1 Kings 9:11
(Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.
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(11) Gave Hiram . . . cities.—This implies a debt to him for timber and gold, and probably stone also, over and above the payment in kind stipulated for in 1Kings 5:9. From the notice in 2Chronicles 8:2, that, when these cities were restored by Hiram, Solomon rebuilt them, and peopled them with Israelites, it seems likely that they were previously cities of the subject races, which he would have no scruple in alienating; although, indeed, the often-quoted enactment of the Law (Leviticus 25:23-24), would not have been likely to be strictly observed under his self-reliant despotism.

1 Kings 9:11-14. Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee — Or, near the land of Galilee, bordering upon it; in those parts which were near, and adjoining to, Hiram’s dominions: with the cities, understand the territories belonging to them. These cities, though they were within those large bounds which God fixed to the land of promise, (Genesis 15:18; Joshua 1:4,) yet were not within those parts which were distributed by lot in Joshua’s time. It is probable they were not inhabited by Israelites, but by Canaanites, or other heathen; who having been subdued and made tributary by David or Solomon, those cities became a part of their dominions; and afterward were reckoned a part of Galilee, as Josephus notes. They pleased him not — Were not suitable to his desire, and the genius of his people. He called them the land of Cabul — A Phenician word, says Josephus, which signifies displeasing. But Rabbi Salomon writes that the land was so called because it was “quasi compedita, id est, argillacea, tenax, et infrugifera,” bound, stiff, clayey, and unfruitful. Hiram did not like it, because, though it might be very good, yet being a thick and stiff clay, and therefore requiring great pains to cultivate and manure it, it was very unsuitable to the disposition of the Tyrians, who were delicate, and lazy, and luxurious, and wholly given to merchandise. And, on his returning them, there is no doubt but Solomon gave him an equivalent, more to his taste. And Hiram sent to the king — Or rather, For Hiram had sent, &c. And this seems to be here added, both to declare the quantity of the gold sent, which had been only named before, (1 Kings 9:11,) and as the reason why he resented Solomon’s action, because so great a sum required a better recompense.

9:10-14 Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities. Hiram did not like them. If Solomon would gratify him, let it be in his own element, by becoming his partner in trade, as he did. See how the providence of God suits this earth to the various tempers of men, and the dispositions of men to the earth, and all for the good of mankind in general.By the spirit, if not by the letter, of the Law, Solomon had no right to give away these cities, or any part of the inheritance of Israel Leviticus 25:13-34. But the exigences of a worldly policy caused the requirements of the Law to be set aside. 11. Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee—According to Josephus, they were situated on the northwest of it, adjacent to Tyre. Though lying within the boundaries of the promised land (Ge 15:18; Jos 1:4), they had never been conquered till then, and were inhabited by Canaanite heathens (Jud 4:2-13; 2Ki 15:29). They were probably given to Hiram, whose dominions were small, as a remuneration for his important services in furnishing workmen, materials, and an immense quantity of wrought gold (1Ki 9:14) for the temple and other buildings [Michaelis]. The gold, however, as others think, may have been the amount of forfeits paid to Solomon by Hiram for not being able to answer the riddles and apothegms, with which, according to Josephus, in their private correspondence, the two sovereigns amused themselves. Hiram having refused these cities, probably on account of their inland situation making them unsuitable to his maritime and commercial people, Solomon satisfied his ally in some other way; and, taking these cities into his own hands, he first repaired their shattered walls, then filled them with a colony of Hebrews (2Ch 8:2). Or, near (as beth oft signifies, as hath been proved before)

the land of Galilee, bordering upon it; in those parts which were near and adjoining to Hiram’s dominions: with the cities understand the lands and territories belonging to them.

Quest. How could Solomon give away any part of that land wherein the people had a right by a Divine lot, and God had a right, as being the only proprietary of it; upon which ground the total alienation of it, or any part of it, was forbidden, Leviticus 25:23?

Answ. 1. It is not said that he gave them away wholly, and for ever; but he might assign them to him only for a time, until he was fully satisfied for his debt.

2. If these cities were possessed by Israelites, Solomon did not give him their particular possessions, but only his own royalties over them, and all the profits he received from them, which were very considerable, as may be gathered from that passage, 1 Kings 12:4.

3. These cities, though they were within those large bounds which God fixed to the Land of Promise, Genesis 15:18 Joshua 1:4, yet were not within those parts which were distributed by Lot in Joshua’s time, nor belonging to the tribe of Asher, (as some suppose,) as may be gathered both from Joshua 19:27, where their border is said to go out only to the land of Cabul, to wit, exclusively; and Joshua 19:30, where all their cities are said to be but twenty and two; and from 2 Chronicles 8:2, where it is said of those cities, when Hiram restored them, that Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there; which makes it more than probable that these cities were not inhabited by Israelites, but by Canaanites, or other heathens; who being subdued and extirpated by David, or Solomon, those cities became a part of their dominions, and at their disposal; and afterwards were reckoned a part of Galilee, as Josephus notes; and may be one reason why he gave these rather than other cities, because they were in his power to give, when others were not.

(Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees,.... For the building of both his houses; see 1 Kings 5:8,

and with gold, according to all his desire): which is not before mentioned, and accounts for it from whence Solomon had his gold; if he made no use, as some think he did not, of what his father left him; see 1 Kings 7:51 with which he covered several parts of the temple, and made several vessels in it. Hiram traded to Ophir, and had it from thence; and he could supply Solomon with it, and did, before he sent a navy thither:

that then Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee; that is, by or near it, for they were not in the land of Canaan; for then Solomon could not have disposed of them, being allotted and belonging to one of the tribes of Israel, and part of the Lord's inheritance; but they were upon the borders, particularly on the borders of Asher, if Cabul in Joshua 19:27, can be thought to be the same with these; though some think that Solomon did not give Hiram the possession of these cities, but the royalties and revenues of them, their produce until the debt was paid: but they rather seem to be a gratuity, and a full grant of them, and might be cities which David had conquered, and taken out of the hands of the ancient inhabitants of them; and so Solomon had a right to dispose of them, being left him by his father; for it is plain as yet they were not inhabited by Israelites; see 2 Chronicles 8:2. They are by a Jewish writer (f) said to be twenty two, very wrongly.

(f) Gloss. in T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 54. 1.

(Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.
11. now Hiram the king … had furnished, &c.] We read of the supply of timber in 1 Kings 5:10, but the gold mentioned here does not appear in the earlier narrative. From 1 Kings 9:14 below we learn that the amount was ‘six score talents.’ Taking the value of a talent of gold at £6000 this sum would be worth £720,000. Josephus (Ant. viii. 5, 3) says Hiram had contributed much gold and still more silver.

Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee] These would most likely be in the extreme northern border of Galilee and so not remote from Hiram’s frontier. But they would be inland cities and no doubt, to a maritime people like the Tyrians, some territory along the seaboard would have been more acceptable. Josephus specially notes that the cities were not far from Tyre. The region in which they were situate was that called (Isaiah 9:1) ‘Galilee of the nations’ to indicate that the inhabitants were yet in heathendom. This might be a reason why Solomon chose them for his present to the Tyrian king.

Verse 11. - (Now Hiram the king of Tyre [Here we have a parenthesis referring us back to 1 Kings 5:8-10] had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and with fir trees and with gold [The gold is here mentioned for the first time, No doubt Hiram's shipping had brought it in Before the Jewish navy was built. It was this probably that led to the construction of a fleet] according to all his desire), that then [this is the apodosis to ver. 10] king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities [really they were mere villages. "It is a genuine Eastern trick to dignify a small present with a pompous name" (Thomson). But עִיר is a word of very wide meaning] in the land of Galilee. גּלִיל lit., circuit, region (like Ciccar, 1 Kings 7:46), hence often found as here with the art. = the region of the Gentiles (Isaiah 9:1; 1 Macc. 5:15; Matthew 4:15), so called because it was inhabited by Phoenicians (see 2 Samuel 24:7, and Strabo, 16. p. 760), originally designated but a small part of the considerable tract of country later known as the province of "Galilee," viz., the northern part in the tribe of Naphtali (Joshua 20:7; 2 Kings 15:29; Isaiah 9:1. Cf. Jos., Ant. 5.1.18). It is easy to see why this particular region was surrendered to Hiram.

(1) It was near his country (2 Samuel 24:7);

(2) the people were Phoenicians, allied to Hiram, but strangers to Solomon, both in race and religion;

(3) Solomon could not with propriety alienate any part of Immanuel's land, or convey to a foreigner the dominion over the people of the Lord. Leviticus 25:23 forbade the alienation of the land; Deuteronomy 17:15 the rule of a stranger. 1 Kings 9:11The Means by which the Buildings were Erected. - In order that all which still remained to be said concerning Solomon's buildings might be grouped together, different notices are introduced here, namely, as to his relation to Hiram, the erection of several fortresses, and the tributary labour, and also as to his maritime expeditions; and these heterogeneous materials are so arranged as to indicate the resources which enabled Solomon to erect so many and such magnificent buildings. These resources were: (1) his connection with king Hiram, who furnished him with building materials (1 Kings 9:10-14); (2) the tributary labour which he raised in his kingdom (1 Kings 9:15-25); (3) the maritime expedition to Ophir, which brought him great wealth (1 Kings 9:26-28). But these notices are very condensed, and, as a comparison with the parallel account in 2 Chronicles 8 shows, are simply incomplete extracts from a more elaborate history. In the account of the tributary labour, the enumeration of the cities finished and fortified (1 Kings 9:15-19) is interpolated; and the information concerning the support which was rendered to Solomon in the erection of his buildings by Hiram (1 Kings 9:11-14), is merely supplementary to the account already given in 1 Kings 9:5. 1 Kings 9:24, 1 Kings 9:25 point still more clearly to an earlier account, since they would be otherwise unintelligible. - In 2 Chronicles 8 the arrangement is a simpler one: the buildings are first of all enumerated in 2 Chronicles 8:1-6, and the account of the tributary labour follows in 2 Chronicles 8:7-11.

