NOTES ON The First Book of KINGS

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII

The two books of Samuel are an introduction to the two books of Kings, as they relate the original of the royal government in Saul, and of the royal family in David. These two books give us an account of David's successor, Solomon, the division of his kingdom, and the several kings of Israel and Judah, down to the captivity. And in these special regard is had to the house of David, from which Christ came. Some of his sons trod in his steps, and their reigns were usually long, whereas those of the wicked kings were usually short: so that the state of Judah (in Israel all the kings were wicked) was not so bad as it would otherwise have been. In this first book we have, The death of David, chap. 1, 2. The glorious reign of Solomon, chap. 3 - 10. His defection, chap. 11. The division of the kingdom between Rehoboam and Jeroboam, chap. 12 - 14. The reigns of Abijah and Asa over Judah, of Basha and Omni over Israel, chap. 15, 16. The history of Elijah, chap. 17 - 19. Ahab's success, wickedness, and death, chap. 20 - 22.

Chapter I

David declines in health, ver. 1 - 4. Adonijah aspires to the kingdom, ver. 5 - 10. Nathan and Bathsheba procure an order for the succession of Solomon, ver. 11 - 31. The anointing of Solomon, and the peoples joy, ver. 32 - 40. The dispersion of Adonijah's party, ver. 41 - 49. Solomon dismisses Adonijah, ver. 50 - 53.

1 Old - Being in the end of his seventieth year. No heat - Which is not strange in a person who had been exercised with so many hardships in war, and with such tormenting cares, and fears, and sorrows, for his own sins (as divers of his Psalms witness) and for the sins and miseries of his children and people. Besides, this might be from the nature of his bodily distemper.
2 Servants - His physicians. Virgin - Whose natural heat is fresh and wholesome, and not impaired with bearing or breeding of children. The same counsel doth Galen give for the cure of some cold and dry distempers. Stand - That is, minister unto him, or wait upon him, in his sickness, as occasion requires. Lie in his bosom - As his wife: for that she was so, may appear by divers arguments. First, otherwise this had been a wicked course; which therefore neither his servants durst have prescribed, nor would David have used, especially being now in a dying condition. Secondly, it appears from this phrase of lying in his bosom, which is everywhere in scripture mentioned as the privilege of a wife. Thirdly, this made Adonijah's crime in desiring her to wife, so heinous in Solomon's account, because he saw, that by marrying the king's wife he designed to revive his pretence to the kingdom.
4 Knew her not - Which is mentioned to note the continuance and progress of the king's malady.
5 Then - Upon notice of the desperateness of the king's disease, and the approach of his death. Exalted - Entertained high thoughts and designs. I will - As the right of the kingdom is mine, ver.6, so I will now take possession of it. Prepared - As Absalom had done upon the like occasion, 2Sam 15:1.
6 Displeased him - This is noted as David's great error, and the occasion of Adonijah's presumption. Saying - He neither restrained him from, nor reproved him for his miscarriages: which David well knew was a great sin. Goodly man - This was a second ground of his confidence, because his great comeliness made him amiable in the peoples eyes.
7 They helped - Either because they thought the right of the crown was his: or to secure and advance their own interest. It seems God left them to themselves, to correct them for former miscarriages, with a rod of their own making.
10 Called not - Because he knew they favoured Solomon his competitor.
11 Nathan spake - Being prompted to it both by his piety in fulfilling the will of God declared to him, concerning Solomon's succession, 2Sam 7:13, and by his prudence, knowing that Adonijah hated him for being the principal instrument of Solomon's advancement. Bathsheba - Who being retired and private in her apartment, was ignorant of what was done abroad: and, who was likely to be most zealous in the cause, and most prevalent with David.
26 But me - Whom he knew to be acquainted with thy mind, and with the mind of God in this matter: and therefore his neglect of me herein gives me cause to suspect that this is done without thy privity.
27 Shewed thy servant - Who, having been an instrument in delivering God's message to thee concerning thy successor, might reasonably expect that if the king had changed his mind, thou wouldest have acquainted me with it, as being both a prophet os the Lord, and one whom thou hast always found faithful to thee.
28 Call Bathsheba - Who, upon Nathan's approach to the king had modestly withdrawn.
29 Out of all distress - The words contain a grateful acknowledgement of the goodness of God to him, in bringing him safe through the many difficulties, which had lain in his way, and which he now mentions to the glory of God, (as Jacob when he lay a dying) thus setting to his seal, from his own experience that the Lord redeemeth the souls of his servants.
31 Live for ever - Though I desire thy oath may be kept, and the right of succession confirmed to my son, yet I am far from thirsting after thy death, and would rather rejoice, if it were possible for thee to live and enjoy the crown for ever.
33 My mule - As a token that the royal dignity is transferred upon Solomon, and that by my consent. Gihon - A river near Jerusalem, on the west side. Adonijah was inaugurated on the east side. This place David chose, either, as remote from Adonijah and his company, that so the people might be there without fear of tumults or bloodshed; or, to shew that Solomon was chosen king in opposition to Adonijah: or, because this was a place of great resort, and fit to receive and display that numerous company, which he knew would follow Solomon thither.
34 Anoint - As they used to do where there was any thing new or extraordinary in the succession. And this unction signified both the designation of the persons to the office, and the gifts and graces which were necessary for their office, and which, they, seeking them sincerely from God, might expect to receive.
35 My stead - My deputy and vice - king whilst I live, and absolutely king when I die. And Judah - This is added, lest the men of Judah, who were in a special manner invited by Adonijah, ver.9, might think themselves exempted from his jurisdiction.
47 Bowed himself - Adoring God for this great mercy, and thereby declaring his hearty consent to this action.
48 Blessed, &c. - It is a great satisfaction to good men, when they are going out of the world, to see their children rising up in their stead, to serve God and their generation: and especially to see peace upon Israel, and the establishment of it.
51 His servants - He owns Solomon as his king, and himself as his servant and subject; and being sensible of his guilt, and of the jealousy which kings have of their competitors, could not be satisfied without Solomon's oath.
53 Go to thine house - Lead a private life, without noise and numerous attendants, and meddle not with the affairs of the kingdom.

Chapter II

David's charge to Solomon ver. 1 - 9. His death and burial, with the beginning of Solomon's reign, ver. 10 - 12. He puts Adonijah to death, ver. 13 - 25. Deposes Abiathar from the high - priesthood, ver. 26, 27. Puts Joab to death, ver. 28 - 35. Confines Shimei, to Jerusalem, ver. 36 - 38. Puts him to death, ver. 39 - 46.

2 I go the way, &c. - Even the sons and heirs of heaven, must go the way of all the earth, of all who dwell thereon. But they walk with pleasure in this way, thro' the valley of the shadow of death. Prophets, yea kings must go this way to brighter light and honour than prophecy or sovereignty. Be strong - For, to govern his people according to the law of God, requires great fortitude, or strength of mind. And a man - In manly wisdom, and courage, and constancy, though thou art but young in years.
3 The law - Which the prince was enjoined to transcribe and read, Deut 17:11, that be might govern his own and his peoples actions by it. Mayest profit - Or, behave thyself prudently. Hereby he intimates, that religion is the truest reason of state, and that all true wisdom and good success depend upon piety.
4 Confirm his word - Fulfil his promise, the condition upon which it was suspended, being performed.
5 To me - That is, against me; in what he did against Abner and Amasa: whose death was a great injury to David, as it was a breach of his laws and peace; a contempt of his person and government; a pernicious example to his subjects, and a great scandal to him, as if Joab had been only David's instrument, to affect what he secretly designed. And shed - He slew them as if they had been in the state of war, when there was not only a cessation of arms, but also a treaty of peace. Put the blood - This is added to note his impenitency, that although by his perfidious manner of killing them when he pretended to embrace them, he stained his own garments with their blood, yet he was not ashamed of it, but gloried in it, and marched boldly along with the army, with the same girdle and shoes which were sprinkled with their blood.
6 Do therefore - That is, what in reason and justice thou seest fit. For tho' I was forced to forbear him, yet I never forgave him; punish him according to his demerits.
7 For so - With such kindness.
8 I will not, &c. - The words are, The king said unto Shimei, thou shalt not die: and the king sware unto him, 2Sam 19:23. The oath, we see, was absolute. It was not, I will not put thee to death now. or, I will not put thee to death with the sword. But who can reconcile his charge to Solomon with this oath? Surely, considering the time of that charge, this next to the matter of Uriah, is the greatest blemish in all David's life.
25 Benaiah - For the execution of justice was not then committed to obscure persons, as now it is; but to persons of great honour and authority. It is far from clear, that Solomon did right herein, or that Adonijah had any ill design in asking Abishag.
26 Because, &c. - Thus Solomon shews respect to his sacred function. He mixes mercy with justice, and requites Abiathar's former kindness to David; hereby teaching princes, that they should not write injuries in marble, and benefits in sand, as they have been so often observed to do.
27 Which he spake - Concerning the translation of the priesthood from the house of Eli, and of Ithamar, to that of Eleazar: which being threatened eighty years ago, is now executed. So divine vengeance, though sometimes it be slow, is always sure.
30 He said, Nay, &c. - For he supposed, either, that Solomon would not defile that place with his blood, but would spare him for his respect to it, as he had done Adonijah: or, he had a superstitious conceit, that his dying there might give his guilty and miserable soul some advantage.
31 Do, &c. - Kill him, though he be there; take him from that place, and then kill him: for, Exod 21:14, doth not command the ruler to kill the murderer there, but to remove him thence, to take him from the altar, that he may die.
34 Wilderness - Places which have but few houses and inhabitants, are often so called in scripture. He was buried privately, like a criminal, not pompously, like a general.
36 Go not forth - This Solomon ordered, both for his own security; and as a penalty for his former wickedness.
37 Kidron - A brook nigh Jerusalem, which he particularly names, because that was the way to Bahurim, his former habitation: but this is not all, for the restraint was general, that he should not go forth thence any whither. Thy blood - The blame and guilt of thy blood shall lie upon thyself only.
38 Is good - Thy sentence is more merciful than I expected, or deserved.
39 Achish - A king, but subject and tributary, to Solomon. Permitted to enjoy the title and honour of a king, but not the full power; whence it was, that Achish could not keep these servants though they had fled to him for protection; but suffered Shimei to take them away from his royal city.
40 To seek his servants - By seeking his servants, says Bp. Hall, he lost himself. These earthly things either are, or should be our servants. How commonly do we see men run out of the bounds set by God's laws, to hunt after them, till their souls incur a fearful judgment.
44 Thine heart - For which thine own conscience accuseth thee, and there is no need of other witnesses. The Lord - God hath punished thee for thy former wickedness, by suffering thee to expose thyself to thy deserved death.

Chapter III

Solomon marries Pharaoh's daughter, ver. 1. His religion, ver. 2 - 4. His prayer for wisdom, and the answer, ver. 5 - 15. He decides the dispute between the two harlots, ver. 16 - 28.

1 Pharaoh - As being a powerful neighbour, whose daughter doubtless was first instructed in, and proselyted to the Jewish religion. It seems, this was designed by God to be a type of Christ, calling his church to himself, and to the true religion, not only out of the Jews, but even out of the Gentile world. City of David - Into David's palace there. The wall - Which though in some sort built by David, yet Solomon is here said to build, either because he made it higher, and stronger, in which sense Nebuchadnezzar is said to have built Babylon, Dan 4:30, or because he built another wall besides the former, for after this time Jerusalem was encompassed with more walls than one.
2 Only - This particle is used here, and ver.3, as an exception to Solomon's integrity and as a blemish to his government, That he himself both permitted and practised this which was expressly forbidden, Levit 17:3,4 Deut 12:13,14. High places - Which were groves, or other convenient places upon hills, in which the patriarchs used to offer up their sacrifices to God; and from them this custom was derived both to the Gentiles and the Jews: and in them the Gentiles sacrificed to idols, the Hebrews to the true God. Because, &c. - Which reason was not sufficient, for there was a tabernacle, to which they were as much confined as to the temple, Ex 40:34 - 38, &c.
3 Yet - Although he miscarried in the matter of high places, yet in the general, his heart was right with God. Statutes - According to the statutes or commands of God, which are here called the statutes of David; not only because they were diligently practised by David, but also because the observation of them was so earnestly pressed upon Solomon, and fortified with David's authority and command.
6 Truth - In the true worship of God, in the profession, belief, practice and defence of the true religion. So truth here contains all duties to God, as righteousness doth his duties to men, and uprightness the right manner of performing both sorts of duties. With thee - That is, in thy judgment, to whom he often appealed as the witness of his integrity.
7 Child - So he was in years: not above twenty years old; and withal (which he principally intends) he was raw and unexperienced, as a child, in state affairs. Go out, &c. - To govern my people, and manage affairs.
8 In the midst - Is set over them to rule and guide them. A metaphor from the overseer of divers workmen, who usually is in the midst of them, that he may the better observe how each of them discharges his office. Chosen - Thy peculiar people, whom thou takest special care of, and therefore wilt expect a more punctual account of my government of them.
9 An understanding heart - Whereby I may both clearly discern, and faithfully perform all the parts of my duty: for both these are spoken of in scripture, as the effects of a good understanding; and he that lives in the neglect of his duties, or the practice of wickedness, is called a fool, and one void of understanding. Discern - Namely in causes and controversies among my people; that I may not through mistake, or prejudice, or passion, give wrong sentences, and call evil good, or good evil. Absalom, that was a fool, wished himself a judge: Solomon, that was a wise man, trembles at the undertaking. The more knowing and considerate men are, the more jealous they are of themselves.
13 All thy days - Whereby he signifies that these gifts of God were not transient, as they were in Saul, but such as should abide with him whilst he lived.
14 And if - This caution God gives him, lest his wisdom should make him proud, careless, or presumptuous.
15 A dream - Not a vain dream, wherewith men are commonly deluded; but a divine dream, assuring him of the thing: which he knew, by a divine impression after he was awakened: and by the vast alteration which he presently found within himself in point of wisdom and knowledge. The ark - Which was there in the city of David, 2Sam 6:17, before which he presented himself in a way of holy adoration. Burnt offerings - Chiefly for the expiation of his and his peoples sin, through the blood of Christ, manifestly signified in these sacrifices. Peace offerings - Solemnly to praise God for all his mercies, and especially for giving him quiet possession of the kingdom, and for his glorious appearance to him in the dream, and for the promise therein made to him, and the actual accomplishment of it.
16 Harlots - Or, victuallers: for the Hebrew words signifies both. Yet that they are unmarried persons, seems probable, both because there is no mention of any husbands, whose office it was, if there were any such, to contest for their wives; and because they lived a solitary life in one house.
19 Overlaid it - And so smothered it: which she justly conjectures, because there were evidences of that kind of death, but no appearance of any other cause thereof.
25 Said - Though with a design far above the reach of the two women, or of the people present, who probably with horror expected the execution of it.
27 She is the mother - As is evident from her natural affection to the child, which she had rather have given away from her, than destroyed.
28 Wisdom of God - Divine wisdom with which God had inspired him for the government of his people.

Chapter IV

Solomon's ministers of state, ver. 1 - 6. The purveyors of his household, ver. 7 - 19. The number of his subjects, and extent of his kingdom, ver. 20, 21. The provision for his table, ver. 22, 23. The peace of his subjects, ver. 24, 25. His stables, ver. 26 - 28. His wisdom, ver. 29 - 34.

