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And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.
The queen of Sheba. As to where her country was, some think it was the Sabean kingdom of Yemen, of which the capital was Saba (Mariaba, according to Eratosthenes; Sabatha according to Ptolemy; Mareb and Saba, or Azab, according to the natives), in Arabia Felix; others, that it was in African Ethiopia - i:e. Abyssinia-toward the south of the Red Sea. The opinions preponderate in favour of the former. This view harmonies with the language of our Lord, as Yemen means 'south;' and this country, extending to the shores of the Indian, Ocean, might in ancient times - i:e., in our Lord's age, when the boundaries of the known land southward were Raptam, or Prassum-be considered "the uttermost parts of the earth. [The principal reasons for concluding that the queen came from this district of Arabia may be summarized as follows:-First, the presents she brought to Solomon were products of that country, as stated by Strabo, Pliny, and others; secondly, the expression, basilissa (G938) notou (G3558), "queen of the south" (Matthew 12:42) corresponds with the Hebrew Teman, the Arabic Yemen; thirdly, the phrase, ek toon peratoon tees gees, in the same passage of Matthew, corroborates this view; fourth, the traditions of the Jewish as well as Christian Church, together with the opinions of Arabian writers, tend unitedly in the same direction. (See, the subject discussed at large in Forster's 'Arabia' and in Bruce's 'Travels in Abyssinia.')]
Heard of the fame of Solomon - doubtless by the Ophir fleet.
Concerning the name of the Lord - meaning either his great knowledge of God, or the extraordinary things which God had done for him.
Hard questions - enigmas, or riddles. The Orientals delight in this species of intellectual exercise, and test wisdom by the power and readiness to solve them.
And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.
A very great train, with camels. These animals could not have come from the shores of the Indian Ocean, both on account of the immense deserts that intervened and the hostile opposition of countless tribes. A long train of those beasts of burden forms the common way of traveling in Arabia; and the presents specified consist of the native produce of that country. Of course, a royal entourage would be larger and more imposing than an ordinary caravan.
Spices. Arabia surpassed every other country in the world for the richness of its spices. Milton, in alluding to these fragrant products, speaks of the breezes which waft far out to sea
`Sabaean odours from the spicy shore Of Araby the blest.'
Among these spices would be myrrh, a product of Arabia Felix, no less than of Abyssinia, being the resinous gum of an odoriferous shrub, valued as a favourite perfume, and frequently given in ancient times as a present on account of its rarity and usefulness; spikenard, an unguent extracted from a species of valerian, which grows on the high and arid pastures of India; the sweet cane, the aromatic calamus of India; cinnamon, procured from Ceylon; and cassia, another species of cinnamon, from the Malabar coast. All these highly-prized spices, which were either the native produce of Arabia, or, being brought to the ports of that country by the Ophir merchantmen, were carried into every part of the land by the trading caravans, were brought to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba, as presents, which she knew would be acceptable to that prince.
And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not.
And Solomon told her all her questions, [ dªbaareyhaa (H1697)] - matters, subjects of conversation, including the [ chiydowt (H2420)] hard questions (1 Kings 10:1); solved all her enigmas, riddles (in this sense the words are used, Judges 14:12-14) - a species of occupation or favourite pastime, on which the greatest and wisest people of the East have in all ages delighted to exercise their genius and their wit. That the Queen of Sheba's questions were neither of a learned nor philosophical cast, related neither to moral principles nor religious mysteries, but were nothing else than enigmas and riddles, is placed beyond a doubt by the testimony of Josephus ('Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch. 5:, sec. 3), already referred to who informs us that the wise monarch of Israel use to relieve his graver cares by corresponding about these agreeable trifles, both with king Hiram and another Tyrian of great celebrity for his activity, skill, and acuteness in such puzzling subjects, as also by the well-known fact that they form a favourite source of enjoyment with the higher circles in many countries of the East at the present day.