1 Kings 9:10-14

The notices concerning Solomon's connection with Hiram are very imperfect; for 1 Kings 9:14 does not furnish a conclusion either in form or substance. The notice in 2 Chronicles 8; 2 Chronicles 1:1-2:18 is still shorter, but it supplies an important addition to the account before us.

1 Kings 9:10-14

1 Kings 9:10, 1 Kings 9:11 form one period. יתּן אז (then he gave) in 1 Kings 9:11 introduces the apodosis to מק ויהי (and it came to pass, etc.) in 1 Kings 9:10; and 1 Kings 9:11 contains a circumstantial clause inserted as a parenthesis. Hiram had supported Solomon according to his desire with cedar wood and cypress wood, and with gold; and Solomon gave him in return, after his buildings were completed, twenty cities in the land of Galil. But these cities did not please Hiram. When he went out to see them, he said, "What kind of cities are these (מה in a contemptuous sense) which thou hast given me, my brother?" אחו as in 1 Kings 20:32, 1 Macc. 10:18; 11:30, 2 Macc. 11:22, as a conventional expression used by princes in their intercourse with one another. "And he called the land Cabul unto this day;" i.e., it retained this name even to later times. The land of Galil is a part of the country which was afterwards known as Galilaea, namely, the northern portion of it, as is evident from the fact that in Joshua 20:7; Joshua 21:32, Kedes in the mountains of Naphtali, to the north-west of Lake Huleh, is distinguished from the kadesh in southern Palestine by the epithet בּגּליל. It is still more evident from 2 Kings 15:29 and Isaiah 9:1 and Galil embraced the northern part of the tribe of Naphtali; whilst the expression used by Isaiah, הגּוים גּליל, also shows that this district was for the most part inhabited by heathen (i.e., non-Israelites). The twenty cities in Galil, which Solomon gave to Hiram, certainly belonged therefore to the cities of the Canaanites mentioned in 2 Samuel 24:7; that is to say, they were cities occupied chiefly by a heathen population, and in all probability they were in a very bad condition. Consequently they did not please Hiram, and he gave to the district the contemptuous name of the land of Cabul. Of the various interpretations given to the word Cabul (see Ges. Thes. p. 656), the one proposed by Hiller (Onomast. p. 435), and adopted by Reland, Ges., Maurer, and others, viz., that it is a contraction of כּהבּוּל, sicut id quod evanuit tanquam nihil, has the most to support it, since this is the meaning required by the context. At the same time it is possible, and even probable, that it had originally a different signification, and is derived from כּבל equals חבל in the sense of to pawn, as Gesenius and Dietrich suppose. This is favoured by the occurrence of the name Cabul in Joshua 19:27, where it is probably derivable from כּבל, to fetter, and signifies literally a fortress or castle; but in this instance it has no connection with the land of Cabul, since it is still preserved in the village of Cabul to the south-east of Acre (see the Comm. on Josh. l.c.). The "land of Cabul" would therefore mean the pawned land; and in the mouths of the people this would be twisted into "good for nothing." In this case ויּקרא would have to be taken impersonally: "they called;" and the notice respecting this name would be simply an explanation of the way in which the people interpreted it. Hiram, however, did not retain this district, but gave it back to Solomon, who then completed the cities (2 Chronicles 8:2).

(Note: This simple method of reconciling the account before us with the apparently discrepant notice in the Chronicles, concerning which even Movers (die biblische Chronik, p. 159) observes, that the chronicler interpolated it from a second (?) source, is so natural, that it is difficult to conceive how Bertheau can object to it; since he admits that the accounts in the books of Kings and Chronicles are incomplete extracts from common and more elaborate sources.)

The only way in which we can give to 1 Kings 9:14 a meaning in harmony with the context, is by taking it as a supplementary explanation of וּבזּהב...נשּׂא...חירם in 1 Kings 9:11, and so rendering ויּשׁלח as a pluperfect, as in 1 Kings 7:13 : "Hiram had sent the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold." If we reckon the value of gold as being ten times the worth of silver, a hundred and twenty talents of gold would be 3,141, 600 thalers (about 471,240: Tr.). This is no doubt to be regarded as a loan, which Solomon obtained from Hiram to enable him to complete his buildings. Although David may have collected together the requisite amount of precious metals for the building of the temple, and Solomon had also very considerable yearly revenues, derived partly from tribute paid by subjugated nations and partly from trade, his buildings were so extensive, inasmuch as he erected a large number of cities beside the temple and his splendid palace (1 Kings 9:15-19), that his revenues might not suffice for the completion of these costly works; and therefore, since he would not apply the consecrated treasures of the temple to the erection of cities and palaces, he might find himself compelled to procure a loan from the wealthy king Hiram, which he probably intended to cover by ceding to him twenty cities on the border of the Phoenician territory. But as these cities did not please the king of Tyre and he gave them back to Solomon, the latter will no doubt have repaid the amount borrowed during the last twenty years of his reign.

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