1 Kings 9:18
And Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Baalath is said by Josephus to have been in the same neighbourhood; and this agrees with the mention of it in Joshua 19:44, as lying in the region assigned to Dan, on the edge of the Philistine country. The three, Gezer, Beth-horon, and Baalath, evidently form a group of fortified places commanding the passes from the sea-coast.

Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land.—The Hebrew text here has Tamar (with, however, Tadmor as a marginal reading). From this fact, and from the peculiar expression “in the land,” which certainly seems to designate the land of Israel, and from the juxtaposition of the name in this passage with the names of places situated in the southern part of Palestine, it has been thought that the place meant is the Tamar of Ezekiel 47:19; Ezekiel 48:28), or, perhaps, Hazazon-Tamar, the old name of En-gedi; and that the marginal reading, and the reading of the old versions, have arisen from a mistaken identification of this place with the Tadmor of 2Chronicles 9:4. But, on the whole, these considerations are not sufficient to counterbalance the invariable reference of this passage, by all the ancient versions and by the narrative of Josephus, to the celebrated Tadmor, the name of which is a local variety of the Hebrew name Tamar (or “the palm-tree,”) preserved in the later name of Palmyra. If this be meant, it is indeed difficult to suppose that there is not some omission after the words “in the land.”

Tadmor, or Palmyra, is described by Josephus as “in the desert above Syria, a day’s journey from the Euphrates, and six long days’ journey from Babylon the Great.” Its foundation is described in 2Chronicles 9:4, as connected with a subjugation of Hamathzobah, and it may have had a military purpose. But situated on a well-watered oasis, in the midst of the desert, south-west of Tiphsah or Thapsacus on the Euphrates, also occupied by Solomon (see 1Kings 4:24), and about 120 miles from Damascus, it would be eminently fitted for trade both with Damascus and with Babylon and the north. Its importance is indicated by its long existence as a great city, and by its splendour (still traceable in its ruins), in Greek and Roman times, down to, at least, the age of Diocletian.

9:15-28 Here is a further account of Solomon's greatness. He began at the right end, for he built God's house first, and finished that before he began his own; then God blessed him, and he prospered in all his other buildings. Let piety begin, and profit follow; leave pleasure to the last. Whatever pains we take for the glory of God, and to profit others, we are likely to have the advantage. Canaan, the holy land, the glory of all lands, had no gold in it; which shows that the best produce is that which is for the present support of life, our own and others; such things did Canaan produce. Solomon got much by his merchandise, and yet has directed us to a better trade, within reach of the poorest. Wisdom is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold, Pr 3:14.Tadmor - The Hebrew text here has, as written, Tamor (or Tamar), and as read, Tadmor. That the latter place, or Palmyra, was meant appears, first, from the distinct statement of Chronicles 2 Chronicles 8:4 that Solomon built Tadmor, and the improbability that the fact would be omitted in Kings; secondly, from the strong likelihood that Solomon, with his wide views of commerce, would seize and fortify the Palmy-rene Oasis: and thirdly, from the unanimity of the old versions in rendering Tamar here by Tadmor. The probability seems to be that Tamar was the original name of the place, being the Hebrew word for "a palm," from where it is generally agreed that the town derived its name. Tadmor was a corrupt or dialectic variety of the word, which was adopted at the city itself, and prevailed over the original appellation. No reference is found to Tadmor in the Assyrian inscriptions, or in any Classical writer before Pliny. 18. Baalath—Baal-bek.

Tadmor—Palmyra, between Damascus and the Euphrates, was rebuilt and fortified as a security against invasion from northern Asia. In accomplishing these and various other works which were carried on throughout the kingdom, especially in the north, where Rezon of Damascus, his enemy, might prove dangerous, he employed vast numbers of the Canaanites as galley slaves (2Ch 2:18), treating them as prisoners of war, who were compelled to do the drudgery and hard labor, while the Israelites were only engaged in honorable employment.

Baalath, in the tribe of Dan, Joshua 19:40,44.

Tadmor; supposed to be called Tamar, Ezekiel 47:19.

In the land: this clause may belong either, first, To all the places above mentioned, which are here declared to be in the land of Canaan. But so that clause may seem superfluous; for none would easily think that he would build much out of his own land. Or rather, secondly, To Tadmor, which otherwise being in that wilderness which was the border of the land, might have been presumed to have been out of the land. And Baalath,.... A city in the tribe of Dan, Joshua 19:44.

and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land; or "Tamar", as in the Cetib, or Scriptural reading; for we go according to the marginal reading, and so Thamato in Ptolemy (p); and is thought by some to be the same with Tamar in Ezekiel 47:19, which Jerom there says is Palmyra. Tamar signifies a palm tree, from whence this city had its name Palmyra, the situation of which place agrees with this; hence we read both in Ptolemy (q) and Pliny (r) of the Palmyrene deserts: the ruins of it are to be seen to this day, and of it this account is given; that it is enclosed on three sides with long ridges of mountains, which open towards the east gradually, to the distance of about an hour's riding; but to the south stretches a vast plain, beyond the reach of the eye; the air is good, but the soil exceeding barren; nothing green to be seen therein, save some few palm trees in the gardens, and here and there about the town; and from these trees, I conceive, says my author, it obtained its name both in Hebrew and in Latin: it appears to have been of a large extent, by the space now taken up by the ruins; but there are no footsteps of any wall remaining, nor is it possible to judge of the ancient figure of the place. The present inhabitants, as they are poor, miserable, dirty people, so they have shut themselves up, to the number of about thirty or forty families, in little huts made of dirt, within the walls of a spacious court, which enclosed a most magnificent Heathen temple (s). Benjamin of Tudela says (t), it is situated in a wilderness, far from any habitable place, and is four days' journey from Baalath before mentioned; which place he takes to be the same with Baalbek, in the valley of Lebanon, built by Solomon for Pharaoh's daughter; which, according to the Arabic geographer (u), was situated at the foot of Mount Lebanon; and Tadmor seems to be in the land of Hamathzobah, 2 Chronicles 8:3.

