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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

1 Kings 9

 

 

Verse 2

To wit, in a dream or vision; for that which is mentioned 1 Kings 6:11, seems to have been imparted unto him by some prophet or messenger sent from God with that errand. The time of this revelation was either,

1. After all Solomon’s buildings, as the words thus rendered plainly imply. And if it seem strange that God should not reveal this purpose and sentence of his concerning the temple till so many years after the finishing of it, it must be considered,

1. That as it is an act of God’s singular grace when he doth thus reveal himself to any person, so it is but meet he should choose his own time for it.

2. That God had presently after the finishing of the temple, at the feast of the dedication of it, sufficiently showed his acceptance and approbation of it by that glorious cloud, 1 Kings 8:10,11, and therefore this revelation was not then necessary.

3. That God might choose this as the fittest time for giving Solomon the following admonition, when he perceived that his heart befall to be lifted up in pride for his sumptuous and magnificent buildings, &c., and that he was grown vain, and careless, and secure; and therefore most needed such all awakening oracle. Or,

2. Presently after the building of the temple, as may be thought from the matter of this revelation, which seems best to suit with that time when it was newly built, and when Solomon’s prayer here mentioned was newly made; for seeing the following words contain God’s answer to that prayer, it seems improbable, that the answer should come so many years after it. But then this second verse, and the rest, even to 1 Kings 9:11, are to be enclosed with a parenthesis; and the place must be thus rendered, 1 Kings 9:2, For (so the Hebrew vau is oft rendered) the Lord appeared, or had appeared, to Solomon, &c.; 1 Kings 9:3, And the Lord had said unto him, &c. And this parenthesis may seem to have a foundation in 1 Kings 9:10, where the first verse (in substance, though not in the very same words) is repeated, as is usual after long digressions; and then he completes the sentence, 1 Kings 9:11, &c., which till then had been suspended. Nor are such long parentheses without example in Scripture. See my Latin Synopsis on Romans 5:12, &c.; Ephesians 3:1, &c. Revelation 22:7.


Verse 3

I have hallowed this house; I have, by my glorious presence in the cloud, and by my acceptation of thy sacrifices, sanctified it to my proper use and service.

For ever; as long as the Mosaical dispensation lasts; whereas hitherto my name and worship hath been successively in several places.

Mine eyes, i.e. my watchful and gracious providence.

Mine heart; my true and tender affection.

Shall be there; shall be towards this place and people, Perpetually; upon condition of your obedience, as it here follows.


Verse 4

As David thy father walked; who, though he miscarried in some things, yet in the general course of his life was upright and faithful towards me.


Verse 5

Then; upon that condition; for my promise to David was conditional.


Verse 6

If ye shall at all turn from following me; or rather,

if ye shall wholly turn, & c.; if you shall wilfully and obstinately depart from God, and violate his laws, as the doubling of the word implies. Whereby he also intimates that he would not be so rigid and severe towards them, as to mark every thing that was amiss; but would bear with much, as he did in David &c., only that he would not endure a total defection from him.


Verse 7

Will I cast out of my sight; I will not regard it; I will take away my protection and gracious presence from it.

Israel shall be a proverb; their miseries shall be named proverbally, to express extreme calamities. See Deuteronomy 28:37.


Verse 8

Which is high, i.e. exalted in its privileges, glorious, and renowned. The particle which is oft understood, and is here fitly supplied out of 2 Chronicles 7:21, where it is expressed.

Shall be astonished at its unexpected and wonderful ruin.

Shall hiss, by way of contempt and derision. See Jeremiah 19:8 49:17 50:13.


Verse 11

Or, near (as beth oft signifies, as hath been proved before)

the land of Galilee, bordering upon it; in those parts which were near and adjoining to Hiram’s dominions: with the cities understand the lands and territories belonging to them.

Quest. How could Solomon give away any part of that land wherein the people had a right by a Divine lot, and God had a right, as being the only proprietary of it; upon which ground the total alienation of it, or any part of it, was forbidden, Leviticus 25:23?

Answ. 1. It is not said that he gave them away wholly, and for ever; but he might assign them to him only for a time, until he was fully satisfied for his debt.

2. If these cities were possessed by Israelites, Solomon did not give him their particular possessions, but only his own royalties over them, and all the profits he received from them, which were very considerable, as may be gathered from that passage, 1 Kings 12:4.

