1 Kings 4:25
And Judah and Israel dwelled safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba…
I. THAT IT IS GOD WHO BESTOWS NATIONAL PEACE. This, God claims as His peculiar prerogative. "I form the light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things." The voice of Scripture here concurs with the voice of reason. National peace is one of the links in the great chain of providence, and of consequence comes under the Divine direction. It belongs to God to determine when and where national peace shall be enjoyed. And it is easy to see how God can give this blessing to different nations, notwithstanding their native pride and selfishness.
1. God can make it the mutual interest of native and foreign nations to be at peace with each other. This was the ease in the days of Solomon. Just so God is able to unite the hearts of other nations, by uniting their interests. It has long been a maxim in politics, that national interest is the first principle of national policy. It is only for God, therefore, to make it the mutual interest of different nations to be at peace with each other, and they themselves will naturally seek and promote this agreeable object.
2. God is able to govern the hearts of nations, and in that way dispose them to mutual peace and harmony. It was a proverb in Israel, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will." There is a supreme power in every nation; and the men who possess that power, have the right of making war or peace.
II. THAT NATIONAL PEACE IS A GREAT NATIONAL BLESSING, So long as Solomon had peace on all sides round about him, it diffused universal happiness through his widely extended kingdom. National peace is naturally productive of the greatest national prosperity.
1. National peace naturally tends to increase the numbers of a people. It is almost incredible how fast a people will increase in numbers, while they are free from public and wasting calamities. And the increase of numbers not only adds to the happiness of a people, but to the glory of their government. So Solomon thought, and so he said: "In the multitude of people, is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.
2. National peace directly tends to promote national wealth. Wealth is a temporal favour to nations, as well as to individuals, though it be often perverted and abused by both. Solomon says, "The blessing of the Lord it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it." Peace is the parent of wealth. For peace promotes industry, industry promotes commerce, and commerce promotes the wealth of any nation.
3. National peace has a happy influence upon every branch of human knowledge. Leisure and learning go together.
4. National peace affords a favourable opportunity for forming public designs and performing public works. Every rising nation finds that, in order to be happy as well as respectable, it must build cities, erect churches, endow colleges, open canals, make bridges, repair highways, remove public nuisances, and perform many other expensive works of general utility. To promote such national objects was highly reputable among the Romans in the zenith of their prosperity. Pliny congratulates one of his friends upon being appointed a surveyor of the highways; an office to which he, and even Caesar himself, had been promoted. It is only when nations are settled in peace that they can form and execute public designs.
5. It is the direct tendency of national peace to promote personal as well as public prosperity. There is no other national blessing so extensive in its kindly influence.
6. National peace is very friendly to the interests of religion. During the peaceful reign of Solomon, religion greatly flourished.
1. If peace be the greatest national blessing, then war is the greatest national calamity. War and peace are diametrically- opposite to each other in their nature and tendency. War tends to destroy all that prosperity which peace tends to produce.
2. If peace be the greatest of national blessings, then it is the wisdom of those who possess the supreme power in any nation, to promote and maintain this desirable and important object.
3. If it be the natural tendency of national peace to promote national prosperity, then it is the wisdom of a people to do all in their power to retain this invaluable blessing. A prosperous people are very prone to forget the source of their prosperity, and to become extremely stupid, avaricious, and revengeful
4. We learn, from what has been said, that we are under peculiar obligations to God for the bestowment and continuance of our national peace.
(N. Emmons, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.