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C. F. KEIL. 










Contents and Character, Origin and Sources, of the Books op 

THE Kings, ....... 1 


I. History of Solomon's Eeign (Chaps, i.-xi.), . . . 15 

Anointing and Accession of Solomon (Chap, i.), . . 16 

David's Last Instructions and Death. Solomon ascends the 

Throne and fortifies his Government (Chap, ii.), . . 26 

Solomon's Marriage ; Worship and Sacrifice at Gibeon ; and 

Wise Judicial Sentence (Chap, iii.), ... 37 

Solomon's Ministers of State. His Regal Splendour and Wis- 
dom (Chap, iv.-v. 14), ..... 43 
Preparations for Building the Temple (Chap. v. 15-32), . 57 
Building of the Temple (Chap, vi.), .... 65 
Solomon's Palace and the Furniture of the Temple (Chap. 

VÜ.), ....... 88 

Dedication of the Temple (Chap, viii.), . . . 117 

The Answer to Solomon's Prayer. The Means employed for 

the Erection of his Buildings (Chap, ix.), . . . 138 

The Queen of Saba. Solomon's Wealth and Splendour 

(Chap. X.), 158 

Solomon's Polygamy and Idolatry. His Opponents and his 

Death (Chap, xi.), ....... 166 



II. History of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah to the De- 
struction OF THE FORMER (Chap. xii.-2 Kings xvii.), . 183 

1. From the Division of the Kingdom to the Ascent of the Throne by 

Ahab in the 38<ä year of Asa King of Judah, . . 190 

Secession of the Ten Tribes from the House of David, and 

Founding of the Kingdom of Israel (Chap, xii.), . . 191 

Testimony of God against the Calf -worship of Jeroboam 

(Chap, xiii.), 201 

Reign and Death of Jeroboam and Rehoboam (Chap, xiv.), . 209 
Reigns of the Two Kings Abijam and Asa of Judah (Chap, 

XV. 1-24), 217 

Reigns of the Kings of Israel, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, 

and Omri (Chap. xv. 25-xvi. 28), . . . . 222 

2. From AhaVs Ascent of the Throne to the Death ofJoram of Israel 

and Ahaziah of Judah, ..... 227 

The Reign of Aliab of Israel (Chap. xvi. 29-34), . . 228 

First Appearance of Elijah (Chap, xvii.), . . . 233 

Elijah's Meeting with Ahab, and Victory over the Prophets of 

Baal (Chap, xvüi.), ...... 240 

Elijah's Flight into the Desert, the Revelation of God at 

Horeb, and Elisha's Call to be a Prophet (Chap, xix.), . 252 

Ahab's Double Victory over Benhadad of Syria (Chap, xx.), . 2C1 

The Murder and Robbery of Naboth (Chap, xxi.), . . 2G9 

War of Ahab and Jehoshaphat against the Syrians, and Death 

of Ahab. Reigns ^f Jehoshaphat of Judah and Ahaziah of 

Israel (Chap, xxii.), ...... 273 


Ahaziah's lUness. His Death announced by Elijah (Chap, i.), 284 

Elijah's Ascension to Heaven. Elisha's First Miracles (Chap. iL), 290 
Joram of Israel, and the Expedition against Moab which he 

undertook in company with Jehoshaphat (Chap, iii.), . 300 

Elisha works several Miracles (Chap, iv.), . . . 307 
Curing of the Leprosy of Naaman the Syrian, and Punishment 

of Gchazi (Chap, v.), . . . . .316 



The Floating Iron. The Syrians smitten with Blindness 

(Chap. vi. 1-23), 323 

Elisha's Action during a Famine in Samaria (Chap. vi. 24-vii. 

20), ........ 327 

Elisha helps the Shunammite to her Property through the 
Honour in which he was held ; and predicts to Hazael his 
Possession of the Throne. Reigns of Joram and Ahaziah, 
Kings of Judah (Chap, viii.), .... 833 

Jehu anointed King. His Conspiracy against Joram. Joram, 

Ahaziah, and Jezebel slain (Chap, ix.), . . . 339 

Extermination of the other Sons of Ahab, of the Brethren of 
Ahaziah of Judah, and of the Prophets of Baal (Chap. x. 
1-27), 346 

3. From the Commencement of the Reigns of Jehu in Israel, and 

Athaliah in Judah, to the Destruction of the Kingdom of Israel, 352 

Reign of Jehu of Israel (Chap. x. 28-36), . . .354 

Tyranny and Overthrow of Athaliah, and Coronation of Joash 
(Chap, xi.), ....... 355 

Reign of King Joash of Judah, and Repairing of the Temple 

(Chap, xii.), ....... 365 

Reigns of Jehoahaz and Joash, Kings of Israel. Death of 
Elisha (Chap, xiii.), ...... 373 

Reigns of Amaziah of Judah, and Jeroboam ii. of Israel 

(Chap, xiv.), ...... 379 

Reigns of Azariah of Judah, Zachariah, Shallum, Menahem, 
Pekahiah, and Pekah of Israel, and Jotham of Judah 
(Chap. XV.), ....... 386 

Reign of King Ahaz of Judah (Chap, xvi.), . . . 397 

Reign of Hoshea and Destruction of the Kingdom of Israel. 
The People carried away to Assyria and Media. Transpor- 
tation of Heathen Colonists to Samaria (Chap, xvii.), . 409 

III. History of the Kingdom of Judah from the Destruction of 
THE Kingdom of the Ten Tribes to the Babylonian Cap- 
tivity (Chaps, xviii.-xxv.), ..... 428 
Reign of King Hezekiah. Sennacherib invades Judah and 

threatens Jerusalem (Chap, xvüi.), .... 430 



Jerusalem delivered. Destruction of the Assyrian Army and 

Death of Sennacherib (Chap, xix.), .... 442 
Hezekiah's Illness and Eecovery. Merodach Baladan's Em- 
bassy. Death of Hezekiah (Chap, xx.), . . . 460 
Reigns of Manasseh and Amon (Chap, xxi.), , . . 468 
Reign of King Josiah (Chap, xxii, 1-xxiii. 30), . . 473 
Reigns of the Kings Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Jehoiachin 

(Chap, xxiii. 31-xxiv. 17), ..... 496 
Reign of Zedekiah, Destruction of Jerusalem and the Kingdom 
of Judah, and Fate of the People left behind, and of King 
Jehoiachin (Chap. xxiv. 18-xxv. 30), , . . 509 






HE books of the Kings, which vreve but one book 
originally like the books of Samuel, and which, 
like the latter, were divided into two books by the 
Alexandrian translators (see the Introduction to the 
books of Samuel), contain, in accordance with their name (Q"'3/')D), 
the history of the Israelitish theocracy under the kings, from 
the accession of Solomon to the extinction of the monarchy on 
the overthrow of the kingdom of Judah, when Jerusalem was 
destroyed by the Chaldseans and the people were carried away 
into exile in Babylon. They embrace a period of 455 years, 
from 1015 to 560 b.c., that is to say, to the reign of the 
Babylonian king Evil-merodach. And as every kingdom cul- 
minates in its king, and the government of the kings determines 
the fate of the kingdom, the contents of the books before us, 
which are named after the kings of Israel, consist for the most 
part of a history of those kings ; inasmuch as, whilst on the one 
hand the reigns of the several kings form the historical and 
chronological framework for the description of the historical 
development of the people and kingdom, on the other hand the 
leading phases which the monarchy assumed furnish the basis 
of the three periods, into which the history of this epoch and 
the contents of our books are divided. 

The^?'s^ period (1015-975 B.c.) embraces the forty years of 



Solomon's le'Kin over the undivided kin2;dom of the twelve tribes 
of Israel, wlien the Israelitish kingdom of God stood at the sum- 
mit of its earthly power and glory ; though towards the end of 
this period it began to decline, inasmuch as the rebellion of 
Solomon against the Lord in the closing years of his reign pre- 
pared the way for the rebellion of the ten tribes against the 
house of David. — The second period commences with the divi- 
sion of the one kingdom into the two kingdoms, Israel (or the 
ten tribes) and Judah, and stretches over the whole period 
during which these two kingdoms existed side by side, termi- 
nating with the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes by 
the Assyrians, i.e. from 975 to 722 b.c. — The third period em- 
braces the still remaining years of the continuance of the king- 
dom of Judah, until its eventual dissolution by the Chaldoeans 
and the carrying away of the people into exile in Babylon, viz. 
from 722 to 560 b.c. 

The first part of our books (1 Kings i.-xi.) therefore contains 
a description of the reign of Solomon, (a) in its commencement, 
viz. his ascent of the throne and the consolidation of his power 
(eh. i. and ii.) ; (&) in the gradual development of the strength 
and glory of his government, by his marriage, his sacrifice and 
prayer at Gibeon, his judicial wisdom, and his court (iii. 1-v. 
14), — also by the building of the temple and royal palace and 
the dedication of the temple (v. 1 5-ix. 9), by the erection of his 
other edifices and the introduction of navigation and commerce 
(ix. 10-28), by the spreading abroad of the fame of his wisdom, 
and by the increase of his wealth (ch. x.) ; and (c) in its eventual 
decline in consequence of the sin into which the aged monarch 
fell through his polygamy and idolatry (ch. xi.). The second part 
opens with an account of the falling away of the ten tribes from 
the royal family of David, and relates in a synchronistic narra- 
tive the history of the two kingdoms in the three stages of their 
development : viz. (a) the early enmity between the two, from 
Jeroboam to Omri of Israel (xii. 1-xvi. 28); (h) the establish- 
ment of friendship and intermarriage between the two royal 
houses under Ahab and his sons, do^vm to the destruction of the 
two kings Joram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah by Jehu (xvi. 
2 9-2 Kings x.) ; (c) the renewal of hostilities between the two 
kinadoms, from Jehu's ascent of the throne in Israel and Atha- 
liah's usurpation of the throne in Judah to the overthrow of the 
kingdom of Israel in the sixth year of Hezekiah's reign in Judah 


(xi.-xvü.). And, lastly, the third part contains the history of the 
Idngdom of Judah from Hezekiah to the destruction of Jerusalem 
by the Chaldseans, and carries it down to the thirty-seventh year 
of the imprisonment of king Jehoiachin in exile (ch. xviii.-xxv.). 
Now, although the history of the kings, or the account of 
both the duration and character of their reigns, and also of their 
various enterprises, so far as they promoted or hindered the 
progress of the kingdom of God, forms the principal substance 
of these books, they do not consist of a mere chronicle of the 
deeds and fortunes of the several kings, but describe at the 
same time the ministry of the prophets in the two kingdoms, 
and that to some extent in so elaborate a manner, that whilst 
some have discovered in this a peculiarly " prophetico-didactic 
purpose" (Hävernick, De Wette, etc.), others regard it as ah 
endeavour " to set forth the history of the Israelitish and Jewish 
kings in its relation to the demands, the doings, the procla- 
mations, and the predictions of the prophets, from Solomon to 
the Babylonian exile" (Kern). But however unmistakeable 
the prophetico-didactic character may be, which the books of 
Kings have in common with the whole of the historical writings 
of the Old Testament, a closer investigation of their character 
will show that there is no ground for the assertion that there 
is any prophetico-didactic purpose in the mode in which the 
history is written. For the account of the ministry of the 
prophets is introduced into the history of the kings as the 
spiritual leaven which pervaded the Israelitish monarchy from 
the beginning to the end, and stamped upon its development 
the character of the theocracy or divine rule in Israel. Jehovah, 
as the invisible but yet real King of the covenant nation, had 
created the peculiar instruments of His Spirit in the prophets 
who maintained His law and right before the kings, standing by 
their side to advise and direct, or to warn and punish, and, 
wherever it was necessary, proving their utterances to be words 
of God by signs and wonders which they did before the people. 
Thus the Lord directed the prophet Samuel to anoint Saul and 
David princes over His people, and the prophet Nathan to com- 
municate to David the promise of the everlasting endurance of 
his throne (2 Sam. vii.). But when at a later period David 
sinned (2 Sam. xi. and xxiv.), it was the prophets Nathan and 
Gad who threatened him with punishment from God, and on his 
confession of sin and repentance announced the forgiveness and 


favour of God (2 Sam. xii. 1-15, xxiv. 11-19). Through the 
medium of the prophet Nathan, Solomon was also appointed the 
successor of David upon the throne (2 Sam. xii. 25), and not 
only anointed king, but installed in defiance of the machinations 
of Adonijah (1 Kings i.). But since the monarchy w^s trans- 
mitted from Solomon in a direct line through his descendants 
by virtue of the divine promise in 2 Sam. vii., it is only in con- 
nection with important enterprises, or when the kingdom is 
involved in difficulties, that we find the prophets coming for- 
ward in after times to help or advise those kings who walked 
in the Avays of the Lord ; whereas under the idolatrous and 
godless rulers they offer, in the power of God, such energetic 
resistance to idolatry and to everything evil and ungodly, that 
princes and people are compelled to bow before them and 
succumb to their divine words. In this way the prophets 
accompanied the monarchy in all its course from Solomon to 
the captivity as guardians of the rights of the God-King, and as 
interpreters of His counsel and will. Under Solomon, indeed, 
there was apparently a long period, during which prophecy I'ell 
into the background ; since the Lord Himself not only appeared 
to this king in a dream at Gibeon shortly after he ascended the 
throne, but also appeared to him a second time after the dedi- 
cation of the temple, and promised him the fulfilment of his 
prayers, and the glorification and eternal continuance of his 
kingdom, on condition of his faithful observance of the divine 
commands (1 Kings iii. 5 sqq., ix. 1 sqq.). But towards the 
end of his reign it rose up again in all the more threaten- 
ing attitude, against the king who was then disposed to 
fall away from Jehovah. It was no doubt a prophet who 
announced to him the separation of ten parts of his Idngdom 
(1 Kings xi. 11 sqq.), — possibly the same Ahijah who promised 
Jeroboam the government over ten tribes (xi. 29 sqq.). But 
after the division of the kingdom, when Jeroboam proceeded, in 
order to fortify his throne, to make the political division into a 
religious one, and to this end exalted the image-worship into 
the state religion, the prophets continued to denounce this 
apostasy and proclaim to the sinful kings the destruction of 
their dynasties. And when at a still later period Ahab the 
son of Omri, and his wife Jezebel, endeavoured to make the 
Phoenician worship of Baal and Asherah into the national re- 
ligion in Israel, Elijah the Tishbite, " the prophet as fire, whose 


words burned as a torch " (Ecclus. xlviii. 1), came forward with 
the irresistible power of God and maintained a victorious con- 
flict against the prophets and servants of Baal, warding off the 
utter apostasy of the nation by uniting the prophets into societies, 
in which the worship of God was maintained, and the godly in 
Israel were supplied with a substitute for that legal worship in 
the temple which was enjoyed by the godly in Judah. And in 
the kingdom of Judah also there were never wanting prophets to 
announce the judgments of the Lord to idolatrous kings, and to 
afford a vigorous support to the pious and God-fearing rulers in 
their endeavours to promote the religious life of the nation, and 
to exalt the public worship of God in the temple. But since the 
kingdom of Judah possessed the true sanctuary, with the legal 
worship and an influential body of priests and Levites ; and since, 
moreover, the monarchy of the house of David was firmly estab- 
lished by divine promises resting upon that house, and among the 
kings who sat upon the throne, from Eehoboam onwards, there 
were many godly rulers who were distinguished for their lofty 
virtues as governors ; the labours of the prophets did not assume 
the same prominent importance here as they did in the king- 
dom of the ten tribes, where they had to fight against idolatry 
from the beginning to the end. 

Tliis explains the fact that the ministry of the prophets 
assumes so prominent a position in the books of the Kings, 
whereas the history of the kings appears sometimes to fall into 
the background in comparison. JSTevertheless the historical 
development of the monarchy, or, to express it more correctly, 
of the kingdom of God under the kings, forms the true subject- 
matter of our books. It was not a prophetico-didactic purpose, 
but the prophetico-historical point of view, which prevailed 
throughout the whole work, and determined the reception as 
well as the treatment of the historical materials. The progres- 
sive development of the kingdom was predicted and described 
by the Lord Himself in the promise communicated to David by 
the prophet Nathan : " And when thy days shall be fulfilled, and 
thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed' after 
thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish 
his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name ; and I wiU 
stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his 
Father, and he shall be my son, that if he go astray, I may 
chasten him with man's rod, and with stripes of the children of 


men ; but my mercy will not depart from him, as I caused it to 
depart from Said, whom I put away before thee. And thy house 
and thy kingdom shall be for ever before thee, thy throne will 
be established for ever" (2 Sam. viL 12-16). This thoroughly 
glorious promise forms the red thread which runs through the 
history of the kings from Solomon to the Babylonian captivity, 
and constitutes the leading idea in the record of this history 
in our books. The author's intention is to show in the history 
of the kings how the Lord fulfilled this gracious word, how He 
first of all chastised the seed of David for its transgressions, and 
then cast it off, though not for ever. To this end he shows in 
the history of Solomon, how, notwithstanding the usurpation of 
the throne attempted by Adonijah, Solomon received the whole 
of his father's kingdom, as the seed of David promised by the 
Lord, and established his power; how the Lord at the very 
beginning of his reign renewed to him at Gibeon the promise 
made to his father on the condition of his faithful observance of 
His law, and in answer to liis prayer gave him not only a wise 
and understanding heart, but also riches and honour, so that his 
equal was not to be found among all the kings of the earth 
(1 Kings i. 1-v. 14); how Solomon then carried out the work 
of building the temple, entrusted to him by Ms father according 
to the will of the Lord ; and how, after it was finished, the Lord 
again assured him of the fulfilment of that promise (ch. v. 15- 
ix. 9) ; and, lastly, how Solomon, having attained to the highest 
earthly glory, through the completion of the rest of his build- 
ings, through the great renown of his wisdom, which had reached 
to nations afar o&, and through his great riches, acquired partly 
by marine commerce and trade, and partly from tributes and 
presents, forgot his God, who had bestowed this glory upon him, 
and in his old age was led astray into unfaithfulness towards 
the Lord through his numerous foreign wives, and had at last 
to listen to this sentence from God : " Because thou hast not 
kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded 
thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and give it to 
thy servant : notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it, for 
David thy father's sake ; but I wiU rend it out of the hand of 
thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all thy kingdom ; but 
will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and 
for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen" (ch. ix. 10-xi. 13). 
Thus, because God had promised to the seed of David the 


eternal possession of the throne (2 Sam. vii. 12 sqq.), one por- 
tion of the kingdom was to be left to the son of Solomon, with 
the chosen city of Jerusalem, and his servant (Jeroboam, ch. xi. 
26-40) was only to obtain dominion over ten tribes. The his- 
torical realization of this prophecy is shown in the history of the 
two divided kingdoms. 

In the synchronistic account of these kingdoms, according to 
the principle already adopted in the book of Genesis, of dispos- 
ing of the subordinate lines of the patriarchs before proceeding 
with the main line (see Comm. on Pent. vol. i. p. 3 7), the reigns 
of the kings of Israel are described before those of the contem- 
poraneous kings of Judah, and to some extent in a more ela- 
liorate manner. The reason of this, however, is, that the history 
of the kingdom of Israel, in which one dynasty overthrew 
another, whilst all the rulers walked in the sin of Jeroboam, 
and Ahab even added the worship of Baal to that sin, supplied 
the author with more materials for the execution of his plan 
than that of the kingdom of Judah, which had a much quieter 
development under the rule of the of David, and of which, 
therefore, there was less to relate. Apart from this, aU the 
events of the kingdom of Judah which are of any importance 
in relation to the progress of the kingdom of God, are just as 
elaborately described as those connected with the kingdom of 
Israel ; and the author does equal justice to both kingdoms, show- 
ing how the Lord manifested Himself equally to both, and bore 
with them with divine long-suffering and grace. But the proof 
of this necessarily assumed different forms, according to the 
different attitudes which they assumed towards the Lord. Jero- 
boam, the founder of the kingdom of Israel, when told that he 
would be king over the ten tribes, had received the promise 
that Jehovah would be with him, and build him a lasting house 
as He built for David, and give Israel to him, on condition that 
he would walk in the ways of God (1 Kings xi. 37, 38). This 
implied that his descendants would rule over Israel (of the ten 
tribes) so long as this kingdom should stand ; for it was not 
to last for ever, but the separation would come to an end, and 
therefore he is not promised the everlasting continuance of his 
kingdom (see at 1 Kings xi. 38). But Jeroboam did not fulfil 
this condition, nor did any of the rulers of Israel who succeeded 
him. Nevertheless the Lord had patience with the kings and 
tribes who were unfaithful to His law, and not only warned 


them contmiially by His prophets, and chastised them by threats 
of punishment and by tlie fulfihuent of tliose threats upon the 
kings and all the people, but repeatedly manifested His favour 
towards them for the sake of His covenant with Abraham 
(2 Kings xiii. 23), to lead them to repentance — until the time 
of grace had expired, when the sinful kingdom fell and the ten 
tribes were carried away to Media and Assyria. — In the kingdom 
of David, on the contrary, the succession to the throne was pro- 
mised to the house of David for all time : therefore, although 
the Lord caused those who were rebellious to be chastised by 
hostile nations, yet, for His servant David's sake. He left a light 
shining to the royal house, since He did not punish the kings 
who were addicted to idolatry with the extermination of their 
family (1 Kings xv. 4; 2 Kings viii. 19); and even when the 
wicked Athaliah destroyed all the royal seed. He caused Joash, 
the infant son of Ahaziah, to be saved and raised to the throne 
of his fathers (2 Kings xi.). Consequently this kingdom was 
able to survive that of the ten tribes for an entire period, just 
because it possessed a firm political basis in the uninterrupted 
succession of the Davidic house, as it also possessed a spiritual 
basis of no less firmness in the temple which the Lord had 
sanctified as the place where His name was revealed. After it 
had been brought to the verge of destruction by the godless 
Ahaz, it received in Hezekiah a king who did what was right in 
the eyes of Jehovah, as his father David had done, and in the 
severe oppression which he suffered at the hands of the powerful 
army of the proud Sennacherib, took refuge in the Lord, who 
protected and saved Jerusalem, " for His own and His servant 
David's sake," at the prayer of the pious king of Jerusalem 
(2 Kings xix. 34, xx. 6). But when at length, throughout 
the long reign of Manasseh the idolater, apostasy and moral 
corruption prevailed to such an extent in Judah also, that even 
the pious Josiah, Avith the reformation ol" religion which he 
carried out with the greatest zeal, could only put down the out- 
ward worship of idols, and was unable to effect any thorough 
conversion of the people to the Lord their God, and the Lord 
as the Holy One of Israel was obliged to declare His purpose 
of rejecting Judah from before His face on account of the sins 
of Manasseh, and to cause that pvirpose to be executed by 
Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings xxiii. 26, 27, xxiv. 3, 4) ; Jehoiachin 
was led away captive to Babylon, and under Zedekiah the 


kingdom was destroyed with the burning of Jerusalem and the 
temple. Yet the Lord did not suffer the light to be altogether 
extinfniished to His servant David : but when Jehoiachin had 
pined in captivity at Babylon for thirty-seven years, expiating 
his own and his fathers' sins, he was liberated from his captivity 
by Nebuchadnezzar's son, and raised to honour once more 
(2 Kings XXV. 27-30). — The account of this joyful change in 
the condition of Jehoiachin, with which the books of the Kings 
close, forms so essential a part of their author's plan, that without 
this information the true conclusion to his work would be alto- 
gether wanting. For this event shed upon the dark night of the 
captivity the first ray of a better future, which was to dawn 
upon the seed of David, and with it upon the whole nation in 
its eventual redemption from Babylon, and was also a pledge of 
the certain fulfilment of the promise that the Lord would not 
for ever withdraw His favour from the seed of David.^ 

Thus the books of the Kings bring down the history of the 
Old Testament kingdom of God, according to the divine plan 
of the kingdom indicated in 2 Sam. vii., from the close of 
David's reign to the captivity ; and the fact that in 1 Kings 
i. 1 they are formally attached to the books of Samuel is an 
indication that they are a continuation of those books. Never- 
theless there is no doubt that they formed from the very first 
a separate work, the independence and internal unity of which 
are apparent from the uniformity of the treatment of the his- 
tory as well as from the unity of the language. From begin- 
ning to end the author quotes from his original sources, for the 

^ Stähelin makes the following remark in his Einleitung (p. 122) : " The 
books of the Kings form an antithesis to the history of David. As the latter 
shows how obedience to God and to the utterances of His prophets is re- 
warded, and how, even when Jehovah is obliged to punish, He makes known 
His grace again in answer to repentance ; so do the books of the Kings, 
which relate the overthrow of both the Hebrew states, teach, through the 
history of these two kingdoms, how glorious promises are thrown back and 
dynasties fall in consequence of the conduct of individual men (compare 
1 Kings xi. 38 with xiv. 10, and still more with 2 Kings xxi. 10 sqq. and 
xxiii. 27). The sins of one man like Manasseh are sufficient to neutralize 
all the promises that have been given to the house of David." There is no 
need to refute this erroneous statement, since it only rests upon a misinter- 
pretation of 2 Kings xxi. 10 sqq., and completely misses the idea which runs 
through both books of the Kings ; and, moreover, there is no contradiction 
between the manifestation of divine mercy towards penitent sinners and the 
punishment of men according to their deeds. 


most part with certain standing formulas ; in all important 
events he gives the chronology carefully (1 Kings vi. 1, 37, 38, 
vii. 1, ix. 10, xi. 42, xiv. 20, 21, 25, xv. 1, 2, 9, 10, etc.) ; 
he judges the conduct of the kings throughout according to the 
standard of the law of Moses (1 Kings ii. 3, iii. 14 ; 2 Kings 
X. 31, xi. 12, xiv. 6, xvii. 37, xviii. 6, xxi. 8, xxiL 8 sqq., xxiii. 
3, 21, etc.) ; and he nearly always employs the same expressions 
when describing the commencement, the character, and the close 
of each reign, as well as the death and burial of the kings 
(compare 1 Kings xi. 43, xiv. 20, 31, xv. 8, 24, xxü. 51 ; 
2 Kings viii. 24, xiii. 9, xiv. 29 ; and for the characteristics of 
the several kings of Judah, 1 Kings xv. 3, 11, xxii. 43 ; 2 Kings 
xii. 3, xiv. 3, xv. 3, etc. ; and for those of the kings of Israel, 
1 Kings xiv. 8, xv. 26, 34, xvi. 19, 26, 30, xxii. 53 ; 2 Kings 
iii. 2, 3, X. 29, 31, xiii. 2. 11, etc.). And so, again, the lan- 
guage of the books remains uniform in every part of the work, 
if we except certain variations occasioned by the differences in 
the sources employed ; since we find throughout isolated ex- 
pressions and forms of a later date, and words traceable to the 
Assyrian and Chaldsean epoch, such as lb for "löH in 1 Kings 
v. 2, 25 ; p'^V in 1 Kings xi. 33 ; P^") in 2 Kings xi. 13 ; nirnn 
in 1 Kings xx. 14, 15, 17, 19 ; \p in 2 Kings xv. lO'; 
^'^'Üp ':V in 1 Kings xv. 20, 2 Kings 'xxv. 23, 26 ; D^nap nn 
in 2 Kings xxv. 8 ; nna in 1 Kings x. 15, xx. 24, 2 Kings 
xviii. 24 ; and many others, wliich do not occur in the earlier 
historical books. — The books of the Kings are essentially dis- 
tinguished from the books of Samuel through these characteristic 
peculiarities ; but not so much through the quotations which 
are so prominent in the historical narrative, for these are com- 
mon to all the historical books of the Old Testament, and are 
only more conspicuous in these books, especially in the history 
of the Idngs of the two kingdoms, because in the case of all 
the kings, even of those in relation to whom there was nothing 
to record of any importance to the kingdom of God except the 
length and general characteristics of their reign, there are notices 
of the writings which contain further information concerning 
their reigns. — The unity of authorship is therefore generally 
admitted, since, as De Wette himself acknowledges, " you can- 
not anywhere clearly detect the interpolation or combination of 
different accounts." The direct and indirect contradictions, how- 
ever, which Thenius imagines that he has discovered, prove to 


be utterly fallacious on a closer inspection of the passages 
cited as proofs, and could only have been obtained through 
misinterpretations occasioned by erroneous assumptions. (See, 
on the other hand, my LcJirhuch der Einleitung in das A. T. 
p. 184 sqq.) 

