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1 Kings Chapter Ten


1 Kings 10 Outlines

The Queen of Sheba’s Praise of Solomon (v.1~13)

Solomon’s Great Wealth (v.14~29)

New King James Version (NKJV)



This chapter contains an account of the queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon to her great satisfaction, 1 Kings 10:1, of Solomon's merchandise and riches, and the magnificence of his court, 1 Kings 10:14, of the rich presents sent to him, and of the purchase of chariots and horses, and other things, he made, 1 Kings 10:24.


1 Kings 10:1   Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions.

   YLT  1And the queen of Sheba is hearing of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of Jehovah, and cometh to try him with enigmas,

And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon,.... JosephusF21Antiqu. l. 8. c. 6. sect. 2, 5. calls her a queen of Egypt and Ethiopia; but Sheba was in the southern part of Arabia Felix; her name with the Ethiopians is MaquedaF23Ludolf. Ethiop. Hist. l. 2. c. 3. , and with the Arabic geographerF24Clim 1. par. 6. Belequis. SomeF25Vid. Coryli Disser. de Reg. Austral. c. l. sect. 1, 2. think that Sheba, or Saba, is not the name of a country, but of the queen herself; and that she is the same with Sabbe the sibyl mentioned by PausaniasF26Phocica, sive, l. 10. p. 631. ; but no doubt Sheba or Saba, the metropolis of Arabia Felix, as PhilostorgiusF1Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 4. calls it, is here meant; which Benjamin of Tudela saysF2Itinerar. p. 82. is called the country of Al Yeman, or the south; and the name of Queen Teiman, given to this queen by an Arabic writerF3Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. Dyn. 3. p. 54. , seems to be the same as the queen of the south; see Gill on Matthew 12:42. The fame of Solomon's greatness and goodness, of his wealth and riches, and especially of his wisdom, had reached her ears; perhaps by means of the ambassadors of princes that had been at Solomon's court, and attended her's. According to an Ethiopic writerF4Tellezius apud Ludolf. Ethiop. Hist. l. 2. c. 3. it was by Tamerinus, a merchant of her's, she came to hear of him: particularly she heard of his fame

concerning the name of the Lord; his knowledge of the true God, the favour he was in with him, the excellent wisdom he had received from him, and what he had done for his honour and glory:

she came to prove him with hard questions; in things natural, civil, and divine; to try whether he had such a share of knowledge and wisdom it was said he had, she posed him with enigmas, riddles, dark and intricate sayings, to unravel and tell the meaning of. She might be an emblem of the Gentiles, seeking unto Christ, having heard of him, Isaiah 11:10. In Matthew 12:42 she is said to come from the "uttermost parts of the earth"; wherefore some fetch her from Sumatra in the East Indies, where in an old map no other name is put but ShebaF5Dampier's Voyages, vol. 2. p. 139. .


1 Kings 10:2    2 She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart.

   YLT  2and she cometh to Jerusalem, with a very great company, camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stone, and she cometh unto Solomon, and speaketh unto him all that hath been with her heart.

And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train,.... With many of her courtiers and principal men, as well as with a large retinue of servants:

with camels that bare spices; her country abounded both with camels and spices; See Gill on Isaiah 60:6; see Gill on Jeremiah 6:20, and as PlinyF6Nat. Hist. l. 12. c. 14. observes, who says their spices used to be carried on camels, particularly frankincense, for which Sheba was famous, and is therefore called by him "regio thurifera", the frankincense countryF7Ibid. "----Molles sua thura Sabaei", Virg. Georg l. 1. v. 57. & l. 2. v. 117. Thurilegos Arabes, Ovid. Fast. l. 4. Vid. Plant. Trinum. Act. 4. Sc. 2. v. 89. , being to be had nowhere else; and StraboF8Geograph. l. 16. p. 535. speaks of "cinamon, cassia", and other spices here in such plenty, that the inhabitants burnt the wood of them for fuel; and Diodorus SiculusF9Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 132. represents this country as exceeding odoriferous, and as having besides the above spices, balsam, myrrh, calamus, costus, and others, in such abundance that they heated their ovens with them:

