Solomon's buildings and trade.
- It sometimes requires more wisdom and resolution to govern a family in the fear of God, than to govern a kingdom with reputation. The difficulty is increased, when a man has a hinderance instead of a help meet in the wife of his bosom. Solomon kept up the holy sacrifices, according to the law of Moses. In vain had the altar been built, in vain had fire come down from heaven, if sacrifices had not been constantly brought. Spiritual sacrifices are required of us, which we are to bring daily and weekly; it is good to be in a settled method of devotion. When the service of the temple was put into good order, it is said, The house of the Lord was perfected. The work was the main matter, not the place; the temple was unfinished till all this was done. Canaan was a rich country, and yet must send to Ophir for gold The Israelites were a wise people, but must be beholden to the king of Tyre for men that had knowledge of the seas. Grace, and not gold, is the best riches, and acquaintance with God and his law, the best knowledge. Leaving the children of this world to scramble for the toys of this world, may we, as the children of God, lay up our treasure in heaven, that where our treasure is, our hearts also may be.
2 Chronicles 8:1-6 . SOLOMON'S BUILDINGS.
2. cities which Huram had restored . . . Solomon built them, &c.--These cities lay in the northwest of Galilee. Though included within the limits of the promised land, they had never been conquered. The right of occupying them Solomon granted to Huram, who, after consideration, refused them as unsuitable to the commercial habits of his subjects from the possession of the Canaanite inhabitants, repaired them and filled them with a colony of Hebrews.
3-6. And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah--Hamath was on the Orontes, in Coele-Syria. Its king, Toi, had been the ally of David; but from the combination, Hamath and Zobah, it would appear that some revolution had taken place which led to the union of these two petty kingdoms of Syria into one. For what cause the resentment of Solomon was provoked against it, we are not informed, but he sent an armed force which reduced it. He made himself master also of Tadmor, the famous Palmyra in the same region. Various other cities along the frontiers of his extended dominions he repaired and fitted up, either to serve as store-places for the furtherance of his commercial enterprises, or to secure his kingdom from foreign invasion
2 Chronicles 8:7-11 . THE CANAANITES MADE TRIBUTARIES.
7. all the people that were left, &c.--The descendants of the Canaanites who remained in the country were treated as war prisoners, being obliged to "pay tribute or to serve as galley slaves" ( 2 Chronicles 2:18 ), while the Israelites were employed in no works but such as were of an honorable character.
10. two hundred and fifty that bare rule--(Compare 1 Kings 9:23 ). It is generally agreed that the text of one of these passages is corrupt.
11. Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her--On his marriage with the Egyptian princess at the beginning of his reign, he assigned her a temporary abode in the city of David, that is, Jerusalem, until a suitable palace for his wife had been erected. While that palace was in progress, he himself lodged in the palace of David, but he did not allow her to occupy it, because he felt that she being a heathen proselyte, and having brought from her own country an establishment of heathen maid-servants, there would have been an impropriety in her being domiciled in a mansion which was or had been hallowed by the reception of the ark. It seems she was received on her arrival into his mother's abode ( Solomon 3:4 , 8:2 ).
2 Chronicles 8:15-18 . SOLOMON'S FESTIVAL SACRIFICES.
15. they departed not from the commandment of the king--that is, David, in any of his ordinances, which by divine authority he established.
unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures--either in regulating the courses of the priests and Levites, or in the destination of his accumulated treasures to the construction and adornment of the temple.
17. Then went Solomon to Ezion-geber, and to Eloth--These two maritime ports were situated at the eastern gulf of the Red Sea, now called the Gulf of Akaba. Eloth is seen in the modern Akaba, Ezion-geber in El Gudyan [ROBINSON]. Solomon, determined to cultivate the arts of peace, was sagacious enough to perceive that his kingdom could become great and glorious only by encouraging a spirit of commercial enterprise among his subjects; and, accordingly, with that in mind he made a contract with Huram for ships and seamen to instruct his people in navigation.
18. Huram sent him . . . ships--either sent him ship-men, able seamen, overland; or, taking the word "sent" in a looser sense, supplied him, that is, built him ships--namely, in docks at Eloth (compare 1 Kings 9:26 1 Kings 9:27 ). This navy of Solomon was manned by Tyrians, for Solomon had no seamen capable of performing distant expeditions. The Hebrew fishermen, whose boats plied on the Sea of Tiberias or coasted the shores of the Mediterranean, were not equal to the conducting of large vessels laden with valuable cargoes on long voyages and through the wide and unfrequented ocean.
four hundred and fifty talents of gold--(Compare 1 Kings 9:28 ). The text in one of these passages is corrupt.