1 Kings 4
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
So king Solomon was king over all Israel.
Ch. 1 Kings 4:1-20. Lists of Solomon’s officers (Not in Chronicles)

1. over all Israel] The whole land yielded him willing obedience, the people were contented and happy (see below, 1 Kings 4:20) and the enemies of the king were removed.

And these were the princes which he had; Azariah the son of Zadok the priest,
2. Azariah the son of Zadok the priest] The two last words are to be referred to Azariah and not to Zadok. The Vat. LXX. omits the title, but the Alex. text has ὁ ἱερεύς. On the contrary the Vulgate renders ‘Sadoc Sacerdotis.’ The Zadok here named is the son of Ahitub (1 Chronicles 6:8), and Azariah was really his grandson, the order being Zadok-Ahimaaz-Azariah. The use of ‘son’ thus loosely for grandson is not uncommon in the Old Test. Thus (Genesis 29:5) Laban is called the son of Nahor. He was really the son of Bethuel. Similarly (Ezra 5:1) Zachariah the prophet is called the son of Iddo, though Barachiah was his father and Iddo his grandfather.

The words ‘the priest’ have caused much discussion, and on the margin of the A.V. ‘chief officer’ is given as an alternative meaning. That the word may have another sense seems plain from 2 Samuel 8:18. In that passage the same word is used of David’s sons, and is rendered ‘chief rulers’ or ‘princes’ in A.V. The R.V. translates ‘priests’ in the text, with ‘chief ministers’ in the margin. We can hardly however think that David’s sons were priests. But in the verse before us Azariah belongs to the priestly family, as much as Zadok and Abiathar who are called ‘priests’ (the same Hebrew word) in 1 Kings 4:4. Where there is no such connexion with the priestly line, Zabud the son of Nathan, in 1 Kings 4:5, is styled ‘principal officer’; the R.V. is consistent and renders ‘priest’ there too, but puts ‘chief minister’ as an alternative.

It is probably on account of the difficulty of so many persons being called by the title usually rendered ‘priest’ that the LXX. omits the title both after Azariah’s name, and after Zabud’s, calling the latter merely ἑταῖρος τοῦ βασιλέως. It seems clear however from the instance of David’s sons that the title had a sense in which it could be applied to others than those of the priestly line.

Elihoreph and Ahiah, the sons of Shisha, scribes; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud, the recorder.
3. Shisha] This name appears as Shavsha (1 Chronicles 18:16) and as Sheva (2 Samuel 20:25). A comparison of those verses with 2 Samuel 8:17, shews that the person meant was also called Seraiah, from which word the other forms are probably copyists’ corruptions. Seraiah’s office had descended to his sons, as was so often the case among the Jews. With the growth of the kingdom since David’s time the duties of the royal scribe, or secretary, would have been much increased; we can therefore understand that two persons were needed for the office instead of one.

Jehoshaphat] He had held the same office in the days of David. See 2 Samuel 8:16; 2 Samuel 20:24. The duties of the recorder, or remembrancer, were to keep records of such events as were important in the history of the country. Such annals have afforded, no doubt, a good deal of the matter for Kings and Chronicles. Such was the ‘book of records of the Chronicles’ (Esther 6:1) in which Mordecai’s service was registered, and from which it was read out to Ahasuerus.

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the host: and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests:
4. over the host] Benaiah had been put into Joab’s office. See 1 Kings 2:34.

Zadok and Abiathar were the priests] The Hebrew says only ‘were priests.’ Abiathar was still called priest, we may presume, after his banishment to Anathoth. The existence of two chief places for worship and sacrifice, the one at Gibeon, where the tabernacle was, and the other, where the ark was kept, on Mt Zion, had made it necessary that there should be more than one principal priest. Hence Abiathar and Zadok were in office together, and now that Abiathar was deposed, Azariah had come in as a second priest.

And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers: and Zabud the son of Nathan was principal officer, and the king's friend:
5. the officers] The word signifies such persons as had the oversight of any work. Thus the same word is used for the victualling officers in 1 Kings 4:7; it is again used in 1 Kings 5:16 for the persons at the head of the preparation for the temple-building, and in 1 Kings 9:23 of those who bare rule over the people that wrought in such works as the building of cities which is there described.

principal officer] The Hebrew word is cohen, usually = ‘priest,’ but see on 1 Kings 4:2.

the king’s friend] This means a chief and intimate counsellor. It is applied to Hushai (2 Samuel 15:37; 2 Samuel 16:16) and from the relation in which Hushai stood to David we may see what is implied in the title.