and very much gold; see 1 Kings 10:10, the gold of Sheba is spoken of in Psalm 72:15 and PlinyF11Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 28. observes, that the Sabeans are exceeding rich, as in other things, so in gold; and Diodorus SiculusF12Ut supra, (Bibliothec. l. 2.) p. 133. l. 3. p. 181. and StraboF13Ut supra. (Geograph. l. 16. p. 535.) speak of gold found here in large lumps, very pure, and of a fine colour:

and precious stones; as crystals, emeralds, beryls, and chrysolites, mentioned by DiodorusF14Ut supra, (Bibliothec. l. 2.) p. 134. & l. 3. p. 181. as in those parts; and a late traveller saysF15Ovington's Voyage to Surat, p. 421. , that Arabia Felix abounds with balsam, myrrh, cassia, manna, dates, gold, frankincense, and pearl:

and when she was come to Solomon; unto his palace, and admitted into his presence:

she communed with him of all that was in her heart; which she had in her mind to discourse with him about, and which she had laid up in her memory for that purpose; and some things which she had kept to herself, and had never imparted to any before, as some think; all which she had full liberty from Solomon to propound unto him.


1 Kings 10:3   3 So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her.

   YLT  3And Solomon declareth to her all her matters -- there hath not been a thing hid from the king that he hath not declared to her.

And Solomon told her all her questions,.... Answered them, told her the meaning of everything she inquired about, expounded her riddles, solved her objections, and gave her satisfaction in all things she proposed unto him:

there was not anything hid from the king, which he told her not; there was not anything, though ever so abstruse and difficult, but what he understood, and gave her a clear and plain solution of.


1 Kings 10:4   4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built,

   YLT  4And the queen of Sheba seeth all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he built,

And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom,.... Which she perceived by his answers to things relative to all sorts of science, natural, civil, and divine:

and the house that he had built; the singular for the plural, "house for houses"; the house of the Lord, his own house, that for Pharaoh's daughter, and the house of the forest of Lebanon; in all which there appeared not only surprising grandeur and magnificence, but exquisite art and skill; there was a great display of his wisdom in the form and contrivance of them. JosephusF16Antiqu. l. 8. c. 6. sect. 5. says, what exceedingly surprised her, and raised her admiration, was the house of the forest of Lebanon.


1 Kings 10:5   5 the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her.

   YLT  5and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the standing of his ministers, and their clothing, and his butlers, and his burnt-offering that he causeth to ascend in the house of Jehovah, and there hath not been in her any more spirit.

And the meat of his table,.... The various sorts of it, the different dishes, and the multitude of them; see 1 Kings 4:22.

and the sitting of his servants; at table, either with him, or at tables by themselves, yet in his presence; for these were his nobles and courtiers, who were placed in order, according to their rank and degree, which showed wisdom:

and the attendance of his ministers; or the "standing"F17מעמך "statum", Tigurine version, Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius; "stationem", Piscator. of those that waited, both at the king's table, and the tables of the lords, who each had their proper place and business assigned; so that the utmost decorum was observed, and no confusion or disorder to be seen:

and their apparel: their several liveries, which were distinct according to the posts and offices in which they were, and which no doubt were rich and splendid, as well as various:

and his cup bearers; to serve him and his nobles with wine when called for; though the word signifies liquorsF18משקיו "et potum ejus", Tig. vers. so Abarbinel , and may design the various sorts of wines, and other drinkables, used by him, of which there was great plenty:

and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; the steps which he had made to go up from his palace to the temple; which were so curiously devised, and so artificially wrought, that it gave the queen, among other things, a sensible proof of his great wisdom, as well as of his religion and piety. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, and some others, render the words, "and the burnt offerings which he offered in the house of the Lord"; and so JosephusF19Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 8. c. 6. sect. 5.) understood them; she was shown the service of the house of the Lord, as much as could be admitted, and perhaps was told the meaning of it; all which she saw, both in his own house, and in the house of God, and greatly surprised her:

so that there was no more spirit in her; she was quite astonished; like one in an ecstasy, she had no power for a time to speak, what she saw and heard so affected her.


