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1 Kings 4:20-34

Context
Solomon’s Wealth and Fame

4:20 The people of Judah and Israel were as innumerable as the sand on the seashore; they had plenty to eat and drink and were happy. 4:21 (5:1) 1  Solomon ruled all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River 2  to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These kingdoms paid tribute as Solomon’s subjects throughout his lifetime. 3  4:22 Each day Solomon’s royal court consumed 4  thirty cors 5  of finely milled flour, sixty cors of cereal, 4:23 ten calves fattened in the stall, 6  twenty calves from the pasture, and a hundred sheep, not to mention rams, gazelles, deer, and well-fed birds. 4:24 His royal court was so large because 7  he ruled over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates River from Tiphsah 8  to Gaza; he was at peace with all his neighbors. 9  4:25 All the people of Judah and Israel had security; everyone from Dan to Beer Sheba enjoyed the produce of their vines and fig trees throughout Solomon’s lifetime. 10  4:26 Solomon had 4,000 11  stalls for his chariot horses and 12,000 horses. 4:27 The district governors acquired supplies for King Solomon and all who ate in his royal palace. 12  Each was responsible for one month in the year; they made sure nothing was lacking. 4:28 Each one also brought to the assigned location his quota of barley and straw for the various horses. 13 

4:29 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment; the breadth of his understanding 14  was as infinite as the sand on the seashore. 4:30 Solomon was wiser than all the men of the east and all the sages of Egypt. 15  4:31 He was wiser than any man, including Ethan the Ezrahite or Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol. He was famous in all the neighboring nations. 16  4:32 He composed 17  3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. 4:33 He produced manuals on botany, describing every kind of plant, 18  from the cedars of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows on walls. He also produced manuals on biology, describing 19  animals, birds, insects, and fish. 4:34 People from all nations came to hear Solomon’s display of wisdom; 20  they came from all the kings of the earth who heard about his wisdom.

1 Kings 10:14-29

Context
Solomon’s Wealth

10:14 Solomon received 666 talents 21  of gold per year, 22  10:15 besides what he collected from the merchants, 23  traders, Arabian kings, and governors of the land. 10:16 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; 600 measures 24  of gold were used for each shield. 10:17 He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold; three minas 25  of gold were used for each of these shields. The king placed them in the Palace of the Lebanon Forest. 26 

10:18 The king made a large throne decorated with ivory and overlaid it with pure gold. 10:19 There were six steps leading up to the throne, and the back of it was rounded on top. The throne had two armrests with a statue of a lion standing on each side. 27  10:20 There were twelve statues of lions on the six steps, one lion at each end of each step. There was nothing like it in any other kingdom. 28 

10:21 All of King Solomon’s cups were made of gold, and all the household items in the Palace of the Lebanon Forest were made of pure gold. There were no silver items, for silver was not considered very valuable in Solomon’s time. 29  10:22 Along with Hiram’s fleet, the king had a fleet of large merchant ships 30  that sailed the sea. Once every three years the fleet 31  came into port with cargoes of 32  gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. 33 

10:23 King Solomon was wealthier and wiser than any of the kings of the earth. 34  10:24 Everyone 35  in the world wanted to visit Solomon to see him display his God-given wisdom. 36  10:25 Year after year visitors brought their gifts, which included items of silver, items of gold, clothes, perfume, spices, horses, and mules. 37 

10:26 Solomon accumulated 38  chariots and horses. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He kept them in assigned cities and in Jerusalem. 39  10:27 The king made silver as plentiful 40  in Jerusalem as stones; cedar was 41  as plentiful as sycamore fig trees are in the lowlands. 42  10:28 Solomon acquired his horses from Egypt 43  and from Que; the king’s traders purchased them from Que. 10:29 They paid 600 silver pieces for each chariot from Egypt and 150 silver pieces for each horse. They also sold chariots and horses to all the kings of the Hittites and to the kings of Syria. 44 

1 sn Beginning with 4:21, the verse numbers through 5:18 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 4:21 ET = 5:1 HT, 4:22 ET = 5:2 HT, etc., through 5:18 ET = 5:32 HT. Beginning with 6:1 the numbering of verses in the English Bible and the Hebrew text is again the same.

