1 Kings 10:28
And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) Linen yarn.—The introduction of this seems to be an error. If the reading of the Hebrew text is to stand, the sense appears to be, “And Solomon’s horses were brought from Egypt; a troop of the king’s merchants obtained a troop (of horses) at a fixed price.” The horses were brought up (that is) in caravans from the plains of Egypt, where they abounded (see Genesis 47:17; Exodus 9:3; Exodus 14:9; Deuteronomy 17:17; Isaiah 31:1; Isaiah 36:9), although from their not being represented on the monuments before the eighteenth dynasty it is thought they were introduced from abroad, perhaps by the Hyksos, or shepherd kings. But the LXX. has a remarkable various reading “and from Tekoa” (from which the Vulg. et de Coa, probably comes), according to which the passage runs very simply: “And Solomon’s horses were brought from Egypt; and from Tekoa the king’s merchants,” &c. Tekoa lay on the hills to the east of Hebron, not far from Bethlehem, and might well be an emporium for caravans from Egypt. The parallel passages of 2Chronicles 1:16-17; 2Chronicles 9:28, give us no help, for the former is exactly the same as this, and the latter runs thus: “And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt and out of all lands.”

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.The word translated "linen yarn" is thought now by Hebraists to mean "a troop" or "company." If the present reading is retained, they would translate the passage - "As for the bringing up of Solomon's horses out of Egypt, a band of the king's merchants fetched a band (or troop) of horses at a price." But the reading is very uncertain. The Septuagint had before them a different one, which they render "and from Tekoa." Tekoa, the home of Amos Amo 1:1, was a small town on the route from Egypt to Jerusalem, through which the horses would have naturally passed. The monuments of the 18th and of later dynasties make it clear that the horse, though introduced from abroad, became very abundant in Egypt. During the whole period of Egyptian prosperity the corps of chariots constituted a large and effective portion of the army. That horses were abundant in Egypt at the time of the Exodus is evident from Exodus 9:3; Exodus 14:9, Exodus 14:23, Exodus 14:28; Deuteronomy 17:16. That they continued numerous in later times appears from frequent allusions, both in the Historical Books of Scripture and in the prophets, as 2 Kings 7:6; 2 Kings 18:24; Isaiah 36:9; Ezekiel 17:15, etc. The monuments show that the horse was employed by the Egyptians in peace no less than in war, private persons being often represented as paying visits to their friends in chariots. 26-29.—(See on [309]2Ch 1:14 [and [310]2Ch 9:25].) Horses and linen yarn; the two chief commodities of Egypt. See Proverbs 7:16 Song of Solomon 1:9 Isaiah 3:23 Ezekiel 27:7.

The king’s merchants received the linen yarn for a price; Solomon received them from Pharaoh at a certain price agreed between them, and gave this privilege to his merchants, for a tribute to be paid to him out of it.

And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt,.... To mount his horsemen with, and draw his chariots; which seems contrary to the command in Deuteronomy 17:16.

and linen yarn; the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price; or rather linen itself; or linen garments, as Ben Gersom; linen being the staple commodity of Egypt, see Isaiah 19:9, but no mention is made of yarn in 2 Chronicles 9:28, and the word rendered "linen yarn" signifies a confluence or collection of waters and other things; and the words may be rendered, "as for the collection, the king's merchants received the collection at a price"; that is, the collection of horses, a large number of them got together for sale; these they took at a price set upon them (h), which is as follows.

(h) Vid. Braunium de Vest. Sacerdot. Heb. l. 1. c. 8. sect. 9, 10, 11.

And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt] The first clause of the verse ends here according to the Hebrew punctuation, and this appears to be a general statement, of which the particulars are given in what follows. But the literal rendering is ‘and the export of horses which was to Solomon (was) from Egypt;’ and this the R.V. represents by And the horses which Solomon had were brought out of Egypt.

and linen yarn] The word (מקוה) mikveh so translated, is derived from a verb which implies ‘a stringing together,’ and a kindred noun (תקוה) tikvah, is used (Joshua 2:18) for the line of scarlet cord which Rahab was ordered to bind in her window. From this connexion the rendering of the A.V. is derived. But the word in the text is used for gathering together in other senses, and here seems to be intended for ‘a string of horses,’ which sense the R.V. has represented by ‘a drove.’ The word occurs twice over and must have the same sense in both places of the same verse. The whole is rendered in R.V. and the king’s merchants received them in droves, each drove at a price. The Hebrew pointing represents the word מקוה in a form which may be considered in construction, though it need not necessarily be so. Hence some have given a double meaning to the word, referringit in the first place to the caravan of merchants, and only in the second place to the string of horses. The rendering then would be ‘And a company of the king’s merchants received a (each) drove of horses at a price.’ But it appears harsh to give two senses to the same word in the same verse.