3. These cities, though they were within those large bounds which God fixed to the Land of Promise, Genesis 15:18 Joshua 1:4, yet were not within those parts which were distributed by Lot in Joshua’s time, nor belonging to the tribe of Asher, (as some suppose,) as may be gathered both from Joshua 19:27, where their border is said to go out only to the land of Cabul, to wit, exclusively; and Joshua 19:30, where all their cities are said to be but twenty and two; and from 2 Chronicles 8:2, where it is said of those cities, when Hiram restored them, that Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there; which makes it more than probable that these cities were not inhabited by Israelites, but by Canaanites, or other heathens; who being subdued and extirpated by David, or Solomon, those cities became a part of their dominions, and at their disposal; and afterwards were reckoned a part of Galilee, as Josephus notes; and may be one reason why he gave these rather than other cities, because they were in his power to give, when others were not.


Verse 12

He did not accept them for satisfaction, because the cities were out of repair, as appears from 1 Kings 9:13, and the soil not good in his eyes, and therefore he refused them, 2 Chronicles 8:2, and expected, and doubtless had, satisfaction some other way, as may be gathered from the following story.


Verse 13

The land of Cabul, i.e. of dirt, as most interpret it. Not that it was a barren soil, as some imagine; for they who describe those parts commend them as fruitful; nor would Solomon have made him so unworthy a return: but because it was not pleasant, nor agreeable to his nor to his people’s humour; because, though the land was very good, yet being a thick and stiff clay, and therefore requiring great pains to manure and improve it, it was very unsuitable to the disposition of the Tyrians, who were delicate, and lazy, and luxurious, and wholly given to merchandise.


Verse 14

Or rather, for Hiram had sent. And this seems to be here added, both to declare the quantity of the gold sent, which had been only named before, 1 Kings 9:11, and as the reason why he resented Solomon’s action so ill, because so great a sum required a better recompence.


Verse 15

The levy which king Solomon raised; both the levy of men, of which 1 Kings 5:13, and the levy of money upon his people and subjects, which is sufficiently evident from many scriptures. And this sentence may look both backward and forward. He raised this levy, both to pay what he owed to Hiram, which is mentioned before; and to build the works here following.

Millo seems to have been an eminent, and large, and strong fort or castle in Jerusalem, as may be gathered from 1 Kings 11:27 2 Chronicles 32:5.

Hazor, in Naphtali. See Joshua 11:10 Joshua 19:36.

Megiddo, in that part of the tribe of Manasseh within Jordan; of which see Joshua 17:11.

Gezer, in Ephraim, Joshua 21:21. It now was, and long had been, in the possession of the Canaanites, Joshua 16:10 Jude 1:29, and permitted so to be by David and Solomon, either by neglect, or because they were busied in greater and more necessary employments.


Verse 16

Not now, but long before this time, and presently after the marriage of his daughter, as is most probable; and it is here mentioned only as the occasion of Solomon’s building it. Possibly the Canaanites of this place had been guilty of some heinous crime; and because Solomon thought not fit to destroy them himself, he desired Pharaoh to do it for him, or Pharaoh might offer his service herein for his daughter’s advantage.


Verse 17

In Benjamin, Joshua 18:13,14; and Beth-horon the upper, which is added 2 Chronicles 8:5, a city in the tribe of Ephraim, Joshua 16:5, possibly bordering upon Benjamin, and nigh unto the lower

Beth-horon; which alone may be here mentioned, either because it was the more famous place, or because it needed more reparations.


Verse 18

Baalath, in the tribe of Dan, Joshua 19:40,44.

Tadmor; supposed to be called Tamar, Ezekiel 47:19.

In the land: this clause may belong either, first, To all the places above mentioned, which are here declared to be in the land of Canaan. But so that clause may seem superfluous; for none would easily think that he would build much out of his own land. Or rather, secondly, To Tadmor, which otherwise being in that wilderness which was the border of the land, might have been presumed to have been out of the land.


Verse 19

The cities of store; to lay up arms and ammunition for war, and corn or other provisions against a time of scarcity. See Exodus 1:11.

In Lebanon; either in the mountain of Lebanon, which being the border of his land, he might build some forts or a frontier city in it; or in the house of the forest of Lebanon; of which see 1 Kings 7:2.


