And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.
Verse 1. - In the Hebrew text this verse stands as the last of ch. 1. Determined. The Hebrew word is the ordinary word for "said;" as, e.g., in the expression of such frequent occurrence, "The Lord said." Its natural equivalent here might be, he gave the word, or issued the command, for the building of a house. For the Name of the Lord; better, to the Name of the Lord (1 Kings 5:3; or in Hebrew text, 5:18; 1 Chronicles 22:7). The expression," the Name of the Lord," is of very early date (Genesis 4:26). A name named upon a person at the first purported as far as possible to mark his nature, either its tout ensemble or some striking attribute of it. Hence the changed name, sometimes of Divine interposition (Genesis 17:5, 15; Genesis 32:28; Genesis 35:10); and much more noticeably the alterations of the Divine Name, to serve and to mark the progressive development of the revelation of God to man (Genesis 17:1; Exodus 3:14; Exodus 6:3; Exodus 34:14). So the Name of the Lord stands ever - monogram most sacred - for himself. A house for his kingdom; i.e. a royal residence for Solomon himself. This is mere clearly expressed as, "in his own house" (2 Chronicles 7:11; 2 Chronicles 8:1; 1 Kings 9:10, 15). The description of this house for himself is given in 1 Kings 7:1-13. But no parallel account exists in Chronicles.
And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them.
Verse 2. - The presence of this verse here, and the composition of it, may probably mark some corruptness of text or error of copyists, as the first two words of it are the proper first two words of ver. 17, and the remainder of it shows the proper contents of ver. 18, which are not only in other aspects apparently in the right place there, but also by analogy of the parallel (1 Kings 5:15, 16). The contents of this verse will therefore be considered with vers. 17, 18.
And Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, As thou didst deal with David my father, and didst send him cedars to build him an house to dwell therein, even so deal with me.
Verse 3. - Huram. So the name is spelt, whether of Tyrian king or Tyrian workman, in Chronicles, except, perhaps, in 1 Chronicles 14:1. Elsewhere the name is written הִירָם, or sometimes חִירום, instead of חוּרָם. Geseuius draws attention to Josephus's Greek rendering of the name, Αἵρωμος, with whom agree Menander, an historian of Ephesus, in a fragment respecting Hiram (Josephus, 'Contra Apion,' 1:18); and Dius, a fragment of whose history of the Phoenicians telling of Solomon and Hiram, Josephus also is the means of preserving ('Contra Apion,' 1:17). The Septuagint write the name Ξιράμ; the Alexandrian, Ξειράμ; the Vulgate, Hiram. The name of Hiram's father was Abibaal. Hiram himself began to reign, according to Menander, when nineteen years of age, reigned thirty-four years (B.C. 1023-990), and died therefore at the age of fifty-three. Of Hiram and his reign in Tyre very little is known beyond what is so familiar to us from the Bible history of David and Solomon. The city of Tyre is among the most ancient. Though it is not mentioned in Homer, yet the Sidonians, who lived in such close connection with the Tyrians, are mentioned there ('Iliad.,' 6:290; 23. 743; 'Odys.,' 4:84; 22:424), whilst Virgil calls Tyre the Sidonian city, Sidon being twenty miles distant ('AEn.,' 1:12, 677; 4:545). The modern name of Tyre is Sur. The city was situate on the east coast of the Mediterranean, in Phoenicia, about seventy-four geographical miles north of Joppa, while the road distance from Joppa to Jerusalem was thirty-two miles. The first Bible mention of Tyre is in Joshua 19:29. After that the more characteristic mentions of it are 2 Samuel 5:11, with all its parallels; 2 Samuel 24:7; Isaiah 23:1, 7; Ezekiel 26:2; Ezekiel 27:1-8; Zechariah 9:2, 3. Tyre was celebrated for its working in copper and brass, and by no means only for its cedar and timber felling. The good terms and intimacy subsisting between Solomon and the King of Tyre speak themselves very plainly in Bible history, without leaving us dependent on doubtful history, or tales of such as Josephus ('Ant.,' 8:05. § 3; 'Contra Apion,' 1:17). For the timber, metals, workmen, given by Hiram to Solomon, Solomon gave to Hiram corn and oil, ceded to him some cities, and the use of some ports on the Red Sea (1 Kings 9:11-14, 25-28; 1 Kings 10:21-23. See also 1 Kings 16:31). As thou didst deal with David... and didst send him cedars. To this vers. 7 and 8 are the apodosis manifestly, while vers. 4, 5, 6 should be enclosed in brackets.
Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel.
Verse 4. - In the nine headings contained in this verse we may consider that the leading religious observances and services of the nation are summarized. To dedicate it. The more frequent rendering of the Hebrew word here used is "to hallow," Or "to sanctify."
(1) Sweet incense (see Exodus 30:1, 6-9, 34-38; Exodus 37:25-29; Psalm 141:2; Revelation 5:8; Revelation 6:9; Revelation 8:3-5). This sweet incense, compounded of the four ingredients stacte, onycha, galbanum, pure frankincense, was to be burnt morning and evening, at the time of the morning and evening sacrifices on the altar made of shittim wood, overlaid with gold, which stood in the holy place facing the ark. with the table of shewbread on the one hand, and the golden candlestick on the other. While the act of atonement was set forth by the offering of the victim on the brazen altar in the outer court, the ascending, acceptable, and accepted prayer and aspiration of the congregation were expressed by the sweet incense-burning.
(2) The continual shew-bread (מַעֲרֶכֶת תָּמִיד). The elementary meaning of the word here rendered "shewbread" is "a ranging in order," whether the "order" might be, e.g., that of an army in battle array (1 Samuel 4:16; 1 Samuel 17:8; 2 Samuel 22:48), or of the lamps of the holy candlestick (Exodus 39:37), or of pilings of wood to be burnt on the altar (Judges 6:26), or of cakes of bread, as presumably 'here and in some parallel passages (Leviticus 24:6). For the table which was to carry these cakes, see Exodus 25:23-30; Exodus 37:10-16; the last verse of the former passage speaking of the shewbread under the name לֶחֶם פָנִים. (For the position of the table, see Exodus 26:35.) The word employed in the text is first used to express the piles of cakes, called in our Authorized Version shewbread in Leviticus 24:6, 7; then 1 Chronicles 9:32; 1 Chronicles 23:29; 1 Chronicles 28:16; as also again in 2 Chronicles 13:11; 2 Chronicles 29:18; and in Nehemiah 10:33. Where in these passages the word לֶחֶם is not expressed, that it is understood may be gathered from the other passages (Numbers 4:7). The bread consisted of twelve large cakes of unleavened dough (Leviticus 24:5-9), ranged in two heaps, and with a golden cup of frankincense (Leviticus 24:7) to each pile. When on every seventh day new cakes were substituted, the old ones belonged to the priests (Leviticus 24:8, 9; Leviticus 8:31; Matthew 12:4; Exodus 29:33, 34). The twelve cakes pointed to the twelve tribes. Their size may be judged from the statement that each cake contained two tenth deals, i.e. two-tenths of an ephah, equal to about six pounds and a quarter. The exact significance of this bread is not stated in Scripture. Part of it lay plainly in the twelve cakes, part, perhaps, in their becoming priest's food, found by the people (Leviticus 24:8), after having been presented seven days before the Lord. Much that is interesting but not finally satisfactory on the question may be found in the article "Shewbread" in Dr. Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 3:1271. Our Authorized Version "shewbread' comes from Luther's Schaubrode. Wickliffe, after the Vulgate panes propositionis, designates it "the loaves of proposition." The New Testament has, in Hebrews 9:2, ἡ προθέσις τῶν ἄρτῶν; as also in the Gospels (Matthew 12:4; Luke 6:4); while the Septuagint has ἄρτοι ἐνώπιοι (Exodus 25:30), and ἄρτοι τῆς προσφορᾶς (1 Kings 7:48). The question really turns on the significance of the designation of Exodus 25:30 (לֶחֶם פָּנִים).