1 Kings 10:6   6 Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom.

   YLT  6And she saith unto the king, `True hath been the word that I heard in my land, concerning thy matters and thy wisdom;

And she said to the king,.... When she was a little come to herself:

it was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom; which she was ready to call in question when she first heard it; at least she thought it was greatly exaggerated, but now she found it was strictly true.


1 Kings 10:7   7 However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard.

   YLT  7and I gave no credence to the words till that I have come, and my eyes see, and lo, it was not declared to me -- the half; thou hast added wisdom and goodness unto the report that I heard.

Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it,.... That is, she did not believe the whole of what was related to her; somewhat of it she credited, and supposed there was something grand and extraordinary in it, or she would never have taken such a journey; but she did not believe that all could be true; she thought things were too much magnified:

and, behold, the half was not told me; of what she now saw and heard:

thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard; the inward endowments of his mind, and the outward magnificence of his court, exceeded the relation of them to her; they were beyond expression, they were so great that reporters could not hyperbolize upon them, nor even come up to them in their account of them, and in which yet men are apt to exceed.


1 Kings 10:8   8 Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom!

   YLT  8O the happiness of thy men, O the happiness of thy servants -- these -- who are standing before thee continually, who are hearing thy wisdom!

Happy are thy men,.... The men of Israel, that had a king over them so wise, so great, so good:

happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom; who were now present, and to whom she pointed, and may respect not his nobles and courtiers only, but his menial servants, who had an opportunity of often hearing the wise sayings which dropped from his lips; and which no doubt were means of greatly improving their knowledge and understanding in things natural and divine.


1 Kings 10:9   9 Blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.”

   YLT  9Jehovah thy God is blessed who delighted in thee, to put thee on the throne of Israel; in Jehovah's loving Israel to the age He doth set thee for king, to do judgment and righteousness.

Blessed be the Lord thy God,.... Of whom she might have better notions than when she came out of her own country:

which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel; loved him with a love of complacency and delight, was Jedidiah, as he called him, beloved of the Lord, and therefore he chose him and preferred him to be king before his elder brother:

because the Lord loved Israel for ever; to establish them as a kingdom for ever as they were, so long as obedient to him; see 2 Chronicles 9:8,

therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice; not merely for the sake of honour and glory, much less to indulge to pleasure and luxury, and still less to oppression and tyranny; but to administer justice and judgment to the people, which is the principal end of government; see Psalm 72:1.


1 Kings 10:10   10 Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great quantity, and precious stones. There never again came such abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

   YLT  10And she giveth to the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and spices very many, and precious stone; there came not like that spice any more for abundance that the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.

And she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold,.... The same sum that Hiram sent him; see Gill on 1 Kings 9:14 this fulfilled the prophecy, so far as it respected Solomon, Psalm 72:15.

and of spices very great store, and precious stones; see 1 Kings 10:2 there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon; that is, into Judea. Josephus reportsF20Ut supra, (Antiqu. l. 8. c. 6.) sect. 6. , that some say that the balsamic plant, which Judea was afterwards so famous for, was brought by this queen, and a gift of hers to Solomon; and Diodorus SiculusF21Bibliotec. l. 2. p. 132. speaks of it as in Arabia, and not to be found in any other part of the world.


1 Kings 10:11   11 Also, the ships of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought great quantities of almug[a] wood and precious stones from Ophir.

   YLT  11And also, the navy of Hiram that bore gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir almug-trees very many, and precious stone;

And the navy also of Hiram that brought gold from Ophir,.... This perhaps was before Solomon was concerned with Hiram in navigation and merchandise; though in 2 Chronicles 9:10 both their servants are said to bring it; and it is here inserted perhaps to show that Solomon had not his gold, at least all of it, from the queen of Sheba; but much from Hiram, who fetched it from Ophir; and as this was in India, as observed on 1 Kings 9:28, many writers make mention of gold in that part of the world, as Diodorus SiculusF23Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 121. , StraboF24Geograph l. 15. p. 481. , DionysiusF25Perieg. v. 1144. , CurtiusF26Hist. l. 8. sect. 9. , PlinyF1Nat. Hist. 1. 6. c. 19, 20. , and others: and this navy also

brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees: or algum trees, by transposition of letters, 2 Chronicles 9:10, which some of the Jewish writersF2Daved de Pomis, Lexic. fol. 70. 3. take to be coral, which is not likely; others Brasil, rather ebony, which was peculiar to India, as both SolinusF3Polyhistor. c. 64. and VirgilF4"Sola India nigrum fert ebenum." Georgie. l. 2. ver. 116, 117. say; StraboF5Geograph. l. 15. p. 477. makes mention of strange trees in India:

and precious stones; of which there is great variety and plenty in that country, as related by DionysiusF6Perieget, ver. 1119, &c. , as diamonds, beryls, jaspers, topazes, and amethysts, and by CurtiusF7Hist. l. 8. c. 9. , SolinusF8Polyhistor. c. 65. , and others.


1 Kings 10:12   12 And the king made steps of the almug wood for the house of the Lord and for the king’s house, also harps and stringed instruments for singers. There never again came such almug wood, nor has the like been seen to this day.

   YLT  12and the king maketh the almug-trees a support for the house of Jehovah, and for the house of the king, and harps and psalteries for singers; there have not come such almug-trees, nor have there been seen [such] unto this day.

And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the Lord, and for the king's house,.... Or terraces, as in 2 Chronicles 9:11, causeways; and means the ascent or causeway he made from his own house to the temple; the pavement of which, as Jarchi interprets the word here, was made of the wood of these trees; or the supports of it, or rather the rails on each side, on which men might stay themselves as they passed along, as Ben Gersom; and since this ascent was admired by the queen of Sheba, it is particularly observed what wood it was made of, and from whence it came:

harps also, and psalteries for singers; these musical instruments were made of the same wood; JosephusF9Antiqu. l. 8. c. 3. sect. 8. says of amber, and that their number was 400,000:

there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day; not in the land of Israel, neither before nor since, see 2 Chronicles 9:11.


1 Kings 10:13   13 Now King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired, whatever she asked, besides what Solomon had given her according to the royal generosity. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.

   YLT  13And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire that she asked, apart from that which he gave to her as a memorial of king Solomon, and she turneth and goeth to her land, she and her servants.

And King Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire,

whatsoever she asked,.... Some curious things she saw, and was desirous of, she asked for, and had them:

besides that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty; of his own good will and pleasure, without asking:

so she turned and went to her own country: the country of Sheba in Arabia Felix:

she and her sergeants: the train or retinue she brought with her, which was large, 1 Kings 10:2.


1 Kings 10:14   14 The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,

   YLT  14And the weight of the gold that hath come to Solomon in one year is six hundred sixty and six talents of gold,

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty and six talents of gold. From Ophir and Tarshish, and wherever he traded; which was of our money, according to BerewoodF11De Ponder. & Pret. c. 5. , 2,997,000 pounds; or as another learned manF12Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 3. p. 580. , who makes it equal to 5,138,520 ducats of gold.


1 Kings 10:15   15 besides that from the traveling merchants, from the income of traders, from all the kings of Arabia, and from the governors of the country.

   YLT  15apart from [that of] the tourists, and of the traffic of the merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the land.

Besides that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffic of the spice merchants,.... What they paid him as a duty or custom for the importation of their goods:

and of all the kings of Arabia; who were subject to him, and paid him a yearly tribute, or at least made presents, see 1 Kings 4:21.

and of the governors of the country; who were viceroys or deputy governors of countries conquered by his father, and who collected tribute from the people, and paid it to him.


1 Kings 10:16   16 And King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of gold went into each shield.

   YLT  16And king Solomon maketh two hundred targets of alloyed gold -- six hundred of gold go up on the one target;

And King Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold,.... Which were a larger sort of shields, which covered the whole body; and these were made of gold beaten with the hammer, or drawn into plates, being melted like wax; so the Poeni or Carthaginians made shields of goldF13Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 35. 3. :

six hundred shekels of gold went to one target; which is to be understood not of the weight, but of the price or value of them, which amounted to four hundred and fifty pounds of our money; so BrerewoodF14Ut supra. (De Ponder. & Pret. c. 5.) .


1 Kings 10:17   17 He also made three hundred shields of hammered gold; three minas of gold went into each shield. The king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon.

