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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 4

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-19

The Chief officers

v. 1. So King Solomon was king over all Israel, having come into the full inheritance of his father David.

v. 2. And these were the princes, the dignitaries, the chief officers and commanders, which he had: Azariah, the son of Zadok, the priest; he held the first place among the most trusted counselors of the king;

v. 3. Elihoreph and Ahiah, the sons of Shisha, scribes, the highest civil officers, secretaries of state; Jehoshaphat, the son of Ahilud, the recorder, chancellor, 2 Samuel 8:16; 2 Samuel 20:24.

v. 4. And Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, was over the host, 1 Kings 2:35; and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests, the latter, although deposed, still bearing the title, as in the New Testament;

v. 5. and Azariah, the son of Nathan, was over the officers, those whose names are given below; and Zabud, the son of Nathan, was principal officer and the king's friend, his confidential adviser, these two being nephews of the king;

v. 6. and Ahishar was over the household, master of the entire palace, having charge of the entire household; and Adoniram, the son of Abda, was over the tribute, overseer of the public works, 2 Samuel 20:24.

v. 7. And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, which provided victuals for the king and his household, chiefs or prefects, whose main duty consisted in delivering the allotted food-products from their districts for the maintenance of the king's household; each man his month in a year made provision.

v. 8. And these are their names: The son of Hur, Ben-hur, in Mount Ephraim;

v. 9. the son of Dekar, Ben-dekar, in Makaz, and in Shaalbim, and Beth-shemesh, and Elon-beth-hanan, within the territory of Dan, near the Mediterranean;

v. 10. the son of Hesed, Ben-hesed, in Aruboth; to him pertained Sochoh and all the land of Hepher, within the territory of Judah;

v. 11. the son of Abinadab, Ben-abinadab, in all the region of Dor, along the coast of the Mediterranean below Carmel, which had Taphath, the daughter of Solomon, to wife;

v. 12. Baana, the son of Ahilud, probably a brother of the chancellor Jehoshaphat; to him pertained Taanach and Megiddo and all Beth-shean, which is by Zartanah, beneath Jezreel, from Beth-shean to Abel-meholah, even unto the place that is beyond Jokneam, along the southern border of the Plain of Jezreel, as far east as Jordan;

v. 13. the son of Geber, in Ramoth-gilead; to him pertained the towns of Jair, the son of Manasseh, Numbers 32:41, which are in Gilead, in the central district east of Jordan; to him also pertained the region of Argob, which is in Bashan, threescore great cities with walls and brazen bars, in the northern territory, east of Jordan;

v. 14. Ahinadab, the son of Iddo, had Mahanaim, an important city on the north side of the Jabbok, within the territory of Gad;

v. 15. Ahimaaz was in Naphtali, in the north, in the lower ranges of the Lebanon; he also took Basmath, the daughter of Solomon, to wife;

v. 16. Baanah, the son of Hushai, was in Asher and in Aloth, also in the north;

v. 17. Jehoshaphat, the son of Paruah, in Issachar, practically the entire Plain of Jezreel;

v. 18. Shimei, the son of Elah, in Benjamin, just north of the territory of Judah;

v. 19. Geber, the son of Uri, was in the country of Gilead, in the country of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and of Og, king of Bashan, all the territory east of Jordan which was not in charge of Ben-geber and Ahinadab; and he was the only officer which was in the land, in spite of the great extent of the district it had only this one chief officer. The prosperity of the country was in a large measure due to the careful system worked out by Solomon as here outlined. Haphazard and sluggish work does not please the Lord, for He is a God of order.

Verses 20-28

Solomon's Riches and Power

v. 20. Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, according to the prophecy of Jehovah, Genesis 22:17, eating and drinking and making merry, happy under the wise and beneficent rule of Solomon,

v. 21. And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river, the great river Euphrates, unto the land of the Philistines, in the southwest, along the Mediterranean, and unto the border of Egypt, in the south; they brought presents, they were tributary vassals, and served Solomon all the days of his life.

v. 22. And Solomon's provision for one day, the food which he needed for his big royal establishment, was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal, the total amount of flour having been computed to be 171 bushels, or enough for 28,000 pounds of bread,

v. 23. ten fat oxen, those especially fattened for the table, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, such as were not fattened, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, gazelles, and fallow-deer, antelopes, and fatted fowl. This gave a total daily consumption of meat amounting to some 20,000 pounds.

v. 24. For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah, a large and populous town on the west bank of the Euphrates, even to Azzah, or Gaza, on the border of the Philistines, in the extreme southwestern section, over all the kings on this side the river; and he had peace on all sides round about him, none of the surrounding nations dared to take up arms against him.

v. 25. And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig-tree, in a state of happy security, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon; his reign completed, also in this respect, the Golden Age of Israel's history.

v. 26. And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, four thousand horses for his fourteen hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, his cavalry serving to strengthen his standing army very materially.

v. 27. And those officers, the twelve enumerated above, provided victual for King Solomon and for all that came to King Solomon's table, every man in his month: they lacked nothing.

v. 28. Barley also, which took the place of oats, and straw for the horses and dromedaries, literally, "swift beasts," coursers. probably used for conveying urgent messages, brought they unto the place where the officers were, in the various towns where horses were stationed, every man according to his charge. There was universal prosperity and general contentment under the reign of Solomon.

Verses 29-34

Solomon's Wisdom

v. 29. And God, according to His promise, 1 Kings 3:12, gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much and largeness of heart, sharpness of insight to comprehend conditions and to realize their relationship to others, even as the sand that is on the seashore, a description of an innumerable multitude.

v. 30. And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the East country, the Arabians, known for their shrewd judgment of men and circumstances, and all the wisdom of Egypt, whose learning at that time was proverbial.

v. 31. For ha was wiser than all men, as God had promised him, 1 Kings 3:12; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman and Chalcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol, 1 Chronicles 2:6, men celebrated for their knowledge of poetry and music and for their general learning; and his fame was in all nations round about. Cf 1 Kings 10:1-23.

v. 32. And he spake three thousand proverbs, of which the Book of Proverbs offers a selection; and his songs were a thousand and five, those which have been preserved being Psalms 72, Psalms 127, and the Song of Solomon.

v. 33. And he spake of trees, his was not merely a spiritual knowledge, but he also had a remarkable understanding of the kingdom of nature, from the cedar-tree that is in Lebanon, known for its stately beauty, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall, hardly more than a shrub. He spake also of beasts, of the entire animal kingdom, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes, the division of animals into these four classes being then accepted.

v. 34. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth which had heard of his wisdom; they sent ambassadors to do him homage and to receive more certain information about him. To this day all the wisdom and secret learning of the Orient is connected with Solomon's name. Note: Christ, of whom Solomon is a type, is still greater and more remarkable in every way than this extraordinary king. He is the true King of Peace, and the gifts which He presents to His subjects are spiritual blessings in heavenly places. His is a wisdom from on high, from the bosom of the Father, which will last throughout eternity

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 1 Kings 4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/1-kings-4.html. 1921-23.
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