(3) The burnt offerings morning and evening. A succinct statement of these offerings, constituting the "daily offering," is given in Numbers 28:3-8, according to its original institution (Exodus 29:38-42), except in the added mention of the "strong wine," or strong drink, spoken of in the latter part of ver. 7, which had probably originated as an incident of the wilderness-journey. The morning and evening offering were alike, viz. a lamb, a meal offering consisting of a tenth of an ephah of flour, mixed with the fourth part of a bin of beaten oil, and a drink offering consisting of the fourth part of a bin of "wine," or of "strong drink."
(4) The burnt offering on the sabbath. The account of this is given in Numbers 28:9, 10; and any previous institution of it is not recorded. The sabbath-day burnt offerings were the double of the daily offerings (Ezekiel 46:4).
(5) The burnt offering on the new moons; see Numbers 27:11-15, where the phrase, of your months," is what is "the beginnings of your months" is what is employed, i.e. the first day of each month (Leviticus 10:10). No previous mention of this burnt offering is found. It consisted of two bullocks, one ram, seven lambs,
(a) with meat offering consisting of three-tenths of an ephah of flour mixed with oil for each bullock; two-tenths of an ephah of flour mixed with oil for the ram; one-tenth of an ephah of flour similarly mixed for each lamb;
(b) with drink offering, of half a hin of wine to each bullock; the third part of a hin to the ram; and the fourth part of a hin to each lamb. A kid of the goats for a sin offering, which in fact was offered before the burnt offering. And all these were to be additional to the continual offering of the day, with its drink offering (see also Isaiah 66:23; Ezekiel 46:3; Amos 8:5).
(6) The burnt offering on the solemn feasts of the Lord. These were the three great festivals of the year - the Passover (Exodus 12:3-20, 27, 43; Leviticus 23:4-8; Deuteronomy 16:1-8); the Feast of Weeks (Exodus 23:16; Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 23. 15-21; Numbers 28:26; Deuteronomy 16:8-12); the Feast of Tabernacles (Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:33-44; Numbers 29:13-40; Deuteronomy 16:13-15).
And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods.
Verses 5, 6. - The contents of these verses beg some special observation, in the first place, as having been judged by the writer of Chronicles matter desirable to be retained and put in his work. To find a place for this subject amid his careful selection, and rejection in many cases, of the matter at his command, is certainly a decision in harmony with his general design in this work. Then, again, they may be remarked on as spoken to another king, who, whether it were to be expected or no, was, it is plain, a sympathizing hearer of the piety and religious resolution of Solomon (ver. 12). This is one of the touches of history that does not diminish our regret that we do not know more of Hiram. He was no "proselyte," but he had the sympathy of a convert to the religion of the Jew. Perhaps the simplest and most natural explanation may just be the truest, that Hiram for some long time had seen "the rising" kingdom, and alike in David and Solomon in turn, "the coming" men. He had been more calmly and deliberately impressed than the Queen of Sheba afterwards, but not less effectually and operatively impressed. And once more the passage is noteworthy for the utterances of Solomon in themselves. As parenthetically testifying to a powerful man, who could be a powerful helper of Solomon's enterprise, his outburst of explanation, and of ardent religious purpose, and of humble godly awe, is natural. But that he should call the temple he purposed to build "so great," as we cannot put it down either to intentional exaggeration or to sober historic fact, must the rather be honestly set down to such considerations as these, viz. that in point of fact, neither David nor Solomon were "travelled men," as Joseph and Moses, for instance. Their measures of greatness were largely dependent upon the existing material and furnishing of their own little country. And further, Solomon speaks of the temple as great very probably from the point of view of its simple religious uses (note end of ver. 6) as the place of sacrifice in especial rather than as a place, for instance, of vast congregations and vast processions. Then, too, as compared with the tabernacle, it would loom "great," whether for size or for its enduring material. Meantime, though Solomon does indeed use the words (ver. 5)," The house.., is great," yet, throwing on the words the light of the remaining clause of the verse, and of David's words in 1 Chronicles 29:1, it is not very certain that the main thing present to his mind was not the size, but rather the character of the house, and the solemn character of the enterprise itself (1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chronicles 6:18). Who am I... save only to burn sacrifice before him? The drift of Solomon's thought is plain - that nothing would justify mortal man, if he purported to build really a palace of residence for him whom the heaven of heavens could not contain, but that he is justified all the more in "not giving sleep to his eyes, nor slumber to his eyelids, until he had found out a place" (Psalm 132:4, 5) where man might acceptably, in God's appointed way, draw near to him. If "earth draw near to heaven," it may be confidently depended on that heaven will not be slow to bend down its glory, majesty, grace, to earth.
