|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:1 - 18 Solomon's buildings and trade. - It sometimes requires more wisdom and resolution to govern a family in the fear of God, than to govern a kingdom with reputation. The difficulty is increased, when a man has a hinderance instead of a help meet in the wife of his bosom. Solomon kept up the holy sacrifices, according to the law of Moses. In vain had the altar been built, in vain had fire come down from heaven, if sacrifices had not been constantly brought. Spiritual sacrifices are required of us, which we are to bring daily and weekly; it is good to be in a settled method of devotion. When the service of the temple was put into good order, it is said, The house of the Lord was perfected. The work was the main matter, not the place; the temple was unfinished till all this was done. Canaan was a rich country, and yet must send to Ophir for gold The Israelites were a wise people, but must be beholden to the king of Tyre for men that had knowledge of the seas. Grace, and not gold, is the best riches, and acquaintance with God and his law, the best knowledge. Leaving the children of this world to scramble for the toys of this world, may we, as the children of God, lay up our treasure in heaven, that where our treasure is, our hearts also may be.
Verse 2. - The cities which Huram had restored to Solomon. 1 Kings 9:11 explains the force of the word "restored" here, telling how it was Hiram had come by "twenty cities in the land of Galilee" by way of payment, or part payment, for the "cedar," "fir," and "gold" which he had given Solomon. It is evident that these cities were in need of repair; possibly they had not been previously in the occupation of the Israelites; if they had been, the transaction was scarcely legitimate on the part of Solomon (Leviticus 25:12-33), and we may suppose they had become largely deserted when made over to Hiram. It would not, however, be necessary to suppose either that Solomon had given them because they were poor property in his eyes, or that Hiram, whose good will and generous disposition are elsewhere specially notified, had returned them as a thankless gift or as a bad payment, but for the language of vers. 12, 13 (1 Kings 9.), which distinctly tells us that when Hiram inspected them they did "not please him," and that he named them "the land of Oabul" (see Dr. Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 1. p. 237). The probability is that, as cities on the borderland, they were what had been at present unoccupied by Israelites, were all the likelier in bad repair, and, unvalued by Hiram, were, when put into good repair by Solomon, such that Solomon might justly cause the children of Israel to dwell in them.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon,.... Which Solomon first gave to him, but he not liking them, returned them to him, 1 Kings 9:12,
Solomon built them; or rebuilt them, being very much out of repair, which might be one reason of Huram's not accepting them:
and caused the children of Israel to dwell there; they being inhabited by others, the remains of the Canaanitcs perhaps; see 2 Chronicles 8:7.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. cities which Huram had restored … Solomon built them, &c.—These cities lay in the northwest of Galilee. Though included within the limits of the promised land, they had never been conquered. The right of occupying them Solomon granted to Huram, who, after consideration, refused them as unsuitable to the commercial habits of his subjects (see on 1Ki 9:11). Solomon, having wrested them from the possession of the Canaanite inhabitants, repaired them and filled them with a colony of Hebrews.
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