However, I believed not the words, until I came, and my eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: your wisdom and prosperity exceeds the fame which I heard.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Kings 10:7-8. I believed not the words — Which were told me concerning thee: they seemed incredible, and above the perfection of human nature. Thy wisdom and prosperity — Hebrew, ושׂוב, vatob, and goodness, may be intended to signify either happiness or virtue. Exceeded the fame which I heard — This was remarkable, for people commonly find things to fall far short of their expectations. Happy are thy men — Thy subjects, especially those that are about thy person, and minister unto thee; who have an opportunity every day of hearing thy wise sayings and discourses. With much more reason may we say this of Christ’s servants: Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they will be always praising thee.1 Kings 4:22-23. The scene here described receives very apt illustration from the Assyrian banquet scenes, where we have numerous guests sitting, dressed handsomely in fringed robes, with armlets upon their arms, and bracelets round their wrists, attendants standing behind them, and magnificent drinking-cups, evidently of a costly metal, in the hands of the guests, which are filled from a great wine-bowl at one end of the chamber.
And his ascent by which he went up - A rendering preferable to "the burnt-offering which he cffered in." The "ascent" was probably a private way by which the king passed from his palace on the western hill, across the ravine (Tyropoeum) and up the eastern hill, to the west side of the temple area (compare the marginal reference).I believed not the words which the reporters used concerning him; or, the things reported; they seemed incredible, and above the perfection of human nature.
Prosperity; or, happiness; or, virtue; Heb. goodness.
and, behold, the half was not told me; of what she now saw and heard:
thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard; the inward endowments of his mind, and the outward magnificence of his court, exceeded the relation of them to her; they were beyond expression, they were so great that reporters could not hyperbolize upon them, nor even come up to them in their account of them, and in which yet men are apt to exceed.Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame] This is a good idiomatic representation of the Hebrew, which is literally ‘thou hast added wisdom and goodness to the fame &c.’ The ‘goodness’ here spoken of includes all material prosperity. Cf. Job 2:10, where the same word stands in the original, ‘Shall we receive good (i.e. such prosperity as Job had previously enjoyed) at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil?’ See also Psalm 104:28.Verse 7. - Howbeit, I believed not the words ["Fame, as it is always a blab, so ofttimes a liar" (Bp. Hall)] until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and behold, the half was not told me; thy wisdom and prosperity exceeded the fame [Heb. thou hast added wisdom and good to the report] which I heard. 2 Chronicles 9:1-12). - When the fame of Solomon's great wisdom came to the ears of the queen of Saba, probably through the Ophir voyages, she undertook a journey to Jerusalem, to convince herself of the truth of the report which had reached her, by putting it to the test by means of enigmas. שׁבא, Σαβά, is not Ethiopia or Mero, as Josephus (Ant. viii. 6, 5), who confounds שׁבא with סבא, and the Abyssinian Christians suppose (vid., Ludolfi hist. Aeth. ii. 3), but the kingdom of the Sabaeans, who were celebrated for their trade in incense, gold, and precious stones, and who dwelt in Arabia Felix, with the capital Saba, or the Μαριάβα of the Greeks. This queen, who is called Balkis in the Arabian legend (cf. Koran, Sur. 27, and Pococke, Specim. hist. Arab. p. 60), heard the fame of Solomon יהוה לשׁם; i.e., not "at the naming of the name of Jehovah" (Bttcher), nor "in respect of the glory of the Lord, with regard to that which Solomon had instituted for the glory of the Lord" (Thenius); nor even "serving to the glorification of God" (de Wette and Maurer); but literally, "belonging to the name of the Lord:" in other words, the fame which Solomon had acquired through the name of the Lord, or through the fact that the Lord had so glorified Himself in him (Ewald and Dietrich in Ges. Lex. s.v. ל). "She came to try him with riddles," i.e., to put his wisdom to the test by carrying on a conversation with him in riddles. The love of the Arabs for riddles, and their superiority in this jeu d'esprit, is sufficiently well known from the immense extent to which the Arabic literature abounds in Mashals. We have only to think of the large collections of proverbs made by Ali ben Abi Taleb and Meidani, or the Makamen of Hariri, which have been made accessible to all by F. Rckert's masterly translation into German, and which are distinguished by an amazing fulness of word-play and riddles. חידה, a riddle, is a pointed saying which merely hints at the deeper truth and leaves it to be guessed.
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