1 Kings 4:21
And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river to the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) And Solomon reigned.—His dominion is described as extending on the south to the land of the Philistines and the border of Egypt, including what we call Arabia (see Psalm 72:10, and comp. 1Kings 10:15); on the east to “the river” Euphrates, as far north as Tiphsah (the Greek Thapsacus); on the west it would, of course, be bounded by the sea; and on the north it extended far beyond Damascus, probably up to the borders of the Assyrian Empire. It seems also clear that the Syrian Kingdoms (like the kingdom of Tyre), were allies on a footing of some dependence, though not exactly tributaries. This extension of dominion was the fruit of the warlike energy of the two preceding reigns. As in all ancient Eastern empires, it represented, not an organised monarchy, but the supremacy of a dominant kingdom’ over tributaries gathered round—“the kings on this side the river” who “brought presents”—apparently at that time numerous, and ruling over small territories. Such an empire would rise rapidly, and as rapidly fall to pieces; and in Solomon’s case it was sustained less by military power than by the peaceful forces of wealth and policy, and was largely dependent on his own personal ascendancy.

1 Kings 4:21. From the river — Euphrates; for so far David, having conquered the Syrians, extended his empire, which Solomon also maintained in that extent. And so God’s promise concerning the giving the whole land, as far as Euphrates, to the Israelites, was fulfilled. And if the Israelites had multiplied so much that the land of Canaan would not have sufficed them, having God’s grant of all the land as far as Euphrates, they might have seized upon it whensoever occasion required. The land of the Philistines — Which is to be understood inclusively; for the Philistines were within Solomon’s dominion. The border of Egypt — Unto the river Sihor, which was the border between Egypt and Canaan. And served — By tribute, or other ways, as he needed and required.4:20-28 Never did the crown of Israel shine so bright, as when Solomon wore it. He had peace on all sides. Herein, his kingdom was a type of the Messiah's; for to Him it is promised that he shall have the heathen for his inheritance, and that princes shall worship him. The spiritual peace, and joy, and holy security, of all the faithful subjects of the Lord Jesus, were typified by that of Israel. The kingdom of God is not, as Solomon's was, meat and drink, but, what is infinitely better, righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. The vast number of his attendants, and the great resort to him, are shown by the provision daily made. Herein Christ far outdoes Solomon, that he feeds all his subjects, not with the bread that perishes, but with that which endures to eternal life.Solomon's empire, like all the great empires of Asia down to the time of the Persians, consisted of a congeries of small kingdoms, all ruled by their own kings 1 Kings 4:24, who admitted the suzerainty of the Jewish monarch, and paid him "presents," i. e., an annual tribute (see 1 Kings 10:25).

Unto the land of the Philistines - There is no word corresponding to "unto" in the Hebrew. The construction should be, "Solomon reigned over all the kingdoms from the river (i. e., the Euphrates: see the marginal references), over the land of the Philistines," etc. The writer draws attention to the fact that the extent of Solomon's kingdom was in accordance with the promises made to Abraham, Moses, and Joshua.

21. Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river—All the petty kingdoms between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean were tributary to him. Similar is the statement in 1Ki 4:24. From the river Euphrates; for so far David, having conquered the Syrians, extended his empire, which Solomon also maintained in that extent. And so God’s promise concerning the giving of the whole land, as far as Euphrates, to the Israelites, was fulfilled. And if the Israelites had multiplied so much that the land of Canaan would not suffice them, having God’s grant of all the land as far as Euphrates, they might have seized upon it whensoever occasion required.

Unto the land of the Philistines, which is to be understood inclusively; for it is unreasonable to think that the Philistines were not within Solomon’s dominion.

Unto the border of Egypt; unto the river Sihor, which was the border between Egypt and Canaan, Joshua 13:3. Compare Genesis 15:18.

