Geber the son of Uri was in the country of Gilead, in the country of Sihon king of the Amorites, and of Og king of Bashan; and he was the only officer which was in the land.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
In place of the reading of the text, “and he was the only officer in the land”—which yields very little meaning, for in each of the divisions there was but one governor—the LXX. here reads, “and Naseph (or an officer), one only in the land of Judah.” The reading seems probable; for it will be noticed that in the enumeration the territory of Judah is otherwise altogether omitted. It supplies accordingly here the mention of a special governor, over and above the twelve, for the royal tribe. It has been thought that as Judah was the home province, it was under no other government than that of the king’s officers at Jerusalem; but for purposes of revenue it seems hardly likely that it should have been excepted from the general system. Possibly Azariah, who was over the officers residing at the Court, may have been its territorial governor.
In some MSS. of the Greek Version, 1Kings 4:27-28 immediately follow 1Kings 4:19, and (as 1Kings 4:20-21 are omitted) they form a link between 1Kings 4:7-19 and 1Kings 4:22-23, in a very natural order.1 Kings 4:19. In the country of Gilead — That is, in the remaining part of that land of Gilead which was mentioned above. The only officer in the land — Or rather, in that land; namely, in all Gilead, excepting the parcels mentioned before, the only one in all the territories of Sihon and Og. These were of large extent, and yet all committed to this one man, which is here noticed as a peculiar privilege which he had above the other officers, whose jurisdictions were of narrower extent.In the country of Gilead, i.e. in the remaining part of that land of Gilead, which was mentioned above, 1 Kings 4:13.
In the land, or rather, in that land; for the Hebrew points intimate that the emphatical article is there understood, to wit, in all Gilead, excepting the parcels mentioned before, in all the territories of Sihon and Og; which because they were of large extent, and yet all committed to this one man, it is here noted concerning him as his privilege above the rest, whose jurisdictions were of a narrower extent. 1 Kings 4:13; and which had been
the country of Sihon king of the Amorites, and of Og king of Bashan; until it was taken from them by Moses, Numbers 21:25;
and he was the only officer which was in the land; which is not true of Geber; for there was another officer in the land of Gilead besides him, the son of Geber before observed, unless it should be rendered "in that land", in that part of the land he had; but then the same might have been observed of all the rest of the officers: the words may be rendered best, "and there was one officer in the land"; which some understand of one officer over all the rest, Azariah the son of Nathan, 1 Kings 4:5; but it seems best what other Jewish writers say (u), that this was another officer appointed for the intercalated month; when there were thirteen months in the year, there was an officer in the land fixed for that month to make provision out of the land; perhaps any where, where he pleased, being not limited to any certain place. These twelve providers for Solomon's family were emblems of the twelve apostles of Christ, appointed to provide food for his family, the church; and if you add to them the Apostle Paul, it will make thirteen, as this officer did.Geber the son of Uri was in the country of Gilead, in the country of Sihon king of the Amorites, and of Og king of Bashan; and he was the only officer which was in the land.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. in the country of Gilead] Geber had the oversight of that part of Gilead which lay south of the district assigned to Ben-Geber (1 Kings 4:13). This comprised all the kingdom of Sihon and part of the kingdom of Og (Deut. chh. 2. 3), and was a very extensive province, but on account of its rugged character was probably thinly populated. The extent of it may account for the notice which follows that Geber was the only officer, though the country was so large.Verse 19. - Geber the son of Uri was in the country of Gilead [i.e., he presided over the parts not already assigned to Bengeber (perhaps his son) and Ahinadab. Gilead is often used (see Deuteronomy 34:1; Judges 20:1) to designate all the country east of the Jordan. And so apparently here, for] the country of Sihon king of, the Amorites, and of Og king of Bashan] embraced the whole trans-Jordanic region, Deuteronomy 3:8; Numbers 21:24-35: cf. Psalm 135:11; Psalm 136:19, 20]; and he was the only officer which was in the land. [This cannot mean "the only officer in Gilead," notwithstanding the great extent of territory - the usual interpretation - for that would contradict vers. 13, 14. Nor can can it mean the only officer in his district, or portion, of Gilead, for that is self-evident, and the remark would apply equally to all the other prefects. And we are hardly justified in translating נְצִיב אֶחָד "he was the first (i.e., superior), officer" (set over those mentioned above, vers. 13, 14), as Schulze. סך אֶחָד used as an ordinal number, but it is only in connexion with days and years (Gesen. s.v.) Some, following the LXX. (εῖς ἐν γῇ Ἰούδα) would detach Judah from ver. 20, where it must be allowed it occurs with a suspicious abruptness, and where the absence of the copula, so usual in the Hebrew, suggests a corruption of the text, and would connect it with this verse, which would then yield the sense, "and he was," (or "there was") "one officer which purveyed in the land of Judah." it is to be observed, however, that though no mention has as yet been made of Judah in any of the districts, yet the prefecture of Ben Hesed (ver. 10) appears to have extended over this tribe, and the remark consequently seems superfluous. (Can it be the object of the writer to show that the royal tribe was not favoured or exempted from contributing its share?) On the whole, the difficulty would seem still to await a solution. We can hardly, in the teeth of ver. 7, suppose with Ewald, al. that a thirteenth officer is here intended.
CHAPTER 4:20-34. SOLOMON'S RULE, STATE, AND WISDOM. - The remainder of this chapter, which de-scribes to us the extent and character of Solomon's sway (vv. 20, 21, 24, 25), the pomp and provision of his household (vv. 22, 23, 26-28), and his profound and varied wisdom (vv. 29-34), has every appearance of a compilation from different sources. It scarcely has the order and coherence which we should find in the narrative of a single writer. Joshua 20:8), probably on the site of the modern Szalt (see at Deuteronomy 4:43). "To him belonged the Havvoth Jair (Jair's-lives) in Gilead, to him the region of Argob in Bashan, sixty great cities with walls and brazen bolts." If we look at this passage alone, the region of Argob in Bashan appears to be distinct from the Havvoth Jair in Gilead. But if we compare it with Numbers 32:40-41; Deuteronomy 3:4-5, and Deuteronomy 3:13, Deuteronomy 3:14, and Joshua 13:30, it is evident from these passages that the Jair's-lives are identical with the sixty large and fortified cities of the region of Argob. For, according to Deuteronomy 3:4, these sixty fortified cities, with high walls, gates, and bars, were all fortified cities of the kingdom of Og of Bashan, which the Israelites conquered under Moses, and to which, according to Numbers 32:41, Jair the Manassite, who had conquered them, gave the name of Havvoth Jair. Hence it is stated in Joshua 13:30, that the sixty Jair-towns were situated in Bashan. Consequently the אר חבל לו in our verse is to be taken as a more precise definition of וגו יאיר חוּת לו, or a clearer description of the district superintended by Bengeber, so that Gilead is used, as is frequently the case, in the broader sense of Peraea. Compare with this the Commentary on Deuteronomy 3:4, Deuteronomy 3:13, Deuteronomy 3:14, where the names ארגּב and חוּת are explained, and the imaginary discrepancy between the sixty Jair's-towns in the passages cited, and the twenty-three and thirty cities of Jair in 1 Chronicles 2:22 and Judges 10:4, is discussed and solved. And when Thenius objects to this explanation on the ground that the villages of Jair cannot be identical with the sixty fortified cities, because villages of nomads and strongly fortified cities could not be one and the same, this objection falls to the ground with the untenable interpretation of חוּת as applying to nomad villages.
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