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all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering Pin of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the LORD our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.

66 On the eighth day he sent the people away and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart, for all the goodness that the LORD had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.

CHAPTER IX.

In this chapter, we have, I. The answer which God, in a vision, gave to Solomon's prayer, and the terms he settled with him, v. 1-9. 11. The interchanging of kindnesses between Solomon and Hiram, v. 10-14. His workmen and buildings, v. 15-24. IV. His devotion, v. 25. V. His trading navy, v. 26-28.

ND it came to pass, when Solomon had finished king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do.

b

2 That the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.

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. 4 And if thou wilt walk before me, as David "thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have com

d Num. 34. 5, 8. or, thanked. Ps. 106. 4, 5. 122. 6-9. a 2 Chr. 7. 11, &c. b c. 7.1. e 2 Chr. 8. 6. dc. 3. b. e 2 Kings 20. 5. 1 John 5. 14. ƒ c. 8. 29. g Deut. 11. 12. A c. 2. 4. 6. 12. 15.5. i Prov. 10. 9. 28. 18.

down when the solemnity was over; others think, on the bare ground: they that will be generous in serving God, need not stint themselves for want of room and occasion to be so. (2.) He kept a feast, the feast of tabernacles, as it should seem, after the feast of dedication, and both together lasted fourteen days; (v. 65,) yet they said not, Behold, what a weariness is it!

2. They carried this joy and satisfaction with them to their own houses. When they were dismissed, they blessed the king, (v. 66,) applauded him, admired him, and returned him the thanks of the congregation, and then went to their tents, joyful and glad of heart, all easy and pleased; God's goodness was the matter of their joy, so it should be of ours at all times; they rejoiced in God's blessing, both on the royal family and on the kingdom; thus should we go home, rejoicing, from holy ordinances, and go on our way, rejoicing for God's goodness to our Lord Jesus, (of whom David his servant was a type,) in the advancement and establishment of his throne, pursuant to the covenant of redemption, and to all believers, his spiritual Israel, in their sanctification and consolation, pursuant to the covenant of grace; if we rejoice not herein always, it is our own fault.

NOTES TO CHAPTER IX.

V. 1-9. God had given a real answer to Solomon's prayer, and tokens of his acceptance of it immediately, by the fire from heaven which consumed the sacrifices, (as we find, 2 Chr. 7. 1;) but here we have a more express and distinct answer to it. Observe,

manded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:

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.

6 But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them;

7 Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them: and this house," which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb' and a by-word among all people:

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 Phath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house?

I. In what way God gave him this answer; he appeared to him, as he had done at Gibeon, in the beginning of his reign, in a dream or vision, v. 2. The comparing of it with that, intimates that it was the very night after he had finished the solemnities of his festival, for so that was, 2 Chr. 1. 6, 7. And then v. 1, speaking of Solomon's finishing all his buildings, which was not till many years after the dedication of the temple, must be read thus, Solomon finished, (as it is 2 Chr. 7. 11;) and v. 2 must be read, and the Lord had appeared.

II. The purport of this prayer.

1. He assures him of his special presence in the temple he had built, in answer to the prayer he had made; (v. 3,) I have hallowed this house. Solomon had dedicated it, but it was God's prerogative to hallow it, to sanctify or consecrate it; men cannot make a place holy, yet what we, in sincerity, devote to God, we may hope he will graciously accept of, as his; and his eyes and his heart shall be upon it. Apply it to persons, the living temples; those whom God hallows or sanctifies, whom he sets apart for himself, have his eye, his heart, his love and care, and this perpetually.

9 And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.

10 And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the LORD and the king's house,

2. He shows him that he and his people were, for the future, upon their good behaviour; let them not be secure now, as if they might live as they please, now that they have the temple of the Lord among them, Jer. 7. 4. No, this house was designed to protect them in their allegiance to God, but not in their rebellion or disobedience: God deals plainly with us, sets before us good and evil, the blessing and the curse, and lets us know what we must trust to. God here tells Solomon,

(1.) That the establishment of his kingdom depended upon the constancy of his obedience; (v. 4, 5,)" If thou wilt walk before me as David did, who left thee a good example, and encouragement enough to follow it, (an advantage thou wilt be accountable for, if thou do not improve it,) if thou will walk as

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he did, in integrity of heart and uprightness," (for that is the main matter, no religion but sincerity,) "then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom, and not otherwise;" for on that condition the promise was made, Ps. 132. 12. If we perform our part of the covenant, God will not fail to perform his; if we improve the grace God has given us, he will confirm us to the end. Let not the children of godly parents expect the entail of the blessing, unless they tread in the steps of those that are gone before them to heaven, and keep up the virtue and piety of their ancestors.

