|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 27. - And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones [an obviously hyperbolical expression], and cedar trees made he to be as the sycamore trees [the שִׁקְמָה is the συκομωρέα of the New Testament (Luke 19:4), i.e., as the name imports, the fig mulberry - the "sycamine tree" of Luke 17:6 would seem to denote the mulberry proper. Though now but comparatively rare in Palestine, it is clear that formerly it was very common (see, e.g., Isaiah 9:10, whence it appears that it was used for building purposes, and where it is also contrasted with the cedars). It was esteemed both for its fruit and its wood, so much so that David appointed a steward to have the supervision both of "the olive trees and the sycamore trees in the Shefelah" (1 Chronicles 27:28). The sycamores of Egypt, which were used for the coffins of mummies (Dict. Bib. 3. p. 1394), are referred to in Psalm 78:47, in a way which bespeaks their great value. There is a good description of the tree in Thomson, "Land and Book," 1:23-25] that are in the vale [Same word as in 1 Chronicles l.c. The Shefelah is a "broad swelling tract of many hundred miles in area, which sweeps gently down from the mountains of Judah 'to mingle with the bounding main' of the Mediterranean" (Grove, Dict. Bib. 3. p. 1611). This "Low Country" extended from Joppa to Gaza. The translation "vale" is altogether misleading. Conder ("Tent-work," p. 5) describes it as "consisting of low hills, about five hundred feet above the sea, of white soft limestone," and adds that "the broad valleys among these hills... produce fine crops of corn, and on the hills the long olive groves flourish better than in other districts" - an incidental and valuable confirmation of the text. "The name Sifia, or Shephelah, still exists in four or five places round Beit Jibrin" (Eleutheropolis), ib. p. 276] for abundance.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones,.... By the vast quantity he received from Tarshish; this is an hyperbolical expression:
and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are the vale for abundance; not by the growth of them, but by the importation of them from the dominion of Hiram; this is said in the same figurative way; of the sycamore trees, Rauwolff says (g), they are what the Moors and Arabians calls "mumeitz"; which he describes to be as large and as high as white mulberry trees, and having almost the same leaves, but rounder, and their fruit not unlike our figs, only sweeter, and no little seeds within, and not so good; and are therefore not esteemed, and are commonly sold to the poorer sort, and that they grow in all fields and grounds; of which See Gill on Amos 7:14.
(g) Travels, par. 1. c. 4. p. 37.
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