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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
1 Kings 3

 

 


Introduction

1 Kings 3:1 to 1 Kings 4:34. Early Days, Reign, and Wisdom of Solomon.—The sources of this section are various, and the arrangement of the narrative in the LXX should be noticed. There are (a) a statistical account of Solomon s reign, referred to, apparently in 1 Kings 11:41, as "the book of the acts of Solomon"; (b) a number of narratives about this reign; (c) several Deuteronomic additions—e.g. 1 Kings 3:6; 1 Kings 3:14, etc.: and (d) some very late passages, possibly originally explanatory notes. The history of Solomon's reign really extends from 1 Kings 3:1 to 1 Kings 11:43, and the sources throughout are practically the same, with a special one on the Temple. The LXX has a different arrangement and some long additions, which, however, are as a rule only repetitions from other parts of the section belonging to Solomon, Two of the longest are found after 1 Kings 2:35 and 1 Kings 2:46. The chapters also are somewhat differently arranged, and especially 1 Kings 4 and 1 Kings 5.


Verses 1-28

1 Kings 3:1 to 1 Kings 4:34. Early Days, Reign, and Wisdom of Solomon.—The sources of this section are various, and the arrangement of the narrative in the LXX should be noticed. There are (a) a statistical account of Solomon s reign, referred to, apparently in 1 Kings 11:41, as "the book of the acts of Solomon"; (b) a number of narratives about this reign; (c) several Deuteronomic additions—e.g. 1 Kings 3:6; 1 Kings 3:14, etc.: and (d) some very late passages, possibly originally explanatory notes. The history of Solomon's reign really extends from 1 Kings 3:1 to 1 Kings 11:43, and the sources throughout are practically the same, with a special one on the Temple. The LXX has a different arrangement and some long additions, which, however, are as a rule only repetitions from other parts of the section belonging to Solomon, Two of the longest are found after 1 Kings 2:35 and 1 Kings 2:46. The chapters also are somewhat differently arranged, and especially 1 Kings 4 and 1 Kings 5.

1 Kings 3:1. The verse describing Solomon's alliance with Pharaoh's daughter is misplaced. In the LXX it is combined with 1 Kings 9:16, the taking of Gezer by Pharaoh, and placed at the end of 1 Kings 4. According to the Tell el-Amarna tablets (p. 55) an Egyptian princess might not marry a foreigner. It is therefore supposed that Solomon's father-in-law was a king, not of Egypt (Mizraim), but of Musri, in N. Arabia. But the tablets are at least four centuries earlier than Solomon.

The high-place worship alluded to in 1 Kings 3:3 is acknowledged and deplored throughout the book, and it is confessed that it existed even under virtuous monarchs. The high places were the regular sanctuaries, and no attempt was made to abolish them till the time of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4; 2 Kings 18:22), or possibly as late as Josiah (2 Kings 23). The verse appears to be an explanatory gloss, for we find it repeated (1 Kings 15:14, 2 Kings 12:3, etc.). It is obviously not a contemporary judgment of Solomon's age. The high place used by Solomon was Gibeon. A tradition preserved in 2 Chronicles 1:3 placed the Mosaic Tabernacle there. But this is not borne out by what we read in the OT. Gibeon was a Hivite city (Joshua 9:3 ff) which had made a treaty with Israel. Josephus (Ant. viii. 2) reads Hebron, with some plausibility, because Hebron was the ancient seat of the Davidic monarchy (2 Samuel 2:1-3), and was the early sanctuary of the tribe of Judah (2 Samuel 15:7). He also tells us that Solomon was fourteen years old at the time of his accession. Solomon made a great sacrifice of a thousand burnt offerings (1 Kings 3:4) at Gibeon; when he returned to Jerusalem he offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Ark (1 Kings 3:15). Some commentators see in 1 Kings 3:15 an addition made to correct the impression that Solomon neglected the lawful altar. But the two sacrifices are different. At Gibeon the victims were wholly consumed; at Jerusalem only a few "burnt offerings" were made, and the peace offerings formed a great sacrificial meal.

It is remarkable that God speaks to Solomon not by prophets, but in dreams (cf. 1 Kings 9:1 f.). Solomon chose wisdom, and was promised riches and honour in addition, and 1 Kings 3:16-28 is given as an example of his "wisdom." To the Hebrews "wisdom" did not mean philosophy so much as shrewdness). The young king's astuteness in the case of the two women would be particularly admired, especially as the duty of a king was to be accessible as a judge (cf. the widow of Tekoa and her alleged case submitted to David, 2 Samuel 14:4 ff.). The simple device by which the youthful Daniel procured the acquittal of Susanna is similar to the story of the judgment of Solomon (Sus. 44-62).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-kings-3.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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