1 All Israel - This is spoken with respect to his successors, who were kings only over a part, and that the smallest part of it.
2 Princes - That is, the chief rulers or officers. The son - Or the grand - son. The priest - The second priest, or the priest that attended upon Solomon's person in holy offices and administrations.
3 Scribes - That is, secretaries of state. He chose two, whereas David had but one: either, because he observed some inconveniences in trusting all those matters in one hand: or, because he had now much more employment than David had, this being a time of great peace and prosperity, and his empire enlarged.
4 Priests - That is, the high - priests, successively, first Abiathar, and then Zadok.
5 Officers - Over those twelve Officers, named ver.7, &c. who were all to give up their accompts to him. Nathan - The prophet, who had been so highly instrumental in Solomon's establishment in the throne. Principal officer - Possibly, president of the king's council. Friend - His confident, with whom he used to communicate his most secret counsels.
6 Abiathar was - Steward of the king's household. Tribute - The personal tribute, or the levy of men, as appears by comparing this with chap.5:13,14, it being very fit that there should be some one person to whom the chief conduct of that great business was committed.
8 The son, &c. - This and others of them are denominated from their fathers, because they were known and famous in their generation.
10 Hepher - In Judah.
19 Country of Gilead - That is, in the remaining part of that land of Gilead, which was mentioned above. The only officer - In all Gilead, excepting the parcels mentioned before, in all the territories of Sihon and Og; which because they were of large extent, and yet all committed to this one man, it is here noted concerning him as his privilege above the rest.
21 The river - Euphrates: for so far David, having conquered the Syrians, extended his empire, which Solomon also maintained in that extent. And so God's promise concerning the giving the whole land, as far as Euphrates, to the Israelites, was fulfilled. And, if the Israelites had multiplied so much that the land of Canaan would not suffice them, having God's grant of all the land as far as Euphrates, they might have seized upon it whensoever occasion required. The land of the Philistines - Which is to be understood inclusively; for the Philistines were within Solomon's dominion. The border of Egypt - Unto the river Sihor, which was the border between Egypt and Canaan. And served - By tribute, or other ways, as he needed and required.
22 Measures - Heb. Cors: each of which contained ten ephahs. So this provision was sufficient for near three thousand persons. Meal - Of a coarser sort for common use.
23 Fat - Fatted in stalls. Out of pastures - Well fleshed, tender and good, though not so fat as the former.
24 Tiphsah - Either that Tiphsah, 2Kings 15:16, which was in the kingdom of Israel within Jordan; or, rather, another place of that name upon Euphrates, even that eminent city which is mentioned by Ptolemy, and Strabo, and Pliny, called Thapsarum. And this best agrees with the following: Azzah, which was the border of Canaan in the south and west, as Tiphsah was in the north and east. And so his dominion is described by both its borders. All kings - Who owned subjection, and paid tribute to him.
25 Under his vine - Enjoying the fruit of his own labour with safety and comfort. Under these two trees, which were most used and cultivated by the Israelites, he understands all other fruit - bearing trees, and all other comforts. And they are brought in as fitting or dwelling under these trees, partly for recreation or delight in the shade; and partly, for the comfort or advantage of the fruit; and withal, to note their great security, not only in their strong cities, but even in the country, where the vines and fig - trees grew, which was most open to the incursions of their enemies.
26 Forty thousand - In 2Chron 9:25, it is but four thousand. But it is not exactly the same Hebrew word which is here and there, though we translate both stalls; and therefore there may well be allowed some difference in the signification, the one signifying properly stables, of which there were four thousand, the other stalls or partitions for each horse, which were forty thousand. Chariots - Both for his military chariots, which seem to be those fourteen hundred, chap.10:26, and for divers other uses, as about his great and various buildings, and merchandises, and other occasions, which might require some thousands of other chariots. Horsemen - Appointed partly for the defence of his people in peace; and partly for attendance upon his person, and for the splendor of his government.
27 The officers - Named above. They lacked - Or rather, they suffered nothing to be lacking to any man that came thither, but plentifully provided all things necessary.
29 Largeness of heart - Vastness of understanding, a most comprehensive knowledge of all things both Divine and human.
30 East country - The Chaldeans, Persians, and Arabians, who all lay eastward from Canaan, and were famous in ancient times for their wisdom and learning. Egypt - The Egyptians, whose fame was then great for their skill in the arts and sciences, which made them despise the Grecians as children in knowledge.
31 All men - Either of his nation; or, of his time: or, of all times and nations, whether of the east or any other country excepting only the first and second Adam. Ethan, &c. - Israelites of eminent wisdom, probably the same mentioned, 1Chron 2:6 15:19 25:4 Psal 88:1(title,) Ps 89:1(title). Chalcol, &c. - Of whom see 1Chron 2:6.
32 Proverbs - That is, short, and deep, and useful sentences, whereof a great part are contained in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Songs - Whereof the chief and most divine are in the Canticles.
33 Trees - That is, of all plants, of their nature and qualities: all which discourses are lost, without any impeachment of the perfection of the holy scriptures; which were not written to teach men philosophy or physick, but only to make them wise unto salvation. From the cedar, &c. - That is, from the greatest to the least.
34 All kings - All the neighbouring kings; a restriction grounded upon the following words, where this is limited to such as heard of Solomon's wisdom. Let those who magnify the modern learning above that of the ancients, produce such a treasury of learning, anywhere in these later ages, as that was, which Solomon was master of. Yet this puts an honour upon human learning, that Solomon is praised for it, and recommends it to the great ones of the earth, as well worthy their diligent search. In all this Solomon was a type of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Chapter V

Hiram congratulates Solomon on his accession, and agrees to furnish him with workmen and timber for the temple, ver. 1 - 9. The work is well done, and the workmen paid, ver. 10 - 18.

6 They - That is, thy servants. And this assistance which these Gentiles gave to the building of Solomon's temple, was a type of the calling of the Gentiles, and that they should be instrumental in building and constituting Christ's spiritual temple. Cedar - trees - Which for their soundness, and strength, and fragrancy, and durableness, were most proper for his design. Of these David had procured some, but not a sufficient number. Lebanon - Which was in Solomon's jurisdiction: and therefore he doth not desire that Hiram would give him the cedars, because they were his own already; but only that his servants might hew them for him; which the ingenious Tyrians well understood. With thy servants - Either to be employed therein as they shall direct; or to receive the cedars, from their hands, and transmit them to me. Hire - Pay them for their labour and art. Sidonians - Or Tyrians: for these places and people being near, are promiscuously used one for another.
7 Rejoiced - Being a faithful friend to David and his house, and tho' it is not probable he was a sincere proselyte, yet he had sufficient information concerning the nature and excellency of the God of Israel, and had honourable thoughts of him.
9 The sea - The mid - land sea. Floats - Or, rafts. It is thought the timber were tied together in the water, as now is usual, and so by the help of boats or ships, conveyed to the appointed place, which was at no great distance. Household - My family and court, which most properly is called his house.
11 Measures - Heb. twenty cors pure oil; but in 2Chr 2:10, it is twenty thousand baths of oil. To which there is added twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine. Either therefore, first, he speaks of several things. Or, secondly, he speaks there of what Solomon offered: for it runs thus, I will give; and here of what Hiram accepted. Or, thirdly, the barley, and wine, and twenty thousand baths of common oil, mentioned 2Chron 2:10, must be added to the twenty thousand measures of wheat, and the twenty measures of pure oil here expressed, and the whole sum is to be made up from both places; that book of Chronicles being written to supply and compleat the histories of the books of Samuel, and of the Kings. Gave Hiram - Either, first, for sustenance to the workmen, during the years wherein they were employed in the cutting down and hewing of timber. Or, for the yearly support of the king's house, during the said time. Thus by the wise disposal of providence, one country has need of another, and is benefited by another, that there may be a mutual correspondence and dependence, to the glory of God our common Parent.
13 The levy - Which were to be employed in the most honourable and easy parts of the work relating to the temple; and these were Israelites; but those fifteen hundred thousand mentioned ver.15, were strangers. If it seem strange, that so many thousands should be employed about so small a building as the temple was; it must be considered,
  1. that the temple, all its parts being considered, was far larger than men imagine;
  2. that it is probable, they were employed by turns, as the thirty thousand were, ver.14, else they had been oppressed with hard and uninterrupted labours.
  3. that the timber and stone hewed and carried by them, was designed, not only for the temple, but also for Solomon's own houses, and buildings; because we read of no other levy of men, nor of any care and pains taken after the building of the temple, for the procurement, or preparation of materials for his own houses, or his other buildings; nay, that this very levy of men was made and employed for the building of the Lord's house, and Solomon's house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer, is expressed chap.9:15.
16 Three thousand &c. - Whereof three thousand were set over the fifteen hundred thousand, expressed ver.15, each of these, over fifty of them, and the odd three hundred were set over these three thousand, each of these to have the oversight of ten of them, to take an account of the work for them. But in 2Chron 2:18, these overseers are said to be thirty - six hundred. The three thousand added in 2Chron 2:2, might be a reserve, to supply the places of the other three thousand: yea, or of the thirty - three hundred, as any of them should be taken off from the work by death, or sickness, or weakness, or necessary occasions; which was a prudent provision, and not unusual in like cases. And so there were thirty - six hundred commissioned for the work, but only thirty - three hundred employed at one time; and therefore both computations fairly stand together.
17 Great and costly - Marble and porphyry, or other stones of great size and value. The foundation - Where they could not afterward be seen: and therefore that this was done, is mentioned only as a point of magnificence, except it was intended for a type, or mystical signification of the preciousness of Christ, who is the foundation of the true temple, the church of God.
18 Stone - squarers - Heb. the Giblites, the inhabitants of Gebel, a place near Zidon, famous for artificers and architects, Josh 13:5. These are here mentioned apart, distinct from the rest of Hiram's builders, as the most eminent of them.

Chapter VI

The time when the temple was built, ver. 1. The dimensions of it, ver. 2, 3. The windows, chambers, materials, doors, ver. 4 - 10. God's message to Solomon, ver. 11 - 13. The walls and flooring, ver. 14 - 18. The oracle and cherubim, ver. 19 - 30. The doors and inner court, ver. 31 - 36. How long it was building, ver. 37 - 38.

1 Four hundred and four score, &c. - Allowing forty years to Moses, seventeen to Joshua, two hundred ninety - nine to the Judges, forty to Eli, forty to Samuel and Saul, forty to David, and four to Solomon before he began the work, we have just the sum of four hundred and eighty. So long it was before that holy house was built, which in less than four hundred and thirty years was burnt by Nebuchadnezzar. It was thus deferred, because Israel had by their sins, made themselves unworthy of this honour: and because God would shew how little he values external pomp and splendor in his service. And God ordered it now, chiefly to be a shadow of good things to come.
2 The house - Properly so called, as distinct from all the walls and buildings which were adjoining to it; namely, the holy, and most holy place. Length - From east, to west. And this and the other measures may seem to belong to the inside from wall to wall. Cubits - Cubits of the sanctuary. Height - Namely, of the house: for the porch was one hundred and twenty cubits high, 2Chron 3:4. So that all the measures compared each with other were harmonious. For sixty to twenty (the length to the breadth) is triple: or as three to one: and sixty to thirty (the length to the height) is double, or as two to one: and thirty to twenty (the height to the breadth) is one and an half, as three to two. Which are the proportions answering to the three great concords in music, commonly called, a twelfth, an eighth, and a fifth. Which therefore must needs be a graceful proportion to the eye, as that in music is graceful to the ear.
3 The porch - In the front of, or entrance into the house, 2Chron 3:4, being a portico, a walk or gallery, at one end of the building (from side to side.) And the measures of this were harmonious also. For twenty to ten (the length of the portico to the breadth of it) is double, or as two to one. And, if the height within, be the same with that of the house, that is thirty; it will be to the length of it, as three to two; and to its breadth, as three to one. Or, if we take in the whole height mentioned, 2Chron 3:4, which is one hundred and twenty; there is in this no disproportion: being to its length as six to one; and to its breadth as twelve to one; especially when this height was conveniently divided into several galleries, one over another, each of which had their due proportions.
4 Narrow - Narrow outward, to prevent the inconveniences of the weather; widening by degrees inward, that so the house might better receive, and more disperse the light.
5 Against the wall - The beams of the chambers were not fastened into the wall, but leaned upon the buttresses of the wall. Chambers - For the laying the priests garments, and other utensils belonging to the temple, therein. Round about - On all the sides except the east, where the porch was; and except some very small passages for the light. And yet these lights might be in the five uppermost cubits of the wall, which were above all these chambers, for these were only fifteen cubits high, and the wall was twenty cubits high. Chambers - Galleries which encompassed all the chambers; and which were necessary for passage to them.
6 Broad - On the inside, and besides the galleries mentioned above. Narrowed rests - Or, narrowings: as in our buildings the walls of an house are thicker, or broader at the bottom, and narrower towards the top: only these narrowings were in the outside of the wall, which at each of the three stories was a cubit narrower than that beneath it. And this is mentioned, as the reason of the differing breadth of the chambers; because the wall being narrower, allowed more space for the upper chambers. Not fastened - That there might be no holes made in the wall for fastening them; and that the chambers might be removed, if occasion were, without any inconvenience to the house.
7 Made ready - Hewed, and squared, and fitted exactly according to the direction of the architect. Neither hammer, &c. - So it was ordered, partly for the ease and conveniency of carriage: partly, for the magnificence of the work, and commendation of the workmen's skill and diligence: and partly, for mystical signification. And as this temple was a manifest type both of Christ's church upon earth, and of the heavenly Jerusalem: so this circumstance signified as to the former, that it is the duty of the builders and members of the church, as far as in them lies, to take care that all things be transacted there with perfect peace and quietness; and that no noise of contention, or division, or violence, be heard in that sacred building: and for the latter, that no spiritual stone, no person, shall bear a part in that heavenly temple, unless he be first hewed, and squared, and made meet for it in this life.
8 The door - That is, by which they entered to go up to the middle chamber or chambers; such as were in the middle story. Right side - That is, in the south - side, called the right side; because when a man looks towards the east, the south is on his right hand. There was another door on the left, or the north - side, leading to the chambers on that side. Winding stairs - Without the wall, leading up to the gallery out of which they went into the several chambers. Middle chamber - Or rather, into the middle story, or row of chambers; and so in the following words, out of the middle story: for these stair's could not lead up into each of the chambers; nor was it needful, but only into the story, which was sufficient for the use of all the chambers.
10 Built chambers - The Hebrew words may be properly rendered, He built a roof, a flat and plain roof, over all the house, according to the manner of the Israelitish buildings. The inner roof was arched, ver.9, that it might be the more beautiful, but the outward roof was flat. Five cubits - Above the walls of the temple: that it might be a little higher than the arched roof, which it was designed to cover and secure. They rested - Heb. it rested, namely, the roof. Timber of cedar - Which rested upon the top of the wall, as the chambers, ver.5, rested upon the sides of the wall.
12 If - God expresses the condition upon which his promise and favour is suspended; and by assuring him thereof in case of obedience, he plainly intimates the contrary upon his disobedience. Thus he was taught, that all the charge he and the people were at, in erecting this temple, would neither excuse them from obedience to the law of God, nor shelter them from his judgments in case of disobedience.
15 Walls - The name of a wall is not appropriated to stone or brick, because we read of a brazen wall, Jer 15:20, and a wall of iron, Ezek 4:3. And that wall into which Saul smote his javelin, 1Sam 19:10, seems more probably to be understood of wood, than of stone; especially, considering that it was the room where the king used to dine. By this periphrasis, from the floor of the house, unto the walls of the ceiling, he designs all the side - walls of the house. Them - The side - walls of the house. Wood - With other kind of wood, even with fir; as appears from 2Chron 3:5, wherewith the floor is here said to be covered. Floor - This is spoken only concerning the floor, because there was nothing but planks of fir; whereas there was both cedar and fir in the sides of the house, the fir being either put above, or upon the cedar; or intermixed with, or put between the boards or ribs of cedar: as may be gathered from, 2Chron 3:5.
16 House - That is, the most holy place, which contained in length twenty cubits, which may be said to be on the sides Of the house, because this part took off twenty cubits in length from each side of the house, and was also twenty cubits from side to side, so it was twenty cubits every way. The oracle - the most holy place - The last words are added, to explain what he means by the word oracle, which he had not used before.
17 House - That is, the holy place. Temple - This is added, to restrain the signification of the word house, which otherwise notes the whole building. It - The oracle.
18 Cedar - Cedar is here named, not to exclude all other wood, but stone only; as the following words shew.
19 Prepared - That is, adorned and fitted it for the receipt of the ark. Solomon made every thing new, but the ark. That with its mercy seat was still the same that Moses made. This was the token of God's presence, which is with his people, whether they meet in tent or temple, and changes not with their condition.
20 Forepart - Which was in the inner part of the house, called in Hebrew, the forepart; not because a man first enters there, but because when a man is entering, or newly entered into the house, it is still before him. Covered - With gold, chap.7:48 1Chron 28:18. The altar - The altar of incense.
21 House - Or, that house, the oracle. Partition - He made a veil, which was a farther partition between the holy, and the most holy; which veil did hang upon these golden chains. Before the oracle - In the outward part of the wall, or partition, which was erected between the oracle and the holy place; which is properly said to be before the oracle, there the veil was hung; and there the chains or bars, or whatsoever it was which fastened the doors of the oracle, were placed. It - The partition; which he here distinguisheth from the house, or the main walls of the house, which he had in the former part of this verse told us were overlaid with gold; and now he affirms much as of the partition.
22 Whole house - Not only the oracle, but all the holy place. The altar - the altar of incense, which was set in the holy place close by the doors of the oracle. With gold - As before he overlaid it with cedar.
23 Cherubim - Besides those two made by Moses, Exod 25:18, which were of gold, and far less than these. The Heathens set up images of their gods, and worshipped them. These were designed to represent the servants and attendants of the God of Israel, the holy angels, not to be worshipped themselves, but to shew how great he is whom we worship.
29 Cherubim - As signs of the presence and protection of the angels vouch - safed by God to that place. Palm - trees - Emblems of that peace and victory over their enemies, which the Israelites duly serving God in that place might expect. Within and without - Within the oracle and without it, in the holy place.
31 Fifth part - That is, four cubits in height or breadth, whereas the wall was twenty cubits.
36 Inner court - The priests court, 2Chron 4:9, so called, because it was next to the temple which it compassed. Cedar beams - Which is understood, of so many galleries, one on each side of the temple, whereof the three first were of stone, and the fourth of cedar, all supported with rows of pillars: upon which there were many chambers for the uses of the temple, and of the priests.
38 Seven years - It is not strange that this work took up so much time: for,
  1. The temple properly so called, was for quantity the least part of it, there being very many and great buildings both above ground in the several courts, (for though only the court of the priests be mentioned, yet it is thereby implied, that the same thing was proportionably done in the others) and under ground.
  2. The great art which was used here, and the small number of exquisite artists, required the longer time for the doing it. And if the building of Diana's temple employed all Asia for two hundred years; and the building of one pyramid employed three hundred and sixty thousand men, for twenty years together; both which, Pliny affirms: no reasonable man can wonder that this temple was seven years in building.
Now let us see what this temple typifies.
  1. Christ himself is the true temple. He himself spoke of the temple of his body: and in him dwelt all the fullness of the godhead. In him all the Israel of God meet, and thro' him have access with confidence to God.
  2. Every believer is a living temple, in whom the spirit of God dwelleth. We are wonderfully made by the Divine Providence, but more wonderfully made anew by the Divine grace. And as Solomon's temple was built on a rock, so are we built on Christ.
  3. The church is a mystical temple, enriched and beautified, not with gold and precious stones, but with the gifts and graces of the spirit. Angels are ministering spirits, attending the church and all the members of it on all sides.
  4. Heaven is the everlasting temple. There the church will be fixt, and no longer moveable. The cherubim there always attend upon the throne of glory. In the temple there was no noise of axes or hammers: every thing is quiet and serene in heaven. All that shall be stones in that building, must here be fitted and made ready for it; must be hewn and squared by the Divine grace, and so made meet for a place in that temple.

