1 Kings 10:19
The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
10:14-29 Solomon increased his wealth. Silver was nothing accounted of. Such is the nature of worldly wealth, plenty of it makes it the less valuable; much more should the enjoyment of spiritual riches lessen our esteem of all earthly possessions. If gold in abundance makes silver to be despised, shall not wisdom, and grace, and the foretastes of heaven, which are far better than gold, make gold to be lightly esteemed? See in Solomon's greatness the performance of God's promise, and let it encourage us to seek first the righteousness of God's kingdom. This was he, who, having tasted all earthly enjoyments, wrote a book, to show the vanity of all worldly things, the vexation of spirit that attends them, and the folly of setting our hearts upon them: and to recommend serious godliness, as that which will do unspeakably more to make us happy, that all the wealth and power he was master of; and, through the grace of God, it is within our reach.Representations of thrones are frequent in the Egyptian and Assyrian sculptures. They have no steps up to them, but frequently stand upon square bases. The back appears to be flat at the top, not rounded. Assyrian thrones have "stays" or arms on either side, and they stand generally upon lion's feet. They are always accompanied by a footstool.

Lions stood beside the stays - The arms of Assyrian thrones are occasionally supported by figures of animals. The throne of Rameses II at Medinet Abou has a sphinx at the side and a lion below the sphinx. The figure of the lion is naturally adopted by any imaginative race as an emblem of sovereignty. In the present case its adoption seems to have grown directly out of the poetic imagery of inspired prophets, who, living before the time of Solomon, had compared Israel Numbers 23:24; Numbers 24:9, and more particularly Judah Genesis 49:9, to a lion. The "twelve lions" of 1 Kings 10:20 were probably intended to be emblematic of the twelve tribes. Josephus adds to the description of Solomon's throne here given, that the seat was supported by a golden ox or bull, with its head turned over its shoulder. As the lion was especially emblematic of Judah, so was the ox or bull of Ephraim. (Hosea 4:16; Hosea 10:11; Jeremiah 31:18, etc.)

18-26. a great throne of ivory—It seems to have been made not of solid ivory, but veneered. It was in the form of an armchair, with a carved back. The ascent to it was by six steps, on each of which stood lions, in place of a railing—while a lion, probably of gilt metal, stood at each side, which, we may suppose from the analogy of other Oriental thrones, supported a canopy. A golden footstool is mentioned (2Ch 9:18) as attached to this throne, whose magnificence is described as unrivalled. Round behind; made like the half of a circle.

Two lions: these and the following lions seem added, to express either the tribe from which Solomon sprung, compared to a lion, Genesis 49:9; or rather, that majesty and power wherewith a prince is adorned and armed, which his subjects cannot resist; or the duty of a prince in the execution of judgment, which ought to be done with great courage and magnanimity. The throne had six steps,.... Up to the footstool of the throne, which was of gold, 2 Chronicles 9:18 and was high, that everyone in court might see him, and the better hear the sentence he gave:

and the top of the throne was round behind; had a semicircle at the top of it, like an alcove:

and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat; or "hands" (q), such as the arms of a chair, to lean and rest upon:

and two lions stood beside the stays; which were not only ornamental, and for support of the stays, but expressive of majesty, and of undaunted courage and resolution to do justice, and of the danger such expose themselves to, who oppose magistrates in the discharge of their office; and in which Solomon was a type of Christ, the lion of the tribe of Judah; and for the same reasons were the like portraits on the steps, as follows.

(q) "manus", V. L. Montanus, &c. "brachiola", Sept. in 2 Chron. 18.

The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were {g} stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays.

(g) As the chair bows, or places to lean upon.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. And the top of the throne was round behind] The word ‘top’ is literally ‘head,’ and points to some erection in the nature of a canopy or baldachino. The roundness here spoken of might either be from the sides of the back being curved inward as they rose up, or from the canopy being arched from behind. This portion of the description is omitted in 2 Chronicles 9:18, but there is added, what we have not here, that ‘a footstool of gold’ was joined to the throne. Josephus omits all mention of the throne, and the LXX. has προτομαὶ μόσχων, i.e. ‘heads (projections) of calves,’ having taken צָנוֹל = ‘round’ as if it were עֵנֶל ‘a calf.’Verse 19. - The throne had six steps ["The characteristic feature in the royal throne was its elevation" (Dict. Bib. ill. p. 1493); cf. Isaiah 6:1], and the top [Heb. head] of the throne was round behind [same word ch. 7:23, 24. Thenius and Bahr understand it of an arched or rounded canopy attached to the back; Keil supposes that the back was arched or rounded in form]: and there were stays [Heb. hands, i.e., arms] on either side on the place of the seat [see drawing of Assyrian throne in Layard's "Nineveh," 2:301; Dict. Bib. 52. p. 1494], and two liens [probably of wood overlaid with gold. Cf. Jeremiah 10:3, 4] stood beside the stays. Solomon gave the queen of Saba all that she wished and asked for, beside what he gave her "according to the hand," i.e., the might, of the king; that is to say, in addition to the presents answering to his might and his wealth, which he was obliged to give as a king, according to the Oriental custom. In the Chronicles (1 Kings 10:12) we find "beside that which she had brought (הביאה) to the king," which is an abbreviated expression for "beside that which he gave her in return for what she had brought to him," or beside the return presents corresponding to her gifts to him, as it has been already correctly paraphrased by the Targum.
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