All that can be determined with certainty in relation to the 
origin of the books of Kings is, that they were composed in 
the second half of the Babylonian captivity, and before its close, 
since they bring the history down to that time, and yet contain 
no allusion to the deliverance of the people out of Babylon. 
The author was a prophet living in the Babylonian exile, though 
not the prophet Jeremiah, as the earlier theologians down to 
Havernick have assumed from the notice in the Talmud {Baba 
hathra, f. 15, 1) : Jeremias scripsit lihrum sicum et librum Regum 
et Threnos. Tor even apart from the fact that Jeremiah ended 
his days in Egypt, he could hardly have survived the last event 
recorded in our books, namely, the liberation of Jehoiachin from 
prison, and his exaltation to royal honours by Evil-merodach. 
Eor inasmuch as this event occurred sixty-six years after his 
call to be a prophet, in the thirteenth year of Josiah, he would 
have been eighty-six years old in the thirty-seventh year after 
Jehoiachin had been carried away into exile, even if he had 
commenced his prophetic career when only a young man of 
twenty years of age. Now, even if he had reached this great 
age, he would surely not have composed our books at a later 
period still. Moreover, all that has been adduced in support of 
this is seen to be inconclusive on closer inspection. The simi- 
larity in the linguistic character of om' books and that of the 
writings of Jeremiah, the sombre view of history which is com- 
mon to the two, the preference apparent in both for phrases 
taken from the Pentateuch, and the allusions to earlier prophe- 
cies, — all these peculiarities may be explained, so far as they 
really exist, partly from the fact that they were written in the 
same age, since all the writers of the time of the captivity and 
afterwards cling very closely to the Pentateuch and frequently 
refer to the law of Moses, and partly also from the circum- 
stance that, whilst Jeremiah was well acquainted with the ori- 
ginal sources of our books, viz. the annals of the kingdom of 
Judah, the author of our books was also well acquainted with 
the prophecies of Jeremiah. But the relation between 2 Kings 
xxiv. 18 sqq. and Jer. lii. is not of such a nature, that these 


two accounts of the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying 
away of the remnant of the people could have emanated from 
the hand of Jeremiah; on the contrary, a closer inspection clearly 
shows that they are extracts from a more elaborate description 
of this catastrophe (see at 2 Kings xxiv. 18 sqq.). 

As sources from which the author has obtained his accounts, 
there are mentioned, for the history of Solomon, a ivy?'^ '''}2'i ")Sp, 
or book of the acts (affairs) of Solomon (1 Kings xi. 41); for the 
history of the kings of Judah, ni^n^ '^b^^ D^p>ri ^nn^ iDp^ book of 
the daily occurrences of the kings of Judah (1 Kings xiv. 29, 
XV. 7, 23, xxii. 46 ; 2 Kings viii. 23, xii. 20, etc.) ; and for that 
of the kings of Israel, ^^f ^. '^^o^' ^'^l^ '^-^"^ ^??, hook of the 
daily occurrences of the kings of Israel (1 Kings xiv. 19, 
XV. 31, xvi. 5, 14, 20, 27, xxii. 39 ; 2 Kings i. 18). These 
are quoted as writings in which more is written concerning the 
life, the deeds, and the particular undertakings, buildings and 
so forth, of the several kings. The two last-named works were 
evidently general annals of the kingdoms : not, indeed, the 
national archives of the two kingdoms, or official records made 
by the C"!''??'? of the reigns and acts of the kings, as Jahn, 
Movers, Stähelin, and others suppose ; but annals composed by 
prophets, and compiled partly from the j)ublic year-books of the 
kingdom or the national archives, and partly from prophetic 
monographs and collections of prophecies, which reached in the 
kingdom of Israel down to the time of Pekah (2 Kings xv. 31), 
and in that of Judah to the time of Jehoiakim (2 Kings xxiv. 
5). Moreover, they were not written successively by different 
prophets, who followed one another, and so carried on the work 
in uninterrupted succession from the rise of the two kingdoms 
to the death of the two kings mentioned ; but they had been 
worked out into a "Boole of the liistory of the times of the Kings" 
for each of the two kingdoms, a short time before the over- 
throw of the kingdom of Judah, by collecting together the most 
important things that had been written both concerning the 
reigns of the several kings by annalists and other historians who 
were contemporaneous with the events, and also concerning the 
labours of the prophets, which were deeply interwoven with the 
course of public affairs, whether composed by themselves or 
by their contemporaries. And in this finished form they lay 
before the author of our work. This view of the annals of the 
kingdoms of Judah and Israel follows unquestionably from the 


agreement which exists between our books of the Kings and 
the second book of the Chronicles, in the accounts common to 
both, and which can only be explained from the fact that they 
were drawn from one and the same source. But in the 
Chronicles there are different writings of individual prophets 
quoted, beside the day-books of the kings of Judah and Israel ; 
and it is expressly stated in relation to some of them that they 
were received into the annals of the kings (compare 2 Chron. 
XX. 34 and xxxii. 32, and the Introduction to the books of the 
Chronicles). Moreover, there are no historical traces of public 
annalists to be found in the kingdom of the ten tribes, and their 
existence is by no means probable, on account of the constant 
change of dynasties. The fact, however, that the frequently 
recurring formula "to this day" (1 Kings ix. 13, x. 12 ; 2 Kings 
ii. 22, X. 27, xiv. 7, xvi. 6, [xvii. 23, 34, 41,] xx. 17, xxi. 15) 
never refers to the time of the captivity, except in the passages 
enclosed in brackets, but always to the time of the existing 
kingdom of Judah, and that it cannot therefore have emanated 
from the author of our books of the Kings, but can only have 
been taken from the sources employed, is a proof that these 
annals of the kingdom were composed towards the close of the 
kingdom of Judah ; and this is placed beyond all doubt, by the 
fact that this formula is also found in many passages of the 
books of the Chronicles (compare 1 Kings viii. 8 with 2 Chron. 
V. 9 ; 1 Kings ix. 2 1 with 2 Chron. viii. 8 ; 1 Kings xii. 1 9 
with 2 Chron. x. 19 ; and 2 Kings viii. 22 with 2 Chron. 
xxi. 10). — In a similar manner to this must we explain the 
origin of the nb'bt^ nnn "iQp^ since three j)rophetic writings are 
quoted in 1 Chron. xxix. 29 in connection with Solomon's 
reign, and their account agrees in all essential points with the 
account in the books of the Kings. Nevertheless this " history 
of Solomon " never formed a component part of the annals of 
the two kingdoms, and was certainly written much earlier. — 
The assumption that there were other sources still, is not only 
sustained by no historical evidence, but has no certain support 
in the character or contents of the writings before us. If the 
annals quoted were works composed by prophets, the elaborate 
accounts of the working of the prophets Elijah and Elisha might 
also have been included in them. — Again, in the constant allusion 
to these annals we have a sure pledge of the historical fidelity of 
the accounts that have been taken from them. If in his work 


the author followed writings which were composed by prophets, 
and also referred his readers to these writings, which were 
known and accessible to his contemporaries, for further infor- 
mation, he must have been conscious of the faithful and con- 
scientious employment of them. And this natural conclusion 
is in harmony with the contents of our books. The life and 
actions of the kings are judged with unfettered candour and 
impartiality, according to the standard of the law of God ; and 
there is no more concealment of the idolatry to which the 
highly renowned Solomon was led astray by his foreign wives, 
than of that which was right in the eyes of God, when performed 
by the kings of the ten tribes, which had fallen away from the 
house of David. Even in the case of the gTeatest prophet of 
all, namely Elijah, the weakness of his faith in being afraid of 
the vain threats of the wicked Jezebel is related just as openly 
as his courageous resistance, in the strength of the Lord, to 
Ahab and the prophets of Baal. — Compare my Einleitung in 
das Alte Test. |§ 56-60, where adverse views are examined 
and the commentaries are also noticed. 




Chaps, i.-xi. 

AVID had not only established the monarchy npon 
a firm basis, but had also exalted the Old Testament 
kingdom of God to such a height of power, that all 
the kingdoms round about were obliged to bow 
before it. This kingdom was transmitted by divine appointment 
to his son Solomon, in whose reign Judah and Israel were as 
numerous as the sand by the sea-shore, and dwelt in security, 
every man under his vine and under his fig-tree (ch. iv. 20, 
V. 5). The history of this reign commences with the account of 
the manner in which Solomon had received the kingdom from 
his father, and had established his own rule by the fulfilment of 
liis last will and by strict righteousness (ch. i. and ii.). Then 
follows in ch. iii.-x. the description of the glory of his kingdom, 
how the Lord, in answer to his prayer at Gibeon, not only gave 
him an imderstanding heart to judge his people, but also wisdom, 
riches, and honour, so that his equal was not to be found among 
the kings of the earth ; and through his wise rule, more especially 
through the erection of the house of Jehovah and of a splendid 
royal palace, he developed the glory of the kingdom of God to 
such an extent that his fame penetrated to remote nations. 
The conclusion, in ch. xi., consists of the accoimt of Solomon's 
sin in his old age, viz. his falling into idolatry, whereby he 
brought about the decay of the kingdom, which manifested itself 
during the closing years of his reign in the rising up of oppo- 
nents, and at his death in the falling away of ten tribes from 
his son Eehoboam. But notwithstanding this speedy decay, the 



glory of Solomon's kingdom is elaborately depicted on acconnt 
of the typical significance which it possessed in relation to the 
kingdom of God. Just as, for example, the successful wars of 
David with all the enemies of Israel were a prelude to the 
eventual victory of the kingdom of God over all the kingdoms 
of this world; so was the peaceful rule of Solomon to shadow 
forth the glory and blessedness which awaited the people of God, 
after a period of strife and conflict, under the rule of Shiloh the 
Prince of peace, whom Jacob saw in spirit, and who would 
increase government and peace without end upon the throne of 
David and in his kingdom (Isa. ix. 5, 6 ; Ps. Ixxii.). 


The attempt of Adonijah to seize upon the throne when 
David's strength was failing (vers. 1-10), induced the aged 
king, as soon as it was announced to him by Bathsheba and 
the prophet Nathan, to order Solomon to be anointed king, and 
to have the anointing carried out (vers. 11—40); whereupon 
Adonijah fled to the altar, and received pardon from Solomon 
on condition that he would keep himself quiet (vers. 41-53). 

Vers. 1-4. When king David had become so old that they 
could no longer warm him by covering him with clothes, his 
servants advised him to increase his vitality by lying with a 
young and robust virgin, and selected the beautiful Abishag of 
Shunem to perform this service. This circumstance, which is a 
trivial one in itself, is only mentioned on account of what 
follows, — first, because it shows that David had become too weak 
from age, and too destitute of energy, to be able to carry on the 
government any longer ; and, secondly, because Adonijah the pre- 
tender afterwards forfeited his life through asking for Abishag 
in marriage. — The opening of our book, '^?}^'>]\ {and the King), 
may be explained from the fact that the account which follows 
has been taken from a writing containing the earlier history 
of David, and that the author of these books retained the Vav 
CO]), which he found there, for the purpose of showing at the 
outset that his work was a continuation of the books of Samuel 
D''ö>3 5^3 jpr as in Josh. xiii. 1, xxiii. 1, Gen. xxiv. 1, etc. 
" They covered him with clothes, and he did not get warm." It 
foUows from this that the king was bedridden, or at least that 
when lying down he could no longer be kept warm with bed- 

CHAP. I. 5-10. 17 

clotlies. ö''1J3 does not mean clotlies to wear here, but large 
cloths, which were used as bed-clothes, as in 1 Sam. xix. 13 
and Num. iv. 6 sqq. on'; is used impersonally, and derived from 
Don, cf. Ewald, ^193, &, and 138, &. As David was then in his 
seventieth year, this decrepitude was not the natural result of 
extreme old age, but the consequence of a sickly constitution, 
arising out of the hardships which he had endured in his 
agitated and restless life. The proposal of his servants, to restore 
the vital warmth which he had lost by bringing a virgin to lie 
with him, is recommended as an experiment by Galen (Method. 
medic, viii. 7). And it has been an acknowledged fact with 
physicians of all ages, that departing vitality may be preserved 
and strengthened by communicating the vital warmth of strong 
and youthful persons (compare Trusen, Sitten Gchrcmche u. Krank- 
heiten der Hebräer, p. 257 sqq.). The singular suffix in ^P^2 is 
to be explained on the ground that one person spoke, npinn nnj;:, 
a maid who is a virgin, "".^sp ^oy, to stand before a person as 
servant = to serve (cf. Deut. i. 3 8 with Ex. xxiv. 1 3). ^}/p, an 
attendant or nurse, from i^D = pK', to live with a person, ihen 
to be helpful or useful to him. With the words " that she may 
lie in thy bosom," the passage passes, as is frequently the case, 
from the third person to a direct address. — Vers. 3, 4. They then 
looked about for a beautiful girl for this purpose, and found 
Ahishag of Shunem, the present Sidem or Solenn, at the south- 
eastern foot of the Didiy or Little Hermon (see at Josh. xix. 
18), who became the king's nurse and waited upon him. The 
further remark, " and the king knew her not," is not introduced 
either to indicate the impotence of David or to show that she 
did not become David's concubine, but simply to explain how 
it was that it could possibly occur to Adonijah (ch. ii. 17) to 
ask for her as his wife. Moreover, the whole affair is to be 
judged according to the circumstances of the times, when there 
was nothing offensive in polygamy. 

Vers. 5-10. Adonijah seized the opportunity of David's de- 
crepitude to make himself king. Although he was David's 
fourth son (2 Sam. iii. 4), yet after the death of Ammon and 
Absalom he was probably the eldest, as Ghileab, David's second 
son, had most likely died when a child, since he is never men- 
tioned again, Adonijah therefore thought that he had a claim 
to the throne (cf, ch, ii. 1 5), and wanted to secure it before his 
father's death. But in Israel, Jehovah, the God-King of His 



people, had reserved to Himself the choice of the earthly king 
(Deut. xvii. 15), and this right He exercised not only in the 
case of Saul and David, but in that of Solomon also. When 
He gave to David the promise that his seed should rule for ever 
(2 Sam. vii. 1 2—1 6), He did not ensure the establishment of the 
throne to any one of his existing sons, but to him that would 
come out of his loins (i.e. to Solomon, who was not yet born) ; 
and after his birth He designated him through the prophet 
Nathan as the beloved of Jehovah (2 Sam. xii. 24, 25). David 
discerned from this that the Lord had chosen Solomon to be his 
successor, and he gave to Bathsheba a promise on oath that 
Solomon should sit upon the throne (vers. 13 and 30). This 
promise was also acknowledged in the presence of Nathan (vers. 
11 sqq.), and certainly came to Adonijah's ears, Adonijah said, 
" I will be king," and procured chariots and horsemen and fifty 
runners, as Absalom had done before (2 Sam. xv. 1). 33"i^ in a 
collective sense, does not mean fighting or war chariots, but state 
carriages, like ^??"!^ in 2 Sam. xv. 1 ; and D''^'nQ are neither riding 
nor carriage horses, but riders to form an escort whenever he drove 
out. — Ver. 6. " And ( = for) his father had never troubled him in 
his life 0^^\^, Ob diebus ejus, i.e. his whole life long), saying. Why 
hast thou done this ?" Such weak oversight on the part of his 
father encouraged him to make the present attempt. Moreover, 
he " was very beautiful," like Absalom (see at 2 Sam. xiv. 2 5), 
and born after Absalom, so that after his death he appeared to 
have the nearest claim to the throne. The subject to nnb^ is left 
indefinite, because it is implied in the idea of the verb itself: 
''she bare," i.e. his mother, as in Num. xxvi. 59 {viel. Ewald, 
§ 294, l). There was no reason for mentioning the mother 
expressly by name, as there was nothing depending upon the 
name here, and it had already been given in ver. 5. — Ver. 7. 
He conferred (for the expression, compare 2 Sam. iii. 17) 
with Joab and Abiathar the priest, who supported him. ity 
'^ ""ÜH^, to lend a helping hand to a person, i.e. to support him 
by either actually joining him or taking his jiart. Joab joined 
the pretender, because he had fallen out with David for a con- 
siderable tmie (cf. ii. 5, 6), and hoped to secure his influence 
with the new king if he helped him to obtain possession of the 
throne. But what induced Abiathar the high priest (see ät 
2 Sam. viii. 17) to join in conspiracy with Adonijah, we do not 
know. Possibly jealousy of Zadok, and the fear that under 

CHAP. I. 11-31. 19 

Solomon lie might be tlirown still more into the shade. For 
although Zadok was only high priest at the tabernacle at Gibeon, 
he appears to have taken the lead ; as we may infer from the 
fact that he is always mentioned before Abiathar (cf. 2 Sam. 
viii. 17, XX. 25, and xv. 24 sqq.). For we cannot imagine that 
Joab and Abiathar had supported Adonijah as having right on 
his side (Thenius), for the simple reason that Joab did not 
trouble himself about right, and for his own part shrank from 
no crime, when he thought that he had lost favour with the 
king. — Ver. 8. If Adonijah had powerful supporters in Joab the 
commander-in-chief and the high priest Abiathar, the rest of 
the leading officers of state, viz. Zadok the liigh priest (see at 
2 Sam. viii. 17), Benaiah, captain of the king's body-guard (see 
at 2 Sam. viii. 18 and xxiii. 20, 21), the prophet Nathan, 
Shimei (probably the son of Elah mentioned in ch. iv. 18), 
and Eei (unknown), and the Gibborim of David (see at 2 Sam. 
xxiii. 8 sqq.), were not with him. — ^Vers. 9 sqq. Adonijah com- 
menced his usurpation, like Absalom (2 Sam. xv. 2), with a solemn 
sacrificial meal, at which he was proclaimed king, " at the stone 
of Zoclielcth by the side of the fountain of Rogel" i.e. the spy's 
fountain, or, according to the Chaldee and Syriac, the fuller's foun- 
tain, the present fountain of Job or Nehemiah, below the junc- 
tion of the valley of Hinnom with the valley of Jehoshaphat (see 
at 2 Sam. vii. 17 and Josh. xv. 7). E. G. Schultz {Jeruscdem, 
eine Vorlesung, p. 79) supposes the stone or rock of Zocheleth to 
be " the steep, rocky corner of the southern slope of the valley 
of Hinnom, which casts so deep a shade." " This neighbour- 
hood (Wady el Buhdh) is still a place of recreation for the in- 
habitants of Jerusalem." To this festal meal Adonijah invited 
all his brethren except Solomon, and " all the men of Judah, the 
king's servants," i.e. all the Judaeans who were in the king's ser- 
vice, i.e. were serving at court as being members of his own 
tribe, with the exception of Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, and 
the Gibborim. The fact that Solomon and the others men- 
tioned were not included in the invitation, showed very clearly 
that Adonijah was informed of Solomon's election as successor 
to the throne, and was also aware of the feelings of Nathan and 

Vers. 11-31. Adonijah's attempt was frustrated by the vigi- 
lance of the prophet Nathan. — ^Vers. 11 sqq. Nathan informed 
Solomon's mother, Bathsheba (see at 2 Sam. xi. 3), that Adonijah 


was making himself king C^po '^3, that he had become [as good 
as] king : Thenius), and advised her, in order to save her life and 
that of her son Solomon Q^?^^, and save = so that thou mayest 
save ; of. Ewald, § 347, a), to go to the king and remind him of 
his promise on oath, that her son Solomon should be king after 
him, and to inquire why Adonijah had become king. If Adonijah 
had really got possession of the throne, he would probably have 
put Solomon and his mother out of the way, according to the 
barbarous custom of the East, as his political opponents. — Ver. 1 4. 
While she was still talking to the king, he (Nathan) would come 
in after her and confirm her words. "i^T N?Q^ to make a word 
full, i.e. not to supply what is wanting, but to make full, like 
'TfXrjpovv, either to fill by accomplishing, or (as in this case) to 
confirm it by similar assertion. — Vers. 15—21. Bathsheba fol- 
lowed this advice, and went to the Idng into the inner chamber 
(•^7100), since the very aged king, who was waited upon by 
Abishag, could not leave his room (ri'l^'p for nn"i^p ; cf Ewald, 
^ 188, &, p. 490), and, bowing low before him, communicated to 
him what Adonijah had taken in hand in opposition to his will 
and without his knowledge. The second nnyi is not to be altered 
into nnxi^ inasmuch as it is supported by the oldest codices and 
the Masora,^ although about two himdred codd. contain the 
latter reading. The repetition of nriyi (" And noiv, behold, Ado- 
nijah has become king ; and noiv, my lord king, thou knowest 
it not") may be explained from the energy with which Bath- 
sheba speaks. " And Solomon thy servant he hath not invited " 
(ver. 19). Bathsheba added this, not because she felt herself 
injured, but as a sign of Adonijah's feelings towards Solomon, 
wliich showed that he had reason to fear the worst if Adonijah 
should succeed in his usurj^ation of the throne. In ver. 20, 
again, many codd. have nrij?"i in the place of nnsi ; and Thenius, 
after his usual fashion, pronounces the former the " only correct" 
reading, because it is apparently a better one. But here also 
the appearance is deceptive. The antithesis to what Adonijah 
has already done is brought out quite suitably by nnxi : Adonijah 
has made himself king, etc. ; but thou my lord king must decide 
in the matter. " The eyes of all Israel are turned towards thee, 

^ Kimclii says : " Plures scrihx errant in hoc verbo, scribcntes nnxi cum Alep\, 
quia sensid Jioc conformius est; sed constat nobis ex corrcctis JISS. et masora, 
scribcndum esse nnyi cum Ain.^^ Hence both Norzi and Bruns have taken 
nnyi under their protection. Compare de Kossi, varix lectt. ad h. I. 

CHAP. I. 11-31. 21 

to tell them who (whether Adonijah or Solomon) is to sit upon 
the throne after thee." " The decision of this question is in thy 
hand, for the people have not yet attached themselves to Ado- 
nijah, hut are looldng to thee, to see what thou wilt do ; and they 
will follow thy judgment, if thou only hastenest to make Solo- 
mon king." — Seb. Schmidt. To secure this decision, Bathsheha 
refers again, in ver. 21, to the fate which would await both her- 
self and her son Solomon after the death of the king. They 
would be ^'''ii^n, i.e. guilty of a capital crime. " We should be 
punished as though guilty of high treason" (Clericus). — Vers. 
22 sqq. While Bathsheha was still speaking, Nathan came. 
When he was announced to the king, Bathsheha retired, just as 
afterwards ÜSTathan went away when the king had Bathsheha 
called in again (cf. ver. 28 with ver. 32). This was done, not 
to avoid the appearance of a mutual arrangement (Cler., Then., 
etc.), hut for reasons of propriety, inasmuch as, in audiences 
granted by the king to his wife or one of his counsellors, no 
third person ought to be present unless the king required his 
attendance. Nathan confirmed Bathsheba's statement, com- 
mencing thus : " My lord king, thou hast really said, Adonijah 
shall be king after me . . . ? for he has gone down to-day, and 
has prepared a feast, . . . and they are eating and drinking 
before him, and saying, Long live king Adonijah ! " And he 
then closed by asking, " Has this taken place on the part of my 
lord the king, and thou hast not shown thy servants (Nathan, 
Zadok, Benaiah, and Solomon) who is to sit upon the throne of 
my lord the king after him ? " The indirect question intro- 
duced with Qi< is not merely an expression of modesty, but also 
of doubt, whether what had occurred had emanated from the 
king and he had not shown it to his servants. — Vers. 28-30. 
The king then sent for Bathsheha again, and gave her this pro- 
mise on oath : " As truly as Jehovah liveth, who hath redeemed 
my soul out of all distress (as in 2 Sam. iv. 9), yea, as I swore 
to thee by Jehovah, the God of Israel, saying, Solomon thy son 
shall be king after me, . . . yea, so shall I do this day." The 
first and third ^3 serve to give emphasis to the assertion, like 
imo, yea (cf. Ewald, § 330, &). The' second merely serves 
as an introduction to the words. — Ver. 31. Bathsheha then 
left the king with the deepest prostration and the utterance of 
a blessing, as an expression of her inmost gratitude. The 
benedictory formula, " May the king live for ever," was only 


used by tlie Israelites on occasions of special importance ; 
whereas the Babylonians and ancient Persians constantly ad-, 
dressed their kings in this way (cf. Dan. ü. 4, iii. 9, v. 1 0, vi. 
22 ; Neh. ii. 3. Aeliani var. hist. i. 32, and Curtius de gestis 
Alex. vi. 5). 