Chapter VII

Solomon builds several other houses, ver. 1 - 12. He furnishes the temple with two pillars, ver. 13 - 22. With a molten sea, ver. 23 - 26. With ten bases and ten lavers of brass, ver. 27 - 39. With all other utensils, and the things David had dedicated, ver. 40 - 51.

1 House - The royal palace for himself, and for his successors. Thirteen years - Almost double the time to that in which the temple was built; because neither were the materials so far provided and prepared for this, as they were for the temple: nor did either he or his people use the same diligence in this, as in the other work; to which they were quickened by God's express command.
2 Of the forest of Lebanon - An house so called, because it was built in the forest of Lebanon, for a summer - seat, whither Solomon, having so many chariots and horses, might at any time retire with ease. The length - Of the principal mansion; to which doubtless other buildings were adjoining. Pillars - Upon which the house was built, and between which there were four stately walks. Beams - Which were laid for the floor of the second story.
3 Fifteen - So in this second story were only three rows of pillars, which was sufficient for the ornament of the second and for the support of the third story.
4 Against light - One directly opposite to the other, as is usual in well - contrived buildings. In ranks - One exactly under another.
5 Windows - He speaks, of smaller windows or lights, which were over the several doors.
6 A porch - Supported by divers pillars, for the more magnificent entrance into the house; upon which also it is thought there were other rooms built, as in the house. The porch - Now mentioned which is said to be before them; before the pillars on which the house of Lebanon stood. Pillars - Or, and pillars; That is, fewer and lesser pillars for the support of the lesser porch. Beam - Which was laid upon these pillars, as the others were ver.2.
7 A porch - Another porch or distinct room without the house. The other - The whole floor; or, from floor to floor, from the lower floor on the ground, to the upper floor which covered it.
8 Another court - That is, between the porch and the house, called therefore the middle court, chap.2Ki 20:4. Like this - Not for form or quantity, but for the materials and workmanship, the rooms being covered with cedar, and furnished with like ornaments.
9 These - Buildings described here and in the former chapter. The measures - Hewed in such measure and proportion as exact workmen use to hew ordinary stones. Within, &c. - Both on the inside of the buildings which were covered with cedar, and on the outside also. To the coping - From the bottom to the top of the building. And so on - Not only on the outside of the front of the house, which being most visible, men are more careful to adorn; but also of the other side of the house, which looked towards the great court belonging to the king's house.
11 Above - That is, in the upper part; for this is opposed to the foundation. Stones and cedars - Intermixed the one, and the other.
12 The court - Namely, of Solomon's dwelling - house mentioned, ver.8.
14 In brass - And Of gold, and stone, and purple, and blue, 2Chron 2:14. But only his skill in brass is here mentioned, because he speaks only of the brasen things which he made.
16 Five cubits - The word chapiter is taken either more largely for the whole, so it is five cubits; Or, more strictly, either for the pommels, as they are called, 2Chron 4:12, or for the cornice or crown, and so it was but three cubits, to which the pomegranates being added make it four cubits, as it is below, ver.19, and the other work upon it took up one cubit more, which in all made five cubits.
17 The chapiters - Which those nets and wreathes encompass, either covering, and as it were receiving and holding the pomegranates, or being mixed with them.
18 Two rows - Either of pomegranates, by comparing this with ver.20, or of some other curious work.
19 Lilly work - Made like the leaves of lillies. In the porch - Or, as in the porch; such work as there was in the porch of the temple, in which these pillars were set, ver.21, that so the work of the tops of these pillars might agree with that in the top of the porch.
20 The belly - So he calls the middle part of the chapiter, which jetted farthest out. Two hundred - They are said to be ninety and six on a side of a pillar; in one row and in all an hundred, Jer 52:23, four great pomegranates between the several checker - works being added to the first ninety six. And it must needs be granted, that there were as many on the other side of the pillar, or in the other row, which makes them two hundred upon a pillar, as is here said, and four hundred upon both pillars, as they are numbered, 2Chron 4:13.
21 Jachin - Jachin signifies he; That is, God shall establish, his temple, and church, and people: and Boaz signifies, in it, or rather, in him (to answer the he in the former name) is strength. So these pillars being eminently strong and stable, were types of that strength which was in God, and would be put forth by God for the defending and establishing of his temple and people, if they were careful to keep the conditions required by God on their parts.
23 A Sea - He melted the brass, and cast it into the form of a great vessel, for its vastness called a sea, which name is given by the Hebrews to all great collections of waters. The use of it was for the priests to wash their hands and feet, or other things as occasion required, with the water which they drew out of it.
24 Knops - Carved or molten figures: for this word signifies figures or pictures of all sorts. Ten, &c. - So there were three hundred in all. Cast - Together with the sea; not carved. Two rows - It seems doubtful whether the second row had ten in each cubit, and so there were three hundred more; or, whether the ten were distributed into five in each row.
25 Oxen - Of solid brass, which was necessary to bear so great a weight.
26 Baths - Which amounts to five hundred barrels, each bath containing about eight gallons; the bath being a measure of the same bigness with an ephah.
27 Bases - Upon which stood the ten lavers mentioned below, ver.38, in which they washed the parts of the sacrifices.
28 Borders - Broad brims, possibly for the more secure holding of the lavers.
29 Base above - So he calls the upper - most part of the base: for though it was above, yet it was a base to the laver, which stood upon it. Additions - Either as bases for the feet of the said lions and oxen: or, only as farther ornaments.
30 Wheels - Whereby the bases and lavers might be removed from place to place as need required. Under - setters - Heb. shoulders; fitly so called, because they supported the lavers, that they should not fall from their bases, when the bases were removed together with the lavers.
31 The mouth - So he calls that part in the top of the base which was left hollow, that the foot of the laver might be let into it. The chapiter - Within the little base, which he calls the chapiter, because it rose up from, and stood above the great base. Above - Above the chapiter; for the mouth went up, and grew wider like a funnel. A cubit - In height, ver.35, whereof half a cubit was above the chapiter or little base, and the other half below it. A cubit and half - In compass. Four square - So the innermost part, called the mouth, was round, but the outward part was square, as when a circle is made within a quadrangle.
33 Molten - And cast together with the bases.
34 Of the base - Not only of the same matter, but of the same piece, being cast with it.
36 The proportion - Or, empty place, that is, according to the bigness of the spaces which were left empty for them, implying that they were smaller than those above mentioned.
39 Right side - In the south side, not within the house, but in the priests court, where they washed either their hands or feet, or the parts of the sacrifices. Left side - On the north side. The south - In the south - east part, where the offerings were prepared.
45 The pots - To boil those parts of the sacrifices which the priests, &c. were to eat.
48 Vessels - Such as Moses had made only these were larger, and richer, and more. Table of gold - Under which, are comprehended both all the utensils belonging to it, and the other ten tables which he made together with it.
49 Candlesticks - Which were ten, according to the number of the tables, whereas Moses made but one: whereby might be signified the progress of the light of sacred truth, which was now grown clearer than it was in Moses's time, and should shine brighter and brighter until the perfect day of gospel light. Pure gold - Of massy and fine gold. The oracle - In the holy place. Flowers - Wrought upon the candlesticks, as it had formerly been.
51 Silver and gold - So much of it as was left. And vessels - Those which David had dedicated, and with them the altar of Moses, and some other of the old utensils which were now laid aside, far better being put in the room of them.

Chapter VIII

The chief men of Israel called together, ver. 1, 2. The ark fixt in the most holy place, ver. 3 - 9. God takes possession of it by a cloud, ver. 10 - 12. Solomon tells the people the occasion of their meeting, ver. 13 - 21. The prayer of dedication, ver. 22 - 53. He dismisses the assembly with a blessing and an exhortation, ver. 54 - 61. Offers abundance of sacrifices, ver. 62 - 66.

1 Elders - The senators, and judges, and rulers. Heads - For each tribe had a peculiar governor. Chief - The chief persons of every great family in each tribe. Jerusalem - Where the temple was built. Bring the ark - To the top of Moriah, upon which it was built; whither they were now to carry the ark in solemn pomp. City of David - Where David had placed the ark, which is called Zion, because it was built upon that hill.
2 All Israel - Not only the chief men, but a vast number of the common people. The feast - The feast of the dedication, to which Solomon had invited them. Seventh month - Which time he chose with respect to his peoples convenience, because now they had gathered in all their fruits, and were come up to Jerusalem, to celebrate the feast of tabernacles. But the temple was not finished till the eighth month, chap.6:38, how then could he invite them in the seventh month? This was the seventh month of the next year. For although the house in all its parts was finished the year before, yet the utensils of it were not then fully finished: and many preparations were to be made for this great and extraordinary occasion.
3 The priests - For although the Levites might do this, Numb 4:15, yet the priests did it at this time, for the greater honour of the solemnity; and because the Levites might not enter into the holy - place, much less into the holy of holies, where it was to be placed, into which the priests themselves might not have entered, if the high - priest alone could have done it.
4 The tabernacle - That made by Moses, which doubtless before this time had been translated from Gibeon to Zion, and now together with other things, was put into the treasuries of the Lord's house, to prevent all superstitious use of it, and to oblige the people to come up to Jerusalem, as the only place where God would now be worshipped.
5 Sacrificing - When the ark was seated in its place: for although they might in the way offer some sacrifices, as David did; yet that was not a proper season to offer so many sacrifices as could not be numbered. This is more particularly related below, ver.62,63,64, which is here signified by way of anticipation.
6 Cherubim - Of Solomon's new made cherubim, not of the Mosaic cherubim, which were far less, and unmovably fixed to the ark, Exod 37:7,8, and therefore together with the ark, were put under the wings of these cherubim.
8 Drew out - Not wholly, which was expressly forbidden, Exod 25:15, Numb 4:6, but in part. Seen out - In the most holy place, which is oft called by way of eminency, the holy place, and the Hebrew words rendered before the oracle, may be as well rendered, within the oracle. And these staves were left in this posture, that the high - priest might hereby be certainly guided to that very place where he, was one day in a year to sprinkle blood, and to offer incense before the ark, which otherwise he might mistake in that dark place, where the ark was wholly covered with the wings of the great cherubim, which stood between him and the ark when he entered in.
9 Nothing - Strictly and properly: but in a more large sense, the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod were also in it, Heb 9:4, that is, by it, in the most holy place, before the ark of the testimony, where God commanded Moses to put them.
10 The cloud - The usual token of God's glorious presence. Filled - In testimony of his gracious acceptance of this work, and their service; and to beget an awe and reverence in them, and in all others, when they approach to God.
12 Then spake - Perceiving both priests and people struck with wonder at this darkness, he minds them, that this was no sign of God's disfavour, as some might possibly imagine; but a token of his approbation, and special presence among them. Said - He hath declared, that he would manifest his presence with, and dwelling among his people, by a dark cloud, in which he would appear.
14 Turned - From the temple to the body of the congregation. Stood - In token of reverence, and of their readiness to receive the blessing.
16 Since, &c. - Until David's time; for then he did chuse Jerusalem. That my name - That my presence, and grace, and worship, and glory, might be there. Chose David - And in and with him the tribe of Judah, of which he was, and Jerusalem where he dwelt.
21 The covenant - The tables of the covenant, wherein the conditions of God's covenant with Israel are written.
22 Stood - Upon a scaffold set up for him in the court of the people, 2Chron 6:13.
24 Hast kept - That branch of thy promise concerning the building of this house by David's son.
25 Keep - Make good the other branch of thy promise.
27 But will - Is it possible that the great, and high, and lofty God should stoop so low, as to take up his dwelling amongst men? The heaven - All this vast space of the visible heaven. And heaven, &c. - The third and highest, and therefore the largest heaven, called the heaven of heavens for its eminency and comprehensiveness. Contain - For thy essence reacheth far beyond them, being omnipresent. Much less - This house therefore was not built as if it were proportionable to thy greatness, or could contain thee, but only that therein we might serve and glorify thee.
28 Yet - Tho' thou art not comprehended within this place, yet shew thyself to be graciously present here, by accepting and granting my present requests here tendered unto thee.
29 Open - To behold with an eye of favour. My name - My presence, and glory and grace. This place - This temple, to which Solomon did now look, and towards which, the godly Israelites directed their looks in their prayers.
30 In heaven - Which he adds to direct them in their addresses to God in this temple, to lift up their eyes above it, even to heaven, where God's most true, and most glorious dwelling - place is. Forgive - The sins of thy people, praying, and even of their prayers; which, if not pardoned, will certainly hinder the success of all their prayers, and the course of all thy blessings.
31 Trespass - If he be accused of a trespass. Laid on him - Either by the judge, or by the party accusing him, or by the accused person himself: which was usual, when there were no witnesses. Thine altar - For here God, who was appealed to as witness, was especially present. Hence the Heathens used to swear at their altars.
32 His way - The just recompence of his wicked action. Give him, &c. - To vindicate him, and manifest his integrity.
33 Confess - Give glory to thy name, by acknowledging their sins, and by justice; and by accepting the punishment of their iniquity; and by trusting to thy power and goodness alone, for their deliverance.
35 Heaven - The lower heaven in which the clouds are. Shut up - Heaven is compared to a great store - house in God's keeping, out of which nothing can be had, so long as it is close shut up.
36 Good way - The way, of their duty, which is good in itself; and both delightful and profitable, to those that walk in it. Give rain - The order of Solomon's prayer is very observable; first and chiefly, he prays for their repentance and forgiveness, which is the chief blessing, and the only solid foundation of all other mercies: and then he prays for temporal mercies; thereby teaching us what to desire principally in our prayers; which also Christ hath taught us in his perfect prayer; wherein there is but one petition for outward, and all the rest are for spiritual blessings.
38 The plague - His sin, which may be called the plague of his heart, in opposition to the other plagues here mentioned; so the sense is, who, by their afflictions are brought to a true and serious sense of their worse and inward plague of their sins, which are most fitly called the plague of the heart, because that is both the principal seat of sin, and the fountain from whence all actual sins flow.
39 Thou knowest - Not only the plagues of their hearts, their several wants and burdens, (these he knows! but he will know them from us,) but the desire and intent of the heart, the sincerity or hypocrisy of it.
41 A stranger - A proselyte. But cometh - That he may worship, and glorify thy name.
43 Calleth for - Agreeable to thy will and word. It is observable, that his prayer for the strangers is more large, and comprehensive, than for the Israelites; that thereby he might both shew his public - spiritedness, and encourage strangers to the worship of the true God. Thus early were the indications of God's favour, toward the sinners of the Gentiles. As there was then one law for the native and for the stranger, so there was one gospel for both.
44 To battle - In a just cause, and by thy warrant or commission. Shall pray - Whereby he instructs them, that they should not trust, either to the strength or justice of their arms, but only to God's help and blessing. Chosen - For thy dwelling - place, and the seat of thy temple. Towards the house - For to it they were to turn their faces in prayer; to profess themselves worshippers of the true God, in opposition to idols; and to strengthen their faith in God's promises and covenant, the tables whereof were contained in that house. Soldiers in the field must not think it enough that others pray for them: they must pray for themselves. And they are here encouraged to expect a gracious answer. Praying should always go along with fighting.
48 And return - Sincerely, universally, and steadfastly.
49 Their course - Heb. their right, against their invaders and oppressors. For they had forfeited all their rights to God only, but not to their enemies; whom tho' God used as scourges to chastise his peoples sins, yet they had no pretence of right to their land.
55 He stood - He spoke this standing, that he might be the better heard, and because he blessed as one having authority. Never were words more pertinently spoken: never was a congregation dismissed, with that which was more likely to affect them, and to abide with them.
56 Blessed, &c. - This discharge he gives in the name of all Israel, to the everlasting honour of the Divine faithfulness, and the everlasting encouragement of all those that build upon the Divine promises.
58 Incline - That he may not only bless us with outward prosperity, but especially, with spiritual blessings: and that as he hath given us his word to teach and direct us, so he would by his holy Spirit, effectually incline us to obey it.
61 Perfect - Let your obedience be universal, without dividing; upright, without dissembling; and constant, without declining.
63 Offered - Not all in one day, but in the seven, or it may be in the fourteen days, mentioned ver.65.
64 Middle of the court - Of the priests court, in which the great altar was. This he consecrated as he did the great altar, by sacrifices; but with this difference, that he consecrated that for perpetual use: but this only for the present occasion, being warranted to do so both by the necessity of it for God's service, and for the present solemn work, for which the brazen altar was not sufficient; and by the direction of God's spirit, wherewith Solomon was endowed, as being a prophet, as well as a king. Here therefore he suddenly reared up divers altars, which, after this solemnity were demolished.
65 Seven - Seven for the dedication of the temple, or altar; and the other seven for the feast of tabernacles. And it seems to be expressed in this manner, to intimate, that these fourteen days of rejoicing, were not altogether, but that there was some interval between them, which indeed was necessary, because the day of atonement was on the tenth day of this month, Lev 23:27. And because these fourteen days ended on the twenty - second day, 2Chron 7:10, it may seem most probable, that the feast of the dedication was kept before the tenth day: and the feast of tabernacles some days after it.
66 He sent - Solomon having joined with the people in the solemn assembly, which was kept on the eighth day; in the close of that day took his solemn farewell, and dismissed them with his blessing; and the next morning when the heads and elders with divers of the people came to take their leave of the king, he sent them away.

