|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:14-29 Solomon increased his wealth. Silver was nothing accounted of. Such is the nature of worldly wealth, plenty of it makes it the less valuable; much more should the enjoyment of spiritual riches lessen our esteem of all earthly possessions. If gold in abundance makes silver to be despised, shall not wisdom, and grace, and the foretastes of heaven, which are far better than gold, make gold to be lightly esteemed? See in Solomon's greatness the performance of God's promise, and let it encourage us to seek first the righteousness of God's kingdom. This was he, who, having tasted all earthly enjoyments, wrote a book, to show the vanity of all worldly things, the vexation of spirit that attends them, and the folly of setting our hearts upon them: and to recommend serious godliness, as that which will do unspeakably more to make us happy, that all the wealth and power he was master of; and, through the grace of God, it is within our reach.
Verse 17. - And he made three hundred shields [portable shields (peltas, Vulgate) adapted for use in hand to hand encounters (2 Chronicles 12:9, 10; cf. 2 Samuel 1:21). That these were much smaller shields is clear from the text. These shields were borne by the royal bodyguard on great occasions (1 Kings 14:27). They were taken away by Shishak (ib. ver. 26)] of beaten gold; three pound [מָגֶה μνᾶ, mina. As 2 Chronicles 9:16 has here 300 shekels, it follows that the maneh = 100 shekels. From Ezekiel 45:12, however, it would seem that there were manehs of different value] of gold went to one shield [i.e., half as much as to the target]; and the king put them in [Heb. gave them to] the house of the forest of Lebanon [1 Kings 7:2. They would certainly be suspended on the walls, but whether on the inside or the outside is not quite certain, and the text affords us no means of deciding. We know that elsewhere shields were suspended outside the walls of armouries, etc. "At Tyre the beauty of the place was thought to consist in the splendour and variety of the shields of all nations hung on its walls (Ezekiel 27:10, 11). In Rome the temple of Bellona was studded with them. In Athens, the round marks where they hung can still be traced on the walls of the Parthenon. There were also arms hung round the wails of the second temple (Jos., Ant. 15:11.3)," Stanley. It is supposed that along with those made by Solomon were hung the shields taken by David from the Syrians, as according to 2 Samuel 8:7, LXX., these latter also were carried off by Shishak. It has been inferred from Song of Solomon 4:4 that these also were 500 in number, and that the entire thousand were suspended on a part of the house of the forest of Lebanon known as the Tower of David; cf. Isaiah 22:8; Psalm 47:9]. The historian now proceeds to describe the great feature of another of Solomon's palaces. As the house of the forest of Lebanon was distinguished by the golden shields which emblazoned and glorified its walls, so was "the porch of judgment" (1 Kings 7:7) by the chryselephantine throne.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold,.... Which were a lesser sort:
three pounds of gold went to one shield; or three hundred shekels, as in 2 Chronicles 9:16 a hundred shekels made one pound; so that these were but half the value of the former, and one of them was worth but two hundred and twenty five pounds: Eupolemus (o), an Heathen writer, makes mention of those golden shields Solomon made, and which were made for show, and not for war, as follows:
and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon; one part of which was made an armoury of, see Sol 4:4.
(o) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 34.
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