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(2.) That the ruin of his kingdom would be the certain consequence of his or his children's apostacy from God; (v. 6,) "But know thou, and let thy family and kingdom know it, and be admonished by it, that if you shall altogether turn from following me," (so it is thought it should be read,) "if you forsake my service, desert mine altar, and go and serve other gods," (for that was the covenant-breaking sin,) "if you or your children break off from me, this house will not save you.' But, [1.] Israel, though a holy nation, will be cut off, (v. 7,) by one judgment after another, till they become a proverb and a by-word, and the most despicable people under the sun, though now the most honourable: this supposes the destruction of the royal family, though it is not particularly threatened; the king is, of course, undone, if the kingdom be. [2] The temple, though a holy house, which God himself had hallowed for his name, should be abandoned and laid desolate, v. 8, 9. This house which is high; they prided themselves in the stateliness and magnificence of the structure, but let them know that it is not so high as to be out of the reach of God's judgments, if they vilify it so as to exchange it for groves and idol temples, and yet, at the same time, magnify it so as to think it secures the favour of God to them, though they ever so much corrupt themselves. This house which is high; they that now pass by it are astonished at the bulk and beauty of it; the richness, contrivance, and workmanship, are admired by all spectators, and it is called a stupendous fabric; but if you forsake God, its height will make its fall the more amazing, and they that pass by will be as much astonished at its ruins, while the guilty, self-convicted, self-condemned, Israelites, will be forced to acknowledge, with shame, that they themselves were the ruin of it; for when it shall be asked, Why hath the Lord done thus to this house? they cannot but answer, It was because they forsook the Lord their God. See Deut. 29. 24, 25. Their sin will be read in their punishment, they deserted the temple, and therefore God deserted it: they profaned it with their sins, and laid it common, and therefore God profaned it with his judgments, and laid it waste: God gave Solomon fair warning of this, now that he had newly built and dedicated it, that he and his people might not be high-minded, but fear.

V. 10-14. What agreement was made between Solomon and Hiram, when the building work was to be begun, we read before, ch. 5. Here we have an account of their fair and friendly parting, when the work was done.

1. Hiram made good his bargain to the utmost; he had furnished Solomon with materials for his buildings, according to all his desire, (v. 11,) and with gold, v. 14. So far was he from envying Solomon's growing greatness and reputation, and being jealous of him, that he helped to magnify him; Solomon's power, with Solomon's wisdom, needs not to dreaded by any of his neighbours; God honours him, therefore Hiram will,

11 (Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished | Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of Solomon with cedar-trees, and fir-trees, and with his dominion. gold, according to all his desire,) that then king So- 20 And all the people that were left of the Amolomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Ga-rites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, lilee. which were not of the children of Israel,

12 And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they *pleased him not.

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.

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

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. 16 For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon's wife.

17 And Solomon built Gezer, and Beth-horon "the nether,

18 And Baalath,' and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land,

19 And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in • were not right in his eyes. ti. e. displeasing, or, dirty. t Josh. 19. 27. uc. 5. 13. 2 Sam. 5. 9. 10 Ps. 51. 18. Josh. 19. 36. y Josh. 17. 11. z Josh. 16. 10. Judg. 1. 29. a Josh. 16. 3. b Josh. 19. 44. 2 Chr. 8. 4, 6, &c.

2. Solomon, no doubt, made good his bargain, and gave Hiram food for his household, as was agreed, ch. 5. 9. But here we are told that, over and above that, he gave him twenty cities, (small ones we may suppose, like those mentioned here, v. 19,) in the land of Galilee, v. 11. It should seem, these were not allotted to any of the tribes of Israel, (for the border of Asher came up to them, Josh. 19. 27, which intimates that it did not include them,) but continued in the hands of the natives, till Solomon made himself master of them, and then made a present of them to Hiram; it becomes those that are great and good, to be generous. Hiram came to see these cities, and did not like them; (v. 12,) They pleased him not. He called the country the land of Cabul, a Phenician word, (says Josephus,) which signifies displeasing, v. 13. He therefore returned them back to Solomon, (as we find, 2 Chr. 8. 2,) who repaired them, and then caused the children of Israel to inhabit them; which intimates that, before, they did not; but when Solomon received back what he had given, no doubt, he honourably gave Hiram an equivalent in something else. But what shall we think of this? Did Solomon act meanly, in giving Hiram what was not worth his acceptance? Or, was Hiram humoursome, and hard to please? I am willing to believe otherwise the country was truly valuable, and the cities in it, but not agreeable to Hiram's genius; the Tyrians were merchants, trading men, that lived in fine houses, and became rich by navigation, but knew not how to value a country that was fit for corn and pasture, that was business that lay out of their way; and therefore Hiram desired Solomon to take them again, he knew not what to do with them, and if he would please to gratify him, let it be in his own element, by becoming his partner in trade, as we find he did, v. 27. Hiram, that was used to the clean streets of Tyre, could by no means agree with the miry lanes in the land of Cabul, whereas the best lands have commonly the worst roads through them: see how the providence of God suits both the accommodation of this earth to the various dispositions of men, and the dispositions of men to the various accommodations of the earth, and all for the good of mankind in general; some take delight in husbandry, and wonder what pleasure sailors can take on a rough sea; others take as much delight in navigation, and wonder what pleasure husbandmen can take in a dirty country, like the land of Cabul; it is so in many other instances, in which we may observe the wisdom of Him whose all souls are, and all lands,

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 bond-service unto this day.