Served Solomon, by tribute, or other ways, as he needed and required. And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms,.... Not only over Judah and Israel, but all people round about him, they standing in fear of him; or who brought him presents, or paid tribute to him, which was an acknowledgment of superiority over them, and doing homage to him:

from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt; that is, from the river Euphrates, as the Targum, which was the border of his proper domains to the east, to Palestine, inhabited by the Philistines, which lay to the west, and as far as the border of Egypt, which was the southern boundary; a like and larger extent of Christ's kingdom is given, Psalm 72:8;

and they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life; this explains in what sense other kingdoms besides were ruled by Solomon, and subject to him; of Christ his antitype, see Psalm 72:10.

And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the {g} river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life.

(g) Which is the Euphrates.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21–28. Extent of Solomon’s Kingdom, the provision for his table, his stud (Not in Chronicles)

21. This verse in the Hebrew is the beginning of Chapter 5, which has therefore 32 verses instead of 18 as in the English division. The LXX. and the Vulgate divide as in the A.V., but the former has a different order of the verses, putting after 1 Kings 4:19, the other verses as follows 27, 28, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34. Of 1 Kings 4:20-21; 1 Kings 4:25-26 the LXX. has no notice, and adds a passage after 34, on which see note there.

over all kingdoms] The country was governed by a number of petty kings who all owned Solomon as their lord superior.

from the river] i.e. The River par excellence, viz. the Euphrates.

unto the land of the Philistines] There is no word for ‘unto’ in the sentence. It would seem best therefore to repeat the previous preposition, and render ‘over the land of the Philistines.’ The first section of the verse will thus embrace the kingdoms to the north and east of Israel and Judah, the second those to the south and west. It should be mentioned that in 2 Chronicles 9:26 the preposition ‘unto’ is expressed in the Hebrew. The Vulgate here, in consequence of the absence of any preposition, translates ‘a flumine terræ Philistiim.’

they brought presents] The noun is singular, and comprehends all that sort of offerings which tributaries rendered to their chief lord, but to which the more euphemious name of ‘gift’ or ‘present’ was assigned. Cp. for the character of these gifts 2 Samuel 8:2; 2 Samuel 8:6, where they are described as tribute from nations who became servants to king David; and in 2 Kings 17:4, we learn that they were presented year by year, and the failure in such service was ground enough for suspicion of conspiracy and for commencing war against the defaulter.Verse 21. - And Solomon reigned [Heb. was reigning] over all kingdoms [Heb. the kingdoms. That is, as suzerain, as is explained presently. So that Psalm 72:10, 11 had its fulfilment] from the river [i.e., the Euphrates, the river of that region: so called Genesis 31:21; Exodus 23:31; 2 Samuel 10:16. In Genesis 15:18 it is called "the great river, the river Euphrates." Similarly Joshua 1:4] unto [not in the Hebrew. It is found in the parallel passage, 2 Chronicles 9:26, and perhaps we may safely supply it here. Its omission may have been occasioned by the recurrence of the same word (עַד) presently. Some would render, "reigned... over the land," etc., supplying בְּ in thought from above. But "unto" seems to be required after "from." Cf. ver. 24] the land of the Philistines [this, i.e., the Mediterranean shore, was the western border of his realm], and unto the border of Egypt [this was his southern boundary. We have here a reference to Genisis 15:18, the promise which now first received its fulfilment]: they brought presents [i.e., tribute. Similar expressions, 2 Samuel 8:2; 2 Kings 17:3, 4, and especially Psalm 72:10. What the presents were we are told 1 Kings 10:25, where, however, see note], and served Solomon all the days of his life. The daily consumption of the royal household is now related to show the grandeur and luxury of the court. And it agreed well with the greatness of the kingdom. The lavish provision of Oriental palaces was evidently a subject of wonder and of boasting to the ancients, as the inscriptions and monuments show. Ahimaaz, possibly Zadok's son (2 Samuel 15:27; 2 Samuel 17:17.), in Naphtali. This does not denote generally "the most northern portion of the land, say from the northern end of the lake of Gennesaret into Coele-Syria," as Thenius supposes; for the tribe-territory of Asher, which had a prefect of its own, was not situated to the south-west of Naphtali, but ran along the west of Naphtali to the northern boundary of Canaan (see at Joshua 19:24-31). He also (like Ben-Abinadab, 1 Kings 4:11) had a daughter of Solomon, Basmath, as his wife.
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