Vers. 32-40. David then sent for Zadok, Nathan, and Be- 
naiah, and directed them to fetch the servants of their lord 
(D3''3ix, a pluralis majestatis, referring to David alone), and to 
conduct Solomon to Gihon riding upon the royal mule, and 
there to anoint him and solemnly proclaim him king. The 
servants of your lord (Q?''.?''^^ '^I.'^V) are the Crethi and Pletlii, and 
not the Gibhorim also (Thenius), as ver. 3 8 clearly shows, where 
we jSnd that these alone went down with him to Gihon as the 
royal body-guard, v ">^^<. '^'^"!?D"''y, upon the mule which belongs 
to me, i.e. upon my (the king's) mule. When the king let any 
one ride upon the animal on which he generally rode himself, 
this was a sign that he was his successor upon the throne. 
Among the ancient Persians riding upon the king's horse was a 
public honour, which the king confeiTed upon persons of great 
merit in the eyes of all the people (c£ Esth. vi. 8, 9). n"nT3^ the 
female mule, which in Kahira is still preferred to the male for 
riding (see Eosenmüller, hibl. AUhJc. iv. 2, p. 56). Gihon (pnji) 
was the name given, according to 2 Chron. xxxii. 3 and xxxiii. 
14, to a spring on the western side of Zion, which supplied two 
basins or pools, viz. the upper watercourse of Gihon (2 Chron. 
xxxii. 30) or upper pool (2 Kings xviii. 17 ; Isa. vii. 3, xxxvi. 
2), and the lower pool (Isa. xxii. 9). The upper Gihon still 
exists as a large reservoir built up with hewn stones, though 
somewhat fallen to decay, which is called by the monks Gihon, 
by the natives Blrket el Mamilla, about 700 yards W.KW. 
from the Joppa gate, in the basin which opens into the valley 
of Hinnom. The lower pool is probably the present Birket es 
Sultan, on the south-western side of Zion (see Eobinson, Pales- 
tine, i. p. 485 sqq., 512 sqq., and Biblical Researches, p. 142 
sqq.). The vaUey between the two was certainly the place 
where Solomon was anointed, as it is not stated that this took 
place at the fountain of Gihon. And even the expression onnnin 
Jina hv ink (take him down to Gihon) agrees with this. For if 
you go from Zion to Gihon towards the west, you first of all 
have to descend a slope, and then ascend by a gradual rise ; 
and this slope was probably a more considerable one in ancient 

CHAP. I. 32-40. 23 

times (Eob. Pal. i. p. 514, note).^ — Ver. 34. The blowing of the 
trumpet and the cry " Long live the king" (cf. 1 Sam. x. 24) 
were to serve as a solemn proclamation after the anointing had 
taken place. — Ver. 35. After the anointing they were to conduct 
Solomon up to Zion again ; Solomon was then to ascend the 
throne, as David was about to appoint him prince over Israel 
and Judah in his own stead. Both the anointing and the ap- 
pointment of Solomon as prince over the whole of the covenant 
nation were necessary, because the succession to the throne had 
been rendered doubtful through Adonijah's attempt, and the aged 
king was stiU alive. In cases where there was no question, 
and the son followed the father after his death, the unanimous 
opinion of the Eabbins is, that there was no anointing at all 
Israel and Judah are mentioned, because David had been the 
first to unite aU the tribes under his sceptre, and after the 
death of Solomon Israel fell away from the house of David. — 
Vers. 36, 37. Benaiah responded to the utterance of the royal 
will with a confirmatory " Amen, thus saith Jehovah the God 
of my lord the king ;" i.e. may the word of the king become a 
word of Jehovah his God, who fulfils what He promises (Ps. 
xxxiii. 9) ; and added the pious wish, " May Jehovah be with 
Solomon, as He was with David, and glorify his throne above 
the throne of David," — a wish which was not merely " flattery 
of his paternal vanity" (Thenius), but which had in view the 
prosperity of the monarchy, and was also fulfilled by God (cf 
iii. 11 sqq.). — ^Vers. 38—40. The anointing of Solomon was 
carried out immediately, as the king had commanded. On the 
Crethi and Plethi see at 2 Sam. viii. 18. " The oil-horn out of 
the tent" {i.e. a vessel made of horn and containing oil) was no 
doubt one which held the holy anointing oil, with which the 
priests and the vessels of the sanctuary were anointed (see Ex. 
XXX. 22 sqq.). The tent (''i}^0)j however, is not the tabernacle 
^ The conjecture of Thenius, that jiPip should be altered into }i];23, is 
hardly worth mentioning ; for, apart from the fact that all the ancient versions 
confirm the corectness of |ina the objections which Thenius brings against it 
amount to mere conjectures or groundless assumptions, such as that Zadok 
took the oil-horn out of the tabernacle at Gibeon, which is not stated in 
ver. 39. Moreover, Gibeon was a three hours' journey from Jerusalem, so 
that it would have been absolutely impossible for the anointing, which was 
not commanded by David till after Adonijah's feast had commenced, to be 
finished so quickly that the procession could return to Jerusalem before it was 
ended, as is distinctly recorded in ver. 41. 


at Gibeon, but the tent set up by David for the ark of the 
covenant upon Mount Zion (2 Sam. vi. 17). For even though 
Zadok was appointed high priest at the tabernacle at Gibeon, 
and Abiatliar, who held with Adonijah, at the ark of the cove- 
nant, the two high priests were not so unfriendly towards one 
another, that Zadok could not have obtained admission to the 
arlc of the covenant in Abiathar's absence to fetch away the 
anointing oil. — Yer. 40. All the people, i.e. the crowd which 
was present at the anointing, went up after him, i.e. accom- 
panied Solomon to the citadel of Zion, with flutes and loud 
acclamation, so that the earth nearly burst with their shouting. 
J'i??^, " to burst in pieces" (as in 2 Chron. xxv. 12), is a hyper- 
bolical expression for quaking. 

Vers. 41-53. The noise of this shouting reached the ears of 
Adonijah and his guests, when the feast was just drawing to a 
close. The music, therefore, and the joyful acclamations of the 
people must have been heard as far off as the fountain of Eogel. 
When Joab observed the sound of the trumpet, knowing what 
these tones must signify, he asked " wherefore the sound of the 
city in an uproar " {i. e. what does it mean) ? At that moment 
Jonathan the son of Abiathar arrived (see 2 Sam. xv. 2 7, xvii. 1 7 
sqq.). Adonijah called out to him : " Come, for thou art a brave 
man and bringest good tidings;" suppressing all anxiety with 
these words, as he knew his father's will with regard to the suc- 
cession to the throne, and the powerful and influential friends of 
Solomon (see vers. 5, 19, 26). — Vers. 43 sqq. Jonathan replied: 
73X, "yea but," corresponding to the Latin imo vcro, an expression 
of assurance with a slight doubt, and then related that Solomon 
had been anointed king by David's command, and the city was in 
a joyous state of excitement in consequence (Q"nn as in Euth 
i. 19), and that he had even ascended the throne, that the 
servants of the king had blessed David for it, and that David 
himself had worshipped and praised Jehovah the God of Israel 
that he had lived to see his son ascend the throne. The repeti- 
tion of D?"! three times (vers. 46-48) gives emphasis to the words, 
since every new point which is introduced with DJ1 raises the 
thing higher and higher towards absolute certainty. The fact re- 
lated in ver. 47 refers to the words of Benaiah in vers. 36 and 37. 
The Chethih T'v!'^^ is the correct reading, and the Keri D^■^P^? an 
unnecessary emendation. The prayer to God, with thanksgiving 
for the favour granted to him, was offered by David after the 

CHAP. I. 41-53. 2 5 

return of liis anointed son Solomon to the royal palace ; go that 
it ought strictly to have been mentioned after ver. 40. The 
worship of the grey-headed David upon the bed recalls to mind 
the worship of the patriarch Jacob after making known his last 
will (Gen. xlvii. 31). — Vers. 49, 50. The news spread terror. 
All the guests of Adonijah lied, every man his way. Adonijah 
himself sought refuge from Solomon at the horns of the altar. 
The altar was regarded from time immemorial and among all 
nations as a place of refuge for criminals deserving of death ; 
but, according to Ex. xxi. 14, in Israel it was only allowed to 
afford protection in cases of unintentional slaying, and for these 
special cities of refuge were afterwards provided (Num. xxxv.). 
In the horns of the altar, as symbols of power and strength, 
there was concentrated the true significance of the altar as a 
divine place, from which there emanated both life and health 
(see at Ex. xxvii. 19). By grasping the horns of the altar the 
culprit placed himself under the protection of the saving and 
helping grace of God, which wipes away sin, and thereby abolishes 
punishment (see Bahr, Symholik des Mos. Cult. i. p. 474). The 
question to what altar Adonijah fled, whether to the altar at the 
ark of the covenant in Zion, or to the one at the tabernacle at 
Gibeon, or to the one built by David on the threshing-floor of 
Araunah, cannot be determined with certainty. It was probably 
to the first of these, however, as nothing is said about a flight to 
Gibeon, and with regard to the altar of Araunah it is not certain 
that it was provided with horns like the altars of the two sanc- 
tuaries. — Vers. 51, 52. When this was reported to Solomon, to- 
gether with the prayer of Adonijah that the king would swear 
to him that he would not put him to death with the sword (QN 
before JT'p^^ a particle used in an oath), he promised him con- 
ditional impunity : " If he shall be brave (''ID"!?, vir probus), none 
of his hair shall fall to the earth," equivalent to not a hair of his 
head shall be injured (cf. 1 Sam. xiv. 45) ; " but if evil be found 
in him," i.e. if he render himself guilty of a fresh crime, " he 
shall die." — Ver. 53. He then had him fetched down from the 
altar ("'''"lii^, inasmuch as the altar stood upon an eminence) ; and 
when he fell down before the king, i.e. did homage to him as 
king, he gave him his life and freedom in the words, " Go to thy 
house." The expression '^n"'?? '=l!? does not imply his banishment 
from the court (compare ch. ii. 13 and 2 Sam. xiv. 24). Solomon 
did not wish to commence his own ascent of the throne by 


infliction of punishment, and therefore presented the usurper 
with his life on the condition that he kept himseK quiet. 

CHAP. II. David's last instructions and death, solomon 


The anointing of Solomon as king, which was effected by 
David's command (ch. i.), is only briefly mentioned in 1 Chron. 
xxiii. 1 in the words, " When David was old and full of days, 
he made his son Solomon king over Israel ;" which serve as an 
introduction to the account of the arrangements made by David 
during the closing days of his life. After these arrangements 
have been described, there follow in 1 Chron. xxviii. and xxix. 
his last instructions and his death. The aged king gathered 
together the tribe-princes and the rest of the dignitaries and 
superior officers to a diet at Jerusalem, and having introduced 
Solomon to them as the successor chosen by God, exhorted 
them to keep the commandments of God, and urged upon Solo- 
mon and the whole assembly the building of the temple, gave 
his son the model of the temple and all the materials which he 
had collected towards its erection, called upon the great men of 
the kingdom to contribute to this work, which they willingly 
agreed to, and closed this last act of his reign with praise and 
thanksgiving to God and a great sacrificial festival, at which 
the assembled states of the realm made Solomon king a second 
time, and anointed him prince in the presence of Jehovah 
(1 Chron. xxix. 22). — A repetition of the anointing of the new 
king at the instigation of the states of the realm, accompanied 
by their solemn homage, had also taken place in the case of 
both Saul (1 Sam. xi.) and David (2 Sam. ii. 4 and v. 3), and 
appears to have been an essential requirement to secure the 
general recognition of the king on the part of the nation, at any 
rate in those cases in which the succession to the throne was 
not undisputed. In order, therefore, to preclude any rebellion 
after his death, David summoned this national assembly again 
after Solomon's first anointing and ascent of the throne, that the 
representatives of the whole nation might pay the requisite 
homage to king Solomon, who had been installed as his suc- 
cessor according to the will of God. — To this national assembly, 
which is only reported in the Chronicles, there are appended the 
last instructions which David gave, according to vers. 1-9 of our 

CHAP. II. 1-11, 27 

chapter, to his successor Solomon immediately before his death. 
Just as in the Chronicles, according to the peculiar plan of that 
work, there is no detailed description of the installation of 
David on the throne ; so here the author of our books has 
omitted the account of this national diet, and the homage paid 
by the estates of the realm to the new king, as not being 
required by the purpose of his work, and has communicated the 
last personal admonitions and instructions of the dying king 
David instead.-^ 

Vers. 1-11. David's Last Instructions and Death. — Vers. 
1-4. When David saw that his life was drawing to a close, he 
first of all admonished his son Solomon to be valiant in the ob- 
servance of the commandments of God. " I go the way of all 
the world" (as in Josh, xxiii. 14), i.e. the way of death; "be 
strong and be a man," — not "bear my departure bravely," as 
Thenius supposes, but prove thyself brave (cf. 1 Sam. iv. 9) to 
keep the commandments of the Lord. Just as in 1 Sam iv. 9 
the object in which the bravery is to show itself is appended 
simply by the copula Vdv ; so is it here also with 'IJI JJi'l'^K'i. 
The phrase "'^ nnoK'p-nx no^, to keep the keeping of Jehovah, 
which so frequently occurs in the Thorali, i.e. to observe or obey 
whatever is to be observed in relation to Jehovah (cf. Gen. xxvi. 
5, Lev. viii, 35, xviii. 30, etc.), always receives its more pre- 
cise definition from the context, and is used here, as in Gen. 
xxvi. 5, to denote obedience to the law of God in all its extent, 
or, according to the first definition, to walk in the ways of Jeho- 
vah. This is afterwards more fully expanded in the expression 
'W1 vripn "ibK^p, to keep the ordinances, commandments, rights, and 

* To refute the assertion of De TVette, Gramberg, and Thenius, that this 
account of the Chronicles arises from a free mode of deahng with the history, 
and an intention to suppress everything that did not contribute to the honour 
of David and his house, — an assertion which can only be attributed to their 
completely overlooking, not to say studiously ignoring, the different plans of 
the two works (the books of Kings on the one hand, and those of Chronicles 
on the other), — it will be sufficient to quote the unprejudiced and thoughtful 
decision of Bertheau, who says, in bis Comm. on 1 Chron. xxiii. 1 : " These 
few words (1 Chron. xxiii. 1) give in a condensed form the substance of the 
account in 1 Kings i., which is intimately bound up with the account of the 
family affairs of David in the books of Samuel and Kings, and therefore, 
according to the whole plan of our historical work, would have been out of 
place in the Chronicles." 


testimonies of Jehovah. These four words were applied to the 
different precepts of the law, the first three of which are con- 
nected together in Gen. xxvi. 5, Deut. v. 28, viii. 11, and served 
to individualize the rich and manifold substance of the demands 
of the Lord to His people as laid down in the Tlwrah. \V)p)> 
p"'3b>n, that thou mayest act wisely and execute well, as in Deut. 
xxix. 8, Josh. i. 7. — Ver. 4. Solomon would then experience 
still further this blessing of walldng in the ways of the Lord, 
since the Lord would fulfil to him His promise of the everlast- 
ing possession of the throne. '131 D''ip^^ \Vty? is grammatically sub- 
ordinate to ?"'3^iii lyo? in ver. 3, The word which Jehovah has 
spoken concerning David (vy "i3"n) is the promise in 2 Sam. vii. 
12 sqq., the substance of which is quoted here by David with 
a negative turn, '131 0^3"; i^^ and with express allusion to the 
condition on which God would assuredly fulfil His promise, 
viz. if the descendants of David preserve their ways, to walk 
before the Lord in truth. riOK3 is more precisely defined by 
CC'M . . . ^33. For the fact itself see Deut. v. 5, xi. 13, 18. 
The formula '131 nns^ N7 is formed after 1 Sam. ii, 33 (compare 
also 2 Sam. iii. 2 9 and Josh. ix. 2 3). " There shall not be cut 
off to thee a man from upon the throne of Israel," i.e. there shall 
never be wanting to thee a descendant to take the throne ; in 
other words, the sovereignty shall always remain in thy family. 
This promise, which reads thus in 2 Sam. vii. 16, "Thy house 
and thy kingdom shall be continual for ever before thee, and 
thy throne stand fast for ever," and which was confirmed to 
Solomon by the Lord Himself after his prayer at the consecra- 
tion of the temple (ch. viii. 25, ix. 5), is not to be understood 
as implying that no king of the Davidic house would be thrust 
away from the throne, but simply affirms that the posterity of 
David was not to be cut off, so as to leave no offshoot which 
could take possession of the throne. Its ultimate fulfilment it 
received in Christ (see at 2 Sam. vii. 12 sqq.). The second 
"ibx!? in ver. 4 is not to be erased as suspicious, as being merely 
a repetition of the first in consequence of the long conditional 
clause, even though it is wanting in the Vulgate, the Arabic, and 
a Hebrew codex. 

After a general admonition David communicated to his suc- 
cessor a few more special instructions ; viz., first of all (vers. 5, 6), 
to punish Joah for his wickedness. " What Joab did to me : " — 
of this David mentions only the two principal crimes of Joab, 

CHAP. II. 1-11. 29 

by which he had already twice deserved death, namely, his kill- 
ing the two generals, Abner (2 Sam. iii. 2 7) and Amasa the son 
of Jether (2 Sam. xx. 10). The name 1J[1^. is written ^"in^ in 
2 Sam. xvii. 25. Joab had murdered both of them out of 
jealousy in a treacherous and malicious manner ; and thereby he 
had not only grievously displeased David and bidden defiance 
to his royal authority, but by the murder of Abner had exposed 
the king to the suspicion in the eyes of the people of having 
instigated the crime (see at 2 Sam. iii. 28, 37). 'i^'mnm^ 
" and he made war-blood in peace," i.e. he shed in the time of 
peace blood that ought only to flow in war (D''^ in the sense of 
making, as in Dent. xiv. 1, Ex. x. 2, etc.), "and brought war- 
blood upon his girdle which was about his loins, and upon his 
shoes under his feet," sc. in the time of peace. This was the 
crime therefore : that Joab had murdered the two generals in a 
time of peace, as one ought only to slay his opponent in time of 
war. Girdle and shoes, the principal features in oriental attire 
when a man is preparing himself for any business, were covered 
with blood, since Joab, while saluting them, had treacherously 
stabbed both of them with the sword. David ought to have 
punished these two crimes ; but when Abner was murdered, he 
felt himself too weak to visit a man like Joab with the punish- 
ment he deserved, as he had only just been anointed king, and 
consequently he did nothing more than invoke divine retribution 
upon his head (2 Sam. iii. 29). And when Amasa was slain, 
the rebellions of Absalom and Sheba had crippled the power of 
David too much, for him to visit the deed with the punishment 
that was due. But as king of the nation of God, it was not 
right for him to allow such crimes to pass unpunished : he 
therefore transferred the punishment, for which he had wanted 
the requisite power, to his son and successor. — Ver. 6. "Do 
according to thy wisdom ("mark the proper opportunity of 
punishing him" — Seb. Schmidt), and let not his grey hair go 
down into hell (the region of the dead) in peace {i.e. unpunished)." 
The punishment of so powerful a man as Joab the commander- 
in-chief was, required great wisdom, to avoid occasioning a re- 
bellion in the army, which was devoted to- him. — Ver. 7. If the 
demands of justice required that Joab should be punished, the 
duty of gratitude was no less holy to the dying king. And 
Solomon was to show this to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, 
and make them companions of his table ; because Barzillai had 


supplied David with provisions on his flight from Absalom 
(2 Sam. xvii. 27 sqq., xix. 32 sqq.). ^Jn^'iJ' ^S^asn vni, "let 
them be among those eating of thy table ; " i.e. not, " let them 
draw their food from the royal table," — for there was no par- 
ticular distinction in this, as all the royal attendants at the court 
received their food from the royal kitchen, as an equivalent for 
the pay that was owing, — but, " let them join in the meals at 
the royal table." The fact that in 2 Sam. ix. 10, 11, 13, we 
have \rh&'7V p^k to express this, makes no material difference. 
According to 2 Sam. xix. 38, Barzillai had, it is true, allowed 
only one son to follow the king to his court. " For so they drew 
near to me," i.e. they showed the kindness to me of supplying 
me with food ; compare 2 Sam. xvii. 2 7, where Barzillai alone 
is named, though, as he was a man of eighty years old, he was 
certainly supported by his sons. — ^Ver. 8. On the other hand, 
Shimei the Benjamite had shown great hostility to David (cf 
2 Sam. xvi. 5-8). He had cursed him . with a vehement 
curse as he fled from Absalom (nv"i;p3^ vehement, violent, not ill, 
heillos, from the primary meaning to be sick or ill, as Thenius 
supposes, since it cannot be shown that p.o has any such mean- 
ing) ; and when David returned to Jerusalem and Shimei fell 
at his feet, he had promised to spare his life, because he did not 
want to mar the joy at his reinstatement in his kingdom by an 
act of punishment (2 Sam. xix. 19-24), and therefore had per- 
sonally forgiven him. But the insult whicli Shimei had offered 
in his person to the anointed of the Lord, as king and represen- 
tative of the rights of God, he could not forgive. The instruction 
given to his successor (^ni;53n~?x^ let him not be guiltless) did not 
spring from personal revenge, but was the duty of the king as 
judge and administrator of the divine right.-^ It follows from the 
expression ^öV^ with thee, i.e. in thy neighbourhood, that Shimei 
was living at that time in Jerusalem (cf ver. 36). — Vers. 10, 11. 
After these instructions David died, and was buried in the 

* " Shimei is and remains rather a proof of David's magnanimity than of ven- 
geance. It was not a little thing to tolerate the miscreant in his immediate 
neighbourhood for his whole life long (not even banishment being thought of). 
And if under the following reign also he had been allowed to end Ms days in 
peace (which had never been promised him), this Avould have been a kindue5S 
which would have furnished an example of unpunished crimes that might 
easily have been abused." This is the verdict of J. J. Hess in his Geschichte 
Davids, ii. p. 221. 

CHAP. II. 13-25. 31 

city of David, i.e. upon Mount Zion, where tlie sepulchre of 
David still existed in the time of Christ (Acts ii. 29).^ On the 
length of his reign see 2 Sam. v. 5. 

Vers. 12-46. Accession of Solomon and Establishment 
OF his Government. — Ver. 12 is a heading embracing the sub- 
stance of what follows, and is more fully expanded in 1 Chron. 
xxix. 23-25. Solomon established his monarchy first of all by 
punishing the rebels, Adonijah (vers. 13-25) and his adherents 
(vers. 2 6-3 5), and by carrying out the final instructions of his 
father (vers. 36-46). 

Vers. 13-25. Adonijah forfeits his life. — ^Vers. 13-18. Adoni- 
jah came to Bathsheba with the request that she would apply to 
king Solomon to give him Abishag of Shuuem as his wife. Bath- 
sheba asked him, " Is peace thy coming ?" i.e. comest thou with 
a peaceable intention ? (as in 1 Sam. xvi. 4), because after what 
had occurred (ch. i. 5 sqq.) she suspected an evil intention. He 
introduced his petition with these words : " Thou knowest that 
the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had set its face upon me 
that I should be king, then the kins-dom turned about and became 
my brother's ; for it became his from the Lord." The throne was 
his, not because he had usurped it, but because it belonged to him 
as the eldest son at that time, according to the right of primo- 
geniture. Moreover it might have been the case that many of 
the people wished him to be king, and the fact that he had found 
adherents in Joab, Abiathar, and others, confirms this ; but his 
assertion, that all Israel had set its eyes upon him as the future 
king, went beyond the bounds of truth. At the same time, he 
knew how to cover over the dangerous sentiment implied in his 
words in a very skilful manner by adding the further remark, 
that the transfer of the king-dom to his brother had come from 
Jehovah ; so that Bathsheba did not detect the artifice, and pro- 

^ The situation of the tombs of the kings of Judah upon Zion, Thenius has 
attempted to trace minutely in a separate article in lUgen's Zeitsclirift für die 
histor. Tkeol. 1844, i. p. 1 sqq., and more especially to show that the entrance 
to these tombs must have been on the eastern slope of Mount Zion, which falls 
into the valley of Tyropceon., and obliquely opposit-e to the spring of Siloah. 
This is in harmony vi^ith the statement of Theodoret (quxst. 6 in iii. Reg.), to 
the effect that Josephus says, to le i/^vvj^^a (rvig rxip'/ii) -TTotpoi tv^v SAo«^ Uvui 
dvrpoitli; sxov to (tx^/^bi,, >t-cil t'^u ßcit.atT\t>c'},v SijAovj/ 'Tro'kVTi'hiict.v ; although this 
statement does not occur in any passage of his works as they have come down 
to us. 


mised to fulfil his request (vers. IG sqq.) to intercede witli 
king Solomon for Abishag to be given him to wife, ''^^f''^"''^? 
"•JSTIN^ " do not turn back my face," i. e. do not refuse my 
request. — Ver. 19. "When Bathsheba came to Solomon, he re- 
ceived her with the reverence due to the queen-mother : " he rose 
up to meet her" (a pregnant expression for " he rose up and went to 
meet her "), made a low bow, then sat upon his throne again, and 
bade her sit upon a throne at his right hand. The seat at the 
right hand of the king was the place of honour among the Israel- 
ites (cf Ps. ex. 1), also with the ancient Arabian kings (cf Eich- 
horn, Monumenta Antiq. Hist. Arab. p. 220), as well as among the 
Greeks and Eomans. — Vers. 2 sqq. To her request, " Let Abi- 
shag of Shunem be given to Adonijah thy brother for a wife " 
(^^ I^"!., cf. Ges. § 143, 1, a), which she regarded in her womanly 
simplicity as a very small one ('""Jüip)^ he replied with indignation, 
detecting at once the intrigues of Adonijah: " And why dost thou 
ask Abishag of Shunem for Adonijah ? ask for him the kingdom, 
for he is my elder brother; and indeed for him, and for Abiathar 
the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah." The repetition of V 
in 'O) (ver. 22), for the purpose of linking on another clause, 
answers entirely to the emotional character of the words. " For 
him, and for Abiathar and Joab:" Solomon said this, because 
these two men of high rank had supported Adonijah's rebellion 
and wished to rule under his name. There is no ground for 
any such alterations of the text as Thenius proposes. — Although 
Abishag had been only David's nurse, in the eyes of the people 
she passed as his concubine ; and among the Israelites, just as 
with the ancient Persians (Herod, iii. 68), taking possession of 
the harem of a deceased king was equivalent to an establish- 
ment of the claim to the throne (see at 2 Sam. xii. 8 and iii. 
7, 8). According to 2 Sam. xvi. 21, this cannot have been un- 
known even to Bathsheba ; but as Adonijah's wily words had 
disarmed all suspicion, she may not have thought of this, or may 
perhaps have thought that Abishag was not to be reckoned as 
one of David's concubines, because David had not known her 
(ch. i. 4). — Vers. 23 sqq. Solomon thereupon solemnly swore 
(the formula of an oath, and the ""^ introducing the oath, as in 
1 Sam. xiv. 44, etc.), " Adonijah has spoken this word against his 
own life." iti'öia, at the cost of his life, as in 2 Sam. xxiii. 1 f , 
i.e. at the hazard of his life, or to his destruction. Ver. 24. 
" And now, as truly as Jehovah liveth, who hath established me 

CHAP. II. 2G, 27. 33 

and set me on the throne of my father David, and hath made 
me a house, as He said (verbatim, 2 Sam. vii. 11) : yea, to-day 
shall Adonijaii be put to death." Jehovah established Solomon, 
or founded him firmly, by raising him to the throne in spite of 
Adonijah's usurpation. In ''^''T'ki'VI the central '' has got into the 
text through a copyist's error. ri^3 7 nb'y^ ^.c. He has bestowed 
upon me a family or posterity. Solomon had already one son, 
viz. Eehoboam, about a year old (compare xi. 42 with ch. xiv. 
21 and 2 Chron. xii. 13).^ — Ver. 25. Solomon had this sentence 
immediately executed upon Adonijah by Benaiah, the chief of 
the body-guard, according to the oriental custom of both ancient 
and modern times. The king was perfectly just in doing this. 
For since Adonijah, even after his first attempt to seize upon 
the throne had been forgiven by Solomon, endeavoured to 
secure his end by fresh machinations, duty to God, who had 
exalted Solomon to the throne, demanded that the rebel should 
be punished with all the severity of the law, without regard 
to blood-relationship. 

Vers. 26, 27. Deposition of Abiathar. — The conduct of Solo- 
mon towards the high priest Abiathar is a proof how free his 
actions were from personal revenge or too great severity. Abia- 
thar had also forfeited his life through the part he took in 
Adonijah's conspiracy ; but Solomon simply sent him to Ana- 
tlioth {i.e. Anata ; see at Josh, xviii. 24), to his own fields, i.e. 
to his property there, telling him, " Thou art indeed a man of 
death," i.e. thou hast deserved to die, " but I will not put thee 
to death to-day, because thou hast borne the ark of Jehovah," 
namely, both on the occasion of its solemn conveyance to Jeru- 
salem (1 Chron. xv. 11 sqq.) and also on David's flight from 
Absalom (2 Sam. xv. 24, 29), that is to say, because of his 
high-priestly dignity, and because thou didst endure all that my 
father endured, i.e. thou didst share all his afflictions and suffer- 
ings, both in the period of Saul's persecution (1 Sam. xxii. 20 
sqq., xxiii. 8 sqq.), and during the rebellion of Absalom (2 Sam. 
XV. 24 sqq.). i^^nn Di'3 (to-day) puts a limit upon the pardon, 
because Solomon could not foresee whether Abiathar would 

^ "When Thenius denies this, and maintains that Eehoboam cannot have 
■foeen 41 years old when he began to reign, referring to his discussion at ch. 
xiv. 21, he answers himself, inasmuch as at ch. xiv. 21 he demonstrates the 
fallacy of the objections which Cappellus has raised against the correctness of 

the reading " 41 years." 



always keep quiet, and not forfeit his life again by fresh 
crimes.-^ — Ver. 2 7. The banishment of Abiathar to his own private 
possession involved his deposition from the priesthood. And, as 
the historian adds, thus was the word of the Lord concerning 
the house of Eli fulfilled (1 Sam. ii. 30-33). N^^ corresponds 
to the New Testament Xva 'jrXrjpoüOf}. For further remarks on 
this prophecy and its fulfilment, see at 1 Sam. ii. 30 sqq.^ Thus 
was the high-priesthood of the house of Eli extinguished, and 
henceforth this dignity passed through Zadok into the sole pos- 
session of the line of Eleazar. 

