|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-19 In the choice of the great officers of Solomon's court, no doubt, his wisdom appeared. Several are the same that were in his father's time. A plan was settled by which no part of the country was exhausted to supply his court, though each sent its portion.
Verse 19. - Geber the son of Uri was in the country of Gilead [i.e., he presided over the parts not already assigned to Bengeber (perhaps his son) and Ahinadab. Gilead is often used (see Deuteronomy 34:1; Judges 20:1) to designate all the country east of the Jordan. And so apparently here, for] the country of Sihon king of, the Amorites, and of Og king of Bashan] embraced the whole trans-Jordanic region, Deuteronomy 3:8; Numbers 21:24-35: cf. Psalm 135:11; Psalm 136:19, 20]; and he was the only officer which was in the land. [This cannot mean "the only officer in Gilead," notwithstanding the great extent of territory - the usual interpretation - for that would contradict vers. 13, 14. Nor can can it mean the only officer in his district, or portion, of Gilead, for that is self-evident, and the remark would apply equally to all the other prefects. And we are hardly justified in translating נְצִיב אֶחָד "he was the first (i.e., superior), officer" (set over those mentioned above, vers. 13, 14), as Schulze. סך אֶחָד used as an ordinal number, but it is only in connexion with days and years (Gesen. s.v.) Some, following the LXX. (εῖς ἐν γῇ Ἰούδα) would detach Judah from ver. 20, where it must be allowed it occurs with a suspicious abruptness, and where the absence of the copula, so usual in the Hebrew, suggests a corruption of the text, and would connect it with this verse, which would then yield the sense, "and he was," (or "there was") "one officer which purveyed in the land of Judah." it is to be observed, however, that though no mention has as yet been made of Judah in any of the districts, yet the prefecture of Ben Hesed (ver. 10) appears to have extended over this tribe, and the remark consequently seems superfluous. (Can it be the object of the writer to show that the royal tribe was not favoured or exempted from contributing its share?) On the whole, the difficulty would seem still to await a solution. We can hardly, in the teeth of ver. 7, suppose with Ewald, al. that a thirteenth officer is here intended.
CHAPTER 4:20-34. SOLOMON'S RULE, STATE, AND WISDOM. - The remainder of this chapter, which de-scribes to us the extent and character of Solomon's sway (vv. 20, 21, 24, 25), the pomp and provision of his household (vv. 22, 23, 26-28), and his profound and varied wisdom (vv. 29-34), has every appearance of a compilation from different sources. It scarcely has the order and coherence which we should find in the narrative of a single writer.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Geber the son of Uri was in the country of Gilead,.... Which was beyond Jordan, and inhabited by the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh; this must be understood of all the country, excepting what was under the jurisdiction of the son of Geber, 1 Kings 4:13; and which had been
the country of Sihon king of the Amorites, and of Og king of Bashan; until it was taken from them by Moses, Numbers 21:25;
and he was the only officer which was in the land; which is not true of Geber; for there was another officer in the land of Gilead besides him, the son of Geber before observed, unless it should be rendered "in that land", in that part of the land he had; but then the same might have been observed of all the rest of the officers: the words may be rendered best, "and there was one officer in the land"; which some understand of one officer over all the rest, Azariah the son of Nathan, 1 Kings 4:5; but it seems best what other Jewish writers say (u), that this was another officer appointed for the intercalated month; when there were thirteen months in the year, there was an officer in the land fixed for that month to make provision out of the land; perhaps any where, where he pleased, being not limited to any certain place. These twelve providers for Solomon's family were emblems of the twelve apostles of Christ, appointed to provide food for his family, the church; and if you add to them the Apostle Paul, it will make thirteen, as this officer did.
(u) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 12. 1.
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