And Ahishar was over the household: and Adoniram the son of Abda was over the tribute.
6. After the mention of Ahishar, the LXX. (Vat.) adds καὶ Ἐλιὰκ ὁ οἰκόνομος καὶ Ἐλιὰβ υἱὸς Σὰφ ἐπὶ τῆς πατριᾶς.

Adoniram] He is mentioned again 1 Kings 5:14; and the name is found in a contracted form Adoram (2 Samuel 20:24; 1 Kings 12:18) and Hadoram (2 Chronicles 10:18). He was stoned to death by the Israelites to whom Rehoboam sent him, as a collector of tribute, after the revolt of the ten tribes to Jeroboam.

over the tribute] [R.V. levy.] This is the forced labour, in which form the service of tributaries was often exacted. The same word is also used (1 Kings 5:13) of the men who did this forced labour. There it is rendered ‘levy,’ in A. V. It is the German Frohndienst, French corvée.

And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, which provided victuals for the king and his household: each man his month in a year made provision.
7. twelve officers] The stations of these men were in different parts of the country, and each for his month had to gather from the district assigned to him contributions in kind for the royal household.

And these are their names: The son of Hur, in mount Ephraim:
8. The son of Hur] Better Ben-Hur. So the Vulgate and similarly in 1 Kings 4:9-11; 1 Kings 4:13. The name is a patronymic, and five out of these twelve officers are thus designated by their fathers’ names rather than by their own. Perhaps at the time the father in each case was more distinguished than the son. The place of commissariatofficer is one which might well be given to a younger man of some well-known family. Two of the men were Solomon’s sons-in-law.

in mount Ephraim] ‘Mount’ conveys a mistaken idea of the rich country of Ephraim. It was a hilly but very fertile region which stretched northwards from the tribe of Benjamin until the land sinks into the plain of Jezreel. It is separated from the Jordan valley by a plain on the east, and by another plain on the west from the Mediterranean sea. It would be more suitably called hill country than mountain.

The son of Dekar, in Makaz, and in Shaalbim, and Bethshemesh, and Elonbethhanan:
9. the son of Dekar] Read Ben-Deker, according to the Hebrew pointing. The name Deker is found nowhere else.

in Makaz] The name does not occur again, and we can only conjecture the whereabouts of the place from the other names with which it is joined. Shaalbim, the town next mentioned, was in the tribe of Dan (Jdg 1:35); Bethshemesh, was at the northern boundary of Judah, and was one of the ‘suburb cities’ allotted to the priests (Joshua 21:16); of Elon-beth-hanan nothing more is known. The Vulgate, following some Hebrew MSS. reads ‘Elon and Bethhanan,’ making two towns out of the name. It is clear however that Ben-Deker’s district lay in Dan and on the borders of Judah.

The son of Hesed, in Aruboth; to him pertained Sochoh, and all the land of Hepher:
10. the son of Hesed] Read Ben-Hesed. Of Hesed we have no further notice.

in Aruboth] The Hebrew points require us to spell the word Arubboth. Judging from the names which follow, Arubboth was a town or district in the low country lying between the mountainous portion of Judah and the Mediterranean. There was Sochoh (more correctly Socoh) a place noticed Joshua 15:35, and also as being near the encampment of the Philistines in Goliath’s time (1 Samuel 17:1). A king of Hepher is mentioned Joshua 12:17, to whom probably this land of Hepher pertained. The other names in the list in Joshua are of towns in this district to which we know Socoh belonged.

The son of Abinadab, in all the region of Dor; which had Taphath the daughter of Solomon to wife:
11. the son of Abinadab] Read Ben-Abinadab. Abinadab was a very common Jewish name. We have no further mention of this man.

in all the region of Dor] Hebrew Naphath Dor. Dor was an ancient city of the Canaanites, lying on the sea-coast under the side of Mount Carmel. It was in the tribe of Manasseh. It is first mentioned, and its king, in Joshua 11:1-2; Joshua 12:23. From the cognates of Naphath, the word should imply elevation. Hence the R.V. renders ‘the height of Dor,’ and its vicinity to the mountain gives support to that rendering. Being close to the north of the fertile plain of Sharon the country about Dor was doubtless well suited for supplying Solomon’s household.

Taphath the daughter of Solomon] Only mentioned here.

