1 Kings 10

1 Kings 10:1-13 . THE QUEEN OF SHEBA ADMIRES THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON.

13. King Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside--that is, Solomon not only gave his illustrious guest all the insight and information she wanted; but, according to the Oriental fashion, he gave her ample remuneration for the presents she had brought.

1 Kings 10:14-29 . HIS RICHES.

14, 15. Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year--six hundred sixty-six talents, equal to about $20,000,000. The sources whence this was derived are not mentioned; nor was it the full amount of his revenue; for this was "Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffic of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country." The great encouragement he gave to commerce was the means of enriching his royal treasury. By the fortifications which he erected in various parts of his kingdom, (particularly at such places as Thapsacus, one of the passages of Euphrates, and at Tadmot, in the Syrian desert), he gave complete security to the caravan trade from the depredations of the Arab marauders; and it was reasonable that, in return for this protection, he should exact a certain toll or duty for the importation of foreign goods. A considerable revenue, too, would arise from the use of the store cities and khans he built; and it is not improbable that those cities were emporia, where the caravan merchants unloaded their bales of spices and other commodities and sold them to the king's factors, who, according to the modern practice in the East, retailed them in the Western markets at a profit. "The revenue derived from the tributary kings and from the governors of the country" must have consisted in the tribute which all inferior magistrates periodically bring to their sovereigns in the East, in the shape of presents of the produce of their respective provinces.

16, 17. two hundred targets, six hundred shekels--These defensive arms were anciently made of wood and covered with leather; those were covered with fine gold. $6,000 worth of gold was used in the gilding of each target--$1800 for each shield. They were intended for the state armory of the palace (see 1 Kings 14:26 ).

18-26. a great throne of ivory--It seems to have been made not of solid ivory, but veneered. It was in the form of an armchair, with a carved back. The ascent to it was by six steps, on each of which stood lions, in place of a railing--while a lion, probably of gilt metal, stood at each side, which, we may suppose from the analogy of other Oriental thrones, supported a canopy. A golden footstool is mentioned ( 2 Chronicles 9:18 ) as attached to this throne, whose magnificence is described as unrivalled.

22. a navy of Tharshish--Tartessus in Spain. There gold, and especially silver, was obtained, anciently, in so great abundance that it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. But "Tarshish" came to be a general term for the West ( Jonah 1:3 ).
at sea--on the Mediterranean.
once in three years--that is, every third year. Without the mariner's compass they had to coast along the shore. The ivory, apes, and peacocks might have been purchased, on the outward or homeward voyage, on the north coast of Africa, where the animals were to be found. They were particularized, probably as being the rarest articles on board.

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