And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Gathered together chariots.—See above, 1Kings 4:26. This gathering of chariots—the sign of military conquest and extended empire—is evidently noticed here in connection with the growth of commerce and wealth, as one of the powers which held Solomon’s kingdom together. Josephus (Ant. viii. 7, 4), in mentioning them, gives a vivid description of the use of these chariots and horsemen for progresses of royal magnificence and pleasure. But their chief use was. no doubt, military. The “chariot cities” would be the fortified posts, in the various parts of Solomon’s own dominions and in the tributary countries.1 Kings 10:26. Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen — Ah! what availed thy boasted wisdom, Solomon, when thou forsookest the only true wisdom, obedience to the commandment of the Lord! Ah! what availed it that thou wast wiser than all the children of the east; that thou couldst speak of trees, from the cedar-tree that was in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop — and of beasts, and of fowls, and of creeping things; when thou forgottest the beginning and the end of wisdom, the fear of the Lord? God had commanded that the kings of Israel should not multiply horses, (Deuteronomy 17:16,) and here we find the wisest of their kings multiplying them to a vast extent! Nor did he stop here, but having disobeyed in one point, he soon proceeded to transgress in another. Contrary to the divine prohibition, he also multiplied wives, and the consequence was, as the Lord predicted it would be in such a case, his wives turned away his heart after their gods. And, shameful to tell! the wise Solomon, who not long before had professed that there was no god in heaven above or in the earth beneath, but the God of Israel, is persuaded by his wives to erect altars to Ashtaroth, to Milcom, to Chemosh, and to Molech, and other abominable idols of the heathen, and that even in the hill before Jerusalem, the city of God, the holy city, joining the altars of devils to the altars of the TRUE and ONLY GOD! O sad change! and shameful stupidity! O shocking blindness! and this found in one of the wisest men! Alas! what is man! and what his best wisdom, when he forsakes the word of the Lord! Jeremiah 8:9. What a striking example have we here, that a wilful departing from the commandments of God even in the smallest point at the beginning, may, and probably will, by degrees, lead into the greatest errors, the foulest crimes, and consequently the greatest misery!1 Kings 4:26 note. Until the time of Solomon, war-chariots had not been in use among the Jews, except to a very small extent 1 Chronicles 18:4. Hence, it was necessary for him to put himself on an equality in this respect with neighboring powers.Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen; like a wise prince, in deep peace providing for war.
A thousand and four hundred chariots: See Poole "1 Kings 4:26".
and he had one thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; of the latter See Gill on 1 Kings 4:26.
whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem; some of the horsemen were quartered in the cities where the chariots were placed, and some of them in Jerusalem, to be near the king's person, and to be a guard to him on occasion. Josephus (f) says, half of them were in Jerusalem about the king, and the rest were dispersed through the king's villages.And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)26. And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen] By reason, as Josephus tells us, of the great number of horses which were brought to him in these yearly offerings. The word פרשׁ (parash) here rendered ‘horsemen’ means both the horse for riding and the rider. Just as we speak of so many hundred ‘horse’. סוס (sus) on the other hand was the draught horse.
Here we find the first institution of cavalry in Israel in defiance of the Deuteronomic law. If this book was compiled after Deuteronomy was written we should expect some reference to this violation. There is such a reference about another matter in 1 Kings 11:2.
a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen] The LXX. gives for the first clause ‘four thousand mares for his chariots,’ which agrees as far as the number is concerned with 2 Chronicles 9:25, ‘four thousand stalls for horses and chariots’: though in 2 Chronicles 1:14 we have precisely the same number both of chariots and horsemen specified as is given here.
at Jerusalem] After this the LXX. adds ‘and he was chief over all the kings from the River even unto the land of the Philistines and to the borders of Egypt.’Verse 26. - And Solomon gathered together his chariots and horsemen, and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots [these words have an important bearing on 1 Kings 4:26, where see note], and twelve thousand horsemen. [The question may suggest itself here, why did Solomon, who was a "man of peace," maintain such a formidable array of chariots and horsemen? For not only was it in contravention of Deuteronomy 17:16 (cf. 1 Samuel 8:11), but it was entirely unnecessary, especially for a nation inhabiting a hilly country like that of Israel. We find, consequently, that David, when he took a thousand chariots from Hadarezer (1 Chronicles 18:4), only reserved for his own use one hundred of them, though he was at the time engaged in war. It may perhaps be said that this force was necessary to keep the tributary kings in due subjection. But it seems quite as likely that it was maintained largely for the sake of pomp and display. Solomon seems to have determined in every way, and at any cost, to rival and surpass all contemporary kings. The maintenance of this large force of cavalry is another token of declension], whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots (1 Kings 9:19), and with the king at Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 9:17. The throne had six steps, and a "rounded head on the hinder part thereof," i.e., a back which was arched above or rounded off,
(Note: Instead of מאחריו לכּסּה עגול וראשׁ we have in the Chronicles מאחזים לכּסּא בּזּהב וכבשׁ, "and a footstool in gold fastened to the throne" (the plural מאחזים refers to the footstool and the steps). Now, however easily מאחזים may have been written by mistake for מאחריו, זהב כבשׁ cannot have grown out of עגול ראשׁ by any such mistake. The quid-pro-quo of the lxx for עגול rof xxl ראשׁ, προτομαὶ μόσχων, in which עגול is certainly confounded with עגל, does not warrant the conjecture of Thenius, that the Chronicler found עגל in his original and substituted כּבשׂ (lamb), whereupon כּבשׂ (lamb) was changed by another hand into כּבשׁ footstep, and ראשׁ was dropped altogether.)
and ירת, arms, i.e., arms on both sides of the seat (השּׁבת מקום), and two lions standing by the side of the arms. Beside this there were twelve lions upon the six steps, namely two upon each step, one on this side and one on that. Instead of אריים (1 Kings 10:20) we find ארירת in 1 Kings 10:19, just as we do in both verses of the Chronicles, not because the reference is to artificial, inanimate figures and not to natural lions, as Thenius supposes, but because the plural ending ים- is an unusual one with this word; and even where natural lions are spoken of, we always find ארירת in other passages (cf. Judges 14:5; 2 Samuel 1:23; 2 Kings 17:25; Sol 4:8, etc.). The lions were symbols of the ruler's authority; and the twelve lions upon the steps may possibly have pointed to the rule over the twelve tribes of Israel, which was concentrated in the throne; not "watchers of the throne," as Thenius thinks. This throne was so splendid a work, that the historian observes that nothing of the kind had ever been made for any other kingdom. Upon the early Assyrian monuments we do indeed find high seats depicted, which are very artistically worked, and provided with backs and arms, and some with the arms supported by figures of animals (see Layard's Nineveh and its Remains, vol. ii. p. 301), but none resembling Solomon's throne. It is not till a later age that the more splendid thrones appear (vid., Rosenmller, A. u. N. Morgenland, iii. pp. 176ff.).
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