The Talmud, among the wild and foolish fictions with which that collection abounds relates many stories of Solomon, whom the blind admiration of his countrymen has made to play as romantic a part as their Arabian and Persian neighbours have assigned in their well-known tales, to the most renowned of the caliphs. Of a prince so greatly loved and admired as Solomon was by his contemporaries, both at home and abroad, it is natural to suppose that many anecdotes, illustrative of the brilliancy and acuteness of his mind, would be circulated in his day, and be fondly transmitted from father to son as memorials of a great monarch, in whose reign they could boast of having lived; but whether the stories ascribed to him in this strange miscellany refer to events which actually occurred, and which became afterward a part of the traditionary legends of the country, or whether they are pure inventions of the Rabbis, it is now impossible to determine.
Out of this immense mass of stories and anecdotes the following is selected as bearing upon the illustration of this passage, and furnishing a sample of 'the hard questions with which the queen of Sheba proved' Solomon. The legend informs us that the queen having exhausted her whole collection of "questions," which she had studiously made of the most difficult kind, but which the quick and penetrating mind of Solomon easily unravelled, determined on making her last and greatest effort, by which she persuaded herself she would bring to a stand the hitherto invincible powers of the monarch. She formed a small bunch of the rarest and most beautiful exotic flowers, such as were growing in the pleasant gardens of the palace, and with the names and the hues of which she knew the royal student of nature to be well acquainted. In the construction of this artificial bouquet, she had exhausted all the resources of art to render it a perfect imitation of natural beauty, and, carefully concealing from all but her immediate attendants the secret of its origin, she arranged and brought it out in such a manner that it was impossible to judge by the eye whether it was a production of nature or of art, It remained only to choose a proper time, when the king might be taken by surprise, for the trial of her ingenious stratagem; and fixing therefore on the hour when Solomon was seated amid a circle of his courtiers at the gate of his palace, in the course of his daily administration of justice, she presented herself abruptly before him, and holding up her bouquet at such a distance that no scent, had there been any, could have been perceived, she challenged him to tell her whether it was natural or artificial.
The king looked intently at the splendid bouquet, but seemed at a loss for a reply. The whole divan were thrown into confusion by the unexpected occurrence-the first time they had ever seen their king in perplexity-and waiting in silence, trembled for the honour of their prince, when, happily looking around in his distress from the open scaffolding that formed his tribunal, he spotted a swarm of bees fluttering about some wild flowers, and causing the bouquet, without declaring his object, to be placed on the meadow, he soon beheld them, with the greatest satisfaction, refuse to alight on the queen's bouquet, thus giving the most decisive evidence that it was a work of art. His triumph was complete; the whole court rang with applause at the sagacity of the king; and the Queen of Sheba, when she saw this fresh proof of the wisdom of Solomon, "had no more spirit in her."
There was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not - i:e., there were none of the questions she put to the king, nor of the subjects she consulted him about, which he did not understand, nor explain to the satisfaction of his royal visitor.
And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built,
And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom [ chaakªmat (H2451) Shªlomoh (H8010)] the wisdom of Solomon. Under this word the Hebrews comprehended a very large circle of mental endowments and useful qualities-not only speculative, but practical, knowledge; and therefore the Queen of Sheba's admiration must be considered as directed to the whole economy of his government; the comprehensive plans he formed for engaging the industry of his subjects at home, and for introducing rivers of wealth into his kingdom through the channels of foreign commerce; the order that reigned in the vast establishments of the palace and the temple; his exquisite skill in the fine arts, the literary works he composed displaying a perfect familiarity with the entire range of the natural science of his age; and the penetrating insight he possessed into the principles of human nature: all these this Arabian princess had opportunities of witnessing during her sojourn at the court of Jerusalem.
And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.
And the meat of his table - including the immense amount, variety, and luxuriousness of the daily provisions (cf. 1 Kings 4:22-23), as well as the sumptuous splendour of the equipage at the royal table (1 Kings 10:21).
