1 Kings 4:5
And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers: and Zabud the son of Nathan was principal officer, and the king's friend:
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(5) Son of Nathan.—Probably Nathan, son of David, and own brother of Solomon (1Chronicles 3:5), is here intended; for the title Cohen, here given to Zabud, is expressly ascribed in 2Samuel 8:18 to the “sons of David;” and Nathan the prophet always has his title, “the prophet,” appended to his name wherever first mentioned in this book. (See 1Kings 1:8; 1Kings 1:10; 1Kings 1:22; 1Kings 1:32, &c.)

Azariah is the “chief of the officers”—that is, chief over the twelve officers mentioned below (1Kings 4:7-19)—living, however, at Court.

Zabud, besides the title of Cohen, has that of “the king’s friend,” previously given to Hushai (2Samuel 15:37; 2Samuel 16:16), and apparently indicating special intimacy and wisdom as a “privy counsellor.”

1 Kings 4:5-6. The son of Nathan was over the officers — Over those twelve officers named 1 Kings 4:7, &c., who were all to give up their accounts to him. The Hebrew word, נצביםnitsabim, here, and 1 Kings 4:7, rendered officers, signifies any governors, or commanders of the higher sort. See 2 Chronicles 8:10. Zabud the son of Nathan — The prophet, who had been so highly instrumental in establishing Solomon on the throne; was principal officer — Possibly president of the king’s council. The Hebrew word is כהן, cohen, which, 1 Kings 4:2, and generally, is rendered priest, although, as we have observed there, it may also be translated prince. And the king’s friend — His confidant, with whom he used to communicate his most secret counsels. Ahishar was over the household — Steward of the king’s house. Over the tribute — The personal tribute, or levy of men, as appears by comparing this with 1 Kings 5:13-14; it being very fit that there should be some one person to whom the chief conduct or inspection of that great business should be committed.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.The son of Nathan - It is uncertain whether the Nathan of this verse is the prophet or the son of David 2 Samuel 5:14. While on the one hand the position of "king's friend" is more likely to have been held by a contemporary, which the prophet's son would have been, than by one so much younger as the son of a younger brother; on the other hand the title "cohen" seems to point to a member of the royal family. (See the next note.) Azariah who was "over the officers" was chief, that is, of the "officers" mentioned in 1 Kings 4:8-19, as appears from the identity of the term here used with the title by which they are designated in 1 Kings 4:7.

Principal officer - Or, "cohen." The fact that the title כהן kôhên was borne by sons of David 2 Samuel 8:18, who could not be "priests" in the ordinary sense of the word, seems to identify the Nathan of this verse with David's son 2 Samuel 5:14 rather than with the prophet.

5. over the officers—that is, the provincial governors enumerated in 1Ki 4:17-19.

principal officer, and the king's friend—perhaps president of the privy council, and Solomon's confidential friend or favorite. This high functionary had probably been reared along with Solomon. That he should heap those honors on the sons of Nathan was most natural, considering the close intimacy of the father with the late king, and the deep obligations under which Solomon personally lay to the prophet.

Over the officers, or overseers, or surveyors, to wit, over those twelve officers named 1 Kings 4:7, &c., where this Hebrew word is used, who were all subject, and to give up their accounts to him; though the word signifies any governors or commanders of the higher sort, as 1 Kings 5:16 2 Chronicles 8:10.

Song of Solomon of Nathan, the prophet, who had been so highly instrumental in Solomon’s establishment in the throne.

Principal officer; possibly president of the king’s council. The Hebrew word is cohen, which, 1 Kings 4:2, is rendered priest; whence some read this place thus: Zabud the son of Nathan the priest, or the minister, (as the word properly signifies, and that title well enough agrees to a prophet; or the prince, for the prophet Nathan was a man considerable both for his quality, and for his honour and esteem with the king,) was the king’s friend.

The king’s friend; either his special favourite, both for his father’s sake and for his own, having, it seems, been brought up with him; or his confidant, with whom he used to communicate his most secret counsels. And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers,.... The twelve officers who provided food for Solomon's household after mentioned:

and Zabud the son of Nathan; another of the sons of Nathan the prophet: for he being a principal instrument of settling Solomon on the throne, had interest enough to promote his sons to the chief places of honour and trust: and this here

was principal officer, and the king's friend; a chief minister about him, very intimate with him, that kept him company, privately conversed with him, was in his secrets, and admitted to great privacy and nearness to him.

And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers: and Zabud the son of Nathan was principal officer, and the king's friend:
5. the officers] The word signifies such persons as had the oversight of any work. Thus the same word is used for the victualling officers in 1 Kings 4:7; it is again used in 1 Kings 5:16 for the persons at the head of the preparation for the temple-building, and in 1 Kings 9:23 of those who bare rule over the people that wrought in such works as the building of cities which is there described.

principal officer] The Hebrew word is cohen, usually = ‘priest,’ but see on 1 Kings 4:2.

the king’s friend] This means a chief and intimate counsellor. It is applied to Hushai (2 Samuel 15:37; 2 Samuel 16:16) and from the relation in which Hushai stood to David we may see what is implied in the title.Verse 5. - And Azariah the son of Nathan [Azariah was clearly not an uncommon name (ver. 2, and cf. 1 Chronicles 2:39; 5:36-40 Hebrews; A.V. 1 Chronicles 6:9-14), especially in the high priest's family. Keil and Bahr pronounce somewhat positively that this Nathan is not the prophet of that name, but Nathan the son of David (2 Samuel 5:14; Luke 3:31). It is quite impossible to decide with certainty which is meant, if either, though Zechariah 12:12 undoubtedly favours the supposition that the latter is here intended] was over the officers [the twelve prefects mentioned in vers. 7 sqq.]: and Zabud the son of Nathan was principal officer [Heb. priest, Vulg. sacerdos. Singularly, as before, the LXX. (Vat.) omits the word. The expression can hardly mean "the son of Nathan the priest," but it may either signify that "Zabud ben Nathan, a priest, was king's friend," or that (as in the A. V.) he was a priest and king's friend. But the former is every way preferable. I find it easier to believe that the true import of 2 Samuel 8:18 the passage which is cited (sometimes along with 2 Samuel 20:26, where the LXX., however, has ἱερεύς) to prove that there were secular "priests" - is not yet understood, than to hold (with Gesenius, Ewald, etc.), that there were sacrificing priests who were not of the sons of Aaron (cf. 2 Chronicles 26:18), or that the word כּהֵן, the meaning of which was thoroughly fixed and understood, can have been familiarly applied, except in the strictly conventional way already indicated, to lay persons], and [omit] the king's friend. ["This appears to have been now a recognized office (2 Samuel 15:37; 2 Samuel 16:16; 1 Chronicles 27:33)," Rawlinson.] Solomon saw from this which was the mother of the living child, and handed it over to her.

(Note: Grotius observes on this: "The ἀγχίνοια of Solomon was shown by this to be very great. There is a certain similarity in the account of Ariopharnis, king of the Thracians, who, when three persons claimed to be the sons of the king of the Cimmerii, decided that he was the son who would not obey the command to cast javelins at his father's corpse. The account is given by Diodorus Siculus.")

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