3 Kings iv.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 2. Azarias. Some translate, “grandson of Sadoc, (and son of Achimaas) was priest,” to assist his father, unless he was born of some other. Cohen signifies also prince, ver. 5. Azarias was scribe, as well as the two following, though not all at the same time. The office was very important, Judges v. 14.

Ver. 3. Sisa. Perhaps the same with Siva, who was under David. — Recorder. Historiographer; (Calmet) the presenter of petitions. (Grotius) (2 Kings viii. 16.)

Ver. 4. Abiathar. By this it appears that Abiathar was not altogether deposed from the high priesthood; but only banished to his country house; and by that means excluded from the exercise of his functions. (Challoner) — He retained the name, as bishops still do, after they have resigned their see. (Calmet) — Some think that Solomon reinstated Abiathar to his office. (Estius)

Ver. 5. King. President of the council, (Menochius) steward of the household. — Priest refers to Zabud here, though the Hebrew is ambiguous. It means also a prince. (Haydock) — He was chief officer and favourite of Solomon, (Calmet) as Chusai had been of David, 2 Kings xvi. 16.

Ver. 6. House. Septuagint, “Eliak was also director of the house,” oikonomos. (Haydock) — It is impossible to mark, with precision, the extent of these offices. — Tribute, or levy of workmen, as it is expressed, chap. v. 14.

Ver. 7. Month. The lunar year was not then in use; (Calmet) or else, the first of these governors, was in office during the 13th, or intercalary month, every third year, and the rest in succession. (Tostat)

Ver. 8. Benhur. Ben here, and in the following verses, may signify “the son of Hur,” &c. (Calmet) — Septuagint retain both the original term, and its explanation, “Ben, the son of Or.” But they afterwards read only “the son of Dakar….of Esed….of Abinadab….and Gaber.”

Ver. 11. To wife. Not at the beginning of his reign, ver. 15. (Menochius) — This chapter gives a general idea of the officers who lived under Solomon. (Calmet)

Ver. 14. Manaim, which is often rendered the camp. The word is read Mahanaim, by the Masorets, (2 Kings ii. 8,) and by the Vulgate, Genesis xxxii. 2. (Haydock)

Ver. 19. Land. Hebrew, “the only officer who was in the land,” (Haydock) except in the towns of Jair, ver. 13. (Calmet) — His province had belonged to two kings. (Menochius)

Ver. 20. Multitude. We may suppose seven millions; though, if the calculation of Chronicles be more accurate, they were much more numerous. See 2 Kings xxiv. 9. (Haydock)

Ver. 21. The river. Euphrates. (Challoner) — To, or “of the land,” terræ. (Haydock) — This river may denote the torrent Besor, as Solomon’s dominions extended not only as far as Gaza, but also to the oriental branch of the Nile, ver. 24. Thus one verse explains the other. There were, indeed, no kingdoms (Calmet) in this portion of land, which is now quite barren: but formerly it had several cities, and they belonged to various kings of Egypt, Arabia, the Philistines, &c. (Haydock) — Hebrew may be rendered “from the river, (Euphrates) the land of the Philistines, and to the border,” &c., (Calmet) agreeably to 2 Paralipomenon ix. 26. He exercised authority over all the kings from the river Euphrates to the land, &c. Hebrew, “the river even unto,” &c. Solomon had all the kings of Syria, Ammon, the Philistines, &c., under him; so that his empire took in all that had been promised to Abraham. (Haydock) See St. Augustine, q. 21. (Josue)

Ver. 22. Measures, (cori.) Each of which contained little less than 300 pints. (Calmet) — A corus is equivalent to 30 modii, and would support as many men a day; so that the family of Solomon would contain 2,700 people. (Cornelius a Lapide) (Menochius) — Villalpand calculates 48,600, and Calvisius 54,000.

