1 Kings 9:21
Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day.
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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.See 1 Kings 5:15 note. 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.

He used them as bond-men, and imposed burdens and bodily labours upon them. See 2 Chronicles 2:18. Hence some think they are called Solomon’s servants, Ezra 2:55,58.

Quest. Why did not Solomon destroy them, as God had commanded, when now it was fully in his power to do so?

Answ. First, The command of destroying them, Deu 7:2, did chiefly, if not only, concern that generation of Canaanites who lived in or near the time of the Israelites’ entering into Canaan. Secondly, That command seems not to be absolute and universal, but conditional, and with some exception for those who should submit to them, and embrace the true religion, as may be gathered both from Joshua 11:19, and from the history of the Gibeonites, Jos 9, whom Joshua did not sin in sparing, when he had sworn to do so; and Saul did sin in endeavouring to destroy them. But if God’s command had been absolute, the oaths of Joshua, and of the princes, could not have obliged them, nor dispensed with such a command.

Their children that were left after them in the land,.... The posterity of those left unsubdued in the times of Joshua:

whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy; in later times, though now it is thought by some it was not for want of power, but because they had made a covenant with them, as the Gibeonites did, and therefore they could not, because it would have been a breach of covenant to have destroyed them; see 2 Chronicles 8:8,

upon these did Solomon levy a tribute of bond service unto this day; not a tribute of money, which being poor they were not able to pay, but of service, and which being once laid on was continued, and even to the time of the writing of this book.

Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day.
21. whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy] There is no word to represent ‘also’ in the original, nor does the English sentence require it. The utter destruction spoken of here is that which had been decreed upon them by God’s judgement, and which Israel was to be the agent in executing.

upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice] The Hebrew noun מם here rendered ‘tribute’ is applied in a concrete sense to the ‘renderers of the tribute.’ The verb also here is literally ‘he caused to go up.’ As the narrative in this verse is dealing entirely with the persons it is better to render (as R.V.) of these did Solomon raise a levy of bondservants. Theirs was slave service, such as is alluded to in Joshua 16:10.

unto this day] A faithful copying by the compiler of the Books of Kings from some earlier record which lay before him, and which noted the continuation of this forced service for some time after the reign of Solomon.

Verse 21. - Their children that were left after them in the land [this is explicative of ver. 20], whom the children of Israel also [also is not in the Hebrew, and is meaningless] were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bond service [see on 1 Kings 5:13, and cf. Judges 1., passim, and 1 Chronicles 22:2] unto this day. 1 Kings 9:21The "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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