22 But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no bondmen: but they were men of war, and his servants, and his princes, and his captains, and rulers of his chariots, and his horsemen.

23 These were the chief of the officers that were over Solomon's work, five hundred and fifty, which bare rule over the people that wrought in the work.

24 But Pharaoh's daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her: *then did he build Millo.

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.

26 And 'king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber,"which is beside Eloth, on the "shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.

c c. 4. 26.

the desire of Solomon which he desired. d Judg. 3. 1. e Josh. 15. 63. 17. 12. f Judg. 1. 29. Ezra 2. 58. g Lev. 25. 39. A c. 3. 1. ic. 7.8. k ver. 15. c. 11. 27. 2 Chr. 32. 5. § upon it. I 2 Chr. 8. 12, &c. m Deut. 2. 8. lip. to take him along with him in all his designs of this kind. And Solomon verily began his work at the right end, for he built God's house first, and finished that before he began his own; and then God blessed him, and he prospered in all his other buildings: if we begin with God, he will go on with us; let the first-fruits be his, and the after-fruits will the more comfortably be ours, Matt. 6. 33. Solomon built a church first, and then he was enabled to build houses, and cities, and walls. Those consult not their own interest, that defer to the last what they design for pious uses.

The further order in Solomon's buildings is observable: God's house first, for religion; then his own, for his own convenience; then a house for his wife, to which she removed, as soon as it was ready for her, (v. 24;) then Millo, the Townhouse, or Guildhall; then the wall of Jerusalem, the royal city; then some cities of note and strength in the country, which were decayed and unfortified, Hazor, Megiddo, &c. As he rebuilt these at his own charge, the inhabitants would be not only his subjects, but his tenants, which would increase the revenues of the crown for the benefit of his successors; among the rest, he built Gezer, which Pharaoh took out of the hands of the Canaanites, and made a present of to his daughter, Solomon's wife, v. 16. See how God maketh the earth to help the woman; Solomon was not himself a warlike prince, but the king of Egypt that was, took cities for him to build; then he built cities for convenience, for store, for his chariots, and for his horsemen, v. 19. And, lastly, he built for pleasure in Lebanon, for his hunting perhaps, or other diversions there; let piety begin, and profit proceed, and leave pleasure to the last. II. His workmen and servants. In doing such great works, he must needs employ abundance of workmen. The honour of great men is borrowed from their inferiors, who do that which they have the credit of.

1. Solomon employed those which remained of the conquered and devoted nations, in all the slavish work, v. 20, 21. We may suppose that they renounced their idolatry, and submitted to Solomon's government, so that he could not, in honour, utterly destroy them, and they were so poor, that he could not levy money on them, therefore he served himself of their labour. Herein he observed God's law, (Lev. 25. 44,) Thy bondmen shall be of the heathen; and fulfilled Noah's curse upon Canaan, A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren, Gen. 9. 25. 2. He employed Israelites in the more creditable services, v. 22, 23. Of them he made no bondmen, for they were God's freemen; but he made them soldiers and courtiers, and gave them offices, as he saw them qualified, among his chariots and horsemen, appointing some to support the service of the inferior labourers. Thus he preserved the dignity and liberty of Israel, and honoured their relation to God as a kingdom of priests.

V. 15-28. We have here a further account of Solomon's greatness: I. His buildings. He raised a great levy both of men and money, because he projected a great deal of building, which would both employ many hands, and put him to a vast expense, v. 15. And he was a wise builder, who sat down first, and counted the cost, and would not begin to build, till he found himself able to finish. Perhaps there was some complaint of III. His piety and devotion; (v. 25,) Three times in a year, the heaviness of the taxes, which the historian excuses from he offered burnt-offerings extraordinary: namely, at the three the greatness of his undertakings; he raised it not for war, (as yearly feasts, the passover, pentecost, and feast of tabernacles, other princes,) which would spend the blood of his subjects, in honour of the divine institution; beside what he offered at but for building, which would require only their labour and other times, both statedly, and upon special occasions. With purses. Perhaps David observed Solomon's genius to lie his sacrifices he burned incense, not himself, (that was king Uztoward building, and foresaw he would have his head and hands ziah's crime,) but the priest for him, at his charge, and for his full of it, when he penned that song of degrees for Solomon, particular use. It is said, He offered on the altar which he which begins, Except the Lord build the house, they labour in himself built. He took care to build it, and then, 1. He himvain that build it, (Ps. 127. 1;) directing him to acknowledge self made use of it. Many will assist the devotions of others, God in all his ways, and, by prayer, and faith in his providence, I that neglect their own. Solomon did not think his building an

27 And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, ship- | train, with camels that bare spices, and very much men that had knowledge of the sea, with the ser- gold, and precious stones: and when she was come vants of Solomon. to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.

