|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 20. - And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other, upon the six steps [It is somewhat doubtful whether there were twelve or fourteen lions in all. Most commentators assume that there were fourteen, and the text will certainly bear that construction. But it is altogether more likely that there were twelve; that is to say, that the two lions on the topmost step are the two mentioned in the preceding verse as "standing beside the stays," otherwise there would have been four lions on that step. And we all know that twelve had a significance such as could not attach to any other number (Bahr, Symbolik, 1:201-205; 2:133, 423). It would signify that all the tribes had an interest in the royal house (cf. 1 Kings 12:16; 2 Samuel 20:1); and a right of approach to the throne (cf. 1 Kings 18:31). The lion, a familiar emblem of sovereignty among many nations, had an especial appropriateness in this case, as being the symbol of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:9; cf. Numbers 23:24; Numbers 24:9). We are to see in them partly "symbols of the ruler's authority" (Keil), and partly, perhaps, they represented the twelve tribes as guardians of the throne. "The king mounted between figures of lions to his seat on the throne, and sat between figures of lions upon it" (Wordsworth). Thrones somewhat similar to this in character, but much less magnificent, are represented on the Assyrian monuments. The historian might justly add]: there was not the like made [Heb. not made so] in any kingdom.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps,.... There was a lion on each side of every step, a symbol of royal power, as before observed; so the Egyptians placed lions under the throne of Orus (r):
there was not the like made in any kingdom; for the matter and form of it, for its grandeur and magnificence; there was none at least at that time, whatever has been since; for this is the first throne of ivory we read of.
(r) Hori Apoll. Hieroglyph, l. 1. c. 17.
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