1 Kings 10:27
And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycomore trees that are in the vale, for abundance.
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(27) Made silver . . . as stones.—This influx of wealth is specially noted as enriching Jerusalem, probably without preventing the imposition of heavy burdens on the provinces. Hence the division of interest and allegiance manifested at the accession of Rehoboam. In the earlier years of the reign its prosperity is described as extending to all “Judah and Israel” (1Kings 4:20). But the wealth gathered by tribute, and by a commerce entirely in the hands of the king, would enrich only the Court and the capital; and much Oriental history, both ancient and modern, shows that such enrichment might leave the general population impoverished and oppressed

1 Kings 10:27-28. The king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones — An hyperbolical expression, signifying a great plenty of it. Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn — The two chief commodities of Egypt. The king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price — Agreed on between Pharaoh and Solomon, who gave this privilege to his merchants for a tribute to be paid out of this commodity. Most think byssus, fine linen, is here meant, one of the principal of the Egyptian merchandises.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.Made silver as stones - This strong hyperbole marks in the most striking way the great wealth and prosperity of the capital during Solomon's reign. The lavish expenditure which impoverished the provinces, and produced, or helped to produce, the general discontent that led to the outbreak under Jeroboam, enriched the metropolis, which must have profited greatly by the residence of the court, the constant influx of opulent strangers, and the periodical visits of all Israelites not hindered by some urgent reason at the great festivals.

The "sycomore-trees in the vale" (Shephelah) are mentioned also in 1 Chronicles 27:28. Like the olives and the vines, they were placed by David under a special overseer, on account of their value. The tree meant seems to be the sycomore proper, or "fig-mulberry," which is still common in Palestine, and is highly esteemed both on account of its fruit and its timber.

26-29.—(See on [309]2Ch 1:14 [and [310]2Ch 9:25].) Sycamore trees were vile and common. See Isaiah 9:10. And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones,.... By the vast quantity he received from Tarshish; this is an hyperbolical expression:

and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are the vale for abundance; not by the growth of them, but by the importation of them from the dominion of Hiram; this is said in the same figurative way; of the sycamore trees, Rauwolff says (g), they are what the Moors and Arabians calls "mumeitz"; which he describes to be as large and as high as white mulberry trees, and having almost the same leaves, but rounder, and their fruit not unlike our figs, only sweeter, and no little seeds within, and not so good; and are therefore not esteemed, and are commonly sold to the poorer sort, and that they grow in all fields and grounds; of which See Gill on Amos 7:14.

(g) Travels, par. 1. c. 4. p. 37.

And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are in the vale, for abundance.
27. silver] Here the LXX. has ‘gold and silver,’ and so too in the parallel passage 2 Chronicles 9:27, and where the passage is inserted 2 Chronicles 1:15 the LXX. reads τὸ ἀργύριον καὶ τὸ χρυσίον.

in the vale] The word (Shefelah) here rendered ‘vale’ is the name of that low-lying part of Palestine which stretches westward from the mountains of Judah to the Mediterranean (cf. Joshua 9:1; Joshua 12:8). The R.V. has always distinguished this as the lowland. It was a district fertile and specially well-wooded. The Hebrew word though at first only descriptive, became at last a proper name ‘Sephela.’ See 1Ma 12:38.Verse 27. - And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones [an obviously hyperbolical expression], and cedar trees made he to be as the sycamore trees [the שִׁקְמָה is the συκομωρέα of the New Testament (Luke 19:4), i.e., as the name imports, the fig mulberry - the "sycamine tree" of Luke 17:6 would seem to denote the mulberry proper. Though now but comparatively rare in Palestine, it is clear that formerly it was very common (see, e.g., Isaiah 9:10, whence it appears that it was used for building purposes, and where it is also contrasted with the cedars). It was esteemed both for its fruit and its wood, so much so that David appointed a steward to have the supervision both of "the olive trees and the sycamore trees in the Shefelah" (1 Chronicles 27:28). The sycamores of Egypt, which were used for the coffins of mummies (Dict. Bib. 3. p. 1394), are referred to in Psalm 78:47, in a way which bespeaks their great value. There is a good description of the tree in Thomson, "Land and Book," 1:23-25] that are in the vale [Same word as in 1 Chronicles l.c. The Shefelah is a "broad swelling tract of many hundred miles in area, which sweeps gently down from the mountains of Judah 'to mingle with the bounding main' of the Mediterranean" (Grove, Dict. Bib. 3. p. 1611). This "Low Country" extended from Joppa to Gaza. The translation "vale" is altogether misleading. Conder ("Tent-work," p. 5) describes it as "consisting of low hills, about five hundred feet above the sea, of white soft limestone," and adds that "the broad valleys among these hills... produce fine crops of corn, and on the hills the long olive groves flourish better than in other districts" - an incidental and valuable confirmation of the text. "The name Sifia, or Shephelah, still exists in four or five places round Beit Jibrin" (Eleutheropolis), ib. p. 276] for abundance. The drinking vessels of Solomon also were all of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon of costly gold (סגוּר: see at 1 Kings 6:20). Silver was counted as nothing, because the Tarshish fleet arrived once in three years, bringing gold, silver, etc. (see at 1 Kings 9:28).
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