1 Kings 10:29
And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means.
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(29) A chariot.—This is the chariot and its team of two or three horses; the “horse” is the charger. The price (though so far considerable as to indicate a large expenditure on the whole) shows that the supply was large, and the commerce regular.

The kings of the Hittites, and the kings of Syria—evidently allies or tributaries of Solomon, who were allowed, or compelled, to purchase their horses and chariots through his merchants. Of all the earlier inhabitants of Palestine the Hittites alone are mentioned as having existed in power after the conquest (as here and in 2Kings 7:6); and this statement is curiously confirmed by both Egyptian and Assyrian inscriptions, describing a powerful confederacy of Hittites in the valley of the Orontes in Syria, not far from Phœnicia, with whom both empires waged war. The possession of horses and chariots by the northern confederacy round Hazor is especially noted in the history of the Conquest (Joshua 11:4-6).

1 Kings 10:29. A chariot came up — out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, &c. — Egypt being then the most famous country in the world for horses and chariots, and all Asia being supplied from thence, Solomon, who possessed, as it were, the gate of Egypt, by being master of that one only passage, the distance between the Red and the Mediterranean sea, took, it seems, an advantage of this, to lay an excessive high tribute on all that were brought out of Egypt that way, to supply Asia and the neighbouring nations; and perhaps he fixed this tribute so high, not only for the sake of gain, but to be a means of preventing the neighbouring nations from increasing their cavalry and chariots of war to too formidable a degree. Poole, however, thinks that this great price is not to be understood as paid for the chariots and horses themselves, but for the lading of the chariots and horses, which, consisting of fine linen and silk, was of great value: and that the king’s custom, together with the charges of the journey, amounted to these sums. And so for all the kings of the Hittites — A people dwelling principally in the northern and eastern parts of Canaan, (Joshua 1:4) the posterity of those Hittites who were driven out by the Israelites, and who afterward increased and grew potent, and, it may be, sent out colonies, after the manner of ancient times, into some parts of Syria and Arabia.

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.Taking the shekel at about three shillings of our money, six hundred silver shekels would be equal to about 90; and 150 shekels to 22 British pounds and 10 shillings. "Average" price seems to be in each case intended; and we may account for the comparatively high price of the chariot by supposing that by "chariot" is intended the entire equipage, including car, harness, and trained horses, of which there would be two at least, if not three. The "horses" mentioned separately from the chariots are not chariot-horses, but chargers for the cavalry.

The kings of the Hittites - See 2 Kings 7:6 note. The kings intended were probably Solomon's vassals, whose armies were at his disposal if he required their aid.

26-29.—(See on [309]2Ch 1:14 [and [310]2Ch 9:25].) A chariot: this is not to be understood of the chariots and horses themselves, (for then all horses had been set at an equal price, which is most absurd,) but by a metonymy, for the lading of chariots and horses, which consisting of fine linen and silk, &c., were of great value; and the king’s custom, together with the charges of the journey, amounted to these sums.

The Hittites; a people dwelling principally in the northern and eastern parts of Canaan, Joshua 1:4, whom the Israelites, contrary to their duty, spared, and suffered to live among them, Judges 3:5, who afterwards, it seems, grew numerous and potent, and, it may be, they sent out colonies (after the manner of the ancient times) into some parts of Syria and Arabia and possibly these kings of the Hittites may be some of those kings of Arabia, 1 Kings 10:15.

And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver,.... Which, reckoning at two shillings and six pence a shekel, amounted to seventy five pounds; but a shekel was not worth more than two shillings and four pence farthing:

and an horse for one hundred and fifty; and this being the fourth part of the above sum, the Jews gather from hence that there were four horses in a chariot; the horses must be reckoned one with another, the whole collection of them, or otherwise no doubt but one horse was better than another; and it was a pretty large price to give for a horse in those times; which, taking a shekel at the lowest rate, must be upwards of ten pounds; and which is too great a sum still for a custom or tribute to be paid for them, whether to Pharaoh or Solomon, as some understand it:

and so for all the kings of the Hittites; perhaps the same with the kings of Arabia, 1 Kings 10:15 and for the kings of Syria; those of Damascus, Zobah, &c.

did they bring them out by their means; that is, by the means of Solomon's merchants, who bought them out of Egypt, and sold them to these kings.

And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means.
29. And a chariot] The word is used (Exodus 14:25; Joshua 11:6; Joshua 11:9, &c.) for a ‘chariot employed in war,’ and that is probably the sense here. These also Solomon’s merchants supplied from Egypt, and in this verse we have the notice of their retail trade. It may be that these traders did not pay to the king according to their profits, but paid him a duty for the privilege of trading; but this does not appear.

