1 Kings 11:18
And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land.
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(18) They arose out of Midian.—The expression is a curious one; for we should have expected the starting-point of the flight to have been described in Edom itself. If the reading of the text is correct, the reference must be either to some branch of the Midianitish tribes settled between Edom and the desert of Paran, or to a city Midian, not far from the Gulf of Elath, of which some ancient authorities speak, and to which the LXX. expressly refers here.

Paran (see Genesis 21:21; Numbers 10:12; Numbers 12:16; Numbers 13:3; Numbers 13:26 : 1Samuel 25:1) is part of the Sinaitic region, adjacent to the wilderness of Zin, and north of the range now called the El-Tîh mountains. It lies to the west of the Edomite territory, and was then evidently inhabited by an independent race, from which the fugitive companions of Hadad enlisted support.

Pharaoh king of Egypt.—The dynasty then reigning in Lower Egypt is that called the twenty-first, or Tanite, dynasty. Chronological considerations, and perhaps internal probabilities, suggest that this Pharaoh was not the same as the king who became father-in-law to Solomon. But the same policy of alliance with the occupants of Palestine and the neighbourhood is equally exemplified in both cases, though by different methods; and accords well with the apparent decadence of Egyptian power at this time, of which very little record is preserved in the monuments. Jealousy of the growing power of Israel under David and Solomon might prompt this favourable reception of Hadad, as afterwards of Jeroboam. The marriage of Solomon with the daughter of Pharaoh, and the active co-operation of Pharaoh against Gezer (1Kings 9:16), indicate an intervening variation of policy, without, however, any change in the general design of securing Egypt by alliances on the north-east. In this case the intermarriage of Hadad with the royal house, and the inclusion of his son Genubath among the children of Pharaoh, argue an unusual distinction, which could only have been due to a high estimate of the importance of influence over the strong country of Edom, and of the future chances of Hadad’s recovery of the throne.

1 Kings 11:18. They arose out of Midian — They first went into Midian and stayed there a while, probably that they might send from thence to know whether Pharaoh would give them entertainment and protection. And came to Paran — Another country in the road from Edom to Egypt, where he hired men to attend him, probably either as guides, or that, making his entrance into Egypt in some degree like a prince, he might find more favour from the king and people. Which gave him a house, &c. — According to the manner of generous princes, who pity noble persons that are in distress, Pharaoh not only assigned him a house, and kept a table for him, that he might want nothing, but also gave him land, that out of the revenues of it he might provide himself an equipage suitable to his quality.11:14-25 While Solomon kept close to God and to his duty, there was no enemy to give him uneasiness; but here we have an account of two. If against us, he can make us fear even the least, and the very grasshopper shall be a burden. Though they were moved by principles of ambition or revenge, God used them to correct Solomon.Midian - A town in the south of Judah. Paran is the desert tract immediately to the south of Judaea, the modern desert of et-Tih.

Pharaoh - King of the twenty-first (Tanite) dynasty; probably he was Psusennes I, Manetho's second king. It appears to have been the policy of the Pharaohs about this time to make friends and contract alliances with their eastern neighbors.

1Ki 11:14-40. Solomon's Adversaries.

