1 Kings 5:15
And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains;
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
1 Kings 5:15-16. That bare burdens — Namely, porters, carters, seamen, and such like. Fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains — That is, hewers of stone, for timber was hewed by Hiram’s servants in Lebanon. Officers over the work three thousand three hundred — Whereof three thousand were set over the one hundred and fifty thousand mentioned 1 Kings 5:15, each of these over fifty of them, and the odd three hundred were set over these three thousand; each of them to have the oversight of ten, to take an account of the work from them. But in 2 Chronicles 2:18, these overseers are said to be three thousand six hundred. The three hundred added in 2 Chronicles 2. might be a reserve to supply the places of the other three thousand; yea, or of the three thousand six hundred, as any of them should be taken off from the work by death, or sickness, or weakness, or any necessary occasion; which was a prudent provision, and not unusual in like cases. And so there were three thousand six hundred commissioned for the work, but only three thousand three hundred employed at one time; and therefore both computations fairly stand together.

5:10-18 The temple was chiefly built by the riches and labour of Gentiles, which typified their being called into the church. Solomon commanded, and they brought costly stones for the foundation. Christ, who is laid for a Foundation, is a chosen and precious Stone. We should lay our foundation firm, and bestow most pains on that part of our religion which lies out of the sight of men. And happy those who, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, for a habitation of God through the Spirit. Who among us will build in the house of the Lord?That bare burdens ... - Compare the marginal references. These laborers, whose services were continuous, consisted of "strangers" - "the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites" - whom Solomon, following the example of his father 1 Chronicles 22:2, condemned to slavery, and employed in this way. 1Ki 5:13-18. Solomon's Workmen and Laborers.

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.

Either of timber, or rather of stones; for Hiram had taken care of the timber.

And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens,.... Seventy thousand to carry the stones from the mountains out of which they were dug, and which were near Jerusalem, to the city; these were strangers in Israel, as were those that follow:

and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains: eighty thousand that dug the stones out of the quarries, and squared them; these, with the others, made 150,000, see 2 Chronicles 2:17; according to Jacob Leon (g), the number of workmen at the temple for seven years was 163,600, and some make them more.

(g) Relation of Memorable Things in the Temple, ch. 3. p. 14.

And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains;
15. threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens] The Chronicler (2 Chronicles 2:17) points out that these 70,000 were of the strangers that dwelt in the land of Israel. These the king compelled to do the harder and more menial work, and the whole number of these non-Israelites was called out for work. Their number is stated in Chronicles to have been 153,600; of these 70,000 were bearers of burdens, 80,000 hewers in the mountains and the other 3600 (see Chronicles l. c.) were overseers to set the people a-work.

Verse 15. - And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains. [These 150,000, destined for the more laborious and menial works, were not Israelites, but Canaanites. We learn from 2 Chronicles 2:17, 18 that "all the strangers that were in the land of Israel" were subjected to forced labour by Solomon - there were, that is to say, but 150,000 of them remaining. They occupied a very different position from that of the 30,000 Hebrews. None of the latter were reduced to bondage (1 Kings 9:22), while the former had long been employed in servile work. The Gibeonites were reduced to serfdom by Joshua (Joshua 9:27), and the rest of the Canaanites as they were conquered (Joshua 6:10; Joshua 17:13; Judges 1:29, 30). In 1 Chronicles 22:2, we find some of them employed on public works by David. By the "hewers" many commentators have supposed that stonecutters alone are intended (so Jos., Ant., 8:02.9) partly because stone is mentioned presently, and partly because חָצַב is mostly used of the quarrying or cutting of stone, as in Deuteronomy 6:11; Deuteronomy 8:9; 2 Kings 12:12, etc. Gesenius understands the word both of stone and wood cutters. But is it not probable that the latter alone are indicated? That the word is sometimes used of woodcutting Isaiah 10:15 shows. And the words, "in the mountain" (בָּהָר) almost compel us so to understand it here. "The mountain" must be Lebanon. But surely the stone was not transported, to any great extent, like the wood, so great a distance over land and sea, especially when it abounded on the spot. (The tradition that the stone was quarried at Baalbek is quite unworthy of credence. It has no doubt sprung from the huge stones found there. "The temple was built of the beautiful white stone of the country, the hard missal" (Warren, p. 60.) It is true the number of wood cutters would thus appear to be very great, but it is to be remembered how few comparatively were the appliances or machines of those days: almost everything must be done by manual labour. And Pliny tells us that no less than 360,000 men were employed for twenty years on one of the pyramids. It is possible, however, that the huge foundations mentioned below (ver. 17) were brought from Lebanon.] 1 Kings 5:15And Solomon had 70,000 bearers of burdens and 80,000 hewers of stone on the mountains (of Lebanon). חצב is understood by the older translators as referring simply to hewers of stone. This is favoured both by the context, since 1 Kings 5:18 speaks of stone-mason's work, and also by the usage of the language, inasmuch as חצב is mostly applied to the quarrying and cutting of stones (Deuteronomy 6:11; Isaiah 5:2; Proverbs 9:1; 2 Kings 12:13), and only occurs in Isaiah 10:15 in connection with the cutting of wood. The hewing and preparing of the wood were amply provided for by 30,000 Israelites. That the 150,000 bearers of burdens and hewers of stone were not taken from the Israelites, is evident from the fact that they are distinguished from the latter, or at all events are not described as Israelites. We obtain certainty on this point from the parallel passages, 1 Kings 9:20-21; 2 Chronicles 2:16-17, and 2 Chronicles 8:1-9, according to which Solomon pressed the Canaanites who were left in the land to this bond-service.
1 Kings 5:15 Interlinear
1 Kings 5:15 Parallel Texts

1 Kings 5:15 NIV
1 Kings 5:15 NLT
1 Kings 5:15 ESV
1 Kings 5:15 NASB
1 Kings 5:15 KJV

1 Kings 5:15 Bible Apps
1 Kings 5:15 Parallel
1 Kings 5:15 Biblia Paralela
1 Kings 5:15 Chinese Bible
1 Kings 5:15 French Bible
1 Kings 5:15 German Bible

Bible Hub

1 Kings 5:14
Top of Page
Top of Page