Ver. 23. Buffaloes. Yachmur means also a sort of wild-goat, like a stag, Deuteronomy xiv. 5. (Bochart, Anim. i. B. iii. 22.) — Fowls. Some Rabbins explain barburim, (or borbrim) of capons, or birds from Barbary; as if this name had been known in the days of Solomon. (Calmet) — There was an ancient Ethiopian Barbary on the Persian gulf, (Bochart) with which the Rabbins were not acquainted. (Calmet)

Ver. 24. Beyond. Hebrew, “on the side of,” without determining on which, Deuteronomy i. — Thaphsa. The famous Thapsacus, on the Euphrates. — To Gazan. Hebrew Hazza. This name is written in a different manner from Gaza, and may signify a country of the Medes, on the frontiers of Armenia. But, as it is pronounced almost alike, and the parallel passage determines for the country of the Philistines, (ver. 21,) we may explain it of Gaza. (Calmet)

Ver. 25. Vine. this expression is often used to imply a state of peace and happiness. The people were then content with rural pleasures. (Calmet)

Ver. 26. Forty: 2 Paralipomenon ix. 25., has four in the Hebrew. Septuagint read in both places 40,000 mares, for chariots, and 12,000 horses. (Calmet) — The Alexandrian copy has 40 here, and 4000 in the latter place; where, instead of horses, it gives horsemen, with the Vulgate. These two words are often used as synonymous by the best authors. But it is more difficult to reconcile the number; (Calmet) as (2 Paralipomenon xiv.) we read again differently, he had 1400 chariots, and 12,000 horsemen. (Haydock) — Forty might easily be mistaken for four, by only adding im at the end of arba. (Bochart) (Grotius) — Instead of stalls, Calmet supposes stables to be understood, and in each he would place ten horses, which completes the number here assigned. If this be admitted, no change is necessary: but, as præsepe signifies “a stall,” we may adhere to the Vulgate, which has 40,000 in both places; whereas the Hebrew varies, though the sense may be the same. The number of Solomon’s chariots was 1400. As two horses were usually employed to draw them, 2800; or, allowing for accidents, changes, &c., 4000 horses would have been amply sufficient. It seems, therefore, that we should admit only so many horses or stalls. (Haydock) — “Vignoles conjectures, that the Jews formerly used marks analogous to our common figures; as the Arabians have done for many hundred years. And, if so, the corruption” of hundreds for tens, &c., “may be easily accounted for, by the transcriber’s carelessly adding or omitting a single cypher.” (Kennicott, Diss. ii.) — Yet, if 40,000 horses must be admitted, we may say that they were not all intended for the chariots of war, but some for draught-horses, to convey the stones and other materials for the numerous buildings, which Solomon carried on. This might serve to excuse him for having so many horses, (Haydock) contrary to the letter of the law, and the example of Josue and of David. His subjects were thus, perhaps, engaged in too much commerce with the Egyptians: and the king was forced to burden them with taxes, which at last proved so fatal. (Serarius) (Pineda) (Calmet) — Yet some undertake his defence, by saying that he did not act against the spirit of the law; that many of the horses were imposed as a tribute, and Solomon did not place his trust in them, Proverbs xxi. 31., and 2 Paralipomenon ix. 24. (Tostat) (Bochart, B. ii. 9.) — His empire was become more extensive, and his works more splendid; so that what might appear an useless parade in some, might be worthy of praise in Solomon. The law is not so precise. He shall not multiply horses to himself, nor lead back the people into Egypt, being lifted up with the number of his horsemen, Deuteronomy xvii. 16. There is a like prohibition of many wives and treasures.

Ver. 27. Fed them and is omitted in Hebrew and Septuagint. (Haydock)

Ver. 28. Beasts. Racesh denotes horses of extraordinary swiftness, (Bochart) or dromedaries, &c. Junius translates, “post-horses.” — King: so also the Septuagint. Protestants, “the officers were, every man according to his charge.” The twelve governors employed others to bring all necessary provisions, (Haydock) to the places where the king was travelling; (Calmet) or they took care not only of the king’s table, but they had also the general inspection over his stables. (Haydock) — Few oats are grown in the East. They feed their horses on barley and straw. (Calmet)

