1 Kings 9:23
These were the chief of the officers that were over Solomon's work, five hundred and fifty, which bore rule over the people that worked in the work.
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(23) Five hundred and fifty.—In 1Kings 5:16 we read of just six times as many officers as those here mentioned over the workers for the Temple. But in that passage there would seem to be reference to the special levy then raised; here the description is apparently of a regularly established system.

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.Five hundred and fifty - See 1 Kings 5:16 note. 23. These were the chief of the officers—(See on [304]2Ch 8:10). Object. They were only two hundred and fifty in 2 Chronicles 8:10.

Answ. First, Those might be officers of another sort; for they are not said to be over the work, as these are, but only over the people. Secondly, The two hundred and fifty were Israelites, who are therefore distinctly mentioned in that book, where many things are more exactly noted than in the former; and the other three hundred were strangers, who therefore are neglected in that more accurate account. Or, thirdly, There was but two hundred and fifty at one time, which is noted there, and two hundred and fifty at another time, (for it is apparent they did their work by turns,) and the other fifty either were superior to all the rest, or rather were a reserve to supply the place of any of the five hundred when there was occasion, which might frequently happen. And so this was an act not unbecoming Solomon’s wisdom, to make provision for emergencies. These were the chief of the officers over Solomon's work,.... In building the above houses and cities:

five hundred and fifty which bore rule over the people that wrought in the work; in 2 Chronicles 8:10 they are said to be but two hundred and fifty; now it may be observed, as is by the Jewish writers, that there were three sorts of those rulers; the lowest rank and order of them consisted of 3300, the next of three hundred which were over the 3300, and being numbered with them made 3600, 2 Chronicles 2:18 and the highest rank of them were two hundred and fifty, and the middlemost and highest being joined together, as they are here, made five hundred and fifty. Abarbinel reconciles the places thus, the two hundred and fifty were only over those that wrought in the temple; and the five hundred and fifty here were those that were over such that were employed in the various parts of the kingdom.

These were the chief of the officers that were over Solomon's work, {i} five hundred and fifty, which bare rule over the people that wrought in the work.

(i) The overseers of Solomon's works were divided into three parts: the first contained 3300, the second 300, and the third 250 who were Israelites. Here are the two last parts, which make 550. See 2Ch 8:10.

23. These were the chief of the officers] Better, with R.V. the chief officers. This is a select class out of the whole number of such officers. A greater number, 3300, is spoken of in chap. 1 Kings 5:16, and it may be that while the works in Lebanon, and at the Temple and the king’s house, were in progress, the larger number of chief officers was engaged in the supervision; but afterwards, for the ordinary fortification and pleasaunce-building, the smaller number was found sufficient. In 2 Chronicles 8:11, two hundred and fifty is given as the number of these officials. Kennicott explains this variation by the reading of one letter for another in the Hebrew system of indicating numbers by the letters of the alphabet.Verse 23. - These were the chief of the Officers that were over Solomon's work; five hundred and fifty, which bare rule over the people that wrought in the work [see on 1 Kings 5:16]. This city Solomon built: i.e., he not only rebuilt it, but also fortified it. He did the same also to Lower Bethhoron, i.e., Beit-Ur Tachta, on the western slope of the mountains, four hours' journey from Gibeon. According to 2 Chronicles 8:5, Solomon also fortified Upper Bethhoron, which was separated by a deep wady from Lower Bethhoron, that lay to the west (see Comm. on Joshua 10:10 and Joshua 16:3). The two Bethhorons and Gezer were very important places for the protection of the mountainous country of Benjamin, Ephraim, and Judah against hostile invasions from the Philistian plain. The situation of Megiddo on the southern edge of the plain of Jezreel, through which the high road from the western coast to the Jordan ran, was equally important; and so also was Hazor as a border fortress against Syria in the northern part of the land.
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