1 Kings 4

Listen to 1 Kings 4
1 King Solomon now ruled over all Israel,
2 and these were his high officials: Azariah son of Zadok was the priest.
3 Elihoreph and Ahijah, the sons of Shisha, were court secretaries. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian.
4 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was commander of the army. Zadok and Abiathar were priests.
5 Azariah son of Nathan was in charge of the district governors. Zabud son of Nathan, a priest, was a trusted adviser to the king.
6 Ahishar was manager of the palace property. Adoniram son of Abda was in charge of forced labor.
7 Solomon also had twelve district governors who were over all Israel. They were responsible for providing food for the king’s household. Each of them arranged provisions for one month of the year.
8 These are the names of the twelve governors: Ben-hur, in the hill country of Ephraim.
9 Ben-deker, in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth-shemesh, and Elon-bethhanan.
10 Ben-hesed, in Arubboth, including Socoh and all the land of Hepher.
11 Ben-abinadab, in all of Naphoth-dor. (He was married to Taphath, one of Solomon’s daughters.)
12 Baana son of Ahilud, in Taanach and Megiddo, all of Beth-shan near Zarethan below Jezreel, and all the territory from Beth-shan to Abel-meholah and over to Jokmeam.
13 Ben-geber, in Ramoth-gilead, including the Towns of Jair (named for Jair of the tribe of Manasseh ) in Gilead, and in the Argob region of Bashan, including sixty large fortified towns with bronze bars on their gates.
14 Ahinadab son of Iddo, in Mahanaim.
15 Ahimaaz, in Naphtali. (He was married to Basemath, another of Solomon’s daughters.)
16 Baana son of Hushai, in Asher and in Aloth.
17 Jehoshaphat son of Paruah, in Issachar.
18 Shimei son of Ela, in Benjamin.
19 Geber son of Uri, in the land of Gilead, including the territories of King Sihon of the Amorites and King Og of Bashan. There was also one governor over the land of Judah.
20 The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They were very contented, with plenty to eat and drink.
21 Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River in the north to the land of the Philistines and the border of Egypt in the south. The conquered peoples of those lands sent tribute money to Solomon and continued to serve him throughout his lifetime.
22 The daily food requirements for Solomon’s palace were 150 bushels of choice flour and 300 bushels of meal ;
23 also 10 oxen from the fattening pens, 20 pasture-fed cattle, 100 sheep or goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roe deer, and choice poultry.
24 Solomon’s dominion extended over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates River, from Tiphsah to Gaza. And there was peace on all his borders.
25 During the lifetime of Solomon, all of Judah and Israel lived in peace and safety. And from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, each family had its own home and garden.
26 Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his chariot horses, and he had 12,000 horses.
27 The district governors faithfully provided food for King Solomon and his court; each made sure nothing was lacking during the month assigned to him.
28 They also brought the necessary barley and straw for the royal horses in the stables.
29 God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore.
30 In fact, his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt.
31 He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite and the sons of Mahol—Heman, Calcol, and Darda. His fame spread throughout all the surrounding nations.
32 He composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs.
33 He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants, from the great cedar of Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals, birds, small creatures, and fish.
34 And kings from every nation sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.

1 Kings 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

Solomon's court. (1-19) Solomon's dominions, His daily provision. (20-28) The wisdom of Solomon. (29-34)

Verses 1-19 In the choice of the great officers of Solomon's court, no doubt, his wisdom appeared. Several are the same that were in his father's time. A plan was settled by which no part of the country was exhausted to supply his court, though each sent its portion.

Verses 20-28 Never did the crown of Israel shine so bright, as when Solomon wore it. He had peace on all sides. Herein, his kingdom was a type of the Messiah's; for to Him it is promised that he shall have the heathen for his inheritance, and that princes shall worship him. The spiritual peace, and joy, and holy security, of all the faithful subjects of the Lord Jesus, were typified by that of Israel. The kingdom of God is not, as Solomon's was, meat and drink, but, what is infinitely better, righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. The vast number of his attendants, and the great resort to him, are shown by the provision daily made. Herein Christ far outdoes Solomon, that he feeds all his subjects, not with the bread that perishes, but with that which endures to eternal life.

Verses 29-34 Solomon's wisdom was more his glory than his wealth. He had what is here called largeness of heart, for the heart is often put for the powers of the mind. He had the gift of utterance, as well as wisdom. It is very desirable, that those who have large gifts of any kind, should have large hearts to use them for the good of others. What treasures of wisdom and knowledge are lost! But every sort of knowledge that is needful for salvation is to be found in the holy Scriptures. There came persons from all parts, who were more eager after knowledge than their neighbours, to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Solomon was herein a type of Christ, in whom are hid all treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and hid for us, for he is made of God to us, wisdom. Christ's fame shall spread through all the earth, and men of all nations shall come to him, learn of him, and take upon them his easy yoke, and find rest for their souls.

Footnotes 12

  • [a]. Hebrew Naphath-dor, a variant spelling of Naphoth-dor.
  • [b]. Hebrew Beth-shean, a variant spelling of Beth-shan; also in 4:12b .
  • [c]. Hebrew Jair son of Manasseh; compare 1 Chr 2:22 .
  • [d]. Greek version reads of Gad; compare 4:13 .
  • [e]. As in some Greek manuscripts; Hebrew lacks of Judah. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  • [f]. Verses 4:21-34 are numbered 5:1-14 in Hebrew text.
  • [g]. Hebrew the river; also in 4:24 .
  • [h]. Hebrew 30 cors [6.6 kiloliters] of choice flour and 60 cors [13.2 kiloliters] of meal.
  • [i]. Or and fattened geese.
  • [j]. Hebrew each family lived under its own grapevine and under its own fig tree.
  • [k]. As in some Greek manuscripts (see also 2 Chr 9:25 ); Hebrew reads 40,000.
  • [l]. Or 12,000 charioteers.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO FIRST KINGS 4

As in the preceding chapter we have a proof of the wisdom and understanding which the Lord gave to Solomon, as promised, so in this an account is given of the riches and honour he was possessed of; of him, as king over all Israel, and of his princes, 1Ki 4:1-6; of the providers of food for his household in the several parts of the land, 1Ki 4:7-19; of the largeness and extent of his dominions, and of the peace and prosperity thereof, 1Ki 4:20,21,24,25; of his daily provisions for his household and for his cattle, 1Ki 4:22,23,26-28; and of his superior wisdom and knowledge to all others in all nations, which brought some out of all to hear it, 1Ki 4:29-34.

1 Kings 4 Commentaries