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The queen of Sheba's interview with Solomon, ver. 1 - 10.
His riches, ver. 11 - 15.
Targets, ivory throne, vessels, ver, 16 - 23.
Presents, chariots and horses, tribute, ver. 24 - 29.
1: Sheba - Of that part of Arabia, called Shabaea, which was
at great distance from Jerusalem, bordering upon the Southern Sea; for
there, much more than in Ethiopia, were the commodities which she
brought, ver.(1Ki 10:2,10).
Name of the Lord - That is, concerning God; the name of God being
often put for God; concerning his deep knowledge in the things of God.
For it is very probable she had, as had divers other Heathens, some
knowledge of the true God, and an earnest desire to know more concerning
him. Questions - Concerning natural, and civil, and especially, Divine
2: All her heart - Of all the doubts and difficulties wherewith her
mind was perplexed.
4: House - Or, the houses, the temple and the king's house,
in both which there were evidences of singular wisdom.
5: Sitting - The order and manner in which his courtiers, or other
subjects (who all were his servants in a general sense) sat down at
meals, at several tables in his court. Attendance - Upon the king, both
at his table, and in his court; and when he went abroad to the temple or
other places. Apparel - Both the costliness of it, and especially the
agreeableness of it to their several places and offices. Went up - From
his own palace. See (2Ki 16:18), but the ancients, and some others,
translate the words thus, and the burnt - offerings which he offered up in
the house of the Lord; under which, is the chief, all other sacrifices
are understood: when she saw the manner of his offering sacrifices to the
Lord; which doubtless she would not neglect to see; and in the ordering of
which she might discern many characters of excellent wisdom, especially when
she had so excellent an interpreter as Solomon was, to inform her of the
reasons of all the circumstances of that service. No spirit - She was
astonished, and could scarcely determine whether she really saw these
things, or whether it was only a pleasant dream.
8: Happy, &c. - With much more reason may we say this of Christ's
servants: Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be always
14: Six hundred, &c. - Which amounts to about three millions
of our money. And this gold did not come from Ophir in India, or
Tharshish; but from Arabia and Ethiopia, which then were
replenished with gold, though exhausted by the insatiable avarice of
15: Merchant - men - Heb. of the searchers; either merchants, who
use to search out commodities: or, the gatherers of the king's revenues,
who used to search narrowly into all wares, that the king might not be
defrauded of his rights. Spice - merchants - Or rather, of the
merchants in general, as the word is often used. So this and the former
particular contain both the branches of the king's revenue, what he had
from the land, and what he had from the merchants and traders.
Kings - Of those parts of Arabia which were next to Canaan, which
were either conquered by David, or submitted to pay tribute to
Solomon. But we must not think all these to be kings of large
dominions; many of them were only governors of cities, and the territories
belonging to them, such as were formerly in Canaan, and were anciently
called kings. The country - Or, of the land; the land of
Arabia: whereof some parts were so far conquered, that he had governors
of his own over them, who were each of them to take care of the king's
revenue in his jurisdiction; and part only so far, that they still had
kings of their own, but such as were tributaries to him.
16: Targets - For pomp and magnificence, and to be carried before
him, by his guard, when he went abroad. The Roman magistrates had rods
and axes carried before them, in token of their power to correct the bad:
but Solomon shields and targets, to shew he took more pleasure in his
power to defend and protect the good.
17: Shields - Smaller than targets.
19: Round - Made like the half of a circle.
21: Nothing - Comparatively. Such hyperbolical expressions are
frequent both in scripture and other authors. But if gold in abundance,
would make silver seem so despicable, shall not wisdom and grace, and the
foretastes of heaven, make gold seem much more so?
22: Tharshish - Ships that went to Tharshish. For Tharshish
was the name of a place upon the sea, famous for its traffick with
merchants, and it was a place very remote from Judea, as appears from
the three years usually spent in that voyage. But whether it was Spain,
where in those times there was abundance of gold and silver, as Strabo
and others affirm; or, some place in the Indies, it is needless to
24: All the earth - That is, all the kings of the earth, (as it is
expressed (2Ch 9:23),) namely of those parts of the earth.
28: Horses, &c. - The two chief commodities of Egypt.
Price - Solomon received them from Pharaoh at a price agreed
between them, and gave this privilege to his merchants, for a tribute
to be paid out of it.
29: Chariot - This is not to be understood of the chariots and horses
themselves, but for the lading of chariots and horses, which consisting of
fine linen and silk, were of great value: and the king's custom, together
with the charges of the journey, amounted to these sums. Hittites - A
people dwelling principally in the northern and eastern parts of Canaan,(Jos 1:4),
whom the Israelites, contrary to their duty, suffered to live amongst
them, (Jdg 3:5), who afterwards grew numerous and potent, and, it may
be, sent out colonies (after the manner of the ancient times) into some
parts of Syria and Arabia. And possibly, these kings of the
Hittites may be some of those kings of Arabia, ver.(15).