   YLT  17and three hundred shields of alloyed gold -- three pounds of gold go up on the one shield; and the king putteth them [in] the house of the forest of Lebanon.

And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold,.... Which were a lesser sort:

three pounds of gold went to one shield; or three hundred shekels, as in 2 Chronicles 9:16 a hundred shekels made one pound; so that these were but half the value of the former, and one of them was worth but two hundred and twenty five pounds: EupolemusF15Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 34. , an Heathen writer, makes mention of those golden shields Solomon made, and which were made for show, and not for war, as follows:

and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon; one part of which was made an armoury of, see Song of Solomon 4:4.


1 Kings 10:18   18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold.

   YLT  18And the king maketh a great throne of ivory, and overlayeth it with refined gold;

Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory,.... To sit on and judge his people; and ivory being white, may denote the purity, justice, and equity with which he judged; the white throne in Revelation 20:11 may be an allusion to this; the ivory he had from Tarshish, 1 Kings 10:22.

and overlaid it with the best gold; for the greater splendour and majesty of it; not that he covered it all over, for then the ivory would not be seen, but interlined it, or studded it with it, whereby it appeared the more beautiful and magnificent. Such a throne of gold and ivory was decreed to Caesar by the RomansF16Appian. Alex. l. 2. .


1 Kings 10:19   19 The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round at the back; there were armrests on either side of the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the armrests.

  YLT  19six steps hath the throne, and a round top [is] to the throne behind it, and hands [are] on this [side] and on that, unto the place of the sitting, and two lions are standing near the hands,

The throne had six steps,.... Up to the footstool of the throne, which was of gold, 2 Chronicles 9:18 and was high, that everyone in court might see him, and the better hear the sentence he gave:

and the top of the throne was round behind; had a semicircle at the top of it, like an alcove:

and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat; or "hands"F17ידת "manus", V. L. Montanus, &c. αγκωνες "brachiola", Sept. in 2 Chron. ix. 18. , such as the arms of a chair, to lean and rest upon:

and two lions stood beside the stays; which were not only ornamental, and for support of the stays, but expressive of majesty, and of undaunted courage and resolution to do justice, and of the danger such expose themselves to, who oppose magistrates in the discharge of their office; and in which Solomon was a type of Christ, the lion of the tribe of Judah; and for the same reasons were the like portraits on the steps, as follows.


1 Kings 10:20   20 Twelve lions stood there, one on each side of the six steps; nothing like this had been made for any other kingdom.

   YLT  20and twelve lions are standing there on the six steps, on this [side] and on that; it hath not been made so for any kingdom.

And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps,.... There was a lion on each side of every step, a symbol of royal power, as before observed; so the Egyptians placed lions under the throne of OrusF18Hori Apoll. Hieroglyph, l. 1. c. 17. :

there was not the like made in any kingdom; for the matter and form of it, for its grandeur and magnificence; there was none at least at that time, whatever has been since; for this is the first throne of ivory we read of.


1 Kings 10:21   21 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Not one was silver, for this was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon.

   YLT  21And all the drinking vessels of king Solomon [are] of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon [are] of refined gold -- there are none of silver; it was not reckoned in the days of Solomon for anything,

And all King Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold,.... Such quantities of it were brought to him from Ophir, and paid to him in tribute, and given him as presents:

and all the vessels of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; not only what were used in his palace at Jerusalem, but in his country house at some little distance:

none were of silver; it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon; to make plate of; or silver plate was but little esteemed, and scarce any use of it made in Solomon's palace, if at all: though doubtless it was elsewhere, and especially silver as money.


1 Kings 10:22   22 For the king had merchant ships[b] at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the merchant ships came bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys.[c]

