But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
Verse 1. - But [Heb. And. This chapter is a direct continuation of the preceding. LXX. κὰι ὁ βασιλεὺς κ.τ.λ. The polygamy was but a part of his worldliness, like the chariots, gold, etc.] king Solomon loved [The LXX. η΅ν φιλογόνης. is misleading. It is perfectly clear that it cannot have been mere sensuality led to this enormous harem. This is evident from
(1) his time of life. It was "when he was old" - i.e., when passions are not at their strongest - that his wives turned away his heart.
(2) The number - if the numbers are to be trusted - of his wives. A thousand concubines cannot be kept for mere purposes of passion.
(3) The large number of princesses, which shows that the object of this array of mistresses was to enhance his state and renown. As he exceeded other kings in glory, wisdom, and power, so must he excel them not only in armies, chariots, and horses, but also in the number of his wives. It is clear, therefore, that the "lust of the eye" and "the pride of life" had their part in this huge establishment. "The same consideration of state which leads a Western prince or noble to multiply horses, leads an Eastern prince to multiply wives, with often as little personal consideration in the one ease as in the other" (Kitto) ] many [He is blamed for their number. This was against Deuteronomy 17:17] strange [not merely foreign, though that is the primary meaning of the word, but strange as opposed to a lawful wife. Cf. Proverbs 5:20; Proverbs 6:24; Proverbs 7:5, etc. No doubt the harlots in Israel were principally aliens] women, together with [הפּ מאךלךט רךתךארפ ,׃ך׃ך וְאֵת־בַּתאּכּי. (Maurer). Pharaoh's daughter is regarded as his lawful wife] the daughter of Pharaoh [see note on 1 Kings 3:1], women of the Moabites, Ammonites [Heb. Moabitesses, etc. Perhaps these two nations are mentioned first because such alliances as these, though not forbidden in terms by the law, would nevertheless, from its spirit and bearing towards these races, be looked upon with especial disfavour. If the Ammonite or Moabite was not to be received into the congregation until the tenth generation (Deuteronomy 23:3); if the Israelite was not to seek their peace or prosperity all the days of his life (ver. 6), then the idea of intermarriage with them must have been altogether repugnant to the Hebrew polity, as indeed we may gather from the book of Ruth], Edomites [Favourably distinguished (Deuteronomy 23:7) from the two preceding races. The Edomite was a "brother." His children of the third generation might enter into the congregation], Zidonians [Rawlinson thinks this word lends "some countenance to the tradition recorded by Menander (ap. Clem. Alex. 'Strom.' 1. p. 386), that Solomon married a daughter of Hiram, king of Tyre." But such tradition was sure to arise; the uxorious character of Solomon and his close relations with Hiram are quite sufficient to account for its growth. And a daughter of Hiram would hardly have been passed over without special mention], and Hittites [see on 1 Kings 10:29].
Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
Verse 2. - Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel [Of the nations just enumerated, the law expressly forbade marriage with the Hittites alone (Exodus 34:11-16; Deuteronomy 7:1-4), though the Zidonians are probably to be included, as being Canaanites (Genesis 10:15). But the principle which applied in the case of the seven nations of Canaan applied equally to all other idolaters. "They will turn away thy son from following me," etc. (Deuteronomy 7:4). The spirit of the law, consequently, was as much violated by an Edomite or Ammonite as by a Hittite alliance], Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you [much the same expression Joshua 23:12. The historian does not cite any special Scripture, however, but gives the substance of several warnings], for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods [cf. Exodus 34:16]: Solomon clave [same word Genesis 2:4] unto these [emphatic in Heb. "even to these," instead of cleaving to God (Deuteronomy 4:4; Deuteronomy 10:20; Deuteronomy 30:20, each of which has the same word as here), and despite the prohibitions of the law, etc.] in love.
And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
Verse 3. - And he had seven hundred wives, princesses [These may have been members of royal or princely houses of neighbouring nations. Evidently they enjoyed a distinguished rank], and three hundred concubines [Though not committed to a defence of the accuracy of the figures 700 and 300 (which are clearly round numbers), it must be said that the reasons alleged for reducing them (as from 700 to 70) are not of much weight. It is hardly correct, e.g., to say (as Rawlinson) that the numbers are given in Song of Solomon 6:8 as "threescore queens and fourscore concubines," for it is obvious that too much importance must not be attached to an obiter statement ("there are threescore," etc.) in a poetical book, too, and one descriptive of Solomon's youth. The view of Ewald and Keil, again, that these numbers represent the sum total of the inmates of the harem at different periods of Solomon's long reign, rather than the number present at any one time - they would see in the numbers of Song of Solomon l.c. a statement of the average strength of the seraglio - though not to be described as evasive, is certainly not the natural interpretation of the words. And these numbers, when we compare them with the establishments of other Eastern potentates, are not found to be at all incredible. The commentators all remind us that Dareius Codomannus, e.g., took with him on his expedition against Alexander 360 pellices. Or if ancient history, as Rawlinson affirms, furnishes no strict parallel to these figures, the harems of modern Persia and Turkey at any rate have quite equalled that of Solomon. (See Bahr in loc.) It is true that Rehoboam had only 18 wives and 60 concubines (2 Chronicles 11:21), but then Rehoboam was not Solomon. If his harem was but a tithe of his father's, so also were his wealth and his power]: and his wives turned away his heart. ["Satan hath found this bait to take so well that he never changed since he crept into Paradise" (Bp. Hall).]