But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?
Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide.
Verse 7. - Send me... a man cunning to work, etc. The parenthesis is now ended. By comparison of ver. 3, it appears that Solomon makes of Hiram's services to David his father a very plea why his own requests addressed now to Hiram should be granted. If we may be guided by the form of the expressions used in 1 Chronicles 14:1 and 2 Samuel 5:11, 12, Hiram had in the first instance volunteered help to David, and had not waited to be applied to by David. This would show us more clearly the force of Solomon's plea. Further, if we note the language of 1 Kings 5:1, we may be disposed to think that it fills a gap in our present connection, and indicates that, though Solomon appears here to have had to take the initiative, an easy opportunity was opened, in the courteous embassy sent him in the persons of Hiram's "servants." That the king of this most privileged, separate, and exclusive people of Israel (and he the one who conducted that people to the very zenith of their fame) should have to apply and be permitted to apply to foreign and, so to say, heathen help, in so intrinsic a matter as the finding of the "cunning" and the "skill" of head and hand for the most sacred and distinctive chef d'oeuvre of the said exclusive nation, is a grand instance of nature breaking all trammels, even when most divinely purposed, and a grand token of the dawning comity of nations, of free-trade under the unlikeliest auspices, and of the brotherhood of humanity, never more broadly illustrated than when on an international scale. The competence of the Phoenicians and the people of Sidon and those over whom Hiram immediately reigned in the working of the metals, and furthermore in a very wide range of other subjects, is well sustained by the allusions of very various authorities (already instanced under 1 Chronicles 14:1, and passim; Homer, 'Iliad,' 6:289-294; 23. 743; 'Odys.,' 4:614; 15:415-426; Herod., 3:19; 7:23, 44, 96; Strabo, 16:2. § 23). The man who was sent is described in vers. 13, 14, infra, as also 1 Kings 7:13, 14. Purple, ... crimson, ... blue. It is not absolutely necessary to suppose that the same Hiram, so skilled in working of gold, silver, brass, and iron, was the authority sent for these matters of various coloured dyes for the cloths that would later on be required for curtains and other similar purposes in the temple. So far, indeed, as the literal construction of the words go, this would seem to be what is meant, and no doubt may have been the case, though unlikely. The purple (אַדְגְּוָן). A Chaldee form of this word (אַרְגְּוָנָא) occurs three times in Daniel 5:7, 16, 29, and appears in each of those cases in our Authorized Version as "scarlet." Neither of these words is the word used in the numerous passages of Exodus, Numbers, Judges, Esther, Proverbs, Canticles, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, nor, indeed, in ver. 13, infra and 2 Chronicles 3:14. In all these places, numbering nearly forty, the word is אַרְגָבָן. The purple was probably obtained from some shell-fish on the coast of the Mediterranean. The crimson (כַרְמִיל). Gesenius says that this was a colour obtained from multitudinous insects that tenanted one kind of the flex (Coccus ilicis), and that the word is from the Persian language. The Persian kerm, Sanscrit krimi, Armenian karmir, German carmesin, and our own "crimson," keep the same framework of letters or sound to a remarkable degree. This word is found only here, ver. 13, infra, and 2 Chronicles 3:14. The crimson of Isaiah 1:18 and Jeremiah 4:30, and the scarlet of some forty places in the Pentateuch and other books, come as the rendering of the word שָׁנִי. The blue (תְּכֵלֶת). This is the same word as is used in some fifty other passages in Exodus, Numbers, and in later books. This colour was obtained from a shell-fish (Helix ianthina) found in the Mediterranean, the shell of which was blue. Can skill to grave. The word "to grave" is the piel conjugation of the very familiar Hebrew verb פָּתַח, "to open." Out of twenty-nine times that the verb occurs in some part of the piel conjugation, it is translated "grave" nine times, "loosed" eleven times, "put off" twice, "ungirded" once, "opened" four times, "appear" once, and "go free" once. Perhaps the "opening" the ground with the plough (Isaiah 28:24) leads most easily on to the idea of "engraving." Cunning men whom... David... did provide, As we read in 1 Chronicles 22:15; 1 Chronicles 28:21.
Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon: for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in Lebanon; and, behold, my servants shall be with thy servants,
Verse 8. - Algum trees, out of Lebanon. These trees are called algum in the three passages of Chronicles in which the tree is mentioned, viz. here and 2 Chronicles 9:10, 11, but in the three passages of Kings, almug, viz. 1 Kings 10:11, 12 bis. As we read in 1 Kings 10:11; 2 Chronicles 9:10, 11, that they were exports from Ophir, we are arrested by the expression, "out of Lebanon," here. If they were accessible in Lebanon, it is not on the face of it to be supposed they would be ordered from such a distance as Ophir. Lastly, there is very great difference of opinion as to what the tree was in itself. In Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' vol. 3. appendix, p. 6, the subject is discussed more fully than it can be here, and with some of its scientific technicalities. Celsius has mentioned fifteen woods for which the honour has been claimed. More modern disputants have suggested five, of these the red sandalwood being considered, perhaps, the likeliest. So great an authority as Dr. Hooker pronounces that it is a question quite undetermined. But inasmuch as it is so undetermined, it would seem possible that, if it were a precious wood of the smaller kind (as e.g. ebony with us), and, so to say, of shy growth in Lebanon, it might be that it did grow in Lebanon, but that a very insufficient supply of it there was customarily supplemented by the imports received from Ophir. Or, again, it may be that the words, "out of Lebanon," are simply misplaced (1 Kings 5:8), and should follow the words, "fir trees." The rendering "pillars" in 1 Kings 10:12 for "rails" or "props" is unfortunate, as the other quoted uses of the wood for "harps" and "psalteries" would all betoken a small as well as very hard wood. Lastly, it is a suggestion of Canon Rawlinson that, inasmuch as the almug wood of Ophir came via Phoenicia and Hiram, Solomon may very possibly have been ignorant that "Lebanon" was not its proper habitat. Thy servants can skill to cut timber. This same testimony is expressed yet more strongly in 1 Kings 5:6, "There is not any among us that can skill to hew timber like the Sidoniaus." Passages like 2 Kings 19:23; Isaiah 14:8; Isaiah 37:24, go to show that the verb employed in our text is rightly rendered "hew," as referring to the felling rather than to any subsequent dressing and sawing up of the timber. It is, therefore, rather more a point of interest to learn in what the great skill consisted which so threw Israelites into the shade, while distinguishing Hiram's servants. It is, of course, quite possible that the "hewing," or "felling," may be taken to infer all the subsequent cutting, dressing, etc. Perhaps the skill intended will have included the best selection of trees, as well as the neatest and quickest laying of them prostrate, and if beyond this it included the sawing and dressing and shaping of the wood, the room for superiority of skill would be ample. My servants (so vers. 2, 18; 1 Kings 5:15).
Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great.
And, behold, I will give to thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil.