Vers. 28—34. Execution of Joah. — Wlien the report (of the 
execution of Adonijah and the deposition of Abiathar) came 
to Joab, he fled to the tent of Jehovah (not to the tabernacle, 
but to the holy tent upon Zion) to seek protection at the altar 
(see at ch. i. 50). The words nD3 vh . ^ . 2^V ^3 are intro- 
duced as a parenthesis to explain Joab's flight : " for Joab had 
leaned after Adonijah," i.e. taken his side (''"in^ nD3, as in Ex. 
xxiii. 2, Judg. ix. 3), " but not after Absalom," ^ There is 

1 There is no meaning in the objection of Theuius, that Abiathar did not 
carry the ark himself, since this was not the duty of the high priest. For, in 
tha first place, it is questionable whether Abiathar did not lend a helping 
hand at the removal of the ark during Absalom's conspiracy. And, secondly, 
the duty binding upon the high priest, to superintend and conduct the 
removal of the ark, might very well be called carrying the ark. The con- 
iecture, that for jiix we should read ^i2X, founders on the preterite rxL'O ; 

' T *• T T T 

for Abiathar had not only worn the ephod once before, but he wore it till 
the very hour in which Solomon deposed him from his ofSce. 

^ Nothiug is related concerning the subsequent fate of Abiathar, since the 
death of a high priest who had been deprived of his office was a matter of no 
importance to the history of the kingdom of God. At any rate, he would 
not survive his deposition very long, as he was certainly eighty years old 
already (sec Comm. on Sam. p. 2G7). — The inference which Ewald {Gesch. 
iii. pp. 2C9, 270) draws from 1 Sam. ii. 31-36 as to the manner of his death, 
namely, that he fell by the sword, is one of the numerous fictions founded 
upon naturalistic assumptions with which this scholar has ornamented the 
biblical history. 

3 Instead of Dib"J^'3X the LXX. (Cod. Vat.), Vulgate, Syr., and Arab, 
have adopted the reading nbSi^S and both Thenius and Ewald propose to 
alter the text accordingly. But whatever plausibility this reading may have, 
especially if we alter the preterite riD3 into the participle ntij after the ?,!/ 
x.iKhtx.l>i of the LXX., as Thenius docs, it has no other foundation than an 
arbitrary rendering of the LXX., who thought, but quite erroneously, that 
the allusion to Absalom Avas inapplicable here. For -)nx nt33, to take a 

CHAP. IL 28-34. OÖ 

no foundation in the biblical text for the conjecture, that Joab 
had given Adonijah the advice to ask for Abishag as his wife, 
just as Ahithophel had given similar advice to Absalom (2 Sam. 
xvi. 21). Tor not only is there no intimation of anything of 
the kind, but Solomon punished Joab solely because of his 
crimes in the case of Abner and Amasa. Moreover, Abiathar 
was also deposed, without having any fresh machinations in 
favour of Adonijah laid to his charge. The punishment of 
Adonijah and Abiathar was quite sufficient to warn Joab of his 
approaching fate, and lead him to seek to save his life by fleeing 
to the altar. It is true that, according to Ex. xxi. 13, 14, 
the altar could afford no protection to a man who had com- 
mitted two murders. But' he probably thought no more of 
these crimes, which had been committed a long time before, but 
simply of his participation in Adonijah's usurpation ; and he 
might very well hope that religious awe would keep Solomon 
from putting him to death in a holy place for such a crime as 
that. And it is very evident that this hope was not altogether 
a visionary one, from the fact that, according to ver. 30, when 
Joab refused to leave the altar at the summons addressed to him 
in the name of the king, Benaiah did not give him the death- 
blow at once, but informed Solomon of the fact and received 
his further commands. Solomon, however, did not arrest tlie 
course of justice, but ordered him to be put to death there and 
afterwards buried. The burial of the persons executed was a 
matter of course, as, according to Deut. xxi. 23, even a person 
who had been hanged was to be buried before sunset. When, 
therefore, Solomon gives special orders for the burial of Joab, 
the meaning is that Benaiah is to provide for the burial with 
distinct reference to the services wliich Joab had rendered to his 
father. " And take away the blood, which Joab shed without 
cause, from me and my father's house." So long as Joab re- 
mained unpunished for the double murder, the blood-guiltiness 
rested upon the king and his house, on whom the duty of 
punishment devolved (cf Num. xxxv. 30, 31 ; Deut. xix. 13). 
D3n ''0"7^ blood without cause, i.e. blood shed in innocence. On 
the connection of the adverb with the substantive, at which 
Thenius takes offence, comp. Ges. § 151, 1, and Ewald, § 287, d. 

person's side, ■would suit very ■well in the case of Adonijah and Absalom, but 
not in that of Solomon, -whose claim to the throne -was not a party affair, but 
had been previously determined by God. 


— For ver. 32, compare ver. 5. The words of Solomon in ver. 
33a point back to the curse which David uttered upon Joab 
and his descendants after the murder of Abner (2 Sam. iii. 
28, 29). " But to David, and his seed, and his house, and his 
throne, let there be salvation for ever from Jehovah." This 
wish sprang from a conviction, based upon 2 Sam. vii. 14, that 
the Lord would not fulfil His promise to David unless his suc- 
cessors upon the throne exercised right and justice according to 
the command of the Lord. — Ver. 34. Benaiah went up i/Vl]), in- 
asmuch as the altar by the ark of the covenant stood higher up 
Mount Zion than Solomon's house. Joab was buried " in his 
house " {i.e. in the tomb prepared in his house, either in the 
court or in the garden : cf. 1 Sam. xxv. 1), "in the desert," 
probably the wilderness of Judah, as Joab's mother was a step- 
sister of David, and therefore probably dwelt in the neighbour- 
hood of Bethlehem. — Ver. 35. Solomon appointed Benaiah 
commander-in-chief in the place of Joab, and put Zadok in 
Abiathar's place (cf. ch. i. 8, 9). 

Vers. 36—46. Punisliment of Shimci. — Solomon thereupon 
ordered Shimei to come, probably from Bahurim, where his 
home was (2 Sam. xvi. 5), and commanded him to build him- 
self a house in Jerusalem to dwell in, and not to leave the city 
"any whither" (p}'^'\ '^^^), threatening him with death if ever 
he should cross the brook Ividron. The valley of Kidron is 
mentioned as the eastern boundary of the city with an allusion 
to the fact, that Bahurim was to the east of Jerusalem towards 
the desert. — Ver. 38. Shimei vowed obedience, and that on 
oath, as is supplementarily observed in ver. 42, though it has 
been arbitrarily interpolated by the LXX. here ; and he kept his 
word a considerable time. — ^Vers. 39, 40. But after the lapse 
of three years, when two slaves fled to Gath to king Achish, 
with whom David had also sought and found refuge (1 Sam. 
xxvii. 2, compare ch. xxi. 1 1 sqq.), he started for Gath as soon as 
he knew this, and fetched them back. — Vers. 41 sqq. When this 
was reported to Solomon, he sent for Shimei and charged him 
with the breach of his command : " Did I not swear to thee by 
Jehovah, and testify to thee, etc. ? Why hast thou not kept 
the oath of Jehovah (the oath sworn by Jehovah) . ,?" — Ver. 44. 
He then reminded him of the evil which he had done to his 
father : " Thou knowest all the evil, which thy heart knowetli 
{i.e. which thy conscience must tell thee) ; and now Jehovah 

CHAP. III. 37 

returns the evil upon thy head," namely, by decreeing the 
punishment of death, which he deserved for blaspheming the 
anointed of the Lord (2 Sam. xvi. 9). — Ver. 45. " And king 
Solomon will be blessed, and the throne of David be established 
before Jehovah for ever," namely, because the king does justice 
(compare the remark on ver. 33). — Ver. 46. Solomon then 
ordered him to be executed by Benaiah. This punishment was 
also just. As Solomon had put Shimei's life in his own hand 
by imposing upon him confinement in Jerusalem, and Shimei 
had promised on oath to obey the king's command, the breach 
of his oath was a crime for which he had no excuse. There is 
no force at all in the excuses which some commentators adduce 
in his favour, founded upon the money which his slaves had 
cost him, and the wish to recover possession of them, which was 
a right one in itself. If Shimei had wished to remain faithful 
to his oath, he might have informed the king of the flight of his 
slaves, have entreated the king that they might be brought back, 
and have awaited the king's decision ; but he had no right thus 
lightly to break the promise given on oath. By the breach of 
his oath he had forfeited his life. And this is the first thing 
with which Solomon charges him, without his being able to 
offer any excuse ; and it is not till afterwards that he adduces 
as a second fact in confirmation of the justice of his procedure, 
the wickedness that he practised towards his father. — The last 
clause, " and the kingdom was established by (T?) Solomon," 
is attached to the following chapter in the Cod. Al. of the LXX. 
(in the Cod. Vat. it is wanting, or rather its place is supplied 
by a long interpolation), in the Vulgate, and in the Syriac ; 
and indeed rightly so, as Thenius has shown, not merely be- 
cause of the PI in ch. iii. 2, but also because of its form as a 
circumstantial clause, to which the following account (ch. iii. 
1 sqq.) is appended. 


The establishment of the government in the hands of Solomon 
having been noticed in ch. ii., the history of his reign com- 
mences with an account of his marriage to an Egyptian princess, 
and with a remark concerning the state of the kingdom at the 
beginning of his reign (vers. 1-3). There then follows a de- 


scription of the solemn sacrifice and prayer at Gibeon, by whicb. 
Solomon sougbt to give a religious consecration to bis govern- 
ment, and to secure the assistance of tbe Lord and His blessing 
upon it, and obtained tbe fulfilment of his desire (vers. 4-15). 
And then, as a practical proof of the spirit of his government, 
we have the sentence through which he displayed the wisdom 
of his judicial decisions in the sight of all the people (vers. 

Vers. 1-3. Solomon's marriage and the religious state of the 
hingdom. — Ver. 1. When Solomon had well secured his posses- 
sion of the throne (ch. ii. 46), he entered into alliance with 
Pharaoh, by taking his daughter as his wife. This Pharaoh of 
Egypt is supposed by Winer, Ewald, and others to have been 
Psusennes, the last king of the twenty-first (Tanitic) dynasty, 
who reigned thirty-five years ; since the first king of the twenty- 
second (Bubastic) dynasty, Sesonchis or Sheshonk, was certainly 
the Shishak who conquered Jerusalem in the fifth year of 
Eehoboam's reign (ch. xiv. 25, 26). The alliance by marriage 
with the royal family of Egypt presupposes that EgyjDt was 
desirous of cultivating friendly relations with the kingdom of 
Israel, which had grown into a power to be dreaded ; although, 
as we know nothing more of the history of Egypt at that time 
than the mere names of the kings (as given by Manetho), it is 
impossible to determine what may have been the more precise 
grounds which led the reigning king of Egypt to seek the 
friendship of Israel. There is, at any rate, greater probability in 
this supposition than in that of Thenius, who conjectxu-es that 
Solomon contracted this marriage because he saw the necessity 
of entering into a closer relationship with this powerful neigh- 
bour, who had a perfectly free access to Palestine. The con- 
clusion of this marriage took place in the first year of Solomon's 
reign, though probably not at the very beginning of the reign, 
but not till after his buildings had been begun, as we may infer 
from the expression nijnp in?3 IV (until he had made an end of 
building). Moreover, Solomon had already married JSTaamah the 
Ammonitess before ascending the throne, and had had a son by 
her (compare ch. xiv. 21 with xi. 42, 43). — Marriage with an 
Egyptian princess was not a transgression of the law, as it vv^as 
only marriages with Canaanitish women that were expressly 
prohibited (Ex. xxxiv. 1 6 ; Deut. vii. 3), whereas it was allow- 
able to marry even foreign women taken in war (Deut. xxi. 10 

CHAP, III. 1-3. 39 

sqq,.). At the same time, it was only when the foreign wives 
renounced idolatry and confessed their faith in Jehovah, that 
such marriages were in accordance with the spirit of the law. 
And we may assume that this was the case even with Pharaoh's 
daughter; because Solomon adhered so faithfully to the Lord 
during the first years of his reign, that he would not have tole- 
rated any idolatry in his neighbourhood, and we cannot find any 
trace of Egyptian idolatry in Israel in the time of Solomon, and, 
lastly, the daughter of Pharaoh is expressly distinguished in ch. 
xi. 1 from the foreign wives who tempted Solomon to idolatry 
in his old age. The assertion of Seb. Schmidt and Thenius 
to the contrary rests upon a false interpretation of ch. xi. 1. — 
" And he brought her into the city of David, till he had finished 
the building of his palace," etc. Into the city of David : i.e. not 
into the palace in which his father had dwelt, as Thenius arbi- 
trarily interprets it in opposition to 2 Chron. viii. 11, but into a 
house in the city of David or Jerusalem, from which he brought 
her up into the house appointed for her after the building of his 
own palace w^as finished (ch. ix. 24). The building of the house 
of Jehovah is mentioned as well, because the sacred tent for the 
ark of the covenant was set up in the palace of David until the 
temple was finished, and the temple was not consecrated till 
after the completion of the building of the palace (see at ch. 
viii. 1). By the building of " the wall of Jerusalem" we are to 
understand a stronger fortification, and possibly also the extension 
of the city wall (see at ch. xi. 27). — ^Ver. 2. "Only the people 
sacrificed upon high places, because there was not yet a house 
built for the name of Jehovah until those days." The limiting 
PI, only, by which this general account of the existing condition 
of the religious worship is appended to what precedes, may be 
accounted for from the antithesis to the strens;theninff of the 
kingdom by Solomon mentioned in ch. ii. 46. The train of 
thought is the following : It is true that Solomon's authority 
was firmly established by the punishment of the rebels, so that 
he was able to ally himself by marriage with the king of Egypt ; 
but just as he was obliged to bring his Egyptian wife into the 
city of David, because the building of his palace was not yet 
finished, so the people, and (according to ver. 3) even Solomon 
liimself, were only able to sacrifice to the Lord at that time upon 
altars on the high places, because the temple was not yet built. 
The participle D'-narp denotes the continuation of this religious 


condition (see Ewald, § 168, c). The rii03, or high places,-^ were 
places of sacrifice and prayer, which were built upon eminences 
or hills, because men thought they were nearer the Deity there, 
and which consisted in some cases probably of an altar only, 
though as a rule there was an altar with a sanctuary built 
by the side (niD3 n^3, ch. xiii. 32 ; 2 Kings xvii. 29, 32, xxiii. 
19), so that nD3 frequently stands for no3 IT'S (e.g. ch. xi. 7, 
xiv. 23 ; 2 Kings xxi. 3, xxiii. 8), and the '"i^? is also dis- 
tinguished from the n^TO (2 Kings xxiii. 15; 2 Chron. xiv. 2). 
These high -plctccs were consecrated to the worship of Jehovah, 
and essentially different from the high places of the Canaanites 
which were consecrated to Baal. Nevertheless sacrificing upon 
these high places was opposed to the law, according to which 
the place which the Lord Himself had chosen for the revelation 
of His name was the only place where sacrifices were to be 
offered (Lev. xvii. 3 sqq.) ; and therefore it is excused here on 
the ground that no house (temple) had yet been built to the 
name of the Lord. — Ver. 3. Even Solomon, although he loved 
the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, i.e. accord- 
ing to ch. ii. 3, in the commandments of the Lord as they are 
written in the law of Moses, sacrificed and burnt incense upon 
high places. Before the building of the temple, more especially 
since the tabernacle had lost its significance as the central place 
of the gracious presence of God among His people, through the 
removal of the ark of the covenant, the worship of the high 
places was unavoidable ; although even afterwards it still con- 
tinued as a forbidden cultus, and could not be thoroughly ex- 
terminated even by the most rigliteous kings (ch. xxii. 24; 
2 Kings xii. 4, xiv. 4, xv. 4, 35). 

^ The opinion of Böttcher and Thenius, that n03 signifies a "sacred 
coppice," is only based upon untenable etymological combinations, and can- 
not be proved. And Ewald's view is equally unfounded, viz. that " high 
places were an old Canansean species of sanctuary, which at that time had 
become common in Israel also, and consisted of a tall stone of a conical shape, 
as the symbol of the Holy One, and of the real high place, viz. an altar, a 
sacred tree or grove, or even an image of the one God as Avell" (Gesch. iii. p. 
390). For, on the one hand, it cannot be shown that the tall stone of a conical 
shape existed even in the case of the Canaanitish bamoth, and, on the other 
hand, it is impossible to adduce a shadow of a proof that the Israelitish' 
bamoth, which were dedicated to Jehovah, were constructed precisely after the 
pattern of the Ba,a.V s-bainoth of the Canaanites. 

CHAP. III. 4-15. 41 

Vers. 4-15. Solomon's Sacrifice and Deeam at Gibeon 
(cf.' 2 Chron. i. 1-1 3). — To implore the divine blessing upon 
his reign, Solomon offered to the Lord at Gibeon a great sacri- 
fice—a thousand burnt-offerings ; and, according to 2 Chron. i. 2, 
the representatives of the whole nation took part in this sacri- 
ficial festival. At that time the great or principal hamah was 
at Gibeon (the present cl Jib ; see at Josh. ix. 3), namely, the 
Mosaic tabernacle (2 Chron. i. 3), which is called n^?'"^' because 
the ark of the covenant, with which Jehovah had bound up His 
gracious presence, was not there now. " Upon that altar," i.e. 
upon the altar of the great hamah at Gibeon, the brazen altar 
of burnt- offering in the tabernacle (2 Chron. i. 6). — Vers. 5 sqq. 
The one thing wanting in the place of sacrifice at Gibeon, viz, 
the ark of the covenant with the gracious presence of Jehovah, 
was supplied by the Lord in the case of this sacrifice by a direct 
revelation in a dream, which Solomon received in the night fol- 
lowing the sacrifice. There is a connection between the question 
which God addressed to Solomon in the dream, " What shall I 
give thee ?" and the object of the sacrifice, viz. to seek the help 
of God for his reign. Solomon commences his prayer in ver. 6 
with an acknowledgment of the great favour which the Lord 
had shown to His father David, and had continued till now by 
raising his son to his throne (nin Di*3, as it is this day : cf 
1 Sam. xxii. 8, Deut. viii. 18, etc.) ; and then, in vers. 7—9, 
in the consciousness of his incapacity for the right administra- 
tion of government over so numerous a people, he asks the Lord 
for an obedient heart and for wisdom to rule His people. nrij?1 
introduces the petition, the reasons assigned for which are, (1) 
his youth and inexperience, and (2) the greatness or multitude 
of the nation to be governed. I am, says he, PP^ "iV^, i,c. an 
inexperienced youth (Solomon was only about twenty years 
old) ; " I know not to go out and in," i.e. how to behave my- 
self as king, or govern the people (for ^31 nxv compare the note 
on Num. xxvii. 17). At ver. 8 he describes the magnitude of 
the nation in words which recall to mind the divine promises in 
Gen. xiii. 16 and xxxii. 13, to indicate how gloriously the Lord 
has fulfilled the promises which He made to the patriarchs. 
— Ver. 9. rinJl, therefore give. The prayer (commencing with 
nrtyi in ver. 7) is appended in the form of an apodosis to the 
circumstantial clauses 'IJI ''3JX'! and '1^1 T\^V], which contain the 
grounds of the petition. VOb' 2^^ a hearing heart, i.e. a heart 


giving heed to the law and right of God, " to judge Thy 
people, (namely) to distinguish between good and evil {i.e. right 
and wrong)." " For who could judge this Thy numerous people," 
sc. unless^ Thou gavest him intelligence ? ^33, heavy in multi- 
tude : in the Chronicles this is explained by Pi^3. — Vers. 1 sqq. 
This prayer pleased God well. " Because thou hast asked tliis, 
and hast not asked for thyself long life, nor riches, nor the 
life {i.e. the destruction) of thy foes," all of them good things, 
which the world seeks to obtain as the greatest prize, " but 
intelligence to hear judgment {i.e. to foster it, inasmuch as the 
administration of justice rests upon a conscientious hearing of 
the parties), behold I have done according to thy word" {i.e. ful- 
filled thy request : the perfect is used, inasmuch as the hearken- 
ing has already begun ; for nan in this connection compare Ewald, 
I 3 7, c), " and given thee a wise and understanding heart." The 
words which follow, " so that there has been none like thee 
before thee/' etc., are not to be restricted to the kings of Israel, 
as Clericus supposes, but are to be understood quite universally 
as applying to all mankind (cf ch. v. 9—11). — Vers. 13, 14. In 
addition to this, according to the promise that to him wdio seeks 
first the kingdom of God and His righteousness all other things 
shall be added (Matt. vi. 33), God will also give liim the 
earthly blessings, for which he has not asked, and that in great 
abundance, viz. riches and honour such as no king of the earth 
has had before him ; and if he adhere faithfully to God's com- 
mandments, long life also (''J??"!^^il1, in this case I have lengthened). 
This last promise was not fulfilled, because Solomon did not 
observe the condition (cf. ch. xi. 42). — Ver. 15. Then Solomon 
awoke, and behold it was a dream; i.e. a dream produced by God, 
a revelation by dream, or a divine appearance in a dream. Ovn 
as in Num. xii. 6. — Solomon thanked the Lord again for this 
promise after his return to Jerusalem, by offering burnt-offerings 
and thank-offerings before the ark of the covenant, i.e. upon 
the altar at the tent erected for the ark upon Zion, and pre- 
pared a meal for all his servants (viz. his court-servants), i.e. 
a sacrificial meal of the ö'"'?^^. — This sacrificial festival upon 
Zion is omitted in the Chronicles, as well as the following 
account in vers. 16—28 ; not, however, because in the chroni- 
cler's opinion no sacrifices had any legal validity but such as 
were offered upon the altar of the Mosaic tabernacle, as Thenius 
fancies, though without observing the account in 1 Chron. xxi. 

CHAP. III. 16-28; IV.-V. 14. 4d 

26 sqq., whicL. overthrows this assertion, but because this sacri- 
ficial festival had no essential significance in relation to Solo- 
mon's reign. 

Vers. 16-28. Solomon's Judicial Wisdom. — As a proof that 
the Lord had bestowed upon Solomon unusual judicial wisdom, 
there is appended a decision of his in a very difficult case, in 
which Solomon had shown extraordinary intelligence. Two 
harlots living together in one house had each given birth to a 
child, and one of them had " overlaid" her child in the night 
while asleep (V^y ^??'^ "'f ^', because she had lain upon it), and 
had then placed her dead child in the other one's bosom and 
taken her living child away. When the other woman looked 
the next morning at the child lying in her bosom, she saw that 
it was not her own but the other woman's child, whereas the 
latter maintained the opposite. As they eventually referred the 
matter in dispute to the king, and each one declared that the 
living child was her own, the king ordered a sword to be 
brought, and the living child to be cut in two, and a half given 
to each. Then the mother of the living child, " because her 
bowels yearned upon her son," i.e. her maternal love was ex- 
cited, cried out, " Give her (the other) the living child, but do 
not slay it ;" whereas the latter said, " It shall be neither mine 
nor thine, cut it in pieces." — Ver. 27. Solomon saw from this 
which was the mother of the living child, and handed it over to 
her.^ — Ver. 28. This judicial decision convinced all the people 
that Solomon was endowed with divine wisdom for the admini- 
stration of justice. 

CHAP. IV.- V. 14. Solomon's ministers of state, his eegal 


Ch. iv. contains a list of the chief ministers of state (vers. 
2-6), and of the twelve officers placed over the land (vers. 7-20), 
which is inserted here to give an idea of the might and glory of 

1 Grotius observes on this : " The äy^ivoiei of Solomon was shown by this 
to be very great. There is a certain similarity in the account of Ariopharnis, 
king of the Thracians, -who, when three persons claimed to be the sons of the 
king of the Cimmerii, decided that he was the son who would not obey the 
command to cast javelins at his father's corpse. The account is given by 
Diodorus Siculus.'.' 


the kingdom of Israel vmder Solomon's reign. So far as the 
contents are concerned, this list belongs to the middle portion of 
the reign of Solomon, as we may see from the fact that two of 
the officers named had daughters of Solomon for their wives 
(vers. 11, 15), whom they could not possibly have married till 
the later years of Solomon's life. 

Vers. 1-6. The Chief Ministers of State. — The list is intro- 
duced in ver. 1 by the general remark, that " king Solomon was 
king over all Israel." — ^Ver. 2. The first of the Q''"!^, princes, 
i.e. chief ministers of state or dignitaries, mentioned here is not 
the commander-in-chief, as under the warlike reign of David 
(2 Sam. viii. 16, xx. 23), but, in accordance with the peaceful 
rule of Solomon, the administrator of the kingdom (or prime 
minister) : " Azariah the son of Zadok was ii]3ri/' i,e. not the 
priest, but the administrator of the kingdom, the representative 
of the king before the people ; like 1^3 in ver. 5, where this word 
is interpreted by 'n??^L' ^T}., with this difference, however, arising 
from the article before ii?'3, that Azariah was the Kohen par 
excellence, that is to say, held the first place among the confidential 
counsellors of the king, so that his dignity was such as befitted 
the office of an administrator of the kingdom. Compare tlie 
explanation of \\i'^ at 2 Sam. viii. 1 8. The view of the Vulgate, 
Luther, and others, which has been revived by Thenius, namely, 
that p'3 is to be connected as a genitive with pi*i^'"t? in oppo- 
sition to the accents, "Azariah the son of Zadok the priest," is 
incorrect, and does not even yield any sense, since the connection 
of these words with the following Elicliorcjjh, etc., is precluded by 
the absence of the copula Vav, which would be indispensable if 
Azariah had held the same office as the two brothers Elichoreph 
and Achijali.^ Moreover, Azariah the son of Zadok cannot be 
a grandson of Zadok the high priest, i.e. a son of Ahimaaz the 
son of Zadok, as many infer from 1 Chron. v, 34, 35 (vi. 8, 9) ; 
for, apart from the fact that Zadok's grandson can hardly have 
been old enough at the time for Solomon to invest him witli 

1 The objection by Avhich Thenius tries to set aside this argument, which 
has been already advanced by Houhigant, viz. that "if the first (Azariah) was 
not also a state scribe, the copula would be inserted, as it is everywhere else 
from ver. 4 onwards when a new office is mentioned," proves nothing at all, 
because the copula is also omitted in ver. 3, where the new office of "T'STD 
is introduced. 

