|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 3. - Hamath-zobah. Hamath (when the name occurs separately) was a place both of great geographical note (occupying, whether regarded as a larger region or a town, an important position in the northern end of that broad valley of Coele-Syria which separates Lebanon and Antilebanon, and through which passed the river Orontes) and of great historical note from the time of the Exodus to that of Amos. The town, or city, is to be understood to be the Great Hamath (Amos 6:2). But the kingdom, or district, or county, was almost conterminous with Coele-Syria. Zobah, also a portion of Syria, amounted to a small kingdom, and is read of alike in Saul's and in David's times, as in Solomon's time. It probably lay to the north-east of Hamath (1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:8, 7, 8, 10; 2 Samuel 10:9, 16, 19; 1 Chronicles 18:4; 1 Chronicles 19:16). But Hamath-zobah of this verse was probably a place called Hamath, in the region of Zobah, in which also two other cities are mentioned, Berothai and Tibhath, or Betah (2 Samuel 8:8; 1 Chronicles 18:8). These two kingdoms of Hamath and Zobah, contiguous as they were, seem as though they purposed to compliment one another - Zobah by naming one of its towns Hamath, and vice versa It is said that the Assyrian inscriptions show that they remained, after Solomon, distinct kingdoms.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Solomon went to Hamathzobah,.... In an hostile manner, which is the only instance of any warlike expedition of Solomon's. This was Coelesyria, which though subdued in the times of David, perhaps rebelled, and now Solomon went forth to reduce it:
and prevailed against it; took it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3-6. And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah—Hamath was on the Orontes, in Cole-Syria. Its king, Toi, had been the ally of David; but from the combination, Hamath and Zobah, it would appear that some revolution had taken place which led to the union of these two petty kingdoms of Syria into one. For what cause the resentment of Solomon was provoked against it, we are not informed, but he sent an armed force which reduced it. He made himself master also of Tadmor, the famous Palmyra in the same region. Various other cities along the frontiers of his extended dominions he repaired and fitted up, either to serve as store-places for the furtherance of his commercial enterprises, or to secure his kingdom from foreign invasion (see on 2Ch 1:14; 1Ki 9:15).
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