Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ness, and cities of store in Hamath, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars; for all which purposes he raised a levy of 30,000 men, besides 170,000 bearers of burdens, and hewers in the mountains. *

Jehovah had promised Solomon great wisdomt for government, and one instance, in particular, is recorded of his extraordinary discrimination: two women laid claim to the same child, and each persisting that it was her own offspring, the judicious monarch, by ordering the child to be cut asunder alive, and divided between them, ascertained, from the force of maternal feeling, the rightful claimant. And all Israel beard of the judgment which the king had judged, and they feared the king; for they saw that

Solomon, I would recommend the curious account which Wood (Ruins
of Palmyra) has given of that state. Let them consider that it was a
small territory in the midst of a desert, and yet extended its conquests
over many rich countries and considerable states; that the great king-
doms of the Seleucidæ and of the Ptolomies became part of the do-
minions of a single city, whose name we in vain look for in history ;
and this, though it flourished in modern times, in comparison of the
age of David ; none of the dates found there (Palmyra) being earlier
than Christ, and in times concerning which we have large accounts.
That Palmyra and Balbec, which are perhaps the two most surprising
remaios of ancient magnificence now left, should be so neglected in
history, as in a great measure to be left to tell their own story, ap-
pears a very remarkable fact, replete with more sorts of instruction
than one. For, besides the moral lessons which Wood refers to, it
removes at once all the imaginary difficulties derived from the sup-
posed silence of profane history, concerning the kings and affairs of
Jerusalem, a city which stood in the neighbourhood of Palmyra and
Balbec, both of which are passed over in as great or greater sileuce ;
to which is to be added the consideration, that Jerusalem was much
more ancient than either of them." Vol. iji. 367.
• 1 Kings, v. 13-15. Kings, ix. 15—19. 2 Chron. viii. 2–6.

ii. 18
+ 1 Kings, iii. 12. 2 Chron. i. 12.

the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment.* And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men: than Ethan, the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol : and his fame was in all nations round about. And he spake three thousand proverbs : and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth up out of the wall; he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.t

At that early period, too, it may be considered no small indication of superior intelligence, that Solomon turned his attention to commercial pursuits; for he built a navy of ships in Eziongaber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom; and his servants traded to Ophir, with the servants of Hiram, king of Tyre, for gold, almug trees, and precious stones. In one year he received 666 talents of gold, besides that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffic of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country.l. He had, also at sea a navy of Tarshish, s with the navy of Hiram, which, once in three years, brought him gold and silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.**

* I Kings, iii. 16-28. + 1 Kings, iv. 29—34. * 1 Kings, ix. 26—28. Chron. viii. 17, 18. § 1 Kings, x. II.

l 1 Kings, x. 14, 15. 2 Chron. ix. 13, 14. As to these places, see Bruce's Travels, vol. ii. 354. A. CLARKE,

apud finem, 1 Kings, x.
** i Kings, x, 22. 2 Chron. ix. 21.

In addition to wisdom, God had promised to Solomon, as a reward for his pious and judicious request, both riches and honour, and that promise he abundantly performed; for we are told that he reigned over all kingdoms, from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life. And Solomon's provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of nieal, ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallow deer, and fatted fowl. For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him. And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.* He had also 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen. And he had twelve officers over all Israel, who provided victual for him and his household: each man his month in a year made provision. Barley also and straw, for the horses and dromedaries, brought they unto the place where the officers were, every man according to his charge. And Solomon made 200 targets of beaten gold: 600 shekels of gold went to one target. And he made 300 shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield : and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. Moreover,

* 1 Kings, iv. 21-25. 2 Chron. ix. 26. 28.
+ 1 Kings, iv. 21--28. 2 Chron. i. 15. 2 Chron. ix. 25.

Some suppose that by the bouse of the forest of Lebanon, mentioned in 1 Kings, vii. 2. and x. 17-21, as built by Solomon, is intended Heliopolis, the city of the sun, or Baalbec, whose magni. ficent ruins, so long the admiration of travellers, are said to have been lately wholly swallowed up by an earthquake. Rae Wilson's Travels, vol. ii. 144-151.

the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. The throne had six steps, and the top of the house was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom. And all his drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold ; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.* So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for richest and for wisdom. And he gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had 1,400 chariots, and 12,000 horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem. And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are in the vale, for abundance. And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price. And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for 600 shekels of silver, and an horse for 150: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means. I

So Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth, for riches, and for wisdom; and all the earth sought to Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.

* 1 Kings, x. 10—21. 2 Chron. ix. 15–20. + Hisannual income bas been estimated at more than £142,240,000. A. Clarke. In whose commentary at the end of 2 Chron. ix. see a curious account of this monarch's ivory throne, &c.

1 Kings, X. 26—29. 2 Cbron. i. 14.
§ 1 Kings, X. 23. 25. 2 Chron. ix. 23, 24.

Amongst other distinguished characters who were attracted by the fame of the Israelitish monarch, was the queen of Sheba, who came from the uttermost parts of the earth, * to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and brought with her a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and the holocausts, or burnt offeringst which he offered in the house of Jehovah, there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land, of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit, I believed not the words until I came, and mine

eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be Jehovah, thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel : because Jehovah loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice. And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones : there came no more such abundance of spices as those which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which he gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants. * Matt. xii. 42. 1 Kings, x. l. 2 Chron. ix. I.

+ A. Clarke, and Luther.
* 1 Kings, s. 1-13. 2 Chron. ix. 1-12.

« ZurückWeiter »