2 tn Heb “the River” (also in v. 24). This is the standard designation for the Euphrates River in biblical Hebrew.

3 tn Heb “[They] were bringing tribute and were serving Solomon all the days of his life.”

4 tn Heb “the food of Solomon for each day was.”

5 tn As a unit of dry measure a cor was roughly equivalent to six bushels.

6 tn The words “in the stall” are added for clarification; note the immediately following reference to cattle from the pasture.

7 tn Heb “because.” The words “his royal court was so large” are added to facilitate the logical connection with the preceding verse.

8 sn Tiphsah. This was located on the Euphrates River.

9 tn Heb “for he was ruling over all [the region] beyond the River, from Tiphsah to Gaza, over all the kingdoms beyond the River, and he had peace on every side all around.”

10 tn Heb “Judah and Israel lived securely, each one under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan to Beer Sheba, all the days of Solomon.”

11 tn The Hebrew text has “40,000,” but this is probably an inflated number (nevertheless it is followed by KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV, TEV, CEV). Some Greek mss of the OT and the parallel in 2 Chr 9:25 read “4,000” (cf. NAB, NIV, NCV, NLT).

12 tn Heb “everyone who drew near to the table of King Solomon.”

13 tn Heb “barley and straw for the horses and the steeds they brought to the place which was there, each according to his measure.”

14 tn Heb “heart,” i.e., mind. (The Hebrew term translated “heart” often refers to the mental faculties.)

15 tn Heb “the wisdom of Solomon was greater than the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.”

16 tn Heb “his name was in all the surrounding nations.”

17 tn Heb “spoke.”

18 tn Heb “he spoke about plants.”

19 tn Heb “he spoke about.”

20 tn Heb “the wisdom of Solomon.”

21 tn The Hebrew term כִּכָּר (kikkar, “circle”) refers generally to something that is round. When used of metals it can refer to a disk-shaped weight made of the metal or to a standard unit of weight, generally regarded as a talent. Since the accepted weight for a talent of metal is about 75 pounds, this would have amounted to about 50,000 pounds of gold (cf. NCV); CEV, NLT “twenty-five tons”; TEV “almost 23,000 kilogrammes.”

22 tn Heb “the weight of the gold which came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold.”

23 tn Heb “traveling men.”

24 tn The Hebrew text has simply “six hundred,” with no unit of measure given.

25 sn Three minas. The mina was a unit of measure for weight.

26 sn The Palace of the Lebanon Forest. This name was appropriate because of the large amount of cedar, undoubtedly brought from Lebanon, used in its construction. The cedar pillars in the palace must have given it the appearance of a forest.

27 tn Heb “[There were] armrests on each side of the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the armrests.”

28 tn Heb “nothing like it had been made for all the kingdoms.”

29 tn Heb “there was no silver, it was not regarded as anything in the days of Solomon.”

30 tn Heb “a fleet of Tarshish [ships].” This probably refers to large ships either made in or capable of traveling to the distant western port of Tarshish.

31 tn Heb “the fleet of Tarshish [ships].”

32 tn Heb “came carrying.”

33 tn The meaning of this word is unclear. Some suggest “baboons.”

34 tn Heb “King Solomon was greater than all the kings of the earth with respect to wealth and with respect to wisdom.”

35 tc The Old Greek translation and Syriac Peshitta have “all the kings of the earth.” See 2 Chr 9:23.

36 tn Heb “and all the earth was seeking the face of Solomon to hear his wisdom which God had placed in his heart.”

37 tn Heb “and they were bringing each one his gift, items of silver…and mules, the matter of a year in a year.”

38 tn Or “gathered.”

39 tn Heb “he placed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.”

map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

40 tn The words “as plentiful” are added for clarification.

41 tn Heb “he made.”

42 tn Heb “as the sycamore fig trees which are in the Shephelah.”

43 sn From Egypt. Because Que is also mentioned, some prefer to see in vv. 28-29 a reference to Mutsur. Que and Mutsur were located in Cilicia/Cappadocia (in modern southern Turkey). See HALOT 625 s.v. מִצְרַיִם.

44 tn Heb “and a chariot went up and came out of Egypt for six hundred silver [pieces], and a horse for one hundred fifty, and in the same way to all the kings of the Hittites and to the kings of Aram by their hand they brought out.”



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