1 Kings 11:21
And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to my own country.
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(21, 22) When Hadad heard.—If (as the text seems to suggest) this took place on the news of the death of David and of Joab, the scourge of Edom, it belongs, of course, to the early part of the reign of Solomon, before his power was established. The courteous evasion by the Pharaoh of that time of Hadad’s request for permission to return, may probably indicate the beginning of the change of attitude towards the powerful monarchy of Israel, which took effect in the subsequent close alliance of the kingdoms. As the text stands, the record here stops abruptly, and then recurs to Hadad by a curious allusion in 1Kings 11:25. It can hardly be doubted that there is some omission or dislocation of the text. The LXX. (in the Vatican MS.) introduces after the words “Hadad the Edomite” in 1Kings 11:14, the words “and Rezon the son of Eliadah . . . all the days of Solomon” from 1Kings 11:23-25; and then, resuming the story of Hadad, adds, after the record of his request to Pharaoh, “and Hadad returned to his land. This is the mischief which Hadad did, and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Edom.” Josephus, on the other hand, says that at the time of the original request, Pharaoh refused permission; but that in the declining years of Solomon it was granted, and that Hadad, finding it impossible to excite rebellion in Edom, which was strongly garrisoned, joined Rezon in Syria, and with him established an independent power, and did mischief to Israel. (Ant. viii. 6, 6.) This account is itself probable enough; it accounts, moreover, for the close connection in the history (especially in the LXX. reading) between Hadad and Rezon, and for the insertion of the whole matter in this place; and accords also with the fact that, while Syria seems at once to become independent after the death of Solomon, we hear of no revolt of Edom till the time of Jelioshaphat (2 Chronicles 20).

1 Kings 11:21-22. Hadad said — Let me depart, that I may go to my own country — To Edom, which he hoped to recover, now that the great enemies of it, David and Joab, (whom he feared as much as David,) were dead, and Solomon was young. Thither he accordingly came; and was there even from the beginning of Solomon’s reign. And, it is probable, by the near relation which was between his wife and Solomon’s, and by Pharaoh’s intercession, he obtained his kingdom with condition of subjection and tribute to be paid by him to Solomon; which condition he kept till Solomon fell from God, and then began to be troublesome and dangerous to his house and kingdom.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.That Hadad should wait for the death of Joab before requesting leave to return to Idumaea shows how terrible an impression had been made by the severe measures which that commander had carried out twenty-five or thirty years previously 1 Kings 11:16. The inability of refugees to depart from an Oriental court without the king's leave, and his unwillingness ordinarily to grant leave, are illustrated by many passages in the history of Persia. 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.

Joab the captain of the host, whom he feared as much as David himself.

That I may go to mine own country; whither accordingly he came, and was there even from the beginning of Solomon’s reign; where he either lived as a private person, yet secretly working for the recovery of his crown when an opportunity was offered; or rather, by the near relation which was between his wife and Solomon’s; and by Pharaoh’s intercession he obtained his kingdom, with condition of subjection and tribute to be paid by him to Solomon; which condition he kept till Solomon fell from God, and then it seems he began to be troublesome to him, and dangerous to his house and kingdom. And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers,.... Was dead and buried, as the death of princes is soon known in other countries, and especially a king of such fame as David:

and that Joab the captain of the host was dead: whose name might be terrible to Hadad, because of the slaughter of men he had made in his country:

Hadad said unto Pharaoh, let me depart, that I may go to mine own country; with a view and an hope to recover it, now David and Joab were dead.

And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.
21. when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers] Hadad’s first attempt to depart from Egypt was therefore soon after Solomon’s accession. It is clear however from the history that it was only after some pressure that the Egyptian king allowed him to go. The mischief that he did (see 1 Kings 11:25) would be by stirring up his countrymen to cast off the yoke of the Israelites. We must allow a considerable time for any revolt to be organized, and we are not told that any outbreak really took place, but only that mischief was done through Hadad’s agitation.

and that Joab the captain of the host was dead] Joab’s name would be one to spread terror, because of the severity he had displayed toward Edom. (See above, 1 Kings 11:15-16.) Hadad therefore waited to hear of his death also, before he ventured to take any step for his own restoration.Verse 21. - And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead [It comes out very significantly here what a name of terror Joab's had been in Edom and how deep was the impression which his bloody vengeance of a quarter of a century before had made] Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart [Heb. send me away], that I may go to mine own country. [Rawlinson cites Herod. 3:132-137; 5:25, 35, 106, 107, to show that refugees at Oriental courts must obtain permission to leave them.] When David had to do with the Edomites, ... Hadad fled. את היה is analogous to עם היה, to have to do with any one, though in a hostile sense, as in the phrase to go to war with (את) a person, whereas עם היה generally means to be upon the side of any one. The correctness of the reading בּהיוה is confirmed by all the ancient versions, which have simply paraphrased the meaning in different ways. For Bttcher has already shown that the lxx did not read בּהכּות, as Thenius supposes. The words from בּעלות to the end of 1 Kings 11:16 form explanatory circumstantial clauses. On the circumstance itself, compare 2 Samuel 8:13-14, with the explanation given there. "The slain," whom Joab went to bury, were probably not the Israelites who had fallen in the battle in the Salt valley (2 Samuel 8:13), but those who had been slain on the invasion of the land by the Edomites, and still remained unburied. After their burial Joab defeated the Edomites in the valley of Salt, and remained six months in Edom till he had cut off every male. "All Israel" is the whole of the Israelitish army. "Every male" is of course only the men capable of bearing arms, who fell into the hands of the Israelites; for "Hadad and others fled, and the whole of the Idumaean race was not extinct" (Clericus). Then Hadad fled, while yet a little boy, with some of his father's Edomitish servants, to go to Egypt, going first of all to Midian and thence to Paran. The country of Midian cannot be more precisely defined, inasmuch as we meet with Midianites sometimes in the peninsula of Sinai on the eastern side of the Elanitic Gulf, where Edrisi and Abulfeda mention a city of Madian (see at Exodus 2:15), and sometimes on the east of the Moabitish territory (see at Numbers 22:4 and Judges 6:1). Here, at any rate, we must think of the neighbourhood of the Elanitic Gulf, though not necessarily of the city of Madian, five days' journey to the south of Aela; and probably of the country to which Moses fled from Egypt. Paran is the desert of that name between the mountains of Sinai and the south of Canaan (see at Numbers 10:12), through which the Haj route from Egypt by Elath to Mecca still runs. Hadad would be obliged to take the road by Elath in order to go to Egypt, even if he had taken refuge with the Midianites on the east of Moab and Edom.
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