1 Kings 10:20
And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other on the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.
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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.Solomon's throne, as described, is certainly grander than any of which we have a representation, either in Assyria or Egypt. Much more, then, would it transcend the thrones in inferior kingdoms. 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. No text from Poole on this verse. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps,.... There was a lion on each side of every step, a symbol of royal power, as before observed; so the Egyptians placed lions under the throne of Orus (r):

there was not the like made in any kingdom; for the matter and form of it, for its grandeur and magnificence; there was none at least at that time, whatever has been since; for this is the first throne of ivory we read of.

(r) Hori Apoll. Hieroglyph, l. 1. c. 17.

And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 20. - And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other, upon the six steps [It is somewhat doubtful whether there were twelve or fourteen lions in all. Most commentators assume that there were fourteen, and the text will certainly bear that construction. But it is altogether more likely that there were twelve; that is to say, that the two lions on the topmost step are the two mentioned in the preceding verse as "standing beside the stays," otherwise there would have been four lions on that step. And we all know that twelve had a significance such as could not attach to any other number (Bahr, Symbolik, 1:201-205; 2:133, 423). It would signify that all the tribes had an interest in the royal house (cf. 1 Kings 12:16; 2 Samuel 20:1); and a right of approach to the throne (cf. 1 Kings 18:31). The lion, a familiar emblem of sovereignty among many nations, had an especial appropriateness in this case, as being the symbol of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:9; cf. Numbers 23:24; Numbers 24:9). We are to see in them partly "symbols of the ruler's authority" (Keil), and partly, perhaps, they represented the twelve tribes as guardians of the throne. "The king mounted between figures of lions to his seat on the throne, and sat between figures of lions upon it" (Wordsworth). Thrones somewhat similar to this in character, but much less magnificent, are represented on the Assyrian monuments. The historian might justly add]: there was not the like made [Heb. not made so] in any kingdom. Solomon's Wealth and the Use He Made of It (cf. 2 Chronicles 9:13-21). - 1 Kings 10:14. The gold which Solomon received in one year amounted to 666 talents, - more than seventeen million thalers (two million and a half sterling - Tr.). 666 is evidently a round number founded upon an approximative valuation. אחת בּשׁנה is rendered in the Vulg. per annos singulos; but this is hardly correct, as the Ophir fleet, the produce of which is at any rate included, did not arrive every year, but once in three years. Thenius is wrong in supposing that this revenue merely applies to the direct taxes levied upon the Israelites. It includes all the branches of Solomon's revenue, whether derived from his commerce by sea and land (cf. 1 Kings 10:28, 1 Kings 10:29) or from the royal domains (1 Chronicles 27:26-31), or received in the form of presents from foreign princes, who either visited him like the queen of Saba or sent ambassadors to him (1 Kings 10:23, 1 Kings 10:24), excepting the duties and tribute from conquered kings, which are specially mentioned in 1 Kings 10:15. הת מאנשׁי לבד, beside what came in (לשׁלמה בּא) from the travelling traders and the commerce of the merchants, and from all the kings, etc. התּרים אנשׁי (a combination resembling our merchantmen; cf. Ewald, 287, e., p. 721) are probably the tradesmen or smaller dealers who travelled about in the country, and רכלים the wholesale dealers. This explanation of תּרים cannot be rendered doubtful by the objection that תּוּר only occurs elsewhere in connection with the wandering about of spies; for רכל signified originally to go about, spy out, or retail scandal, and after that to trade, and go about as a tradesman. הערב מלכי are not kings of the auxiliary and allied nations (Chald., Ges.), but kings of the mixed population, and according to Jeremiah 25:24, more especially of the population of Arabia Deserta (בּמּדבּר השּׁכנים), which bordered upon Palestine; for ערב rof is a mixed crowd of all kinds of men, who either attach themselves to a nation (Exodus 12:38), or live in the midst of it as foreigners (Nehemiah 13:3), hence a number of mercenaries (Jeremiah 50:37). In 2 Chronicles 9:14, הערב is therefore correctly explained by the term ערב, which does not mean the whole of Arabia, but "only a tract of country not very extensive on the east and south of Palestine" (Gesenius), as these tribes were tributary of Solomon. הארץ פּחות, the governors of the land, are probably the officers named in 1 Kings 4:7-19. As they collected the duties in the form of natural productions and delivered them in that form, so also did the tradesmen and merchants pay their duties, and the subjugated pastoral tribes of Arabia their tribute, in natura. This explains in a very simple manner why these revenues are separated from the revenue of Solomon which came in the form of money. פּחה is a foreign word, which first found its way into the Hebrew language after the times of the Assyrians, and sprang from the Sanscrit paksha, a companion or friend, which took the form of pakkha in Prakrit, and probably of pakha in the early Persian (vid., Benfey and Stern, die Monatsnamen, p. 195).
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