14-25. the Lord stirred up an adversary—that is, permitted him, through the impulse of his own ambition, or revenge, to attack Israel. During the war of extermination, which Joab carried on in Edom (2Sa 8:13), this Hadad, of the royal family, a mere boy when rescued from the sword of the ruthless conqueror, was carried into Egypt, hospitably entertained, and became allied with the house of the Egyptian king. In after years, the thought of his native land and his lost kingdom taking possession of his mind, he, on learning the death of David and Joab, renounced the ease, possessions, and glory of his Egyptian residence, to return to Edom and attempt the recovery of his ancestral throne. The movements of this prince seem to have given much annoyance to the Hebrew government; but as he was defeated by the numerous and strong garrisons planted throughout the Edomite territory, Hadad seems to have offered his services to Rezon, another of Solomon's adversaries (1Ki 11:23-25). This man, who had been general of Hadadezer and, on the defeat of that great king, had successfully withdrawn a large force, went into the wilderness, led a predatory life, like Jephthah, David, and others, on the borders of the Syrian and Arabian deserts. Then, having acquired great power, he at length became king in Damascus, threw off the yoke, and was "the adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon." He was succeeded by Hadad, whose successors took the official title of Ben-hadad from him, the illustrious founder of the powerful kingdom of Damascene-Syria. These hostile neighbors, who had been long kept in check by the traditional fame of David's victories, took courage; and breaking out towards the latter end of Solomon's reign, they must have not only disturbed his kingdom by their inroads, but greatly crippled his revenue by stopping his lucrative traffic with Tadmor and the Euphrates.

They arose out of Midian; he fled at first with an intent to go into Egypt, as is said, 1 Kings 11:17, but took Midian, a neighbouring country, in his way, and staid there a while, possibly till he had by some of his servants tried Pharaoh’s mind, and prepared the way for his reception.

Paran; another country in the road from Edom to Egypt, where he hired men to attend him, that making his entrance there something like a prince, he might find more favour and respect from that king and people.

Appointed him victuals, and gave him land, to support himself and his train out of the profits of it. And they arose out of Midian,.... A country which lay in their way to Egypt, and where it seems they made some stay, and then departed:

and came to Paran; near to which was a wilderness of the same name, in which the Israelites wandered when they came out of Egypt, and which lay between Edom and Egypt:

and they took men with them out of Paran; either as guides and guards through the wilderness, or to make the better appearance before Pharaoh, and that they might meet with the better reception:

and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; and told their case, and informed him who Hadad was: who, pitying an unfortunate young prince,

gave him an house; for him and his servants to dwell in:

and appointed him victuals; a daily provision for him and his men:

and gave him land; for his servants to cultivate, and from thence to raise a revenue for his support; the Jewish writers say he gave him cities to rule over; but as he was but a little child when he came, it cannot be thought that was done, at least directly.

And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land.
18. And they arose out of Midian] It is not easy to decide what place or district is meant by Midian. The country so called in the time of Moses (Exodus 2:15; Exodus 3:1) could not have been far away from Mt. Sinai, and the fugitives from Edom would hardly have made their way to such a distance before setting out on their journey to Egypt. If the Midianites wandered about in the desert it may be that there was some more northern district nearer to the south-west of Edom which was called after them. Of this however we have no information.

The LXX. here reads ἐκ τῆς πόλεως Μαδιάμ, thus explaining the word as the name of a city. There is however a difference of reading in Jdg 10:12 which may help us. There we read ‘The Zidonians and Amalek and Maon did oppress you … and I delivered you out of their hand.’ Now instead of Maon the LXX. in that passage gives Madiam. The two words appear in Hebrew as מצון and מדין respectively, very closely resembling each other. But in the book of Judges ‘Maon’ is not mentioned among the enemies of Israel, but the Midianites play a conspicuous part. It seems likely therefore that the LXX. is correct and that in Jdg 10:12 ‘Midian’ should be read instead of ‘Maon’.

In the present verse it would almost seem as if the contrary change should be made. We read of Maon among the cities on the south of Judah, and not far from Paran, in the story of Nabal (1 Samuel 25:2). There we read that David could send men from the wilderness of Paran up to Maon, and when they came back rudely repulsed could set forth himself to chastise Nabal. If we suppose these fugitive Edomites to have taken refuge for a brief time in the mountainous district of south Judah, where Maon was, the rest of their proceedings becomes explicable. They came from Maon to the wilderness of Paran, found some men there, either fellow fugitives or others, whom they took as guides and a convoy and thus made their way to Egypt.