Ver. 29. Hart; magnanimity, which pride often attempts to imitate, and is therefore designated by the same expression, Proverbs xxi. 4. The genius of Solomon was also most penetrating and comprehensive. (Calmet) — Ænomaus thus addresses Apollo, “Thou who knowest, both the number of the sands and the extent of the sea—who understandest the dumb, and hearest the man who has not spoken.” (Eusebius, præp. v. 34.) (Haydock)

Ver. 30. Orientals of Chaldea, Arabia, Idumea, &c., Daniel ii. 2., Abdias viii., Numbers xxii. 5. Job and his friends were of this description. The Greeks acknowledged that they had received their philosophy from the barbarians; (Laert. proem.) and Casaubon observes, that the ancient defendants of the Christian faith proved the same truth. (Not. Ibid.) They shewed that all true saving knowledge had been derived from the Hebrews. (Haydock) — The Chaldeans maintain that their countrymen were the fountains of science; and many suppose that Abraham communicated these treasures to the Egyptians; whereas the latter pretend, that a colony from their country had imparted that blessing to the Chaldeans. Diodorus (B. i.) says that Belus conducted such a colony, and the Greeks chiefly owed their information to the Egyptians. God had communicated to Solomon all that was of real use in those sciences, in a superior degree, Wisdom vii. 17. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] viii. 2.) He was eminently skilled in natural philosophy, &c. (Calmet)

Ver. 31. All men, of his time (Lyranus) and nation. (Munster) — But why should we limit these general expressions? (Calmet) See chap. iii. 12, 13. (Haydock) — Ethan is the same as Idithun. The title of Ezrahite does not seem to belong to him; and Chalcol and Dorda seem to be inserted here by some transcriber from 1 Paralipomenon ii. 6., where we read, the sons of Zara….Ethan and Eman, and Chalchal and Dara, of the tribe of Juda. But they were different from these men, who were probably Levites. (Calmet) — We find Chalcol and Dorda mentioned no where else. Heman was an Ezrahite, (Psalm lxxxvii.) and a seer of the king, presiding over the singers, (1 Paralipomenon xv. 19., and xxv. 4., and 5.; Menochius) who stood in the middle. Ethan’s band surrounded the altar, (1 Paralipomenon vi. 44.) while Asaph’s were on the right hand. — Mahol was the mother of the four, unless the word denote their profession, as sons of “the choir,” singing and playing on musical instruments. (Calmet) — Solomon was eminent in both respects, as well as in poetry; as he is compared with those who were most noted for compositions and music. (Sanctius)

Ver. 32. Three thousand parables. These works are all lost, excepting some part of the parables extant in the book of Proverbs; and his chief poem called the Canticle of Canticles. (Challoner) — The title of Psalm cxxvi., attributes it to Solomon. But its authority is not sufficiently established. The book of Proverbs contains at present only 658, (Cornelius a Lapide) or 800 parables. (Clarius) — Josephus exaggerates, when he reads 3000 volumes of parables. — Five. Septuagint read, “5000 odes,” which is adopted by many interpreters. Josephus (Calmet) and the Chaldean agree with the Hebrew. (Menochius)

Ver. 33. Wall. Some deny that ezob means hyssop. (Kimchi; Levinus, &c.) But there is a species which grows on mountains, and even out of walls. (Bochart) (Sanctius) — It is a small odoriferous plant; whereas the cedar was the largest tree with which the Jews were acquainted. (Calmet) — On Libanus there are found such trees above 36 feet in circumference; which extend their branches 111 feet around them. (Maundrell, Jerus. p. 239.) — Solomon examined all, Wisdom vii. 17, &c. Many works have been falsely attributed to him, which Origen rejects: hom. 35, in Matthew. See Josephus, [Antiquities?] viii. 2.; Pineda iii. 29. (Calmet) — Perhaps he might have composed some magical works, while he was an idolater. (Salien)

Ver. 34. Wisdom. The Scriptures relate the coming of the queen of Saba, chap. x. Thus Livy attracted the attention of distant nations, who neglected the grandeur of Rome, to visit him. (St. Jerome, Ep. ad Paulin.) Solomon’s wisdom is compared to a great river, inundating the whole earth. (Ecclesiasticus xlvii. 16.)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Solomon’s chief officers. His riches and wisdom.