For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
Verse 4. - For it came to pass, when Solomon was old [As he was but sixty at the time of his death, "old" is here a relative term, and must mean "toward the close of his life," i.e., when he was about 50 or 55], that his wives turned away his heart after other gods [The text does not limit Solomon's polygamy to the time of old age, but his idolatrous leanings. I say leanings, for it is doubtful to what extent Solomon himself took part in actual idolatry. Both Bahr and Keil - the latter in opposition to the views he held in 1846 - not to speak of others, deny that he shared the idolatries of his wives, and the former labours hard, and on the whole, it seems to me, successfully, to prove that he was only guilty of sanctioning idolatrous worship in the vicinity of Jerusalem. His arguments, briefly stated, are these:
(1) It is nowhere said that he "served" (עָבַד) other gods - the expression constantly used of the idolatrous kings; cf. 16:31; 22:53; 2 Kings 16:3, etc.
(2) Neither the son of Sirach nor the Talmud nor the Rabbins know anything of his personal idolatry.
(3) Had he formally worshipped idols, his sin would have been greater than that of Jeroboam as to which, however, see on 1 Kings 12:29 sqq. (The "sin of Jeroboam" lay in "making Israel to sin," i.e., in forcing his people into schismatic and unauthorized worship, rather than in any practices of his own.)
(4) The expressions "his heart was not perfect," below, and "he went not fully" (ver. 6) are inconsistent with the idea of idolatry. Similarly Ewald says, "There is no evidence from ancient authorities that Solomon, even in advanced life, ever left the religion of Jahveh, and with his own hand sacrificed to heathen gods. All traces of contemporary history extant testify to the contrary" (vol. 3. p. 297). See, however, on ver. 5]: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God [It is instructive to compare with this the words of 1 Kings 8:61, "Let your heart be perfect," etc. Wordsworth remarks that "the defection even of Solomon from God through the influence of his strange wives is one of the best justifications" of the commands of Exodus 34:12-16; Deuteronomy 7:2-4, etc.], as was the heart of David his father.
For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
Verse 5. - For Solomon went after [Rawlinson observes that this expression, which is "common in the Pentateuch, always signifies actual idolatry." He cites Deuteronomy 11:28; Deuteronomy 13:2; Deuteronomy 28:14; but it should be considered that in the two passages last cited the words are added, "and served them." And the true explanation would seem to be that, though "it is not stated that Solomon himself offered sacrifice to these idols," yet "even the building of altars for idols was a participation in idolatry, which was irreconcilable with true fidelity to the Lord" (Keil). Bahr contends that the words "went after Ashtoreth," etc., no more involve personal service than the word "built" in ver. 7 involves personal labour; but both expressions show that he regarded these idolatries not only without disfavour, but with positive approval and practical encouragement. "It is not likely he could be so insensate as to adore such deities, but so far was the uxorious king blinded with affection, that he gave not passage only to the idolatry of his heathenish wives, but furtherance" (Bp. Hall). And the distinction, so far as the sin is concerned, between this and actual idolatry is a fine one. It is not implied, however, that Solomon ever discarded the worship of Jehovah. To the end of his reign he would seem to have offered his solemn sacrifices on the great altar thrice a year. But his heart was elsewhere (ver. 9).] Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians [עַשְׁתֹּרֶת , Ἀστάρτη, probably connected with ἀστήρ, stella, and star, by some identified with the planet Venus, by others with the moon, is here mentioned for the first time in the singular (Ashtaroth, plural, is found in Genesis 14:5; Judges 2:13; Judges 10:6; 1 Samuel 7:4; 1 Samuel 12:10, etc.) With Baal, she divided the worship of the Phoenicians, the antiquity of which is evident from Genesis 14:5; Numbers 22:41. It was really an impure cultus of the reproductive powers (see below on 1 Kings 14:23). Interesting proof of the existence of a temple of this goddess at Sidon is supplied by an inscription discovered there in 1855 (see Dict. Bib. 1:123) ], and after Milcom [In Jeremiah 49:13; Amos 1:15, "Malcam," i.e., their king. According to Gesenius, the same as Molech (i.e., the king) in ver. 7, though Ewald, Movers, Keil regard them as different deities. But it seems more probable that it was the same deity, worshipped (2 Kings 23:10, 13) under different attributes. This is "the first direct historical allusion" to his worship in the Old Testament. A warning against it is found Leviticus 20:2-5. He was the fire god, as Baal was the sun god, and the sacrifices offered to him were those of children, who would seem to have not only "passed through the fire," but to have been burnt therein. Psalm 106:37, 38; Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 19:5; Ezekiel 23:39, etc. See Dict. Bib. 2:403] the abomination [i.e., the hateful, detestable idol] of the Ammonites. [It has been suggested (Speaker's Commentary on Leviticus 20:2) that the children offered to Molech were children of incest or adultery., and we are reminded that Ammon was the child of incest. It must he remembered, however, that we have no record of Jewish children passing through the fire to Molech before the time of Ahaz (Bahr, Keil).]
