1 Kings 9:19
And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.
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(19) That which Solomon desired to build.—See, in Ecclesiastes 2:4-10, the description of the vineyards, and gardens, and orchards, in Jerusalem, with trees of all manner of fruits and pools of water, “whatsoever mine eyes desired;” and in Song of Solomon 2:10-13; Song of Solomon 4:8; Song of Solomon 7:11-13, the vivid pictures of the pleasure-gardens of Lebanon. The text seems evidently to refer to these, in contradistinction from the cities of commercial and military importance previously mentioned.

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."The cities of store" contained provisions stored up for the troops (compare 2 Chronicles 32:28). They seem to have been chiefly in the north - in Hamath 2 Chronicles 8:4 and Naphtali 2 Chronicles 16:4. On the "cities for his chariots," see 1 Kings 10:26 note.

By "that which Solomon desired to build" (see the margin) seem to be intended "pleasaunces" in or near the capital, and in the Lebanon range, built especially for the enjoyment of the king.

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.

The cities of store; to lay up arms and ammunition for war, and corn or other provisions against a time of scarcity. See Exodus 1:11.

In Lebanon; either in the mountain of Lebanon, which being the border of his land, he might build some forts or a frontier city in it; or in the house of the forest of Lebanon; of which see 1 Kings 7:2.

And all the cities of store that Solomon had,.... In which were his magazines of corn, arms, and ammunition; and these were built in Hamath, 2 Chronicles 8:4.

and cities for his chariots; chariots of war, iron chariots, which were kept in times of peace, in case of necessity, of which Solomon had 1400, 1 Kings 10:26,

and cities for his horsemen; of which he had 12,000, a standing cavalry:

and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem; besides the temple and his own palace before mentioned; see Ecclesiastes 2:4,

and in Lebanon; the house of the forest of Lebanon, which Junius on 1 Kings 7:2 thinks he built after he had taken Hamathzobah, a royal city of Lebanon; see 2 Chronicles 8:3 or fortresses on Mount Lebanon, which was the northern border of his kingdom:

and in all the land of his dominions; where he might repair or fortify cities, or erect new forts for the safety of his kingdom; now for the doing of all this was the levy both of men and money raised, and of whom next follows.

And all the cities {g} of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.

(g) Cities for his ammunition.

19. and all the cities of store] In 2 Chronicles 8:4 the expression is store-cities, which reads better here, and is clearer in sense. These places would be provided so that surplus produce which could be preserved, as corn, oil, wine, &c. might be stored in times of plenty to be ready when need should require. We read that Hezekiah made some similar provision (2 Chronicles 32:28).

and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen] Special places must have been needed for these, when we consider the great number of them (see below 1 Kings 10:26). In 1 Chronicles 4:31 there is a place called ‘town-of-chariots’ Beth-marcaboth, and another ‘court-of-horses’ Hazar-susim. The injunction of Deuteronomy 17:16 against the multiplication of horses by the king was apparently forgotten or disregarded. But the absence of any allusion to the command has been made by some an argument for the later date of Deuteronomy.

and that which Solomon desired to build] The force of the literal rendering on the margin of A. V. ‘the desire of Solomon which he desired to build’ is better brought out in the text of R.V. ‘that which Solomon desired to build for his pleasure.’ The noun is the same as in 1 Kings 9:1 of this chapter, and the writer here is evidently distinguishing these later-named works from the former. The first in the list were either fortifications, or strongholds, or store-cities, but the others are for the king’s own pleasure and enjoyment. (Cf. on the whole subject, Ecclesiastes 2:4-8.)

and in Lebanon] The place of all others to which for relaxation the king would retire. The scorching heat of the lower plains could there be escaped, while the fragrance of the vegetation made a residence there most enjoyable. The writer of Solomon’s Song paints for us the loveliness of the spot, ‘a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters and streams from Lebanon’ (1 Kings 4:15), and again, ‘his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars’ (1 Kings 5:15), and ‘the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon’ (1 Kings 4:11). But it has been supposed by some that Lebanon is mentioned here as being an important military post.

