And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the LORD, and his own house,
Verse 1. - (parallel, 1 Kings 9:10). - Twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the Lord, and his own house. The description is intended to be, what it is, chronologically exact. Four years of Solomon had passed when he began the Lord's house, seven were spent in building it, thirteen in finishing and furnishing it, and in building, finishing, and furnishing the king's house - in all twenty-four years.
That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there.
Verse 2. - The cities which Huram had restored to Solomon. 1 Kings 9:11 explains the force of the word "restored" here, telling how it was Hiram had come by "twenty cities in the land of Galilee" by way of payment, or part payment, for the "cedar," "fir," and "gold" which he had given Solomon. It is evident that these cities were in need of repair; possibly they had not been previously in the occupation of the Israelites; if they had been, the transaction was scarcely legitimate on the part of Solomon (Leviticus 25:12-33), and we may suppose they had become largely deserted when made over to Hiram. It would not, however, be necessary to suppose either that Solomon had given them because they were poor property in his eyes, or that Hiram, whose good will and generous disposition are elsewhere specially notified, had returned them as a thankless gift or as a bad payment, but for the language of vers. 12, 13 (1 Kings 9.), which distinctly tells us that when Hiram inspected them they did "not please him," and that he named them "the land of Oabul" (see Dr. Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 1. p. 237). The probability is that, as cities on the borderland, they were what had been at present unoccupied by Israelites, were all the likelier in bad repair, and, unvalued by Hiram, were, when put into good repair by Solomon, such that Solomon might justly cause the children of Israel to dwell in them.
And Solomon went to Hamathzobah, and prevailed against it.
Verse 3. - Hamath-zobah. Hamath (when the name occurs separately) was a place both of great geographical note (occupying, whether regarded as a larger region or a town, an important position in the northern end of that broad valley of Coele-Syria which separates Lebanon and Antilebanon, and through which passed the river Orontes) and of great historical note from the time of the Exodus to that of Amos. The town, or city, is to be understood to be the Great Hamath (Amos 6:2). But the kingdom, or district, or county, was almost conterminous with Coele-Syria. Zobah, also a portion of Syria, amounted to a small kingdom, and is read of alike in Saul's and in David's times, as in Solomon's time. It probably lay to the north-east of Hamath (1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:8, 7, 8, 10; 2 Samuel 10:9, 16, 19; 1 Chronicles 18:4; 1 Chronicles 19:16). But Hamath-zobah of this verse was probably a place called Hamath, in the region of Zobah, in which also two other cities are mentioned, Berothai and Tibhath, or Betah (2 Samuel 8:8; 1 Chronicles 18:8). These two kingdoms of Hamath and Zobah, contiguous as they were, seem as though they purposed to compliment one another - Zobah by naming one of its towns Hamath, and vice versa It is said that the Assyrian inscriptions show that they remained, after Solomon, distinct kingdoms.
And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath.
Verse 4. - Tadmor in the wilderness. Tadmor, one with the classical Palmyra, lay in the desert of Syria, about half-way between the rivers Orontes and Euphrates, and distant from Damascus about a hundred and forty miles to its east-north-east. Stanley ('Sinai and Palestine,' p. 8, note 1) says, "Is it quite certain that 'Tadmor' and 'Palmyra' are words derived from the (palms)? A palm is in Hebrew tamar... and in Greek... phoenix." Solomon was probably not the originator, but rather re-builder, of the place. Its fame was great under Zenobia, the Queen of Odenathus; she was taken captive by the Emperor Aurelian, A.D. 273, when the city was subdued. It is now little better than the haunt of a few Arabs Splendid ruins remain, specially of the great temple of the sun. The Hebrew text of 1 Kings 9:18 has apparently Tamer, or Tamar, and it has been suggested by Movers on that passage that possibly a Tamar in the south, and that is found in the neighbourhood of some of the other places, such as Baalath, Beth-heron, and Gezer, all in the south (Ezekiel 47:19; Ezekiel 48:28; ch. 20:2), is intended. Our text, however, in the present place offers no choice, while that in Kings (compare Chethiv and Keri) is doubtful. And finally, our writer is here evidently in the neighbourhood of Hamath, which of course best suits Tadmor. Although there is an apparent disjointedness between this and the parallel, closer notice may rather bring confirmation of substantial agreement between them. For instance, the store cities here spoken of as belonging to Hamath (but not individually named here and not corresponding with those that are named in Kings) are accounted for by the words, "and in Lebanon," in 1 Kings 9:19.