And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.
Verse 6. - And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord [cf. Judges 2:11; Judges 3:7, etc.], and went not fully [ללֺא מִלֵא s.c. לֶלֶכֶת. A pregnant expression found also Numbers 14:24; Numbers 32:11, 12; Deuteronomy 1:36] after the Lord, as did David his father.
Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
Verse 7. - Then did Solomon build an high place [see on 1 Kings 3:2] for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab [The meaning of "Chemosh" is uncertain. Gesenius suggests "Vanquisher" - Chemosh was the god of war. The mention of Ashtar-Chemosh on the Moabite stone "connects the Moabite religion with the Phoenician," where Ashtar is the masculine form of Astarte, and suggests that "Chemosh was connected with the androgynous deities of Phoenicia" (Speaker's Comm. on Numbers 21:29). It is probable, in fact, that Chemosh, Baal, Ashtoreth, Molech, etc., were originally so many names of the one supreme God, worshipped under different attributes, and with various rites in different countries], in the hill that is before Jerusalem [see 2 Kings 23:13. The hill is of course the mount of Olives. The altar would seem to have stood on the south peak, which is now known, as it has been for centuries past, as the Mons Scandali, or the Mons Offensionis (the Vulg. rendering of 2 Kings l.c.) See Robinson, 1:565, 566], and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. [Ewald sees in these altars a wise religious tolerance ("Hist. Israel," 3. pp. 297, 298).]
And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
Verse 8. - And likewise did he for all [having done it for one, he must needs do it for all. "No hill about Jerusalem was free from a chapel of devils" (Hall) ] his strange wives, which burnt [Heb. burning, Ewald, 335 a] incense and sacrificed unto their gods. [Observe, as bearing on the question of Solomon's apostasy, that Solomon built the altars; his wives sacrificed, etc. According to Keil, incense is here mentioned before sacrifice, because vegetable took precedence of animal offerings in the nature worship of Western Asia (Bahr, Symbolik, 2 pp; 237 sqq.) But it is very doubtful whether this idea was in the mind of the writer.]
And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,
Verse 9. - And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice. [cf. 1 Kings 3:5 and 1 Kings 9:2. The anger arose partly from the exceptional favours which had been shown to him; cf. Amos 3:2; Luke 10:12-15.]
And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.
Verse 10. - And had commanded him concerning this thing [1 Kings 9:6] that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.
Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.
Verse 11. - Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon [probably by a prophet, Ahijah or Iddo. There would hardly be a third appearance], Forasmuch as this is done of thee [Heb. this was with thee], and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend [i.e., despite thy great power and magnificence, thy fortifications and munitions of war] the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. [Not merely subject, but officer, employe. This made the decree the more bitter. A "servant" should be heir to his glory. For a hireling Solomon's vast treasures had been prepared. This verse should be read in the light of Ecclesiastes 2:18.]
Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.
Verse 12. - Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it [The threatening had two gracious and merciful limitations,
(1) The blow should not fall until after his death (cf. ver. 34; 1 Kings 21:29; 2 Kings 22:20), and
(2) the disruption should be but partial. There should be a "remnant" Romans 9:27; Romans 11:5, etc.] for David thy father's sake [i.e., because both of David's piety and God's promise to him (2 Samuel 7:13) ]: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.
Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.
Verse 13. - Howbeit I win not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe [viz., Judah (1 Kings 12:20, "the tribe of Judah only"). "Even the reservation of one tribe is called a gift" (Wordsworth) to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen. [But for this provision, Jerusalem would have ceased to be the religious capital. When the sceptre departed from Judah, we may be sure that the "envy of Ephraim" would have demanded that the city of their solemnities should be placed elsewhere - at Shiloh, which for 400 years had been God's "bright sanctuary," or at Bethel, which from far earlier times had been a holy place. See on 1 Kings 12:29, 32.]