Chapter IX

God in a vision answers Solomon's prayer, ver. 1 - 9. The mutual presents of Solomon and Hiram, ver. 10 - 14. His workmen and buildings, ver. 15 - 24. His devotion, ver. 25. His navy, ver. 26 - 28.

3 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.
5 Then - Upon that condition; for my promise to David was conditional.
8 High - Glorious and renowned. Astonished - At its unexpected and wonderful ruin. Hiss - By way of contempt and derision.
11 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, Gen 15:18 Josh 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.
13 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.
14 Sent - And this seems to be here added, both to declare the quantity of the gold sent, which had been only named before, ver.11, and as the reason why he resented Solomon's action, because so great a sum required a better recompense.
15 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.
21 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, Deut 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 Josh 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.
25 Three times - That is, at the three solemn feasts: and undoubtedly at all other appointed times.
26 Made - Not now, but in the beginning of his reign.
27 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.
28 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.

Chapter X

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.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 things.
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 2Kings 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 praising thee.
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 succeeding Ages.
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 determine.
24 All the earth - That is, all the kings of the earth, (as it is expressed 2Chron 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, Josh 1:4, whom the Israelites, contrary to their duty, suffered to live amongst them, Judg 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.

Chapter XI

Solomon's many wives turn his heart from God, ver. 1 - 8. God reproves and threatens him, ver. 9 - 13. Stirs up Hadad and Rezon against him, ver. 14 - 25. An account of Jeroboam, ver. 26 - 40. Solomon's death and burial, ver. 41 - 43.

3 Seven hundred wives, &c. - God had particularly forbidden the kings to multiply either horses or wives, Deut 17:16,17, we saw chap.1Ki 10:29, how he broke the former law, multiplying horses: and here we see, how he broke the latter, multiplying wives. David set the example. One ill act of a good man may do more mischief than twenty of a wicked man. Besides, they were strange women, of the nations which God had expressly forbidden them to marry with. And to compleat the mischief, he clave unto these in love; was extravagantly fond of them, Solomon had much knowledge. But to what purpose, when he knew not how to govern his appetites?
4 Was old - As having now reigned nigh thirty years. When it might have been expected that experience would have made him wiser: then God permitted him to fall so shamefully, that he might be to all succeeding generations an example of the folly, and weakness of the wisest and the best men, when left to themselves. Turned his heart - Not that they changed his mind about the true God, and idols, which is not credible; but they obtained from him a publick indulgence for their worship, and possibly persuaded him to join with them in the outward act of idol - worship; or, at least, in their feasts upon their sacrifices, which was a participation of their idolatry.
5 Milcom - Called also Moloch.
6 Did evil - That is, did not worship God wholly, but joined idols with him.
7 An high place - That is, an altar upon the high place, as the manner of the Heathens was. The hill - In the mount of olives, which was nigh unto Jerusalem, 2Sam 15:30, and from this act was called the mount of corruption, 2Kings 23:13. As it were, to confront the temple.
8 And sacrificed, &c. - See what need those have to stand upon their guard, who have been eminent for religion. The devil will set upon them most violently: and if they miscarry, the reproach is the greater. It is the evening that commends the day. Let us therefore fear, lest having run well, we come short.
12 Fathers sake - For my promise made to him, 2Sam 7:12 - 15.
13 One tribe - Benjamin was not entirely his, but part of it adhered to Jeroboam, as Bethel, 1Kings 12:29, and Hephron, 2Chron 13:19, both which were towns of Benjamin.
15 In Edom - By his army, to war against it. To bury - The Israelites who were slain in the battle, 2Sam 8:13,14, whom he honourably interred in some certain place, to which he is said to go up for that end. And this gave Hadad the opportunity of making his escape, whilst Joab and his men were employed in that solemnity. Had smitten - Or, and he smote, as it is in the Hebrew: which is here noted as the cause of Hadad's flight; he understood what Joab had done in part, and intended farther to do, even to kill all the males and therefore fled for his life.
18 Midian - He fled at first with an intent to go into Egypt, but took Midian, a neighbouring country, in his way, and staid there a while, possibly 'till he had by some of his servants tried Pharaoh's mind, and prepared the way for his reception. Paran - Another country in the road from Edom to Egypt, where he hired men to attend him, that making his entrance there something like a prince, he might find more favour from that king and people. Land - To support himself and his followers out of the profits of it.
19 Found favour - God so disposing his heart, that Hadad might be a scourge to Solomon for his impieties.
21 Joab - Whom he feared as much as David himself. Own country - Whither accordingly he came; and was there, even from the beginning of Solomon's reign. And it is probable, by the near relation which was between his wife and Solomon's; and, by Pharaoh's intercession, he obtained his kingdom with condition of subjection and tribute to be paid by him to Solomon; which condition he kept 'till Solomon fell from God, and then began to be troublesome, and dangerous to his house and kingdom.
23 Who fled - When David had defeated him. Zobah - A part of Syria, between Damascus and Euphrates.
24 A band - Of soldiers, who fled upon that defeat, 2Sam 10:18, and others who readily joined them, and lived by robbery; as many Arabians did. Damascus - And took it, whilst Solomon was wallowing in luxury.
25 All adversity - He was a secret enemy, all that time; and when Solomon had forsaken God, he shewed himself openly. Beside - This infelicity was added to the former; whilst Hadad molested him in the south, Rezon threatened him in the north. But what hurt could Hadad or Rezon have done, to so powerful a king as Solomon, if he had not by sin made himself mean and weak? If God be on our side, we need not fear the greatest adversary. But if he be against us, he can make us fear the least: yea, the grasshopper shall be a burden. Syria - Over all that part of Syria, enlarging his empire the more, and thereby laying a foundation for much misery to Solomon's kingdom.
28 Charge - The taxes and tributes.
29 Went - Probably to execute his charge. Were alone - Having gone aside for private conference; for otherwise it is most likely that he had servants attending him, who, though they hear not the words, yet might see the action, and the rending of Jeroboam's coat; and thus it came to Solomon's ears, who being so wise, could easily understand the thing by what he heard of the action, especially when a prophet did it.
39 For this - For this cause, which I mentioned ver.33. Not for ever - There shall a time come when the seed of David shall not be molested by the kingdom of Israel, but that kingdom shall be destroyed, and the kings of the house of David shall be uppermost, as it was in the days of Asa, Hezekiah and Judah. And at last the Messiah shall come, who shall unite together the broken sticks of Judah and Joseph, and rule over all the Jews and Gentiles too.
40 Solomon - To whose ears this had come. Shishak - Solomon's brother - in - law, who yet might be jealous of him, or alienated from him, because he had taken so many other wives to his sister, might cast a greedy eye upon the great riches which Solomon had amassed together, and upon which, presently after Solomon's death, he laid violent hands, 2Chron 12:9.
41 The book - In the publick records, where the lives and actions of kings were registered from time to time, so this was only a political, not a sacred book.
42 Forty years - His reign was as long as his father's, but not his life; sin shortened his days.
43 Slept - This expression is promiscuously used concerning good and bad; and signifies only, that they died as their fathers did. But did he repent before he died? This seems to be put out of dispute by the book of Ecclesiastes; written after his fall; as is evident, not only from the unanimous testimony of the Hebrew writers, but also, from the whole strain of that book, which was written long after he had finished all his works, and after he had liberally drunk of all sorts of sensual pleasures, and sadly experienced the bitter effects of his love of women, Eccles 7:17, &c. which makes it more than probable, that as David writ Psalm 51:1 - 19. So Solomon wrote this book as a publick testimony and profession of his repentance.

Chapter XII

Rehoboam succeeds and Jeroboam returns out of Egypt, ver. 1, 2. The peoples petition to Rehoboam, and his answer, ver. 3 - 15. Ten tribes revolt and make Jeroboam king, ver. 16 - 20. God forbids Rehoboam to make war upon them, ver. 21 - 24. Jeroboam sets up two golden calves, ver. 25 - 33.

1 Were come - Rehoboam did not call them thither, but went thither, because the Israelites prevented him, and had pitched upon that place, rather than upon Jerusalem, because it was most convenient for all, being in the center of the kingdom; and because that being in the potent tribe of Ephraim, they supposed there they might use that freedom of speech, which they resolved to use, to get there grievances redressed. So out of a thousand wives and concubines, he had but one son to bear his name, and he a fool! Is not sin an ill way of building up a family?
3 They sent - When the people sent him word of Solomon's death, they also sent a summons for him to come to Shechem. That the presence and countenance of a man of so great interest and reputation, might lay the greater obligation upon Rehoboam to grant them ease and relief.
4 Grievous - By heavy taxes and impositions, not only for the temple and his magnificent buildings, but for the expenses of his numerous court, and of so many wives and concubines. And Solomon having so grossly forsaken God, it is no wonder if he oppressed the people.
7 This day - By complying with their desires, and condescending to them for a season, till thou art better established in thy throne. They use this expression, fore - seeing that some would dissuade him from this course, as below the majesty of a prince. And answer - Thy service is not hard, it is only a few good words, which it is as easy to give as bad ones.
8 Young men - So called, comparatively to the old men: otherwise they were near forty years old.
10 Shall be thicker - Or rather, is thicker, and therefore stronger, and more able to crush you, if you proceed in these mutinous demands, than his loins, in which is the principal seat of strength.
15 From the Lord - Who gave up Rehoboam to so foolish and fatal a mistake, and alienated the peoples affections from him; and ordered all circumstances by his wise providence to that end.
16 In David - In David's family and son; we can expect no benefit or relief from him, and therefore we renounce all commerce with him, and subjection to him. They named David, rather than Rehoboam; to signify, that they renounced not Rehoboam only, but all David's family. Son of Jesse - So they call David in contempt; as if they had said, Rehoboam hath no reason to carry himself with such pride and contempt toward his people; for if we trace his original, it was as mean and obscure as any of ours. To your tents - Let us forsake him, and go to our own homes, there to consider, how to provide for ourselves.
17 Judah - The tribe of Judah; with those parts of the tribes of Levi, and Simeon, and Benjamin, whose dwellings were within the confines of Judah.
18 Sent Adoram - Probably to pursue the counsel which he had resolved upon, to execute his office, and exact their tribute with rigour and violence, if need were.
19 Rebelled - Their revolt was sinful, as they did not this in compliance with God's counsel, but to gratify their own passions.
20 Was come - From Egypt; which was known to them before who met at Shechem, and now by all the people. Was none - That is, no entire tribe.
24 From me - This event is from my counsel and providence, to punish Solomon's apostasy.
25 Shechem - He repaired, and enlarged, and fortified it; for it had been ruined long since, Judg 9:45. He might chuse it as a place both auspicious, because here the foundation of his monarchy was laid; and commodious, as being near the frontiers of his kingdom. Penuel - A place beyond Jordan; to secure that part of his dominions.
26 Said, &c. - Reasoned within himself. The phrase discovers the fountain of his error, that he did not consult with God, who had given him the kingdom; as in all reason, and justice, and gratitude he should have done: nor believed God's promise, chap.11:38, but his own carnal policy.
27 Will turn - Which in itself might seem a prudent conjecture; for this would give Rehoboam, and the priests, and Levites, the sure and faithful friends of David's house, many opportunities of alienating their minds from him, and reducing them to their former allegiance. But considering God's providence, by which the hearts of all men, and the affairs of all kingdoms are governed, and of which he had lately seen so eminent an instance; it was a foolish, as well as wicked course.
28 Calves - In imitation of Aaron's golden calf, and of the Egyptians, from whom he was lately come. And this he the rather presumed to do, because he knew the people of Israel were generally prone to idolatry: and that Solomon's example had exceedingly strengthened those inclinations; and therefore they were prepared for such an attempt; especially, when his proposition tended to their own ease, and safety, and profit, which he knew was much dearer to them, as well as to himself, than their religion. Too much - Too great a trouble and charge, and neither necessary, nor safe for them, as things now stood. Behold thy gods - Not as if he thought to persuade the people, that these calves were that very God of Israel, who brought them out of Egypt: which was so monstrously absurd and ridiculous, that no Israelite in his right wits could believe it, and had been so far from satisfying his people, that this would have made him both hateful, and contemptible to them; but his meaning was, that these Images were visible representations, by which he designed to worship the true God of Israel, as appears, partly from that parallel place, Exod 32:4, partly, because the priests and worshippers of the calves, are said to worship Jehovah; and upon that account, are distinguished from those belonging to Baal, 1Kings 18:21, 22:6,7, and partly, from Jeroboam's design in this work, which was to quiet the peoples minds, and remove their scruples about going to Jerusalem to worship their God in that place, as they were commanded: which he doth, by signifying to them, that he did not intend any alteration in the substance of their religion; nor to draw them from the worship of the true God, to the worship of any of those Baals, which were set up by Solomon; but to worship that self - same God whom they worshipped in Jerusalem, even the true God, who brought them out of Egypt; only to vary a circumstance: and that as they worshipped God at Jerusalem, before one visible sign, even the ark, and the sacred cherubim there; so his subjects should worship God by another visible sign, even that of the calves, in other places; and as for the change of the place, he might suggest to them, that God was present in all places, where men with honest minds called upon him; that before the temple was built, the best of kings, and prophets, and people, did pray, and sacrifice to God in divers high places, without any scruple. And that God would dispense with them also in that matter; because going to Jerusalem was dangerous to them at this time; and God would have mercy, rather than sacrifice.
29 Beth - el, &c. - Which two places he chose for his peoples conveniency; Beth - el being in the southern, and Dan in the northern parts of his kingdom.
30 A sin - That is, an occasion of great wickedness, not only of idolatry, which is called sin by way of eminency; nor only of the worship of the calves, wherein they pretended to worship the true God; but also of the worship of Baal, and of the utter desertion of the true God; and of all sorts of impiety. To Dan - Which is not here mentioned exclusively, for they went also to Beth - el, ver.32,33, but for other reasons, either because that of Dan was first made, the people in those parts having been long leavened with idolatry, Judg 18:30, or to shew the peoples readiness and zeal for idols; that those who lived in, or near Beth - el, had not patience to stay 'till that calf was finished, but all of them were forward to go as far as Dan, which was in the utmost borders of the land, to worship an idol there; when it was thought too much for them to go to Jerusalem to worship God.
31 An house - Houses, or chapels, besides the temples, which are built at Dan and Beth - el; he built also for his peoples better accommodation, lesser temples upon divers high places. Of the lowest - Which he might do, either,
  1. because the better sort refused it, or,
  2. because such would be satisfied with mean allowances; and so he could put into his own purse a great part of the revenues of the Levites, which doubtless he seized upon when they forsook him, and went to Jerusalem, 2Chron 11:13,14, or,
  3. because mean persons would depend upon his favour, and therefore be pliable to his humour, and firm to his interest, but the words in the Hebrew properly signify, from the ends of the people; which may be translated thus, out of all the people; promiscuously out of every tribe. Which exposition seems to be confirmed by the following words, added to explain these, which were not of the sons of Levi; though they were not of the tribe of Levi. And that indeed was Jeroboam's sin; not that he chose mean persons, for some of the Levites were such; and his sin had not been less, if he had chosen the noblest and greatest persons; as we see in the example of Uzziah. But that he chose men of other tribes, contrary to God's appointment, which restrained that office to that tribe.
Levi - To whom that office was confined by God's express command.
32 A feast - The feast of tabernacles. So he would keep God's feast, not in God's time, which was the fifteenth day of the seventh month, and so onward, Levit 23:34, but on the fifteenth day of the eighth month. And this alteration he made, either,
  1. to keep up the difference between his subjects, and those of Judah as by the differing manners, so by the distinct times of their worship. Or,
  2. lest he should seem directly to oppose the God of Israel, (who had in a special manner obliged all the people to go up to Jerusalem at that time,) by requiring their attendance to celebrate the feast elsewhere, at the same time. Or,
  3. to engage as many persons as possibly he could, to come to his feast; which they would more willingly do when the feast at Jerusalem was past and all the fruits of the earth were perfectly gathered in.
Fifteenth day - And so onward till the seven days ended. Like that in Judah - He took his pattern thence, to shew, that he worshipped the same God, and professed the same religion for substance, which they did: howsoever he differed in circumstances. He offered - Either,
  1. by his priests. Or, rather,
  2. by his own hands; as appears from chap.13:1,4, which he did, to give the more countenance to his new - devised solemnity.
Nor is this strange; for he might plausibly think, that he who by his own authority had made others priests might much more exercise a part of that office; at least, upon an extraordinary occasion; in which case, he knew David himself had done some things, which otherwise he might not do. So he did - He himself did offer there in like manner, as he now had done at Dan.
33 Devised - Which he appointed without any warrant from God.

