1 Kings 4:4
And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the host: and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests:
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(4) Zadok and Abiathar . . . the priests.—Abiathar, though disgraced and practically deposed, was still regarded theoretically as priest (much as Annas is called “high priest” in the Gospels), for the priesthood was properly for life.

4:1-19 In the choice of the great officers of Solomon's court, no doubt, his wisdom appeared. Several are the same that were in his father's time. A plan was settled by which no part of the country was exhausted to supply his court, though each sent its portion.It is curious to find Abiathar in this list of princes, after what has been said of his disgrace 1 Kings 2:27, 1 Kings 2:35. Some have supposed that after a while Solomon pardoned him. Perhaps the true explanation is that the historian here enumerates all those who were accounted "princes" in any part of Solomon's reign. 4. Benaiah … was over the host—formerly captain of the guard. He had succeeded Joab as commander of the forces.

Zadok and Abiathar were the priests—Only the first discharged the sacred functions; the latter had been banished to his country seat and retained nothing more than the name of high priest.

i.e. The high priests, to wit, successively, first Abiathar, and then Zadok.

Quest. Why is Abiathar named when he was deposed?

Answ. First, Because it is ordinary for persons to retain the names and titles of those places which in reality they have lost. Secondly, Because though he was deposed from the high priesthood, yet he was a priest, and the chief of one of the priestly families: and as Zadok was jointly named with Abiathar, when Abiathar alone was the high priest, as 2 Samuel 8:17 20:25; so now Zadok and Abiathar are joined, although the high priesthood was rested in Zadok alone. Thirdly, Possibly Abiathar, though he was deposed from the supreme priesthood, yet upon his serious repentance, and by the intercession of his friends, was restored to the execution of the priestly office, and put into that place which Zadok enjoyed when Abiathar was high priest. Fourthly, Some say that here is mention made of all Solomon’s chief officers, both such as now were, and such as had been, and such as were afterwards, as they gather from 1 Kings 4:11,15, where two persons are named who married two of Solomon’s daughters, which could not be till many years after this time. And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the host,.... General of the army in the room of Joab, 1 Kings 2:35;

and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests; so they were when Solomon came to the throne; but Abiathar was deposed by him after some time, though he might retain the name afterwards, and be employed, as Ben Gersom thinks, in case of necessity, in the room of Zadok, or, however, be employed as a common priest at Jerusalem, upon a reconciliation with Solomon; though Kimchi thinks another Abiathar is meant, which is not so likely.

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the host: and Zadok and {c} Abiathar were the priests:

(c) Not Abiathar whom Solomon had put from his office, 1Ki 2:27 but another of that name.

4. over the host] Benaiah had been put into Joab’s office. See 1 Kings 2:34.

Zadok and Abiathar were the priests] The Hebrew says only ‘were priests.’ Abiathar was still called priest, we may presume, after his banishment to Anathoth. The existence of two chief places for worship and sacrifice, the one at Gibeon, where the tabernacle was, and the other, where the ark was kept, on Mt Zion, had made it necessary that there should be more than one principal priest. Hence Abiathar and Zadok were in office together, and now that Abiathar was deposed, Azariah had come in as a second priest.Verse 4. - And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada [see on 1 Kings 1:32] was [the A. V. supplies was and were quite needlessly in this and succeeding verses. This is simply a list of Solomon's princes and of the offices they discharged] over the host [cf. 1 Kings 2:35]: and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests [the mention of Abiathar's name after his deposition (1 Kings 2:27, 35) has occasioned much remark, and has even led to the belief that he was subsequently pardoned and restored to office (Clericus). Theodoret remarks quite truly, τὴν ἀρχὴν ἀφείλατο οὐ τῆς ἱερωσύνης ἐγύμνωσεν, and similarly Grotius. But a simpler explanation is that his name is put down here because he had been high priest, though for a brief period only, under Solomon. See above on ver. 2.] Solomon's Judicial Wisdom. - As a proof that the Lord had bestowed upon Solomon unusual judicial wisdom, there is appended a decision of his in a very difficult case, in which Solomon had shown extraordinary intelligence. Two harlots living together in one house had each given birth to a child, and one of them had "overlaid" her child in the night while asleep (עליו שׁכבה אשׁר, because she had lain upon it), and had then placed her dead child in the other one's bosom and taken her living child away. When the other woman looked the next morning at the child lying in her bosom, she saw that it was not her own but the other woman's child, whereas the latter maintained the opposite. As they eventually referred the matter in dispute to the king, and each one declared that the living child was her own, the king ordered a sword to be brought, and the living child to be cut in two, and a half given to each. Then the mother of the living child, "because her bowels yearned upon her son," i.e., her maternal love was excited, cried out, "Give her (the other) the living child, but do not slay it;" whereas the latter said, "It shall be neither mine nor thine, cut it in pieces."
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