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

CHAPTER X.

Still Solomon looks great, and every thing in this chapter adds to his magnificence.

We read nothing indeed of his charity, of no hospitals he built, or alms-houses; he made his kingdom so rich, that it did not need them; yet, no question, many

poor were relieved from the abundance of his table. A church he had bailt, never

to be equalled; schools or colleges he need not build any, his own palace is an and his court a rendezvous of wise and learned men, as well as the

centre of all the circulating riches of that part of the world. 1. What aboudence of wisdom there was there, appears from the application the queen of Sheba made

to him, and the great satisfaction she had in her entertainment there, (v. 1-13,) and others likewise, v. 24. II. What abundance of wealth there was there, appears here by the goid imported, with other things, yearly, (v. 14, 15,) and in a

triennial return, 22. Gold presented, (v. 25,) and guld used in targets and shiehls, (v. 16, 17,) and vessels, v. 21. A stately throne made, v. 18-20. His chariots and horsemen, v. 26. His trade with Egypt, (v. 28, 29,) and the great plenty of silver and cedars among his people, v. 27. So that, putting all together,

it must be owned, as it is here said, (v. 23,) that king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches, and for wisdom. what was he to the King of kings? Where Christ is, by his word and Spirit, behold, a greater than Solomon

is there.

AND when the queen of Sheba heard of the

fame of Solomon, concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions. 2 And she came to Jerusalem with a very great

3 And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not.

altar would excuse him from sacrificing, but rather engage him the more to it. 2. He himself had the benefit and comfort of it. Whatever pains we take, for the support of religion, to the glory of God, and the edification of others, we ourselves are likely to have the advantage of it.

4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, 5 And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cup-bearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.

6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy "acts and of thy wisdom.

NOTES TO CHAPTER X.

V. 1-13. We have here an account of the visit which the queen of Sheba made to Solomon, no doubt, when he was in the height of his piety and prosperity. Our Saviour calls her the queen of the South, for Sheba lay south from Canaan. The common opinion is, that it was in Africa; and the Christians in Ethiopia, to this day, are confident that she came from their country, and that Candace was her successor, who is mentioned Acts 8. 27. But it is more probable that she came from the south part of Arabia the Happy. It should seem, she was a queen regent, sovereign of her country. Many a kingdom had been prevented of its greatest blessings, if a Salique law had been admitted into its constitution. Observe,

I. On what errand the queen of Sheba came; not to treat of trade or commerce, to adjust the limits of their dominions, to court his alliance for their mutual strength, or his assistance against some common enemy, which are the common occasions of the congress of crowned heads, and their interviews; but she came, 1. To satisfy her curiosity; for she had heard of his fame, especially for wisdom, and she came to prove him, whether he was so great a man as he was reported to be, v. 1. Solomon's fleet sailed near the coast of her country, and, probably, might put in there for fresh water: perhaps it was thus that she heard of the fame of Solomon, that he excelled in wisdom all the children of the east, and nothing would serve her,

7 Howbeit, I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it; and, behold, the half was not told me: thy" wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.

n c. 10. 11. o Job 22. 24. a 2 Chr. 9. 1, &c. Matt. 12. 42. b Prov. 1. 5, 6. or, butlers. § word. or, sayings. thou hast added wisdom and goodness words. t standing.

to. e Prov. 8. 34. dc. 5. 7.

8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.

