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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 4

 

 

Verse 1

1 Kings 4:1 So king Solomon was king over all Israel.

Ver. 1. So king Solomon was king over all Israel.] So did not his father for the first seven years of his reign; nor any of his successors, save Rehoboam, only for a short space, [1 Kings 12:16] for he soon lost ten tribes with one churlish breath. The Hebrews say, but falsely, that Solomon was king over all nations; such a one as they dream their Messiah must be; under whom also they expect a distribution of honours and offices, as once under Solomon. (a)


Verse 2

1 Kings 4:2 And these [were] the princes which he had; Azariah the son of Zadok the priest,

Ver. 2. Azariah the son of Zadok,] i.e., The son’s son. [1 Chronicles 6:8-9] Priests and their sons were in great request in those days. Our king Edward III made clergymen his chief officers.


Verse 3

1 Kings 4:3 Elihoreph and Ahiah, the sons of Shisha, scribes; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud, the recorder.

Ver. 3. Elihoreph and Ahiah, the sons of Shisha.] Otherwise called Sheva, [2 Samuel 20:25] as Martyr thinketh, trained up by their father in his own calling, and therein employed by Solomon, who had two scribes for his father’s one, according to the amplitude of his dominion and state affairs.

Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud, the recorder.] Or, Remembrancer, or, chronicler, historiographer. He had the same office in David’s days. [2 Samuel 8:16; 2 Samuel 20:24]


Verse 4

1 Kings 4:4 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada [was] over the host: and Zadok and Abiathar [were] the priests:

Ver. 4: And Zadok and Abiathar were the priests.] Abiathar had been so, and still retained the title. It may be also that upon his suit, Solomon had re-admitted him, though degraded, to serve at the altar as an ordinary priest, according to 1 Samuel 2:36.


Verse 5

1 Kings 4:5 And Azariah the son of Nathan [was] over the officers: and Zabud the son of Nathan [was] principal officer, [and] the king’s friend:

Ver. 5. And Azariah the son of Nathan, &c.] These two had been Solomon’s fellow pupils, his play fellows, likely, and sons to his tutor, Nathan the prophet, who had done much for him, and for whom he could never do enough. Our king Edward VI did much for his tutor, Mr Cheek, and Queen Elizabeth for Dr Cox, upon whom she conferred many church dignities and real favours.


Verse 6

1 Kings 4:6 And Ahishar [was] over the household: and Adoniram the son of Abda [was] over the tribute.

Ver. 6. And Abishar was over the household.] Magister Aulae magnus. Le grand maistre, comptroller of the court, or governor of the king’s house.

Was over the tribute.] Or, Levy; praefectus delectui, so Tremellius rendereth it, and referreth to 1 Kings 5:14.


Verse 7

1 Kings 4:7 And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, which provided victuals for the king and his household: each man his month in a year made provision.

Ver. 7. And Solomon had twelve officers.] Purveyors, which were to cater for the court, and send in provision. God hath taken the best of his creatures, and commanded them to cater for his people. [Hosea 2:21-22]


Verse 8

1 Kings 4:8 And these [are] their names: The son of Hur, in mount Ephraim:

Ver. 8. And these are their names.] They were men of renown, and are therefore here memorised.

The son of Hur] Or, Benhur - so 1 Kings 4:9-10, &c. - Bendekar, Benhesed, Benabinadab, Baana [Benahilud], Bengeber.


Verse 11

1 Kings 4:11 The son of Abinadab, in all the region of Dor; which had Taphath the daughter of Solomon to wife:

Ver. 11. Which had Taphath the daughter of Solomon to wife.] He was, therefore, a man of worth: for Solomon, likely, was of Cato’s mind; who, being to bestow a daughter, said, Malo virum pecunia, quam pecuniam viro indigentem, I had rather have to my son-in-law a man wanting money, than money wanting a man. Our Henry VIII was more happy in his one son and two daughters than Solomon. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, was both a fool and unfortunate; his daughters but obscure, and both of them subjects. But Henry was more happy in Edward his son, another Josiah, and his sisters both sovereigns of an imperial crown: howbeit he gave them, when he died, but ten thousand pounds apiece.


Verse 12

1 Kings 4:12 Baana the son of Ahilud; [to him pertained] Taanach and Megiddo, and all Bethshean, which [is] by Zartanah beneath Jezreel, from Bethshean to Abelmeholah, [even] unto [the place that is] beyond Jokneam:

Ver. 12. Taanach and Megiddo.] These were in the tribe of Manasseh: he had also part of Issachar, and part of Zebulun; for in this business they shared out the land, not by tribes but districts, or provinces; that things might be equally carried.


Verse 13

1 Kings 4:13 The son of Geber, in Ramothgilead; to him [pertained] the towns of Jair the son of Manasseh, which [are] in Gilead; to him [also pertained] the region of Argob, which [is] in Bashan, threescore great cities with walls and brasen bars:

Ver. 13. With walls and brazen bars.] To keep out the enemies, wherewith they were surrounded.