What appears to be meant is that the king’s representatives dealt wholesale with the Egyptian breeders, contracting to take so many horses for a stipulated sum; afterwards they brought the droves away, and disposed of them, as retailers, and hence secured for king Solomon a considerable revenue by the profits.

The Vulgate takes the word ‘Mikveh’ ‘a drove’ as being a proper name preceded by a preposition, and renders ‘and from Coa.’ The LXX. has done something of the same kind, but has taken the word as ‘Tekoa’ καὶ ἐκ Θεκουέ.

Verse 28. - And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price. [This is a difficult passage, and the difficulty lies in the word מִקְוֶה, here rendered "linen yarn." Elsewhere the word signifies, a congregation, or gathering, as of water (Genesis 1:10; Exodus 7:19; Leviticus 11:36). Consequently, Gesenius (with Vatablus, al.) would here interpret, "company." "And the company of kings' merchants took the company (of horses) at a price." The great difficulty in the way of this interpretation is perhaps the paronomasia, which, though not altogether without precedent, would be formal and unusual in grave history. Somewhat similarly Bahr: "and as to horses... and their collection, the merchants of the king made a collection for a certain price," but this again is strained and artificial. Perhaps it is safer to see in the word the name of a place. The LXX. (similarly the Vulgate) renders, "from Egypt and from Thekoa," καὶ ἐκ θεκουὲ, which Keil, however, contends is manifestly a variation of an older reading, καὶ ἐκ Κουὲ, "and from Κουα." As to Koa or Kova, it is objected that no such place is mentioned elsewhere, and it is alleged that if it were a market for horses, or even if it were a frontier station, where the duties on horses were collected, we should surely have heard of it again. But this is by no means certain. Koa may well have been an in. significant post on the frontier which it was only necessary to mention in this connexion. Θεκουὲ certainly looks like an emendation, but it is to be remembered that although Tekoa (Amos 1:1; 2 Chronicles 11:6; 2 Chronicles 20:20) was apparently an insignificant village, still it gave its name to a district; it was no great distance from the Egyptian frontier - it was some six Roman miles south of Bethlehem, according to Jerome (in Amos, Proem.), and it may have been the rendezvous of the Egyptian and Hebrew horse dealers. The text would thus yield the following meaning: "And as for the expert of Solomon's horses from Egypt and from Koa (or Tekoa), the king's merchants took them from Koa (or Tekoa) at a price." 1 Kings 10:28(cf. 2 Chronicles 1:16-17). "And (as for) the going out of horses from Egypt for Solomon, a company of king's merchants fetched (horses) for a definite price." This is the only possible explanation of the verse according to the Masoretic punctuation; but to obtain it, the first מקוה must be connected with סחרי in opposition to the accents, and the second must be pointed מקוה. This is the rendering adopted by Gesenius in his Thesaurus and Lexicon (ed. Dietr. s. v. מקוה). The meaning company or troop may certainly be justified from Genesis 1:10; Exodus 7:19, and Leviticus 11:36, where the word signifies an accumulation of water. Still there is something very strange not only in the application of the word both to a company of traders and also to a troop of horses, but also in the omission of סוּסים (horses) after the second מקוה. Hence the rendering of the lxx and Vulgate deserves attention, and may possibly be the one to be preferred (as Michaelis, Bertheau on Chron., and Movers assume). The translators of these versions have taken מקוה as the name of a place, ἐξ Ἐκουέ, or rather ἐκ Κουέ, de Coa.

(Note: That Κουέ or Κωέ is the earliest reading of the lxx, and not the ἐκ Θεκουέ of the Cod. Vat. and Alex., is very evident from the statement which we find in the Onomast. of Eusebius (ed. Larsow et Parth. p. 260), Κώδ, πλησίον Αἰγύπτου; for which Jerome has Coa, quae est juxta Aegyptum, after the Vulgate.)

According to this, the rendering would be: "And as for the going out of horses from Egypt and Koa (or Kawe) for Solomon, the king's traders fetched them from Joa (Kawe) for a fixed price." It is true that the situation of Koa cannot be more precisely defined; but there seems to be very little doubt that it was a place for the collection of customs upon the frontier of Egypt.

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