|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 4. - Tadmor in the wilderness. Tadmor, one with the classical Palmyra, lay in the desert of Syria, about half-way between the rivers Orontes and Euphrates, and distant from Damascus about a hundred and forty miles to its east-north-east. Stanley ('Sinai and Palestine,' p. 8, note 1) says, "Is it quite certain that 'Tadmor' and 'Palmyra' are words derived from the (palms)? A palm is in Hebrew tamar... and in Greek... phoenix." Solomon was probably not the originator, but rather re-builder, of the place. Its fame was great under Zenobia, the Queen of Odenathus; she was taken captive by the Emperor Aurelian, A.D. 273, when the city was subdued. It is now little better than the haunt of a few Arabs Splendid ruins remain, specially of the great temple of the sun. The Hebrew text of 1 Kings 9:18 has apparently Tamer, or Tamar, and it has been suggested by Movers on that passage that possibly a Tamar in the south, and that is found in the neighbourhood of some of the other places, such as Baalath, Beth-heron, and Gezer, all in the south (Ezekiel 47:19; Ezekiel 48:28; ch. 20:2), is intended. Our text, however, in the present place offers no choice, while that in Kings (compare Chethiv and Keri) is doubtful. And finally, our writer is here evidently in the neighbourhood of Hamath, which of course best suits Tadmor. Although there is an apparent disjointedness between this and the parallel, closer notice may rather bring confirmation of substantial agreement between them. For instance, the store cities here spoken of as belonging to Hamath (but not individually named here and not corresponding with those that are named in Kings) are accounted for by the words, "and in Lebanon," in 1 Kings 9:19.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And built Tadmor in the wilderness,.... Of which See Gill on 1 Kings 9:18.
and all the storehouses which he built in Hamath; a country in Syria, which he made himself master of, and where he laid up store of provision and ammunition to keep it, should any attempt be made to rescue it out of his hands. According to an Arabic writer (a), Solomon in the twenty fourth year of his reign having demolished Antioch, built seven cities, of which Tadmor was one.
(a) Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. dyn. 3. p. 53.
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