Verse 19. - And all the cities of store that Solomon had [cities where the produce of the land was stored for the use of the troops or household, or against a season of scarcity (Genesis 41:35; Exodus 1:11), or possibly (Ewald) they were emporiums for the development of trade. The fact that these store cities are mentioned in the same breath with Tadmor, is an argument for the identification of that place with Palmyra, which Solomon could only have built as a means of gaining or retaining control over the caravan trade between the East and the Mediterranean. Cf. 2 Chronicles 17:12; 2 Chronicles 32:28, and Genesis 41:48. They would seem to have been chiefly on the northern frontier, 2 Chronicles 8:4 ("in Hamath"), ib. 2 Chronicles 16:4 speaks of "the store cities of Napthali." It should be remembered that Solomon had an adversary in Damascus], and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen [Cf. 1 Kings 4:26. These were not so much fortresses (vers. 15-18) as places adapted to accommodate his cavalry, etc. For horsemen we should perhaps read horses. See note on 1 Kings 5:6], and that which Solomon desired to build [Heb. and the desire of Solomon which he desired; cf. ver.

1. The use of the cognate verb refutes the idea that Solomon's "desire" is another name for pleasure buildings or pleasaunces, as does also "desire" in ver. 11. It is certain, however, that such buildings were erected, and it is probable that they are referred to here] in Jerusalem and in Lebanon [It is highly probable that pleasure houses were built in Lebanon (Song of Solomon 7:4, passim), for which Solomon may well have had a strong affection, and pleasure gardens in Jerusalem (Ecclesiastes 2:4-7). See Stanley, pp. 197-199); and we may reasonably imagine (with Ewald) that in these latter he sought to grow specimens of the plants, etc., about which he "spoke" (ch. 4:33; cf. Ecclesiastes 2:5). "It is a curious fact that in the ground hard by the 'fountains of Solomon' near Bethlehem, which exhibit manifest traces of an ancient garden, and where the intimations of Josephus would lead us to suppose that Solomon had a rural retreat, are still to be found a number of plants self sown from age to age, which do not exist in any other part of the Holy Land" (Kitto, "Bib. Illus." vol. 4. p. 101). Some of Solomon's journeys to these favourite resorts, we can hardly doubt, are referred to in Song of Solomon 3:6-10; Song of Solomon 4:8 sqq.; Song of Solomon 6:11] and in all the land of his dominion. 1 Kings 9:19The "magazine-cities" (המּסכּנות ערי) were fortified cities, in which the produce of the land was collected, partly for provisioning the army, and partly for the support of the rural population in times of distress (2 Chronicles 17:12; 2 Chronicles 32:28), similar to those which Pharaoh had built in the land of Goshen (Exodus 1:11). If they were situated on the great commercial roads, they may also have served for storing provisions for the necessities of travellers and their beasts of burden. The cities for the war-chariots (הרכב) and cavalry (הפּרשׁים) were probably in part identical with the magazine-cities, and situated in different parts of the kingdom. There were no doubt some of these upon Lebanon, as we may on the one hand infer from the general importance of the northern frontier to the security of the whole kingdom, and still more from the fact that Solomon had an opponent at Damascus in the person of Rezin (1 Kings 11:24), who could easily stir up rebellion in the northern provinces, which had only just been incorporated by David into the kingdom; and as we may on the other hand clearly gather from 2 Chronicles 16:4, according to which there were magazine-cities in the land of Naphtali. Finally, the words "and what Solomon had a desire to build" embrace all the rest of his buildings, which it would have occupied too much space to enumerate singly. That the words חשׁק את are not to be so pressed as to be made to denote simply "the buildings undertaking for pure pleasure," like the works mentioned in Ecclesiastes 2:4., as Thenius and Bertheau suppose, is evident from a comparison of 1 Kings 9:1, where all Solomon's buildings except the temple and palace, and therefore the fortifications as well as others, are included in the expression "all his desire." - Fuller particulars concerning the tributary workmen are given in 1 Kings 9:20. The Canaanitish population that was left in the land were made use of for this purpose, - namely, the descendants of the Canaanites who had not been entirely exterminated by the Israelites. "Their children," etc., supplies a more precise definition of the expression "all the people," etc., in 1 Kings 9:20.
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