And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do,
That the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.
This appearance is fixed by 1 Kings 9:1 to Solomon's twenty-fourth year, the year in which he completed his palace 1 Kings 6:37-38; 1 Kings 7:1. The fact seems to be that, though the temple was finished in Solomon's eleventh year, the dedication did not take place until his twenty-fourth year. The order of the narrative in Kings agrees with this view, since it interposes the account of the building of the palace 1 Kings 7:1-12, and of the making of the furniture 1 Kings 7:13-51, between the completion of the building of the temple 1 Kings 6:38 and the ceremony of the Dedication 1 Kings 8.
And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
The answer given by God to Solomon's prayer is reported more fully in 2 Chronicles 7:12-22.
When God puts His Name in the temple He does it, in intention, "forever." He will not arbitrarily withdraw it; there it will remain "forever," so far as God is concerned. But the people may by unfaithfulness drive it away 1 Kings 9:7-9.
And mine eyes and my heart - An answer in excess of the prayer 1 Kings 8:29; "Not Mine eyes only, but Mine eyes and Mine heart."
And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:
See 1 Kings 3:14. Solomon's subsequent fall lends to these repeated warnings a special interest.
Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.
But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them:
At all turn - Rather, "If ye shall wholly turn from following Me." (See 2 Chronicles 7:19.) The Israelites were not to be cut off, except for an entire defection.
Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people:
And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house?
The Hebrew text runs - "And this house shall be high: every one," etc. The meaning appears to be, "This house shall be high" (i. e., conspicuous) "in its ruin as in its glory."
And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.
And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the LORD, and the king's house,
The "twenty years" are to be counted from the fourth year of Solomon, the year when he commenced the building of the temple. They are made up of the seven years employed in the work of the temple 1 Kings 6:38, and the thirteen years during which Solomon was building his own house 1 Kings 7:1.
(Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.
By the spirit, if not by the letter, of the Law, Solomon had no right to give away these cities, or any part of the inheritance of Israel Leviticus 25:13-34. But the exigences of a worldly policy caused the requirements of the Law to be set aside.
And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they pleased him not.
They pleased him not - It is a reasonable conjecture that, when a question arose with respect to a cession of land, Hiram had cast his eyes on the bay or harbour of Acco, or Ptolemais, and was therefore the more disappointed when he received an inland tract of mountain territory.
And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day.
Cabul is said to be a Phoenician word, and signified "displeasing" (see margin). There is some reason to believe that the cities thus despised by Hiram were restored to Solomon 2 Chronicles 8:2, and that Solomon rebuilt them and colonized them with Israelites.
And Hiram sent to the king sixscore talents of gold.
Hiram sent sixscore talents of gold - Apparently, to show that, although disappointed, he was not offended. The sum sent was very large - above a million and a quarter of our money, according to one estimate of the weight of the Hebrew gold talent; or about 720,000 according to the estimate adopted in Exodus 38:24-29 note. At any rate, it was more than equal to a sixth part of Solomon's regular revenue 1 Kings 10:14.
And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.
Levy - See the marginal reference note.
Millo - See 2 Samuel 5:9 note. The Septuagint commonly render the word ἡ ἄκρα hē akra, "the citadel," and it may possibly have been the fortress on Mount Zion connected with the Maccabean struggles (1 Macc. 4:41; 13:49-52). Its exact site has not been determined.
And the wall of Jerusalem - David's fortification 2 Samuel 5:9; 1 Chronicles 11:8 had been hasty, and had now - fifty years later - fallen into decay. Solomon therefore had to "repair the breaches of the city of David" 1 Kings 11:27.
Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer were three of the most important sites in the holy land. For the two first places, compare the marginal references and notes.
Gezer was a main city of the south. It was situated on the great maritime plain, and commanded the ordinary line of approach from Egypt, which was along this low region. The importance of Gezer appears from Joshua 10:33; Joshua 12:12, etc. Its site is near Tell Jezer, and marked now by Abu Shusheh. Though within the lot of Ephraim Joshua 16:3, and especially assigned to the Kohathite Levites Joshua 21:21, it had never yet been conquered from the old inhabitants (marginal references), who continued to dwell in it until Solomon's time, and apparently were an independent people 1 Kings 9:16.