CHAPTER 11:14-43. SOLOMON'S ADVERSARIES. - As the historian has collected together in chs. 6, 7, 8. all the information he can convey respecting the temple, and in chs. 9, 10. all the scattered notices respecting Solomon's power and greatness, so here he arranges in one section the history of Solomon's adversaries. It must not be supposed that the following records stand in due chronological order. The enmities here mentioned did not date from the delivery of the message of which we have just heard; on the contrary, the hatred and opposition of Hadad and Rezon began at an early period, though not the earliest (1 Kings 5:4), of Solomon's reign. It was only in his later life, however, that they materially affected his position and rule; hence it is that they are brought before us at this stage of the history, and also because they are manifestly regarded as chastisements for Solomon's sin.
And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom.
Verse 14. - And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad [in ver. 17 written Adad, אֲדַד. Apparently this, like Pharaoh, was a title rather than a name. And, like Pharaoh, it is said to mean the sun. It was borne by a king of Edom in very early times, Genesis 25:15; Genesis 36:35, 39 (in the latter verse, as in Genesis 25:15, Hadar is probably a clerical error for Hadad, as the name stands in 1 Chronicles 1:30, 50, ד and ר being so very much alike. Gesenius, however, contends that Hadar is the true reading), and was also a favourite name with the kings of Syria, especially in the forms Benhadad, Hadadezer] the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom.
For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom;
Verse 15. - For it came to pass, when David was in Edom [2 Samuel 8:14. But the text is peculiar. Instead of "in Edom" we have "with Edom," את־אדם, unless we take את to be the mark of the accusative, which, however, there is no verb to govern. Keil interprets, "When David had to do with Edom." Bahr refers to 1 Chronicles 20:5, and Genesis 19:4, but they are not strictly parallel, and it is possible that the text is slightly corrupt, as the LXX., Syr., and Arab. must have had בהכות instead of בהיות before them "when David smote Edom." The LXX., e.g., reads ἐν τῷ ἐξολοθρεῦσαι κ.τ.λ. It was only vicariously, however, that David smote Edom, or was in Edom. According to 1 Chronicles 18:12, Abishai slew 18,000 Edomites, while Psalm 60. (title) represents Joab as having slain 12,000 at the same time and place. The two brothers were both in high command, or Abishal may have been detailed by Joab to this service], and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain [The commentators generally are agreed that these are the Israelites slain by the Edomites during an invasion of Israel, and not either the Edomites or Israelites slain in the valley of Salt], after he had smitten [rather, that he smote. This is the apodosis] every male in Edom. [This is, of course, hyperbolical (cf. "all Israel" below). It is clear that the whole Edomite nation did not perish. The words point to a terrible slaughter (cf. 1 Chronicles 18:13) among the men of war. Possibly the cruelties of the Edomites (compare Psalm 137:7; Obadiah 1:10-14) had provoked this act of retribution, as to which see Deuteronomy 20:13.]
(For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:)
Verse 16. - For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel [i.e., the entire army, as in 1 Kings 16:16, 17], until he had cut off every male in Edom.
That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father's servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child.
Verse 17. - That Hadad fled [This word excludes the idea that he was carried off in infancy by servants, something like Joash, 2 Kings 11:2], he and certain Edomites of his father's servants with him, to go into Egypt [cf. Matthew 2:13]; Hadad being yet a little child. [The words used of Solomon 1 Kings 3:7.]
And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land.
Verse 18. - And they arose out of Midian [a name of wide and somewhat varied significance. Midian embraces the eastern portion of the peninsula of Sinai (Exodus 2:15, 21; Exodus 3:1), and stretches along the eastern border of Palestine. The term has been compared with our "Arabia." And the indefiniteness arises in both instances from the same cause, viz., that the country was almost entirely desert. Midian would thus extend along the back or east of Edom. There is no need, consequently (with Thenius), to read מָעון i.e., their dwelling. It is noticeable, however, that the LXX. reads ἐκ τῆς πόλεως Μαδμὶμ, and some of the geographers do mention a city of that name on the eastern shore of the Elanitic gulf], and came to Paran [Elsewhere Mount Paran, Habakkuk 3:3; Deuteronomy 33:2; a desert and mountainous tract lying between Arabia Petraea, Palestine, and Idumaea (see Numbers 10:12; Numbers 13:3, 27; 1 Samuel 25:1; Deuteronomy 1:1), and comprehending the desert of Et Tih. It is difficult to identify it with greater precision, but it has been connected with the beautiful Wady Feiran, near Mount Serbal, in the Sinaitic range, which would agree fairly well with our narrative]: and they took men with them out of Pavan [as guides through the desert, and possibly as a protection also], and came to Egypt [The direct route from Edom to Egypt would be across the desert of Et Tih - practically the route of the caravan of pilgrims from Mecca. But this does not settle the position of Paran, as the text seems to hint that the fugitives did not proceed direct from Edom. They may have taken refuge in the first instance amongst the tribes of Midian; or they may have diverged from the straight course through fear], unto Pharaoh king of Egypt [This cannot have been the Pharaoh who was Solomon's father-in-law, for in the first place, the flight was in the time of David, and secondly, a prince who had aided and abetted these fugitives would hardly be likely to form an alliance with their great enemy. It may have been Psusennes II.]; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals [i.e., certain cities or officers were charged with his maintenance, though, as his relations with the royal family were so extremely intimate (vers. 19-22), he may have been fed from the royal table], and gave him land.