9 Blessed "be the LORD thy God, which delighted

but she would go herself, and know the truth of it. 2. To receive instruction from him; she came to hear his wisdom, and thereby to improve her own, (Matt. 12. 42,) that she might be the better able to govern her own kingdom by his maxims of policy. Those whom God has called to any public employIV. His merchandise. He built a fleet of trading ships, atment, particularly in the magistracy and ministry, should, by Ezion-geber, (v. 26,) a port on the coast of the Red sea, the all means possible, be still improving themselves in that knowfurthest stage of the Israelites, when they wandered in the wil-ledge which will more and more qualify them for it, and enable derness, Num. 33. 35. That wilderness, probably, now began them to discharge their trust well. But, it should seem, that to be peopled by the Edomites, which it was not then. To which she chiefly aimed at, was, to be instructed in the things them this port had belonged, but David having subdued the of God; she was religiously inclined, and had heard not only Edomites, it now pertained to the crown of Judah. The fleet of the fame of Solomon, but concerning the name of the Lord, traded to Ophir in the East Indies; supposed to be that which (v. 1,) the great name of that God whom Solomon worshipped, is now called Ceylon. Gold was the commodity traded for: and from whom he received his wisdom, and with this God substantial wealth. It should seem, Solomon had, before, been she desired to be better acquainted. Therefore does our Hiram's partner, or put a venture into his ships, which made Saviour mention her inquiries after God, by Solomon, as an him a rich return of 120 talents, (v. 14,) that encouraged him aggravation of the stupidity of those who inquire not after God, to build a fleet of his own. The success of others, in any em- by our Lord Jesus Christ, though He, having lain in his bosom, ployment, should quicken our industry; for in all labour there is was much better able to instruct them. profit. Solomon sent his own servants for factors, and merchants, and supercargoes, but hired Tyrians for sailors, for they had knowledge of the sea, v. 27. Thus one nation needs another; Providence so ordering it, that there may be mutual commerce and assistance: for not only as Christians, but as men, we are members one of another. The fleet brought home to Solomon 420 talents of gold, v. 28. Canaan, the holy land, the glory of all lands, had no gold in it: which teaches us that that part of the wealth of this world, which is for hoarding and trading, is not the best part of it, but that which is more immediately for the present support and comfort of life, our own and others; such were the productions of Canaan. Solomon got much by his merchandise, but, it should seem, David got much more by his conquests; what was Solomon's four hundred and twenty talents, to David's hundred thousand talents of gold? 1 Chr. 22. 14.-29. 4. Solomon got much by his merchandise, and yet has directed us to a better trade, within reach of the poorest, having assured us, from his own experience of both, that the merchandise of Wisdom is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold, Prov. 3. 14.

II. With what equipage she came; with a very great retinue, agreeable to her rank, intending to try Solomon's wealth and generosity, as well as his wisdom, what entertainment he could, and would, give to a royal visitant, v. 2. Yet she came not as one begging, but brought enough to bear her charges, and abundantly to recompense Solomon for his attention to her; nothing mean or common, but gold, and precious stones, and spices, because she came to trade for wisdom, which she would purchase at any rate.

III. What entertainment Solomon gave her; he despised not the weakness of her sex, blamed her not for leaving her own business at home, to come so long a journey, and put herself and him to so much trouble and expense, merely to satisfy her curiosity; but bid her welcome, and all her train; gave her liberty to put all her questions, though some perhaps were frivolous, some captious, and some over-curious; he allowed her to commune with him of all that was in her heart, (v. 2,) and gave her a satisfactory answer to all her questions, (v. 3,) whether natural, moral, political, or divine. Were they designed to try him? He gave them such turns as abundantly satisfied her of his uncommon knowledge. Were they designed for her own instruction? (as we suppose most of them were,) she received abundant instruction from him, and he made things surprisingly easy, which she apprehended insuperably difficult, and satisfied her that there was a divine sentence in the lips of this king. But he informed her, no doubt, with particular care, concerning God, and his law and instituted worship. He had taken it for granted, (ch. 8. 42,) that strangers would hear of his great name, and would come thither to inquire after him; and now that so great a stranger came, we may be sure he was not wanting to assist and encourage her inquiries, and give her a description of the temple, and the officers and services of it, that she might be persuaded to serve the Lord whom she now sought.

IV. How she was affected with what she saw and heard in Solomon's court. Divers things are here mentioned which she admired; the buildings and furniture of his palace; the provision that was made every day for his table. When she saw that, perhaps she wondered where were mouths for all that meat; but when she saw the multitude of his attendants and guests, she was as ready to wonder where was the meat for all those mouths. The orderly sitting of his servants, every one in his place, and the ready attendance of his ministers, without any confusion, their rich liveries, and the propriety with which his cup-bearers waited at his table, these things she admired, as adding much to his magnificence. But above all these, the

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in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.

10 And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.

11 And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug-trees, and precious stones.

12 And the king made of the almug-trees pillars* for the house of the LORD, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug-trees, nor were seen unto this day.

13 And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty: so she turned, and went to her own country, she and her servants.

14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold,

15 Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffic of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country. 16 And king Solomon made two hundred targets

e Pe. 72. 2. Prov. 8. 15. f Ps. 72. 10, 15. g c. 9.27. 2 Chr. 2. 8. 9. 10, 11. algum-trees. ta prop, or, rails. according to the hand of king Solomon. or, captains. A c. 14. 26. i c. 7. 2.

first thing mentioned, is his wisdom, (v. 4,) of the transcendency of which she now had incontestable proofs: and the last thing mentioned, which crowned all, is, his piety, the ascent by which he went up to the house of the Lord, with what gravity and seriousness, and an air of devotion in his countenance, he appeared, when he went to the temple, to worship God; with as much humility then, as majesty at other times. Many of the ancient versions read it, The burnt-offerings which he offered in the house of the Lord; she observed with what a generous bounty he brought his sacrifices, and with what a pious fervour he attended the offering of them; never did she see so much goodness with so much greatness. Every thing was so surprising, that there was no more spirit in her, but she stood amazed; she had never seen the like.