Pharaoh took it before the marriage of Solomon with his daughter, and gave it "for a present" - i. e., for a dowry. Though in the East husbands generally pay for their wives, yet dower is given in some cases. Sargon gave Cilicia as a dowry with his daughter when he married her to Ambris king of Tubal: and the Persian kings seem generally to have given satrapial or other high offices as dowries to the husbands of their daughters.
For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon's wife.
And Solomon built Gezer, and Bethhoron the nether,
Beth-horon the nether - See the marginal reference note.
And Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land,
Tadmor - The Hebrew text here has, as written, Tamor (or Tamar), and as read, Tadmor. That the latter place, or Palmyra, was meant appears, first, from the distinct statement of Chronicles 2 Chronicles 8:4 that Solomon built Tadmor, and the improbability that the fact would be omitted in Kings; secondly, from the strong likelihood that Solomon, with his wide views of commerce, would seize and fortify the Palmy-rene Oasis: and thirdly, from the unanimity of the old versions in rendering Tamar here by Tadmor. The probability seems to be that Tamar was the original name of the place, being the Hebrew word for "a palm," from where it is generally agreed that the town derived its name. Tadmor was a corrupt or dialectic variety of the word, which was adopted at the city itself, and prevailed over the original appellation. No reference is found to Tadmor in the Assyrian inscriptions, or in any Classical writer before Pliny.
And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.
"The cities of store" contained provisions stored up for the troops (compare 2 Chronicles 32:28). They seem to have been chiefly in the north - in Hamath 2 Chronicles 8:4 and Naphtali 2 Chronicles 16:4. On the "cities for his chariots," see 1 Kings 10:26 note.
By "that which Solomon desired to build" (see the margin) seem to be intended "pleasaunces" in or near the capital, and in the Lebanon range, built especially for the enjoyment of the king.
And all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which were not of the children of Israel,
Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day.
See 1 Kings 5:15 note.
But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no bondmen: but they were men of war, and his servants, and his princes, and his captains, and rulers of his chariots, and his horsemen.
Comparing this with 1 Kings 5:13-14, it would seem that a modified service of forced labor for one-third of each year was not regarded as reducing those who were subject to it to the condition of bondmen.
These were the chief of the officers that were over Solomon's work, five hundred and fifty, which bare rule over the people that wrought in the work.
Five hundred and fifty - See 1 Kings 5:16 note.
But Pharaoh's daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her: then did he build Millo.
Compare the marginal reference. Solomon was not satisfied that Pharaoh's daughter should remain in the palace of David, which was on Mount Zion, in the immediate vicinity of the temple, because he regarded the whole vicinity of the temple as made holy by the presence of the ark of God. His own palace was on the other (western) hill, probably directly opposite to the temple, the valley of the Tyropoeum running between them.
And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the LORD, and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the LORD. So he finished the house.
Three times - i. e., (see the marginal reference) the three solemn Feasts - the Feast of unleavened bread, the Feast of weeks, and the Feast of tabernacles.
Did Solomon offer ... and he burnt incense - Not with his own hand, but by his priests 1 Kings 8:6; 2 Chronicles 5:7-14. In sacred, as in ordinary, history, men are said to do that which they cause to be done.
And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.
On Ezion-geber and Eloth, see the notes to marginal references. As the entire tract about Elath (Akaba) is destitute of trees, it is conjectured that the wood of which Solomon built his fleet was cut in Lebanon, floated to Gaza by sea, and thence conveyed across to Ezion-geber, at the head of the E anitic Gulf, by land carriage. (Compare 2 Chronicles 2:16.)
And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.
Shipmen - See 1 Kings 5:6 note. With respect to the acquaintance of the Phoenicians with this particular sea, it may be observed that they are not unlikely to have had trading settlements there, as they had in the Persian Gulf, even at this early period. The commerce with Ophir was probably an established trade, previously either in their hands or in those of the Egyptians, when Solomon determined to have a share in it. The Egyptians had navigated the other arm of the Red Sea, and perhaps its lower parts, from a much more ancient period.
And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.
On Ophir, see the marginal reference note. Among the various opinions three predominate; all moderns, except a very few, being in favor of Arabia, India, or Eastern Africa. Arabia's claims are supported by the greatest number.