|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 7. - And Solomon had twelve officers [lit., persons "placed" or "set over" others, i.e., superintendents. The term is used of Doeg (1 Samuel 22:9). They were twelve, not because of the twelve tribes, but the twelve months] over all Israel, which provided victuals for [Heb. nourished] the king and his household: each man his month in a year made provision [lit., a month in the year it was (i.e., devolved) upon each to nourish. It has been thought by some that these superintendents were also governors of provinces (ἡΓενισισόνες καὶ σταηγοί, Jos. Ant. 8:2, 3), as well as purveyors. But of this nothing is said in the text. Their principal function was to collect the royal dues or taxes which were evidently paid, as they still are in the East, in kind].
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel,.... Not with respect to the twelve tribes of Israel, for it does not appear that they had each of them a tribe under them, but some particular places in a tribe; but with respect to the twelve months of the year, in which each took his turn:
which provided victuals for the king and his household: each man his month in a year made provision; furnished food of all sorts out of the country in which they presided for the space of one month in a year; by which means there was always a plenty of provisions at court for the king's family, and for all strangers that came and went, and no one part of the land was burdened or drained, nor the price of provisions raised; these seem to be the twelve "phylarchi", or governors of tribes, Eupolemus (r), an Heathen writer, speaks of, before whom, and the high priest, David delivered the kingdom to Solomon; though in that he was mistaken, that they were in being then, since these were officers of Solomon's creating.
(r) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 30.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
1Ki 4:7-21. His Twelve Officers.
7. Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel—The royal revenues were raised according to the ancient, and still, in many parts, existing usage of the East, not in money payments, but in the produce of the soil. There would be always a considerable difficulty in the collection and transmission of these tithes (1Sa 8:15). Therefore, to facilitate the work, Solomon appointed twelve officers, who had each the charge of a tribe or particular district of country, from which, in monthly rotation, the supplies for the maintenance of the king's household were drawn, having first been deposited in "the store cities" which were erected for their reception (1Ki 9:19; 2Ch 8:4, 6).
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