V. How she expressed herself upon this occasion.

1. She owned her expectation far outdone, though it was highly raised by the report she heard, v. 6, 7. She is far from repenting her journey, or calling herself a fool, for undertaking it, but acknowledges it was well worth her while to come so far, for the sight of that which she could not believe the report of. Usually things are represented to us, both by common fame and by our own imagination, much greater than we find them when we come to examine them; but here the truth exceeded both fame and fancy. Those who, through grace, are brought to experience the delights of communion with God, will say that the one half was not told them of the pleasures of Wisdom's ways, and the advantages of her gates. Glorified saints, much more, will say that it was a true report which they heard of the happiness of heaven, but that the thousandth part was not told them, 1 Cor. 2. 9.

2. She pronounced them happy, that constantly attended him, and waited on him at table; "Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, (v. 8;) they may improve their own wisdom by hearing thine." She was tempted to envy them, and wish herself one of them. Note, It is a great advantage to be in good families, and to have opportunity of frequent converse with those that are wise, and good, and communicative. Many have this happiness, who know not how to value it. With much more reason may we say this of Christ's servants, Blessed are they that dwell in his house, they will be still praising him. 3. She blessed God, the Giver of Solomon's wisdom and wealth, and the Author of his advancement, who had made him king, (1.) In kindness to him, that he might have the larger opportunity of doing good with his wisdom. He delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel, v. 9. Solomon's preferment began in the prophet's calling him Jedidiah, because the Lord loved him, 2 Sam. 12. 25. It more than doubles our comforts, if we have reason to hope they come from God's delight in us. It was his pleasure concerning thee, (so it may be read,) to set thee on the throne; not for thy merit's sake, but because it so seemed good unto him. (2.) In kindness to the people, because the Lord loved Israel for ever, designed them a lasting bliss, long to survive him that laid the foundations of it. "He has made thee king, not that thou mayest live in pomp and pleasure, and do what thou wilt, but to do judgment and justice." This she kindly reminded Solomon of, and, no doubt, he took it kindly. Both magistrates and ministers must be more solicitous to do the duty of their places, than to secure the honours and profits of them. To this she attributes his prosperity, not to his wisdom, for bread is not always to the wise, (Ec. 9. 11,) but whoso doeth judgment and justice,

of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target.

17 And he made three hundred "shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house 'of the forest of Lebanon.

18 Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.

19 The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round "behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays.

20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not *the like made in any kingdom.

21 And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.

22 For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, Hivory, and apes, and peacocks.

23 So 'king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.

24 And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which "God had put in his heart. on the hinder part thereof. bands. ** 40. it or, there was no silver in them. k Gen. 10. 4. 2 Chr. 20. 86. It or, elephants' teeth. I c. 3. 12, 13. 4. 29-34. the face of. m Prov. 2. 6. Jam. 1. 5.

it shall be well with him, Jer. 22. 15. Thus giving of thanks must be made for kings, for good kings, for such kings; they are what God makes them to be.

VI. How they parted. 1. She made a noble present to Solomon, of gold and spices, v. 10. David had foretold concerning Solomon, that to him should be given of the gold of Sheba, Ps. 72. 15. The present of gold and spices which the wise men of the east brought to Christ, was signified by this, Matt. 2. 11. Thus she paid for the wisdom she had learned, and did not think she bought it dear. Let those that are taught of God, give him their hearts, and the present will be more acceptable than this of gold and spices. Mention is made of the great abundance Solomon had of his own, notwithstanding she presented, and he accepted, this gold. What we present to Christ, he needs not, but will have us so to express our gratitude. The almug-trees are here spoken of, (v. 11, 12,) as extraordinary, because, perhaps, much admired by the queen of Sheba. 2. Solomon was not behindhand with her. He gave her whatsoever she asked, patterns, we may suppose, of those things that were curious, by which she might make the like; or, perhaps, he gave her his precepts of wisdom and piety in writing, beside that which he gave her of his royal bounty, v. 13. Thus they who apply themselves to our Lord Jesus, will find him not only greater than Solomon, and wiser, but more kind; whatsoever we ask, it shall be done for us; nay, he will, out of his divine bounty, which infinitely exceeds royal bounty, even Solomon's, do for us more than we are able to ask or think.

