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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 9

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

Verse 1

And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do,

And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished. This first verse is connected with the eleventh, all that is contained between verses 210 being parenthetical.

Verse 2

That the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.

That (rather for) the Lord appeared. This appearance was, like the former one at Gibeon, most probably made in a supernatural vision, and on the night immediately following the dedication of the temple (2 Chronicles 7:12). The strain of it corresponds to this view, because it consists of direct answers to his solemn inaugural prayer: 1 Kings 9:3 is an answer to 1 Kings 8:29; 1 Kings 9:4-5, are an answer to 1 Kings 8:25-26; 1 Kings 9:6-9, to 1 Kings 8:33-46 (see also Deuteronomy 29:22-24)

Verses 3-7

And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 8

And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house?

This house, which is high - "high," either in point of situation-for it was built on a hill, and, therefore conspicuous to every beholder; or "high" in respect to privilege, honour, and renown; or this house 'of the Most High,' notwithstanding all its beauty and magnificence, shall be destroyed, and remain in such a state of ruin and degradation as to be a striking monument of the just judgment of God. The record of this second vision, in which were rehearsed the conditions of God's covenant with Solomon and the consequences of breaking them, is inserted here as a proper introduction, to the narrative about to be given of this king's commercial enterprises and ambitious desire for worldly glory. For this king, by encouraging an influx of foreign people, and a taste for foreign luxuries, rapidly corrupted his own mind, and those of his subjects, that 'they turned from following God, they and their children' (1 Kings 9:6).

Verse 9

And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 10

And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the LORD, and the king's house,

At the end of twenty years. Seven and a half years were spent in building the temple (1 Kings 6:38), and twelve and a half years or thirteen years in the erection of his palace (1 Kings 7:1; 2 Chronicles 8:1). This verse is only a recapitulation of the first, necessary to recover the thread of connection in the narrative.

Verse 11

(Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.

Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. According to Josephus ('Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch.

vi., sec. 3), they were situated on the northwest of it, adjacent to Tyre. Had they lain within the boundaries of the promised land, they could not have been alienated (Leviticus 25:23). But they were not within the territory of Israel, nor occupied by Israelites (2 Chronicles 8:2), but were inhabited by Canaanite pagans (Judges 4:2-13; 2 Kings 15:29); and being on the border, and his own acquisition, Solomon was at liberty to dispose of them (Selden, 'De Jure Nat. et Gen.,' lib. 6:, cap. 16). They were probably given to Hiram, whose dominions were small, as a remuneration for his important services in furnishing workmen, materials, and an immense quantity of wrought gold (1 Kings 9:14), for the temple and other buildings. The gold, however, as others think, may have been the amount of forfeits paid to Solomon by Hiram for not being able to answer the riddles and apophthegms with which, according to Josephus, in their private correspondence, the two sovereigns amused themselves (see Josephus as above) - Hiram having refused these cities, probably on account of their inland situation making them unsuitable to his maritime and commercial people. [He called them the land of Cabul, Kabuwl (H3521).

Gesenius quotes Hiller in 'Onomast ' V T who takes the name as contracted for kªhaabuwl passive Gesenius quotes Hiller, in 'Onomast.,' V. T., who takes the name as contracted for kªhaabuwl, passive participle of haabal (H1891), as something exhaled, as nothing, and adds, that something like this was perhaps present to the mind of the sacred writer. The Septuagint renders it by: Horion, as if their Hebrew text had read gªbuwl (H1366), border, coast. This is a much more feasible origin of the name than the former. Josephus ('Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch. 6:, sec. 3) says that Cabul, in the Phoenician language, signified what does not please]. Solomon satisfied his ally in some other way; and taking these cities into his own hands, he first repaired their shattered walls, then filled them with a colony of Hebrews (2 Chronicles 8:2). They were suited only to agriculturists: the soil was rich and loamy, and required field labour, to which the Tyrians were not inured. The refusal, on such a ground, of these Galilean cities did not impair the amicable relations that subsisted between Solomon and Hiram (1 Kings 9:15-26). The Septuagint (Vatican) omits the whole passage contained within these verses.

Verses 12-14

And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they pleased him not.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 15

And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.

This is the reason of the levy. A levy refers both to men and money; and the necessity for Solomon making it, arose from the many gigantic works he undertook to erect.

Millo - part of the fort of Jerusalem, on Mount Zion (2 Samuel 5:9; 1 Chronicles 11:8); or a row of stone bastions around Mount Zion, Millo being the great corner-tower of that fortified wall (1 Kings 11:27; 2 Chronicles 32:5).

The wall of Jerusalem - either repairing some breaches in it (1 Kings 11:27), or extending it, so as to enclose Mount Zion.

Hazor - fortified on account of its importance as a town in the northern boundary of the country.

Megiddo - now Lejjun-lying in the great caravan road between Egypt and Damascus-was the key to the north of Palestine by the western lowlands, and therefore fortified.

