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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 3

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.

Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh. This was a royal title, equivalent to Sultan; and the personal name of this monarch is said to have been Vaphres, of the 21st dynasty, called the military Pontiffs, whose dominion extended to Upper Egypt, as appears from monumental inscriptions at Karnac. But Ewald identifies him with Psusennes, the last king of the 29th dynasty, whose metropolis was Tanis in Lower Egypt. He is erroneously stated by Josephus to have been the last king of Egypt who bore the title of Pharaoh ('Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch.

vi., sec. 2:: cf. 2 Kings 23:29; Jeremiah 44:30). The formation, on equal terms, of this matrimonial alliance with the royal family of Egypt shows the high consideration to which the Hebrew kingdom had now risen. Rosellini has given, from the Egyptian monuments, what is supposed to be a portrait of this princess. She was received in the land of her adoption with great eclat; because the Song of Songs and Psalms 45:1-17 are supposed to have been composed in honour of this occasion, although they may both have a higher typical reference to the introduction of the Gentiles into the Church. Assuming that they have a historical basis, they furnish evidence of the attractive and graceful appearance of Solomon's person-an important quality for Eastern monarchs-his being "fairer than the children of men" (Song of Solomon 5:10-16).

Brought her into the city of David - i:e., Jerusalem. She was not admissible into the stronghold of Zion, the building where the ark was (Deuteronomy 23:7-8). She seems to have been lodged at first in his mother's apartments (Song of Solomon 3:4; Song of Solomon 8:2), as a suitable residence was not yet provided for her in the new palace (1 Kings 7:8; 1 Kings 9:24; 2 Chronicles 8:11).

Building ... the wall of Jerusalem. Although David had begun (Psalms 51:18), it was, according to Josephus ('Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch. 2:, sec. 1), reserved for Solomon to extend and complete, the fortifications of the city. Her arrival in Jerusalem was previous to the finishing of the temple, which was in the eleventh year of Solomon's reign (see the notes at 1 Kings 6:1; 1 Kings 6:37-38). It has been questioned whether this marriage was in conformity with the law (see Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3; Ezra 10:1-10; Nehemiah 13:26). But it is nowhere censured in Scripture, as are the connections Solomon formed with other foreigners (1 Kings 11:1-3); whence it may be inferred that he had stipulated for her abandonment of idolatry, and conforming to the Jewish religion (Psalms 45:10-11). At all events, the princess of Egypt was not the cause of his seduction into idolatry.

Verse 2

Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the LORD, until those days.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.

Solomon loved the Lord. This declaration, illustrated by what follows, affords undoubted evidence of the young king's piety; nor is the word "only," which prefaces the statement, to be understood as introducing a qualifying circumstance that reflected any degree of censure upon him. The intention of the sacred historian is to describe the generally prevailing mode of worship before the temple was built. [ baamowt (H1116)] the "high places" were altars, with (1 Kings 13:32; 2 Kings 17:29) or without tabernacles, erected on natural or artificial eminences, probably from the idea that men were there [epi tois hupseelois] brought nearer the Deity. They had been used by the patriarchs, and had become so universal among the pagan that they were almost identified with idolatry. They were prohibited in the law (Leviticus 17:3-4; Deuteronomy 12:13-14; Jeremiah 7:31; Ezekiel 6:3-4; Hosea 10:8). But so long as the tabernacle was migratory, and the means for the national worship were merely provisional, the worship on those high places was tolerated; and hence, as accounting for their continuance, it is expressly stated (1 Kings 3:2), that God had not yet chosen a permanent and exclusive place for His worship.

Verse 4

And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.

