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1 Kings Chapter Nine                            


1 Kings 9

Chapter Contents

God's answer to Solomon. (1-9) The presents of Solomon and Hiram. (10-14) Solomon's buildings, His trade. (15-28)

Commentary on 1 Kings 9:1-9

(Read 1 Kings 9:1-9)

God warned Solomon, now he had newly built and dedicated the temple, that he and his people might not be high-minded, but fear. After all the services we can perform, we stand upon the same terms with the Lord as before. Nothing can purchase for us liberty to sin, nor would the true believer desire such a licence. He would rather be chastened of the Lord, than be allowed to go on with ease and prosperity in sin.

Commentary on 1 Kings 9:10-14

(Read 1 Kings 9:10-14)

Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities. Hiram did not like them. If Solomon would gratify him, let it be in his own element, by becoming his partner in trade, as he did. See how the providence of God suits this earth to the various tempers of men, and the dispositions of men to the earth, and all for the good of mankind in general.

Commentary on 1 Kings 9:15-28

(Read 1 Kings 9:15-28)

Here is a further account of Solomon's greatness. He began at the right end, for he built God's house first, and finished that before he began his own; then God blessed him, and he prospered in all his other buildings. Let piety begin, and profit follow; leave pleasure to the last. Whatever pains we take for the glory of God, and to profit others, we are likely to have the advantage. Canaan, the holy land, the glory of all lands, had no gold in it; which shows that the best produce is that which is for the present support of life, our own and others; such things did Canaan produce. Solomon got much by his merchandise, and yet has directed us to a better trade, within reach of the poorest. Wisdom is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold, Proverbs 3:14.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 1 Kings


1 Kings 9

Verse 3

[3] And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

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.

Verse 5

[5] Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.

Then — Upon that condition; for my promise to David was conditional.

Verse 8

[8] And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house?

High — Glorious and renowned.

Astonished — At its unexpected and wonderful ruin.

Hiss — By way of contempt and derision.

Verse 11

[11] (Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.

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, Genesis 15:18; Joshua 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.

Verse 13

[13] And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day.

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.

Verse 14

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

Sent — And this seems to be here added, both to declare the quantity of the gold sent, which had been only named before, verse 11, and as the reason why he resented Solomon's action, because so great a sum required a better recompense.

Verse 15

[15] And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.

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.

Verse 21

[21] Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day.

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, Deuteronomy 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 Joshua 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.

Verse 25

[25] And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the LORD, and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the LORD. So he finished the house.

Three times — That is, at the three solemn feasts: and undoubtedly at all other appointed times.

Verse 26

[26] And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.

Made — Not now, but in the beginning of his reign.

Verse 27

[27] And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.

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.

Verse 28

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

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.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on 1 Kings


09 Chapter 9


Verses 2-9

1 Kings 9:2-9

The Lord said unto him, I have heard thy prayer.

Essential points in prayer

It was an exceedingly encouraging thing to Solomon that the Lord should appear to him before the beginning of his great work of building the temple. See in the third chapter of this First Book of the Kings, at the fifth verse, “In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.” I cannot forget when the Lord appeared unto me in Gibeon at the first. Truly there are things about the lives of Christian men that would not have been possible if God had not appeared to them at the beginning. If he had not strengthened and tutored them, and given them wisdom beyond what they possess in themselves; if he had not inspirited them. It is a priceless blessing to begin with God, and not to lay a stone of the temple of our life-work till the Lord has appeared unto us. I do not know, however, but that it is an equal, perhaps a superior, blessing for the Lord to appear to us after a certain work is done; even as in this case: “The Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as He had appeared unto him at Gibeon.” We want renewed appearances, fresh manifestations, new visitations from on high; and I commend to those of you who are getting on in life, that while you thank God for the past, and look back with joy to His visits to you in your early days, you now seek and ask for a second visitation of the Most High. All days in a palace are not days of banqueting, and all days with God are not so clear and glorious as certain special Sabbaths of the soul in which the Lord unveils His glory. Happy are we if we have once beheld His face; but happier still if He again comes to us in fulness of favour. I think that we should be seeking those second appearances: we should be crying to God most pleadingly that He would speak to us a second time.

I. Our proper place in prayer. The Lord said, “I have heard thy prayer, and thy supplication, that thou hast made before Me.” There is the place to pray--“before Me”: that is to say, before the Lord. But we should take care that the place is hallowed by our prayer being deliberately and reverently presented before God.

1. This place is not always found. The Pharisee went up to the temple to pray, and yet, evidently, he did not pray “before God”; so that even in the most holy courts he did not find the place desired.

2. This blessed place “before God” can be found in public prayer. Solomon’s prayer before God was offered in the midst of a great multitude.

3. But prayer before God can just as well be offered in private.

4. The prayer is to be directed to God.

5. We should endeavour in prayer to realise the presence of God.

II. Our great desideratum in prayer. It is that which God said that He had given to Solomon. “I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication.”

1. The first thing the soul desires in prayer is audience with God. If the Lord do not hear us, we have gained nothing. And what an honour it is to have audience with God!

2. But we Want more than that: we want that He should accept. It were a painful thing to be permitted to speak to a great friend, and then for him to stand austere and stern, and say, “I have heard what you have to say. Go your way.” We ask not this of God.

