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Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
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CHAPTER 9

1Ki 9:1-9. God's Covenant in a Second Vision with Solomon.

1. And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house—This first verse is connected with 1Ki 9:11, all that is contained between 1Ki 9:2-10 being parenthetical.

2. That—rather, "For."

the Lord appeared—This appearance was, like the former one at Gibeon, most probably made in a supernatural vision, and on the night immediately following the dedication of the temple (2Ch 7:12). The strain of it corresponds to this view, for it consists of direct answers to his solemn inaugural prayer (1Ki 9:3 is in answer to 1Ki 8:29; 1Ki 9:4, 5 is in answer to 1Ki 8:25, 26; 1Ki 9:6-9 to 1Ki 8:33-46; see also De 29:22-24).

8. this house, which is high—"high," either in point of situation, for it was built on a hill, and therefore conspicuous to every beholder; or "high" in respect to privilege, honor, and renown; or this "house of the Most High," notwithstanding all its beauty and magnificence, shall be destroyed, and remain in such a state of ruin and degradation as to be a striking monument of the just judgment of God. The record of this second vision, in which were rehearsed the conditions of God's covenant with Solomon and the consequences of breaking them, is inserted here as a proper introduction to the narrative about to be given of this king's commercial enterprises and ambitious desire for worldly glory; for this king, by encouraging an influx of foreign people and a taste for foreign luxuries, rapidly corrupted his own mind and that of this subjects, so that they turned from following God, they and their children (1Ki 9:6).

1Ki 9:10-23. The Mutual Presents of Solomon and Hiram.

10. at the end of twenty years—Seven and a half years were spent in building the temple, and twelve and a half or thirteen in the erection of his palace (1Ki 7:1; 2Ch 8:1). This verse is only a recapitulation of 1Ki 9:1, necessary to recover the thread of connection in the narrative.

11. Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee—According to Josephus, they were situated on the northwest of it, adjacent to Tyre. Though lying within the boundaries of the promised land (Ge 15:18; Jos 1:4), they had never been conquered till then, and were inhabited by Canaanite heathens (Jud 4:2-13; 2Ki 15:29). They were probably given to Hiram, whose dominions were small, as a remuneration for his important services in furnishing workmen, materials, and an immense quantity of wrought gold (1Ki 9:14) for the temple and other buildings [Michaelis]. The gold, however, as others think, may have been the amount of forfeits paid to Solomon by Hiram for not being able to answer the riddles and apothegms, with which, according to Josephus, in their private correspondence, the two sovereigns amused themselves. Hiram having refused these cities, probably on account of their inland situation making them unsuitable to his maritime and commercial people, Solomon satisfied his ally in some other way; and, taking these cities into his own hands, he first repaired their shattered walls, then filled them with a colony of Hebrews (2Ch 8:2).

15-24. this is the reason of the levy—A levy refers both to men and money, and the necessity for Solomon making it arose from the many gigantic works he undertook to erect.

Millo—part of the fort of Jerusalem on Mount Zion (2Sa 5:9; 1Ch 11:8), or a row of stone bastions around Mount Zion, Millo being the great corner tower of that fortified wall (1Ki 11:27; 2Ch 32:5).

the wall of Jerusalem—either repairing some breaches in it (1Ki 11:27), or extending it so as to enclose Mount Zion.

Hazor—fortified on account of its importance as a town in the northern boundary of the country.

Megiddo—(now Leijun)—Lying in the great caravan road between Egypt and Damascus, it was the key to the north of Palestine by the western lowlands, and therefore fortified.

Gezer—on the western confines of Ephraim, and, though a Levitical city, occupied by the Canaanites. Having fallen by right of conquest to the king of Egypt, who for some cause attacked it, it was given by him as a dowry to his daughter, and fortified by Solomon.

17. Beth-horon the nether—situated on the way from Joppa to Jerusalem and Gibeon; it required, from so public a road, to be strongly garrisoned.

18. Baalath—Baal-bek.

Tadmor—Palmyra, between Damascus and the Euphrates, was rebuilt and fortified as a security against invasion from northern Asia. In accomplishing these and various other works which were carried on throughout the kingdom, especially in the north, where Rezon of Damascus, his enemy, might prove dangerous, he employed vast numbers of the Canaanites as galley slaves (2Ch 2:18), treating them as prisoners of war, who were compelled to do the drudgery and hard labor, while the Israelites were only engaged in honorable employment.

23. These were the chief of the officers—(See on 2Ch 8:10).

1Ki 9:24-28. Solomon's Yearly Sacrifices.

24, 25. three times in a year—namely, at the passover, pentecost, and feast of tabernacles (2Ch 8:13; 31:3). The circumstances mentioned in these two verses form a proper conclusion to the record of his buildings and show that his design in erecting those at Jerusalem was to remedy defects existing at the commencement of his reign (see 1Ki 3:1-4).

26. Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth—These were neighboring ports at the head of the eastern or Elanitic branch of the Red Sea. Tyrian ship carpenters and sailors were sent there for Solomon's vessels (see on 2Ch 8:17, 18).

Ezion-geber—that is, "the giant's backbone"; so called from a reef of rocks at the entrance of the harbor.

Eloth—Elim or Elath; that is, "the trees"; a grove of terebinths still exists at the head of the gulf.

28. Ophir—a general name, like the East or West Indies with us, for all the southern regions lying on the African, Arabian, or Indian seas, in so far as at that time known [Heeren].

gold, four hundred and twenty talents—(See on 2Ch 8:18). At 125 pounds Troy, or 1500 ounces to the talent, and about £4 to the ounce, this would make £2,604,000.

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