1 Kings 10:12
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)
10:1-13 The queen of Sheba came to Solomon to hear his wisdom, thereby to improve her own. Our Saviour mentions her inquiries after God, by Solomon, as showing the stupidity of those who inquire not after God, by our Lord Jesus Christ. By waiting and prayer, by diligently searching the Scriptures, by consulting wise and experienced Christians, and by practising what we have learned, we shall be delivered from difficulties. Solomon's wisdom made more impression upon the queen of Sheba than all his prosperity and grandeur. There is a spiritual excellence in heavenly things, and in consistent Christians, to which no reports can do justice. Here the truth exceeded; and all who, through grace, are brought to commune with God, will say the one half was not told them of the pleasures and the advantages of wisdom's ways. Glorified saints, much more, will say of heaven, that the thousandth part was not told them, 1Co 2:9. She pronounced them happy that constantly attended Solomon. With much more reason may we say of Christ's servants, Blessed are they that dwell in his house; they will be still praising him. She made a noble present to Solomon. What we present to Christ, he needs not, but will have us do so to express our gratitude. The believer who has been with Jesus, will return to his station, discharge his duties with readiness, and from better motives; looking forward to the day when, being absent from the body, he shall be present with the Lord.Pillars - The Hebrew word signifies ordinarily a "prop" (margin). It is generally supposed to mean in this place a "railing," or "balustrade," a sense which connects and harmonises the present passage with the parallel passage in Chronicles (marginal reference), where Solomon is said to have made of the almug-wood "stairs" for the temple and for his own house.

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.

11. almug trees—Parenthetically, along with the valuable presents of the queen of Sheba, is mentioned a foreign wood, which was brought in the Ophir ships. It is thought by some to be the sandalwood; by others, to be the deodar—a species of fragrant fir, much used in India for sacred and important works. Solomon used it for stairs in his temple and palace (2Ch 9:11), but chiefly for musical instruments. 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. And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the Lord, and for the king's house,.... Or terraces, as in 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.

(i) Antiqu. l. 8. c. 3. sect. 8.

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. She then said with astonishment to Solomon, that of what her eyes now saw she had not heard the half, through the report which had reached her of his affairs and of his wisdom, and which had hitherto appeared incredible to her; and not only congratulated his servants, who stood continually near him and could hear his wisdom, but also praised Jehovah his God, that out of His eternal love to His people Israel He had given them a king to do justice and righteousness. The earlier theologians inferred from this praising of Jehovah, which involved faith in the true God, when taken in connection with 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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