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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

1 Kings 4

 

 

Verses 1-34

3. Solomon’s Princes and Officers The Prosperous Kingdom and the King’s Great Wisdom

CHAPTER 4

1. The Princes (1 Kings 4:1-6)

2. The Officers (1 Kings 4:7-19)

3. The prosperous kingdom (1 Kings 4:20-28)

4. Solomon’s great wisdom (1 Kings 4:29-34)

“So King Solomon was king over all Israel.” A list of the princes and the twelve officers is given first. Their names fit in perfectly with the character of the kingdom, foreshadowing the coming and better kingdom of our Lord. We give the names of the princes with their meaning. Azariah, “Jehovah is help”; Elihoreph, “my God is reward”; Ahiah, “Brother of Jehovah”; Jehoshaphat, “Jehovah judges”; Benaiah, “Built up by Jehovah”; Zabud, “Gift bestowed”; Ahishar, “Brother of ability”; Adoniram, “Lord of Heights.”

Then we have here the record of a remarkable increase of Judah and Israel “as the sand which is by the sea in multitude.” It reminds us of the promise made to Abraham, “in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is upon the sea shore” (Genesis 22:17). Such an increase will come during the reign of God’s appointed King, the Prince of Peace. His kingdom reached from the river (Euphrates) to the border of Egypt. Even so had Jehovah spoken to Abraham that his seed should possess the territory from Egypt unto Euphrates. This was realized in Solomon’s kingdom. Now the Jews hold not even the little land called Palestine. When the true King comes the promised territory will be given once more to the seed of Abraham. It was a time of great prosperity. Another prophetic hint we find in the fact that the great multitude were in peace, “eating and drinking and making merry.” Such will be the universal state of the people in the coming Kingdom when “every man shall call his neighbor under the vine and the fig tree” (Zechariah 3:10), as under Solomon’s reign Judah and Israel dwelt safely every man under his vine and fig tree (verse 25). Solomon had also great stables full of horses and many chariots. He had 4000 horses; the number 40,000 in verse 26 is evidently the error of a copyist. (See 2 Chronicles 9:25.) There was much to be supplied for the provision of the court of the King. See the daily need; but they lacked nothing. How great the need there is in the world during the absence of the true King! But when He comes to reign “He will satisfy the poor with bread” (Psalms 132:15).

And how marvellously the Lord answered the King’s petition! The greatness of Solomon’s wisdom, the many-sidedness of its character as well as the world-wide impression this wisdom made is recorded in verses 29-34. “Happy is the man who findeth wisdom, and the man who causeth understanding to go forth; for merchandise with it is better than merchandise of silver, and the gain from it than the most fine gold” (Proverbs 3:13-14). The King expressed in these words his own experience. His wisdom was greater than the wisdom of the wise men of the East and greater than Egypt. (Compare 1 Chronicles 2:6. Ethan, 1 Chronicles 6:44; 1 Chronicles 15:17; 1 Chronicles 15:19. Ps. 89 [Inscription]; Heman see 1 Chronicles 6:33; 1 Chronicles 25:5. Psalm 88 [Inscription].) He spake 3000 proverbs and made 1005 songs. The book of Proverbs contains hundreds of his sayings. But not all these proverbs were preserved and only a few of his songs (Song of Solomon and a few Psalms). Creation itself was known by the great King. (See verse 33.) According to an apocryphal book (Wisdom of Solomon) he had knowledge of cosmogony, astronomy, the alteration of solstices, the cycles of years, the natures of wild beasts, the forces of spirits, the thoughts of men, the qualities of plants and roots. Jewish tradition even declares that he could converse with the wild beasts. This knowledge of creation was not a perfect knowledge. However, it also reminds us of the glorious time when the secrets of nature, lost through the fall of man, will be restored through Him, who will deliver groaning creation (Romans 8:21).

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on 1 Kings 4:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/1-kings-4.html. 1913-1922.

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