And the sitting of his servants, [ uwmowshab (H4186) `ªbaadaayw (H5650)] - and the seat of his servants; i:e., the particular place assigned to each according to gradation; or the collective body of his servants (cf Psalms 1:1, where the original word is used to denote a session or assembly), with the tout ensemble of the household economy, and particularly the orderly manner of the domestic arrangement in the servant's halls and at the various tables in the court. An oriental sovereign always possesses a vast number of servants; but whether we consider his large and luxurious table, the extent of his harem, the magnificent edifices he reared, and the spacious pleasure-grounds he maintained, the numerous stud in the king's mews (see Josephus 'Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch. 6:, sec. 3), besides the long retinue of liveried lackeys that composed his official entourage, Solomon must have had an enormous number of domestics, natives and foreigners (see on their different names and conditions among the Hebrews, Genesis 14:14; Genesis 15:3; Genesis 17:12; Genesis 17:23; Numbers 31:11; Numbers 31:26; Numbers 31:35; Deuteronomy 20:14; Deuteronomy 21:10).
And the attendance of his ministers, [ uwma`ªmad (H4612) mªshaarªtaayw (H8334)] - and the standing, the station, of his ministers, denoting probably not only the graduated position occupied by each at the public levees, but, in a wider sense, the posts held in the court and government.
And their apparel. While that of Solomon himself was gorgeous, his royal robes being, usually of,very rich stuffs, white (Josephus, 'Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch. 7:, sec. 3), the dress of his attendants also was distinguished for its elaborateness and splendour. In particular, in his daily progresses to his gardens and pleasure-grounds, he was accompanied by a numerous retinue of riders, young men in the flower of their age, eminent for their tall and handsome figure, their long luxuriant hair hanging over their shoulders, profusely sprinkled with gold dust, while their persons were attired in costly garments of Tyrian purple, with the additional accoutrements of armour and bow.
And his cup-bearers, [ uwmashqaayw (H4945)]. Our translators, following the Septuagint [which has tous oinochoous autou], have considered that butlers are meant. The cup-bearer certainly was an office of great importance and influence in the palace of ancient Oriental sovereigns (Neb. 1:11), and might be entitled to the distinction of a separate notice. [Keil, however, reads, miqshaah; denoting turned work. In this sense it occurs in 1 Kings 6:23; 1 Kings 6:28; Exodus 25:18; while it is used, Genesis 40:21, to denote the care of drinking vessels; so that he understands it, with the Chaldee version, as referring to the furnishing and contents of the wine cellar.]
And his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord [ wª`olaatow (H5930) 'ªsher (H834) ya`ªleh (H5927) beeyt (H1004) Yahweh (H3068). The Septuagint renders this clause, kai teen holokautoosin autou heen aneferen en oikoo kuriou, and the holocaust (burnt offering) which he offered in the house of the Lord]. The Chaldee, Syriac and Arabic versions give a similar translation, and so also does Martin Luther in his German Bible. Under the burnt offering, as the principal, the other sacrifices are understood to be comprehended; and, in his construction of the temple, and the order of the sacred service which doubtless would be objects of interest to the Queen of Sheba, she would be accompanied by Solomon, who would furnish all necessary information as to the nature, reason, or symbolical import of the various offerings.
This translation, however, though strenuously maintained by eminent writers as giving the true meaning of the passage, is not generally acquiesced in; and the view most favoured by modern scholars is, that it contains a reference to the famous viaduct which Solomon made from his palace in the city of David to the temple (2 Chronicles 9:4). Mr. Williams ('Holy City') is of opinion that this approach was formed by an earthen mound, and identifies it with the street extending from the bazaars to the western gate of the Haram-the usual way of descent to the Place of Wailing. But if this "ascent" was only an elevated bank of earth, which was formed with labour and expense, to fill up the ravine between the two hills she must have been very inexperienced indeed when she was overwhelmed with astonishment at the sight of a construction so common. It was not, however a mound or causeway, but a viaduct, spanned by arches, and described elsewhere as a "covert for the sabbath, and the king's entry without" (2 Kings 16:18) - i:e., his private entrance into the temple, which formed an object of such unbounded admiration to the Queen of Sheba (cf. 1 Chronicles 26:16).
