Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
So king Solomon was king over all Israel.The Bunch of Hyssop
1 Kings 4:33
These words imply that the hyssop must have been a weak and insignificant plant. And it must have been weak and insignificant because of its contrast with the cedar. And yet it played a by no means trivial part in the Old Testament Church. It was with 'a bunch of hyssop' the Passover blood was sprinkled 'on the two side-posts and on the lintels of the houses'.
I. Faith in Christ is a confession of helplessness. There was no particular virtue in the hyssop. It formed a link between the Israelite and the Blood of the Lamb. Perhaps Divine wisdom selected this frail object from the kingdom of nature to illustrate a truth in the kingdom of grace. Faith, like the hyssop, is only a 'means' or medium. Something that lies between the supply and the need, the salvation and the danger, the Saviour and the sinner. So when we speak of faith as a means by which the blessings of Christ's redemption become ours, we do not imply that faith saves us. We are saved by faith, but not with it; it is a means, not an end.
II. So the hyssop teaches us a needful lesson concerning faith. If our faith is weak, can it be strengthened, for 'according to your faith be it done unto you?' Shall we pray, 'Lord, increase our faith'? Let us not forget the circumstances which give rise to this prayer. It was offered by the disciples when they felt the difficulty of forgiving their enemy 'till seventy times seven'. It does not refer to that salvation, which comes by faith. Shall we then pray, 'Lord, increase our faith,' if we have not yet received His salvation and fear our faith is weak? Remember the words 'the hyssop that springeth out of the wall,' for it teaches us the secret of faith and the strength of faith.
III. Do we desire a strong faith? Then let us be occupied with our Saviour and not with thoughts of faith. It is not profitable to worry over our faith and be constantly diagnosing it. Faith grows strong through the knowledge of Christ. As we read and think of His love and power faith springs up. Trust and obey and you will never have cause to mourn over a languid faith. How can you doubt His power or feebly trust Him when that favour is being daily manifested in your life? Faith is the means whereby we are united to Him and become 'partakers of Christ'—the link between our weakness and His power. Why did God choose one of the smallest and weakest of plants more than any other plant of the field which could serve as an emblem of faith? Can we not suggest an answer in its commonness and accessibility?
—Lloyd Morris, Christian World Pulpit, Vol. LXXIV. p. 139.
Reference.—IV. 33.—S. Gregory, How to Steer a Ship, p. 68.
And these were the princes which he had; Azariah the son of Zadok the priest,
Elihoreph and Ahiah, the sons of Shisha, scribes; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud, the recorder.
And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the host: and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests:
And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers: and Zabud the son of Nathan was principal officer, and the king's friend:
And Ahishar was over the household: and Adoniram the son of Abda was over the tribute.
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.
And these are their names: The son of Hur, in mount Ephraim:
The son of Dekar, in Makaz, and in Shaalbim, and Bethshemesh, and Elonbethhanan:
The son of Hesed, in Aruboth; to him pertained Sochoh, and all the land of Hepher:
The son of Abinadab, in all the region of Dor; which had Taphath the daughter of Solomon to wife:
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:
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:
Ahinadab the son of Iddo had Mahanaim:
Ahimaaz was in Naphtali; he also took Basmath the daughter of Solomon to wife:
Baanah the son of Hushai was in Asher and in Aloth:
Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah, in Issachar:
Shimei the son of Elah, in Benjamin:
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.
Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry.
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.
And Solomon's provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,
Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl.
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.
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.
And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.
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.
Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto the place where the officers were, every man according to his charge.
And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.
And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
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.
And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.
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.
And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.