3. Still, there is a third thing which we want, which God gave to Solomon, and that was an answer.

III. Our assurance of answer to prayer. Can we have an assurance that God has heard and answered prayer? Solomon had it. The Lord said unto him, “I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before Me.” Does the Lord ever say that to us? I think so. Let us consider how He does so.

1. I think that He says it to us very often in our usual faith.

2. But sometimes you require strong confidence. You have to solicit some extraordinary blessing. You get to a place like that to which Jacob came, when common prayer was not sufficient.

3. Sometimes this comes in the form of a comfortable persuasion.

4. The Lord also gives to His people a manifest preparation for the blessing. He prepares them to receive it. Their expectation is raised, so that they begin to look out for the blessing, and make room for it; and when it is so, you may be sure that it is coming.

5. Actual observation also breeds in us a solid confidence that our suit is succeeding. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Prayer penetrates

Which are the sounds that penetrate furthest? We on terra firma are scarcely in a position to judge. However, a number of scientists have been making a series of experiments to test the relative penetrating quality of sounds, The Government lent them a military balloon, which ascended from the artillery camp at Woolwich, and passed over London. A sharp ear was kept for the sounds of the vast city that penetrated upward. Trains were heard in practically continuous rumble, punctuated by their shrill whistles. Sirens from the river and various factories rose sharp and clear. Most noticeable were the barkings of high-voiced dogs, which could be distinctly heard even at a mile high. The highly-instructive fact was noted, however, that, though the city was crossed just at neon, when from the streets the striking of clocks and bells is always such a noticeable feature, yet the most careful listener aloft could detect no such sounds. These observations go to prove how inferior are the carrying powers of bells as heard from aloft, and to emphasise the fact that noises of an unmusical, discordant nature have much better chance of making themselves heard at a distance than have more harmonious sounds. But the reverse is the case in the spiritual sphere. It is the discords of earth that have no carrying power, and that last but for a day. It is the sweet and harmonious utterance, the secret prayer, the quiet deed, that reaches unto the heavens. (Signal.)

Verse 4

1 Kings 9:4

If thou writ walk before Me, as David thy father walked.

Imperativeness of law

General Grant, while president, caused the injury of a woman by his fast driving. He invited a police officer to enter his buggy, and drove with him to the police station, where he paid a fine of twenty dollars for “fast and reckless driving.” President M’Kinley once had to reprove his driver for crossing a chalk-line which marked the limit of space allowed to carriages. He leaned his head out of the window, apologised to the policeman in charge, and ordered his driver to obey the rule at once. Obedience comes hard when we think that for some reason we ought to be exceptions to the rules that govern others. (J. B. Morgan.)

The power of a sainted parent

After the news of his father’s death, Thomas Carlyle set himself to describe with pride his peasant parent. A living picture he gives: the large head, grey ever since he could remember; the strong face, full of earnestness; the clear eyes, through which honesty streamed--his dear, good father! Only a common farmer, though. Digging and ditching were part of his work. He drove the plough through the furrow. But, writes Thomas, “his son also is part of his work. An inspiring example I owe him. The pale face stiffened into death will certainly impel me. I seem to myself the second volume of my father.” The dead spirit of the Ecclefechan farmer lived in the brilliant writer of books. The instructions of his father soaked into his very flesh and bone. He, being dead, yet shaped his life. O blessed office of parenthood! (F. Y. Leggatt.)

The law of obedience

To that law of truth that firmly fixes foundations for cathedrals, Ruskin adds the law of obedience. In springing his wall the architect must plumb the stones of obedience to the law of gravity. In springing his arch he must brace it, obeying the laws of resistance. In lifting his tower he must relate it to the temple, obeying the law of proportion and symmetry; and he who disobeys one fundamental law will find great nature puking his towers down over his head. For no architect builds as he pleases, but only as nature pleases, through laws of gravity, and stone and steel. In the kingdom of the soul also obedience is strength and life, and disobedience is weakness and death. In the last analysis liberty is a phantom, a dream, a mere figment of the brain. Society’s greatest peril of to-day is the demagogues who teach, and the ignorant classes who believe that there is such a thing as liberty. The planets have no liberty; they follow their sun. The seas know no liberty; they follow the moon in tidal waves. When the river refuses to keep within its banks, it becomes a curse and a destruction. It is the stream that is restrained by its banks that turns mill wheels for men. The clouds, too, have their beauty in that they are led forth in ranks and columns generaled by the night winds. And in proportion as things pass from littleness towards largeness they go toward obedience to law. (N. D. Hillis, D. D.)

Verses 6-9

1 Kings 9:6-9

But if ye shall at all turn from following Me.

A note of warning

A druggist in Ansonia, Conn., has an electric bell in a cabinet containing poisons. When the door is opened the bell rings, reminding the compounder he is handling poisons. What a grand thing it would be were it possible to sound an alarm every time a man puts forth his hand to touch that which will kill the soul. True, God in His great love has provided such an alarm, but, alas, men are prone to disregard its notes of alarm, and by and by it tolls forth its notes only to fall upon closed ears, and finally the bell, like that spoken of in the legend, is cut loose by the hand of a ruthless pirate, and its warning notes no longer are heard.

Verse 25

──The Biblical Illustrator