CHAP. IV. 1-6. 45 

the chief dignity in the kingdom, which would surely be con- 
ferred upon none but men of mature years, we can see no reason 
why the Azariah mentioned here should not be called the son of 
Ahimaaz. If the Zadok referred to here was the high priest of 
that name, Azariah can only have been a brother of Ahimaaz. 
And there is no real difficulty in the way, since the name Azariah 
occurs three times in the line of high priests (1 Chron. v. 36, 
39), and therefore was by no means rare. — Ver. 3. ElicJwrcj^h 
and Achijah, sons of Shisha, who had held the same office 
under David, were secretaries of state (D"'"!öb: see at 2 Sam. 
viii. 17 and xx. 25, where the different names i^^''^ = ^''ty and 
'"^n^ are also discussed). — JchosJiajjJiat the son of Aliilud was the 
chancellor, as he had already been in the time of David (2 Sam. 
viii. 17 and xx. 24). The rendering of Thenius, "whilst 
Jehoshaphat was chancellor," is grammatically impossible. — 
Ver. 4. On Benaiali, compare ch. ii. 35 and the Commentary 
on 2 Sam. xxiii. 20. On Zadok and Ahiathar, see at 2 Sam. 
viii. 17. It appears strange that Abiathar should be named as 
priest, i.e. as high priest, along with Zadok, since Solomon had 
deposed him from the priestly office (ch. ii. 27, 35), and we 
cannot imagine any subsequent pardon. The only possible 
explanation is that proposed by Theodoret, namely, that Solo- 
mon had only deprived him of the apxn, 'i-C- of the priest's 
office, but not of the lepcoavvT) or priestly dignity, because this 
was hereditary.-' — Ver. 5. Azariah the son of Nathan was over 
the Ci^Di'J^ ix. the twelve officers named in vers. 7 sqq. Zahud 
the son of Nathan was tnb (not the son of " Nathan the priest," 
as Luther and many others render it), tnb is explained by the 
epithet appended, ^?'2n nyn : privy councillor, i.e. confidential 
adviser of the king. Nathan is not the prophet of that name, 
as Thenius supposes, but the son of David mentioned in 2 Sam. 
V. 14. Azariah and Zabud were therefore nephews of Solomon. 
— ^Ver. 6. AhisJiar was n)2n bv, over the palace, i.e. governor 
of the palace, or minister of the king's household (compare 
ch. xvi. 9, 2 Kings xviii. 18, and Isa. xxii. 15), an office met 
with for the first time imder Solomon. Adoniram, probably 
the same person as Adoram in 2 Sam. xx. 24, was chief over- 
seer of the tributary service. He was so in the time of David 

oi/K ey. ;^£/|0(/TOj</«j-, «AX' ex, yoviKTjg u^'^v oiocoox^S- — ThE0D0I;ET. 


Vers. 7-19. Solomon's Official Persons and their Dis- 
tricts. — Ver. 7. Solomon had (appointed) twelve Q''?^? over all 
Israel, who provided O-'???) for the king and his house, i.e. sup- 
plied provisions for the necessities of the court. These prefects 
are not to he regarded as " chamherlains," or administrators of 
the royal domains (Michaelis and Ewald), for these are men- 
tioned in 1 Chron. xxvii. 25 sqq. under a different title. They 
are "general receivers of taxes," or " chief tax-collectors," as 
Eosenmliller expresses it, who levied the king's duties or taxes, 
which consisted in the East, as they still do to the present time, 
for the most part of natural productions, or the produce of the 
land, and not of money payments as in the West, and delivered 
them at the royal kitchen (Eosenmliller, A. unci ]\^. Morgenland, 
iii, p. 1 6 6). It cannot be inferred from the explanation given 
by Josephus, I'jye/j.ove'i koX a-TpaTTjyol, that they exercised a kind 
of government, as Thenius suj)poses, since this explanation is 
nothing but a subjective conjecture. " One month in the year 
was it every one's duty ("in^i^ by riNT) to provide." The districts 
assigned to the twelve prefects coincide only partially with the 
territories of the tribes, because the land was probably divided 
among them according to its greater or smaller productiveness. 
Moreover, the order in which the districts are enumerated is 
not a geographical one, but probably follows the order in which 
the different prefects had to send the natural productions month 
by month for the maintenance of the king's court. The de- 
scription begins with Ephraim in ver. 8, then passes over in 
ver. 9 to the territory of Dan to the west of it, in ver. 1 to the 
territory of Judah and Simeon on the south, in vers. 1 1 and 1 2 
to the territory of Manasseh on this side from the Mediterranean 
to the Jordan, then in vers. 13 and 14 to the territory of 
Manasseh on the other side of the Jordan, thence back again in 
vers. 1 5 and 1 6 to the northern parts of the land on this side, 
viz. the territories of Naphtali and Asher, and thence farther 
south to Issachar in ver. 17, and Benjamin in ver. 18, closing 
at last in ver. 19 with Gilead. — Vers. 8 sqq. In the names of 
the prefects we are struck with the fact, that in the case of five 
of them the names given are not their own but their fathers' 
names. It is very improbable that the proper names should 
have dropped out five times (as Clericus, Michaelis, and others 
suppose) ; and consequently there is simply the assumption left, 
that the persons in question bore their fathers' names with Ben 

CHAP. IV. 7-19. 47 

prefixed as their own proper names : Benlmr, Bendekcr, etc., after 
the analogy of Bcnclianan in 1 Chron. iv. 20 and others, al- 
though such a proper name as Bcn-Ahinadab (ver. 11) appears 
very strange, Benhur was stationed on the mountains of 
Ephraim. These mountains, here only the mountainous district 
of the trihe of Ephraim, were among the most fruitful portions 
of Palestine (see at Josh. xvii. 14, 15). — Ver. 9. Bencleker was 
in Mahaz, a city only mentioned here, the situation of which 
is unknown, hut which is at any rate to be sought for in the 
tribe of Dan, to which the other cities of this district belong. 
Shaalbim has probably been preserved in the present Sdhit, to 
the north-west of Yulo (see at Josh. xix. 42). Bethshemcsh, the 
present -4m-/S7iC7?ts (see at Josh. xv. 10), Elon (I^''''??), which is 
distinguished from Ajalon (Josh. xix. 42 and 43) by the epithet 
Bethclianan, and belonged to the tribe of Dan, has not yet been 
discovered (see at Josh. xix. 43). The LXX. have arbitrarily 
interpolated e»? before Bethclianan, and Thenius naturally takes 
this under his protection, and consequently traces Bethclianan in 
the village of Beit Hunun (Eob. Pal. ii. p. 371), but without con- 
sidering that €0)9 yields no reasonable sense unless preceded by 
}0, eV (from; cf. ver. 12). — ^Ver. 10. Benliesed was in Arubhoih, 
which does not occur again, so that its situation, even if it should 
be identical with Arah in Josh. xv. 52, as Böttcher conjectures, 
can only be approximatively inferred from the localities which 
follow. To him (}p), i.e. to his district, belonged Sochoh and all 
the land of Hepher. From Sochoh we may see that Benhesed's 
district was in the tribe of Judah. Of the two Socholis in Judah, 
that still exist under the name of Shutoeikeh, it is impossible to 
determine with certainty which is intended here, whether the 
one upon the mountains (Josh. xv. 48) or the one in the plain 
(Josh. XV. 35). The fact that it is associated with the land of 
Hepher rather favours the latter. The land of Hejpher, which 
must not be confounded with the city of Gath-Hcpher in the tribe 
of Zebulun (Josh. xix. 13; 2 Kings xiv. 25), but was the territory 
of one of the Canaanitish kings who were defeated by Joshua, 
was probably situated in the plain (see at Josh. xii. 17). — 
Ver. 11. Ben-Abinadah had the whole of the high range of 
Dor ("l^^'^ ri33^ Josh. xii. 23), i.e. the strip of coast on the Medi- 
terranean Sea below the promontory of Carmel, where the city 
of Bar, which has been preserved in the village of Tantura or 
Tortura, nine miles to the north of Cgesarea, was situated (see 


at Josh. xi. 2). Whether this district embraced the fruitful 
plain of Sharon is not so clearly made out as Thenius supposes. 
^*ir?^'l| stands at the head ahsolutely, without any gram- 
matical connection with nDr?3 : " Abinadab : the whole of the 
high range of Dor," etc. The person named was probably a son 
of David's eldest brother but one (1 Sam. xvi. 8, xvii. 13), and 
therefore Solomon's cousin ; and he had married Solomon's 
daughter. — Ver. 12. Baana the son of Ahilud was most likely 
a brother of Jehoshaphat the chancellor (ver. 3). This district 
embraced the cities on the southern edge of the plain of Jezreel, 
and extended to the Jordan. Taanach and Megiddo, which 
have been preserved in the villages of Taanuh and Lcjun, were 
situated on the south-western border of this plain, and belonged 
to the Manassites (see at Josh. xii. 21, xvii. 11). "And all 
Bethshean," in other words, the whole of the district of Beth- 
shean, i.e. Beisan, at the eastern end of the valley of Jezreel, 
where it opens into the Jordan valley (Eob. Pal. ii. p. 740 sqq.), 
" which (district was situated) by the side of Zarthan below 
Jezreel, from (the town of) Bethshean (see at Josh. xvii. 11) to 
Abel-Mecholah, on the other side of Jokmeam." Zarthan, also 
called Zcrecla (compare ch. vii. 46 with 2 Chron. iv. 17), has 
probably been preserved, so far as the name is concerned, in 
Kuril Sartahch, in the neighbourhood of which the old city pro- 
bably stood, about five miles to the south of Beisan, at a point 
where the Jordan valley contracts (see at Josh. iii. 16). The 
expression " below Jezreel " refers to " all Bethshean," and may 
be explained from the elevated situation of Jezreel, the present 
Zerin (see at Josh. xix. 18). According to Ptob. iii. p. 163, 
this is " comparatively high, and commands a wide and noble 
view, extending down the broad low valley on the east of Beisan 
and to the moimtains of Ajlun beyond the Jordan." The fol- 
lowing words, " from Bethshean to Abel-j\lecliolah," give a more 
precise definition of the boundary. The LXX. have erroneously 
inserted koX before |NC'"n''3ü^ and Thenius and Böttcher defend it 
on the strength of their erroneous interpretations of the pre- 
ceding statements. Abel-Mccliolah was in the Jordan valley, 
according to the Oiwmasf., ten Eoman miles to the south of 
Beisan (see at Judg. vii. 22). The last clause is not quite 
intelligible to us, as the situation of the Levitical city Jokmeam 
(1 Chron. vi. 53, or Kibzaim, a different place from the Jokncam 
on Carmcl, Josh. xii. 22, xxi. 34) has not yet been discovered 

CHAP. IV. 7-19. 49 

(see at Josh. xxi. 22). According to this, Baanah's district in 
the Jordan valley did not extend so far as Kurn Sartabch, but 
simply to the neighbourhood of Zarthan, and embraced the 
whole of the tribe-territory of Manasseh on this side of the 
Jordan. — Ver. 13. Bengeber was in Eamotli of Gilead in the 
tribe of Gad (Josh. xx. 8), probably on the site of the modern 
Szalt (see at Deut. iv. 43). " To him belonged the Havvoth Jair 
(Jair's-lives) in Gilead, to him the region of Argoh in Bashan, 
sixty great cities with walls and brazen bolts." If we look at 
this passage alone, the region of Argob in Bashan appears to be 
distinct from the Havvoth Jair in Gilead. But if we compare 
it with Num. xxxii. 40, 41, Deut. iii. 4, 5, and 13, 14, and 
Josh. xiii. 30, it is evident from these passages that the Jair's- 
lives are identical with the sixty large and fortified cities of the 
region of Argob. For, according to Deut. iii. 4, these sixty for- 
tified cities, with high walls, gates, and bars, were all fortified 
cities of the kingdom of Og of Bashan, which the Israelites con- 
quered under Moses, and to which, according to Num. xxxii. 41, 
Jair the Manassite, who had conquered them, gave the name 
of Havvoth Jair. Hence it is stated in Josh. xiii. 30, that the 
sixty Jair-towns were situated in Bashan. Consequently the 
'ns ?3n i? in our verse is to be taken as a more precise defini- 
tion of 1^1 "l''^5J nin 17^ or a clearer description of the district 
superintended by Bcngebcr, so that Gilead is used, as is frequently 
the case, in the broader sense of Perma. Compare with this the 
Commentary on Deut. iii. 4 and 13, 14, where the names ^inj^; 
and nin are explained, and the imaginary discrepancy between 
the sixty Jair's-towns in the passages cited, and the twenty- 
three and thirty cities of Jair in 1 Chron. ii. 22 and Judg. x. 4, 
is discussed and solved. And when Thenius objects to this 
explanation on the ground that the villages of Jair cannot 
be identical with the sixty fortified cities, because villages of 
nomads and strongly fortified cities could not be one and the 
same, this objection falls to the ground with the untenable in- 
terpretation of nin as applying to nomad villages. — Ver. 14. 
Aliinadab the son of Iddo received as his district Mahanaim, a 
fortified and probably also a very important city to the north of 
the Jabbok, on the border of the tribe of Gad, which may perhaps 
have been preserved in the ruin of Mahneh (see at Josh. xiii. 2 6 
and Gen. xxxii. 3). no^jno, to Mahanaim (cf. Ewald, § 216, a, 
note), with n local, probably referring to the fact that Ahinadab 



was sent away to Malianaim. — Ver. 15. Ahimaaz, possibly 
Zadok's son (2 Sam. xv. 27, xvii. 17 sqq.), in HajyJitali. This 
does not denote generally " tlie most northern portion of the 
land, say from the northern end of the lake of Gennesaret into 
Coele-Syria," as Thenius supposes ; for the tribe-territory of 
Asher, Avhich had a prefect of its own, was not situated to the 
south-west of Naphtali, but ran along the west of ISTaphtali to 
the northern boundary of Canaan (see at Josh. xix. 24—31). 
He also (like Ben-Abinadab, ver. 1 1) had a daughter of Solomon, 
Basmath, as his wife. — Ver. 16. Baanah the son of Husliai, 
probably the faithful friend and wise counsellor of David 
(2 Sam. XV. 32 sqq., xvii. 5 sqq.), was in Asher and T\VV2^ a 
name quite unlcnown. If 3 forms part of the word {Baaloth, 
according to the LXX., Vulg., Syr., and Arab.), we must take it 
as a district, since the preposition 1 would necessarily have been 
repeated if a district {Asher) had been connected with a town 
{Baaloth). In any case, it is not the city of Baaloth in the 
Negeb of Judah (Josh. xv. 24) that is intended. — Ver. 17. 
Jehoshaphat the son of Paruach, in Issachar ; i.e. over the whole 
of the territory of that tribe in the plain of Jezreel, with the 
exception of the cities of Taanach, Megiddo, and Betlishean, 
which were in the southern portion of it, and were allotted to 
the Manassites, and, according to ver. 12, were put under the 
care of Baanah ; and not merely in the northern part of 
Issachar, " with the exception of the plain of Jezreel," as 
Thenius erroneously maintains. Zebulun may possibly have 
also formed part of his district, if not entirely, yet in its 
southern portion, provided that the northern portion was 
assigned to Ahimaaz in Naphtali, since Zebulun had no prefect 
of its own. — Ver. 18. Shimei the son of Elah, possibly the one 
mentioned in ch. i. 8, in Benjamin. — Ver. 19. Geber the son of 
TJri, in the land of Gilead, i.e., as the apposition " the land of 
Sihon . . . and of Og . . ." clearly shows, the whole of the 
Israelitish land on the east of the Jordan, as in Deut. xxxiv. 1, 
Judg. XX. 1, etc., with the simple exception of the districts 
placed under Bengeber and Ahinadab (vers. 13 and 14). 3"'^3 
nnx, " one president was it who (was) in the land (of Gilead)." 
^^V^ cannot signify a military post or a garrison here, as in 1 Sam. 
X, 5, xiii. 3, etc., but is equivalent to ^b*:^ the president (ver. 7"). 
The meaning is, that notwithstanding the great extent of this 
district, it had only one prefect. 

CHAP. IV. 20-28. 51 

In ver. 20 the account of Solomon's officers is closed by a 
general remark as to the prosperous condition of the whole 
nation; though we miss the copula Vav at the commencement. 
The words, " Judah and Israel were numerous as the sand by 
the sea," indicate that the promise given to the patriarchs (Gen. 
xxii. 17, c£ xxxii. 13) had been fulfilled. To this there is 
appended in ch. v. 1 the remark concerning the extent of Solo- 
mon's sway, which prepares the way for what follows, and shows 
how the other portion of the promise, " thy seed will possess the 
gates of its enemies," had been fulfilled. — The first fourteen 
verses of ch. v. are therefore connected by the LXX., Vulg., 
Luther, and others with ch. iv. It is not till ch. v. 15 that a 
new section begins. 

Chap. iv. 21-28 (v. 1-8). Solomon's Eegal Splendour. — 
Ver. 21. "Solomon was ruler over all the kingdoms from the 
river (Euphrates) onwards, over the land of the Philistines to the 
border of Egypt, who brought presents and were subject to Solo- 
mon his whole life long." Most of the commentators supply '^V] 
before Q''Jjif ?3 P.^* (even to the land of the Philistines) after the 
parallel passage 2 Chron. ix. 26, so that the following ?^3a IV) 
would give a more precise definition of the terminus ad quern. 
But it is by no means probable that '^V), which appears to be 
indispensable, should have dropped out through the oversight of 
a copyist, and it is not absolutely necessary to supply it, inas- 
much as ^ may be repeated in thought before 's H^ from the 
preceding clause. The participle D^?^ is construed ad sensum 
with nbpoa. Bringing presents is equivalent to paying tribute, 
as in 2 Sam. viii. 2, etc. — Vers. 22 sqq. The splendour of the 
court, the consumption in the royal kitchen (vers. 22-25), and 
the well-filled stables (vers. 26-28), were such as befitted the 
ruler of so large a kingdom. — Vers. 22, 23. The daily con- 
sumption of tirh (food or provisions) amounted to thirty cors of 
fine meal (Top = D''tf n tdd^ fine sifted meal, Ex. xxix. 2 ; for 
ri>D see also Lev. ii. 1) and sixty cors of nojp^ ordinary meal, 
ten fattened oxen, twenty pasture oxen, which were brought 
directly from the pasture and slaughtered, and a hundred sheep, 
beside different kinds of game, lb, Kopo^, the later name for 
lon^ the largest dry and also liquid (ch. v. 1 1) measure of capa- 
city, contained ten ephahs or baths, i.e., according to the calcula- 
tion made by Thenius, 15,300 cubic inches (Dresden) = about 


1-|- sclicffd ;^ so that ninety cors wonld amount to l7l schcffel, 
from which 28,000 lbs. of bread could be baked [Tluol. Stud. 
und Krit. 1846, pp. 132, 133). And "if we reckon 2 lbs. of 
bread to each person, there would be 14,000 persons in Solomon's 
court." The consumption of flesh would be quite in proportion 
to that of bread ; for ten fattened oxen, twenty oxen from the 
pasture, and a hundred sheep, yield more than 21,000 lbs. of 
meat, that is to say, a pound and a half for each person, " assuming, 
according to the statements of those who are acquainted with the 
matter, that the edible meat of a fat ox amounts to 600 lbs., 
that of an ox from the pasture to 400 lbs., and that of a sheep to 
70 lbs." (Thenius ut sup). This daily consumption of Solomon's 
court will not appear too great, if, on the one hand, we compare 
it with the quantity consumed at other oriental courts both of 
ancient and modern times,^ and if, on the other hand, w^e bear 
in mind that not only the numerous attendants upon the king 
and his harem, but also the royal adjutants and the large num- 
ber of officers employed about the court, were supplied from the 
king's table, and that their families had also to be fed, inas- 
much as the wages in oriental courts are all paid in land. In 
addition to this, game was also supplied to the king's table : 
viz. ^*^ stags, '3V gazelles, iion^ fallow-deer, and Q'D'i^n; D^iann 
" fattened fowl." The meaning of Q''"!^')? is doubtful. The earlier 
translators render it birds or fowl. Kimchi adopts the render- 
ing "capons;" Tancli. Hieros. "geese," so called from their pure 
("ina) white feathers ; and both Gesenius and Dietrich {Lex) 
decide in favour of the latter. The word must denote some 
special kind of fowl, since edible birds in general were called 
Dnsy (Neh. V. 18). — Vers. 24, 25. Solomon was able to appro- 
priate all this to his court, because C"?) he had dominion, etc.; 
. . . and (ver. 25) Israel and Judah enjoyed the blessings of peace 
during the whole of his reign. "in3n nny^PDB " over all the other 
side of the river (Euphrates)," i.e. not the land on the east, but 
that on the west of the river. This usage of speech is to be 
explained from the fact that the author of our books, who was 
living in exile on the other side of the Euphrates, describes the 

^ The scheffel is about an English sack (yid. Fliigel's Diet.). — Tr. 

2 According to Athen. Deipnos. iv. 10, the kings of Persia required a thou- 
sand oxen a day ; and according to Tavernier, in Rosenmiiller's .1. it. N. Mor- 
genland, iii. pp. 166, 167, five hundred sheep and lambs were slaughtered daily 
for the Sultan's court. 

CHAP. IV. 21-28. Do 

extent of Solomon's kingdom taking that as his starting-point. 
Solomon's power only extended to the Euphrates, from Tiphsach 
in the north-east to Gaza in the south-west, npsn (crossing, 
from npa) is Thapsacus, a large and wealthy city on the western 
bank of the Euphrates, at which the armies of the younger 
Cyrus and Alexander crossed the river (Xen. Anah. i. 4 ; Arrian, 
Uxped. Alex. iii. 7). Gaza, the southernmost city of the Philis- 
tines, the present Guzzch ; see at Josh. xiii. 3. The i?y ''??^ 
"inan are the kings of Syria who were subjugated by David 
(2 Sam. viii. 6 and x. 19), and of the Philistines (2 Sam. 
viii. 1). "And he had peace on all sides round about." This 
statement does not "most decidedly contradict ch. xi. 23 sqq.," 
as Thenius maintains ; for it cannot be proved that according 
to this passage the revolt of Damascus had taken place before 
Solomon's reign (Ewald and others; see at ch. xi. 23 sqq.). — 
Ver. 25, " Judah and Israel sat in safety, every one under his 
vine and his fig-tree." This expresses the undisturbed enjoy- 
ment of the costly productions of the land (2 Kings xviii. 31), 
and is therefore used by the prophets as a figure denoting 
the happiness of the Messianic age (Mic. iv. 4 ; Zech. iii. 1 0). 
"From Dan to Beersheba," as in Judg. xx. 1, etc. — 'Ver. 26. 
This verse is not to be regarded " as a parenthesis according to 
the intention of the editor," but gives a further proof of the 
peace and prosperity which the kingdom and people enjoyed 
under Solomon. Solomon had a strong force of war chariots 
and cavalry, that he might be able to suppress every attempt on 
the part of the tributary kings of Syria and Philistia to revolt 
and disturb the peace. "Solomon had 4000 racks of horses 
for his chariots, and 12,000 riding horses," which were kept 
partly in Jerusalem and partly in cities specially built for the 
purpose (ch. ix. 19, x. 26; 2 Chron. i. 14, ix. 25). DWX (40) 
is an old copyist's error for nyins (4), which we find in the 
parallel passage 2 Chron. ix. 25, and as we may also infer from 
ch. X. 26 and 2 Chron. i. 14, since according to these pas- 
sages Solomon had 1400 ^an or war chariots. For 4000 
horses are a very suitable number for 1400 chariots, though not 
40,000, since two draught horses were required for every war 
chariot, and one horse may have been kept as a reserve, ninx 
does not mean a team (Ges.), but a rack or box in a stable, from 
n"iK, earpere. According to Vegetius, i. 56, in Bochart (Hieroz. i. 
p. 112, ed. Eos.), even in ancient times every horse had its own 


crib in the stable just as it has now. Böttcher {n. ex. Krit. 
Achrcnl. ii. p. 27) is wrong in supposing that there were several 
horses, say at least ten, to one rack. 23"i?^ is used collectively 
for "chariots." — Ver. 27. "And" = a still further proof of the 
blessings of peace — "those prefects (vers. 7 sqq.) provided for 
king Solomon, and all Avho came to the king's table, i.e. who 
were fed from the royal table, every one his month (see at 
ver. 7), so that nothing was wanting (ver. 28), and conveyed the 
barley (the ordinary food of cattle in Palestine and the southern 
lands, where oats are not cultivated) and the straw for the horses 
and coursers to the place where it ought to be. To "i??'X 
DK' iTni the LXX., Vulg., and others supply ^?ön as the subject : 
wherever the king might stay. This is certainly more in har- 
mony with the imperfect n\T than it would be to supply ^^y^, 
as Bochart and others propose ; still it is hardly correct. For 
in that case ^^J^) ö''plBc' could only be understood as referring 
to the chariot horses and riding horses, which Solomon kept for 
the necessities of his court, and not to the whole of the cavalry; 
since we cannot possibly assume that even if Solomon changed 
his residence according to the season and to suit his pleasure, 
or on political grounds, as Thenius supposes, though this cannot 
by any means be inferred from ch. ix. 18 and 19, he took 
16,000 horses about with him. But this limitation of the 
clause is evidently at variance with the context, since D"'p^Dp 
^?"!1^'! too plainly refer back to ver. 6. IMoreover, " if the king 
were intended, he would certainly have been mentioned by 
name, as so many other subjects and objects have come be- 
tween." For these reasons we agree with Böttcher in taking 
n;'!!"; indefinitely : "where it (barley and straw) was wanted, accord- 
ing to the distribution of the horses." tJ'^l probably denotes a 
very superior kind of horse, like the German Ecnncr (a courser 
or race-horse). iüQlJ'ba ^''^^ every one according to his right, i.e. 
whatever was appointed for him as right. 

