1 Kings 4

The Book of 1 Kings
Chapter 4

Chapter Overview:

Solomon's ministers of state, ver. 1 - 6.
The purveyors of his household, ver. 7 - 19.
The number of his subjects, and extent of his kingdom, ver. 20, 21.
The provision for his table, ver. 22, 23.
The peace of his subjects, ver. 24, 25.
His stables, ver. 26 - 28.
His wisdom, ver. 29 - 34.
4:1All Israel - This is spoken with respect to his successors, who were kings only over a part, and that the smallest part of it.
4:2Princes - That is, the chief rulers or officers. The son - Or the grand - son. The priest - The second priest, or the priest thatattended upon Solomon's person in holy offices and administrations.
4:3Scribes - That is, secretaries of state. He chose two, whereas David had but one: either, because he observed some inconveniencesin trusting all those matters in one hand: or, because he had now muchmore employment than David had, this being a time of great peace andprosperity, and his empire enlarged.
4:4Priests - That is, the high - priests, successively, first Abiathar, and then Zadok.
4:5Officers - Over those twelve Officers, named ver. 7 , &c.who were all to give up their accompts to him. Nathan - The prophet, whohad been so highly instrumental in Solomon's establishment in thethrone. Principal officer - Possibly, president of the king's council.Friend - His confident, with whom he used to communicate his most secretcounsels.
4:6Abiathar was - Steward of the king's household. Tribute - The personal tribute, or the levy of men, as appears by comparing this withchap. 5:13 ,14, it being very fit that there should be some one personto whom the chief conduct of that great business was committed.
4:8The son, &c. - This and others of them are denominated from their fathers, because they were known and famous in their generation.
4:10Hepher - In Judah.
4:19Country of Gilead - That is, in the remaining part of that land of Gilead, which was mentioned above. The only officer - In allGilead, excepting the parcels mentioned before, in all the territoriesof Sihon and Og; which because they were of large extent, and yetall committed to this one man, it is here noted concerning him as hisprivilege above the rest.
4:21The river - Euphrates: for so far David, having conquered the Syrians, extended his empire, which Solomon also maintained inthat extent. And so God's promise concerning the giving the whole land, asfar as Euphrates, to the Israelites, was fulfilled. And, if theIsraelites had multiplied so much that the land of Canaan would notsuffice them, having God's grant of all the land as far as Euphrates,they might have seized upon it whensoever occasion required. The landof the Philistines - Which is to be understood inclusively; for thePhilistines were within Solomon's dominion. The border ofEgypt - Unto the river Sihor, which was the border between Egyptand Canaan. And served - By tribute, or other ways, as he neededand required.
4:22Measures - Heb. Cors: each of which contained ten ephahs.So this provision was sufficient for near three thousand persons.Meal - Of a coarser sort for common use.
4:23Fat - Fatted in stalls. Out of pastures - Well fleshed, tender and good, though not so fat as the former.
4:24Tiphsah - Either that Tiphsah, 15:16 , which was in the kingdom of Israel within Jordan; or, rather, another place ofthat name upon Euphrates, even that eminent city which is mentioned byPtolemy, and Strabo, and Pliny, called Thapsarum. And thisbest agrees with the following: Azzah, which was the border of Canaanin the south and west, as Tiphsah was in the north and east. And sohis dominion is described by both its borders. All kings - Who ownedsubjection, and paid tribute to him.
4:25Under his vine - Enjoying the fruit of his own labour with safety and comfort. Under these two trees, which were most used and cultivated bythe Israelites, he understands all other fruit - bearing trees, and allother comforts. And they are brought in as fitting or dwelling underthese trees, partly for recreation or delight in the shade; and partly,for the comfort or advantage of the fruit; and withal, to note their greatsecurity, not only in their strong cities, but even in the country, wherethe vines and fig - trees grew, which was most open to the incursions of theirenemies.
4:26Forty thousand - In 2 Chronicles 9:25 , it is but four thousand. But it is not exactly the same Hebrew word which ishere and there, though we translate both stalls; and therefore there maywell be allowed some difference in the signification, the one signifyingproperly stables, of which there were four thousand, the other stallsor partitions for each horse, which were forty thousand.Chariots - Both for his military chariots, which seem to be those fourteenhundred, chap. 10:26 , and for divers other uses, as about his great andvarious buildings, and merchandises, and other occasions, which mightrequire some thousands of other chariots. Horsemen - Appointed partly forthe defence of his people in peace; and partly for attendance upon hisperson, and for the splendor of his government.
4:27The officers - Named above. They lacked - Or rather, they suffered nothing to be lacking to any man that came thither, butplentifully provided all things necessary.
4:29Largeness of heart - Vastness of understanding, a most comprehensive knowledge of all things both Divine and human.
4:30East country - The Chaldeans, Persians, and Arabians, who all lay eastward from Canaan, and were famous in ancient times for theirwisdom and learning. Egypt - The Egyptians, whose fame was then greatfor their skill in the arts and sciences, which made them despise theGrecians as children in knowledge.
4:31All men - Either of his nation; or, of his time: or, of all times and nations, whether of the east or any other country excepting only thefirst and second Adam. Ethan, &c. - Israelites of eminent wisdom,probably the same mentioned, ite>1Ch 2:6 15:19 25:4 Psalms 88:1 (title,) Psalms 89:1 (title).Chalcol, &c. - Of whom see 1 Chronicles 2:6 .
4:32Proverbs - That is, short, and deep, and useful sentences, whereof a great part are contained in the books of Proverbs andEcclesiastes. Songs - Whereof the chief and most divine are inthe Canticles.
4:33Trees - That is, of all plants, of their nature and qualities: all which discourses are lost, without any impeachment of the perfection ofthe holy scriptures; which were not written to teach men philosophy orphysick, but only to make them wise unto salvation.From the cedar, &c. - That is, from the greatest to the least.
4:34All kings - All the neighbouring kings; a restriction grounded upon the following words, where this is limited to such as heard ofSolomon's wisdom. Let those who magnify the modern learning above thatof the ancients, produce such a treasury of learning, anywhere in theselater ages, as that was, which Solomon was master of. Yet this puts anhonour upon human learning, that Solomon is praised for it, andrecommends it to the great ones of the earth, as well worthy their diligentsearch. In all this Solomon was a type of Christ, in whom are hidall the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.