|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:13-16 People are never long easy and satisfied; they are fond of changes. This is no new thing. Princes see themselves slighted by those they have studied to oblige; this is vanity and vexation of spirit. But the willing servants of the Lord Jesus, our King, rejoice in him alone, and they will love Him more and more to all eternity.
Verse 15. - I considered all the living which walk under the sun; or, I have seen all the population. The expression is hyperbolical, as Eastern monarchs speak of their dominions as if they comprised the whole world (see Daniel 4:1; Daniel 6:25). With the second child that shall stand up in his stead. "With" (עִם) means "in company with," "on the side of;" and the clause should be rendered, as in the Revised Version, That they were with the youth, the second, that stood up in his stead. The youth who is called the second is the one spoken of in the previous verses, who by general acclamation is raised to the highest place in the realm, while the old monarch is dethroned or depreciated. He is named second, as being the successor of the other, either in popular favor or on the throne. It is the old story of worshipping the rising sun. The verse may still be applied to Joseph, who was made second to Pharaoh, and was virtually supreme in Egypt, standing in the king's place (Genesis 41:40-44).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I considered all the living which walk under the sun,.... All men that were then alive, who were capable of walking upon the earth; even all of them that were under the heavens, in every land and nation, under whatsoever dominion or government: these, and their manners, Solomon had particularly observed, and made his remarks upon, by which it appeared how fickle the minds of the populace were under every government, and how precarious and uncertain were the honour and dignity of princes;
with the second child that shall stand up in his stead: the heir and successor or every prince, that shall rise up and take the throne of his father or predecessor, and reign in his stead. The wise man observed how the people commonly behaved towards him; how that they generally stood best affected to him, than to the reigning prince; worshipped the rising sun, courted his favour and friendship, soothed and flattered him; expressing their wishes to see him on the throne, and treated with neglect and contempt their lawful sovereign. Some, contrary to the accents, connect this with the word "walk" (h); that walk with the second child, join themselves to him, converse with him, and show him great respect and honour: and there are others that, by this second child, understand the poor and wise child, that succeeds the old and foolish king, whom yet, in time, the people grow weary of; such is the levity and inconstancy of people, that they are not long pleased with princes, old or young, wise or foolish. The Targum interprets this of the foresight Solomon had, by a spirit of prophecy, of those that rebelled against his son Rehoboam, and of those that cleaved unto him, who was his second, and reigned in his stead. Noldius (i) thinks Solomon refers to the history of his friend Hiram, king of Tyre, whose kingdom, in his and in his son's time, was very large, flourishing, and opulent, but in a following reign not so; and he renders and paraphrases the words thus,
""I saw all the works under the sun; with Baleazarus, the son of a friend" (Hiram, for rendered "second", is the same as "a friend"), "who shall stand" or "reign after him: there is no end of all the people",'' &c.
the kingdom in those two reigns being flourishing; yet posterity shall not rejoice in him, in Abdastratus, the grandson of Hiram, destroyed by the four sons of his nurse (k).
(h) So the Tigurine version, Vatablus, Cocceius, Gejerus. (i) Concord. Part. Ebr. No. 1023. (k) Meander apud Joseph. Contr. Apion. l. 1. s. 18.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. "I considered all the living," the present generation, in relation to ("with") the "second youth" (the "legitimate successor" of the "old king," as opposed to the "poor youth," the one first spoken of, about to be raised from poverty to a throne), that is, Rehoboam.
in his stead—the old king's.
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