contained over 80 gallons).

24. On this side the river] RM ’beyond’ (i.e. W. of) ’the River’ (Euphrates), i.e. Palestine and the neighbouring region as viewed from the standpoint of a resident in Babylon (E. of the Euphrates) where the book of Kings was probably completed.

Tiphsah] Thapsacus, on the upper course of the Euphrates. Azzah] Gaza in Philistia.

26. Forty thousand] in 2 Chronicles 9:25 ’four thousand,’ which would be sufficient for the 1,400 chariots mentioned in 1 Kings 10:26. The possession of a large force of cavalry was a departure from the practice of David, who, like Joshua, destroyed the horses taken from his enemies.

27. Those officers] i.e. the officers described in 1 Kings 4:7. They lacked nothing] better,’they let nothing be lacking.’

28. Dromedaries] RV ’swift steeds.’ Where the officers were] RV (after LXX) ’where the king was’; RM ’where it’ (the barley and straw) ’should be,’ i.e. wherever it was required

29. Largeness of heart] i.e. great intellectual capacity: see on v. 1 Kings 3:9.

30. Children of the east country] The term is applied in Jeremiah 39:28; to the Arab tribes dwelling at Kedar, and probably describes generally the inhabitants of the Syrian desert: cp. Genesis 29! Judges 6:3. For Arab wisdom see Jeremiah 39:7.

31. Ethan, etc.] The same four names (with the substitution of Dara for Darda) occur among the sons of Zerah the son of Judah in 1 Chronicles 26. If the allusion is to these, Mahol may be their father and Zerah a remote ancestor. The individuals meant must have been ancient sages proverbial for their wisdom.

32. Proverbs] Some are doubtless included in the extant book of Proverbs. Songs] The Song of Songs and two of the canonical psalms (72 and 127) bear Solomon’s name. Certain so-called ’Psalms of Solomon’ really belong to the age of Pompey.

33. He spake of trees, etc.] This may mean both that he drew examples from the vegetable and animal kingdoms to illustrate his maxims (as in Proverbs 6:6), and that he investigated and described their properties (as in Proverbs 30:15, Proverbs 30:29-31.)

34. All people] cp. the visit of the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10).

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 4". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/1-kings-4.html. 1909.
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