Paran] By this name seems to be meant that wilderness which beginning on the south of Judah and south-west of Edom is now known as El-Tih, and which was the scene of the wanderings of the Israelites.

unto Pharaoh king of Egypt] This king may have been the immediate predecessor of the monarch whose daughter Solomon married. There need not have been more than 30 years, if so much, between these events in David’s life, and the marriage of Solomon.

victuals] Heb. ‘bread,’ i.e. a regular sustenance for himself and those he had brought with him. In the same way ‘land’ implies a place in which they all might settle and live during their stay.Verse 18. - And they arose out of Midian [a name of wide and somewhat varied significance. Midian embraces the eastern portion of the peninsula of Sinai (Exodus 2:15, 21; Exodus 3:1), and stretches along the eastern border of Palestine. The term has been compared with our "Arabia." And the indefiniteness arises in both instances from the same cause, viz., that the country was almost entirely desert. Midian would thus extend along the back or east of Edom. There is no need, consequently (with Thenius), to read מָעון i.e., their dwelling. It is noticeable, however, that the LXX. reads ἐκ τῆς πόλεως Μαδμὶμ, and some of the geographers do mention a city of that name on the eastern shore of the Elanitic gulf], and came to Paran [Elsewhere Mount Paran, Habakkuk 3:3; Deuteronomy 33:2; a desert and mountainous tract lying between Arabia Petraea, Palestine, and Idumaea (see Numbers 10:12; Numbers 13:3, 27; 1 Samuel 25:1; Deuteronomy 1:1), and comprehending the desert of Et Tih. It is difficult to identify it with greater precision, but it has been connected with the beautiful Wady Feiran, near Mount Serbal, in the Sinaitic range, which would agree fairly well with our narrative]: and they took men with them out of Pavan [as guides through the desert, and possibly as a protection also], and came to Egypt [The direct route from Edom to Egypt would be across the desert of Et Tih - practically the route of the caravan of pilgrims from Mecca. But this does not settle the position of Paran, as the text seems to hint that the fugitives did not proceed direct from Edom. They may have taken refuge in the first instance amongst the tribes of Midian; or they may have diverged from the straight course through fear], unto Pharaoh king of Egypt [This cannot have been the Pharaoh who was Solomon's father-in-law, for in the first place, the flight was in the time of David, and secondly, a prince who had aided and abetted these fugitives would hardly be likely to form an alliance with their great enemy. It may have been Psusennes II.]; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals [i.e., certain cities or officers were charged with his maintenance, though, as his relations with the royal family were so extremely intimate (vers. 19-22), he may have been fed from the royal table], and gave him land. Through this apostasy from the Lord his God, who had appeared to him twice (1 Kings 3:5. and 1 Kings 9:2.) and had warned him against idolatry (וצוּה is a continuation of the participle הנּראה), Solomon drew down upon himself the anger of Jehovah. The emphasis lies upon the fact that God had appeared to him Himself for the purpose of warning him, and had not merely caused him to be warned by prophets, as Theodoret has explained. In consequence of this, the following announcement is made to him, no doubt through the medium of a prophet, possibly Ahijah (1 Kings 11:29): "Because this has come into thy mind, and thou hast not kept my covenant, ... I will tear the kingdom from thee and give it to thy servant; nevertheless I will not do it in thy lifetime for thy father David's sake: howbeit I will not tear away the whole kingdom; one tribe I will give to thy son." In this double limitation of the threatened forfeiture of the kingdom there is clearly manifested the goodness of God (δείκνυσι τὴν ἄμετρον ἀγαθότητα - Theodoret); not, however, with reference to Solomon, who had forfeited the divine mercy through his idolatry, but with regard to David and the selection of Jerusalem: that is to say, not from any special preference for David and Jerusalem, but in order that the promise made to David (2 Samuel 7), and the choice of Jerusalem as the place where His name should be revealed which was connected with that promise, might stand immoveably as an act of grace, which no sin of men could overturn (vid., 1 Kings 11:36). For אחד שׁבט see the Comm. on 1 Kings 11:31, 1 Kings 11:32.
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