|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-11 Solomon soon found mirth and pleasure to be vanity. What does noisy, flashy mirth towards making a man happy? The manifold devices of men's hearts, to get satisfaction from the world, and their changing from one thing to another, are like the restlessness of a man in a fever. Perceiving it was folly to give himself to wine, he next tried the costly amusements of princes. The poor, when they read such a description, are ready to feel discontent. But the remedy against all such feelings is in the estimate of it all by the owner himself. All was vanity and vexation of spirit: and the same things would yield the same result to us, as to Solomon. Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content. His wisdom remained with him; a strong understanding, with great human knowledge. But every earthly pleasure, when unconnected with better blessings, leaves the mind as eager and unsatisfied as before. Happiness arises not from the situation in which we are placed. It is only through Jesus Christ that final blessedness can be attained.
Verse 7. - I got me - I bought, procured - servants and maidens. These are distinct from those mentioned immediately afterwards, servants born in my house; Septuagint, οἰκογενεῖς: called in the Hebrew, "sons of the house" (Genesis 15:3). They were much more esteemed by their masters, and showed a much closer attachment to the family than the bought slaves or the conquered aboriginals, who were often reduced to this state (1 Kings 9:20, 21). The number of Solomon's attendants excited the wonder of the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 4:26, etc.; 1 Kings 10:5), and with good reason, if Josephus's account is to be believed. This writer asserts that the king had some thousand or more chariots, and twenty thousand horses. The drivers and riders were young men of comely aspect, tall and well-made; they had long flowing hair, and wore tunics of Tyrian purple, and powdered their hair with gold dust, which glittered in the rays of the sun ('Ant.,' 8:07. 3). Attended by a cavalcade thus arrayed, Solomon used to betake himself to his "paradise" at Etham, to enjoy the refreshing coolness of its trees and pools. Great and small cattle; oxen and sheep. The enormous amount of Solomon's herds and flocks is proved by the extraordinary multitude of the sacrifices at the consecration of the temple (1 Kings 8:63), and the lavish provision made daily for the wants of his table (1 Kings 4:22, 23). The cattle of David were very numerous, and required special overlookers (1 Chronicles 27:29-31). Job (Job 1:3) had, before his troubles, seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and these items were all doubled at the return of his prosperity. Among Solomon's possessions, horses are not here mentioned, though they formed no inconsiderable portion of his live stock, and added greatly to his magnificence. Koheleth, perhaps, avoided boasting of this extravagance in consideration of the religious sentiment which was strongly opposed to such a feature. That were in Jerusalem before me (so ver. 9; see Ecclesiastes 1:16). But the reference here may not necessarily be to kings, but to chieftains and rich men, who were celebrated for the extent of their possessions.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I got me servants and maidens,.... Menservants, and maidservants; the Targum adds,
"of the children of Ham, and of the rest of the strange people;''
these were such as he hired, or bought with his money;
and had servants born in my house; and these were all employed by him; either as his retinue and equipage, his attendants and bodyguards; or to take care of his household, his gardens, and pools; or for his horses and chariots, and for various offices; see 1 Kings 4:26, Ezra 2:58. Villalpandus computes the number of his servants to be forty eight thousand; if there were any pleasure and happiness in such a numerous attendance, Solomon had it;
also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me; oxen, cows, horses, asses, camels, mules, &c. also sheep and goats; which, as they were profitable, so it was pleasant to see them grazing on the hills and valleys, in the fields, mountains, and meadows.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. born in my house—These were esteemed more trustworthy servants than those bought (Ge 14:14; 15:2, 3; 17:12, 13, 27; Jer 2:14), called "songs of one's handmaid" (Ex 23:12; compare Ge 12:16; Job 1:3).
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