Baana the son of Ahilud; to him pertained Taanach and Megiddo, and all Bethshean, which is by Zartanah beneath Jezreel, from Bethshean to Abelmeholah, even unto the place that is beyond Jokneam:
12. Baana the son of Ahilud] Probably the brother of Jehoshaphat the recorder mentioned in 1 Kings 4:3.

Taanach and Megiddo] These places are both inland to the east of Dor, Megiddo being a little north of Taanach which lies in the valley of Esdraelon. Cf. Jdg 5:19 ‘Taanach by the waters of Megiddo.’ Beth-shean is still further east nearer to the Jordan, and Zartanah is no doubt Zarethan or Zarthan (Joshua 3:16), which must have been close to the Jordan. Abel-meholah is south from Beth-shean in the Jordan valley. The name Jokneam should be, on the authority both of Hebrew, Septuagint and Vulgate, written Jokmeam. This place is mentioned 1 Chronicles 6:68, but in the parallel passage Joshua 21:22 Kibzaim is given instead. In both passages the place is assigned as one of the Levitical cities in the tribe of Ephraim, which would suit entirely with the text of the present verse, as it would then be in the same district as Zarthan and Abel-meholah, whereas Jokneam lies to the north of the ridge of Carmel, not far from the coast of the Mediterranean. The scribe’s confusion between Jokmeam יקמעם and Kibzaim קבצים is not difficult to understand on looking at the forms in Hebrew.

Instead of the italics to him pertained at the beginning of this verse, it is simpler to substitute in, which stands in all the previous verses.

beneath Jezreel] implies that the place or district so described lay in the plain country stretching south of Jezreel. That city was built on a small height and looked south over the plain of Esdraelon.

The son of Geber, in Ramothgilead; to him pertained the towns of Jair the son of Manasseh, which are in Gilead; to him also pertained the region of Argob, which is in Bashan, threescore great cities with walls and brasen bars:
13. the son of Geber] Better, Ben-Geber. The name ‘Geber’ occurs again in 1 Kings 4:19, but whether the same person is meant by it there is nothing to shew. It is only found in these two places.

in Ramoth-gilead] We now come to the mountainous district on the eastern side of the Jordan, in which were settled the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh.

the towns of Jair] As the Hebrew word (havvoth) rendered ‘towns’ is found only in this connexion it is better to treat it as a part of the proper name and render Havvoth-Jair. About these ‘towns’ there is some difficulty. They are first mentioned (Numbers 32:41) as ‘small towns’ in Gilead, and occupied by Jair the son of Manasseh. They are mentioned again (Deuteronomy 3:14) and said (Joshua 13:30) to be in Bashan and to be 60 in number, whereas in 1 Chronicles 2:23 they are counted as 60 only with the addition of certain other places. In this chapter the question is, are the Havvoth-Jair included in the region of Argob or not? As there is no conjunction, between the two clauses, it seems most natural to take the latter as a fuller definition of the former. ‘To him belonged Havvoth-Jair, even the region of Argob &c.’ This has the advantage of coupling with Havvoth-Jair the number 60 which plays such a part in the other passages quoted above.

In Jdg 10:4 where the Havvoth-Jair are again mentioned, though they are connected with the history of the judge who was so called, yet there is nothing to indicate that the naming of the cities was due to him. As Jair the son of Manasseh first occupied these places, it is likely that his name would become a common one. The sons of Jair the judge held but half the number of the towns, but that is no evidence that the other thirty were then non-existent or that they were not also included in the name Havvoth-Jair, but in the hands of different governors.

in Gilead] Gilead is the name of that mountainous district, east of the Jordan, which had on the north the country of Bashan and on the south Moab and Ammon. Its chief towns were Ramoth-gilead and Jabesh-gilead. Sometimes also Jaazer is counted as belonging to it.

Argob] The district which in later times was called Trachonitis. (See Deuteronomy 3:4.)

Bashan] The country which lay immediately north of Gilead, and stretched northwards to Mount Hermon.

great cities with walls and brasen bars] The cities of this district are so described Deuteronomy 3:5, and there still are found in this neighbourhood ruins of walled cities (see Bunsen’s Bibelwerk in loc.). As the armaments and modes of warfare were of a much more primitive character than in later times, we need not picture to ourselves from this description fortifications such as would now deserve the name.