V. 14-29. We have here a further account of Solomon's prosperity:

I. How he increased his wealth. Though he had much, he still coveted to have more, being willing to try the utmost the things of this world could do, to make men happy. 1. Beside the gold that came from Ophir, (ch. 9. 28,) he brought so much into his country from other places, that the whole amounted, every year, to six hundred and sixty-six talents, (v. 14,) an ominous number; compare Rev. 13. 18, and Ezra 2. 13. 2. He received a great deal, in customs, from the merchants, and in land taxes, from the countries his father had conquered, and made tributaries to Israel, v. 15. 3. He was Hiram's partner in a Tharshish fleet, of and for Tyre, which imported, once in three years, not only gold, and silver, and ivory, substantial goods, and serviceable, but apes to play with, and peacocks to please the eye with their feathers, v. 22. I wish this may not be an evidence that Solomon and his people, being overcharged with prosperity, by this time, grew childish and wanton. 4. He had presents made him every year, from the neighbouring princes and great men, to engage the continuance of his friendship, not so much because they feared him, or were jealous of him, as because they loved him, and admired his wisdom, had often occasion to consult him as an oracle, and sent him these presents by way of recompense for his advice in politics; and (whether it became his grandeur and generosity or no, we will not inquire) he took all that came, even garments and spices, horses and mules, v. 24, 25. 5. He traded to Egypt for horses, and linen yarn, (or, as some read it, linen cloth,) the staple commodities of that country, and had his own merchants or factors whom he employed in this traffic, and who were accountable to him, v. 28, 29. The custom to be paid to the king of Egypt for exported chariots and horses out of Egypt, was very high, but (as Bishop Patrick understands it) Solomon, having married his daughter, got him to compound for the

25 And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.

26 And Solomon gathered together chariots "and horsemen and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem.

27 And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem

as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycamore

trees that are in the vale, for

28 And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price.

29 And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: And so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means.

2 Chr. 1. 14, &c. gave. And the going forth of the horses which was Salomon's.

customs, so that he could bring them up cheaper than his neighbours, which obliged them to buy them of him, which he was wise enough, no doubt, to make his advantage of. This puts an honour upon the trading part of a nation, and sets a tradesman not so much below a gentleman as some place him, that Solomon, one of the greatest men that ever was, thought it no disparagement to him, to deal in trade. In all labour there is profit.

CHAPTER XI.

This chapter begins with as melancholy a but as almost any we find in all the bible. Hitherto, we have read nothing of Solomon, but what was great and good; but the lustre both of his goodness, and of his greatness, is here sullied and eclipsed, and his sun sets under a cloud. I. The glory of his piety is stained by his departure from God, and his duty, in his latter days, by marrying strange wives, and worshipping strange gods, v. 1-8. II. The glory of his prosperity is stained by God's displeasure against him, and the fruits of that displeasure. 1. He sent him an angry message, v. 9-13. 2. He stirred up enemies, who gave him disturbance; Hadad, v. 14-22. Rezon, v. 23-25. 3. He gave away ten tribes of his twelve, from his posterity after him, to Jeroboam, whom therefore he sought in vain to slay, (v. 26-40,) and this is all that remains to be told concerning Solomon, except his death and burial, (v. 41-43;) for there is nothing perfect under the sun, but all is so above the sun.

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of all worldly things, and the vexation of spirit that attends them, their insufficiency to make us happy, and the folly of setting our hearts upon them; and to recommend to us the practice of serious godliness, as that which is the whole of man, and will do infinitely more toward the making of us easy and happy, than all the wealth and power that he was master of; and which, through the grace of God, is within our reach, when the thousandth part of Solomon's greatness is a thousand times more than we can ever be so vain as to promise ourselves in this world.

II. What use he made of his wealth. He did not hoard it up in his coffers, that he might have it to look upon, and leave behind him. He has, in his Ecclesiastes, so much exposed the folly of hoarding, that we cannot suppose he should himself be guilty of it. No; God that had given him riches, and wealth, and honour, gave him also power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, Ec. 5. 19.

