And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the LORD, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen to this day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Harps - The Jewish harp כנור kı̂nnôr was of a triangular shape, and had ordinarily ten strings. It probably resembled the more ancient harp of the Assyrians, which was played with a plectrum, as was (ordinarily) the "kinnor."
Psalteries - The psaltery, or viol. Hebrew: נבל nebel; Greek: νάβλα nabla, was a stringed instrument played with the hand; perhaps a lyre, like those on Hebrew coins, the sounding-board of which is shaped like a jug; or, perhaps, a sort of guitar, with a hollow jug-shaped body at the lower end.Almug trees, called also (by an inversion of the letters, which is usual among the Hebrews) algum trees, 2 Chronicles 2:8 9:10; whereof there were some in Lebanon, 2 Chronicles 2:8, but the best sort came from Ophir, as is here said.
Pillars, or supporters, either for the ascent or stairs, by which they went from the king’s house to the temple; see 1 Chronicles 26:16 2 Chronicles 9:11; or for divers parts both of the Lord’s and of the king’s house. 2 Chronicles 9:11, causeways; and means the ascent or causeway he made from his own house to the temple; the pavement of which, as Jarchi interprets the word here, was made of the wood of these trees; or the supports of it, or rather the rails on each side, on which men might stay themselves as they passed along, as Ben Gersom; and since this ascent was admired by the queen of Sheba, it is particularly observed what wood it was made of, and from whence it came:
harps also, and psalteries for singers; these musical instruments were made of the same wood; Josephus (i) says of amber, and that their number was 400,000:
there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day; not in the land of Israel, neither before nor since, see 2 Chronicles 9:11.And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the LORD, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. pillars for the house of the Lord] The noun signifies ‘a prop,’ and it may be that some ornamental work like that indicated in the margin of the R.V. ‘a railing’ is intended. It was some later addition, not any part of the fabric, which was already completed. In the parallel place of 2 Chron. (1 Kings 9:11) there is a different word in the Hebrew, and one usually applied to a ‘highway.’ Both A. V. and R.V. have ‘terraces’ in that passage. If we combine the two narratives it may be that what is intended is a staircase with handrail and balustrade. The former word would suit in Chronicles, where A. V. has ‘stairs’ on the margin, and the latter here.
for singers] The word is definite, the singers. Cf. Ecclesiastes 2:8.
almug trees] Here the LXX. adds ‘unto the land,’ and the thought is perhaps of the things brought by the fleet of Hiram. In all their voyages they could not find the like.Verse 12. - And the king made of the almug trees pillars [lit., props. In 2 Chronicles 9:11 we have a different word, מְסִלות (cf. Judges 20:31, 32; 1 Samuel 6:12, etc.), there translated stairs. The word in the text מִסְעָד is ἅπαξ λεγ. Keil understands "steps with bannisters;" Bahr (after Jarchi) "tesselated pavements;" Gesenius, "balusters;" Thenius, "divans;" Bottcher, "benches and similar moveables." But was not the pavement already laid, and of cedar; and would the sanctuary have divans, etc.?] for the house of the Lord, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries [also mentioned together (Psalm 71:22; Psalm 108:2; cf. 3). They were stringed instruments, but their precise shape and character is quite uncertain. One species of sandalwood, or of wood closely allied to it, is said to have been much sought after for musical instruments] for the singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day. Matthew 12:42, that this queen had been converted to the true God, and conversed with Solomon on religious matters. But, as we have already observed at 1 Kings 5:7, an acknowledgment of Jehovah as the God of Israel was reconcilable with polytheism. And the fact that nothing is said about her offering sacrifice in the temple, shows that the conversion of the queen is not to be thought of here.
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