Chapter XIII

A prophet threatens Jeroboam's altar, and gives a sign, which immediately comes to pass, ver, 1 - 5. He restores Jeroboam's withered hand, and leaves Bethel, ver. 6 - 10. The old prophet deceives and entertains him, ver. 11 - 19. He is threatened with death, ver. 20 - 23. Slain by a lion and buried, ver. 24 - 32. Jeroboam is hardened in his idolatry, ver. 33, 34.

1 Man of God - An holy prophet. By the word, &c. - By Divine inspiration and command.
2 The altar - And consequently, against all that worship. O altar - He directs his speech to the altar, because the following signs were wrought upon it. Josiah - Which being done above three hundred years after this prophecy, plainly shews the absolute certainty of God's providence; and fore - knowledge even in the most contingent things. For this was in itself uncertain, and wholly depended upon man's will, both as to the having of a child, and as to the giving it this name. Therefore God can certainly and effectually over - rule man's will which way he pleaseth; or else it was possible, that this prediction should have been false; which is blasphemous to imagine. The priests - The bones of the priests, 2Kings 23:15,16, whereby the altar should be defiled. How bold was the man, that durst attack the king in his pride, and interrupt the solemnity he was proud of? Whoever is sent on God's errand, must not fear the faces of men. It was above three hundred and fifty years ere this prophecy was fulfilled. Yet it is spoken of as sure and nigh at hand. For a thousand years are with God as one day.
3 Gave a sign - That is, he then wrought a miracle, to assure them of the truth of his prophecy.
4 Put forth, &c. - To point out the man whom he would have the people lay hands on. The altar - Where it was employed in offering something upon it. Dried up - Or, withered, the muscles and sinews, the instruments of motion, shrunk up. This God did, to chastise Jeroboam for offering violence to the Lord's prophet: to secure the prophet against farther violence: and, that in this example God might shew, how highly he resents the injuries done to his ministers, for the faithful discharge of their office.
6 Thy God - Who hath manifested himself to be thy God and friend, in a singular manner; and therefore will hear thy prayers for me, though he will not regard mine, because I have forsaken him and his worship. Besought - To assure Jeroboam, that what he had said, was not from ill - will to him, and that he heartily desired his reformation, and not his ruin. Restored - Because he repented of that violence, which he intended against that prophet, for which God inflicted it: and that this goodness of God to him, might have led him to repentance; or, if he continued impenitent, leave him without excuse.
9 For so, &c. - My refusal of thy favour, is not from any contempt, or hatred of thy person; but in obedience to the just command of my God, who hath forbidden me all father converse or communication with thee. Eat nor drink - In that place, or with that people. Whereby God declares, how detestable they were in God's eyes; because they were vile apostates from the true God, and embraced this idol - worship, against the light of their own consciences, merely to comply with the king's humour and command. Nor turn - That by thy avoiding the way that led thee to Beth - el as execrable, although thou wentest by my special command, thou mightest teach all others, how much they should abhor that way, and all thoughts of going to that place, or to such people, upon any unnecessary occasion.
11 A prophet - One to whom, and by whom God did sometimes impart his mind; as it is manifest from ver.20, 21, and one that had a respect to the Lord's holy prophets, and gave credit to their predictions: but whether he was a good man, may be doubted, seeing we find him in a downright lie, ver.18. And altho' an holy prophet may possibly have continued in the kingdom of Israel, he would never have gone from his own habitation, to dwell at Beth - el, the chief seat of idolatry, unless with design to preach against it: which it is evident he did not; his sons seem to have been present at, and, and to have joined with others in that idolatrous worship.
21 Cried - With a loud voice, the effect of his passion, both for his own guilt and shame, and for the prophet's approaching misery.
22 Shall not, &c. - Thou shalt not die a natural, but a violent death; and that in this journey, before thou returnest to thy native habitation. But is it not strange that the lying prophet escapes, while the man of God is so severely punished? Certainly there must be a judgment to come, when these things shall be called over again, and when those who sinned most and suffered least in this world, will receive according to their works.
23 Saddled for him - But, it is observable, he doth not accompany him; his guilty conscience making him fear to be involved in the same judgment with him.
24 Slew him - But why doth God punish a good man so severely for so small an offence? His sin was not small, for it was a gross disobedience to a positive command. And it cannot seem strange if God should bring his deserved death upon him in this manner, for the accomplishment of his own glorious designs, to vindicate his own justice from the imputation of partiality; to assure the truth of his predictions, and thereby provoke Jeroboam and his idolatrous followers to repentance; and to justify himself in all his dreadful judgments which he intended to inflict upon Jeroboam's house, and the whole kingdom of Israel.
28 He found, &c. - Here was a concurrence of miracles: that the ass did not run away from the lion, according to his nature, but boldly stood still, as reserving himself to carry the prophet to his burial; that the lion did not devour its prey, nor yet go away when he had done his work, but stood still, partly to preserve the carcase of the prophet from other wild beasts or fowls, partly, as an evidence that the prophet's death was not casual, nor the effect of a lion's ravenous disposition, but of God's singular and just judgment; and consequently, that his prediction was divine, and should be infallibly accomplished in its proper time; and partly, as a token of God's favour to the deceased prophet, of whose very carcase he took such special care: thereby signifying, that although for wise and just reasons he thought fit to take away his life, yet his remains was precious to him.
30 His grave - So that threatening, ver.22, was fulfilled; and withal, the memory of his prophecy was revived and preserved among them, and his very carcase resting there, might be a witness of their madness and desperate wickedness, in continuing in their abominable idolatry, after such an assurance of the dreadful effects of it. They - The old prophet and his sons, and others, whom common humanity taught to lament the untimely death of so worthy a person. Alas, &c. - Which was an usual form of expression in funeral - lamentations.
31 When I am dead, &c - Tho' he was a lying prophet, yet he desired to die the death of a true prophet. Gather not my Soul with the sinners of Beth - el, but with this man of God: Because what he cried against the altar of Beth - el, shall surely come to pass. Thus by the mouth of two witnesses was it established, if possible to convince Jeroboam.
32 Samaria - That is, of the kingdom of Samaria; as it was called, though not when this fact was done, yet before these books were written. Samaria was properly this name of one city, chap.21:1, but from hence the whole kingdom of Israel was so called.
33 After this - That is, after all these things: the singular number put for the plural; after so many, and evident, and successive miracles. Made again - He abated not so much as a circumstance in his idolatrous worship. Whosoever - Without any respect to tribe or family, or integrity of body, or mind, or life; all which were to be regarded in the priesthood.
34 Sin - Either, an occasion of sin, and means of hardening all his posterity in their idolatry: or, a punishment, for so the word sin is often used. This his obstinate continuance in his idolatry, after such warnings, was the utter ruin of all his family. They betray themselves effectually, who endeavour to support themselves by any sin.

Chapter XIV

Jeroboam sends to the prophet, to enquire concerning his sick son, ver. 1 - 6. The destruction of Jeroboam's household told, ver. 7 - 16. The death of his child, ver. 17, 18. The conclusion of his reign, ver. 19, 20. The declension of Rehoboam's house and kingdom, ver. 21 - 28. The conclusion of his reign, ver. 28 - 31.

1 At that time - Presently after the things described in the former chapter; which, though related in the beginning of his reign, yet might be done a good while after it, and so Ahijah the prophet might be very old, as he is described to be ver.4. It is probable he was his eldest son.
2 His wife - Because she might without suspicion enquire concerning her own child; and because she would enquire exactly, and diligently, and faithfully acquaint him with the truth. Disguise - Change thy habit, and voice, and go like a private and obscure person. This caution proceeded: first, from the pride of his heart, which made him loth to confess his folly in worshipping such helpless idols, and to give glory to the God whom he had forsaken. Secondly, from jealousy and suspicion, lest the prophet knowing this, should either give her no answer, or make it worse than indeed it was. Thirdly, from policy, lest his people should by his example be drawn to forsake the calves, and to return to the God of Judah.
3 And take - A present, after the manner, but mean, as became an ordinary country woman, which she personated. It had been more pious to enquire, why God contended with him.
6 Thou wife - By which discovery he both reproves their folly, who thought to conceal themselves from God, and withal gives her assurance of the truth, and certainty of that message which he was to deliver.
8 David - Who though he fell into some sins, yet, first, he constantly persevered in the true worship of God; from which thou art revolted. Secondly, he heartily repented of, and turned from all his sins whereas thou art obstinate and incorrigible.
9 Above all - Above all the former kings of my people, as Saul, and Solomon, and Rehoboam. Images - Namely the golden calves: not as if they thought them to be other gods in a proper sense; for it is apparent they still pretended to worship the God of their fathers, but because God rejected their whole worship, and, howsoever they accounted it, he reckoned it a manifest defection from him, and a betaking themselves to other gods, or devils, as they are called, 2Chron 11:15, whom alone they served and worshipped therein, whatsoever pretences they had to the contrary. To provoke - Whereby thou didst provoke me. For otherwise this was not Jeroboam's design in it, but only to establish himself in the throne. Hast cast - Despised and forsaken me, and my commands, and my worship, as we do things which we cast behind our backs.
10 Shut up - Those who had escaped the fury of their enemies invading them, either because they were shut up in caves, or castles, or strong towns, or, because they were left, over - looked or neglected by them, or spared as poor, impotent, helpless creatures. But now, saith he, they shall be all searched out, and brought to destruction. Dung - Which they remove, as a loathsome thing, out of their houses, and that throughly and universally.
11 Eat - So both sorts shall die unburied.
12 When, &c. - Presently upon thy entrance into the city; when thou art gone but a little way in it, even as far as to the threshold of the king's door, ver.17, which possibly was near the gates of the city. And by this judge of the truth of the rest of my prophecy.
13 Shall mourn - For the loss of so worthy and hopeful a person, and for the sad calamities which will follow his death, which possibly his moderation, and wisdom, and virtue, might have prevented. So they should mourn, not simply for him, but for their own loss in him. Grave - Shall have the honour of burial. Some good - Pious intentions of taking away the calves, and of permitting or obliging his people to go up to Jerusalem to worship, if God gave him life and authority to do it, and of trusting God with his kingdom. In the house - Which is added for his greater commendation; he was good in the midst of so many temptations and wicked examples; a good branch of a bad flock.
14 A king - Baasha, chap.15:28. That day - When he is so raised; in the very beginning of his reign, chap.15:29. But what? - But what do I say, he shall raise, as it were a thing to be done at a great distance of time: the man is now in being if not in power, who shall do this: this judgment shall be shortly executed. Sometimes God makes quick work with sinners. He did so with the house of Jeroboam. It was not twenty four years from his first elevation, to the final extirpation of his family.
15 Is shaken - Hither and thither, with every wind. So shall the kingdom and people of Israel be always in an unquiet and unsettled posture, tossed to and fro by foreign invasions and civil wars; by opposite kings and factions, and by the dissensions of the people. The river - Euphrates, so called by way of eminency, this was accomplished in part 2Kings 15:29, and more fully, 2Kings 17:6. Groves - For the worship of their idols, God having before condemned the making and worshipping of the calves, by which they pretended to worship the true God; he now takes notice that they were not contented with the calves, but (as it is in the nature of idolatry, and all sin, to proceed from evil to worse) were many of them fallen into a worse kind of idolatry, even their worship of the heathenish Baals, which they commonly exercised in groves.
16 Who made, &c. - By his invention, and making the occasion of their sin, the calves; by his example, encouraging those and only those that worshipped the calves; and by his authority requiring and compelling them to do it. This is mentioned as a monstrous aggravation of his wickedness, that he was not content with his own sin, but was the great author of drawing others into sin, and of corrupting and undoing the whole kingdom, which therefore God would never forgive him, but upon all occasions mentions him with this eternal brand of infamy upon him.
17 Tirzah - An ancient and royal city, in a pleasant place, where the kings of Israel had a palace, whither Jeroboam was now removed from Shechem, either for his pleasure, or for his son's recovery, by the healthfulness of the place. The threshold - Of the king's house, which probably was upon, or by the wall of the city, and near the gate.
18 Mourned - And justly: not only for the loss of an hopeful prince, but because his death plucked up the floodgates, at which an inundation of judgments broke in.
19 The chronicles - not that canonical book of chronicles; for that was written long after this book: but a book of civil records, the annals, wherein all remarkable passages were recorded by the king's command from day to day; out of which the sacred penman by the direction of God's spirit, took those passages which were most useful for God's honour, and mens edification.
21 Forty one years - Therefore he was born a year before Solomon was king, as appears from chap.11:42, this is noted as an aggravation of Rehoboam's folly, that he was old enough to have been wiser. An Ammonitess - A people cursed by God, and shut out of the congregation of his people for ever. This is observed as one cause both of God's displeasure in punishing Solomon with such a son, and of Rehoboam's apostacy after his three first years, 2Chron 11:17. None can imagine how fatal and how lasting are the consequence of being unequally yoked with an unbeliever.
22 In the sight of the Lord - In contempt and defiance of him, and the tokens of his special presence. Jealousy - As the adulterous wife provokes her husband, by breaking the marriage covenant.
23 They also - Followed the example of the Israelites, although they were better instructed, and had the temple in their kingdom, and liberty of access to it, and the privilege of worshipping God in his own way, and the counsels, and sermons, and examples of the priests and Levites, and the dreadful example of Israel's horrid apostacy, to caution and terrify them. High places - Which was unlawful, and, now especially when the temple was built, and ready to receive them; unnecessary, and therefore expressed a greater contempt of God and his express command. Groves - Not only after the manner of the Heathens and Israelites, but against a direct and particular prohibition. Under every green tree - The people were universally corrupted: which is prodigious, all things considered, and is a clear evidence of the greatness and depth of the original corruption of man's nature.
24 Abomination - They dishonoured God by one sin, and then God left them to dishonour themselves by another.
25 Fifth year - Presently after his and his people's apostacy, which was not 'till his fourth year: while apostate, Israel enjoyed peace and some kind of prosperity, of which difference, two reasons may be given: first, Judah's sins were committed against clearer light, and more powerful means and remedies of all sorts, and therefore deserved more severe and speedy judgments. Secondly, God discovered more love to Judah in chastizing them speedily, that they might be humbled, reformed, and preserved, as it happened; and more anger against Israel, whom he spared to that total destruction which he intended to bring upon them. Sishak - He is thought to be Solomon's brother - in - law. But how little such relations signify among princes, when their interest is concerned, all histories witness. Besides Rehoboam was not Solomon's son by Pharaoh's daughter and so the relation was in a manner extinct. Came up - Either, from a desire to enlarge his empire: or, by Jeroboam's instigation: or from a covetous desire of possessing those great treasures which David and Solomon had left: and above all, by God's providence, disposing his heart to this expedition for Rehoboam's punishment.
26 He took - First the city: which may seem strange, considering the great strength of it, and how much time it took Nebuchadnezzar and Titus to take it. But, first, it might cost Shishak also a long siege though that be not here related. Secondly, it is probable David and Solomon in their building and altering the city, had more respect to state and magnificence than to its defence, as having no great cause to fear the invasion of any enemies. And it is certain, that after the division between Judah and Israel, the kings of Judah added very much to the fortifications of it.
27 Brazen shields - This was an emblem of the diminution of his glory. Sin makes the gold become dim, it changes the most fine gold and turns it into brass.
28 To the house, &c. - By which it seems the affliction had done him some good, and brought him back to the worship of God, which he had forsaken.
30 Was war - Not an invasive war with potent armies, which was forbidden, chap.12:24, and not revived 'till Abijam's reign, 2Chron 13:1 - 3, but a defensive war from those hostilities which by small parties and skirmishes they did to one another.
31 An Ammonitess - This is repeated as a thing very observable.

Chapter XV

The reigns of Abijam and Asa over Judah, ver. 1 - 24. Of Nadab and Baasha over Israel, ver. 25 - 34.