   YLT  22for a navy of Tarshish hath the king at sea with a navy of Hiram; once in three years cometh the navy of Tarshish, bearing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish, with the navy of Hiram,.... Tharshish was not the place the navy went from, but whither it went to, as appears from 2 Chronicles 9:21 and designs not Tarsus in Cilicia; nor Tartessus in Spain, or Gades, or which was however near it; though it appears from StraboF19Corinthiaca, sive, l. 2. p. 136. and MelaF20Ut supra. (Navigat. l. 5. c. 20.) that the Phoenicians were acquainted with those parts, and were possessed of them; and particularly, according to Velleius PaterculusF21Aelian de Animal. l. 13. c. 18. , the navy of Tyre traded thither before the days of Solomen; and VitringaF23Ut supra. (Hist. l. 8. c. 9.) is clear in it, that these were ships that traded to Tartessus, with the ships of Tyre; and it is more likely that that place is meant than Carthage, now called Tunis, in Africa; though the Targum here calls it the navy, the navy of Africa; but as Tharshish is sometimes used for the sea in general, here it may signify a particular sea, so called: and which JosephusF24Polyhistor. c. 65. names the Tarsic sea, the same with the Indian sea; and points to the same country where Ophir was, which was washed by it, and to which the two fleets joined were bound. This is observed, to account for it how Solomon came by so much gold:

once in three years came the navy of Tharshish; it returned in such a space of time; navigation not being improved as now, and sailing by coasts, and what with their stay abroad to sell and purchase goods, and to refit their ships, as well as sometimes contrary winds, they were so long in performing this voyage, which is now done in a few months:

bringing gold and silver; so that silver was accounted of, and used for some purposes, though not for the king's plate:

ivory, and apes, and peacocks; ivory is the elephant's tooth, as the word signifies; some of those are of an almost incredible size; some are said to be of ninety, others one hundred and twenty five pounds weight; VartomannusF25Erasm. Schmid. de America Orat. ad. Calc. Pindari, p. 261. Vatablus in loc. & in c. 9. 28. Hornius de Gent. Americ. l. 2. c. 6, 7, 8. says, he saw in Sumatra, where some place Ophir, one that weighed three hundred and thirty pounds; though, according to the EthiopiansF26De Navigat. Solomon. c. 7. sect. 6. the ivory is from the horns; and so sayF1Aelian. ut supra, (de Animal. l. 16. c. 2.) & l. 5. c. 21. Curtii Hist. l. 9. c. 1. Pausanias and others, see Ezekiel 27:15 but it is commonly supposed to be of the two teeth in the upper jaw that stands out; and whether they are called horns or teeth, they are the same of which ivory is: of elephants there were large numbers in India, bigger and stronger than those in Africa; which latter were afraid of the former, as Diodorus SiculusF2Navigat. l. 6. c. 7. , CurtiusF3Ovington's Voyage to Surat, p. 268, 269. , and PlinyF4lbid. p. 398. relate; so VirgilF5De Animal. l. 11. c. 33. & l. 13, 18. & l. 16. c. 2. speaks of ivory as fetched from India and HoraceF6"---Non aurum et ebur Indicum". Carmin. l. 1. Ode 31. ινδογενους ελεφαντος Manetho. Apotelesm. ver. 297. & l. 4. ver. 149. Philo. de Praemiis, p. 924. also, which must be East India, for there are no ivory nor apes in the West IndiesF7Manasseh Spes Israelis, sect. 2. p. 21. Ortel. Thesaur. Geograh. Varrerius de Ophyra. : "apes" or "monkeys" were then, as now, brought from those parts. StraboF8Geograph. l. 15. p. 480. reports, that when the Macedonians under Alexander were there, such a vast number of them came out of the woods, and placed themselves on the open hills, that they took them for an army of men set in battle array to fight them. VartomannusF9Navigat. l. 5. c. 20. speaks of monkeys in the country of Calecut, of a very small