2 Chronicles 8:18
And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took there four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.
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(18) And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships.—When Solomon began to evince an interest in maritime affairs, his Tyrian ally presented him with a number of vessels and their crews of trained seamen. To what port the vessels were sent is not expressly stated. Probably they put in at Joppa (2Chronicles 2:16). Others assume the meaning to be that the ships were sent from Tyre to Ezion-geber, and then ask whether they were dragged across the desert which divides the Mediterranean from the gulf of Akaba, or whether they circumnavigated Africa. The dilemma is only apparent. The Greek historians of later times often speak of the transport of ships overland; and the galleys of Solomon’s age were probably small. Even the circumnavigation of Africa was achieved by a Phœnician expedition sent out by Necho about four centuries later (Herod, iv. 42). But neither alternative seems necessary. If Huram provided Solomon with skilled mariners, they would naturally sail from Tyre to Joppa in their own ships. The Tyrian vessels may have been left at Joppa, while a portion of their crews proceeded, by Solomon’s order, to Ezion-geber. In short, “ships and servants” means “ships with servants,” or “ships conveying servants.”

And they went.—Huram’s mariners. Comp. 1Kings 9:27 : “And Huram sent in the fleet (which Solomon had built) his servants, men of ships that had knowledge of the sea.” So the Syr. and Arab. here.

To Ophir.—See 1Kings 9:28. LXX., Sophira.

Fifty.—Kings, twenty. The difference may be due to a scribe’s error, the letter kaf being confused with nun.

8:1 - 18 Solomon's buildings and trade. - It sometimes requires more wisdom and resolution to govern a family in the fear of God, than to govern a kingdom with reputation. The difficulty is increased, when a man has a hinderance instead of a help meet in the wife of his bosom. Solomon kept up the holy sacrifices, according to the law of Moses. In vain had the altar been built, in vain had fire come down from heaven, if sacrifices had not been constantly brought. Spiritual sacrifices are required of us, which we are to bring daily and weekly; it is good to be in a settled method of devotion. When the service of the temple was put into good order, it is said, The house of the Lord was perfected. The work was the main matter, not the place; the temple was unfinished till all this was done. Canaan was a rich country, and yet must send to Ophir for gold The Israelites were a wise people, but must be beholden to the king of Tyre for men that had knowledge of the seas. Grace, and not gold, is the best riches, and acquaintance with God and his law, the best knowledge. Leaving the children of this world to scramble for the toys of this world, may we, as the children of God, lay up our treasure in heaven, that where our treasure is, our hearts also may be.It has been supposed that these ships were conveyed from Tyre to Ezion-geber, either

(1) round the continent of Africa, or

(2) across the isthmus of Suez.

But the writer probably only means that ships were given by Hiram to Solomon at this time, and in connection with the Ophir enterprise. These vessels may have been delivered at Joppa, and have been there carefully studied by the Jewish shipwrights, who then preceeded to Ezion-geber, and, assisted by Phoenicians, constructed ships after their pattern.

Four hundred and fifty talents - "Four hundred and twenty talents" in Kings 1 Kings 9:28. One or other of the two texts has suffered from that corruption to which numbers are so especially liable.

18. Huram sent him … ships—either sent him ship-men, able seamen, overland; or, taking the word "sent" in a looser sense, supplied him, that is, built him ships—namely, in docks at Eloth (compare 1Ki 9:26, 27). This navy of Solomon was manned by Tyrians, for Solomon had no seamen capable of performing distant expeditions. The Hebrew fishermen, whose boats plied on the Sea of Tiberias or coasted the shores of the Mediterranean, were not equal to the conducting of large vessels laden with valuable cargoes on long voyages and through the wide and unfrequented ocean.

four hundred and fifty talents of gold—(Compare 1Ki 9:28). The text in one of these passages is corrupt.

No text from Poole on this verse. Then went Solomon to Eziongeber,.... Being now at leisure to look after his navy, to carry on merchandise; and of this, and the following verse, and the reconciliation of them with 1 Kings 9:26; see Gill on 1 Kings 9:26, 1 Kings 9:27, 1 Kings 9:28. And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence {k} four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.

(k) Which is thought to amount to 3,600,000 crowns, for here mention is made of 30 more than are spoken of, 1Ki 9:28.

18. sent him by the hand of his servants ships] The natural interpretation of these words is that Huram had ships transported overland from the Phœnician coast to the Gulf of Akaba, a difficult but not impossible task. In 1 Kin. however it is merely said that Solomon built ships in Ezion-geber—probably with the help of Huram—and that Huram helped to man them. Probably the text of Chron. should be corrected here from the text of Kings.

18. Ophir] The situation of this oft-mentioned place is not known. It has been identified with some part of the coast (a) of India, (b) of Africa, (c) of Arabia. The last identification is most probable; Ophir appears as the name of an Arabian tribe (Genesis 10:29). The name is variously written in the LXX. but usually with an initial “S,” Sophir(a). This form may one day help to identify the place.

four hundred and fifty talents] So LXX., but in 1 Kin. “four hundred and twenty” (so Heb., in LXX. B “a hundred and twenty”).Verse 18. - The first impression created on reading this verse no doubt would he that Hiram sent ships to Solomon, at Ezion-geber and Eloth. But it is almost impossible to see how he could do so. The parallel much helps us, by saying that "Solomon made a navy," and Hiram assisted. by manning it with competent sailors; he "sent in the navy his servants," etc. (1 Kings 9:26, 27). Some have suggested that the explanation is that Hiram gave materials, workmen, and models for Solomon's ships, possibly having ships lying in the Red Sea. The parallel, however, meets all difficulties, and saves the necessity of going far for farfetched explanations. Ophir. This was the name of the son of Joktan (Genesis 10:25-29), who, it is supposed, gave his name to the place or land in the south of Arabia. It is still quite an unsettled question, however, where Ophir was situated, though an Arabian situation is on every account the most probable (see Exposition 1 Chronicles 29:4; and Dr. Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 2:637-642). Our four hundred and fifty talents of gold reads in the parallel (1 Kings 9:28) as "four hundred and twenty."

The sacrificial service in the new temple. Cf. 1 Kings 9:25, where it is merely briefly recorded that Solomon offered sacrifices three times a year on the altar built by him to the Lord. In our verses we have a detailed account of it. אז, at that time, scil. when the temple building had been finished and the temple dedicated (cf. 2 Chronicles 8:1), Solomon offered burnt-offerings upon the altar which he had built before the porch of the temple. He no longer now sacrifices upon the altar of the tabernacle at Gibeon, as in the beginning of his reign (2 Chronicles 1:3.).
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