And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.
Verse 19. - And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes [LXX. θεκεμίνα. "No name that has any near resemblance to either Tahpenes or Thekemina has yet been found among those of the period" (Poole, Dict. Bib. 3:1431). Rawlinson adds that the monuments of that age are extremely scanty] the queen. [Heb. גְּבִירָה the word generally used of the queen mother (as in 1 Kings 15:13). Here, and in 2 Kings 10:13, however, it is used of the queen consort.]
And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh's household among the sons of Pharaoh.
Verse 20. - And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son [otherwise unknown], whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's house [A significant token of his adoption into the royal family. The weaning, which generally took place in the second, sometimes third, (2 Macc. 7:27) year,was clearly a much more marked occasion in the ancient East than it is among ourselves (Genesis 21:8; 1 Samuel 1:24) ]: and Genubath was in Pharaoh's household among the sons of Pharaoh. [i.e. he was brought up in the Egyptian harem.]
And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.
Verse 21. - And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead [It comes out very significantly here what a name of terror Joab's had been in Edom and how deep was the impression which his bloody vengeance of a quarter of a century before had made] Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart [Heb. send me away], that I may go to mine own country. [Rawlinson cites Herod. 3:132-137; 5:25, 35, 106, 107, to show that refugees at Oriental courts must obtain permission to leave them.]
Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.
Verse 22. - Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? [The natural inquiry of Eastern courtesy.] And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise. [Heb. thou shalt surely send me away. Rawlinson says, "There is a remarkable abruptness in this termination." But we must remember how unfinished, to our eyes, Scripture narratives constantly seem. There is no need, consequently, to suspect any accidental omission from the Hebrew text. The LXX., it is true, adds, "and Ader departed," etc., but this may be inferred from vers. 14, 25. And Hadad's persistent desire to depart, for which he assigns no reason, is suggestive of the thoughts which were stirring in his soul. "The keen remembrance of his native land, his lost kingdom, and the slaughter of all his house, gathered strength within him; and all the ease and princely honour which he enjoyed in Egypt availed not against the claims of ambition, vengeance, and patriotism" (Kitto).]
And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah:
Verse 23. - And God stirred him up another adversary [almost identical with ver. 14], Rezon the son of Eliadah [Often identified with the Hezion of 1 Kings 15:18, but on insufficient grounds. Whether he was a usurper, who had dethroned Hadad (see Jos., Ant., 6:05. 2), or an officer of Hadadezer's, who escaped either before or after the battle of 2 Samuel 8:3-5, is uncertain. The following words agree equally well with either supposition], which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah.
And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus.
Verse 24. - And he gathered men unto him and became captain over a band [either of rebels before or of fugitives after the defeat], when David slew them of Zobah [Of Zobah, not in Hebrews "Them" must mean the Syrian army]: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein [As David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus (2 Samuel 8:6), this must have been some time after the defeat of the Syrians. But Keil argues that it cannot have been in the middle or later part of Solomon's reign, inasmuch as Solomon must have been lord of Damascus, or he could not have built Palmyra. But it is not so incontrovertibly settled that Solomon did build Palmyra (see on 1 Kings 9:18) as to make this argument of much weight. And even if it were, we might still fix the reign of Rezon at an earlier period of Solomon's sway. See below], and reigned. [i.e., the band or troop of Rezon, either in the confusion of the defeat, or in some subsequent time of anarchy, took possession of Damascus, and he, it would seem, usurped the crown. The word "reigned," however (plural), is somewhat remarkable. It may perhaps be accounted for by the plurals which precede it. The insertion of one "yod" (וימליכו for וימלכו) gives the sense "they made him king," which would certainly be preferable, if the emendation were not purely conjectural.
And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.
Verse 25. - And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon [We are not compelled, however, to believe that his reign lasted "all the days of Solomon." This last expression is to be taken with considerable latitude. It is an Orientalism. At the time of 1 Kings 5:4, neither Hadad nor Rezon was giving Solomon any trouble], beside the mischief which Hadad did [Heb. omits did. The construction of the Hebrew (see Ewald, 277d (2), 292b, note) is difficult. Literally, and with the evil which Hadad," etc. (comp. ver. 1 of this chapter, "and with the daughter," etc., with Exodus 1:14, Hebrews) The LXX. reconstructs the text, making the following words, "and he abhorred," etc., apply to Hadad; and altering Syria (ארם) into Eden (אסם) to suit. But it is far better to understand עָשה (with our Authorized Version); i.e., beside the mischief which Hadad did (or, "beside the mischief of Hadad," Ewald). "And he (Rezon) abhorred," etc. Hadad's enmity has already been described (vers. 17-22), and the historian has passed on to the case of Rezon. It is extremely unlikely that he should now suddenly recur exclusively to Hadad. It is very natural for him, on the other hand, in his account of Rezon, to remind us that all this was in addition to the mischief wrought by Hadad]: and he abhorred [Heb. loathed] Israel, and reigned over Syria.