1 Abijam reigned - So his reign began with Jeroboam's eighteenth year, continued his whole nineteenth year, and ended within his twentieth year, in which also Asa's reign began. And thus one and the same year may be attributed to two several persons.
2 Three years - That is, part of three years. Abishalom - Or, of Absalom, as he is called 2Chron 11:21. And because he is here mentioned as a known person, without any addition of his kindred or quality, some conceive that this was Absalom's daughter, called properly Tamar, 2Sam 14:27, and from her royal grandmother, 2Sam 3:3, Maacah.
4 A lamp - A son and successor to perpetuate his name and memory, which otherwise had gone into obscurity. Jerusalem - That he might maintain that city, and temple, and worship, as a witness for God, in the world, against the Israelites and heathen world.
5 Save only - This and the like phrases are not to be understood as exclusive of every sinful action, hut only of an habitual and continued apostasy from God, as the very phrase of turning aside from God, or from his commands, doth constantly imply. And thus it is most true. For David's other sins were either sudden and transient acts, soon repented of and blotted out, as in the cases of Nabal and Achish; or, mistakes of his judgment, which was not fully convinced of the sinfulness of such actions: whereas that which concerned Uriah's wife was a designed and studied sin, long continued in, defended with a succession of other sins, presumptuous, and scandalous to his government, and to the true religion.
6 War between, &c. - Upon Jeroboam's invading him with a great army: acting then in his own defence, he totally routed Jeroboam, so that he was quiet the rest of his reign.
10 Mother's - That is, his grandmother's, as appears from ver.2, who is called his mother, as David is called Abijam's father, ver.3. And his grand - mother's name may be here mentioned, rather than his mother's, because his mother was either an obscure person, or was dead, or unwilling to take care of the education of her son, and so he was educated by the grand - mother, who, though she poisoned his father Abijam with her idolatrous principles, ver.12, yet could not infect Asa, nor withhold him from prosecuting his good purposes of reforming religion.
11 Right - As to the government of his kingdom, and the reformation, and establishment of God's worship. That is right indeed which is so in God's eyes. Those are approved whom he commendeth.
12 Sodomites - All whom he could find out; but some escaped his observation, as appears from chap.22:46. Idols, &c. - And if his father had made them, he had the more need to remove them, that he might cut off the entail of the curse.
13 He removed - He took from her either the name and authority of queen regent, which she, having been Rehoboam's wife, and Abijam's mother, took to herself during Asa's minority; or, the dignity of the queen mother, and those guards, or instruments of power, which she had enjoyed and misemployed. An Idol - Heb. a terror, or horror, that is, an horrible idol; which it may be so called, because it was of a more terrible shape than ordinary, and not to be seen without horror. Kidron - That when it was burnt to powder, it might be thrown into the water, and be unfit for any use.
14 High places - 2Chron 14:3. He took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places where they were worshipped: but as for those high places where the true God was worshipped he did not take them away; partly, because he thought there was no great evil in them, which had been used by David and Solomon, and other good men; partly, because he thought the removal of them might do more hurt than their continuance, by occasioning the total neglect of God's worship by many of the people, who either could not, or, through want of faith and zeal, would not go up to Jerusalem to worship, now especially, when the Israelites, formerly their friends, were become their enemies, and watched all opportunities to invade or molest them. Was perfect - That is, he sincerely and constantly adhered to the worship of God. Though he could not hinder the people from using the high places, yet he entirely devoted himself to the worship of God in the manner and place prescribed by him.
15 His father - Abijam, when he was in distress, and going to fight with Jeroboam, 2Chron 13:1 - 3, though afterwards he did not perform his vows, nor bring in what he had devoted; probably he was prevented by death.
17 Built - That is, repaired and fortified.
18 Were left - What either Shishak had left, or Abijam, or Asa, or others, both of Israel or Judah had dedicated; which probably was not inconsiderable, because Asa had got great spoils from Zerah, 2Chron 14:9 - 15, and he and his numerous and prosperous people, did at this time express a great zeal for the house and worship of God. Sent them - Wherein he committed three great faults, amongst many others, first, he alienated things consecrated to God, without necessity. Secondly, he did this out of distrust of that God whose power and goodness he had lately experienced. Thirdly, he did this for an ill intent, to hire him to the breach of his league and covenant with Baasha, ver.19, and to take away part of that land which by right, and the special gift of God, belonged to the Israelites.
21 Tirzah - Now the royal city of Israel. There he abode to defend his own kingdoms, and durst not return to oppose Asa, lest the Syrian king should make a second invasion. So Asa met with success in this ungodly course as good men sometimes meet with disappointment in a good cause and course. So there is no judging of causes by events.
22 None, &c. - All sorts of persons were obliged to come, except those who were disabled by age, or infirmity, or absence, or by the public service of the king and kingdom in other places. Built - Repaired and strengthened them, for they were built before.
23 Nevertheless - Notwithstanding the great things which he had done, and the glory and prosperity which he enjoyed, he felt the effects of human infirmity, and of his own sins.
25 Two years - Not compleat, as appears from ver.28,33.
26 In his sin - In the worship of the calves which his father had made.
28 Even, &c. - It was threatened, chap.14:15, that Israel should be as a reed shaken in the water. And so they were, when, during the single reign of Asa, their government was in seven or eight different hands. Jeroboam was upon the throne at the beginning of his reign, and Ahab at the end of it: between whom were Nadab, Baashah, Elah, Zimri, Tibni, and Omri, undermining and destroying one another. This they got by deserting the house both of God and of David.
29 Any - Any of the males of that family. According, &c. - So God overruled Baasha's ambition and cruelty, to fulfil his own prediction.
30 Because - So that same wicked policy which he used to establish the kingdom in his family, proved his and their ruin: which is very frequently the event of ungodly counsels.

Chapter XVI

The ruin of Baasha's family foretold, ver. 1 - 7. And executed by Zimri, ver. 8 - 14. Zimri's short reign, ver. 15 - 20. The struggle between Omri and Tibni, and Omri's reign, ver. 21 - 28. The beginning of Ahab's reign, ver. 29 - 33.

1 Hanani - He was sent to Asa, king of Judah. But the son, who was young and more active, was sent on this longer and more dangerous expedition to Baasha, king of Israel.
2 I made thee - Though that invading the kingdom was from himself, and his own wicked heart; yet the translation of the kingdom from Nadab to Baasha simply considered, was from God, who by his providence disposed of all occasions, and of the hearts of the soldiers and people, so that Baasha should have opportunity of executing God's judgment upon Nadab; nay, the very act of Baasha, the killing his master Nadab, was an act of divine justice. And if Baasha had done this in obedience to God's command, and with a single design, to execute God's vengeance threatened against him, it had been no more a sin, than Jehu's act in killing his master king Jehoram, upon the same account, 2Kings 9:24. But Baasha did this, merely to gratify his own pride, or covetousness, or malice, ver.7.
7 Came, &c. - The meaning is, the message which came from the Lord to Jehu, ver.1, &c. was here delivered by the hand, the ministry of Jehu, unto Baasha. Jehu did what God commanded him in this matter, tho' it was not without apparent hazard to himself.
8 Two years - One compleat, and part of the other, ver.10.
9 Chariots - Of all his military chariots, and the men belonging to them: the chariots for carriage of necessary things, being put into meaner hands. Tirzah - Whilst his forces were elsewhere employed, ver.15, which gave Zimri advantage to execute his design.
11 Kinfolks - Heb. avengers; to whom it belonged to revenge his death.
13 Vanities - Idols called vanities; because they are but imaginary deities, and mere nothings; having no power to do either good or hurt.
15 Gibbethon - Which had been besieged before, but, it seems, was then relieved, or afterwards recovered by the Philistines; taking the advantage of the disorders and contentions which were among their enemies.
19 For his sins - This befell him for his sins. In walking, &c. - This he might do, either before his reign, in the whole course of his life, which is justly charged upon him, because of his impenitency: or during his short reign; in which, he had time enough to publish his intentions, about the worship of the calves; or to sacrifice to them, for his good success.
21 Were divided - Fell into a civil war: yet neither this, nor any other of God's dreadful judgments could win them to repentance.
22 Prevailed - Partly, because they had the army on their side; and principally, by the appointment of God, giving up the Israelites to him who was much the worst, ver.25,26. Died - A violent death, in the battle: but not till after a struggle of some years. But why in all these confusions of the kingdom of Israel, did they never think of returning to the house of David? Probably because the kings of Judah assumed a more absolute power than the kings of Israel. It was the heaviness of the yoke that they complained of, when they first revolted from the house of David. And it is not unlikely, the dread of that made them averse to it ever after.
23 Twelve years - That is, and he reigned twelve years, not from this thirty - first year of Asa, for he died in his thirty - eighth year, ver.29, but from the beginning of his reign, which was in Asa's twenty - seventh year, ver.15,16. So he reigned four years in a state of war with Tibni, and eight years peaceably.
24 Two talents - Two talents is something more than seven hundred pounds.
26 Did worse - Perhaps he made severer laws concerning the calf worship; whence we read of the statutes of Omri, Micah 6:16.
31 A light thing - The Hebrew runs, was it a light thing, &c, that is, was this but a small sin, that therefore he needed to add more abominations? Where the question, as is usual among the Hebrews, implies a strong denial; and intimates, that this was no small sin, but a great crime; and might have satisfied his wicked mind, without any additions. Jezebel - A woman infamous for her idolatry, and cruelty, and sorcery, and filthiness. Eth - baal - Called Ithbalus, or Itobalus in heathen writers. So she was of an heathenish and idolatrous race. Such as the kings and people of Israel were expressly forbidden to marry. Baal - The idol which the Sidonians worshipped, which is thought to be Hercules. And this idolatry was much worse than that of the calves; because in the calves they worshipped the true God; but in these, false gods or devils.
34 In his days - This is added,
  1. as an instance of the certainty of divine predictions, this being fulfilled eight hundred years after it was threatened; and withal, as a warning to the Israelites, not to think themselves innocent or safe, because the judgment threatened against them by Ahijah, chap.14:15, was not yet executed. Or,
  2. as an evidence of the horrible corruption of his times, and of that high contempt of God which then reigned.
The Bethelite - Who lived in Bethel, the seat and sink of idolatry, wherewith he was throughly leavened. He laid, &c. - That is, in the beginning of his building, God took away his first - born, and others successively in the progress of the work, and the youngest when he finished it. And so he found by his own sad experience, the truth of God's word.

Chapter XVII

Elijah foretells the drought, ver. 1. Is fed by ravens, ver. 2 - 7. By a widow, whose meal and oil are multiplied, ver. 8 - 16. He raises her dead son, ver. 17 - 24

1 Elijah - The most eminent of the prophets, who is here brought in, like Melchisedek, without any mention of his father, or mother, or beginning of his days; like a man dropt out of the clouds, and raised by God's special providence as a witness for himself in this most degenerate time that by his zeal, and courage and miracles, he might give some check, to their various and abominable idolatries, and some reviving to that small number of the Lord's prophets, and people, who yet remained in Israel. He seems to have been naturally of a rough spirit. And rough spirits are called to rough services. His name signifies, my God Jehovah is he: he that sends me, and will own me, and bear me out. Said to Ahab - Having doubtless admonished him of his sin and danger before; now upon his obstinacy in his wicked courses, he proceeds to declare, and execute the judgment of God upon him. As the Lord, &c. - I Swear by the God of Israel, who is the only true and living God; whereas the gods whom thou hast joined with him, or preferred before him, are dead and senseless idols. Before whom - Whose minister I am, not only in general, but especially in this threatening, which I now deliver in his name and authority. There shall not, &c. - This was a prediction, but was seconded with his prayer, that God would verify it, James 5:17, And this prayer was truly charitable; that by this sharp affliction, God's honour, and the truth of his word (which was now so horribly and universally contemned) might be vindicated; and the Israelites (whom impunity had hardened in their idolatry) might be awakened to see their own wickedness, and the necessity of returning to the true religion. Those years - That is, These following years, which were three and an half, Luke 4:25 James 5:17. My word - Until I shall declare, that this judgment shall cease, and shall pray to God for the removal of it.
3 Hide thyself - Thus God rescues him from the fury of Ahab and Jezebel, who, he knew, would seek to destroy him. That Ahab did not seize on him immediately upon these words must be ascribed to God's over - ruling providence.
4 Have commanded - Or, I shall command, that is, effectually move them, by instincts which shall be as forcible with them, as a law or command is to men. God is said to command both brute creatures, and senseless things; when he causeth them to do the things which he intends to effect by them. The ravens - Which he chuseth for this work; to shew his care and power in providing for the prophet by those creatures, which are noted for their greediness, that by this strange experiment he might be taught to trust God in those many and great difficulties to which he was to be exposed. God could have sent angels to minister to him. But he chose winged messengers of another kind to shew he can serve his own purposes as effectually, by the meanest creatures as by the mightiest. Ravens neglect their own young, and do not feed them: yet when God pleaseth, they shall feed his prophet.
6 And flesh - Not raw, but boiled by the ministry of some angel or man, and left in some place 'till the ravens came for it: in all which, there is nothing incredible, considering the power and providence of God.
7 A while - Heb. at the end of days; that is, of a year; for so the word days is often used. Dried - God so ordering it, for the punishment of those Israelites who lived near it, and had hitherto been refreshed by it: and for the exercise of Elijah's faith, and to teach him to depend upon God alone.
9 Zarephath - A city between Tyre and Sidon, called Sarepta by St. Luke 4:26, and others. Zidon - To the jurisdiction of that city, which was inhabited by Gentiles. And God's providing for his prophet, first, by an unclean bird, and then by a Gentile, whom the Jews esteemed unclean, was a presage of the calling of the Gentiles, and rejection of the Jews. So Elijah was the first prophet of the Gentiles. Commanded - Appointed or provided, for that she had as yet no revelation or command of God about it, appears from ver.12.
12 She said - Therefore though she was a Gentile, yet she owned the God of Israel as the true God. Two sticks - A few sticks, that number being often used indefinitely for any small number. And die - For having no more provision, we must needs perish with hunger. For though the famine was chiefly in the land of Israel, yet the effects of it were in Tyre and Sidon, which were fed by the corn of that land. But what a poor supporter was this likely to be? who had no fuel, but what she gathered in the streets, and nothing to live upon herself, but an handful of meal and a little oil! To her Elijah is sent, that he might live upon providence, as much as he had done when the ravens fed him.
13 But make, &c. - This he requires as a trial of her faith, and obedience, which he knew God would plentifully reward; and so this would be a great example to encourage others to the practice of the same graces.
14 The barrel, &c. - The meal of the barrel So the cruse of oil for the oil of the cruse.
15 Many days - A long time, even above two years, before the following event about her son happened. And surely the increase of her faith to such a degree, as to enable her thus to deny herself and trust the promise, was as great a miracle in the kingdom of grace, as the increase of her oil in the kingdom of providence. Happy are they who can thus against hope believe and obey in hope.
16 Wasted not - See how the reward answered the service. She made one cake for the prophet and was repaid with many for herself and her son. What is laid out in charity is set out to the best interest, an upon the best securities.
17 No breath - That is, he died. We must not think it strange, if we meet with sharp afflictions, even when we are in the way of eminent service to God.
18 She said - Wherein have I injured thee? Or, why didst thou come to sojourn in my house, if this be the fruit of it? They are the words of a troubled mind. Art thou come - Didst thou come for this end, that thou mightest severely observe my sins, and by thy prayers bring down God's just judgment upon me, as thou hast brought down this famine upon the nation? To call, &c. - To God's remembrance: for God is said in scripture, to remember sins, when he punisheth them; and to forget them, when he spares the sinner.
19 Into a loft - A private place, where he might more freely pour out his soul to God, and use such gestures as he thought most proper.
20 He cried - A prayer full of powerful arguments. Thou art the Lord, that canst revive the child: and my God; and therefore wilt not, deny me. She is a widow, add not affliction to the afflicted; deprive her not of the support and staff of her age: she hath given me kind entertainment: let her not fare the worse for her kindness to a prophet, whereby wicked men will take occasion to reproach both her, and religion.
21 Come into him - By which it is evident, that the soul was gone out of his body, this was a great request; but Elijah was encouraged to make it; by his zeal for God's honour, and by the experience which he had of his prevailing power with God in prayer.
22 Into him again - This plainly supposes the existence of the soul in a state of separation, and consequently its immortality: probably God might design by this miracle to give an evidence hereof, for the encouragement of his suffering people.

Chapter XVIII

Elijah sends notice to Ahab of his coming, ver. 1 - 16. His interview with Ahab, ver. 17 - 19. His interview with all Israel upon mount Carmel, ver. 21 - 39. He slays the prophets of Baal, ver. 40. Obtains rain, and runs before Ahab to Jezreel, ver. 41 - 46.