The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, [ Gib`own (H1391), a hill-city, standing on a hill (el-Jib).] The prominent distinction of this place arose from the old tabernacle and the brasen altar which Moses had made in the wilderness (1 Chronicles 16:39; 1 Chronicles 21:29; 2 Chronicles 1:3-6) having been removed from Nob there, end established on the heights called Nob there, and established on the heights called Neby Samwil, Mizpeh (Stanley, 'Sinai and Palestine,' p. 212). That hill, which rises between 500 and 600 feet, is the highest point in all the adjoining country, and corresponds to the description [ habaamaah (H1116) hagªdowlaah (H1419) 'the great high place.' The Septuagint has: hoti hautee hupseelotatee kai megalee, because it was the highest and great one.] But it is objected to Neby Samwil that its distance, about a mile from Gibeon, is unfavourable to the idea of its being 'the high place,' which is more likely to have been the hill overhanging the town (Reland, 'Palaestina,' p. 339).

Besides, it would seem that the sanctuary at Gibeon was designated "the great high place," principally, if not solely, from a comparison of it with other high places mentioned, 1 Kings 3:2-3; and as "high places" are said to have been in the valley of the son of Hinnom (Jer. 33:35 ), it is not absolutely necessary to assume that the tabernacle was upon a hill at Gibeon. The designation 'high place' was undoubtedly used at first in respect to elevation; but in course of time it became the name of a place devoted to religions rites, whether it was on a hill or on a plain. Josephus erroneously represents the king as going to Hebron, instead of Gibeon. ('Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch. 2:, sec. 1). The royal progress was of public importance. It was a season of national devotion. The king was accompanied by his principal nobility (2 Chronicles 1:2); and, as the occasion was most probably one of the great annual festivals which lasted seven days, the rank of the offerer and the succession of daily oblations may help in part to account for the immense magnitude of the sacrifices.

Verse 5

In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.

In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream. It was probably at the close of this season, when his mind had been elevated into a high state of religious fervour by the protracted services. Solomon felt an intense desire, and he had offered an earnest petition, for the gift of wisdom. In sleep his thoughts ran upon the subject of his prayer, and he dreamed that God appeared to him, and gave him the option of everything in the world, that he asked wisdom, and that God granted his request. His dream was but imaginary repetition of his former desire; but God's grant of it was real.

Verse 6

And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

Solomon said - i:e., had dreamed that he said.

Verse 7

And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.

I am but a little child - not in age, because he had reached manhood (1 Kings 2:9), and must have been at least 20 years old (Josephus erroneously makes him only 14 years old, 'Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch. 7:, sec. 8); but he was raw and inexperienced in matters of government.

Verses 8-9

And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 10

And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.

The speech pleased the Lord. It was Solomon's waking prayers that God heard and requited; but the acceptance was signified in this vision.

Verses 11-14

And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 15

And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.

Behold, it was a dream. The vivid impression, the indelible recollection he had of this dream, together with the new and increased energy communicated to his mind, and the flow of worldly prosperity that rushed upon him, gave him assurance that it came by divine inspiration, and originated in the grace of God. The wisdom, however, that was asked and obtained was not so much of the heart as the head; it was wisdom, not for himself personally, but for his office, such as would qualify him for the administration of justice, the government of a kingdom, and for the attainment of general scientific knowledge.

He came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant. This being the first act of public worship since his accession, and he being under strong religious impressions, it was thought expedient that he should celebrate the sacred rites not only at the old tabernacle in Gibeon, but also at the provisional sanctuary in Jerusalem.

And made a feast to all his servants, [ mishteh (H4960), a drinking; Septuagint, poton, used in a vague sense for a feast (Esther 1:3; Esther 2:18; Esther 8:17)].

Verse 16

Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.

Then came there two women. Eastern monarchs, who generally administer justice in person-at least in all cases of difficulty-having their seat in the gate of the city (Solomon afterward built "the porch of judgment," 1 Kings 7:7), often appeal to the principles of human nature when they are at a loss otherwise to find a clue to the truth, or see clearly their way through a mass of conflicting testimony. The modern history of the East abounds with anecdotes of judicial cases in which the decision given was the result of an experiment similar to this of Solomon, upon the natural feelings of the contending parties.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/1-kings-3.html. 1871-8.
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