The Hebrew word for ‘shekels’ is omitted here as in 1 Kings 10:16 above. See note there.

for all the kings of the Hittites] The Hittites were divided into numerous small kingdoms, situated in the country between the Euphrates on one side and Hamath and Damascus on the other. Their two chief cities were Carchemish and Kadesh. In the early times some Hittite settlements were made in southern Palestine, and we read of these people in the days of the patriarchs (Genesis 26:34, &c.).

and for the kings of Syria] Syria (Heb. Aram) is the name given in the Old Test. to all the country north-east of Phœnicia and extending beyond the Euphrates and Tigris. Sometimes the term includes the Hittite country. Mesopotamia is distinguished (Genesis 24:10; Deuteronomy 23:5, &c.) as Aram-Naharaim (i.e. Syria of the two rivers), and is sometimes called Padan-Aram (Genesis 25:20). Other portions were known by distinctive names, as Aram-Maachah (1 Chronicles 19:6), Arambeth-Rehob (2 Samuel 10:6), Aram-Zobah (2 Samuel 10:6; 2 Samuel 10:8). It was for the princes of these districts that Solomon’s merchants brought up horses and chariots from Egypt. All these small kingdoms became afterwards subject to Damascus.

by their means] Literally ‘in their hand.’ That is, these merchants were the agents through whom the various princes obtained their supplies. In 2 Chronicles 9:28 it is not only from Egypt, but from all lands, that horses for Solomon’s trade were brought, but 2 Chronicles 1:16-17 is word for word the same as the account in this chapter.

Verse 29. - And a chariot [including perhaps the two or three horses (see note on 1 Kings 5:6) usually attached to a chariot, and the harness. רֶכֶב is used (2 Samuel 8:4; 2 Samuel 10:18; Ezekiel 39:20) for chariot and horses] came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver [about £80 (Wordsworth, £35), but, as these figures show, the precise value cannot be ascertained with certainty. But it is quite clear that these amounts cannot have been the custom duty, or the profits after reckoning all expenses (Ewald) paid on chariots and horses, but must represent the actual price], and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites. [We can hardly see in these Hittites representatives of the seven nations of Canaan (Wordsworth, al.), though the term "Hittite" is sometimes undoubtedly used as a nomen generale for Canaanites (Joshua 1:4; Ezekiel 16:3), for the Canaanitish bes had been reduced to bond service, the Hittites amongst them (1 Kings 9:20). The word is probably used somewhat loosely of the semi-independent tribes bordering on Palestine, the Khatti of the Assyrian inscriptions (Dict. Bib. 1:819), with whom Solomon had a sort of alliance. It is a curious coincidence that we find horses and chariots associated in popular estimation with the Hittites, at a later period of the history (2 Kings 7:6). Nor are we justified in supposing that these horses and chariots were furnished as cavalry to "Solomon's vassals, whose armies were at his disposal, if he required their aid" (Rawlinson), for the kings of Syria are mentioned presently, and some of these at least were enemies to Solomon. Probably all we are to understand is that neighbouring nations received their supply of horses from Egypt - the home of horses and chariots (Exodus 14:6; Exodus 15:1; Deuteronomy 17:16; Isaiah 31:1; Jeremiah 46:2-4) - largely through the instrumentality of Solomon's merchants], and for the kings of Syria ["who became the bitterest enemies of Israel" (Wordsworth): one fruit of a worldly policy], did they bring them out by their means. [Heb. by their hand they brought them out, i.e., they exported them through Solomon's traders.

1 Kings 10:29"And there came up and went out a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty shekels; and so (in the same manner as for Solomon) they led them out for all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram through their hand." מרכּבה, like רכב in 2 Samuel 8:4; 2 Samuel 10:18, and Ezekiel 39:20, denotes a chariot with the team of horses belonging to it, possibly three horses (see at 1 Kings 5:6), not quadriga (Clericus and others), or two draught horses and two as a reserve (Thenius). For the inference, that if a horse cost 150 shekels, a team of four would be obtained for 600, is not quite a certain one, since the chariot itself would certainly not be given in. A hundred and fifty shekels are a little more than 130 thalers (19, 10s. - Tr.), and 600 would be 525 thalers (78, 15s.). These amounts are sufficient to show how untenable the opinion of Movers is, that the sums mentioned are not the prices paid for horses and chariots, but the payment made for their exit, or the customs duty. And his other opinion is quite equally erroneous, namely that the chariots and horses were state carriages and horses of luxury intended for the king. - The merchants are called the king's traders, not because a portion of their profits went into the royal treasury as the tax upon trade (Bertheau), nor as the brokers who bought for the king (Thenius), but because they carried on their trade for the king's account. בּידם cannot be adduced as evidence to the contrary; for linguists require no proof that this cannot mean "auf ihre Hand," as Thenius assumes. Bttcher's explanation is the right one, namely, "through their hand," inasmuch as they brought the horses and chariots themselves even to those kings who lived at a greater distance, without employing intermediate agents. The kings of the חתּים, the Hittites in the wider sense ( equals Canaanites, as in Joshua 1:4; 2 Kings 7:6; Ezekiel 16:3), and of Aram, were in part Solomon's vassals, since his rule extended over all the Canaanites with the exception of the Phoenicians, and over several kingdoms of Aram.
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