1 The third year - Either,
  1. From the time when he went to hide himself by the brook Cherith; six months before which time the famine might begin. And so this being towards the end of the third year, it makes up these three years and six months, James 5:17. Or,
  2. From the time of his going to Sarepta, which probably was a year after the famine begun; So this might be in the middle of the third year, which also makes up the three years and six months.
Go to Ahab - To acquaint him with the cause of this judgment, and to advise him to remove it, and upon that condition to promise him rain. Will send - According to thy word and prayer, which thou shalt make for it. Thus God takes care to maintain the honour of his prophet, and in judgment remembers mercy to Israel, for the sake of the holy seed yet left among them, who suffered in this common calamity.
2 Elijah went - Wherein he shews a strong faith, and resolute obedience, and invincible courage, that he durst at God's command run into the mouth of this raging lion.
3 Obadiah - Being valued by Ahab for his great prudence and fidelity, and therefore indulged as to the worship of the calves and Baal. But how could he and some other Israelites be said to fear the Lord, when they did not go up to Jerusalem to worship, as God had commanded? Although they seem not to be wholly excusable in this neglect, yet because they worshipped God in spirit and truth, and performed all moral duties to God and their brethren, and abstained from idolatry, being kept from Jerusalem by violence, God bares with their infirmity herein.
4 Prophets - This name is not only given to such as are endowed with an extraordinary spirit of prophecy, but to such ministers as devoted themselves to the service of God in preaching, praying, and praising God. And fed - With the hazard of his own life, and against the king's command; as wisely considering, that no command of an earthly prince could over - rule the command of the king of kings. Bread and water - With meat and drink. See how wonderfully God raises up friends for his ministers and people where one would least expect them!
7 And fell - By this profound reverence, shewing his great respect and love to him.
8 Thy lord - Ahab: whom, though a very wicked man, he owns for Obadiah's Lord and king; thereby instructing us, that the wickedness of kings doth not exempt their subjects from obedience to their lawful commands.
9 He said - Wherein have I offended God, and thee, that thou shouldest expose me to certain ruin.
10 No nation - Near his own, where he could in reason think that Elijah had hid himself. It does not appear, that Ahab sought him, in order to put him to death: but rather in hopes of prevailing upon him, to pray for the removal of the drought.
12 Carry thee - Such transportations of the prophets having doubtless been usual before this time, as they were after it. Slay me - Either as one that hath deluded him with vain hopes: or, because I did not seize upon thee, and bring thee to him. But I, &c. - He speaks not these words, in a way of boasting; but that he might move the prophet to spare him, and not put him upon that hazardous action.
17 Ahab said - Have I at last met with thee, O thou disturber of my kingdom, the author of this famine, and all our calamities?
18 He answered - These calamities are not to be imputed to me, but thine and thy father's wickedness. He answered him boldly, because he spoke in God's name, and for his honour and service. Ye - All of you have forsaken the Lord, and thou in particular, hast followed Baalim.
19 Send - Messengers, that this controversy may be decided, what is the cause of these heavy judgments. All Israel - By their heads, or representatives, that they may be witnesses of all our transactions. Carmel - Not that Carmel, in Judah, but another in Issachar by the midland sea, which he chose as a convenient place being not far from the center of his kingdom, to which all the tribes might conveniently resort, and at some distance from Samaria, that Jezebel might not hinder. Prophets of Baal - Who were dispersed in all the parts of the kingdom. Of the groves - Who attended upon those Baal's or idols that were worshipped in the groves, which were near the royal city, and much frequented by the king and the queen.
20 Ahab sent - He complied with Elijah's motion; because the urgency of the present distress made him willing to try all means to remove it; from a curiosity of seeing some extraordinary events; and principally, because God inclined his heart.
21 And said - Why do you walk so lamely and unevenly, being so unsteady in your opinions and practices, and doubting whether it is better to worship God or Baal? If the Lord - Whom you pretend to worship. Follow - Worship him, and him only, and that in such place and manner as he hath commanded you. If Baal - If Baal can prove himself to be the true God. Answered not - Being convinced of the reasonableness of his proposition.
22 I only - Here present, to own the cause of God. As far the other prophets of the Lord, many of them were slain, others banished, or hid in caves.
23 Let then, &c. - To put this controversy to a short issue.
24 By Fire - That shall consume the sacrifice by fire sent from heaven; which the people knew the true God used to do. It was a great condescension in God, that he would permit Baal to be a competitor with him. But thus God would have every mouth to be stopped, and all flesh become silent before him. And Elijah doubtless had a special commission from God, or he durst not have put it to this issue. But the case was extraordinary, and the judgment upon it would be of use not only then, but in all ages. Elijah does not say, The God that answers by water, tho' that was the thing the country needed, but that answers by fire, let him be God; because the atonement was to be made, before the judgment could be removed. The God therefore that has power to pardon sin, and to signify that by consuming the sin - offering, must needs be the God that can relieve us against the calamity.
25 Dress it first - And I am willing to give you the precedency. This he did, because if he had first offered, and God had answered by fire, Baal's priests would have desisted from making the trial on their part; and because the disappointment of the priests of Baal, of which he was well assured, would prepare the way for the people's attention to his words, and cause them to entertain his success with more affection; and this coming last would leave the greater impression upon their hearts. And this they accepted, because they might think, that if Baal answered them first, which they presumed he would, the people would be so confirmed and heightened in their opinion of Baal, that they might murder Elijah before he came to his experiment.
26 Dressed - Cut it in pieces, and laid the parts upon the wood. From morning - From the time of the morning sacrifice; which advantage Elijah suffered them to take. They leapt upon - Or, beside the altar: or, before it. They used some superstitious and disorderly gestures, either pretending to be acted by the spirit of their god, and to be in a kind of religious extasy; or, in way of devotion to their god.
27 Mocked them - Derided them and their gods, which had now proved themselves to be ridiculous and contemptible things.
28 Cut themselves - Mingling their own blood with their sacrifices; as knowing by experience, that nothing was more acceptable to their Baal (who was indeed the devil) than human blood; and hoping thereby to move their god to help them. And this indeed was the practice of divers Heathens in the worship of their false gods.
29 Prophesied - That is, prayed to, and worshipped their god.
30 The altar - This had been built by some of their ancestors for the offering of sacrifice to the God of Israel, which was frequently done in high places. Broken down - By some of the Baalites, out of their enmity to the true God, whose temple, because they could not reach, they shewed their malignity in destroying his altars.
31 Twelve stones - This he did, to renew the covenant between God and all the tribes, as Moses did, Exod 24:4, to shew, that he prayed and acted in the name, and for the service of the God of all the Patriarchs, and of all the tribes of Israel, and for their good: and, to teach the people, that though the tribes were divided as to their civil government, they ought all to be united in the worship of the same God. Israel - Jacob was graciously answered by God when he prayed to him, and was honoured with the glorious title of Israel, which noted his prevalency with God and men. And I, calling upon the same God, doubt not of a like gracious answer; and if ever you mean to have your prayers granted, you must seek to the God of Jacob.
33 With water - This they could quickly fetch, either from the river Kishon; or, if that was dried up, from the sea; both were at the foot of the mountain. This he did to make the miracle more glorious, and more unquestionable.
36 The evening sacrifice - This time he chose, that he might unite his prayers with the prayers of the godly Jews at Jerusalem, who at that time assembled together to pray. Lord God of, &c. - Hereby he shews faith in God's ancient covenant, and also reminds the people, of their relation both to God and to the patriarchs. Done these things - Brought this famine, gathered the people hither, and done what I have done, or am doing here; not in compliance with my own passions, but in obedience to thy command.
37 Hast turned - Let them feel so powerful a change in their hearts, that they may know it is thy work. Back again - Unto thee, from whom they have revolted.
38 Consumed - Solomon's altar was consecrated by fire from heaven; but this was destroyed, because no more to be used.
39 They fell - In acknowledgment of the true God. He is God - He alone; and Baal is a senseless idol. And they double the words, to note their abundant satisfaction and assurance of the truth of their assertion.
40 Elijah said - He takes the opportunity, whilst the peoples hearts were warm with the fresh sense of this great miracle. The brook Kishon - That their blood might be poured into that river, and thence conveyed into the sea, and might not defile the holy land. Slew them - As these idolatrous priests were manifestly under a sentence of death, passed upon such by the sovereign Lord of life and death, so Elijah had authority to execute it, being a prophet, and an extraordinary minister of God's vengeance. The four hundred prophets of the groves, it seems, did not attend, and so escaped, which perhaps Ahab rejoiced in. But it proved, they were reserved to be the instruments of his destruction, by encouraging him to go up to Ramoth - Gilead.
41 Get up - From the river, where he had been present at the slaughter of Baal's priests, to thy tent: which probably was pitched on the side of Carmel. Eat, &c. - Take comfort, and refresh thyself: for neither the king, nor any of the people could have leisure to eat, being wholly intent upon the decision of the great controversy. For there is, &c. - The rain is as certainly coming, as if you heard the noise which it makes.
42 The top of Carmel - Where he might pour out his prayers unto God; and whence he might look towards the sea. He had a large prospect of the sea from hence. The sailors at this day call it cape Carmel. Between his knees - That is, bowed his head so low, that it touched his knees; thus abasing himself in the sense of his own meanness, now God had thus honoured him.
43 Go - While I continue praying. Elijah desired to have timely notice of the first appearance of rain, that Ahab and the people might know that it was obtained from Jehovah by the prophet's prayers, and thereby be confirmed in the true religion.
44 Like a man's hand - Great blessings often rise from small beginnings, and showers of plenty from a cloud of a span long. Let us therefore never despise the day of small things, but hope and wait for greater things from it.
46 The hand, &c. - God gave him more than natural strength, whereby he was enabled to outrun Ahab's chariot, for so many miles together. He girded, &c. - That his garments, which were long, might not hinder him. Ran before Ahab - To shew how ready he was to honour and serve the king, that by this humble and self - denying carriage, it might appear, what he had done was not from envy or passion, but only from a just zeal for God's glory: that by his presence with the king and his courtiers, he might animate and oblige them to proceed in the reformation of religion: and, to demonstrate, that he was neither ashamed of, nor afraid for what he had done, but durst venture himself in the midst of his enemies.

Chapter XIX

Elijah flees from Jezebel, ver. 1 - 3. Is fed by an angel, ver. 4 - 8. God manifests himself and directs him, ver. 9 - 18. He calls Elisha, ver. 19 - 21.

1 All the prophets - Of Baal.
2 Jezebel sent - She gives him notice of it before hand: partly, out of the height of her spirit, as scorning to kill him secretly: partly, out of her impatience, till she had breathed out her rage: and principally, from God's all - disposing providence, that so he might have an opportunity of escaping. Do to me, &c. - So far was she from being changed by that evident miracle, that she persists in her former idolatry, and adds to it a monstrous confidence, that in spight of God she would destroy his prophet.
3 Left his servant - Because he would not expose him to those perils and hardships which he expected: and because he desired solitude, that he might more freely converse with God.
4 Into the wilderness - The vast wilderness of Arabia. He durst not stay in Judah, tho' good Jehosaphat reigned there, because he was allied to Ahab, and was a man of an easy temper, whom Ahab might circumvent, and either by force or art seize upon Elijah. It is enough - I have lived long enough for thy service, and am not like to do thee any more service; neither my words nor works are like to do any good upon these unstable and incorrigible people. I am not better - That I should continue in life, when other prophets who have gone before me, have lost their lives.
7 Angel of the Lord, &c. - He needed not to complain of the unkindness of men, when it was thus made up by the ministration of angels. Wherever God's children are, they are still under their father's eye.
8 And went - He wandered hither and thither for forty days, 'till at last he came to Horeb, which in the direct road was not above three or four days journey. Thither the spirit of the Lord led him, probably beyond his own intention, that he might have communion with God, in the same place that Moses had.
9 Unto a cave - Perhaps the same wherein Moses was hid when the Lord passed before him, and proclaimed his name.
10 I have been, &c. - I have executed my office with zeal for God's honour, and with the hazard of my own life, and am fled hither, not being able to endure to see the dishonour done to thy name by their obstinate idolatry and wickedness. I only - Of all thy prophets, who boldly and publickly plead thy cause: for the rest of thy prophets who are not slain, hide themselves, and dare not appear to do thee any service. They seek my life - I despair of doing them any good: for instead of receiving my testimony, they hunt for my life. It does by no means appear, that he was at all to blame, for fleeing from Jezebel. If they persecute you in one city flee into another. Besides, the angels feeding and preparing him for his journey, and the peculiar blessing of God upon that food, indicated the divine approbation.
11 And behold - This is a general description of the thing, after which the manner of it is particularly explained. Strong wind - Whereby he both prepares Elijah to receive this discovery of God with greatest humility, reverence, and godly fear; and signifies his irresistible power, to break the hardest hearts of the Israelites, and to bear down all opposition that was or should be made against him in the discharge of his office. The Lord was not - The Lord did not vouchsafe his special and gracious presence to Elijah in that wind, which possibly was to teach him not to wonder if God did not accompany his terrible administration at mount Carmel with the presence of his grace, to turn the hearts of the Israelites to himself.
12 A still voice - To intimate, that God would do his work in and for Israel in his own time, not by might or power, but by his own spirit, Zech 4:6, which moves with a powerful, but yet with a sweet and gentle gale.
13 He wrapped, &c. - Through dread of God's presence, being sensibly that he was neither worthy nor able to endure the sight of God with open face. And stood, &c. - Which God commanded him to do; and as he was going towards the mouth of the cave, he was affrighted and stopped in his course, by the dreadful wind, and earthquake, and fire; when these were past, he prosecutes his journey, and goeth on to the mouth of the cave.
16 The son, &c. - That is, his grand - son, for he was the son of Jehosaphat, 2Kings 9:2. This was intended as a prediction that by these God would punish the degenerate Israelites, plead his own cause among them, and avenge the quarrel of his covenant.
17 Shall Elisha slay - One or other of these should infallibly execute God's judgments upon the apostate Israelites. Elisha is said to slay them, either, because he slew those forty two children, 2Kings 2:24, besides others whom upon like occasions he might destroy; or, because he by God's appointment inflicted the famine, 2Kings 8:1, or rather, by the sword which came out of his mouth: the prophets being said to pull down and to destroy what they declare and foretel shall be pulled down. Hazael began to slay them before Jehu was king, though his cruelty was much increased afterward. Jehu destroyed those whom Hazael did not, as king Joram himself, and Ahaziah, and all the near relations of Ahab.
18 I have left - Or, I have reserved to myself; I have kept from the common contagion: therefore thou art mistaken to think that thou art left alone. Seven thousand - Either, definitely so many: or rather, indefinitely, for many thousands; the number of seven being often used for a great number. Kissed him - That is, all those who have not worshipped Baal, nor professed reverence or subjection to him: which idolaters did to their idols, by bowing the knee, and by kissing them.
19 Was plowing - Who had twelve ploughs going, whereof eleven were managed by his servants, and the last by himself; according to the simplicity of those ancient times, in which men of good estate submitted to the meanest employments. Cast his mantle - By that ceremony conferring upon him the office of a prophet, which God was pleased to accompany with the gifts and graces of his spirit.
20 He ran - Being powerfully moved by God's spirit to follow Elijah, and wholly give up himself to his function. Let me kiss - That is, bid them farewell. Go - And take thy leave of them, and then return to me again. For what, &c. - Either first, to hinder thee from performing that office. That employment to which I have called thee, doth not require an alienation of thy heart from thy parents, nor the total neglect of them. Or, secondly, to make such a change in thee, that thou shouldst be willing to forsake thy parents, and lands, and all, that thou mayest follow me. Whence comes this marvellous change? It is not from me, who did only throw my mantle over thee; but from an higher power, even from God's spirit, which both changed thy heart, and consecrated thee to thy prophetical office: which therefore it concerns thee vigorously to execute, and wholly to devote thyself to it.
21 From him - From Elijah to his parents; whom when he had seen and kissed, he returned to Elijah. The instruments - That is, with the wood belonging to the plow, &c. to which more was added, as occasion required. But that he burned, to shew his total relinquishing of his former employment. And gave - That is, he made thereof a feast for his servants who had been ploughing with him, and for him, and his other friends and neighbours who came to take their leave of him. Hereby he shewed how willingly and joyfully he forsook all his friends, that he might serve God in that high and honourable employment. It is of great advantage to young ministers, to spend some time under the direction of those that are aged and experienced; and not to think much, if occasion be, to minister unto them. Those who would be fit to teach, must have time to learn; those should first serve, who may hereafter rule.

Chapter XX

Ben - hadad's invasion of Israel and insolent demand, ver. 1 - 12. Ahab, encouraged by a prophet, overthrows him twice, ver. 13 - 30. Makes a covenant with him, ver. 31 - 34. Is reproved and threatened by a prophet, ver. 35 - 43.