Vers. 29-34. Solomon's Wisdom. — Ver. 29. According to 
His promise in ch. iii. 12, God gave Solomon wisdom and very 
much insight and 3^ 3nn, "breadth of heart," i.e. a compre- 
hensive understanding, as sand by the sea-shore, — a proverbial 
expression for an innumerable multitude, or great abundance 
(cf. ch. iv. 20, Gen. xli. 49, Josh. xi. 4, etc.). HMH signifies 
rather practical wisdom, ability to decide what is the judicious 

CHAP. IV. 29-34. 55 

and useful course to pursue ; 'IJI^J!!, rather keenness of under- 
standing to arrive at the correct solution of difiicult and com- 
plicated problems ; 2? 3nn, mental capacity to embrace the most 
diverse departments of knowledge. — Ver. 30. His wisdom was 
greater than the wisdom of all the sons of the East, and all the 
wisdom of the Egyptians. Qlp ''J3 (sons of the East) are gene- 
rally the Arabian tribes dwelling in the east of Canaan, who 
spread as far as to the Euphrates (cf Judg. vi. 3, 33, vii. 12, 
viii. 10, Job i. 3, Isa. xi. 14, etc.). Hence we find D'l.i^ Yl^^ 
used in Gen. xxv. 6 to denote Arabia in the widest sense, on 
the east and south-east of Palestine ; whereas in Gen. xxix. 1 
Dli^ ''J3 f}^ signifies the land beyond the Euphrates, viz. Meso- 
]3otamia, and in ISTum. xxiii. 7, Q"7P ^lin, the mountains of Meso- 
potamia. Consequently by " the sons of the East " we are to 
understand here primarily the Arabians, who were celebrated for 
their gnomic wisdom, more especially the Sabseans (see at ch. x.), 
including the Idumaeans, particularly the Temanites (Jer. xlix. 7 ; 
Obad. 8) ; but also, as bb requires, the Chaldseans, who were 
celebrated both for their astronomy and astrology. "All the 
wisdom of the Egyptians," because the wisdom of the Egyptians, 
which was so greatly renowned as almost to have become proverbial 
(c£ Isa. xix. 11, xxxi. 2, and Acts vii. 22 ; Joseph. Ant. viii. 
2, 5 ; Herod, ii. 160), extended over the most diverse branches 
of knowledge, such as geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and 
astrology (Diod. Sic. i. 73 and 81), and as their skill in the 
preparation of ointments from vegetable and animal sources, and 
their extensive acquaintance with medicine, clearly prove, em- 
braced natural science as well, in which Solomon, according to 
ver. 33, was very learned. — Ver. 31. "He was wiser than all 
men (of his time), than Ethan the Ezrachite and Heinan, Chal- 
col and Darda, the sons of Machol." These four persons are 
most probably the same as the " sons of Zerach" (Ethan, Heman, 
Calcol, and Dara) mentioned in 1 Chron. ii. 6, since the names 
perfectly agree, with the exception of Wl for VT]\ where the 
difference is no doubt attributable to a copyist's error ; although, 
as the name does not occur again, it cannot be decided whether 
Dara or Darda is the correct form. ITeman and Ethan are also 
called Ezrachites (''Olt^^C') i^ ^^- Ixxxviii. 1 and Ixxxix. 1 ; and 
"■O"!!^ is another form of "TilT, the name of the family of Zerach 
the son of Judah (Num. xxvi. 13, 20), lengthened by n prosthct. 
But they were both Levites — Hcman a Korahite of the line of 


Kohath and a grandson of Samuel (1 Chron. vi. 18, 19), and 
Ethan a Merarite (1 Chron. vi. 29-32, xv. 17) and the presi- 
dent of the Levitical vocal choirs in the time of David (1 Chron. 
XV. 1 9) ; and Heman was also " the king's seer in the words of 
God" (1 Chron. xxv. 5). Their Levitical descent is not at 
variance with the epithet Ezrachite. For as the Levite in Judg. 
xvii. 7 is spoken of as belonging to the family of Judah, because 
he dwelt in Bethlehem of Judah, and as Samuel's father, Elkanah 
the Levite, is called an Ephraimite in 1 Sam. i. 1, because in 
his civil capacity he was incorporated into the tribe of Ephraim, 
so Heman and Ethan are called Ezrachites because they were 
incorporated into the Judsean family of Zerach. It by no means 
follows from 1 Chron. ii. 6 that they were lineal descendants 
of Zerach. The whole character of the genealogical fragment 
contained in 1 Chron. ii. 6 sqq. shows very clearly that it 
does not give the lineal posterity of Zerach with genealogical 
exactness, but that certain persons and households of that family 
who had gained historical renown are grouped together without 
any more precise account of their lineal descent. Calcol and 
Darda (or Dara) are never met with ac^ain. It is no doubt to 
these two that the expression ^'ino "«Ja refers, though it cannot 
be determined whether ?Sno is a proj)er name or an appellative 
noun. In support of the appellative meaning, " sons of the 
dance," in the sense of sacras choreas ducendi 'periti, Hiller (in the 
Onomast. p. 872) appeals to Eccles. xii. 4, "daughters of song." 
— " And his name was," i.e. he was celebrated, " among all the 
nations round about" (cf. ch. x. 1, 23, 24). — Ver. 32. " He 
spoke three thousand proverbs, and there were a thousand and 
five of his songs." Of these proverbs we possess a comparatively 
small portion in the book of Proverbs, probably a selection of 
the best of his proverbs ; but of the songs, besides the Song of 
Songs, we have only two psalms, viz. Ps. Lxxii. and cxxvii., which 
have his name, and justly bear it. — Ver. 33. "And he spoke of 
trees, from the cedar on Lebanon to the hyssop which grows 
upon the wall." The cedar and hyssop are placed in antitliesis, 
the former as the largest and most glorious of trees, the latter as 
the smallest and most insignificant of plants, to embrace the 
whole of the vegetable kingdom. Thenius maintains that by 
3iTN we are not to understand the true hyssop?, nor the Woht- 
gemuth or Dosten {oplr/avov), according to the ordinary view (see 
at Ex. xii. 22), because they are neither of them such small 

CHAP. V. 57 

plants as we should expect in antithesis to the cedar, Ijut " one 
of the wall-mosses growing in tufts, more especially the ortho- 
trichum saxatile (Oken), which forms a miniature hyssop with its 
lancet-shaped leaves, and from its extreme minuteness furnishes 
a perfect antithesis to the cedar." There is much to favour this 
view, since we can easily imagine that the Hebrews may have 
reckoned a moss, which resembled the hyssop in its leaves, as 
being itself a species of hyssop. — " And of beasts and birds, of 
creeping things and fishes ; " the four principal classes into which 
the Hebrews divided the animal kingdom. Speaking of plants 
and animals presupposes observations and researches in natural 
science, or botanical and zoological studies. — Ver. 34. The wide- 
spread fame of his wisdom brought many strangers to Jerusalem, 
and all the more because of its rarity at that time, especially 
among princes. The coming of the queen of Sheba to Jerusalem 
(ch. X.) furnishes a historical proof of this.^ 


Immediately after the consolidation of his kingdom, Solomon 
commenced the preparations for the building of a temple, first of 
all by entering into negotiations with king Hiram of Tyre, to 
procure from him not only the building materials requisite, 
viz. cedars, cypresses, and hewn stones, but also a skilled work- 
man for the artistic work of the temple (vers. 1—12); and, 
secondly, by causing the number of workmen required for this 
great work to be raised out of his own kingdom, and sending 
them to Lebanon to prepare the materials for the building in 
connection with the Tyrian builders . (vers. 13-18). — We have 

1 Greatly as the fame of Solomon's wisdom is extolled in tbese verses, it 
was far outdone in subsequent times. Even Josephus has considerably adorned 
the biblical accounts in his Antiqq. viii. 2, 5. He makes Solomon the author 
not only of 1005 ßtß'hioe. Tripl uouu kxI /u.s'kZv, and 800 ßißXov; Tra.pcißo'kuv kciI 
stKouiJv, but also of magical books with marvellous contents. Compare the 
extracts from Eupolcmus in Eusebii prxp. Ev. ix. 31 sqq., the remnants of 
Solomon's apocryphal writings in Fabricii Cod. apocr. V. T. i. pp. 914 sqq. 
and 1014 sq., the collection of the Talmudical Sagas in Othonis Lex. rahh. 
pldlol. pp. 6G8 sq., and G. Weil, hihl. Legenden der Mussulmünner, pp. 225-279. 
According to the Koran (^Siirc xxvii. vers. 17 sqq.), Solomon understood the 
languages not only of men and demons, but also of birds and ants. The Turkish 
literature contains a " Book of Solomon," Suleimanname, consisting of seventy 
volumes, from which v. Hammer (^Rosenöl, i. p. 147 sqq.) has given extracts. 


a parallel passage to this in 2 Chron. ii., wliicli agrees witli the 
account before ns in all the leading points, but differs in many 
of the details, omitting several things which were not essential 
to the main fact, and communicating others which are passed 
over in our account, e.g. Solomon's request that a Tyrian workman 
might be sent. This shows that the two accounts are extracts 
from a common and more elaborate source, the historical materials 
being worked up in a free and independent manner according 
to the particular plan adopted by each of the two authors. 
(For further remarks on the mutual relation of the two narratives, 
see my apologetischer Versuch über die Bücher der Chronik, pp. 216 

Vers. 1-12. Solor)ion'snegotiationswith Hiram of Tyre. — Ver. 1. 
When king Hiram of Tyre heard that Solomon had been 
anointed king in the place of David, he sent his servants, i.e. an 
embassage, to Solomon, to congratulate him (as the Syriac cor- 
rectly explains) on his ascent of the throne, because he had been 
a friend of David the whole time (D''p^n-?3^ ix. as long as both of 
them (David and Hiram) were kings). On Hiram and the length 
of his reign, see the remarks on 2 Sam. v. 11. This is passed 
over in the Chronicles as having no essential bearing upon the 
building of the temple. — Vers. 2-6. Solomon thereupon com- 
municated to Hiram, by means of an embassy, his intention to 
carry out the building of the temple which his father projected, 
and asked him for building wood from Lebanon for the purpose. 
From the words, " Thou knowest that my father David could not 
build," etc., it is evident that David had not only been busily 
occupied for a long time with the plan for building a temple, 
but that he had already commenced negotiations with Hiram on 
the matter ; and with this 1 Chron. xxii. 4 agrees. " To the 
name of Jehovah : " this expression is based upon Deut. xii. 
5 and 11:" the place which the Lord shall choose to put His 
name there, or that His name may dwell there." The name of 
Jehovah is the manifestation of the divine nature in a visible 
sign as a real pledge of His presence (see at xii. 5), and 
not merely numcn Java; quatenus ah hominihus cognoscitur, 
colifur, cclebratur (Winer, Thenius). Hence in 2 Sam. vii., to 
which Solomon refers, ^''.'^ y '""^^ (vers. 5 and 7) alternates with 
^öB'^n^nnia (ver. 13). On the obstacle which prevented it, 
" because of the war, Avith which they (the enemies) had sur- 
rounded me," see at 2 Sam. vii. 9 sqq. On the construction, 

CHAP. V. 1-12. 59 

33D with a double accusative, compare the very similar passage, 
Ps. cix. 3, which fully establishes the rendering we have given, 
so that there is no necessity to assume that nronpo^ war, stands 
for enemies (Ewald, § 317, &). — Ver. 4. " And now Jehovah my 
God has given me rest round about," such as David never 
enjoyed for a permanency (c£ 2 Sam. vii. 1). " No adversary 
is there." This is not at variance with ch. xi. 14, for Hadad's 
enterprise belonged to a later period (see the comm. on that 
passage). " And no evil occurrence :" such as the rebellions of 
Absalom and Sheba, the pestilence at the numbering of the 
people, and other events which took place in David's reign. — 
Ver. 5. " Behold, I intend to build." i'P^5 followed by an infini- 
tive, as in Ex. ii. 14, 2 Sam. xxi, 16. " As Jehovah spake to 
David;" viz. 2 Sam. vü. 12 and 13. — ^Ver. 6. "And now 
command that they fell me cedars from Lebanon." We may 
see from ver. 8 that Solomon had also asked for cypresses ; and 
according to the parallel passage 2 Chron. ii. 6 sqq., he had 
asked for a skilful artist, which is passed over here, so that it 
is only in ch. vii. 13, 14 that we find a supplementary notice 
that Hiram had sent one. It is evident from this request, that 
that portion of Lebanon on which the cedars suitable for building 
wood grew, belonged to the kingdom of Hiram. The cedar forest, 
which has been celebrated from very ancient times, was situated 
at least two days' journey to the north of Beirut, near the 
northernmost and loftiest summits of the range, by the village of 
Bjerrch, to the north of the road which leads to Baalbek and not 
far to the east of the convent of CanoMn, the seat of the patriarch 
of the Maronites, although Seetzen, the American missionaries, 
and Professor Ehrenberg found cedars and cedar groves in other 
places on northern Lebanon (see Eob. Pal. iii. 440, 441, and 
Bill. Bes. pp. 588 sqq.). The northern frontier of Canaan did 
not reach as far as Bjcrreh (see at Num. xxxiv. 8, 9). " My 
servants shall be with thy servants," i. e. shall help them in the 
felling of the wood (see at vers. 28, 29). "And the wages of 
thy servants will I give to thee altogether as thou sayest " (see 
at vers. 25, 26). " For thou knowest that no one among us is 
skilful in felling trees like the Sidonians." This refers to the 
knowledge of the most suitable trees, of the right time for felling, 
and of the proper treatment of the wood. The expression 
Sidonians stands for Phoenicians generally, since Sidon was 
formerly more powerful than Tyre, and that portion of Lebanon 


wliich produced the cedars belonged to the district of Sidon. The 
inhabitants of Sidon were celebrated from time immemorial as 
skilful builders, and well versed in mechanical arts (compare Eob. 
Pal. iii. 421 sqq., and Movers, Phcenizier, ii. 1, pp. 86 sqq.). 

Hiram rejoiced exceedingly at this proposal on the part of 
Solomon, and praised Jehovah for having given David so wise 
a son as his successor (ver. 21). It must have been a matter 
of great importance to the king of Tyre to remain on good terms 
with Israel, because the land of Israel was a granary for the 
Phoenicians, and friendship with such a neighbour would neces- 
sarily tend greatly to promote the interests of the Phoenician 
commerce. The praise of Jehovah on the part of Hiram does 
not presuppose a full recognition of Jehovah as the only true 
God, but simply that Hiram regarded the God of Israel as being 
as real a God as his own deities. Hiram expresses a fuller 
acknowledgment of Jehovah in 2 Chron, ii. 11, where he 
calls Jehovah the Creator of heaven and earth; which may be 
explained, however, from Hiram's entering into the religious 
notions of the Israelites, and does not necessarily involve his 
own personal belief in the true deity of Jehovah. — Vers. 8, 9. 
Hiram then sent to Solomon, and promised in writing (^^33, 
2 Chron. ii. 1 0) to comply with his wishes. ')n* ^n'?i^ i^\x riN 
" that which thou hast sent to me," i.e. hast asked of me by 
messenger. D'^^'iia are not firs, but cypresses. " My servants 
shall bring down (the trees) from Lebanon to the sea, and I will 
make them into rafts (i.e. bind them into rafts and have them 
floated) upon the sea to the place which thou shalt send (word) 
to me, and will take them (the rafts) to pieces there, and thou 
wilt take (i.e. fetch them thence)." The Chronicles give Yafo, 
i.e. Joppa, Jaffa, the nearest harbour to Jerusalem on the Medi- 
terranean Sea, as the landing-place (see at Josh. xix. 46). 
" And thou wilt do all my desire to give bread for my house," 
i.e. provisions to supply tlie wants of the king's court. " The 
"i3i^ mentioned in ver. 6 was also to be paid " (Thenius). This 
is quite correct ; but Thenius is wrong when he proceeds stiU 
further to assert, that the chronicler erroneously supposed this 
to refer to the servants of Hiram who were employed in work- 
ing the wood. There is not a word of this kind in the 
Chronicles ; but simply Solomon's promise to Hiram (ver. 9) : 
" with regard to the hewers (the fellers of the trees), I give thy 
servants wheat 20,000 cors, and barley 20,000 cors, and wine 

CHAP. V. 1-12, 61 

20,000 baths, and oil 20,000 baths." This is omitted in our 
account, in which the wages promised in ver. 6 to the Sidonian 
fellers of wood are not more minutely defined. On the other 
hand, the payment for the wood delivered by Solomon to Hiram, 
which is not mentioned in the Chronicles, is stated here in ver. 1 1. 
"Solomon gave Hiram 20,000 cors of wheat as food (n?3^^ a 
contraction of npbXD^ from ^^^ ; cf. Ewald, § 79, &) for his house 
(the maintenance of his royal court), and 20 cors of beaten oil ; 
this gave Solomon to Hiram year by year," probably as long as 
the delivery of the wood or the erection of Solomon's buildings 
lasted. These two accounts -are so clear, that Jac. Capp., Gramb., 
Mov., Thenius, and Bertheau, who have been led by critical pre- 
judices to confound them with one another, and therefore to 
attempt to emend the one from the other, are left quite alone. 
For the circumstance that the quantity of wheat, which Solomon 
supplied to Hiram for his court, was just the same as that which 
he gave to the Sidonian workmen, does not warrant our identi- 
fying the two accounts. The fellers of the trees also received 
barley, wine, and oil in considerable quantities ; whereas the 
only other thing which Hiram received for his court was oil, 
and that not common oil, but the finest olive oil, namely 20 
cors of IT'ria |J3^, ic. beaten oil, the finest kind of oil, which 
was obtained from the olives when not quite ripe by pounding 
them in mortars, and which had not only a whiter colour, but 
also a purer flavour than the common oil obtained by pressing 
from the ripe olives (cf. Celsii Hicrdbot. ii. pp. 349 sq., and 
Bahr, Symholih, i. p. 419). Twenty cors were 200 baths, i.e., 
according to the calculations of Thenius, about ten casks (1 cask 
= 6 pails ; 1 pail = 72 cans). If we bear in mind that this 
was the finest kind of oil, we cannot speak of disproportion to 
the quantity of wheat delivered. Thenius reckons that 20,000 
cors of wheat were' about 38,250 Dresden scheffeln (? sacks). — 
Ver. 12. The remark that " the Lord gave Solomon wisdom" refers 
not merely to the treaty which Solomon made with Hiram, through 
which he obtained materials and skilled workmen for the erection 
of the house of God (Thenius), but also to the wise use which he 
made of the capacities of his own subjects for this work. For 
this verse not only brings to a close the section relating to 
Solomon's negotiations with Hiram, but it also forms an intro- 
duction to the following verses, in which the intimation given 
by Solomon in ver. 6, concerning the labourers who were to fell 


wood upon Lebanon in company with Hiram's men, is more 
minutely defined. 

Vers. 13—18. Tlie tributary labourers out of Israel. — Vers. 13, 
14. Solomon raised a tribute (DO, tribute-labourers, as in cb. 
iv. 6) out of all Israel, i.e. out of the whole nation (not " out 
of the whole territory of Israel," as Ewald supposes), 30,000 
men, and sent them up to Lebanon, 10,000 a month in rota- 
tion ; one month they were on Lebanon (doing tribute work), 
two months at home (looking after the cultivation of their own 
ground). ^V'^X from '^^VJ}, does not mean in tdbulas refcrre, in 
support of which appeal is made to 1 Chron. xxvii. 24, though 
on insufficient ground, but ascendere fecit, corresponding to the 
German ausheben (to raise). He raised them out of the nation, 
to send them up Lebanon (cf ch. ix. 25). These 30,000 
Israelitish labourers must be distino-aished from the remnants 
of the Canaanites who were made into tribute-slaves (ver. 15 
and ch. ix. 20). The latter are called "i?'y on, tribute-slaves, in 
ch. ix. 21 as in Josh. xvi. 10. That the Israelites were not to 
render the service of bondsmen is evident from the fact, that 
they only rendered tribute for four months of the year, and 
were at home for eight months ; and the use of the epithet Do 
is not at variance with this. For even if this word is applied 
elsewhere to the Canaanitish bondsmen {e.g. Josh. xvii. 13, 
Judg. i. 28, 30, and 2 Chron. viii. 8), a distinction is decidedly 
made in our account of Solomon betv/een Dp and *i2y DO, inas- 
much as in ch. ix. 22, after the Canaanitish bondsmen have 
been mentioned, it is expressly stated that " of Israel Solomon 
made no one a slave" ("^^J/). The 30,000 Israelitish tribute- 
servants are " to be thought of as free Israelites, who simply 
performed the less severe work of felling trees in fellowship 
with and under the direction of the subjects of Hiram (see at 
ver. 6), according to the command of the Idng, and probably 
not even that without remuneration" (Thenius). For Adoniram 
see at ch. iv. 6. — Ver. 15. And Solomon had 70,000 bearers 
of burdens and 80,000 hewers of stone on the mountains (of 
Lebanon). 2vn is understood by the older translators as refer- 
ring simply to hewers of stone. This is favoured both by the 
context, since ver. 18 speaks of stone-mason's work, and also 
by the usage of the language, inasmuch as 3^n is mostly applied 
to the quarrying and cutting of stones (Deut. vi. 11; Isa. v. 2 ; 
Prov. ix. 1 ; 2 Kings xii. 1 3), and only occurs in Isa. x. 1 5 in 

CHAP. V. 13-18. 63 

connection with the cutting of wood. The hewing and prepar- 
ing of the wood were amply provided for by 30,000 Israelites. 
That the 150,000 bearers of burdens and hewers of stone were 
not taken from the Israelites, is evident from the fact that they 
are distinguished from the latter, or at all events are not 
described as Israelites. We obtain certainty on this point from 
the parallel passages, ch. ix. 20, 21, 2 Chron. ii, 16, 17, and 
2 Chron. viii. 1—9, according to which Solomon pressed the 
Canaanites who were left in the land to this bond-service. — 
Ver. 16. "Beside C^p), i.e. without reckoning, the princes, Solo- 
mon's officers, who were over the work (i.e.. the chiefs appointed 
by Solomon as overlookers of the work), 3300, who ruled over 
the people who laboured at the work." ö"'3^3ri ''nt:^^ as Thenius 
correctly observes, cannot be the chief of the overlookers, i.e. the 
head inspectors, as there is no allusion made to subordinate 
inspectors, and the number given is much too large for head 
inspectors. Q""?^?, which is governed by ''"?.^ in the construct 
state, is to be taken as defining the substantive : principes qui 
prcefecti er ant (Vatabl. ; cf. Ewald, § 287, a). Moreover, at the 
close of the account of the whole of Solomon's buildings (ch. 
ix. 23), 550 more C:''3^*3n '•nb' are mentioned as presiding over 
the people who did the work. The accounts in the Chronicles 
differ from these in a very peculiar manner, the number of over- 
seers being given in 2 Chron. ii. 17 as 3600, and in 2 Chron. 
viii. 10 as 250. Now, however natural it may be, with the 
multiplicity of errors occurring in numerical statements, to 
assume that these differences have arisen from copyists' errors 
through the confounding together of numerical letters resem- 
bling one another, this explanation is overthrown as an im- 
probable one, by the fact that the sum-total of the overseers is 
the same in both accounts (3300-}-550 = 3850 in the books of 
Kings, and 3600 4-250 = 3850 in the Chronicles); and we 
must therefore follow J. H. Michaelis, and explain the diffe- 
rences as resulting from a different method of classification, 
namely, from the fact that in the Chronicles the Canaanitish 
overseers are distinguished from the Israelitish (viz. 3600 
Canaanites and 250 Israelites), whereas in the books of Kings 
the inferiores et siqjeriores po-cefecti are distinguished. Conse- 
quently Solomon had 3300 inferior overseers and 550 superior 
(or superintendents), of whom 250 were selected from the 
Israelites and 300 from the Canaanites. In 2 Chron. ii. 16, 17, 


it is expressly stated that the 3C00 were taken from the Ci''"]?., 
i.e. the Canaanites who were left in the land of Israel. And it 
is equally certain that the number given in ch. ix. 23 and 
2 Chron. viii. 10 (550 and 250) simply comprises the super- 
intendents over the whole body of builders, notwithstanding 
the fact that in both passages (ch. v. 16 and ch. ix. 23) the 
same epithet Ci''2s:3n """li^ is used. If, then, the number of over- 
seers is given in ch. ix. 23 as 550, i.e. 300 more than in the 
parallel passage of the Chronicles, there can hardly be any doubt 
that the number 550 includes the 300, in which the number 
given in our chapter falls short of that in the Chronicles, and 
that in the 3300 of our chapter the superintendents of Canaan- 
itish descent are not included.^ — Ver. 17. And the king had 
large, costly stones broken, " to lay the foundation of the house 
with hewn stones." niij?"; does not mean heavy (Thenius), for 
this would be a perfectly superfluous remark, inasmuch as large 
stones are always heavy, but costly, valuable stones, q^ci multa 
'pecunia constabant (Cler.) ; compare ch. x. 2, where the word 
stands for precious stones. *IDÜ^, i.e. to lay the foundation for 
the temple, by which we are to understand not merely the 
foundation for the temple-house, but the magnificent substruc- 
tions for the whole of the temple area, even though the strong- 
walls which surrounded the temple mountain, and which Jose- 
phus describes in his Antiquities, viii. 3, 9, and xv. 11, 3, and 
in his clc Bell. Jucl. v. 5, 1, may not have been all completed by 
Solomon, but may have been a work of centuries. For further 
remarks on this subject, see at ch.. vi. 38. JT'TJ "'J3N are squared 
stones, according to ch. vii. 1 0, of ten and eight cubits. 

"With ver. 18 the account of the preparations for the build- 
ing of the temple, which were the object of Solomon's negotia- 
tions with Hiram, is brought to a close. " Solomon's builders 
and Hiram's builders, even the Giblites, hewed and prepared the 
wood and the stones for the building of the house." The object 
to vDS'; is not the square stones mentioned before, but the trees 

^ Ewald {Gesell, iii. p. 292) assumes that " by the 550 (1 Kings ix. 23) we • 
are to understand the actual superintendents, whereas the 3300 (1 Kings v. 
30) include inferior inspectors as well ; and of the 550 superintendents, 300 
were taken from the Cananaeans, so that only 250 (2 Chron. viii. 10) were 
native Hebrews ;" though he pronounces the number 3600 (2 Chron. ii. 17) 
erroneous. Bertheau, on the other hand, in his notes on 2 Chron. viii. 10, 
has rather complicated than elucidated the relation in which the two accounts 
stand to one another. 

CHAP. VI. 65 

(beams) and stones mentioned after ^3''3*i. Q^733n^_ is to be taken 
as explanatory, " even the Giblites," giving a more precise defini- 
tion of " Hiram's builders." The GibKtes are the inhabitants 
of the town of Gcbal, called Byblos by the Greeks, to the north 
of Beirut (see at Josh. xiii. 5), which was the nearest to the 
celebrated cedar forest of the larger Phoenician towns. Accord- 
ing to Ezek. xxvii. 9, the Giblites (Byblians) were experienced 
in the art of shipbuilding, and therefore were probably skilful 
builders generally, and as such the most suitable of Hiram's 
subjects to superintend the working of the wood and stone for 
Solomon's buildings. For it was in the very nature of the case 
that the number of the Phoenician builders was only a small 
one, and that they were merely the foremen ; and this may also 
be inferred from the large number of his own subjects whom 
Solomon appointed to the work. ^ 


The account of the building of the temple commences with a 
statement of the date of the building (ver. 1) ; and this is fol- 
lowed by a description of the plan and size of the temple-house 
(vers. 2-1 0), to which there is also appended the divine promise 
made to Solomon during the erection of the building (vers. 1 1-1 3). 
After this we have a further account of the internal fittings and 

^ Without any satisfactory ground Thenius has taken offence at the word 
D v32nv and on the strength of the critically unattested scul s/SaAo» uvTovg 
of the LXX. and the paraphrastic äpf^öcuvra.; x.xi avi/l'yicavrx; of Josephus, 
■which is only introduced to fill in the picture, has altered it into Dv''33*1j 
" they bordered them (the stones)." This he explains as relating to the 
" bevelling" of the stones, upon the erroneous assumption that the grooving 
of the stones in the old walls encircling the temple area, which Robinson 
(Pol. i. 423) was the first tc notice and describe, " occurs nowhere else in pre- 
cisely the same form ; " whereas Robinson found them in the ancient remains 
of the foundations of walls in different places throughout the land, not only 
in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, viz. at Bethany, but also at Carmel on 
the mountains of Judah, at Hebron, Semua (Esthemoa), Beit Nusib (Nezib), 
on Tabor, and especially in the north, in the old remains of the walls of the 
fortifications es ShuJcif, Hiinhi, Banias, Tyrus, Jehail (Byblus), Baalbek, on 
the island of Ruivad (the ancient Aradiis), and in different temples on Lebanon 
(see Rob. Pal. ii. 101, 198, 434, 627 ; iii. 12, 213, 214 ; and Bibl. Researches, 
p. 229). Böttcher (n. ex. Krit. Aelirenl. ii. p. 32) has therefore properly 
rejected this conjecture as " ill-founded," though only to put in its place 
another which is altogether unfounded, namely, that before D''l73!in"l the word 


decorations of the sanctuary (vers. 14-36), and in ch, vii. 1-12 a 
description of the royal palace which was built after the temple ; 
and, finally, a description of the pillars of the court which were 
executed in metal by the Tyrian artist, and of the different vessels 
of the temple (ch. vii. 13-51).-^ We have a parallel to this in 
2 Chron. iii. and iv., though here the description is differently 
arranged. In the Chronicles the external building of the temple- 
house is not separated from the internal decoration and furnishing; 
but after the period of erection and the size of the temple-house 
have been given in ch. iii. 1-3, there follows a description, a. of 
the court (ver. 4); l. of the Holy Place with its internal decorations 
(vers. 5-V); c. of the Most Holy Place, with special reference to its 
size and decorations, also of the colossal cherubim placed therein 
and the curtain in front of it, which is not mentioned in our account 
(vers. 8-14) ; d. of the brazen pillars in front of the court (vers. 
15-17); e. of the altar of burnt-offering (ch. iv. 1), which is passed 
over in the account before us ; /. of the brazen sea (vers. 2-5) ; 
g. of the brazen lavers, the golden candlesticks, the-tables of shew- 
bread, and the golden basons (vers. 6-8) ; and li. of the courts 
(ver. 9). The account is then closed with a summary enumera- 
tion of the different vessels of the temple (vers. 10-22), which 
agrees almost word for word with 1 lungs vii. 40-50. 