And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon's servant, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king.
Verse 26. - And Jeroboam [Viewed in the light of their history, the names Jeroboam and Rehoboam are both instructive. The first means, "Whose people are many;" the second, "Enlarger of the people." The latter might almost have been bestowed in irony, the former by way of parody] the son of Nebat [The case of Jeroboam is now related at much greater length, not so much because of the importance of the rebellion at the time, as because of its bearing on the later history of Israel. It led to the disruption of the kingdom and the schism in the Church. It was the first great symptom of the decadence of the power of Solomon; of his decline in piety we have had many indications. We see in it an indication that the Hebrew commonwealth has passed its zenith], an Ephrathite [i.e., Ephraimite; cf. Judges 12:5; 1 Samuel 1:1. Ephraim was the ancient rival of Judah, and by reason of its numbers, position, etc., might well aspire to the headship of the tribes (Genesis 49:26; Genesis 48:19; Deuteronomy 33:17; Joshua 17:17) ] of Zereda [Mentioned here only, unless it is identical with Zeredathah (2 Chronicles 4:17) or Zarthan (Joshua 3:16; 1 Kings 4:12) in the Jordan valley. That this place was apparently situate in the tribe of Manasseh, is no argument against the identification (Bahr), for an Ephrathite might surely be born out of Ephraim. It is, however, observable that Zereda has the definite article (similarly ἡ Σαρείρα ιν the LXX., but this place is located in Mount Ephraim), which Zarthan, etc., have not. Hence it is probably the same as the Zererath of Judges 7:22. In fact, some MSS. read צְרֵדָה there instead of צְרֵרָה and ר and ד are not only etymologically interchangeable, but are also extremely liable to be confused (see above on ver. 14) ], Solomon's servant [i.e., officer; cf. ver. 28], whose mother's name was Zeruah [i.e., leprous. His mother's name is recorded, probably because his father, having died early, was comparatively unknown. But it is not impossible that the similarity either with Zeruiah (cf. 1 Kings 1:7) or Zererah had something to do with its preservation. The people would not readily forget that Solomon's other great adversary was the son of Zeruiah. And we have many proofs how much the Jews affected the jingle of similar words], even he lifted up his [Heb. a] hand [i.e., rebelled. Synonymous expression 2 Samuel 18:28; 2 Samuel 20:21. Observe, we have no history or account of this rebellion except in the LXX., but merely of the circumstances which led to it] against the king.
And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father.
Verse 27. - And this was the cause [or, this is the account; this is how it came about. Same words Joshua 5:4, and 1 Kings 9:15. We have here a long parenthesis, explaining the origin, etc., of Jeroboam's disaffection] that he lifted up his hand [Heb. a hand] against the king. Solomon built Millo [see on 1 Kings 9:15], and repaired the breaches [These words convey the impression that Solomon renewed the decayed or destroyed parts of the wall. But
(1) סָגַר does not mean repair, except indirectly. It means he closed, shut. And
(2) פֶּרֶץ sing, refers to one breach or opening. Moreover
(3) it was not so long since the wall was built (2 Samuel 5:9). It could hardly, therefore, have decayed, and there had been no siege to cause a breach. We must understand the word, consequently, not of a part broken down, but of a portion unbuilt. We have elsewhere suggested that this was the breach in the line of circumvallation, caused by the Tyropsson valley, and that the Millo was the bank, or rampart which closed it. And to this view the words of the text lend some confirmation] of the city of David his father. [As Millo was built about the 25th year of Solomon's reign (ch. 9:15), we are enabled to fix approximately the date of Jeroboam's rebellion. It was apparently about ten or twelve years before Solomon's death.
And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph.
Verse 28. - And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour [same expression Judges 6:12; Judges 11:1; 1 Samuel 9:1; 2 Kings 15:20. In Ruth if. 1 it hardly seems to imply valour so much as wealth (as A.V.): and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious [Heb. doing fwork], he made him ruler over all the charge [Heb. appointed him to all the burden] of the house of Joseph. [The tribe of Ephraim, with its constant envy of Judah, must have been mortified to find themselves employed - though it was but in the modified service of Israelites - on the fortifications of Jerusalem. Their murmurings revealed to Jeroboam the unpopularity of Solomon, and perhaps suggested thoughts of overt rebellion to his mind.]
