|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:13-31 The imports here mentioned, would show that prosperity drew the minds of Solomon and his subjects to the love of things curious and uncommon, though useless in themselves. True wisdom and happiness are always united together; but no such alliance exists between wealth and the enjoyment of the things of this life. Let us then acquaint ourselves with the Saviour, that we may find rest for our souls. Here is Solomon reigning in wealth and power, in ease and fulness, the like of which could never since be found; for the most known of the great princes of the earth were famed for their wars; whereas Solomon reigned forty years in profound peace. The promise was fulfilled, that God would give him riches and honour, such as no kings have had or shall have. The lustre wherein he appeared, was typical of the spiritual glory of the kingdom of the Messiah, and but a faint representation of His throne, which is above every throne. Here is Solomon dying, and leaving all his wealth and power to one who he knew would be a fool! Ec 2:18,19. This was not only vanity, but vexation of spirit. Neither power, wealth, nor wisdom, can ward off or prepare for the stroke of death. But thanks be to God who giveth the victory to the true believer, even over this dreaded enemy, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Verse 14. - Beside, etc. The preposition (In.) left both here and in the parallel, before the words "men of," etc., in the compound English word chapmen (Authorized Version), shows clearly the construction of this and the following sentence; from the previous verse needs to come the words, after our "beside," "the weight of gold which came," etc. This gold probably came by way of tax payments from the merchant travellers, and as tribute money from the kings of the part of Arabia where the blood was mingled, Jewish and Arabian, and not exclusively and independently Arabian (see the word used in place of our Arabian in the parallel, and Jeremiah 25:24), and from those governors (perhaps in some cases superseding older kings) of adjacent countries, that had become in some part tributary to Solomon. Governors. For this unusual and un-Hebrew word (פַחות) see Ezra 5:6; Haggai 1:1; Nehemiah 5:14. Gesenius mentions Turkish, Persian, and Sanscrit derivations that would well suit it. It is very noticeable that it is employed also by the writer of Kings. It is used of a ruler in the Assyrian empire (2 Kings 18:24; Isaiah 36:9), in the Chaldean (Ezekiel 23:6, 23; Jeremiah 51:23), in the Persian (Esther 8:9; Esther 9:3), specially of the Persian governor of Judaea (Haggai 1:1, 14; Haggai 2:2, 21; Nehemiah 5:14, 18; Nehemiah 12:26; Malachi 1:8); while Gesenius reads this passage in our present text and its parallel, to speak of governors of Judaea (the country). See also 1 Kings 20:24, where the word is translated (Authorized Version) "captains," and is in the Syrian king's mouth. The word is not used before Kings. It is used by the writer of Kings three times; of Chronicles, once; by Ezra, six times; in Nehemiah, eight times; in Esther, three times; in Daniel, four times; and in the remaining prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Haggai, Malachi, ten times in all. The Authorized Version, out of the whole number of these occurrences of the word, has rendered it "captains" thirteen times; "deputies," twice; and "governors," twenty times.
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