|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:20-28 Never did the crown of Israel shine so bright, as when Solomon wore it. He had peace on all sides. Herein, his kingdom was a type of the Messiah's; for to Him it is promised that he shall have the heathen for his inheritance, and that princes shall worship him. The spiritual peace, and joy, and holy security, of all the faithful subjects of the Lord Jesus, were typified by that of Israel. The kingdom of God is not, as Solomon's was, meat and drink, but, what is infinitely better, righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. The vast number of his attendants, and the great resort to him, are shown by the provision daily made. Herein Christ far outdoes Solomon, that he feeds all his subjects, not with the bread that perishes, but with that which endures to eternal life.
Verse 26. - And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses [40,000 is certainly a clerical error, probably for 4000 (i.e., אַרְבָּיעים for אַרְבָּעָה). For
(1) in the parallel passage in Chronicles the number is stated as 4000.
(2) 4000 agrees, and 40,000 does not, with the other numbers here given.
The chariots, e.g., numbered 1400; the horsemen 12,000. Now for 1400 chariots the proper allowance of horses would be about 4000. We see from the monuments that it was customary to yoke two horses (seldom three) to a chariot; but a third or supernumerary horse was provided to meet emergencies or accidents. 4000 horses would hence be a liberal provision for Solomon's chariots, and it would also agree well with the number of his cavalry. 12,000 cavalry and 40,000 chariot horses are out of all proportion. As to stalls, it seems clear that in ancient, as in modern times, each horse had a separate crib (Vegetins in Bochart, quoted by Keil). Gesenius, however, understands by אֻרְות, not stalls, but teams, or pairs] for his chariots [or chariotry: the word is singular and collective] and twelve hundred horsemen [rather, horses, i.e., riding or cavalry, as distinguished from chariot horses above. See note on 1 Kings 1:5. It has been supposed that this warlike provision is mentioned to account for the peace ("si vis pacem, para bellum") of Solomon's reign, and was designed to overawe the tributary kings. But it is more probable that the idea of the historian was, partly to exhibit the pomp and circumstance of Israel's greatest king, and partly to record a contravention of the law (Deuteronomy 17:16), which was one of the precursors of his fall].
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Solomon had forty thousand stalls for horses,.... In 2 Chronicles 9:25; it is only four thousand; and therefore some think that here is a mistake of the copier, of "arbaim", forty, for "arbah", four; which it is thought might be through divine permission, in such lesser matters, without any prejudice to the authority of the Scriptures in matters of faith and practice; but without supposing this, a reconciliation may be made, by observing, that here the writer, as Ben Gersom notes, gives the number of the horses that were in the stables, which were forty thousand, there the stables themselves, which were four thousand, ten horses in a stable; or here he numbers the stalls, which were forty thousand, and there the stables, which were four thousand, there being ten stalls in each; and the word there has the letter "yod" in it more than here, which is the numerical letter for "ten", and may point thereunto; or here the writer speaks of all the stalls for horses Solomon had throughout the kingdom, there of those only he had in Jerusalem. Benjamin of Tudela (g) affirms, that these stalls, or stables, which Solomon built very strong of large stones, are still in being in Jerusalem, and that there is no building to be seen like it any where; but no other writer speaks of them; nor is it at all probable that they should remain:
for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; some of the said stalls of horses were for his chariots, to draw in them for various uses, of which had 1400, 1 Kings 10:26; and others to mount twelve thousand horsemen, who were placed in various parts, to defend kingdom.
(g) Itinerar. p. 43.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26. forty thousand stalls—for the royal mews (see on 2Ch 9:25).
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