Verse 10. - Beaten wheat. In 1 Kings 5:11 the language is "wheat for food" (מַכֹּלֶת), while the Septuagint gives καὶ μαχεὶρ. In our present passage the Septuagint gives εἰς βρώματα, suggesting at once that our Hebrew מִכּות is an error for מַכֹּלֶת. The former Hebrew word is that constantly employed for "plagues," "strokes," etc., and it is nowhere but in this place rendered "beaten." I will give to thy servants. This passage is hard to reconcile with what is said in 1 Kings 5:11; but meantime it is not certain that it needs to be reconciled with it. It is possible that the two passages are distinct. The contents of the present verse, at all events, need not be credited with any ambiguity, unless, indeed, we would wish it more definite, whether the expression, "I will give to thy servants," may not be quite as correctly understood, "for thy servants," i.e. to thee as the hire of them. If this be so, it would enable us to give at once all the wheat, and two hundred out of the 20,000 baths of oil, for the consumption, not of the literal workmen, but of the royal household. Then this granted, the verse, though not identical with 1 Kings 5:11, is brought into harmony with it. Reverting to the statement in 1 Kings 5, what we learn is that Solomon, in his application to Hiram, offers payment for the hire of his servants such as he shall appoint (ver. 6). Hiram's reply is that he shall be satisfied to receive as payment "food for his household" (ver. 9), the amount of it and the annual payment of it being specified in ver. 11. This is the whole case, the discrepancies in which are plain, but they do not amount to contradictions. The appearance that is worn on the face of things is that the writer in Chronicles gives what came to be the final arrangement as to remuneration, though confessedly it is placed as much as the account in Kings in the draft of Solomon's original application to Hiram. Measures. These were cots, and the cot was the same as the homer. From a calculation of some doubtfulness, however, made under the suggestions of 1 Kings 4:22, it has been said that the consumption of the royal household of Solomon was above 32,000 measures. The cor, or homer, was the largest of the five dry measures of capacity, being equal to 180 cabs, 100 omers, 30 seahe, 10 ephahs (see Dr. Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 3.1741), though what was the exact value of any one of these in modern measures has only been uncertainly and very approximately arrived at. Baths. The bath was the largest of the three liquid measures of capacity, being equal to 6 bins and 72 logs (see same 'Dictionary,' 3:1740).
Then Huram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, Because the LORD hath loved his people, he hath made thee king over them.
Verse 11. - Huram... answered in writing. It is impossible to argue with any but superficial plausibility that Solomon had not used writing. In the parallel of Kings an identical expression is used for the communications of both: "Solomon sent to Hiram" (ver. 2), and "Hiram sent to Solomon" (ver. 8). The productions of the forms of this correspondence by Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 8:2)and Eupolemus ('Ap. Praep. Evang.,' 9:33) are, of course, merely mythical. Because the Lord hath loved his people. This beautiful expression has parallels, not only in such passages as 2 Chronicles 9:8; 1 Kings 10:9; but in such as Deuteronomy 7:13; Deuteronomy 10:15; Psalm 47:4; Psalm 115:12; Jeremiah 31:3; Hosea 11:1, 4. These were all precursors of the fuller assertion and kinder demonstration of God's love repeated so often and in such tender connections in the Epistles of the New Testament. This verse and the following are also testimony to the indirect influences on surrounding nations of the knowledge of the one true Creator-God and Ruler-God, that was domiciled by special revelation and oracle (Romans 3:2) with Israel. Where nations near were bitter foes, they often feared Israel's God, whereas now they were friends they could summon to their lips the highest of the outbursts of praise, not to say of adoration. The very noteworthy sympathy of Hiram with Israel may have owed something to his personal predilection for David (1 Kings 5:1). And this again is convincing testimony to the worth and usefulness of individual character which here influenced the destiny of two whole nations.
Huram said moreover, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.
And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father's,
Verse 13. - Of Huram my father's. The words of 2 Chronicles 4:11, 16 would invest these with suspicion, if nothing that occurred before did, as e.g. the parallel passage (1 Kings 7:13, 14, 40). There can be no doubt from these passages that the name Huram of this verse is the name of the workman sent (the lamed prefixed being only the objective sign), not the supposed name of King Hiram's father, which, as already seen, was Abibaal. But the following word translated "my father" (אָבִי) is less easily explained; 2 Chronicles 4:16 ("his father") is quite sufficient to negative the rendering" father" altogether. In our text altogether inappropriate, it may be called there altogether impossible. It has been proposed to render it as a proper name Abi, or as an affix of honour, Ab, equal to "master." However, Gesenius (in 'Lexicon,' sub roe. אב (6), which see) furnishes a signification, "chief counsellor," which (taking it to mean chief counsellor, or as it were expert, chief referee, or even only foreman in such matters as might be in question) would well suit all the passages, and remove all difficulty.