Verse 14

1 Kings 4:14 Ahinadab the son of Iddo [had] Mahanaim:

Ver. 14. Abinadab the son of Iddo had Mahanaim.] Where Jacob met two troops of angels in a visible apparition; and gave it therehence the name. [Genesis 32:2]


Verse 15

1 Kings 4:15 Ahimaaz [was] in Naphtali; he also took Basmath the daughter of Solomon to wife:

Ver. 15. He also took Basmath.] See on 1 Kings 4:11.


Verse 16

1 Kings 4:16 Baanah the son of Hushai [was] in Asher and in Aloth:

Ver. 16. And in Aloth.] Called also Elath. [Deuteronomy 2:8]


Verse 17

1 Kings 4:17 Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah, in Issachar:

Ver. 17. Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah.] And, therefore, not the same with that Jehoshaphat in 1 Kings 4:3.


Verse 18

1 Kings 4:18 Shimei the son of Elah, in Benjamin:

Ver. 18. Shimei the son of Elah.] See on 1 Kings 1:8.


Verse 19

1 Kings 4:19 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; and [he was] the only officer which [was] in the land.

Ver. 19. He was the only officer.] Sitarchus unus, the arch-prefect.


Verse 20

1 Kings 4:20 Judah and Israel [were] many, as the sand which [is] by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry.

Ver. 20. As the sand which is by the sea.] A proverbial expression, and hyperbolical. See Genesis 22:17; Genesis 32:12.

Eating and drinking, and making merry.] They were in a plentiful and comfortable condition; so and much more are all Christ’s subjects, who do "eat their meat with joy, and drink their wine with gladness, because God now accepteth their works"; they have the "white stone," the "new name," enough and enough to make them everlastingly merry amidst all crosses and casualties.


Verse 21

1 Kings 4:21 And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life.

Ver. 21. And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms.] Not all the kingdoms of the world, a κοσμοκρατωρ, - as some Hebrews make him, - but over all kingdoms thereabout. He was a most potent and flourishing monarch.

All the days of his life.] Notwithstanding his apostasy, through God’s longsufferance: so that his reign represented the church triumphant, as David’s reign had done the church militant.


Verse 22

1 Kings 4:22 And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,

Ver. 22. Thirty measures of fine flour.] Heb., Cors or homers, the greatest measure mentioned in Scripture. And for fine flour,

Non poteris similae dotes numerare nec usus. ” - Martial, lib. xiii.


Verse 23

1 Kings 4:23 Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl.

Ver. 23. Ten fat oxen … and fatted fowl.] Lectissima quaeque altilia; yet not with such luxury and gormandise as sundry Roman emperors. Anthony, who contended with Cleopatra in prodigal spending upon a banquet, and wrote, or rather vomited out a book of his own intemperances. Geta the emperor would have his dishes served in by the alphabet, viz., anserem, anatem, aprum; aliquando fasianum, farra, ficus; aliquando pullum, pavunem, perdicem, &c. (a) Caligula would have his bread gilded. Well might Nasica say of Rome, when nothing so luxurious, Stant moenia, ruunt mores; The walls indeed stand, but good manners are fallen to the ground and abolished. Not so at Jerusalem in Solomon’s days.


Verse 24

1 Kings 4:24 For he had dominion over all [the region] on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him.

Ver. 24. On this side the river,] viz., Euphrates.

From Tiphsah.] Called afterwards Amphipolis. (a)

Even to Azzah.] Called also Gaza. [Jeremiah 25:20]

And he had peace on all sides.] Wherein also he became a lively type of Christ the Prince of Peace, [Isaiah 9:6] who as he was brought from heaven with that song of peace, [Luke 2:14] so he returned up again with that farewell of peace, [John 14:27] leaving to the world the doctrine of peace, the gospel of peace, [Ephesians 2:17] which worketh that peace that passeth understanding. [Philippians 4:7]


Verse 25

1 Kings 4:25 And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.

Ver. 25. And Judah and Israel dwelt safely.] Heb., Confidently or securely, without fear of foreign invasions, or danger of homebred conspiracies: yet were they discontented at the present government, and therefore came crying to his son and successor, Alleva iugum, Ease our yoke laid upon us by thy father. So true is that saying of Thucydides, Aει τπ παραν βαρυ, the present government, though never so good, is ever grievous to the vulgar, who can neither rule well, nor obey willingly.


Verse 26

1 Kings 4:26 And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.

Ver. 26. Forty thousand stalls of horses.] In his four thousand stables, [2 Chronicles 9:25] each of which had ten stalls or partitions, for ten horses at least. And this might be a piece of that yoke the people groaned under: which they ought not to have done, living in such a golden age.


Verse 27

1 Kings 4:27 And those officers provided victual for king Solomon, and for all that came unto king Solomon’s table, every man in his month: they lacked nothing.