And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field:
Verse 29. - And it came to pass at that time [a general expression = "when he was thus employed"] when [Heb. that] Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem that [Heb. and], the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite [i.e., of Shiloh, as is expressed 1 Kings 14:2-4, where see notes. He too, therefore, was an Ephraimite (Joshua 16:5). This portion of the history is probably derived from his writings (2 Chronicles 9:29). We may be pretty sure that Nathan was now dead] found him in the way; and he [i.e., Ahijah. Ewald understands Jeroboam to be meant, and would see in the new garment his "splendid robe of office"] had clad himself with a new garment [שַׂלְמָה same word as שְׂמְלָה such transpositions of letters being common. The simlah was the outer garment (Genesis 9:23; 1 Samuel 21:10, etc.), which served at night as a covering (Deuteronomy 22:17). It was probably identical in shape, etc., with the camel's-hair burnous, or abba, worn by the Arabs at the present day (cf. Conder, pp. 318, 342), and being almost a square would lend itself well to division into twelve parts]; and they two were alone in the field [i.e., open country.]
And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:
Verse 30. - And Ahijah caught [This English word almost implies that it was Jeroboam's garment (cf. Genesis 39:12); but the original simply means "laid hold of."] the new garment that was on him, and rent [same word as in vers. 11, 12, 13] it in twelve pieces. [The first instance of an "acted parable" (Rawlinson).]
And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:
Verse 31. - And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes [Keil insists that "ten" is here mentioned merely as the number of completeness; that, in fact, it is to be understood symbolically and not arithmetically. He further states that in point of fact the kingdom of Jeroboam only consisted of nine tribes, that of Simeon being practically surrounded by the territory of Judah, and so becoming incorporated in the southern kingdom. But surely, if that had been the idea in the prophet's mind, it would have been better expressed had he torn off one piece from the garment and given the rest, undivided, to Jeroboam (Bahr). And the reference to the number of the tribes is unmistakable. As to Simeon, we have no means of knowing what part that tribe, if it still existed, took at the division of the kingdom. See on 1 Kings 19:3. Its members had long been scattered (Genesis 49:7), and it gradually dwindled away, and has already disappeared from the history. But even if it had a corporate existence and did follow the lead of Judah, still that is not con. clusive on the question, for we know not only that the historian uses round numbers, but also that we are not to look for exact statements, as the next verse proves] to thee.
(But he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)
Verse 32. - But he shall have one tribe [LXX. δύο σκῆπτρα. Some would understand "one tribe, in addition to Judah," but compare 1 Kings 12:20, "tribe of Judah only," and see note on ver. 13. Possibly neither Judah nor Benjamin is here to be thought of separately. In 1 Kings 12:21, and 2 Chronicles 11:3, 23, they are both reckoned to Rehoboam. They might be regarded as in some sense one, inasmuch as they enclosed the Holy City (Seb. Schmidt), the line of division passing right through the temple platform. But it is perhaps safer, in view of 1 Kings 12:20, to understand the term of Judah, compared with which large and influential tribe "little Benjamin" was hardly deserving of separate mention) for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake [see on vers. 12, 13], the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.
Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.
Verse 33. - Because that they [The LXX. has the singular throughout, and so have all the translations, except the Chaldee. But the plural is to be retained, the import being that Solomon was not alone in his idolatrous leanings; or it may turn our thoughts to the actual idolaters - his wives - whose guilt he shared. The singular looks as if an alteration had been made to bring the words into harmony with the context, and especially with the concluding words of this verse, "David his father."] have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians [צדנין a Chaldee form. But many MSS. read צדנים], Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom [the LXX. has "their king the abomination," etc., καὶ τῷ βασιλεῖ αὐτῶν. See note on ver. 5], the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my Judgments, as did David his father.
Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:
Verse 34. - Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom [Rawlinson says the context requires "aught of the kingdom," and affirms that the Hebrew will bear this rendering. But he surely forgets that the Hebrew has the def. art. אֶת־כָּל־חַמַּמְלָכָה can only represent "all the kingdom, τὴν, βασιλείαν ὅλην (LXX.) See Gesen., Thesau. s.v. כֹּל d. It would certainly seem as if this verse should speak of Solomon's retaining the sceptre during his lifetime, and not of his retaining a part of the empire. But we may not go against the grammar] out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes. ["If Solomon break his covenant with God, God will not break his covenant with the father of Solomon" (Hall).]
But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.
Verse 35. - But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.
And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.
Verse 36. - And unto his son will I give one tribe [cf. ver. 32, note], that David my servant may have a light alway before me [The same expression is found in 1 Kings 15:4; 2 Kings 8:19; 2 Chronicles 21:7; and compare Psalm 132:17. Keil would explain it by 2 Samuel 21:17; but 2 Samuel 14:7, "my coal which is left," appears to be a closer parallel. The idea is not that of a home (Rawlinson), but family, issue. We speak of the extinction of a family (Bahr) ] in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.
