1 Kings 9 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 1 Kings 9)

Verse 3

[3] And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

For ever — As long as the Mosaic dispensation lasts; whereas hitherto my worship has been successively in several places.

Eyes — My watchful and gracious providence.

Heart — My tender affection.

Shall be there — Shall be towards this place and people.

Verse 5

[5] Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.

Then — Upon that condition; for my promise to David was conditional.

Verse 8

[8] And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house?

High — Glorious and renowned.

Astonished — At its unexpected and wonderful ruin.

Hiss — By way of contempt and derision.

Verse 11

[11] (Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.

Galilee — Or, near the land of Galilee, bordering upon it; in those parts which were near, and adjoining to Hiram's dominions: with the cities, understand the territories belonging to them. These cities, though they were within those large bounds which God fixed to the land of promise, Genesis 15:18; Joshua 1:4, yet were not within those parts which were distributed by lot in Joshua's time. It is probable they were not inhabited by Israelites, but by Canaanites, or other Heathens; who being subdued, and extirpated by David or Solomon, those cities became a part of their dominions; and afterwards were reckoned a part of Galilee, as Josephus notes.

Verse 13

[13] And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day.

Cabul — That is, of dirt, as most interpret it. Because, though the land was very good, yet being a thick and stiff clay, and therefore requiring great pains to manure it, it was very unsuitable to the disposition of the Tyrians, who were delicate, and lazy, and luxurious, and wholly given to merchandise. And on his returning them, there is no doubt but Solomon gave him an equivalent more to his taste.

Verse 14

[14] And Hiram sent to the king sixscore talents of gold.

Sent — And this seems to be here added, both to declare the quantity of the gold sent, which had been only named before, verse 11, and as the reason why he resented Solomon's action, because so great a sum required a better recompense.

Verse 15

[15] And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.

Raised — Both the levy of men; of which, chap. 5:13, and the levy of money upon his people and subjects. He raised this levy, both to pay what he owed to Hiram, and to build the works following.

Verse 21

[21] Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day.

Those — He used them as bondmen, and imposed bodily labours upon them. "But why did not Solomon destroy them as God had commanded, when now it was fully in his power to do so?" The command of destroying them, Deuteronomy 7:2, did chiefly, if not only, concern that generation of Canaanites, who lived in, or, near the time of the Israelites entering into Canaan. And that command seems not to be absolute, but conditional, and with some exception for those who should submit and embrace the true religion, as may be gathered both from Joshua 11:19, and from the history of the Gibeonites. For if God's command had been absolute, the oaths of Joshua, and of the princes, could not have obliged them, nor dispensed with such a command.

Verse 25

[25] And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the LORD, and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the LORD. So he finished the house.

Three times — That is, at the three solemn feasts: and undoubtedly at all other appointed times.

Verse 26

[26] And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.

Made — Not now, but in the beginning of his reign.

Verse 27

[27] And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.

Knowledge of the sea — For which the Tyrians were famous. He sent also ships to join with Solomon's, not from Tyre, the city of Phoenicia; but from an island in the Red-sea, called Tyre, because it was a colony of the Tyrians, as Strabo notes.

Verse 28

[28] And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.

Ophir — A place famous for the plenty and fineness of the gold there. It is agreed, that it was a part of the East-Indies, probably Ceylon, which though very remote from us, yet was far nearer the Red-sea, from whence they might easily sail to it in those ancient times, because they might (according to the manner of those first ages) sail all along near the coast, though the voyage was thereby more tedious, which was the reason why three years were spent in it. And here, and here only were to be had all the commodities which Solomon fetched from Ophir, chap. 10:22.

Fetched — In all there came to the king four hundred and fifty talents, whereof it seems thirty talents were allowed to Hiram and his men, and so there were only four hundred and twenty that came clear into the king's treasury.