Vers. 1-10. The Outside of the Building. — Ver. 1. The 
building of the temple, a fixed and splendid house of Jehovah as 

D''"l'i*n (" the Tyrians ") has dropped out. For this has nothing further iu its 
favour than the most improbable assumption, that king Hiram gathered 
together the subjects of his whole kingdom to take part in Solomon's build- 
ings. — The addition of t/x« iT/i, which is added by the LXX. at the end of 
the verse, does not warrant the assumption of Thenius and Böttcher, that 
Di:K> ti'l^tJ' has dropped out of the text. For it is obvious that the LXX. have 
merely made their addition e coiijectura, and indeed have concluded that, as 
the foundation for the temple was laid in the fourth year of Solomon's reign, 
the preliminary work must have occupied the first three years of his reign. 

^ Of the special works on the subject of the temple, see my pamphlet, Der 
Tempel Salo7no''s, eine arcMoIogiscJie Untcrsucliung (Dorp. 1839) ; and Carl 
Chr. "W. F. Bahr, Der Salomonisclie Tempel mit BerüchsicMigunfj seines Ver- 
Idiltnisses zur heil. Arcliitectur uberliaiipt (Karlsr. 18-48). In both of these 
there are critical notices of the earlier investigations and monographs on this 
subject, which have now simply a historical interest. See also the short 
description of the temple in my Bill. ArcMologie, i. § 23 sqq., with sketches 
of the temple building and the principal vessels on Plates 2 and 3, and the 
most recent notice by H. Merz in Herzog's Cyclopedia (Art. Temple). 

CHAP, VI. 1-10. 67 

the dwelling-place of His name in the midst of His people, 
formed an important epoch so far as the Old Testament kingdom 
of God was concerned, inasmuch as, according to the declaration 
of God made through the prophet Nathan, an end would thereby 
be put to the provisional condition of the people of Israel in the 
land of Canaan, since the temple was to become a substantial 
pledge of the permanent possession of the inheritance promised 
by the Lord. The importance of this epoch is indicated by the 
fact, that the time when the temple was built is defined not 
merely in relation to the year of Solomon's reign, but also in rela- 
tion to the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt. " In the 480th 
year after the exodus of the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt, 
in the fourth year of Solomon's reign, in the second month of 
the year, Solomon built the house of the Lord." The correctness 
of the number 480, as contrasted with the 440th year of the 
LXX. and the different statements made by Josephus, is now 
pretty generally admitted ; and we have already proved at Judg. 
iii. 7 that it agrees with the duration of the period of the 
Judges when rightly estimated.^ The name of the month Ziv, 
brilliancy, splendour, probably so called from the splendour of 
the flowers, is explained by the clause, "that is, the second 
month," because the months had no fixed names before the cap- 
tivity, and received different names after the captivity. The 
second month was called Jyar after the captivity. — The place 
where the temple was built is not given in our account, as having 
been sufficiently well known; though it is given in the parallel 

^ In opposition to the hypothesis of Böttcher, which has been repeated by 
Bertheau, viz. that the number 480 merely rests upon the computation of 
12 X 40 years, or twelve generations of forty years each, Thenius himself 
has observed with perfect justice, that "where both the year and the month 
of the reign of the king in question are given, the principal number will cer- 
tainly rest upon something more than mere computation ; and if this had not 
been the case, the person making such a computation, if only for the purpose 
of obtaining the appearance of an exact statement, would have made a parti- 
cular calculation of the years of Solomon's reign, and would have added them 
to the round number obtained, and written ' in the year 484.' Moreover, the 
introduction to our chapter has something annalistic in its tone ; and at this 
early period it would be undoubtedly well known, and in a case like the pre- 
sent a careful calculation would be made, how long a time had elapsed since 
the most memorable period of the Israelitish nation had passed by." Compare 
with this Ed. Preuss {Die Zeitrechmmg der LXX., p. 74 sqq.), who has endea- 
voured with much greater probability to show that the alteration made by 
the LXX. into 440 rests upon nothing more than a genealogical combination. 


text, 2 Chron. iii. 1, namely, " Mount Moriah, where tlie Lord had 
appeared to David " at the time of the pestilence, and where 
David had built an altar of burnt-offering by divine command 
(see at 2 Sam. xxiv. 25). 

Vers. 2-4. Plan and dimensions of the tcmpMioiise. — The 

measures of the temple-house and its several subdivisions are all 

given in the clear, i.e. as the spaces were seen. The liouse, i.e. the 

main building of the temple (lit. as for the house, or shell of the 

building), its length was sixty cubits, its breadth twenty cubits, 

and its height thirty cubits, and that, according to 2 Chron. iii. 3, 

" after the earlier measure," i.e. after the old Mosaic or sacred 

cubit, which was a hand-breadth longer, according to Ezek. xl. 5 

and xliii. 13, than the civil cubit of the time of the captivity. 

The Mosaic cubit, according to the investigations of Thenius, 

was 214,512 Parisian lines long, i.e. 20^ Dresden inches, or 

18-|^ Ehenish inches (see at Gen. vi. 10). — Ver. 3. The ^orch 

(lit. hall) in the face of (^?S"?y, i.e. before) the Holy Place of the 

house was twenty cubits long, before CP.S'^V) the breadth of the 

house, i.e. it was just the same breadth as the house. The 

longer line, which ran parallel to the breadth of the house, is 

called here T)}^, the length, though from our point of view we 

should call it the width. And ten cubits was its breadth, i.e. 

its depth in front of the house. The height of the court is not 

given in our text ; but in 2 Chron. iii. 4 it is said to have been 

120 cubits. This is certainly an error, although Ewald {Gesch. 

iii. p. 300) still joins with Stieglitz {Baukunst, p. 126, and 

Beitrr. zur Gesch. der BauJc. i. p. 70) in defending its correctness. 

Por an erection of such a height as this could not p)0ssibly have 

been designated as D^iK (a hall or porch), but would have been 

called ?"=i^ö, a toiver. But even a tower of 120 cubits in height 

in front of a temple which was only thirty cubits high, would 

have shown a greater disproportion than our loftiest church 

towers ; ^ and such a funnel-like erection with a base of only ten 

1 In the Strasburg cathedral and that at Freiburg in Breisgau the pro- 
portion between the height of the tower and that of the church, together witli 
the roof, is about 3| to 1 ; it is only in the cathedral at Eoueu that the pro- 
portion would have been almost 4 to 1 if it had been carried out to the very- 
top. At the same time, in making this comparison it must be borne in 
mind that these Gothic towers taper off into slender points, whereas in the 
case of Solomon's temple we must assume that if the porch was carried up to 
the height supposed, it finished in a flat truncated tower ; and it is this which 
would chiefly occasion the disproportion. 

CHAP. VI. 5-S. ' 69 

cubits in breadth or depth, would hardly have possessed sufficient 
stability. We cannot certainly think of an intentional exag- 
geration of the height in the Chronicles, since the other measures 
agree with the account before us ; but the assumption that there 
has been a corruption of the text is rendered natural enough by 
many other errors in the numerical statements. This still leaves 
it undecided whether the true height was twenty or thirty cubits ; 
for whereas the Syriac, Arabic, and LXX. (Cod. Al.) have twenty 
cubits, the height of thirty cubits is favoured partly by the 
omission of any statement of the height from our text, which is 
much easier to explain if the porch was of the same height as 
the temple-house than if the heights were different, and partly 
by the circumstance that the side building had an external 
height of twenty cubits, and therefore the porch would not have 
stood out with any especial prominence if its elevation had been 
just the same. — Ver. 4. After the account of the proportionate 
spaces in the temple-house, the windows through which it 
received light and air are mentioned. Q"''?^^ D'^Sp^' ""Jipn does 
not jaQdM fcncstrcc intus latcc, foris angustce (Chald., Ar., Eabb., 
Lvithei', and others), but windows with closed beams, i.e. windows 
the lattice-work of which could not be opened and closed at 
pleasure, as in ordinary dwelling-houses (2 Kings xiii. 17 ; Dan, 
vi. 11). For D''Si5^ signifies beams overlaid in ch. vii. 4, and 
^\y^ beams in ch. vii. 5. The opening of the windows was 
probably narrower without than within, as in the older Egyptian 
buildings, as the walls were very strong; and in that case such 
windows would more thoroughly answer their purpose, viz. to 
admit light and air, and let out the smoke, so that the interpre- 
tation given by the Chaldee is most likely founded upon an 
ancient tradition, and is in accordance with the fact, though not 
with the words. It is a disputed point among the commentators 
where the windows were placed : whether merely in the front 
over the porch, provided, that is to say, that this was ten cubits 
lower than the temple-house, or on the side walls above the side 
stories, which were at the most about twenty cubits high, in 
which case the Most Holy Place, which was only twenty cubits 
high, remained quite dark, according to ch. viii. 12. We regard 
the latter view as the correct one, inasmuch as the objections to 
it rest upon assimiptions which can be proved to be false. 

Vers. 5-8. The side huilcling. — Ver. 5. " He built against the 
wall of the house an outwork round about {i.e. against the two 


longer sides and against the hinder wall, and not against the 
front also, where the porch was built), against the walls of the 
house round about, against the Holy Place and the Holy of 
Holies, and he made side chambers round about." V^^^ (written 
constantly V'^^l in the Keri) signifies literally stratum, here the 
lower building or outwork erected against the rooms mentioned. 
The word is goi. comm., but so construed that the masculine is 
used in a collective sense to denote the whole of the outworks, 
consisting as they did of three stories, whereas the feminine is 
used for one single story of the building (ver. 6). On this use 
of the masculine and feminine genders to distinguish the whole 
mass and the individual parts, wliich is very common in Arabic, 
though it is rare in Hebrew, in which the distinction is gene- 
rally expressed by a peculiar feminine form, as for example ""JK 
a fleet, and n^J5< a single ship, compare Ewald, Lchrhuch der liebr. 
Spr. § 175, d, and 176, a, and gramm. crit. ling. ardb. i. ^ 295. 
niT'ipTix does not mean cum parietihus (Seb. Schmidt and J. H. 
Michaelis), but nt;: is a sign of the accusative, " as for the 
walls," and introduces the more precise definition. TiW^ 
signifies, both here and in Ezek. xli. 6 sqq., side chambers or 
side stories, from V?^, to incline to one side, hence to limp, i.e. 
to lean constantly to one side. From this there were derived 
for V?"^ the meanings side, side piece or side wall, e.g. of the 
ark, Ex. xxv. 12, 14, etc., of the dwelling, Ex. xxvi. 20, 26, etc., 
of the altar, Ex. xxvii. 7, 30, etc., the side wall or slope of a 
mountain, 2 Sam. xvi. 13, the side portion of the human body, 
i.e. the rib, Gen. ii. 21, 22, the sides or leaves of a door in ver. 
34 of the present chapter, and when used of buildings, the side 
pieces or portions built out which lean against the main build- 
ing ; and lastly, the idea of a piece which shows a large side, 
i.e. a broad plank (ch. vi. 15, 16). The meaning planks or 
beams, as it were ribs or rib-work, is unfounded. — Ver. 6. The 
(internal) breadth of the lower side story was five cubits, that 
of the middle one six, and that of the third seven cubits ; 
" for he (they) had made shortenings (i.e. rebates) against the 
house round about on the outside, that (there might be) no 
insertion into the walls of the (temple-) house." The meaning 
is that rebates were attached against the temple wall, at the 
point where the lower beams of the different side stories were 
to be placed, so that the heads of these beams rested upon the 
rebates and were not inserted in the actual wall of the temple- 

CHAP. VI. 5-8. 71 

house. These rebates are called very descriptively J^iJ^'^^'^ö, de- 
ductions or contractions of the thickness of the wall. We may 
assume that there were four such rebates : three for the three 
floors of the side stories, and one for the roof It still remains 
doubtful, however, whether these rebates were merely laid along 
the temple wall, or along the outer wall of the side building as 
well, so as to ensure symmetry and make each of the two walls 
half a cubit thinner or weaker at every rebate. The former is 
the more probable. And accordingly the temple wall was one 
cubit weaker at each rebate, that is to say, in four places. If, 
therefore, it still remained two cubits thick at the top, it must 
have been six cubits thick below. This extraordinary thick- 
ness, however, would be quite in keeping with the remains of 
buildings of great antiquity, the walls of which have generally 
a colossal thickness, and also with the size of the square stones 
of which the wall was constructed, as described in ch. vii. 10. 
— Ver. 7 contains a circumstantial clause, inserted as an ex- 
planation of ver. 6 : " The house, (namely) when building, was 
built of perfectly finished stones of the quarry, and hammer 
and axe ; no kind of instrument whatever was heard at the 
house when it was building." ys?? '""p.<'^ 1?^ (on the construc- 
tion see Ges. § 114, 1, ErL, and Ewald, § 339,5) does not mean 
stones quite unhewn, which God had so caused to grow that they 
did not require to be hewn (Theodoret) ; for although Ci"'J3i^ 
niD7K' is used in Deut. xxvii. 6 (compare with Ex. xx. 25) to 
signify uninjured, i.e. unhewn stones, yet this meaning is pre- 
cluded here by the context (cf v. 32). Q?K' signifies finished 
here, that is to say, stones which were so perfectly tooled and 
prepared when first broken in the quarry, that when the temple 
walls were built no iron instruments were required to prepare 
them any further. IPS, an axe, here a stone-mason's cutting 
tool corresponding to the axe. — In ver. 8 the description of the 
sidfe building is continued. " A door (nriö^ an opening for the 
entrance) to the middle side chamber (of the lower story) was 
on the right side (the southern side) of the house, and a wind- 
ing staircase led up into the middle (room of the middle story) 
and out of the middle into the thhd rooms," i.e. the rooms of the 
third story. This is the rendering according to the Masoretic 
text ; and the only thing that appears strange is the use of 
•^5^"^'] first of all for the middle room of the lower story and 
then for the middle story ; and the conjecture is a very natural 


one, that the first n3b''nn may have been an error of the pen 
for '"'^i^O'?'!', in which case P^n does not signify the side room, 
but is used in a collective sense for the row of side rooms in 
one story, as in Ezek. xli. 5, 9, 11. That this door was made 
from the outside, i.e. in the outer wall of the side building, and 
did not lead into the side rooms " from the interior of the Holy 
Place," would hardly need a remark, if Böttcher {Proben alttestl. 
Schrifterkl. p. 339) and Schnaase {GcscJi. der hildenden Künste, 
Bd. 1) had not really supported this view, which is so 
thoroughly irreconcilable with the dignity of the sanctuary.^ 
The only question is, whether it was made in the middle of 
the right side or in the front by the side of the porch. If 
the Masoretic text is correct, there is no doubt about the former. 
But if we read •ij'^'?'!''!', the text leaves the question undecided. 
The winding staircase was not constructed in the outer wall 
itself, because this was not thick enough for the purpose, and 
the text states pretty clearly that it led from the lower story 
into the middle one, and thence still higher, so that it was in 
the centre of the building. 

In vers. 9 and 10 the description of the exterior of the 
temple building is brought to a close. " So he built the house, 
and finished it, and covered the house with beams and boards 
of cedar." fsD*!! is not to be understood as relating to the 
internal panelling of the temple-house, for this is spoken of 
first in the section which follows (ver. 15), biit to the roofing ; 
ISD means to conceal (Deat. xxxiii. 21) and cover in all the 
other passages, even in Hag. i. 4 and Jer. xxii. 14, where pSD is 
generally, though incorrectly, translated " panelled." As a verb 
signifying clothing, it is construed with the accusative. ^''211 does 
not mean boards, but beams, though not " an arched covering " 
(Thenius), because beams cut in the form of an arch would have 
been too weak in the middle, nor yet rafters (Böttcher), because 
the roofs of oriental buildings are flat. Q"*!"}^? ri^lf', " rows, i. e. 
tablets (consisting) of cedars," i. e. cedar tablets, which were 
inserted in rows between the beams. This cedar-work was cer- 
tainly provided with a strong covering to protect the roof and 
the building itself against rain ; and at the sides it had no doubt 
a parapet, as in the case of dweUing-houses (Deut. xxii. 8). — 

^ The perfectly groundless assumption of Thenius, that the outer building 
had most probably an inner door as well, which connected it with the temple, 
does just as much violence to the decorum of the Holy Place. 

CHAP. VI. 9, 10. 73 

Ver. 1 0. " And lie built the outbuildings to the whole house 
{i.e. all round the temple-house, with the exception of the front : 
see ver. 5) ; five cubits was its height," i.e. the height of each 
story, the suffix in iriöip being made to agree with yi2i*n through 
an inaccuracy which has arisen from condensation, although, as 
in ver. 5, it denotes the whole of the side buildings, which 
consisted of three stories. The height given must also be 
understood as referring to the height within. Consequently 
the side buildings had an internal height of 3 X 5 cubits, and 
reckoning the floorings and the roof of the whole building an 
external height of 1 8 or 20 cubits ; so that the temple-house, 
which was thirty cubits high within and about thirty-two with- 
out, rose about twelve or fourteen cubits above the side building, 
and there was plenty of room for the windows in the side walls. 
'iai rnx*1 : " and it (the side building) held to the house with 
cedar beams." The meaning is, that the building was fastened 
to the house by the joists of the cedar beams belonging to the 
different stories, which rested upon rebates of the temple w^all, 
so that it was firmly attached to the temple-house, without any 
injurious insertions into the sanctuary itself. This is apparently 
the only explanation, that can be grammatically sustained, of 
words that have received such different interpretations. For 
the translation given by Thenius, which coincides with this, — 
viz. " he fastened it (each separate story of the building) to the 
temple-house with cedar wood, namely, with the cedar beams 
which formed the flooring and roofing of the three stories," — is 
exposed to this grammatical objection, that the suffix is wanting 
in T'ntJ^^ and that T^^? is never followed by nx in the sense of with. 
All the other explanations are unsuitable. Thx;^ signifies neither 
" he covered the house " (Chald., Vulg., Luther), nor " he over- 
laid the house ; " moreover, the roofing of the house has been 
already mentioned in ver. 9, and there is no trace to be found 
of any overlaying or covering of the outside with cedar wood. 

If, therefore, we reckon the thickness of the temple wall at 
six cubits, and that of the outer wall of the side building and 
the front wall of the porch at three cubits each, the whole build- 
ing would be ninety-three cubits long (externally) and forty-eight 
cubits broad. The height of the temple-house was about thirty- 
two cubits externally, and that of the side stories from eighteen 
to twenty cubits, without the socle upon which the whole build- 
ing rested. This is not mentioned indeed, as being a subordinate 


matter, but would certainly not be omitted.-^ The number of 
rooms in tlie side buildings is not given, but may be set down 
at thirty in each story, if their length corresponded to their 
breadth in the lower story. These rooms had of course win- 
dows, although they are not mentioned in the account, but each 
one would have only a small window sufficient to give it the 
requisite light. And as to the number of the temple windows 
also, we can simply make conjectures. We can hardly assume 
that there were more than six on each side, and there were 
probably none at the back. 

Vers. 11-13. Peomise of God during the Building of the 
Temple. — In what way this promise was communicated to Solo- 
mon is not more precisely stated. But the expression " And the 
word of Jehovah came" seems to point to a prophetic medium. 
And this is in harmony with ch. ix. 2, according to which Jehovah 
only revealed Himself to Solomon twice by an actual appearance. 
— ^Ver. 12. '1^1 ri^sn is placed at the head absolutely : " As for the 
house which thou art building (p^^, a participle), if thou walkest 
in my statutes, ... I will set up my word, which I spake to thy 
father David." The reference is to the promise in 2 Sam. vii. 1 2 
sqq. of the everlasting establishment of his throne. God would 
fulfil this for Solomon if he would walk in the commandments of 
the Lord, as his father had already urged upon him when he 
handed over the kingdom (ch. ii. 3). The promise in ver. 13, " I 
will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel," does not contain 
a second promise added to the one given in 2 Sam. vii. 1 2 sqq., 
but simply a special application of it to the building of the temple 
which had already been commenced. The eternal establishment 

1 Thenius, on the other hand, reckons the length of the whole building at 
a hundred cubits and its breadth at fifty -two, because, on the unfounded as- 
sumption that the temple in Ezekiel's vision was simply a copy of Solomon's 
temple, he sets down the thickness of the temple wall in front and along the 
two sides at six cubits, and that of the hinder wall at seven. Moreover, he 
not only reckons the internal length of the house at sixty-two cubits, in 
opposition to the statement in the text, that the length of the house (which 
was divided into the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies) was sixty cubits ; 
but in opposition to ver. 16, according to which the Holy Place and the Holy 
of Holies were separated by boards of cedar, he assumes that there was a wall 
of two cubits in thickness between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, ae- 
cording to Ezek. xli. 3 ; and, lastly, for no other reason than the wish to get the 
round number 100, he takes for granted that the hinder wall of the temple 
was a cubit thicker than that on the other sides. 

CHAP. VI. 14-22. 75 

of the throne of David involved the dwelling of God among His 
people, or rather is founded upon it. This dwelling of God is now 
to receive a new and lasting realization. The temple is to be a 
pledge that the Lord will maintain for His people His covenant of 
grace and His gracious presence. In this respect the promise, " I 
will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel, and not forsake 
my people Israel," is a confirmation of the word which Jehovah 
had spoken to David, although, so far as the actual words are con- 
cerned, it is more closely connected with Lev. xxvi. 11, when the 
highest blessing attendant upon the faithful observance of the 
commandments of God is summed up in the promise, '' I will 
make my abode among you, and my soul will not despise you." 

Vers. 14-35. The Internal Aerangements of the Temple- 
house. — Vers. 14—22. Internal covering of the house, and divi- 
sion into Holy and Most Holy. — Ver. 14 (cf. ver. 9) resumes the 
description of the building of the temple, which had been inter- 
rupted by the divine promise just communicated. — ^Ver. 1 5. " He 
built {i.e., so far as the sense is concerned, he covered) the walls 
of the house within with boards of cedar ; from the floor of the 
house to the walls of the ceiling he overlaid it with wood within, 
and overlaid the floor with cypress boards." The expression niT*!? 
|aDn, " walls of the ceiling," is very striking here, and renders 
it probable that niT'ip is only a copyist's error for nhip, " beams 
of the ceiling." The whole of the inside of the house was 
covered with wood, so that nothing was to be seen of the stone 
wall (ver. 18). On the other hand, the biblical text knows 
nothing of any covering of the outer walls also with wood, as 
many have assumed. — Vers. 16, 17. "And he built D'^'ici'yTiN 
ns^N, the twenty cubits {i.e. the space of twenty cubits), of the 
hindermost side of the house with boards of cedar," from the floor 
to the beams (of the roof). riiT'ipnn:!? is to be explained from 
|5Dn nii^p IV in ver. 15. "And built them for it (the house 
— \h pointing back to n^an) into the hinder room, into the Most 
Holy." T'^T is more precisely defined by the apposition Ji'lP 
D"'t^"ipn^ and therefore denotes the Most Holy Place. But there is 
a doubt as to its derivation and true meaning. Aquila and 
Symmachus render it -x^prjfiariaTijptov, Jerome XaXtjTijpiov, or in 
the Vulg. oraculum, so that they derive it from i?^, to speak ; 
and Hengstenberg adopts this derivation in Ps. xxviii. 2 : T'^'n, 
lit. that which is spoken, then the place where the speaking 


takes place. Most of the more recent commentators, on the 
other hand, follow the example of C. B. Michaelis and J. Simonis, 
and render it, after the Arabic, the hinder portion or back room, 
which is favoured by the antithesis ''^p^ -'3"'^, the front sanctuary 
(ver. 1 7). The words of the text, moreover, are not to be under- 
stood as referring to a cedar wall in front of the Most Holy Place 
which rose to the height of twenty cubits, but to all four walls of the 
Most Holy Place, so that the wall which divided the hinder room 
from the Holy Place is not expressly mentioned, simply because 
it is self-evident. The words also imply that the whole of the 
hinder space of the house to the length of twenty cubits was cut 
off for the Most Holy Place, and therefore the party wall must 
also have filled the whole height of the house, which was as 
much as thirty cubits, and reached, as is expressly stated, from 
the floor to the roof. There remained therefore forty cubits of 
the house (in length) for ''^p? ^^^[}, the front palace, i.e. the 
Holy Place of the temple (ver. 1 7). ''^p?, anterior, formed from 
"•ps? (cf. Ewald, ^ 164, a). — In ver. 18 there is inserted in a 
circumstantial clause the statement as to the internal decoration 
of both rooms ; and the further description of the Most Holy 
Place is given in vers. 1 9 sqq. " And cedar wood was (placed) 
against the house inside, sculpture of gourds {colocynthidcs) and 
open buds." riypipjp is in apposition to HX, containing a more 
minute description of the nature of the covering of cedar, nypp» 
signifies sculpture, half-raised work (hasso relievo) ; not, however, 
" that kind of bas-relief in which the figures, instead of rising 
above the surface on which they are wrought, are simply sepa- 
rated from it by the chiselling out of their outlines, and their 
being then rounded off according to these outlines" (Thenius). 
For although the expression nipfpo "•niMSi (ver. 29) appears to 
favour this, yet "merely engraved work" does not harmonize 
with the decorations of the brazen stands in ch. vii. 31, which 
are also called riiybipp. D''yi?Q are figures resembling the ri'yips, 
or wild gourds (2 Kings iv. 39), i.e. oval ornaments, probably 
running in straight rows along the walls. D''5fy ''1^523 are open 
flower-buds ; not hangings or garlands of flowers (Thenius), for 
tliis meaning cannot be derived from "ips in the sense of loosen- 
ing or setting free, so as to signify flowers loosened or set free 
(= garlands), which would be a marvellous expression! The 
objection that, "according to Num. xvii. 23, flowers not yet 
opened, i.e. flower-buds, were not Q^'if» ^^t ^''n'la/' rests upon a 

CHAP. VI. 14-22. 77 

false interpretation of the passage referred to. — Ver. 19. "And 
(= namely) he prepared a hinder room in the house within, to 
place the ark of the covenant of Jehovah there." "i^^}^ as eh. 
xvii. 1 4 shows, is not a future (ut repoQieres), but the infinitive nn 
with a repeated syllable in (see Ewald, § 238, c). — ^Ver. 20. " And 
the interior of the hinder room was twenty cubits the length, 
twenty cubits the breadth, and twenty cubits its height." The 
word ''P.p^ I agree with Kimchi in regarding as the construct 
state of the noun ö''Jö^, which occurs again in ver. 29 in the 
sense of the inner part or interior, as is evident from the 
antithesis P^"''?^ (on the outside). "And he overlaid it with 
fine gold." "»'iJD an: (= lijp in Job xxviii. 15) unquestionably 
signifies fine or costly gold, although the derivation of this 
meaning is still questionable ; viz. whether it is derived from "iJD 
in the sense of to shut up, i.e. gold shut up or carefully pre- 
served, after the analogy of 203 ; or is used in the sense of taking 
out or selecting, i.e. gold selected or pure ; or in the sense of 
closed, i.e. gold condensed or unadulterated (Fürst and Delitzsch 
on Job xxviii. 15). 