Ahinadab the son of Iddo had Mahanaim:
14. had Mahanaim] The Hebrew is, as noted in the margin of A. V., ‘to Mahanaim.’ The change of construction is as though some verb = ‘was appointed’ had been in the mind of the writer for this one verse out of the list.

Ahimaaz was in Naphtali; he also took Basmath the daughter of Solomon to wife:
15. Ahimaaz] As no father’s name is mentioned we may perhaps conclude that the well-known son of Zadok the priest is meant, who comes into historic notice at the time when David was fleeing before Absalom (2 Samuel 15:27). His close connexion with the royal family would be likely to secure for him, if he sought it, a daughter of the king as his wife.

Baanah the son of Hushai was in Asher and in Aloth:
16. Baanah] The Hebrew orthography is the same as in 1 Kings 4:12. So read Baana. Here another son of his father’s friend is cared for by Solomon. Hushai, father of Baana, was devoted to David’s cause in the rebellion of Absalom (2 Samuel 15:32) and it speaks well for Solomon that this devotion is not forgotten.

and in Aloth] We meet nowhere else with the name Aloth. The LXX. read Βααλώθ, which the Vulg. follows in Baloth. Hence the R.V. has given and Bealoth taking the initial ב not as a preposition = in, but as part of the proper name. The name does occur (Joshua 15:24) but there it is of a place in the south of Judah. There may however have been another town or district so named elsewhere. The tribe of Asher, near to which this place must have been, lay on the sea-board, southward from Phœnicia, while Naphtali was to the east, and somewhat north, of it, above what in later times was the sea of Galilee.

Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah, in Issachar:
17. in Issachar] The tribe of Zebulon came to the south of Naphtali, and south of this was Issachar. Jezreel and Gilboa were in this tribe.

Shimei the son of Elah, in Benjamin:
18. Elah] The usual manner of transliteration requires Ela, like Baana in 16.

Geber the son of Uri was in the country of Gilead, in the country of Sihon king of the Amorites, and of Og king of Bashan; and he was the only officer which was in the land.
19. in the country of Gilead] Geber had the oversight of that part of Gilead which lay south of the district assigned to Ben-Geber (1 Kings 4:13). This comprised all the kingdom of Sihon and part of the kingdom of Og (Deut. chh. 2. 3), and was a very extensive province, but on account of its rugged character was probably thinly populated. The extent of it may account for the notice which follows that Geber was the only officer, though the country was so large.

Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry.
20. eating and drinking, and making merry] Words added to the description of the increased population to mark the great prosperity of the land. There was abundance everywhere, and none to make them afraid. Cf. below, 1 Kings 4:25.

And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life.
21–28. Extent of Solomon’s Kingdom, the provision for his table, his stud (Not in Chronicles)

21. This verse in the Hebrew is the beginning of Chapter 5, which has therefore 32 verses instead of 18 as in the English division. The LXX. and the Vulgate divide as in the A.V., but the former has a different order of the verses, putting after 1 Kings 4:19, the other verses as follows 27, 28, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34. Of 1 Kings 4:20-21; 1 Kings 4:25-26 the LXX. has no notice, and adds a passage after 34, on which see note there.

over all kingdoms] The country was governed by a number of petty kings who all owned Solomon as their lord superior.

from the river] i.e. The River par excellence, viz. the Euphrates.

unto the land of the Philistines] There is no word for ‘unto’ in the sentence. It would seem best therefore to repeat the previous preposition, and render ‘over the land of the Philistines.’ The first section of the verse will thus embrace the kingdoms to the north and east of Israel and Judah, the second those to the south and west. It should be mentioned that in 2 Chronicles 9:26 the preposition ‘unto’ is expressed in the Hebrew. The Vulgate here, in consequence of the absence of any preposition, translates ‘a flumine terræ Philistiim.’

they brought presents] The noun is singular, and comprehends all that sort of offerings which tributaries rendered to their chief lord, but to which the more euphemious name of ‘gift’ or ‘present’ was assigned. Cp. for the character of these gifts 2 Samuel 8:2; 2 Samuel 8:6, where they are described as tribute from nations who became servants to king David; and in 2 Kings 17:4, we learn that they were presented year by year, and the failure in such service was ground enough for suspicion of conspiracy and for commencing war against the defaulter.

