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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
2 Chronicles 9



Verse 4

2 Chronicles 9:4. And his ascent, &c.— And his offerings which he offered in the house of the Lord; as it should also be rendered 1 Kings 10:5. Houbigant.

Verse 21

2 Chronicles 9:21. The ships of Tarshish That this was some place in the East Indies, appears, as Bochart thinks, from the commodities, elephants' teeth, apes, and peacocks, brought from thence; and because the ships sent thither were built at Ezion-geber, on the Red Sea. He is of opinion, that this Tarshish was properly the promontory Cory, on the north of the island of Ceylon, which, according to him, was the land of Ophir, whither the ships of Solomon went. If this opinion be admitted, Tarshish may seem to have been so called from being the farthest place then known eastward, as Tarshish in Spain was westward; just as we from the East Indies call part of America, since discovered, the West Indies. But, after all that Bochart has written on this subject, I must not omit to observe, that another very ingenious writer is of opinion, that the Tarshish to which Solomon's fleet sailed, was no other than the Tarshish in Spain, whither the Phoenicians had before traded with vast advantage; that he fitted out his fleet from Ezion-geber on the Red Sea, because he had no other convenient port on the Mediterranean; that this fleet coasted along the shore of Africa, and, doubling the cape of Good Hope, came to Tarshish in Spain, and thence back again the same way. In this manner our author accounts for their spending so long a time as three years in their voyage out and home; and remarks, that Spain and the coast of Africa furnish all the commodities which Solomon's fleet is said to have brought back: and to confirm this, it seems certain, from the account given by Herodotus, lib. 4: cap. 42 that in the reign of Necus, or Pharaoh Necho, king of Egypt, above six hundred years before Christ, some Phoenicians sent out by him did, in like manner, set sail from the Red Sea, and coast round Africa to the straits of Gibraltar; though indeed, instead of going back by the cape of Good Hope, they returned to Egypt the third year by the Mediterranean. See Nature Displayed, vol. 4:, and Parkhurst's Lexicon on the word.

Verse 29

2 Chronicles 9:29. Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, &c.— According to Abarbanel there were two books of the acts of Solomon: one containing an account of the beginning of his reign, written by Nathan the prophet; and the other an account of what passed in the latter part of his life, written by Ahijah the Shilonite, and Iddo the Seer. Antiquity scarcely produces a more illustrious (though I must not say a more holy) personage than Solomon: wise, wealthy, magnificent, peaceful; honoured like his father to be the penman of a considerable and useful part of the inspired writings; by which he has made great compensation to the church of God for the offence he has given to all good men by the sad apostacy of his advanced years. That he was a figure of the Messiah seems evident, from what God said concerning him by the prophet Nathan; which is applied by a New Testament writer to Jesus Christ; (I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son;) from what David says in the 72nd Psalm, and from the Song of Songs, which is generally supposed to refer to the marriage of Christ with his church; nor is it difficult to find out several things in Solomon's character and history, which greatly resemble the character and history of a far greater personage than he.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The account of the queen of Sheba has been considered, 1 Kings 10. It remains only to observe, (1.) That they who know the value of divine truth will account no pains too great to search after it. (2.) They are truly great, whose piety and zeal for God distinguish them. (3.) Whatever gifts we enjoy, they are lent us for the edifying of the body of Christ, and to be employed diligently. (4.) We have abundant cause to bless God for the useful instruments that he is pleased to raise up for the service of his church, and especially for those who have been made instruments of good to our own souls. (5.) Great souls are ever generous. (6.)

Though for a time absence from home may be needful and profitable, yet we must, whatever pleasing engagements intervene, remember that there is our post, and hasten our return.

2nd, 1. Solomon appears in the zenith of his grandeur. Wealth flowing in upon him like a river; surrounding potentates courting his favour with the most noble presents, and eager to hear his wisdom; and his magnificence, palaces, guards, throne, &c. all tended to excite the admiration of his neighbours, and the reverence of his subjects. Note; (1.) Great was the glory of Solomon; but our Prince of Peace shines with glory infinitely more transcendant: before his throne all human magnificence vanishes, as the stars lose their lustre before the meridian sun. (2.) It will be our happiness as well as duty to pay our grateful homage at his feet; and offer, not the gold of Arabia, but that more valuable present, our bodies, souls, and spirits, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is our reasonable service.

2. Solomon is laid low in the grave. Mors aequa pede pulsat, &c. No greatness bars death from entering. A veil is here drawn over his former miscarriages, of which, no doubt, he had repented; and which, being forgiven, shall not be mentioned any more against him. His sun sets in glory; but his crown descends to a son whose folly quickly tarnishes all this greatness. Note; (1.) The faults of great good men should be forgotten, and their virtues remembered for imitation. (2.) One foolish son will quickly run out all the acquisitions of his wise and illustrious ancestors.


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 9:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 26th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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