To Dr. Robinson, the celebrated American traveler, the Christian world is indebted, not only for the discovery of it, but for directing attention to the purpose of the erection. Having observed some of the huge stones jutting out from the western walls, he imagined at first that this mural dislocation had been produced by the shock of an earthquake, or some violent commotion. But on further examination, he found that the stones appeared to have belonged to an arch, and at length was forced to conclude that this arch must have formed part of the BRIDGE, which, according to Josephus, led from this part of the temple to the Xystus on Zion. 'The traces of this arch are too distinct and definite to be mistaken. Its southern side Isaiah 39:0 English feet distant from the southwest corner of the area, and the arch itself measures 51 feet along the wall. Three courses of its stones still remain, of which one Isaiah 5:0 feet 4 inches thick and the other not much less. One of the stones Isaiah 20:1 /2 feet long, another 24 1/2 feet, and the rest in like proportion. The part of the curve or arc which remains is of course but a fragment; but of this fragment the chord measures 12 feet 6 inches the sine 11 feet 10 inches, and the cosine 3 feet 10 inches. The distance from this point across the valley of the Tyropoeon to the precipitous natural neck of Zion we measured and found it to be 350 feet, or about 116 yards. This gives the proximate length of the ancient bridge (Josephus, "Antiquities," b. 14:, ch. 4:, sec. 2; "Jewish Wars," b. 1:, proximate length of the ancient bridge (Josephus, "Antiquities," b. 14:, ch. 4:, sec. 2; "Jewish Wars," b. 1:, ch. 7, sec. 2; 2:, 16, 3; 6:, 6, 3; 6:, 8, 1).
Captain Wilson, who is employed by the Palestine Exploration Society, has discovered one of the arches of this bridge in a good state of preservation. The span of this arch is between forty and fifty feet, composed of large stones, like those seen at the Jewish Wailing Place. As to the immense stones used in the arch, the fire with which the Chaldeans destroyed the first temple would not affect these foundations; nor is it probable that a feeble colony of returning exiles could have accomplished works like these. There is therefore little room for hesitation referring them back to the days of Solomon' ('Biblical Researches,' 1:, pp. 425-428; Drew's 'Scripture Lands,' p. 161, note 30; 'Handbook of Syria and Palestine,' p. 120; 'Tent and Khan,' p. 275).
There was no more spirit in her - (cf. Daniel 10:17.)
And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom.
It was a true report ... The proofs she obtained of Solomon's wisdom, not from his conversation only, but also his works; the splendour of his palace, the economy of his kitchen and table, the order of his court, the gradations and gorgeous costume of his servants-above all, the arched viaduct that led from his palace to the temple (2 Kings 16:18), and the remains of which have been recently discovered-overwhelmed her with astonishment.
Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.
No JFB commentary on these verses.
Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice. Blessed be the Lord thy God - (see the notes at 1 Kings 5:7.) It is quite possible, as Jewish writers say, that this queen was converted, through Solomon's influence, to the worship of the true God. But there is no record of her making any gift offering in the temple.
And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.
She gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold - 720,000 pounds sterling. These and other presents she brought were not as tribute, but tokens of amity (cf. 2 Chronicles 9:23-24).
And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.
Almug trees - or algum. Parenthetically, along with the valuable presents of the queen of Sheba, is mentioned a foreign wood, which was brought in the Ophir ships. It is thought by some to be the sandal-wood, the produce of a low shrub, resembling the privet, remarkable for the fragrance of the central parts of the stem near the root, and brought from some district of India, where it is still very abundant; by others, supposed to be the Deodar (Cedrus deodara), a species of fragrant fir, much used in India for sacred and important works. Solomon used it as well-fitted by its red colour to be ornamental for stairs in his temple and palace (2 Chronicles 9:11), but chiefly for musical instruments, 'Sandal-wood is found indigenous on the coast of Malabar only; and one of its numerous names there and in Sanskrit is Valgulka-clearly the name which Jewish and Phoenician merchants corrupted into algum, and which in Hebrew was still further changed in almug' (Max Muller, 'Lectures on the Science of Language,' pp. 189-191).
And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the LORD, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.
All her desire, whatsoever she asked, besides - i:e., Solomon not only gave his illustrious guest all the insight and information she wanted, but, according to the Oriental fashion, which is to ask or specify certain objects which it would be agreeable to obtain, gave her ample remuneration for the presents she had brought -
i.e., besides his presents in return for hers, made a free donation of whatever she liked.
Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold,
Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year - 666 talents, equal to 3,996,000 pounds sterling. The sources whence this was derived are not mentioned; nor was it the full amount of his revenue; because this was "besides that he had of the merchant-men, and of the traffic of the spice-merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country. The great encouragement he gave to commerce was the means of enriching his royal exchequer. By the fortifications which he erected in various parts of his kingdom, and particularly at such places as Thapsacus, one of the passages of the Euphrates, and at Tadmor, in the Syrian desert, he gave complete security to the caravan trade from the depredations of the Arab marauders; and it was reasonable that, in return for this protection, he should exact a certain toll or duty for the importation of foreign goods. A considerable revenue, too, would arise from the use of the store cities and khans he built; and it is not improbable that those cities were emporia where the caravan merchants unloaded their bales of spices and other commodities, and sold them to the king's factors, who, according to the modern practice in the East, retailed them in the Western markets at a profit. 'The revenue derived from the tributary kings, and from the governors of the country,' must have consisted in the tribute which all inferior magistrates periodically bring to their sovereigns in the East, in the shape of presents of the produce of their respective provinces.
Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country. Governors - [ pachowt (H6346). The Septuagint renders it by: satrapoon]. 'Is this a foreign word, having a Semitic status constructus, and the plural pachoth? The word pechah is remarkable from its early reception into Hebrew, having become a title of some "governors" in Solomon's outlying dominions. For in that they are mentioned both here and 2 Chronicles 9:14, in union with the kings of "Arabia," as persons who supplied a yearly quantity of gold in addition to his regular revenue, and this in connection with that derived from the merchants, it is in itself probable that "the pachoth of the land" were governors set over the outlying country beyond Judea proper, (cf. 1 Kings 20:4; 2 Kings 18:24-34; Esther 8:9; Esther 9:3; Ezra 5:3; Ezra 6:6; Ezra 8:36; Nehemiah 11:7; Nehemiah 11:9; etc.) It seems to me most probable that Solomon adopted the title as it already existed in the Syrian territories; because it is not said that he placed pechahs, but that they paid him gold. Thus, the name "rajah," is continued in our Indian dominions. If pechah is connected with pashah, the history of the word would be curious' (Note by Max Muller-Pusey, 'On Daniel,' p. 566, 567).
And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target.
Two hundred targets ... six hundred shekels. These defensive arms were anciently made of wood, and covered with leather: Solomon's were covered with fine gold. 600 shekels were used in the gilding of each target; 200 targets had 300 shields, having three pounds of gold in one shield. The targets were circular, perhaps with an umbo or convex protuberance in the center, designed to be fastened on the person for the protection of the breast. The shields, which were only half the weight of the targets, were made probably in the form of upright bucklers borne by an armour-bearer (cf. 'Nineveh and Babylon,' p. 194). They were intended for the state armoury of the palace (see the notes at 1 Kings 14:26). They were ranged on the walls of the armoury (Song of Solomon 4:4), upon pins fixed in the walls for the purpose (cf. Isaiah 22:24), as in the Assyrian temples.
And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.
A great throne of ivory. It seems to have been made, not of solid ivory, but veneered. It was in the form of an arm-chair with a carved back. The ascent to it was by six steps, on each of which stood lions, in place of a railing; while a lion, probably of gilt metal, stood at each side, which, we may suppose from the analogy of other Oriental thrones, supported a canopy (Sir Thomas Roe's 'Voyages,' p. 456, where he gives an account of the throne of the, great Mogul, bearing a resemblance to Solomon's magnificent seat of majesty, but much inferior: see also Rawlinson's Herodotus,' 2:, p. 178, note, p. 179). A golden footstool is mentioned (2 Chronicles 11:18) as attached to this throne, whose magnificence is described as unrivaled.
The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays.
No JFB commentary on these verses.
And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.
All king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold ... The magnificence of Eastern monarchs was generally indicated by a profuse display of gold and silver vessels in their palaces. All these products may still be procured in great abundance in Ceylon, which Bochart considered to be Ophir, to which Solomon's fleet traded.
