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In Solomon's time peace was established in a way not seen in David's day, for there was continual turmoil while David reigned. Now Solomon was undisputed king over all Israel, and the unity of peace prevailed, for this is typical of the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus. However, Solomon's reign was not itself millennial, so that he had only eleven princes (vs.2-6), rather than twelve, which is the number of governmental completeness.
Azariah is the first official mentioned. He is said to be the son of Zadok the priest (v.2), which likely means he was the grandson, that is, probably the direct son of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok (1 Chronicles 6:9). It is good to see the priest mentioned first, then the scribes and the recorder before the officers of the army, but again the two priests, Zadok and Abiathar (v.4), showing that the relationship of the kingdom to the Lord was paramount. Yet the armed forces were necessary, as is true in Christianity if we are to "fight the good fight of faith," and the household is not to be neglected either, as is true in "the house of God" today (Ephesians 2:19). Though last mentioned, the labor force is very necessary in its place. It does not have the prominent place, as priesthood does, but we should be content to labor for the Lord without having undue attention directed toward ourselves, for the Lord will reward all labor for Himself in a coming day.
Solomon did have 12 governors over Israel, each in a different area. It is not said that these were benefactors of the people, but rather that each one in turn provided food for Solomon and his household, one each month of the year (v.7). This pictures the response of Israel toward the Lord Jesus in a coming day, when they give full allegiance to Him. We may be sure these governors also attended to the needs of the people, just as those who give the Lord the first place will not fail in showing kindness to others.
The names of the 12 governors are told us in verses 8-19 and the areas over which they ruled. There is surely profitable instruction and blessing in such scripture for those who seek and receive discernment from God to search it out.
SOLOMON'S PROSPERITY AND WISDOM
If verses 1-19 show the wise administrative order of Solomon's kingdom, these following verses dwell on the bountiful prosperity that characterized his reign, and the wisdom attending this. Judah and Israel had not been divided yet as they were in the reign of Solomon's son Rehoboam, and the unity of the people was beautifully displayed. Numerous as they were, yet they were rejoicing together (v.20). While this pictures the great prosperity, unity and blessing of Israel in the Millennium, yet it is only a brief and fleeting picture, for such things cannot last until the true King of Israel, the Lord Jesus, reigns.
Verse 21 indicates that Solomon reigned over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the border of Egypt. This foreshadows the blessing of Israel in the Millennium, but it does not mean that all in that area were Solomon's people. There were still kingdoms that were distinct from Israel, but they had been subdued so as to render tribute to Solomon so long as he lived. Even the Philistines were still a distinct people, just as today the Palestinians maintain their independent character though living in Israelitish territory.
Solomon's provision for one day is recorded as about 150 bushels of fine flour, 300 bushels of meal, ten fatted oxen, 100 sheep, as well as deer, gazelles, roebucks and fatted fowl. This is a reminder that in the Millennium Israel will be abundantly blessed by the provision the Lord Jesus makes for His redeemed people. Good government does not only keep order, but provides for the welfare of the people. This beneficent reign of Solomon worked for "peace on every side" (v.24).
Also Judah and Israel dwelt safely in their land, "each man under his vine and his fig tree" (v.25). This quiet contentment will be emphasized in the millennial age. There will be no robbing, no fighting to amass fortunes and to gain ascendancy over others, but rather the calm faith of dependence on the well-proven goodness of God, for all in Israel will be born again.
As well as provision for his kingdom, Solomon was concerned for its protection, having 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots and 12,000 horsemen (v.26). This pictures the protection of Israel by the government of the Lord Jesus in the Millennium, but it is only a picture, for Israel will not need chariots and horses for their protection then. Rather, they will say, "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God" (Psalms 20:7). In fact, it is not told us here, but Solomon disobeyed God by importing horses from Egypt (1 Kings 10:29), which God had warned against in Deuteronomy 17:16. God well knew what the special temptations of a king would be, and in this scripture made them very clear. In fact, whatever king reigned, he was to have copy of the law (the Pentateuch) written for him, to acquaint himself with it.
Solomon's twelve governors (one from each tribe) brought provisions also for Solomon, one in each month of the year, thus leaving no lack of supply. The administration was well organized (v.27), reflecting the orderly administration of the millennial kingdom. This included barley and straw for the horses (v.28).
Solomon's wisdom was a gift directly from God, excelling all the wisdom of men of the east and of Egypt, for there were men of outstanding wisdom in these places (v.30). Four men are mentioned whose wisdom must have been great, but all inferior to Solomon. Ethan the Ezrahite wrote Psalms 89:1-52, and Heman the Ezrahite wrote Psalms 88:1-18. There is great wisdom in both of these Psalms, Psalms 88:1-18 portraying the agonizing grief of one who feels the shame and sorrow of Israel's guilt before God and cries out for mercy. Psalms 89:1-52 however shows rather the wonder of the grace of God in lifting up and blessing Israel beyond their fondest dreams after years of wandering and guilt.
As to the other two men, Chalcol and Darda, we find no record of anything they did or wrote, though they were evidently well known in the time of Solomon, whose wisdom excelied all of these. The Book of Proverbs, inspired by God, is a wonderful witness to his wisdom, though he wrote many more than these, 3000 altogether (v.32). He also wrote 1005 songs, only one of which is recorded in scripture, - "The Song of Songs."
Solomon's wisdom was not confined along certain lines, for he spoke of trees, from the greatest to the lowest, of animals, birds, creeping things and fish (v.33). The fame of his wisdom spread throughout the world, so that from all nations people came with the one object of hearing the wisdom of Solomon (v.34). How much greater will be the attraction awakened in the nations when the Lord Jesus, the King of kings, takes His great power and reigns in His millennial kingdom! Jerusalem will be the center to which the nations will come to worship Him and learn the wonders of His unexcelled wisdom (Zechariah 14:16).
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 1 Kings 4". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20