And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.
Verse 37. - And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth [We are not justified in concluding from these words that Jeroboam then had ambitious designs upon the throne (Keil). They rather mean, "as king, all thy desires shall be gratified" (cf. Deuteronomy 12:20; Deuteronomy 14:26; 1 Samuel 2:16; 2 Samuel 3:21). Bahr paraphrases "thou shalt have the dominion thou now strivest for," but we have absolutely no proof that Jeroboam at that time had ever meditated rebellion. It is quite possible that the idea was inspired by this interview], and shalt be king over Israel.
And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.
Verse 38. - And it shall be, if thou writ hearken unto all that I command thee [cf. 1 Kings 3:14; 1 Kings 6:12; 1 Kings 9:4], and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee [cf. ch. 1:37, note], and build thee a sure house [cf. 2 Samuel 7:11, 16; i.e., a family, perhaps dynasty. Observe, however, there was no promise to Jeroboam, as there was to David, of an enduring kingdom. It was not God's design to take away the kingdom from David in perpetuity (ver. 39) ], as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.
And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.
Verse 39. - And I will for this [i.e., the defection just described] afflict the seed of David, but not forever [Heb. all the days. Cf. Psalm 89:28, 33, 36. This limitation, "not forever." would seem to apply to the kingdom, for it was through the loss of their kingdom that the seed of David was afflicted. And if so, it promises, if not a restoration of the kingdom to the house of David, at any rate a renewal or continuance of God's favour. We may perhaps regard the promise as fulfilled in the subsequent history of the kings of Judah. Not only did the kingdom last for nearly 500 years, but the royal house of David maintained its position to the time of Zerubbabel. Nor is it to be overlooked that He "of whose kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:33) was the son of David].
Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.
Verse 40. - Solomon sought the efore to kill Jeroboam. [It is often assumed that Solomon's attempt on Jeroboam's life was the result of the prophecy of Ahijah. And our translation with its "therefore" favours this view. The Hebrews, however, has simply "and Solomon sought," etc. And these words connect themselves with ver. 26, "even he lifted up his hand," etc. With ver. 27 a parenthesis begins, explaining how it came about that Jeroboam rebelled. It is implied distinctly that it was because of Ahijah's prophecy. That prophecy, however, was in no sense a justification of treason or attack on Jeroboam's part. The fact that God had revealed His purposes was no reason why Jeroboam should forestall them. David knew and others knew that he was destined to be king, but he piously left it for God, in His own time and way, to place him on the throne. And Jeroboam's rebellion is the more inexcusable, because Ahijah had expressly stated that Solomon was to retain the kingdom during his lifetime. However "he lifted up his hand;" there was some overt act of rebellion, and Solomon, because of this, and not because of the prophecy (of which, indeed, he may never have heard), sought to slay him. Nor was the king without justification in so doing. Treason must be promptly suppressed, and treason against a benefactor (see ver. 28) is doubly hateful.] And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt [cf. verse 17, and Matthew 2:13. It was the natural place of refuge], unto Shishak, king of Egypt [Shishak is beyond doubt the Sheshonk I. of the monuments, and is the first of the Pharaohs who can be identified with certainty (see Dict. Bib. 3, p. 1288). The date of his accession appears to be somewhere between 988 and 980 B.C. As to his invasion of Palestine, see on 1 Kings 14:25. His reception of Jeroboam almost proves that there has been a change of dynasty, and that the new Pharaoh was no friend to Solomon], and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon. [Compare again Matthew 2:15.]
And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?
Verse 41. - And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? [The sources of this history are mentioned more specifically in 2 Chronicles 9:29.]
And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years.
Verse 42. - And the time [Heb. days] that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. [Josephus, here as elsewhere, doubles the figure, making his reign to have lasted eighty years. It is somewhat remarkable, but affords no just ground for suspicion, that each of the first three kings of Israel should have reigned just forty years. "Such numerical coincidences occur in exact history. Saosduchinus, Chiniladanus, and Nabopolassar, three consecutive kings of Babylon, reigned each twenty-one years" (Rawlinson).]
And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.
Verse 43. ? And Solomon slept with his fathers [see note on ch. 2:10. For the later and often mythical accounts of Solomon, see Ewald, 3. pp. 318, 319. The question of his repentance is discussed by Keble, "Occasional Papers," pp. 416-434], and was hurled in the city of David his father; and Rehoboam his son [So far as appears his only son. "Solomon hath but one son, and he no miracle of wisdom." "Many a poor man hath a houseful of children by one wife, whilst this great king hath but one son by any housefuls of wives" (Bp. Hall). It is worth remembering in this connection that Psalm 127, which speaks of children as God's reward (ver. 3), is with good reason ascribed to Solomon] reigned in his stead.