(p) Geograph. l. 5. c. 16. (q) Ib. c. 15. (r) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 26. & 6. 28. (s) Halifax apud Philosphic. Transact. vol. 3. p. 504. (t) Itinerar. p. 57, 58. (u) Geograph. Nub. par. 5. clim. 3. p. 117.

And Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. and Baalath] This place is mentioned (Joshua 19:44) among the places which fell to the tribe of Dan, and must therefore have been on the border of the country of the Philistines, and for that reason we may presume that it was included among the places which Solomon strengthened.

and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land] Here the Hebrew text reads Tamar, and Tadmor is only given on the margin (Keri). The R.V. adopts the reading of the text, probably because of the words ‘in the land.’ All the places mentioned here lie in Palestine, and we know from Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47:19, Ezekiel 48:28) that there was a city Tamar on the south border of the Holy Land, which was towards the wilderness. It seems therefore most likely, as this place is spoken of as ‘in the land,’ that Tamar should be here preferred, and the position assigned to it in Ezekiel is that of a place which it would be most important to fortify. The marginal reading Tadmor is no doubt due to the mention of Tadmor among the cities which Solomon built in 2 Chronicles 8:4. But there Tadmor is mentioned in connexion with Hamath-Zobah and the conquest of the northern part of the land. This reading may be correct in Chronicles, for with Solomon’s ambition to extend his dominion and foster commerce, Tadmor in the wilderness (afterwards so famous as Palmyra) would be a place much to be coveted as a step on the road to Babylon. Tadmor grew famous, and Tamar was well-nigh forgotten, hence we can see how the former name (not mentioned anywhere but in Chronicles) should be substituted on the margin in the verse before us. It may well be that Solomon occupied both places, but there is no warrant for importing the name Tadmor into Kings, especially as the place here mentioned is spoken of as being ‘in the land.’

Josephus is very minute in his account of this city, which he (as was to be expected) says was Tadmor (Ant. viii. 6, i), ‘Having invaded the desert that lies above Syria, and acquired it, he founded there a very great city, two days’ journey from upper Syria, and one from the Euphrates, and its distance from the great city of Babylon was six days. And the reason why he built this city so distant from the inhabited parts of Syria was that nowhere in the land lower down was there water, but that there alone were found fountains and wells. So having built the city and surrounded it with very strong walls, he named it Thadamora, and it is still so called by the Syrians, but the Greeks name it Palmyra.’Verse 18. - And Baalath [probably the place mentioned in Joshua 19:44, and therefore a town of Daniel By some it has been identified, but on wholly insufficient grounds - the mention of Tadmor immediately afterwards being the chief - with Baalbek. This is one of the names which prove how ancient and widespread was the worship of Baal (Gesen., Thesaurus, 225; Dict. Bib., 1:147,148) ] and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land. [Whether this is

(1) the famous Palmyra, or

(2) Tamar, an obscure town of south Judah, is a question which has been much disputed. It should be stated in the first place that the Cethib has תמר, but the Keri, after 2 Chronicles 8:4, reads תדמר, as do all the versions; and secondly that a Tarnar is mentioned Ezekiel 47:19 and Ezekiel 48:28 a place which may well be identical with "Hazazon Tamar, which is Engedi" (2 Chronicles 20:2; cf. Genesis 14:7. In favour of (1) are the following considerations:

(1) the statement of the chronicler that Solomon did build Palmyra (for of the identity of "Tadmor" with Palmyra there can be no reasonable doubt; see Dict. Bib. 3:1428).

(2) The probability that Solomon, with his wide views of commerce, would seize upon and fortify the one oasis in the great Syrian desert in order to establish an entrepot there (see on ver. 19).

(3) The words "in the wilderness," which, of course, are eminently true of Palmyra. Against it, however, may be urged

(1) that Tamar was much more likely to be changed into Tadmor than Tadmor into Tamar.

(2) That this place is distinctly described as "in the land," which, strictly, Palmyra was not. But here it is to be observed that the chronicler omits these words, and that the Syriac, Arabic, and Vulgate render, "in the land of the wilderness." Keil says our text is manifestly corrupt, and certainly the expression is a singular one. Some would, therefore, alter בארץ into באדם, or into בחמת (after 2 Chronicles 8:4). Both of the emendations, however, while undoubtedly plausible, are purely conjectural. Wordsworth, who thinks Palmyra is meant, says it is described as "in the land" to indicate that God had fulfilled his promise to extend the land of Solomon far eastward into the wilderness (Psalm 72:9). And a Jewish historian, especially in the time of his country s decadence, might well recount how this great city had once been comprised within the boundaries of Israel. In favour of (2) are these facts:

(1) That it is the reading of the text. It is said, however, that the ancient name of Tadmor was Tamar, and the place clearly owed its name to the Palm trees. But the name is always Tadmor in the Palmyrene inscriptions.

(2) That this place was "in the wilderness," i.e., of Judah.

(3) That it was "in the land," and

(4) that it was in close proximity to the places just mentioned. The evidence is thus so evenly balanced that it is impossible to decide positively between the two. The 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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