Ver. 27. And for all that came unto king Solomon’s table.] Who were not a few, not only natives, but foreigners; not ambassadors only, but others, who came from all parts to hear his wisdom, [1 Kings 4:34] and so to be proselyted haply. But Josephus relateth of the Jews, that they were very careful how they received proselytes in Solomon’s time; because then the state of the Jews flourished.


Verse 28

1 Kings 4:28 Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto the place where [the officers] were, every man according to his charge.

Ver. 28. And dromedaries.] Which are animalia citissima, vecturae apta et equitatui, very swift creatures. It is therefore by antiphrasis that we call slow people dromedaries.


Verse 29

1 Kings 4:29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that [is] on the sea shore.

Ver. 29. Even as the sand which is on the seashore.] Which as it taketh up a great deal of ground, and comprehendeth many grains, so did Solomon’s heart innumerable notions, etiam minutissima quaeque: he had even a sea of knowledge within him, and might, better than Jerome, he said to know all that was knowable. Nihil enim ipsum penitus fugit: omnia perfecte novit, as one said of Albertus Magnus; he was skilful in everything: he was a very gulf of learning, as a late writer saith of Bishop Andrews; Omnium sclentiarum doctrinarumque area et emporium, as another saith of Abulensis, a closet or market of all sciences and learning. Think the same of Solomon.


Verse 30

1 Kings 4:30 And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.

Ver. 30. The wisdom of all the children of the east.] The Arabians and Chaldeans, [Matthew 2:1 Daniel 2:2] philosophers and astronomers.

And all the wisdom of Egypt.] See Isaiah 19:11-12, Acts 7:22. Pythagoras, Plato, and many others, fetched much of their learning from Egypt: but all theirs was acquired; Solomon’s infused.


Verse 31

1 Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.

Ver. 31. For he was wiser than all men.] Far beyond Socrates, whom Apollo pronounced the wisest of men.

Than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman.] These were famous in their generations for wisdom and learning. {Psalms 88:1; Psalms 89:1, titles} Of these, haply, it was then held and said, as a modern writer saith of Tacitus and Pliny, Literarum nomina sunt, non hominum, they are rather learning itself than learned.

And his fame was in all nations.] As Aristotle’s was in Greece, Varo in Rome, Melanchthon’s in Germany, Dr John Reynolds’s here, whose learning and memory, saith one, were near to a miracle.

And Chalcol, and Darda.] Who lived, likely, in Solomon’s time. Felix proventus sapientum sub aspectu benigno principis sapientissimi. So various learned men flourished in the time of our Henry II, who was for his learning surnamed Beauelerk. (a)


Verse 32

1 Kings 4:32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.

Ver. 32. And he spake three thousand proverbs.] Which others, likely, took from his mouth, and made books of them; such as contained cunctam saeculi doctrinam, as Jerome saith of Tertullian’s works, who was, saith Lactantins, a general scholar. Of these proverbs of Solomon, not the one half are come to hand, as being no part of holy writ.

And his songs were a thousand and five.] Whereof is extant only that Song of Songs, that singular song. {see Song of Solomon 1:1} This and the rest of his works extant in the Church, show his divine learning: as his other lectures [1 Kings 4:33] his human.


Verse 33

1 Kings 4:33 And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that [is] in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.

Ver. 33. For he spake of trees.] This was a discourse, doubtless, of singular use; and of it we may say as one doth of Origen’s "Oetapla," now lost, Huius operis iacturam deplorare possumus, compensure non possumus, the lack of this book we may bewail, but cannot make good. When preferment was offered to Thomas Aquinas, he was wont to sigh and say, I had rather have Chrysostom’s comment upon Matthew.

That springeth out of the wall.] Herbs parietina, wall-wort, as Trajan the emperor was called, for his desire of vain glory.

He spake also of the beasts, &c.] A worthy work doubtless, and such as whereof it might better be said, than was of Pliny’s Natural History, by Erasmus, that it hath as much variety as nature itself hath, and is not so much a treatise as a treasury, yea, a whole world full of things most worthy to be noted and noticed. Ulysses, Aldrovandus, Conradus, Gesner, Gulielmus Rondeletius, Julius Scaliger, and other writers, both ancient and modern, have written largely and learnedly on the same subject, but nothing comparable to this work of Solomon: which some say was burnt by the Chaldees, together with the temple. Eusebius thinketh it was abolished by Hezekiah, because the people idolised it, as they did the brazen serpent.


Verse 34

1 Kings 4:34 And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.

Ver. 34. To hear the wisdom of Solomon.] Who, though a great prince, yet he disdained not to read lectures both of divinity and philosophy, that his hearers might be παναρετοι, "perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Some gather from Proverbs 9:2 that Solomon set up a school or academy in mount Zion. Howsoever, his palace there might well be said to be, as was George, prince of Anhalt’s, Ecclesia, Academia, Curia, a church, an academy, and a court. This caused a great many to resort to him, and was a means to instruct many.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 4:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-4.html. 1865-1868.

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