Verse 21

He used them as bond-men, and imposed burdens and bodily labours upon them. See 2 Chronicles 2:18. Hence some think they are called Solomon’s servants, Ezra 2:55,58.

Quest. Why did not Solomon destroy them, as God had commanded, when now it was fully in his power to do so?

Answ. First, The command of destroying them, Deuteronomy 7:2, did chiefly, if not only, concern that generation of Canaanites who lived in or near the time of the Israelites’ entering into Canaan. Secondly, That command seems not to be absolute and universal, but conditional, and with some exception for those who should submit to them, and embrace the true religion, as may be gathered both from Joshua 11:19, and from the history of the Gibeonites, Jos 9, whom Joshua did not sin in sparing, when he had sworn to do so; and Saul did sin in endeavouring to destroy them. But if God’s command had been absolute, the oaths of Joshua, and of the princes, could not have obliged them, nor dispensed with such a command.


Verse 23

Object. They were only two hundred and fifty in 2 Chronicles 8:10.

Answ. First, Those might be officers of another sort; for they are not said to be over the work, as these are, but only over the people. Secondly, The two hundred and fifty were Israelites, who are therefore distinctly mentioned in that book, where many things are more exactly noted than in the former; and the other three hundred were strangers, who therefore are neglected in that more accurate account. Or, thirdly, There was but two hundred and fifty at one time, which is noted there, and two hundred and fifty at another time, (for it is apparent they did their work by turns,) and the other fifty either were superior to all the rest, or rather were a reserve to supply the place of any of the five hundred when there was occasion, which might frequently happen. And so this was an act not unbecoming Solomon’s wisdom, to make provision for emergencies.


Verse 25

Three times in a year, i.e. at the three solemn feasts, which is not said exclusively, as is evident both from 2 Chronicles 8:13, and from the express and oft-repeated commands of God to offer at other times, which it is absurd to think that Solomon, not yet fallen into sin, should so wickedly and scandalously neglect; but because then he did it more solemnly, and more costlily, and more publicly; whereby it might be presumed that he did so at all other appointed times.

So he finished the house, or, so he perfected the house, to wit, by applying it to the use for which it was made, in which the perfection of such things consists. Or the house may be put metonymically for the work or service of the house, as it is elsewhere commonly used for the things or persons in the house. Or the words may be and are rendered thus, After that (for so the Hebrew vau oft signifies, as Isaiah 37:9,36 Ho 1:11 Zechariah 12:2) he finished the house, i.e. from the time of the finishing of the house, until this time, he continued to do so.


Verse 26

Solomon made a navy of ships; not now in the order in which it is placed in the history, but in the beginning of his reign; as appears, because the almug trees which he used in this work were brought in this navy from Ophir, 1 Kings 10:11,12 2 Chronicles 9:10,11, which was a three years’ voyage & here, 1 Kings 10:22; for Ophir and Tharshish were either the same place, or one near to another.

Eloth, or Elath, as it is called, 2 Kings 14:22. See Deuteronomy 2:8. It is thought to be that famous port on the Red Sea which Ptolemy and Strabo call Elana.

In the land of Edom; which David brought under his dominion, and Solomon kept it.


Verse 27

The Tyrians were famous for

knowledge of the sea. He sent also ships to join with Solomon’s, 2 Chronicles 8:18; not from Tyre, the famous city of Phoenicia, which was in the midland sea, from whence he could not sail to the Red Sea without fetching a vast compass; but from an island in the Red Sea, called Tyre, because it was a colony of the Tyrians, as Strabo notes.


Verse 28

Ophir; a place famous for the plenty and fineness of the gold there; of which see Genesis 2:11,12 Job 22:24 28:16 Psalms 45:9 Isaiah 13:12. It is manifest and agreed that it was a part of the East Indies, which though very remote from us, yet was far nearer to the Red Sea, from whence they might easily sail to it in these ancient times, because they needed not to go far from the coast to come to it, because they might (according to the manner of these first ages) sail all along near the coast, though the voyage was thereby more tedious, which was the reason why three years were spent in it. And here, and here only, were to bc had all the commodities which Solomon fetched from Ophir, 1 Kings 10:22.

Four hundred and twenty talents: in all there came to the king four hundred and fifty talents, whereof it seems thirty talents were allowed by Solomon to Hiram and his men for the voyage, and so there were only four hundred and twenty that came clearly into the king’s treasury.

 


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-9.html. 1685.

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