Gezer - or Gazer [ Gaazer (H1507)], on the northern border of Benjamin, in the Shephelah, or maritime plain, between Beth-horon the nether and the Mediterranean; and though assigned as a Levitical city, it continued to be occupied by the Canaanites. It was the scene of many a severe contest between the Hebrews and the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:25; 1 Chronicles 20:4), until at last, having fallen by right of conquest to the king of Egypt, who for some cause attacked it, it was given by him as a dowry to his daughter, and fortified by Solomon. [This sacking of Gezer by the Egyptian monarch is rendered in the Alexandrine version of the Septuagint literally from the Hebrew original, as in our own. It is omitted in the Vatican here, but is narrated in the Septuagint addition to Joshua 16:10, where, however, it is represented as a stronghold of the Canaanites and Perizzites.]

Verse 16

For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon's wife.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 17

And Solomon built Gezer, and Beth-horon the nether,

Beth-horon the nether - situated on the way from Joppa to Jerusalem and Gibeon; it required, from so public a road, to be strongly garrisoned.

Verse 18

And Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land,

Baalath - Baalbec, called also Aven, or On (Amos 1:5). But some think that Baalath was in the south of Palestine, near the Shephelah, or Philistines plain (cf. 2 Chronicles 8:5).

Tadmor - probably from [ Tamar (H8558)] palm, a city of palms; called by the Greeks Palmyra, between Damascus and the Euphrates-was rebuilt and fortified, as a security against invasion from Northern Asia. It was anciently a superb city, ten miles in circumference. It was situated in a dreary desert, in the midst of barren, uninhabited sands. It became the capital of a great kingdom, the emporium of the Eastern world; and its merchants dealt with the Roman and western nations for the products and luxuries of India and Arabia. John of Antioch says that the structures here erected by Solomon must have been demolished by Nebuchaduezzar, who, in his march to the siege of Jerusalem, destroyed this city. It is now a mass of magnificent ruins.

In accomplishing these and various other works which were carried on throughout the kingdom, especially in the north, where Rezon of Damascus, has enemy, might prove dangerous, he employed vast numbers of the Canaanites as galley-slaves (2 Chr. 1:18 ), treating them as prisoners of war, who were compelled to do the drudgery and hard labour, while the Israelites were only engaged in honourable employment. This, policy of employing the descendants of the Canaanites as serfs to labour in gangs, was contrary to the spirit of the Mosaic legislation, and was evidently burrowed from Egypt. Representations of the lowest caste employed as labourers on the public works, as the Fellahs in modern Egypt, are abundant on the ancient monumental paintings. These remains of the Amorites were afterward called "Solomon's servants" (Ezra 2:55; Ezra 2:58), and are supposed by some to have submitted to Solomon, who, on their renouncing idolatry followed the precedent of the Gibeonites in their treatment. But proof is wanting. Solomon's possession of Edom, through a small territory, gave him command of the Red Sea and the great caravan routes into the country and ports of Arabia, while his acquisition of the Paran mountains secured him the extensive overland commerce to Egypt and Phoenicia (Drew's 'Scripture Lands,' p. 131).

Verses 19-22

And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 23

These were the chief of the officers that were over Solomon's work, five hundred and fifty, which bare rule over the people that wrought in the work.

These were the chief of the officers - (see the notes at 2 Chronicles 8:10.)

Verse 24

But Pharaoh's daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her: then did he build Millo.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 25

And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the LORD, and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the LORD. So he finished the house.

Three times in a year - namely, at the Passover, Pentecost, and feast of tabernacles (2 Chronicles 8:13; 2 Chronicles 31:3).

Did Solomon offer burnt offerings, and peace offerings ... and he burnt incense upon the altar, [ wªhe`ªlaah (H5927) `olowt (H5930), he caused to ascend; wªhaqTeeyr (H6999) (Hiphil), and he burnt incense] - i:e., not personally, but through the official instrumentality of Azariah (1 Kings 4:2: cf. 1 Chronicles 6:10), or of some of the other priests. He could not without the most daring presumption have encroached upon the special province of the priesthood (cf. 2 Chronicles 26:16-23). The circumstances mentioned in these two verses form a proper conclusion to the record of his buildings, and show that his design in erecting those at Jerusalem was to remedy defects existing at the commencement of his reign (see the notes at 1 Kings 3:1-4).

Verse 26

And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.

Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth. These were neighbouring ports at the head of the eastern or Elanitic branch of the Red Sea. Tyrian ship-carpenters and sailors were sent there for Solomon's vessels, (see the notes at 2 Chronicles 8:1-18.) "Ezion-geber" - i:e., the giant's, backbone; so called from a reef of rocks at the entrance of the harbour. "Eloth" - Elim, or Elath; i:e., 'the trees:' a grove of terebinths still exists at the head of the gulf.

Verse 27

And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 28

And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.

Ophir - a general name, like the East or West Indies with us, for all the southern regions lying on the African, Arabian, or Indian seas, so far as at that time known. Some consider the name as particularly applicable to Ceylon.

Gold, four hundred and twenty talents - (see the notes at 2 Chronicles 8:18.) At 125 lbs. Troy, or 1,500 ounces to the talent, and 4 British pounds to the ounce, this would make 2,604,000 pound sterling.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/1-kings-9.html. 1871-8.
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