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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
1 Kings 9

 

 

Verses 1-10

1 Kings 9:1-10. The first few verses are a continuation of 1 Kings 8, and are likewise cast in a thoroughly Deuteronomic mould. Yahweh again appeared to the king and assured him of His protection. In 1 Kings 9:6 there is a sudden change from the singular "thou" and "thee" to the plural "ye," as if Yahweh were addressing Israel, threatening, in case of disobedience, to destroy the Temple and make its ruins a warning of the punishment He inflicts on those who do not obey His laws. Thus the section about the Temple closes, and the rest of the chapter, devoted to the reign of Solomon, takes up the account in 1 Kings 9:5, and deals with his public work, his splendour, his sin, and the adversaries whom Yahweh raised up against him.


Verses 10-27

1 Kings 9:10-27. Solomon's Dealings with Hiram. The Levy.—The source of this section seems to be the Acts of Solomon (see above).

After Solomon had completed his buildings he was obliged to give Hiram cities in Galilee (1 Kings 9:11). The Chronicler, regarding this as unworthy of the great king, makes Hiram give the cities to Solomon (2 Chronicles 8:2). Galilee (pp. 28-30) is mentioned in Joshua 20:7; Joshua 21:32, 1 Chronicles 6:76, and in 2 Kings 15:29, nearly always in connexion with Kedesh in Naphtali in the extreme north. In Isaiah 9:1 we have the expression "Galilee of the nations" (cf. Joshua 12:23, LXX). The word Galilee is common in 1 Mac., Tob., and Judith. Josephus has a long description of Upper and Lower Galilee. The name means "a circuit," and is connected with Gilgal, Golgotha, etc. Hiram called the cities "the land of Cabul" (p. 29). Josephus (Ant. viii.) tells us that there is a similar Phœnician word meaning "not pleasing." A place named Cabul is mentioned (Joshua 19:27) on the frontier of Asher, and there seems no ground for the assertion of Josephus. For "the levy" (1 Kings 9:15) see 1 Kings 4:6. The Egyptian taskmasters (Exodus 1:11) are "princes of the levy" (cf. Esther 10:1). This organised forced labour was much resented by the free Israelites, and was one of the causes of the disruption of the two kingdoms. Solomon's public works were the Temple, the palace, the Millo, the wall of Jerusalem, and the cities Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer.

The Millo, always with the article, is generally supposed to be some mound or filling up of a ravine in Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 5:9*, 1 Kings 11:27). Hazor in the N. commanded Lake Huleh and Kadesh in Naphtali. Megiddo dominated the rich plain of Esdraelon and the trade route to Damascus. Gezer (1 Kings 9:16) is on the road from Joppa to Jerusalem, now Tel Jezer. It has recently been excavated by the Palestine Exploration Society. There are several cities buried, one beneath the ruins of the other. The city is mentioned in the Tell el-Amarna tablets. It was a most important military position in the days of the Maccabees. It was before Solomon an old Canaanite city, apparently independent of both Philistines and Israelites, and had been taken by the Pharaoh in an expedition into Palestine only recorded here, and given to Solomon as a dowry with his daughter. Beth-horon, which was also fortified, commands the road from the sea to Jerusalem. It was the scene of three famous battles—the defeat of the five kings by Joshua (Joshua 10:10 f.), of Seron by Judas Maccabæus (p. 607), and of Cestius Gallus (p. 610) at the outbreak of the Jewish war (A.D. 66). Tamar (1 Kings 9:18) is called (2 Chronicles 8:4) Tadmor, which Josephus (Ant. viii. 61) says is Palmyra, the famous city in the desert, N.E. of Damascus. But it is more probable that Tamar in Judah is meant (Ezekiel 47:19). It is expressly said here that Solomon did not put the Israelites to forced service, but only the subject Canaanites. This is contradicted by 1 Kings 5:13, and more forcibly by 1 Kings 11:28, "the levy of the house of Joseph." Israel, however, may still have been at this time an aristocracy ruling over a subject population (1 Kings 9:22).

Solomon does not seem (1 Kings 9:26) to have himself traded in the Mediterranean, but to have given his Phœnician allies access to the East by way of the Gulf of Akabah, the eastern gulf of the Red Sea. Ezion-geber, which is beside Elath, was the port, and was in the land of Edom, which was disaffected in the reign of Solomon (1 Kings 11:14). The port was of such importance to the kings of Judah as its one outlet to the sea that they kept the road to it open as long as possible (1 Kings 22:48, 2 Kings 8:20; 2 Kings 14:22; 2 Kings 16:6). The situation of Ophir, whether in S. Arabia on the coast of Africa or in India, is a matter of conjecture (Isaiah 13:12*). The account of the sea trade of Solomon is continued in 1 Kings 10.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-kings-9.html. 1919.

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