price: near Surat apes are in great esteem, nor will they suffer them to be killed on any accountF11Ovington's Voyage to Sarat, p. 360, 361, 596. . There are various sorts of apes, some more like to goats, others to dogs, others to lions, and some to other animals, as PhilostorgiusF12Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 11. relates; and who also says the sphinx is one sort of them, and which he describes on his own sight of it as resembling mankind in many things, and as a very subtle animal; and so SolinusF13Polyhist. c. 40. reckons such among apes; but what come nearest in name and sound to the "kuphim" of Solomon here are those PlinyF14Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 19. calls "cephi", whose fore feet he says are like the hands of men, and their hinder feet like the feet and thighs of men; and StraboF15Ut supra, (Geograph.) l. 17. p. 559. describes a creature found in Ethiopia, called by him "ceipus" or "cepus", which has a face like a satyr, and the rest of it is between a dog and a bear. There is a creature called "cebus" by AristotleF16Hist. Animal. l. 2. c. 8, 9. , and is described as having a tail, and all the rest like a man; according to LudolfF17Ethiop. Hist. l. 1. c. 10. , "cephus" is the "orangoutang" of the Indians. The word for peacocks should rather be rendered "parrots", so Junius; which are well known to come from IndiaF18Aelian. de Animal. l. 16. c. 2. "Psittacus eois ales mihi missus ab India". Ovid. Amor. l. 2. Eleg. 6. , and from thence only, according to PausaniasF19Corinthiaca, sive, l. 2. p. 136. ; VartomannusF20Ut supra. (Navigat. l. 5. c. 20.) says, that at Calecut there are parrots of sundry colours, as green and purple, and others of mixed colours, and such a multitude of them, that men are appointed to keep them from the rice in the fields, as we keep crows from corn; and that they are of a small price, one is sold for two pence, or half a souse; and the number of them may be accounted for, because the Brachmans, the priests, reckon them sacred, and therefore the Indians eat them notF21Aelian de Animal. l. 13. c. 18. . CurtiusF23Ut supra. (Hist. l. 8. c. 9.) designs these, when he says, in India are birds, which are taught to imitate man's voice; and SolinusF24Polyhistor. c. 65. says, that India only produces the green parrot, that is, the East Indies, the West Indies not being then discovered; though someF25Erasm. Schmid. de America Orat. ad. Calc. Pindari, p. 261. Vatablus in loc. & in c. 9. 28. Hornius de Gent. Americ. l. 2. c. 6, 7, 8. think they were, and that it was thither Solomon's navy went: certain it is there are parrots of various colours in the West Indies, which P. Martyr of Angleria frequently makes mention of in his Decades. HuetiusF26De Navigat. Solomon. c. 7. sect. 6. derives the Hebrew word here used from תכה, which he says signifies to "join" or "adhere" to anything, as these birds will; cling to, and hang by their bills and nails on a branch of a tree, &c. so that they are not easily separated from it; the word is used in Deuteronomy 33:3 and, according to some, in this sense. But, after all, if it should be insisted on, as it is by many, that "peacocks" are meant, these also are found in India. Alexander the great first saw them in this country, which so amazed him, that he threatened to punish those severely that should kill any of themF1Aelian. ut supra, (de Animal. l. 16. c. 2.) & l. 5. c. 21. Curtii Hist. l. 9. c. 1. . VartomannusF2Navigat. l. 6. c. 7. makes mention of them as in great numbers in some parts of India; and they are caught and sold at an easy rate at SuratF3Ovington's Voyage to Surat, p. 268, 269. , and make part both of their game, and of their grand entertainmentsF4lbid. p. 398. ; AeianusF5De Animal. l. 11. c. 33. & l. 13, 18. & l. 16. c. 2. often speaks of them as in India in great numbers, and in great esteem.