1 And king Solomon reigned over all Israel:

2 And these were the princes which he had: Azarias, the son of Sadoc, the priest:

3 Elihoreph, and Ahia, the sons of Sisa, scribes: Josaphat, the son of Ahilud, recorder:

4 Banaias, the son of Joiada, over the army: and Sadoc, and Abiathar, priests.

5 Azarias, the son of Nathan, over them that were about the king: Zabud, the son of Nathan, the priest, the king’s friend:

6 And Ahisar, governor of the house: and Adoniram, the son of Abda, over the tribute.

7 And Solomon had twelve governors over all Israel, who provided victuals for the king and for his household: for every one provided necessaries, each man his month in the year.

8 And these are their names: Benhur, in Mount Ephraim,

9 Bendecar, in Macces, and in Salebim, and in Bethsames, and in Elon, and in Bethanan.

10 Benhesed, in Aruboth: his was Socho, and all the land of Epher.

11 Benabinadab, to whom belonged all Nephath-Dor: he had Tapheth, the daughter of Solomon, to wife.

12 Bana, the son of Ahilud, who governed Thanac, and Mageddo, and all Bethsan, which is by Sarthana, beneath Jezrael, from Bethsan unto Abelmehula, over-against Jecmaan.

13 Bengaber, in Ramoth Galaad: he had the towns of Jair, the son of Manasses, in Galaad: he was chief in all the country of Argob, which is in Basan, threescore great cities with walls, and brazen bolts.

14 Ahinadab, the son of Addo, was chief in Manaim.

15 Achimaas, in Nephthali: he also had Basemath, the daughter of Solomon, to wife.

16 Baana, the son of Husi, in Aser, and in Baloth.

17 Josaphat, the son of Pharue, in Issachar.

18 Semei, the son of Ela, in Benjamin.

19 Gaber, the son of Uri, in the land of Galaad, in the land of Sehon, the king of the Amorrhites, and of Og, the king of Basan, over all that were in that land.

20 Juda and Israel were innumerable, as the sand of the sea in multitude; eating and drinking, and rejoicing.

21 *And Solomon had under him all the kingdoms, from the river to the land of the Philistines, even to the border of Egypt: and they brought him presents, and served him all the days of his life.

22 And the provision of Solomon, for each day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal;

23 Ten fat oxen, and twenty out of the pastures, and a hundred rams; besides venison of harts, roes, and buffaloes, and fatted fowls.

24 For he had all the country which was beyond the river, from Thaphsa to Gazan, and all the kings of those countries: and he had peace on every side round about.

25 And Juda, and Israel, dwelt without any fear, every one under his vine, and under his fig-tree, from Dan to Bersabee, all the days of Solomon.

26 *And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of chariot horses, and twelve thousand for the saddle.

27 And the foresaid governors of the king fed them; and they furnished the necessaries also for king Solomon’s table, with great care, in their time.

28 They brought barley also, and straw for the horses and beasts, to the place where the king was, according as it was appointed them.

29 And God gave to Solomon wisdom, and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, as the sand that is on the sea shore.

30 And the wisdom of Solomon surpassed the wisdom of all the Orientals, and of the Egyptians;

31 *And he was wiser than all men: wiser than Ethan, the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Dorda, the sons of Mahol, and he was renowned in all nations round about.

32 Solomon also spoke three thousand parables: and his poems were a thousand and five.

33 And he treated about trees, from the cedar that is in Libanus, unto the hyssop that cometh out of the wall: and he discoursed of beasts, and of fowls, and of creeping things, and of fishes.

34 And they came from all nations to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who heard of his wisdom.



21: Ecclesiasticus xlvii. 15.

26: 2 Paralipomenon ix. 25.

31: Ecclesiasticus xlvii. 16.