And Solomon's provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,
22. measures] The Hebrew word is cor. It is of the same capacity as the homer, and is used both as a liquid and a dry measure (see 1 Kings 5:11). It contained 10 ephahs in dry, and 10 baths in liquid measure. According to the Rabbins the cor contained nearly 45 gallons, but Josephus gives a different value and makes it to be equal to nearly 87 gallons. According to one estimate Solomon’s dependants consumed about 1350 gallons of fine flour per day, according to the other about 2510 gallons, and twice as much meal. Bunsen (Bibelwerk) reckons 28000 lbs. of baked bread and concludes that the number of persons provided for was 15000.

Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl.
23. roebucks] The Hebrew word (צבי) is rendered δορκὰς by the LXX. i.e. a gazelle. It is akin to the proper name Tabitha, i.e. Δορκὰς (Acts 9:36). The rendering roebuck is better suited to the description of the next kind of animals mentioned and which A. V. translates fallow deer.

fatted fowl] The word rendered ‘fowl,’ is found only in this passage. The Chaldee paraphrase, as well as the Syriac and the Vulgate interpret it thus, so that we have full support from Jewish tradition. Kimchi thinks common fowls are meant. Gesenius, connecting the word with a root signifying pure, thinks geese or swans may be intended.

For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him.
24. on this side the river] The side intended is of course here quite plain. It is the country west of the Euphrates towards Palestine. But the same Hebrew came to be used by those who were dwelling east of the Euphrates (cp. Ezra 4:6; Ezra 6:6; Ezra 7:21; Ezra 7:25; Ezra 8:36; Nehemiah 2:7) when they spake of Palestine. So Cisalpina was used of Gaul south of the Alps, not only by those living there, but by those who lived on the other side of the Alpine range.

Tiphsah] i.e. Thapsacus on the west side of the river Euphrates. It was here that Cyrus crossed the river in the expedition of the Ten Thousand.

to Azzah] i.e. Gaza, one of the five famous cities of the Philistines toward the south of the Holy Land.

and he had peace on all sides] According to the promise implied in his name. See 1 Chronicles 22:9 ‘His name shall be Solomon and I will give peace (shalom) and quietness unto Israel in his days.’

And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.
25. Judah and Israel] Clearly marked off from one another, though no separation had yet taken place.

under his vine and under his fig tree] A sort of proverbial description of a state of peace and prosperity. Cp. Micah 4:4. On the contrary, for a scene of desolation we have (Joel 1:12) ‘the vine is dried, and the fig tree languisheth.’ Cp. also Habakkuk 3:17.

And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.
26. horses for his chariots] This is one of the passages which make clear the meaning of the Hebrew sus, a horse to go in a chariot, and parash, a saddle-horse. In 2 Chronicles 9:25 the number of stalls is 4000 instead of 40000 as here.

And those officers provided victual for king Solomon, and for all that came unto king Solomon's table, every man in his month: they lacked nothing.
27. And those officers] Referring to the twelve enumerated in 1 Kings 4:8-19. There is a degree of awkwardness in the way in which the fresh mention of them is introduced, and this no doubt led to the transposition in the LXX. which has been noticed above.

they lacked nothing] Rather, ‘they let nothing be missing.’ The notion of the verb is that of inspecting troops, and marking, and at once correcting, deficiencies.

Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto the place where the officers were, every man according to his charge.
28. unto the place where the officers were] As shewn by the italics of A. V. there is no word in the original for ‘the officers.’ The verb moreover is in the singular. It is better therefore to render with the margin of R.V. ‘where he (i.e. the king) was’ or ‘where it should be.’

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.
29–34. The wisdom and fame of Solomon (Not in Chronicles)

29. largeness of heart] By this is meant a comprehensive powerful mind capable of grasping the knowledge of many and difficult subjects; poetry, philosophy, natural history in its various branches; he was master of them all.

as the sand that is on the sea shore] The proverbial expression for greatness of every kind. See above 1 Kings 4:20.

And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
30. the children of the east country] i.e. The Chaldæans and Arabians who from early times were noted for their astrological investigations and for their wisdom. Job is spoken of as among these children of the east (Job 1:3) and the character of their wisdom and scientific learning may be gathered in some degree from the speeches of his friends. Pythagoras is said to have visited Arabia and derived from thence some of the precepts of his philosophy. From the same quarter came ‘the wise men’ unto Bethlehem when Christ was born (Matthew 2:1).

wisdom of Egypt] We read of ‘the wise men and sorcerers’ of Pharaoh as early as Exodus 7:11, and ‘the wise men of Egypt’ are mentioned (Genesis 41:8) in the history of Joseph, and the tradition of Egyptian wisdom is noticed in Stephen’s speech (Acts 7:22).