Also he built Bethhoron the upper, and Bethhoron the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars;
Verse 5. - Beth-heron the upper... Beth-heron the nether. The parallel mentions only the latter (1 Kings 9:17). They were both in Ephraim (1 Chronicles 7:24; Joshua 10:10, 11; Joshua 16:1-6; Joshua 18:13, 14), but were assigned to the Kohathite Levites (Joshua 21:22; 1 Chronicles 6:68). The name means "the hollow place." The upper Beth-heron was about four miles from Gibeon, and the lower about three miles further on. The Roman general Cestius Gallus was defeated here in the last Jewish war; Judas Maccabaeus conquered here (1 Maccabees 3:18-25). Other interesting references may be made to 1 Samuel 13:18; 1 Kings 9:7; 2 Chronicles 25:18.
And Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cities of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion.
Verse 6. - Baalath (parallel 1 Kings 9:18). This place belonged to Dan (Joshua 19:40-45). Nothing is known about it; some take it to be one with Baalah of Joshua 15:9, 10. Store cities... chariot cities... cities of the horsemen (see 2 Chronicles 16:4; 2 Chronicles 32:28; 1 Kings 4:26; 1 Kings 9:19). In the parallel some of the names of the places built, or rebuilt, or repaired by Solomon in this connection are given as "Mille and the wall of Jerusalem" (Millo's foundations occupied the hollow at the south-west corner of the hill of the temple), "and Hazer and Megiddo and Gezer" (1 Kings 9:15). All that Solomen desired to build; i.e. for purposes of personal enjoyment or ornament.
As for all the people that were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which were not of Israel,
Verses 7-10. - These verses, corresponding very nearly exactly with the parallel (1 Kings 9:20-23), betray how it was a thing never to be forgotten, if only as a fact, that the extermination of the old possessors of the land had not been entire; so that allusion to it is not omitted even by a post-Captivity compiler. The parallel charitably "whom the children of Israel were not able to destroy utterly," where our text shows with exacter fidelity, whom the children of Israel consumed not. The parallel also uses the words, "levy a tribute of bond-service," for our more ambiguous make to pay tribute (Judges 3:1-7). In the words, until this day, the copyist, shall we say, too slavish, is again detected (ver. 9). The "levy "in ver. 21 of the parallel probably explains the suddenly mentioned similar language of its fifteenth verse, and again betrays the collected and copied nature of the historic material, the carefulness of sequence not being as observable in selection as might be desired. The distinction between the remnant of aliens and the people of Israel was manifestly that the menial and the laborious service was put on the former. Useful but familiar references to this whole subject are found in Judges 1:21-36; Judges 3:1-5; 1 Chronicles 22:2; 1 Kings 5:13-18. For our two hundred and fifty (which gives the number of overseers over Israelites only) the parallel reads, "five hundred and fifty." It will be remembered that an analogous difference occurs between our 2 Chronicles 2:18 and 1 Kings 5:16. Whether it were the determining reason or not in these two places, it is very imaginable that it would be of less importance in the ages of the post-Captivity annalist to dwell on the minutiae of the different treatment of the aliens.
But of their children, who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute until this day.
But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work; but they were men of war, and chief of his captains, and captains of his chariots and horsemen.
And these were the chief of king Solomon's officers, even two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people.
And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy, whereunto the ark of the LORD hath come.
