And over the olive trees and the sycomore trees that were in the low plains was Baalhanan the Gederite: and over the cellars of oil was Joash:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Olive trees.—The same word (zéthîm) is rendered “olive yards” in Joshua 24:13; 1Samuel 8:14, and elsewhere in the Authorised version.
The sycamore trees that were in the low plains.—The sycomores that were in the Shephelah or lowland of Judah, between the hills and the sea (Joshua 15:33). The Ficus sycomorus, or fig-mulberry, a beautiful evergreen tree, indigenous to Egypt, was once abundant in Palestine, as appears from 1Kings 10:27; 2Chronicles 1:15. Its small sweet figs were much eaten by the poor. (Comp. Amos 7:14.)
Baal-hanan (“The Lord bestowed” ).—An older form of Jehohanan. (Comp. the Phœnician Hannibal.)
Over the cellars of oil.—Heb., treasures, or stores of oil. The oil was that of the olives. (Comp. Judges 9:9.)Numbers 34:10 had the charge of the wine squeezed out of the grapes, both in the presses and in the cellars: Baalhanan of Gedor, in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:36 was over the olive and sycamore trees, to see that they were well taken care of: and Joash was entrusted with the cellars where the oil was deposited: Shitrai the Sharonite had the herds of cattle fed in Sharon committed to his trust; whether in Sharon beyond Jordan, or that about Lydda and Joppa, near the Mediterranean sea, both affording fruitful pastures for herds; and this man, being of Sharon, was a fit man to be employed in such service: and Shaphat the son of Adlai was over those herds that were in the valleys, where were good pastures for them; such officers Pharaoh king of Egypt had, Genesis 47:6 and as early as the times of Ninus king of Assyria, one named Simma was master of the king's cattle (l), as Faustulus was to Amulius king of the Latines (m); and so Tyrrhus in Virgil (n) had the command of all the king's cattle; and Cicero mentions another in the same office (o): Obil the Ishmaelite (an Arab, as the Targum) had the care of the camels; and a very proper person he was, who must know the nature of them, and how to manage them, Arabia, or the land of the Ishmaelites, abounding with them. This man was so called, either because he was an Ishmaelite by birth, and was proselyted to the Jewish religion; or he was an Israelite that had dwelt some time in the land of Ishmael, and therefore so called. Bochart (p) thinks he had his name of Obil from his office, the word in the Arabic language signifying a keeper of camels. Jehdeiah the Meronothite was over the asses, which were employed in ploughing and carrying burdens; and Jaziz the Hagarite was over the flocks of sheep, the chief shepherd, who had the command of all the under shepherds, and a very proper person, being an Hagarite, or Arab; for such dwelt in tents for the sake of pasturage for their flocks, as Jarchi notes: these were the principal men that had the care of David's personal substance; so, in later times, the Roman Caesars (q) had such sort of servants to take care of their farms, fields, fruit, cattle, &c. the rest that follow were David's courtiers. Jonathan, or to whom David was uncle, the son of Shimea, his brother being a wise and learned man, was his counsellor, see 2 Samuel 21:21 and Jehiel the Hachmonite was preceptor, or tutor to the king's sons, that brought them up, and took care of their education; Ahithophel was his counsellor until the conspiracy and rebellion of Absalom; and Hushai the Archite was his companion, friend, and favourite, with whom he conversed at leisure hours. After the death of Ahithophel, Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar, were his counsellors, and Joab the general of his army.
(l) Diodor. Sicul. l. 2. p. 93. (m) Liv. Hist. Decad. 1. l. 1. p. 5. (n) Aeneid. l. 7. Tyrrhusque pater, &c. ver. 485. (o) Apud Servium, in ib. (p) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. Colossians 77. (q) Vid. Pignorium de Servis, p. 548.And over the olive trees and the sycamore trees that were in the low plains was Baalhanan the Gederite: and over the cellars of oil was Joash:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)28. sycomore] The fig-mulberry, a tree having leaves like mulberry-leaves, and bearing a fruit resembling figs. Cp. 2 Chronicles 1:15; Amos 7:14.
in the low plains] R.V. in the lowland. Heb. Shephelah. See note on 2 Chronicles 1:15 (“vale”).
Gederite] i.e. inhabitant of “Geder” (Joshua 12:13), perhaps another form of “Gederah” (ib. Joshua 15:36). A place in the south of Judah is intended in any case.Verse 28. - A similar couple of officers to those of the last verse are described here. By the low plains here in the Authorized Version is translated what had been better left untranslated, i.e. the Shephelah, one of the five divisions of Judaea (Conder's' Bible Handbook,' 2nd edit., 1880, p. 257). It comprised the low-lying tract of land on the coast and, roughly speaking, stretching from Joppa to Gaza. The sycamore tree (הַשִּׁקְמִום, a plural masculine, and once שִׁקְמות, a plural feminine, Psalm 78:87) is to be distinguished from the sycamine, being that kind of mulberry tree called fig mulberry. The Septuagint, however, does not observe the distinction, and always translates συκάμινος. It was a common tree, and useful to the poor. It is the same with the black mulberry of Egypt, and abounded in Palestine (1 Kings 10:27). Its fruit was eatable, and its wood, though soft, yet valuable for enduringness (see Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 3. p. 1394; Conder's 'Bible Handbook,' 2nd edit., pp. 223, 399; Stanley's 'Sinai and Palestine,' edit. 1866, pp. 146, 393). The name Baal-hanan comes first before us as that of a King of Edom (Genesis 36:38, 39; 1 Chronicles 1:49). The place Gederah (Joshua 15:36), or Beth-gader (1 Chronicles 2:51), attached to the name of the present Baal-hanan, renders it not less probable that he was of similar extraction.
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