For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.
31. Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman] Ethan and Heman are among the names of the singers (1 Chronicles 15:19) appointed by David when the ark was brought up to the city of David, but there is no possibility of deciding whether those are the men alluded to here. In 1 Chronicles (1 Kings 15:17) Ethan is called the son of Kushaiah, and the son of Kishi (1 Chronicles 6:44), and Heman is, in the latter chapter (1 Kings 4:33), called the son of Joel. See the next note.

Chalcol] The better orthography is Calcol which A.V. gives for the same name in 1 Chronicles 2:6. In that passage we find (with a slight modification of the last) the four names of this verse all mentioned as sons of Zerah, the son of Judah. These would therefore be greatgrandsons of Jacob. The difference between the name Darda דרדע and Dara דרע (of 1 Chronicles 2:6) may be due only to a slip of the transcriber. But no tradition has survived which tells of the special wisdom of this family, nor can we connect the name Mahol, as the father of some of them at least is here called, with Zerah. But the occurrence of the four names together in one family inclines to the opinion that these men were the men spoken of here. Their fame, even if not at first great, may have grown so during the time between Judah and Solomon.

in all nations] We know that it had reached the queen of Sheba. See chap. 10.

And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.
32. three thousand proverbs] Of which some are contained in the book of Proverbs to which his name is given, but these are not all his, nor would all that are attributed to him there approach the number in the text. The proverb (משׁל) of the Hebrews was, as we see from those preserved, more of the character of a parable, or wise comparison, than what we commonly call by that name.

his songs] No doubt some of these were preserved, though not included in the Canon of Scripture, and their character is perhaps impressed upon the Song, which is called of Solomon, that has come down to us. The LXX. makes the number of the songs to be 5000; Josephus agrees with the Hebrew text. We need not suppose that these songs were of a sacred character. Psalms 72, 127 are (if we be consistent in translating the preposition) ascribed to Solomon in their titles, but the titles are of small authority, and in the latter case the LXX. omits the ascription to Solomon. Ewald thinks the second Psalm may be one of Solomon’s composition. Dean Perowne, thinking it probable that Solomon made a collection of his father’s poetry for the service of the Temple, attributes the first Psalm to him. The sententious and somewhat proverbial character of the language gives support to this opinion.

And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.
33. And he spake] i.e. He gave descriptions of the whole vegetable world, and discussed the virtues of the various plants. For it has been always of their medicinal properties that the earliest works on plants have treated. They were the remedies for all diseases, and a knowledge of ‘simples,’ as they were called in England in old times, was counted for the highest wisdom.

the cedar] The tree of greatest glory in Palestine is named as one extreme of the vegetable world, and the hyssop on the wall as the other.

of beasts] Similarly, under the names of beasts, fowls, creeping things and fishes, the whole animal world is specified after the division of those times. The same classes are mentioned in the account of the creation. Josephus (Ant. viii. 2, 5) enlarges on the simple narrative of the text, telling how the king’s knowledge of the peculiarities of these various creatures was of the most thorough character. He then goes on to tell that he was endowed with power against demons, and could cure men who were possessed with evil spirits. He is also said to have left forms of incantation and exorcism, of which, Josephus says, some knowledge had come down to his own time, and he gives a story of a Jew who wrought such a cure as he describes in the presence of the emperor Vespasian.

And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.
34. from all kings of the earth] It is most likely that what is meant is that embassies were sent from various kingdoms. The visit of the queen of Sheba (chap. 10) is preserved us probably as one of the more distant visits, and made, as could not often be the case, by the monarch in person.

Here the LXX. (Vat.) adds some words which partly repeat 1 Kings 3:1 ‘And Solomon took to him the daughter of Pharaoh to wife, and brought her into the city of David until he had finished the house of the Lord, and his own house and the wall of Jerusalem.’ After this follows from 1 Kings 9:16 ‘Then Pharaoh king of Egypt went up and took Gazer, and set fire to it, and the Canaanite that dwelt in Mergab. And Pharaoh gave them as presents to his daughter, Solomon’s wife. And Solomon built up Gazer.’ At 1 Kings 9:16 the Vatican text omits the words inserted here. It seems as though a change of order had been made that the wedding presents (ἀποστολὰς) might be mentioned at an earlier part of the narrative.

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