For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.
At sea - on the Mediterranean. A navy of Tharshish - Tartessus, between the mouths of the Boetis, now Guadalquiver, in the south of Spain [Septuagint, Vatican: Tharsis; Alexandrine: Tharseis], where gold, and especially silver, was obtained anciently in so great abundance that it "was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon." But Tharshish came to be a general term for the west of Europe, (Psalms 72:10; Jonah 1:1.) Solomon's fleet, "with the navy of Hiram - i:e., manned with Phoenician mariners, sailed from the port of Ezion-geber; but whether, doubling the Cape, they steered by the western coast of Africa. northward to Tartessus, in Spain, or there might be a place of that name in India, is unknown. 'There may have been,' as Henderson remarks, 'both a Spanish and an Indian Tharshish, just as the name India Came to be transferred from the east to the distant west.'
Once in three years - i:e., third year. Without the mariner's compass, they had to coast along the shore, and make their voyage by monsoons. The ivory, apes, and peacocks might have been purchased, on the outward or homeward voyage, on the coast of Safola, in South Africa, and some portion of the Indian peninsula, where those animals were to be found.
Ivory, [ shenhabiym (H8143) plural] (cf. 2 Chronicles 9:21) - known to the ancients as an Indian product. Thus, Virgil, 'India mittit ebur; molles sua thura Sabaei.' [This word, according to Gesenius, is compounded of sheen (H8127), tooth-generally used in the Old Testament for ivory-and haa'ibiym, contracted for habiym, from the Sanskrit ibha-s, elephant. Keil derives the Hebrew word from the Coptic eboy, elephant, with the article he (h). Other derivations have been suggested. The Septuagint and Vatican has: lithoon toreutoon kai pelekeetoon, turned and polished stones (1 Kings 10:11). The Alexandrine renders it by: odontoon elefantinoon, elephants' teeth.]
And apes, [ wªqopiym (H6971). The Hebrew koph bears a considerable resemblance to the Singhalese kapi, rendered by Clough, in his valuable 'Dictionary,' an 'ape or monkey;' Septuagint, Alexandrine, pitheekoon, apes].
And peacocks, [ tukiyiym (H8500), plural (cf. 2 Chronicles 9:21)]. 'The word "sikhi," rendered by the same lexicographer, a "peacock," also bears some similarity to the Hebrew tukiem. In Malabar the word "togu," which (as well as kapi and sikhi) is derived from the Sanskrit, is said to mean peacocks; and this comes nearer the Hebrew' (Hardy's 'Notices of the Holy Land,' p. 3). [Septuagint, Alexandrine, taoonoon]. 'These names for apes and peacocks are foreign words in Hebrew, as much as gutta percha and tobacco are in English; and as those animals are natives of India their names make it certain that this country was Ophir' (Max Muller). They were particularized probably as being the rarest articles on board, and received as great and interesting curiosities (previously unknown in Western Asia) into that large and noble collection of animals which Solomon, in his fondness for natural history, had made (1 Kings 4:33).
So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.
All the earth sought to Solomon ... - i:e., in a loose sense, the sovereigns of the neighbouring kingdoms, or the countries of Western Asia.
And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.
They brought every man his present - i:e., to him as their feudal superior. No doubt, the making of presents is in the East an established custom of social life. Not only when going into the presence of a superior is it usual to pay such a compliment, but even in familiar visits among inferior people the presentation of some gift-even a flower or fruit-some token of regard, is expected; and the visitor who should omit or neglect the observance of this mark of civility would incur the suspicion of intending to affront or defraud the person on whom he waited. But the presents described in this verse as brought to Solomon by foreign prince, were of a totally different character from the conventional tokens of civil contact. They were made as an acknowledgment of dependence and subjection-in fact, a kind of homage or tribute to Solomon; and that we are to understand the presents spoken of in this verse as brought with such a view, is evident from the fact that they were contributed "a rate year by year," as in Assyria ('Nineveh and Babylon,' p. 635). 26. (See the notes at 2 Chronicles 1:14-17.)
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany