|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 5. - And Azariah the son of Nathan [Azariah was clearly not an uncommon name (ver. 2, and cf. 1 Chronicles 2:39; 5:36-40 Hebrews; A.V. 1 Chronicles 6:9-14), especially in the high priest's family. Keil and Bahr pronounce somewhat positively that this Nathan is not the prophet of that name, but Nathan the son of David (2 Samuel 5:14; Luke 3:31). It is quite impossible to decide with certainty which is meant, if either, though Zechariah 12:12 undoubtedly favours the supposition that the latter is here intended] was over the officers [the twelve prefects mentioned in vers. 7 sqq.]: and Zabud the son of Nathan was principal officer [Heb. priest, Vulg. sacerdos. Singularly, as before, the LXX. (Vat.) omits the word. The expression can hardly mean "the son of Nathan the priest," but it may either signify that "Zabud ben Nathan, a priest, was king's friend," or that (as in the A. V.) he was a priest and king's friend. But the former is every way preferable. I find it easier to believe that the true import of 2 Samuel 8:18 the passage which is cited (sometimes along with 2 Samuel 20:26, where the LXX., however, has ἱερεύς) to prove that there were secular "priests" - is not yet understood, than to hold (with Gesenius, Ewald, etc.), that there were sacrificing priests who were not of the sons of Aaron (cf. 2 Chronicles 26:18), or that the word כּהֵן, the meaning of which was thoroughly fixed and understood, can have been familiarly applied, except in the strictly conventional way already indicated, to lay persons], and [omit] the king's friend. ["This appears to have been now a recognized office (2 Samuel 15:37; 2 Samuel 16:16; 1 Chronicles 27:33)," Rawlinson.]
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers,.... The twelve officers who provided food for Solomon's household after mentioned:
and Zabud the son of Nathan; another of the sons of Nathan the prophet: for he being a principal instrument of settling Solomon on the throne, had interest enough to promote his sons to the chief places of honour and trust: and this here
was principal officer, and the king's friend; a chief minister about him, very intimate with him, that kept him company, privately conversed with him, was in his secrets, and admitted to great privacy and nearness to him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. over the officers—that is, the provincial governors enumerated in 1Ki 4:17-19.
principal officer, and the king's friend—perhaps president of the privy council, and Solomon's confidential friend or favorite. This high functionary had probably been reared along with Solomon. That he should heap those honors on the sons of Nathan was most natural, considering the close intimacy of the father with the late king, and the deep obligations under which Solomon personally lay to the prophet.
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