Verse 11 (parallel, 1 Kings 9:24). - As the writer of Chronicles has not before alluded to the marriage and the circumstances of it involved in this verse, his account and assignment of Solomon's motive for the removal of his wife, Pharaoh's daughter, is given something more specifically (see 1 Kings 3:1; 1 Kings 7:8). The valley of Tyropeum lay between the temple on the eastern hill and Solomon's palace, which was on the western side of it. The name of this wife was probably Psusennes, last of the twenty-first dynasty.
Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the LORD on the altar of the LORD, which he had built before the porch,
Verses 12, 13. - Parallel in compressed form 1 Kings 9:25. After a certain rate every day; Hebrew, וּבִדְבַר־יום; the probable meaning is, according to the fixed appointment of day after day (Exodus 23:14; Exodus 29:23, 38; Numbers 28:3; Deuteronomy 16:16).
Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles.
And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded.
Verse 14. - The courses of the priests... the Levites to their charges... the porters also by their courses at every gate. (For the particulars of this verse, see, with the exposition to them, 1 Chronicles 24:1-35; 1 Chronicles 25:1-7; 26; 9:17-28.) David the man of God. This title occurs only once in 1 Chronicles, viz. 1 Chronicles 23:14, where it is used of Moses; and six times in 2 Chronicles, viz. here to David; 2 Chronicles 11:2, to Shemaiah; three times, 2 Chronicles 25:7, 9, to an unnamed prophet; and once again to Moses, 2 Chronicles 30:16; the expression occurs much more frequently in Kings.
And they departed not from the commandment of the king unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures.
Verse 15. - Considering the last clause of the previous verse, the king probably designs David, not Solomon. The commandment... concerning the treasures. (See, with the exposition, 1 Chronicles 26:20-32. Comp. also our 2 Chronicles 35:3-5.)
Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD, and until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was perfected.
Verse 16. - Was prepared. This is the niph. of כּוּן; and occurs eight times in Chronicles, but in other conjugations forty-two times. The evident signification is, Thus was all the work of Solomon steadily ordered to the day of foundation of the house... and on uninterruptedly till it was finished; i.e. there was no remitting of diligence and care from the beginning to the end of the grand undertaking. For of this the Chronicle-history has told us, first in ch. 2, and then in ch. 3-8.
Then went Solomon to Eziongeber, and to Eloth, at the sea side in the land of Edom.
Verse 17. - Ezion-geber... Eloth. Parallel, 1 Kings 9:26, which describes the former of these ports as "beside" the latter, "on the Red Sea," i.e. at the extremity of the eastern gulf of the Red Sea, called the Elanitic Gulf by Greeks and Romans, but now the Gulf of Akabah (Numbers 33:35-37; Deuteronomy 2:8; 2 Samuel 8:14; 1 Kings 22:48; 2 Kings 14:22; 2 Kings 16:6; 2 Chronicles 20:36, 37). David's conquest of Edom was the occasion of its coming into the possession of Israel.
And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.
Verse 18. - The first impression created on reading this verse no doubt would he that Hiram sent ships to Solomon, at Ezion-geber and Eloth. But it is almost impossible to see how he could do so. The parallel much helps us, by saying that "Solomon made a navy," and Hiram assisted. by manning it with competent sailors; he "sent in the navy his servants," etc. (1 Kings 9:26, 27). Some have suggested that the explanation is that Hiram gave materials, workmen, and models for Solomon's ships, possibly having ships lying in the Red Sea. The parallel, however, meets all difficulties, and saves the necessity of going far for farfetched explanations. Ophir. This was the name of the son of Joktan (Genesis 10:25-29), who, it is supposed, gave his name to the place or land in the south of Arabia. It is still quite an unsettled question, however, where Ophir was situated, though an Arabian situation is on every account the most probable (see Exposition 1 Chronicles 29:4; and Dr. Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 2:637-642). Our four hundred and fifty talents of gold reads in the parallel (1 Kings 9:28) as "four hundred and twenty."