1 Kings 10:23   23 So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.

   YLT  23And king Solomon is greater than any of the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom,

So King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom. In which he was an eminent type of Christ; see Ephesians 3:8.


1 Kings 10:24   24 Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.

   YLT  24and all the earth is seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom that God hath put into his heart,

And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. For it was all of God, a peculiar gift of his; by "all the earth" is meant the inhabitants of it, and only them, and those the more principal; who came from the several parts of it, hearing the fame of his wisdom, to know the truth of it, and to improve themselves by it.


1 Kings 10:25   25 Each man brought his present: articles of silver and gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules, at a set rate year by year.

   YLT  25and they are bringing each his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses, and mules, the matter of a year in a year.

And they brought every man his present,.... To recommend them, and introduce them into his presence:

vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, and horses, and mules, a rate year by year; everyone brought according to the commodities of his country; and they did yearly, out of great respect to him, and in veneration of him for his wisdom, and for the advantages they received by his wise counsels and instructions; besides, it was the custom of the eastern countries not to pay a visit, especially to great personages, without carrying a present.


1 Kings 10:26   26 And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; he had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he stationed[d] in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem.

   YLT  26And Solomon gathereth chariots, and horsemen, and he hath a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, and he placeth them in the cities of the chariot, and with the king in Jerusalem.

And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen,.... Both for war; for though it was a time of peace, he provided against the worst, lest an enemy should come upon him suddenly, and when unprepared:

and he had one thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; of the latter See Gill on 1 Kings 4:26.

whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem; some of the horsemen were quartered in the cities where the chariots were placed, and some of them in Jerusalem, to be near the king's person, and to be a guard to him on occasion. JosephusF6Antiqu l. 8. c. 2. sect. 4. says, half of them were in Jerusalem about the king, and the rest were dispersed through the king's villages.


1 Kings 10:27    27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar trees as abundant as the sycamores which are in the lowland.

   YLT  27And the king maketh the silver in Jerusalem as stones, and the cedars he hath made as the sycamores that [are] in the low country, for abundance.

And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones,.... By the vast quantity he received from Tarshish; this is an hyperbolical expression:

and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are the vale for abundance; not by the growth of them, but by the importation of them from the dominion of Hiram; this is said in the same figurative way; of the sycamore trees, Rauwolff saysF7Travels, par. 1. c. 4. p. 37. , they are what the Moors and Arabians calls "mumeitz"; which he describes to be as large and as high as white mulberry trees, and having almost the same leaves, but rounder, and their fruit not unlike our figs, only sweeter, and no little seeds within, and not so good; and are therefore not esteemed, and are commonly sold to the poorer sort, and that they grow in all fields and grounds; of which See Gill on Amos 7:14.


1 Kings 10:28   28 Also Solomon had horses imported from Egypt and Keveh; the king’s merchants bought them in Keveh at the current price.

   YLT  28And the outgoing of the horses that king Solomon hath [is] from Egypt, and from Keveh; merchants of the king take from Keveh at a price;

And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt,.... To mount his horsemen with, and draw his chariots; which seems contrary to the command in Deuteronomy 17:16.

and linen yarn; the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price; or rather linen itself; or linen garments, as Ben Gersom; linen being the staple commodity of Egypt, see Isaiah 19:9, but no mention is made of yarn in 2 Chronicles 9:28, and the word rendered "linen yarn" signifies a confluence or collection of waters and other things; and the words may be rendered, "as for the collection, the king's merchants received the collection at a price"; that is, the collection of horses, a large number of them got together for sale; these they took at a price set upon themF8Vid. Braunium de Vest. Sacerdot. Heb. l. 1. c. 8. sect. 9, 10, 11. , which is as follows.


1 Kings 10:29   29 Now a chariot that was imported from Egypt cost six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse one hundred and fifty; and thus, through their agents,[e] they exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria.

   YLT  29and a chariot cometh up and cometh out of Egypt for six hundred silverlings, and a horse for fifty and a hundred, and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Aram; by their hand they bring out.

And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver,.... Which, reckoning at two shillings and six pence a shekel, amounted to seventy five pounds; but a shekel was not worth more than two shillings and four pence farthing:

and an horse for one hundred and fifty; and this being the fourth part of the above sum, the Jews gather from hence that there were four horses in a chariot; the horses must be reckoned one with another, the whole collection of them, or otherwise no doubt but one horse was better than another; and it was a pretty large price to give for a horse in those times; which, taking a shekel at the lowest rate, must be upwards of ten pounds; and which is too great a sum still for a custom or tribute to be paid for them, whether to Pharaoh or Solomon, as some understand it:

and so for all the kings of the Hittites; perhaps the same with the kings of Arabia, 1 Kings 10:15 and for the kings of Syria; those of Damascus, Zobah, &c.

did they bring them out by their means; that is, by the means of Solomon's merchants, who bought them out of Egypt, and sold them to these kings.


──John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible


New King James Version (NKJV)


  1. 1 Kings 10:11 Or algum (compare 2 Chronicles 9:10, 11)
  2. 1 Kings 10:22 Literally ships of Tarshish, deep-sea vessels
  3. 1 Kings 10:22 Or peacocks
  4. 1 Kings 10:26 Following Septuagint, Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate (compare 2 Chronicles 9:25); Masoretic Text reads led.
  5. 1 Kings 10:29 Literally by their hands