1 Gathered his host - To war against Israel: wherein his design was to enlarge the conquest which his father had made, but God's design was to punish Israel for their apostacy and idolatry.
3 Thy silver, &c. - I challenge them as my own, and expect to have them forthwith delivered, if thou expect peace with me.
4 The king said - I do so far comply with thy demand, that I will own thee for my Lord, and myself for thy vassal, and will hold my wives, and children, and estate, as by thy favour, and with an acknowledgment.
5 Saying, &c. - Although I did before demand not only the dominion of thy treasures, and wives, and children, as thou mayst seem to understand me, but also the actual portion of them; wherewith I would then have been contented.
6 Yet, &c. - Yet now I will not accept of those terms, but together with thy royal treasures, I expect all the treasures of thy servants or subjects; nor will I wait 'till thou deliver them to me, but I will send my servants into the city, and they shall search out and take away all thou art fond of, and this to prevent fraud and delay; and then I will grant thee a peace.
7 Seeketh mischief - Though he pretended peace, upon these terms propounded, it is apparent by those additional demands, that he intends nothing less than our utter ruin. I denied not - I granted his demands in the sense before mentioned.
10 And said, &c. - If I do not assault thy city with so numerous an army, as shall turn all thy city into an heap of dust, and shall be sufficient to carry it all away, though every soldier take but one handful of it.
11 Let not him, &c. - Do not triumph before the victory, for the events of war are uncertain.
13 And behold, &c. - God, though forsaken and neglected by Ahab, prevents him with his gracious promise of help: that Ahab and the idolatrous Israelites, might hereby be fully convinced, or left without excuse, that Ben - hadad's intolerable pride, and contempt of God, and of his people, might be punished: and that the remnant of his prophets and people who were involved in the same calamity with the rest of the Israelites, might be preserved and delivered. I am the Lord - And not Baal, because I will deliver thee, which he cannot do.
14 He said, &c. - Not by old and experienced soldiers, but by those young men; either the sons of the princes, and great men of the land, who were fled thither for safety; or their pages, or servants that used to attend them: who are bred up delicately, and seem unfit for the business. Thou - Partly to encourage the young men to fight courageously, as being the presence of their prince: and partly, that it might appear, that the victory was wholly due to God's gracious providence, and not to the valour or worthiness of the instruments.
15 All Israel - All that were fit to go out to war; all, except those whom their age, or the same infirmity excused.
18 Take them - He bids them not fight, for he thought they needed not to strike one stroke; and that the Israelites could not stand the first brunt.
20 His man - Him who came to seize upon him, as Ben - hadad had commanded. Fled - Being amazed at the unexpected and undaunted courage of the Israelites, and struck with a divine terror.
21 The king went - Proceeded further in his march. Smote the chariots - The men that fought from them.
22 Mark, and see - Consider what is necessary for thee to do by way of preparation. The enemies of the children of God, are restless in their malice and tho' they may take some breathing time for themselves, they are still breathing out slaughter against the church. It therefore concerns us always to expect our spiritual enemies, and to mark and see what we do.
23 Said to him - They suppose that their gods were no better than the Syrian gods and that there were many gods who had each his particular charge and jurisdiction; which was the opinion of all heathen nations; that some were gods of the woods, other of the rivers, and others of the mountains; and they fancied these to be the latter, because the land of Canaan was a mountainous land, and the great temple of their God at Jerusalem, stood upon an hill, and so did Samaria, where they had received their last blow: it is observable, they do not impute their ill success to their negligence, and drunkenness, and bad conduct, nor to the valour of the Israelites; but to a divine power, which was indeed visible in it. In the plain - Wherein there was not only superstition, but policy; because the Syrians excelled the Israelites in horses, which are most serviceable in plain ground.
24 Take the kings away - Who being of softer education, and less experienced in military matters, were less fit for service; and being many of them but mercenaries, and therefore less concerned in his good success, would be more cautions in venturing themselves. Captains - That is, experienced soldiers of his own subjects, who would faithfully obey the commands of the general (to which the kings would not so readily yield) and use their utmost skill and valour for their own interest and advancement.
27 And went - Being encouraged by the remembrance of their former success, and an expectation of assistance from God again. And pitched - Probably upon some hilly ground, where they might secure themselves, and watch for advantage against their enemies; which may be the reason why the Syrians durst not assault them before the seventh day, ver.29. Little flocks - Few, and weak, being also for conveniency of fighting, and that they might seem to be more than they were, divided into two bodies.
30 The wall - Or, the walls (the singular number, for the plural) of the city; in which they were now fortifying themselves. This might possibly happen thro' natural causes; but most probably, was effected by the mighty power of God, sending some earthquake, or violent storm which threw down the walls upon them; or doing this by the ministry of angels. And if ever miracle was to be wrought, now seems to have been the proper season for it; when the blasphemous Syrians denied the sovereign power of God, and thereby in some sort obliged him, to give a proof of it; and to shew, that he was the God of the plains, as well as of the mountains; and that he could as effectually destroy them in their strongest holds, as in the open fields; and make the very walls, to whose strength they trusted for their defence, to be the instruments of their ruin. But it may be farther observed, that it is not said, that all these were killed by the fall of this wall; but only that the wall fell upon them, killing some, and wounding others.
31 He will save thy life - This encouragement have all poor sinners, to repent and humble themselves before God. The God of Israel is a merciful God; let us rend our hearts and return to him.
32 My brother - I do not only pardon him, but honour and love him as my brother. What a change is here! From the height of prosperity, to the depth of distress. See the uncertainty of human affairs! Such turns are they subject to, that the spoke of the wheel which is uppermost now, may soon be the lowest of all.
33 Thy brother - Understand, Liveth: for that he enquired after, ver.32.
34 Streets - Or, Markets, &c. places where thou mayest either receive the tribute which I promise to pay thee, or exercise judicature upon my subjects in case of their refusal. So he made, &c. - He takes no notice of his blasphemy against God; nor of the injuries which his people had suffered from him.
35 In the word - ln the name, and by the command of God, whereof doubtless he had informed him. Smite me - So as to wound me, ver.37. He speaks what God commanded him, though it was to his own hurt; by which obedience to God, he secretly reproacheth Ahab's disobedience in a far easier matter. And this the prophet by God's appointment desires, that looking like a wounded soldier, he might have the more free access to the king. Refused - Not out of contempt of God's command, but probably, in tenderness to his brother.
36 Slew him - We cannot judge of the case; this man might be guilty of many other heinous sins unknown to us but known to God; for which, God might justly cut him off: which God chose to do upon this occasion, that by the severity of this punishment of a prophet's disobedience, proceeding from pity to his brother, he might teach Ahab the greatness of his sin, in sparing him through foolish pity, whom by the laws of religion, and justice, and prudence, he should have cut of.
38 With ashes - Or, with a cloath, or band; (as the Hebrew doctors understand the word) whereby he bound up his wound, which probably was in his face; for it was to be made in a conspicuous place, that it might be visible to Ahab and others.
39 He said - This relation is a parable; an usual way of instruction in the eastern parts, and most fit for this occasion wherein an obscure prophet was to speak to a great king; impatient of a down - right reproof, and exceeding partial in his own cause. A man - My commander as the manner of expression sheweth.
40 Thy judgment - Thy sentence; thou must perform the condition. Either suffer the one, or do the other.
42 Thy life - What was the great sin of Ahab in this action, for which God so severely punisheth him? The great dishonour hereby done to God, in suffering so horrid a blasphemer, to go unpunished, which was contrary to an express law, Lev 24:16. And God had delivered him into Ahab's hand, for his blasphemy, as he promised to do, ver.28, by which act of his providence, compared with that law, it was most evident, that this man was appointed by God to destruction, but Ahab was so far from punishing this blasphemer, that he doth not so much as rebuke him, but dismisseth him upon easy terms, and takes not the least care for the reparation of God's honour, and the people were punished for their own sins, which were many, and great; though God took this occasion to inflict it.

Chapter XXI

Ahab covets Naboth's vineyard, ver. 1 - 4. Jezebel procures Naboth to be stoned, ver. 5 - 14. Ahab goes to take possession, ver. 15, 16 Elijah meets him, and denounces the judgment of God, ver. 17 - 24. Upon his humiliation a reprieve is granted, ver. 25 - 29.

3 The Lord forbid - For God had expressly, and for divers weighty reasons forbidden the alienation of lands from the tribes and families to which they were allotted. And although these might have been alienated 'till the jubilee, yet he durst not sell it to the king for that time; because he supposed, if once it came into the king's hand, neither he, nor his posterity, could ever recover it; and so he should both offend God, and wrong his posterity.
7 Dost thou govern - Art thou fit to be king, that hast not courage to use thy power.
9 A fast - To remove all suspicion of evil design in Ahab, and to beget a good opinion of him amongst his people, as if he were grown zealous for God's honour, and careful of his people's welfare, and therefore desirous to enquire into all those sins which provoked God against them. On high - On a scaffold, or high - place, where malefactors were usually placed, that they might be seen, and heard by all the people.
10 Blaspheme God and the king - Indeed his blaspheming God would only be the forfeiture of his life, not his estate. Therefore he is charged with treason also, that his estate may be confiscated, and so Ahab have his vineyard.
13 Stoned him - And it seems his sons too, either with him or after him. For God afterward says, (2Kings 9:26) I have seen the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons. Let us commit the keeping of our lives and comforts to God; for innocence itself will not always be our security.
19 Saying - Thou hast murdered an innocent man; and instead of repenting for it, hast added another piece of injustice and violence to it, and art going confidently and chearfully to reap the fruit of thy wickedness. Thy blood - The threatening was so directed at first; but afterwards, upon his humiliation, the punishment was transferred from him to his son, as is expressed, ver.29, yet upon Ahab's returning to sin, in the next chapter, he brings back the curse upon himself, and so it is no wonder if it be in some sort fulfilled in him also.
20 Hast thou found - Dost thou pursue me from place to place? Wilt thou never let me rest? Art thou come after me hither with thy unwelcome messages? Thou art always disturbing, threatening, and opposing me. I have - The hand of God hath found and overtaken thee. Sold thyself - Thou hast wholly resigned up thyself to be the bondslave of the devil, as a man that sells himself to another is totally in his master's power. To work evil, &c. - Impudently and contemptuously. Those who give themselves up to sin will certainly be found out, sooner or later, to their unspeakable amazement.
23 By the wall - Or, in the portion, as it is explained 2Kings 9:36.
24 Him that dieth, &c. - Punishments after death are here most insisted on. And these, tho' lighting on the body only, yet undoubtedly were designed as figures of the soul's misery in an after state.
25 Was none - None among all the kings of Israel which had been before him. Whom Jezebel - This is added to shew, that temptations to sin are no excuse to the sinner.
27 Softly - Slowly and silently, after the manner of mourners, or those who are under a great consternation.
29 Humbleth himself - His humiliation was real, though not lasting, and accordingly pleasing to God. This discovers the great goodness of God, and his readiness to shew mercy. It teaches us to take notice of that which is good, even in the worst of men. It gives a reason why wicked persons often prosper: God rewards what little good is in them. And it encourages true penitents. If even Ahab goes to his house reprieved, doubtless they shall go to their houses justified.

Chapter XXII

Ahab invites Jehoshaphat to join in recovering Ramoth - gilead, ver. 1 - 4. His false prophets promise him success, ver. 5, 6. He sends for Micaiah, ver. 7 - 10. Farther promises, ver. 11, 12. Micaiah's uprightness and prediction, ver. 13 - 23. He is abused and imprisoned, ver. 24 - 28. An account of the battle, wherein Ahab is slain, ver. 29 - 40. The good reign of Jehoshaphat, ver. 41 - 50. The wicked reign of Ahaziah, ver. 51 - 53.

2 Came down, &c. - It is strange, that so good a man would be so closely connected with a king revolted from the worship of God! But he appears to have been of too easy a temper, which betrayed him to many inconveniencies.
3 Is ours - Belongeth to us by right. both by God's donation, and by our last agreement with Ben - hadad, chap.20:34, which yet he refuseth to deliver up.
5 Enquire - A good man, wherever he goes, will take God along with him, will acknowledge him in all his ways, and look to him for success. And wherever he goes, he ought to take his religion along with him: and not be ashamed to own it, even among those who have no kindness for it.
6 The prophets - Doubtless his own false prophets, or the priests of the groves; who yet gave in their answer in the name of Jehovah; either, in compliance with Jehoshaphat, or by Ahab's direction, that Jehoshaphat might be deceived by them, into a good opinion of the war.
8 One man - In this place, for whom I can speedily send: for there were also other prophets elsewhere in the kingdom, but these were not at hand. Micaiah - Not one of the twelve prophets, who lived about a hundred and fifty years after this time, but another of that name. Let not, &c. - Let us neither hate his person, nor despise his message; but first hear it, and then do as we see cause.
9 Micaiah - It seems, he had imprisoned him; for ver.26, he bids the officer carry him back, namely to the place where he was before. Probably this was he that had reproved him, for letting Ben - hadad go: And for that, had lain in prison three years. But this did not make him less confident, or less faithful in delivering his message.
14 Said - What answer God shall put in to my mouth. Bravely resolved! And as became one who had an eye to a greater king than either of these.
15 Go - Using the very words of the false prophets, in way of derision. Micaiah's meaning is plainly this, because thou dost not seek to know the truth, but only to please thyself, go to the battle, as all thy prophets advise thee, and try the truth of their prediction by thy own experience.
17 I saw - In the spirit, or in a vision. The hills - Upon the mountains of Gilead, nigh Ramoth, where they lay encamped by Ahab's order. As sheep - As people who have lost their king. Return - Discharged from the war: which was fulfilled, ver.26.
18 Evil - Nay, but what evil was it, to tell him, what would be the event, if he proceeded in his expedition, while it was in his own power, whether he would proceed, or no? The greatest kindness we can do to one that is walking in a dangerous way, is to tell him of his danger.
19 He said - I will give thee a distinct and true account of the whole matter, in God's name and presence. I saw - By the eyes of my mind: for he could not see the Lord with bodily eyes. The Host - The angels, both good and bad, the one possibly on his right, the other on his left hand. Nor is it strange that the devils are called the host of heaven; if you consider, first, that their original seat was in heaven. Secondly, that the name of heaven is often given to all that part of the world which is above the earth, and among the rest, to the air, and where the devil's residence and dominion lies, Eph 2:2, and that both Michael and his angels, and the Dragon and his angels, are said to be, and to wage war in heaven, Rev 12:7, either the air, or the church.
20 Who shall - This is not to be grossly understood, as if God were at a loss to find out an expedient to accomplish his own will; but only to bring down divine things to our shallow capacities, and to express the various means which God hath to execute his own designs.
21 A spirit - An evil spirit came, and presented himself before the throne.
22 He said - I will inspire a lie into the minds and mouths of his prophets. Thou shalt - I will give them up into thy hands, and leave them to their own ignorance and wickedness. Go - This is not a command, but only a permission.
24 Zedekiah - The chief of the false prophets, who was much in the king's favour. Which way - In what manner went it? Forasmuch as I and my brethren have consulted the Lord, and have the same spirit which thou pretendest to have.
25 Hide thyself - Probably he went with Ahab to the battle, after which he was glad to shelter himself where he could.
27 Bread, &c. - With a very course and sparing diet, whereby he may be only supported to endure his torment.
31 Save only - This he ordered, truly supposing this to be the best way to put an end to the war: and by the providence of God, which disposeth the hearts of kings as he pleaseth; and inclined them to this course, that they might, though ignorantly, accomplish his counsel. Perhaps Ben - hadad only designed to have taken him prisoner, that he might now give him as honourable a treatment, as he had formerly received from him.
34 The joints - Where the several parts of his armour were joined together. The only place about him where this arrow of death could find entrance. No armour is proof against the darts of divine vengeance. Case the criminal in steel, and it is all one: he that made him, can make his sword approach him. And that which to us seems altogether casual, comes by the determinate counsel of God.
37 Died - Finding too late the truth of Micaiah's words; and Zedekiah's horns of iron, pushing not the Syrians, but himself, into destruction.
39 Ivory house - Not that it was made of solid ivory, but because the other materials were covered, or inlaid with ivory.
41 Of Ahab - Who reigned twenty two years; therefore he reigned about eighteen years with Ahab.
43 High places - He took them away, but not fully; or not in the beginning of of his reign.
44 Made peace - With Ahab first, and then with his son. This is noted as a blemish in his government, 2Chron 19:2, and proved of most mischievous consequence to his posterity.
47 A deputy - Sent, and set over them by the kings of Judah, from the time of David, until the days of Jehoram, 2Chron 21:8.
49 Would not - He did join with Ahaziah before this time, and before the ships were broken: for the breaking of the ships mentioned here, is noted to be the effect of his sin, in joining with Ahaziah, 2Chron 20:37. And Jehoshaphat being warned and chastised by God for this sin, would not be persuaded to repeat it.
51 Ahaziah, &c. - Ahaziah was made king by his father, and reigned in conjunction with him a year or two before Ahab's death, and as long after it; even as Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat was made king by his father in his life - time, which possibly was done in compliance with Ahab's desire upon marriage of his daughter to Jehoshaphat's son; and it may be Ahab, to induce him to do so, give him an example of it, and made his son his partner in the kingdom.
52 In the way - Which seems added, to shew, how little the example of parents, or ancestors, is to be valued where it is opposed to the will and word of God.
53 His father, &c. - Most unhappy parents, that thus help to damn their own children's souls!

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