|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:10-14 Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities. Hiram did not like them. If Solomon would gratify him, let it be in his own element, by becoming his partner in trade, as he did. See how the providence of God suits this earth to the various tempers of men, and the dispositions of men to the earth, and all for the good of mankind in general.
Verse 11. - (Now Hiram the king of Tyre [Here we have a parenthesis referring us back to 1 Kings 5:8-10] had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and with fir trees and with gold [The gold is here mentioned for the first time, No doubt Hiram's shipping had brought it in Before the Jewish navy was built. It was this probably that led to the construction of a fleet] according to all his desire), that then [this is the apodosis to ver. 10] king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities [really they were mere villages. "It is a genuine Eastern trick to dignify a small present with a pompous name" (Thomson). But עִיר is a word of very wide meaning] in the land of Galilee. גּלִיל lit., circuit, region (like Ciccar, 1 Kings 7:46), hence often found as here with the art. = the region of the Gentiles (Isaiah 9:1; 1 Macc. 5:15; Matthew 4:15), so called because it was inhabited by Phoenicians (see 2 Samuel 24:7, and Strabo, 16. p. 760), originally designated but a small part of the considerable tract of country later known as the province of "Galilee," viz., the northern part in the tribe of Naphtali (Joshua 20:7; 2 Kings 15:29; Isaiah 9:1. Cf. Jos., Ant. 5.1.18). It is easy to see why this particular region was surrendered to Hiram.
(1) It was near his country (2 Samuel 24:7);
(2) the people were Phoenicians, allied to Hiram, but strangers to Solomon, both in race and religion;
(3) Solomon could not with propriety alienate any part of Immanuel's land, or convey to a foreigner the dominion over the people of the Lord. Leviticus 25:23 forbade the alienation of the land; Deuteronomy 17:15 the rule of a stranger.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
(Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees,.... For the building of both his houses; see 1 Kings 5:8,
and with gold, according to all his desire): which is not before mentioned, and accounts for it from whence Solomon had his gold; if he made no use, as some think he did not, of what his father left him; see 1 Kings 7:51 with which he covered several parts of the temple, and made several vessels in it. Hiram traded to Ophir, and had it from thence; and he could supply Solomon with it, and did, before he sent a navy thither:
that then Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee; that is, by or near it, for they were not in the land of Canaan; for then Solomon could not have disposed of them, being allotted and belonging to one of the tribes of Israel, and part of the Lord's inheritance; but they were upon the borders, particularly on the borders of Asher, if Cabul in Joshua 19:27, can be thought to be the same with these; though some think that Solomon did not give Hiram the possession of these cities, but the royalties and revenues of them, their produce until the debt was paid: but they rather seem to be a gratuity, and a full grant of them, and might be cities which David had conquered, and taken out of the hands of the ancient inhabitants of them; and so Solomon had a right to dispose of them, being left him by his father; for it is plain as yet they were not inhabited by Israelites; see 2 Chronicles 8:2. They are by a Jewish writer (f) said to be twenty two, very wrongly.
(f) Gloss. in T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 54. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee—According to Josephus, they were situated on the northwest of it, adjacent to Tyre. Though lying within the boundaries of the promised land (Ge 15:18; Jos 1:4), they had never been conquered till then, and were inhabited by Canaanite heathens (Jud 4:2-13; 2Ki 15:29). They were probably given to Hiram, whose dominions were small, as a remuneration for his important services in furnishing workmen, materials, and an immense quantity of wrought gold (1Ki 9:14) for the temple and other buildings [Michaelis]. The gold, however, as others think, may have been the amount of forfeits paid to Solomon by Hiram for not being able to answer the riddles and apothegms, with which, according to Josephus, in their private correspondence, the two sovereigns amused themselves. Hiram having refused these cities, probably on account of their inland situation making them unsuitable to his maritime and commercial people, Solomon satisfied his ally in some other way; and, taking these cities into his own hands, he first repaired their shattered walls, then filled them with a colony of Hebrews (2Ch 8:2).
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