1. He laid out his gold in fine things for himself, which he might the better be allowed to do, when he had, before, laid out so much in fine things for the house of God. (1.) He made 200 targets, and 300 shields, of beaten gold, (v. 16, 17,) not for service, but for state, to be carried before him, when he appeared in pomp. With us, magistrates have swords and maces carried before them, as the Romans their rods and ares, in token of their power to correct and punish the bad, to whom they are to 1. He doted on strange women, many strange women. Here be a terror; but Solomon had shields and targets carried before his revolt began. (1.) He gave himself to women, which his him, to signify that he took more pleasure in using his power mother had particularly cautioned him against; (Prov. 31. 3,) for the defence and protection of the good, to whom he would Give not thy strength unto women; (perhaps alluding to Samson, be a praise. Magistrates are shields of the earth. (2.) He who lost his strength by giving information of it to a woman;) made a stately throne, on which he sat, to give laws to his sub- for it is that which, as much as any thing, destroys kings. His jects, audience to ambassadors, and judgment upon appeals, father David's fall began with the lusts of the flesh, which he v. 18-20. It was made of ivory, or elephants' teeth, which should have taken warning by. The love of women has cast was very rich; and yet, as if he had so much gold that he knew down many wounded, (Prov. 7. 26,) and many (says Bishop not what to do with it, he overlaid that with gold, the best gold. Hall) have had their head broken by their own rib. (2.) He took Yet, some think, he did not cover the ivory all over, but here many women, so many, that, at last, they amounted to 700 and there. He rolled it, flowered it, or inlaid it, with gold. The wives, and 300 concubines; 1000 in all, and not one good one stays or arms of this stately chair, were supported by the among them, as he himself owns in his penitential sermon, images of lions in gold, so were the steps and paces by which (Ec. 7. 28,) for no woman of established virtue would be one he went up to it, to be a memorandum to him of that courage of such a set. God had, by his law, particularly forbidden the and resolution wherewith he ought to execute judgment, not kings to multiply either horses or wives, Deut. 17. 16, 17. How fearing the face of man. The righteous, in that post, is bold as he broke the former law, in multiplying horses, and having them a lion. (3.) He made all his drinking vessels, and all the fur-out of Egypt too, (which was expressly prohibited in that law,) niture of his table, even at his country seat, of pure gold, v. 21. we read, ch. 10. 29, and here how he broke the latter, (which He did not grudge himself what he had, but took the credit and proved of more fatal consequence,) in multiplying wives. Note, comfort of it, such as it was. That is good, that does us good. Lesser sins, made bold with, open the door to greater. David 2. He made it circulate among his subjects, so that the king- had multiplied wives too much, and, perhaps, that made Solodom was as rich as the king; for he had no separate interests mon presume it lawful. Note, If those that are in reputation of his own to consult, but sought the welfare of his people. for religion, in any thing, set a bad example, they know not what Those princes are not governed by Solomon's maxims, who a deal of mischief they may do by it, particularly to their own think it policy to keep their subjects poor, Solomon was, here- children. One bad act of a good man may be of more perin, a type of Christ, who is not only rich himself, but enriches nicious consequence to others, than twenty of a wicked man. all that are his. Solomon was instrumental to bring so much Probably, Solomon, when he began to multiply wives, intended gold into the country, and disperse it, that silver was nothing not to exceed his father's number; but the way of sin is down accounted of, v. 21. There was such plenty of it in Jerusalem, hill, they that are got into it, cannot easily stop themselves. that it was as the stones; and cedars, that used to be great Divine wisdom has appointed one woman for one man, did so, rarities, were as common as sycamore-trees, v. 27. Such is the at first; and they who do not think one enough, will not think nature of worldly wealth, plenty of it makes it the less valuable ; two or three enough; unbridled lust will be un ounded, and the much more should the enjoyment of spiritual riches lessen our loosened hind will wander endlessly. But this was not all: esteem of all earthly possessions. If gold in abundance would (3.) They were strange women, Moabites, Ammonites, &c. of make silver to seem so despicable, shall not wisdom, and grace, the nations which God had particularly forbidden them to interand the foretastes of heaven, which are far better than gold, marry with, v. 2. Some think it was in policy that he married make it seem much more so? these foreigners, by them to get intelligence of the state of those countries. I rather fear it was because the daughters of Israel were too grave and modest for him, and those foreigners pleased him with the looseness and wantonness of their dress, and air, and conversation. Or, perhaps, it was looked upon as a piece of state to have his seraglio, as his other treasures, replenished with that which was far-fetched; as if that were too great an honour for the best of his subjects, which would really have been a disgrace to the meanest of them-to be his mistresses. And, (4.) To complete the mischief, Solomon clave unto these in love, v. 2. He not only kept them, but was extravagantly fond of them, set his heart upon them, spent his time

Well, thus rich, thus great, was Solomon, and thus did he exceed all the kings of the earth, v. 23. Now let us remember, (1.) That this was he, who, when he was setting out in the world, did not ask for the wealth and honour of it, but asked for a wise and understanding heart. The more moderate our desires are toward earthly things, the better qualified we are for the enjoyment of them, and the more likely to have them. See, in Solomon's greatness, the performance of God's promise, (ch. 3. 13,) and let it encourage us to seek first the righteousness of God's kingdom. (2.) That this was he, who, having tasted all these enjoyments, wrote a whole book, to show the vanity

NOTES TO CHAPTER XI.

V. 1-8. This is a sad story, and very surprising, of Solomon's defection and degeneracy.

I. Let us inquire into the occasions and particulars of it. Shall Solomon fall, that was the beauty of Israel, and so great a blessing of his generation? Yes, it is too true, and the scripture is faithful in relating it, and repeating it, and referring to it long after; (Neh. 13. 26,) There was no king like Solomon, who was beloved of his God, yet even him did outlandish women cause to sin; there is the summary of his apostacy; it was the woman that deceived him, and was first in the transgression.

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