And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Samuel 8:16. David had bound to forced service "the strangers" 1 Chronicles 22:2; but hitherto the Israelites had escaped. Solomon now, in connection with his proposed work of building the temple, with the honor of God as an excuse, laid this burden upon them. Out of the 1,300, 000 able-bodied Israelites 2 Samuel 24:9, a band of 30,000 - one in forty-four - was raised, of whom one-third was constantly at work in Lebanon, while two-thirds remained at home, and pursued their usual occupations. This, though a very light form of task work, was felt as a great oppression, and was the chief cause of the revolt of the ten tribes at Solomon's death 1 Kings 12:4.
13. Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel—The renewed notice of Solomon's divine gift of wisdom (1Ki 5:12) is evidently introduced to prepare for this record of the strong but prudent measures he took towards the accomplishment of his work. So great a stretch of arbitrary power as is implied in this compulsory levy would have raised great discontent, if not opposition, had not his wise arrangement of letting the laborers remain at home two months out of three, added to the sacredness of the work, reconciled the people to this forced labor. The carrying of burdens and the irksome work of excavating the quarries was assigned to the remnant of the Canaanites (1Ki 9:20; 2Ch 8:7-9) and war prisoners made by David—amounting to 153,600. The employment of persons of that condition in Eastern countries for carrying on any public work, would make this part of the arrangements the less thought of.1 Kings 5:6;
a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home; that they might not be overworked; for they wrought but four months in the year in the hard service in Lebanon, the rest of their time was spent in managing their domestic affairs; these were Israelites:
and Adoniram was over the levy: the same that was over the tribute or the collectors of the tax, 1 Kings 4:6; and, according to the Targum, these were such persons.And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. by courses] The word is that which is used of ‘changes’ of raiment. These men came and went away by ‘turns.’
Adoniram] See 1 Kings 4:6. Josephus gives to this man the name Ἀδώραμος; he does not give a list to correspond with that in 1 Kings 4:2-6.Verse 14. - And he sent them to Lebanon ten thousand a month, by courses [Heb. changes]: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home [they had to serve, that is to say, four months out of the twelve - no very great hardship], and Adoniram [see on 1 Kings 4:6; 12:18] was over the levy. 2 Chronicles 2:10) to comply with his wishes. אלי שׁלחתּ אשׁר את, "that which thou hast sent to me," i.e., hast asked of me by messenger. ברושׁים are not firs, but cypresses. "My servants shall bring down (the trees) from Lebanon to the sea, and I will make them into rafts (i.e., bind them into rafts and have them floated) upon the sea to the place which thou shalt send (word) to me, and will take them (the rafts) to pieces there, and thou wilt take (i.e., fetch them thence)." The Chronicles give Yafo, i.e., Joppa, Jaffa, the nearest harbour to Jerusalem on the Mediterranean Sea, as the landing-place (see at Joshua 19:46). "And thou wilt do all my desire to give bread for my house," i.e., provisions to supply the wants of the king's court. "The שׂכר mentioned in 1 Kings 5:6 was also to be paid" (Thenius). This is quite correct; but Thenius is wrong when he proceeds still further to assert, that the chronicler erroneously supposed this to refer to the servants of Hiram who were employed in working the wood. There is not a word of this kind in the Chronicles; but simply Solomon's promise to Hiram (1 Kings 5:9): "with regard to the hewers (the fellers of the trees), I give thy servants wheat 20,000 cors, and barley 20,000 cors, and wine 20,000 baths, and oil 20,000 baths." This is omitted in our account, in which the wages promised in 1 Kings 5:6 to the Sidonian fellers of wood are not more minutely defined. On the other hand, the payment for the wood delivered by Solomon to Hiram, which is not mentioned in the Chronicles, is stated here in 1 Kings 5:11. "Solomon gave Hiram 20,000 cors of wheat as food (מכּלת, a contraction of מאכלת, from אכל; cf. Ewald, 79, b.) for his house (the maintenance of his royal court), and 20 cors of beaten oil; this gave Solomon to Hiram year by year," probably as long as the delivery of the wood or the erection of Solomon's buildings lasted. These two accounts are so clear, that Jac. Capp., Gramt., Mov., Thenius, and Bertheau, who have been led by critical prejudices to confound them with one another, and therefore to attempt to emend the one from the other, are left quite alone. For the circumstance that the quantity of wheat, which Solomon supplied to Hiram for his court, was just the same as that which he gave to the Sidonian workmen, does not warrant our identifying the two accounts. The fellers of the trees also received barley, wine, and oil in considerable quantities; whereas the only other thing which Hiram received for his court was oil, and that not common oil, but the finest olive oil, namely 20 cors of כּתית שׁמן, i.e., beaten oil, the finest kind of oil, which was obtained from the olives when not quite ripe by pounding them in mortars, and which had not only a whiter colour, but also a purer flavour than the common oil obtained by pressing from the ripe olives (cf. Celsii Hierobot. ii. pp. 349f., and Bhr, Symbolik, i. p. 419). Twenty cors were 200 baths, i.e., according to the calculations of Thenius, about ten casks (1 cask equals 6 pails; 1 pail equals 72 cans). If we bear in mind that this was the finest kind of oil, we cannot speak of disproportion to the quantity of wheat delivered. Thenius reckons that 20,000 cors of wheat were about 38,250 Dresden scheffeln (? sacks).
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