The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David thy father.
Verse 14. - Son of a woman... of Dan. Both this and the parallel (1 Kings 7:14) agree as to the father of this very clever workman, that he was "a man of Tyre." But the parallel gives the mother as a woman "of the tribe of Naphtali," and calls her a "widow." This must mean, either that she was a widow now, or that she was a widow when "the man of Tyre" married her. If this latter is the correct meaning, it has been suggested that, though the mother was really a woman of the daughters of Dan, yet the husband who, dying, left her a widow, was of the tribe of Naphtali, and that from this she became credited with belonging to that tribe. It would seem not altogether impossible that it may be intended to state, in a delicate way, that this remarkably able man was the natural son of the widow in question, "the man of Tyre" (not called her husband) being the father. On the intermarriages of Danites and Phoenicians, see Blunt's 'Coincidences,' pt. 2. 4. Skilful... to find out every device. (For the identical phrase, see Exodus 31:4.) The present verse, exceeding in definiteness ver. 7, supra, undoubtedly purports on the face of it to ascribe a very wide range of practical skill, and not merely general administrative and directing skill, to Hiram. Note, however, the significance couched in the last clauses of both verses.
Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants:
Verse 15. - The contents of this verse cannot be supposed to imply that King Hiram is eager for the pay to be remembered, but are equivalent to saying promptly that all things are ready to begin, and that therefore the commissariat must be ready also.
And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem.
Verse 16. - Joppa, This was one of the most ancient of towns, and is referred to by Pliny ('Hist. Nat.,' 5:13), as "Joppa Phoenicum, antiquior terrarum inundatione, ut ferunt." Its name (יָפו, "beauty") is said to have been justified by the beautiful groves in its neighbourhood. It is mentioned Joshua 19:46 as Japho, where also we learn the circumstances under which the Dan tribe were possessed of it. It is remarkable that it is not mentioned again till our present verse, not even in the parallel (1 Kings 5:9). But it appears again in Ezra 3:7; Jonah 1:3, and in several places in the Acts of the Apostles. The modern name of it is Joffa, and it is not reputed as a good port now. It was distant from Jerusalem some thirty-four miles. The carriage of the tim-bet this road-journey is nowhere described in detail, nor is the exact spot of the coast west of Lebanon mentioned where the flotes were made, and thence despatched.
And Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of Israel, after the numbering wherewith David his father had numbered them; and they were found an hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand and six hundred.
Verse 17. - Strangers. By these are meant those of the former inhabitants and possessors of the land, who had not been extirpated or driven out. Special regulations respecting them are recorded in Judges 1:21-28, 33-36. But these had largely lapsed till, as it appears, David revived them rather trenchantly, and David is now followed by Solomon (2 Chronicles 8:7, 8; 1 Kings 9:20, 21). The very much milder enforcement of labour upon the Israelites themselves is evident from 1 Kings 5:13-16. After the numbering wherewith David his father had numbered them. Of this transaction on the part of David we do not possess any absolutely distinct statement. But the place of it is sufficiently evident, as indicated in 1 Chronicles 22:2.
And he set threescore and ten thousand of them to be bearers of burdens, and fourscore thousand to be hewers in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people a work.
Verse 18. - Three thousand and six hundred. Adding to these the 250 of 2 Chronicles 8:10, infra, the total 3850 of 1 Kings 5:16 is exactly reached. That total, however, is reached by a somewhat different classification, the division being into 3300 "strangers," and 500 "chief of the officers" (1 Kings 9:23). The explanation probably is that of the 3600 "stranger" overseers, the small proportion of 300 were of much higher grade in office than the rest, and were ranked by the writer in Kings with those overseers (250) of Solomon, who were probably Israelites.