The Most Holy Place had therefore the form of a perfect 
cube in the temple as well as in the tabernacle, only on an 
enlarged scale. Now, as the internal elevation of the house, i.e. 
of the whole of the temple-house, the hinder portion of which 
formed the Most Holy Place, was thirty cubits, there was a space 
of about ten cubits in height above the Most Holy Place and 
below the roof of the temple-house for the upper rooms men- 
tioned in 2 Chron. iii. 9, on the nature and purpose of which 
nothing is said in the two accounts.^ " And he overlaid (clothed) 
the altar with cedar wood." There is something very striking 
in the allusion to the altar in this passage, since the verse itself 
treats simply of the Most Holy Place ; and still more striking 
is the expression "i''^'^^ '^^^. D?!'?'"', "the altar belonging to the 
Dehir," in ver. 22, since there was no altar in the Most Holy 

1 This upper room does not presuppose, however, that the party wall, which 
follows as a matter of course from ver. 16, was not merely a cedar wall, but 
a wall two cubits thick. The supposed difficulty of setting up a cedar wall 
thirty cubits high is not so great as to necessitate assumptions opposed to 
the text. For we cannot possibly see why it could not have been made secure 
" without injuring the temple wall." The wood panelling must have been 
nailed firmly to the wall without injuring the wall itself ; and therefore this 
could be done just as well in the case of the cedar beams or boards of the 
|)arty wall. 


Place. We cannot remove the strangeness of these sentences 
by such alterations as Thenius and Böttcher propose, because 
the alterations suggested are much too complicated to appear 
admissible. The allusion to the altar in both these verses is 
rather to be explained from the statements in the Pentateuch as 
to the position of the altar of incense ; viz. Ex. xxx. 6, " Thou 
shalt place it before the curtain, which is above the ark of the 
testimony before the capporeth over the testimony ; " and Ex, 
xl. 5, "before the ark of the testimony;" whereby this altar, 
although actually standing "before the inner curtain/' i.e. in the 
Holy Place, according to Ex. xl. 26, was placed in a closer rela- 
tion to the Most Holy Place than the other two things which 
were in the Holy Place. The clothing of the altar with cedar 
presupposes that it had a heart of stone ; and the omission of 
the article before il}j}''[^ may be explained on the ground that it 
is mentioned here for the first time, just as in ver. 16, where 
1^21 was first mentioned, it had no article. — ^Ver. 21, To the 
gilding of the Most Holy Place, and the allusion to the altar of 
incense, which in a certain sense belonged to it, there is now 
appended in ver. 2 1 the gilding of the Holy Place. " Solomon 
overlaid the house from within with fine gold." noiJBp n^ari 
cannot be the party wall between the Holy Place and the Most 
Holy, as I formerly supposed, but is the Holy Place as distin- 
guished from the Most Holy. The following words '1J'> "^i^T} are 
very obscure. If we rendered them, " he caused to pass over in 
(with) golden chains before the hinder room," we could only 
think of an ornament consisting of golden chains, which ran 
along the wall in front of the hinder room and above the fold- 
ing doors. But this would be very singularly expressed. We 
must therefore take "i?V, as Gesenius, de Wette, and many of 
the earlier commentators do, according to the Chaldcean usage 
in the sense of bolting or fastening : " he bolted (fastened) with 
golden chains before the hinder room ; " and must assume with 
Merz and others that the doors into the Most Holy Place (exce^Dt 
on the day of atonement) were closed and fastened with golden 
chains, which were stretched across the whole breadth of the 
door and stood out against the wall.^ — The following expres- 

^ The conjecture of Tlienius, that n3^5^"^^^ (the curtain) has dropped out 
of the text and should be restored ("he carried the curtain across with 
golden chains"), is very properly described by Merz as "certainly unten- 
able," since, apart from the fact that not one of the older versions contains 

CHAP. VI. 23-28. 79 

sion, 3n| inav^l, " and he overlaid it with gold," can only refer to 
the altar mentioned in the previous verse, the gilding of which 
has not yet been noticed, however surprising the separation of 
these words from ver. 2 may be. — In ver. 2 2 what has already 
been stated with regard to the gilding is repeated once more in 
a comprehensive manner, which brings this subject to a close. 
The whole house (n^3ri"73) is the Holy Place and the Most Holy, 
but not the porch or hall, as this is expressely distinguished from 
the house. fliTBri, the whole altar, not merely a portion of it. 

Vers. 23—28. The large cherub-figures in the Most Holy Place. 
— Ver. 23. He made (caused to be made) in the hinder room 
two cherubs of olive wood, i.e. wood of the oleaster or wild olive- 
tree, which is very firm and durable, and, according to 2 Chron. 
iii. 10, ^''J'-^y^ '^5?'i!^, i.e., according to the Vulgate, opus statu- 
arium, a peculiar kind of sculpture, which cannot be more 
precisely defined, as the meaning of y^^ is uncertain. " Ten 
cubits was the height of it" {i.e. of the one and of the other). 
The figures had a human form, like the golden cherubs upon 
the ark of the covenant, and stood upright upon their feet 
(2 Chron. iii. 13), with extended wings of five cubits in length, 
so that one wing of the one reached to one wing of the other in 
the centre of the room, and the other wing of each reached to 
the opposite wall, and consequently the four extended wings filled 
the entire breadth of the Most Holy Place (a breadth of twenty 
cubits), and the two cherubs stood opposite to one another and 
ten cubits apart. The wings were evidently fastened to the 
back and placed close to one another upon the shoulder-blades, 
so that the small space between their starting-points is not 
taken into consideration in the calculation of their length. 
The figures were completely overlaid with gold. The ark of 
the covenant was placed between these cherubs, and under the 
wings which pointed towards one another. As they were made 
like those upon the ark, they had evidently the same meaning, 
and simply served to strengthen the idea which was symbol- 
ized in the cherub, and which we have expounded in the Com- 

the missing -words, chains would have impeded the moving of the curtain. It 
is true that, according to 2 Chron. iii. 14, there was a curtain before the Most 
Holy Place ; but as it is not mentioned so early as this even in the Chronicles, 
this would not be its proper position in the account before us, but it would be 
most suitably mentioned either in connection with or after the reference to 
the doors of the Most Holy Place in vers. 31 and 32. 


mentaiy on Ex. xxv. 20 sqq. Only their faces were not turned 
towards one another and bent down towards the ark, as in the 
case of the golden cherubim of the ark ; but, according to 
2 Chron. iii. 13, they were turned n^ap, towards the house, i.e. 
the Holy Place, so as to allow of the extension of the wings 
along the full length of the Most Holy Place. 

Vers. 29-35. Ornaments of the avails ; the floors and doors. — 
Ver. 29. All the walls of the house (the Holy Place and tlie 
Most Holy) round about (3D0, adverb) he made engraved work 
(carving) of cherubs, palms, and open flowers from within to the 
outside {i.e. in the Most Holy as well as in the Holy Place). 
i)l . . |0 = ^X . . }ö ; and D^JS^ as in ver. 20. This completes the 
account of the nature of the covering of wood. In addition to the 
oval figures and open flowers (ver. 1 8), there were also figures of 
cherubim and palm-trees carved in the wooden panels. Nothing 
is said as to the distribution of these figures. But a comparison 
with Ezek. xli. 18 shows at any rate so much, that the palm- 
trees alternated with the cherubs, so that there was always one 
cherub standing between two palm-trees. The gourd-shaped 
figures and the open flowers probably formed the upper and 
lower setting of the rows of palms and cherubs, the flowers 
hanging in the form of garlands above the palms and cherubs, 
and the rows of gourds arranged in bars constituting the boun- 
dary lines both above and below. It is a disputed question 
whether there was only one row of palms and cherubs running 
round the walls, or whether there were two, or possibly even 
three. There is more probability in the second or third of 
these assumptions than in the first, inasmuch as on the walls of 
the Egyptian temples there were often three or four rows of 
mythological characters in relief arranged one above another 
(compare my work on the Temple, pp. 70 sqq.). — Ver. 30. The 
floor of the house he overlaid with gold within and without, 
i.e. in the Most Holy Place and in the Holy Place also. — Vers. 
31, 32. He made the entrance to the back room, doors {i.e. consist- 
ing of doors ; cf. Ewald, § 284, a, /S) of olive wood, which moved, 
according to ch. vii. 5 0, on golden hinges. 'IJI ^>^n^ " the pro- 
jection of the door-posts was a fifth " (ninro is construed freely 
as an explanatory apposition to ^\^^, to which it is really sub- 
ordinate; cf. Ewald, § 290, e). These obscure words, which have 
"been interpreted in very different ways (see Ges. Tlies. pp. 43 sq.), 
can hardly have any other meaning than this : the projecting 

CHAP. VI. 29-G5. 8 1 

framework of the doors occupied the fifth part of the breadth of 
the wall. For the explanation given by Böttcher and Tlienius, 
" the entrance framework with posts of fifth strength," has no real 
support in Ezek. xli. 3. To justify the rendering given to J^''^'?n 
(fifth strength), ^^^y} is supplied, though not in the sense of pro- 
jection, but in the thoroughly unwarranted sense of strength or 
thickness of the wall ; and in addition to this, a wall two cubits 
thick is postulated between the Holy Place and the Most Holy 
Place, in direct contradiction to ver. 16. The further evidence, 
which Thenius finds in ch. viii. 8, in support of this explanation, 
has been already rejected by Böttcher as unsustained. It would 
indeed be extremely strange for the thickness of the door- 
posts which formed the setting of the entrance to be given, 
whereas nothing is said about the size of the doors. According 
to our explanation, " a fifth of the breadth of the wall," the 
entrance was four cubits broad including the projecting door- 
posts, and each of the two wings of the folding doors about a 
cubit and a half broad, if we reckon the projecting framework 
on either side at half a cubit in breadth. — Ver. 32. "And two 
doors (i.e. folding doors, sc. he made ; ''^^^ is also governed by 
n^y in ver. 31) of olive w^ood, and carved upon them carved 
work," etc., as upon the walls (ver. 2 9), " and overlaid them with 
gold, spreading the gold upon the cherubs and palms " (T^.l, JiipJiil 
of 111), ^'•^- ^^ spread gold-leaf upon them, so that, as Eashi 
observes, all the figures, the elevations and depressions of the 
carved work, were impressed upon the coating of gold-leaf, and 
were thus plainly seen. Thenius infers from this explanatory 
clause, that the gilding upon the walls and doors was most pro- 
bably confined to the figures engraved, and did not extend over 
the whole of the walls and doors, because, if the doors had been 
entirely overlaid with gold, the gilding of the carved work upon 
them would have followed as a matter of course. But this in- 
ference is a very doubtful one. For if it followed as a matter 
of course from the gilding of the entire doors that the carved 
work upon them was overlaid with gold, it would by no means 
follow that the overlaying was such as to leave the carved work 
visible or prominent, which this clause affirms. Moreover, a par- 
tial gilding of the walls would not coincide with the expression 
n"'Zin-?3 Dh-^i; in ver. 22, since these words, which are used with 
emphasis, evidently affirm more than " that such (partial) gilding 
was carried out everywhere throughout the temple proper." 



The doors in front of tlie JMost Holy Place did not render the 
curtain mentioned in 2 Chron. iii. 14 unnecessary, as many 
suppose. This curtain may very well have been suspended 
within the doors ; so that even when the doors were opened 
outwards on the entrance of the high priest, the curtain formed 
a second covering, which prevented the priests who were 
ministering in the Holy Place and court from looking in.-^ — 
Vers. 33, 34. "And thus he made upon the door of the Holy 
Place posts of olive wood from a fourth (of the wall)," i.e. 
a framework which occupied a fourth of the breadth of the 
wall, or was five cubits broad (see at ver. 3 1), " and two doors 
of cypress wood, two leaves each door turning," i.e. each of the 
folding doors consisting of two leaves, each of wliich was made 
to turn by itself, so that it could be opened and shut alone 
(mthout the other ; ^''J'/i? is probably only a copyist's error for 
ö''PV). Cypress wood was chosen for the folding doors of the 
Holy Place, and not olive wood, as in the case of the Most 
Holy Place, probably because it is lighter in weight, and there- 
fore less likely to sink. It is questionable here what idea 
we are to form of the division of each folding door into two 
leaves, each of which turned by itself : whether we are to think 
of each wing as divided lengthwise into two narrow leaves, or 
as divided half way up, so that the lower half could be opened 
without the upper. I agree with Merz in thinking the latter 
the more probable assumption ; for the objection made by 
Thenius, on the gTound that doors of this kind are only seen in 
the houses of the peasantry, is an idle assertion which cannot 
be proved. In a doorway of five cubits in breadth, after rec- 
koning the doorposts the width of the two wings could not be 
more than two cubits each. And if such a door had been 
divided into two halves, each half would have been only one 
cubit wide, so that when open it would not have furnished the 
requisite room for one man conveniently to pass through. On 
the other hand, we may assume that a folding door of four 
cubits in breadth, if made in just proportions, would be eight 
cubits high. And a door of such a height might easuy be 

^ H. Merz (Herzog's Cycl) now admits this, whereas he formerly agreed 
with Ewald and others in denying the existence of the curtain in Solomon's 
temple, and regarded the curtain (veil) in Matt, xxvii. 51, 52 as an arbitrary 
addition made by Herod out of his princely caprice, thus overlooking the 
deep symbolical meaning which the veil or cui'tain possessed. 

CHAP. VI. 36. ■ 83 

divided into two halves, so that only the lower half (of two 
cubits in breadth and about four in height) was opened for the 
daily entrance of the priests into the Holy Place. These doors 
probably opened outwards, like those in front of the IMost 
Holy Place. — ^Ver. 35. Carving and gilding : as upon the doors 
before the hinder room. The gold was levelled or smoothed 
over that which had been engraved, i.e. it was beaten out thin 
and laid upon the carving in such a manner that the gold plate 
fitted closely to the figures. Gilding was generally effected in 
ancient times by the laying on of gold plate, which was fas- 
tened with tacks (compare 2 Chron. iii. 9). 

Ver. 36. The courts. — " He built the inner court three rows 
of hewn stones and one row of hewn cedar beams." The epithet 
inner court applied to the "court of the priests" (2 Chron. iv. 9) 
presupposes an outer one, which is also mentioned in 2 Chron. 
iv. 9, and called " the great court." The inner one is called 
the WJJJ9C?' (higher) court in Jer. xxxvi. 10, from which it fol- 
lows that it was situated on a higher level than the outer one, 
which surrounded it on all sides. It was enclosed by a low 
wall, consisting of three rows of hewn stones, or square stones, 
laid one upon another, and a row of hewn cedar beams, which 
were either laid horizontally upon the stones, after the analogy 
of the panelling of the temple walls on the inside, or placed up- 
right so as to form a palisading, in order that the people might 
be able to see through into the court of the priests. According 
to 2 Chron. iv. 9, the outer court had gates lined with brass, 
so that it was also surrounded with a high wall. Around it 
there were chambers and cells (2 Kings xxiii. 11 ; Jer. xxxv. 4, 
xxxvi. 10) for the priests and Levites, the plans for which had 
already been made by David (1 Chron. xxviii. 12). The prin- 
cipal gate was the east gate (Ezek, xi. 1). Other gates are men- 
tioned in 2 Kings xi. 6, 2 Chron. xxiii. 5, Jer. xx. 2, 2 Kings 
xii. 10, 2 Chron. xxiv. 8. The size of these courts is not given. 
At the same time, following the analogy of the tabernacle, and 
with the reduplication of the rooms of the tabernacle which is 
adopted in other cases in the temple, we may set down the 
length of the court of the priests from east to west at 200 
cubits, and the breadth from south to north at 1 cubits ; so 
that in front of the temple -building on the east there was a 
space of 100 cubits in length and breadth, or 10,000 square 
cubits, left free for the altar of burnt-offering and the other 


vessels, in other -words, for the sacrificial worship. The outer 
or great court will therefore, no doubt, have been at least twice 
as large, namely, 400 cubits long and 200 cubits broad, i.e., in 
all, 80,000 square cubits ; so that the front space before the 
court of the priests (on the eastern side) was 150 cubits long 
from east to west, and 200 cubits broad from south to north, 
and 50 cubits in breadth or depth still remained for the other 
three sides. 

Vers. 37, 38. The time consumed in huilding. — The founda- 
tion was laid in the fourth year in the month Ziv (see ver. 1), 
and it was finished in the eleventh year in the month Bui, i.e. 
the eighth month, so that it was built in seven years, or, more 
precisely, seven years and a half, " according to all its matters 
and all its due." ha for p^^, signifies inovcntus ; ?^ii ^T.. is there- 
fore the fruit month, the month of tree fruits. The name pro- 
bably originated with the Phoenicians, with whom the fruit 
ripened later ; and it is said to be found upon the great Sidonian 
inscription (compare Dietrich on Ges. Lex. s.v.). For other expla- 
nations see Ges. Thcs. p. 560. In comparison with other large 
buildings of antiquity,^ and also of modern times, the work was 
executed in a very short time. But we must bear in mind that 
the building was not a very large one, notwithstanding all its 
splendour ; that an unusually large number of workmen were 
employed upon it ; and that the preparation of the materials, 
more especially the hewing of the stones, took place at Lebanon, 
and for the most part preceded the laying of the foundation of 
the temple, so that this is not to be included in the seven years 
and a half Moreover, the period mentioned probably refers to 
the building of the temple-house and court of the priests only, 
and to the general arrangement of the outer court, and does not 
include the completion of the underground works which were 
necessary to prepare the space required for them, and of M'hich 
only a portion may have been carried out by Solomon.^ 

1 According to Pliny {H. N. 36, c. 14), all Asia was building at the cele- 
brated temple of Diana at Ephesits for 220 years. 

- The account given by Josephus of these substructures does not show 
very clearly how much originated with Solomon, and how much belongs to 
the following centuries. At the close of his description of Solomon's temjile 
(^Ant. viii. 3, 9), ho states that, in order to obtain the same level for the s^aidtv 
iipöv, i.e. the outer court of the temple, as that of the veto;, he had large 
valleys filled up, into which it was difficult to look down on account of their 
depth, by raising the ground to the height of 400 cubits, so as to make them 

CHAP, VI. 37, 38. 8 5 

The importance of the temple is clearly expressed in cli. viii. 
13, 27, ix. 3, 2 Chron. vi. 2, and other passages. It was to be 
a house built as the dwelling-place for Jehovah, a place for His 
seat for ever ; not indeed in any such sense as that the house 
could contain God within its space, when the heavens of heavens 
cannot contain Him (ch. viii. 27), but a house where the name 
of Jehovah is or dwells (ch. viii. 1 6 sqq. ; 2 Chron. vi. 5 ; cf 
2 Sam. vii. 13, etc.), i.e. where God manifests His presence in 

level with the top of the mountain ; and in the de Bell. Jud. v. 5, 1, after 
describing the temple-mountain as a mighty hill, the summit of which 
hardly sufficed for the temple-house and altar when the building was com- 
menced, because it sloped off on all sides, he adds : " Solomon therefore 
caused a wall to be raised on the eastern side, and had a porch built upon the 
ground that was heaped up, and on the other sides the temple {v»6i) Avas 
naked (yt/,44v:';)-" But in the description of the temj)]e of Herod {Ant. xv. 
11, 3) he says: "The temple was sui'rounded by enormous porticos {aroxi), 
which rested upon a large wall, and were the largest work of which men have 
ever heard. It was a steep rocky hill, rising gradually towards the eastern 
part of the city uj) to the highest point. This hill Solomon surrounded with 
a wall by very great works up to the very apex, and walled it round, com- 
mencing at the root, which is surrounded by a deep ravine, with stones which 
were fastened together with lead, . . . and continuing to the top, so that the 
size and height of the building, which was completed as a square, were 
immense," etc. The flat obtained in this manner is then described by Jose- 
phus as a Tnplßo'ho; of four stadia in circumference, namely, one stadium on 
each side. Now, although it was the outer court of the temple of Herod 
(the court of the Gentiles) which first had this circumference (see my hibl. 
Arcliäol. i. pp. 143, 144), and Josephus, de Bell. Jud. v. 5, 1, relates that 
subsequently (jolg k^Ti; uiuaiv) the levelling of the hill was carried out to 
even a greater extent, as the people still continued to heap up earth, it is 
quite conceivable that Solomon may have planned the area of the temple 
with this circumference. And this conjecture acquires great probability from 
the fact that, according to the researches of Robinson (^Pal. i. pp. 420 sqq. ; 
Recent Investigations concerning the Topography of Jerusalem, pp. 68 sqq.; and 
Later Biblical EesearcJies, pp. 173 sqq.), there are layers of enormous square 
stones in the lowest part of the south-western and south-eastern corners of 
the present Haram wall, the dimensions of which, apart from the fact that 
they are hewn with grooved edges, point to an early Israelitish origin, so that 
they might very well be relics of the Solomonian substructures of the temple- 
hill. There is also the remnant of the arch of a bridge of the same con- 
struction on the southern portion of the western wall of the Haram, which 
points to a bridge that led across from Moriah to Zion, and " appears to 
remove all the objections to tfie identity of this part of the enclosure of the 
mosque with that of the ancient temple" (Rob. Pal. i. p. 426). "Here then," 
adds Robinson (Pal. i. pp. 427, 428), " we have indisputable remains of 
Jewish antiquity, consisting of an important portion of the western wall of 


a real manner to His people, and shows Himself to them as the 
covenant God, so that Israel may there worship Him and receive 
an answer to its prayers. The temple had therefore the same 
purpose as the tabernacle, whose x^lace it took, and which it re- 
sembled in its fundamental form, its proportions, divisions, and 
furniture. As the glory of the Lord entered into the tabernacle 
in the cloud, so did it into the temple also at its dedication, to 
sanctify it as the place of the gracious presence of God (ch. viii 

the ancient temple area. They are probably to be referred to a period long 
antecedent to the days of Herod ; for the labours of this splendour-loving 
tyrant appear to have been confined to the body of the temple and the 
porticos around the court. The magnitude of the stones also, and the work- 
manship, as comj)ared with other remaining monuments of Herod, seem to 
point to an earlier origin. In the accounts we have of the destruction of the 
temple by the Chaldseans, and its rebuilding by Zerubbabel under Darius, no 
mention is made of these exterior walls. The former temple was destroyed 
by fire, which would not affect these foundations ; nor is it probable that a 
feeble colony of returning exiles could have accomplished works like these. 
There seems, therefore, little room for hesitation in referring them back to 
the days of Solomon, or rather of his successors, who, according to Jose- 
phus, built up here immense walls, ' immoveable for all time.' " 

But however probable this assumption may be, the successors of Solomon 
cannot come into consideration at all, since Josephus says nothing of the kind, 
and the biblical accounts are not favourable to this conjecture. With the 
division of the kingdom after the death of Solomon the might of the kings 
of Judah was broken ; and the accounts of the new court which Jehoshaphat 
built, i.e. of the restoration of the inner court (2 Chron. xx. 5), and of 
the repairs of the temple by Joash (2 Kings xii. 5 sqq. ; 2 Chron. xxiv. 4 sqq.) 
and Josiah (2 Kings xxii. 5 sqq. ; 2 Chron. xxxiv. 8 sqq.), do not produce the 
impression that walls so costly or so large could have been built at that time. 
The statement of Josephus (I.e. de Bell. Jud. v. 5, 1) concerning the gradual 
extension of the levelled hill, has reference to the enlargement of the temple 
area towards the north, inasmuch as he adds to the words already quoted : 
" and cutting through the north wall, they took in as much as was afterwards 
occupied by the circumference of the whole temple." — If, therefore, the 
remains of the ancient wall which have been mentioned, with their stones of 
grooved edges, are of early Israelitish origin, we must trace them to Solomon ; 
and this is favoured still further by the fact, that when Solomon had a mag- 
nificent palace built for himself opposite to the temj^lc (see ch. vii. 1-12), he 
would assuredly connect the temple-mountain with Ziou by a bridge. — Even 
J. Berggren (Bibel u. Josephus über Jems. u. d. heil. Grab.} thinks it probable 
that " the so-called remains of an arch in the western Haram wall may be, 
as Robinson at first indicated, a relic of that ancient and marvellous xystug ' 
bridge, with which the Davidic steps on the two steep sides of the valley of 
the Tyropocum, constructed for the purpose of going from Moriah to Zion 
or from Ziou to Moriah, were connected." 

CHAP. VI. 37, 38. 87 

10; 2 Chron. v. 14). The temple thereby "became not only a 
visible pledge of the lasting duration of the covenant, by virtue 
of which God would dwell among His people, but also a copy of 
the kingdom of God, which received at its erection an embodi- 
ment answering to its existing condition at the time. As the 
tabernacle, with its resemblance to a nomad's tent, answered to 
the time when Israel had not yet found rest in the promised 
land of the Lord ; so was the temple, regarded as an immoveable 
house, a pledge that Israel had now acquired its lasting inheri- 
tance in Canaan, and that the kingdom of God on earth had 
obtained a firm foundation in the midst of it. — This relation 
between the temple and the tabernacle wiU serve to explain all 
the points of difference which present themselves between these 
two sanctuaries, notwithstanding their agreement in fundamental 
forms and in all essential particulars. As a house or palace of 
Jehovah, the temple was not only built of solid and costly 
materials, with massive walls of square stones, and with floors, 
ceilings, walls, and doors of cedar, cypress, and olive woods — 
these almost imperishable kinds of wood — but was also pro- 
vided with a hall like the palaces of earthly kings, and with side 
buildings in tlu'ee stories in which to keep the utensils requisite 
for a magnificent ceremonial, though care was taken that these 
adjoining and side buildings were not attached directly to the 
main building so as to violate the indestructibility and perfect- 
ness of the house of God, but merely helped to exalt it and ele- 
vate its dignity. And the increased size of the inner rooms, 
whilst the significant forms and measures of the tabernacle were 
preserved, was also essentially connected with this. Whereas 
the length and breadth of the dwelling were doubled, and the 
height of the whole house tripled, the form of a cube was still 
retained for the Most Holy Place as the stamp of the perfected 
kingdom of God (see Comm. on Pent. vol. ii. p. 184), and the 
space was fixed at twenty cubits in length, breadth, and height. 
On the other hand, in the case of the Holy Place the sameness of 
height and breadth were sacrificed to the harmonious proportions 
of the house or palace, as points of inferior importance ; and the 
measurements were thirty cubits in height, twenty cubits in 
breadth, and forty cubits in length ; so that ten as the number of 
perfectness was preserved as the standard even here. And in 
order to exhibit still further the perfectness and glory of the 
house of God, the walls were not constructed of ordinary quarry- 


stone, but of large square stones prepared at the quarry, and the 
walls were panelled within with costly wood after the manner 
of the palaces of Hither Asia, the panelling being filled with 
carved work and overlaid with gold plate. And whereas the 
overlaying of the whole of the interior with gold shadowed forth 
the glory of the house as the residence of the heavenly King, the 
idea of this house of God was still more distinctly expressed in 
the carved work of the walls. In the tabernacle the walls were 
decorated with tapestries in costly colours and interwoven figures 
of cherubim; but in the temple they were ornamented with 
carved work of figures of cherubim, palms, and opening flowers. 
To the figures of cherubim, as representations of the heavenly 
spirits which surround the Lord of glory and set forth the 
psychical life at its highest stage, there are thus added flowers, 
and still more particularly palms, those " princes of the vegetable 
kingdom," which, with their fine majestic growth, and their large, 
fresh, evergreen leaves, iinite within themselves the whole of the 
fulness and glory of the vegetable life ; to set forth the sanctuary 
(probably with special reference to Canaan as the land of palms, 
and with an allusion to the glory of the King of peace, inasmuch 
as the palm is not only the sign of Palestine, but also the symbol 
of peace) " as a place that was ever verdant, abiding in all the 
freshness of strength, and enfolding within itself the fulness of 
life," and thereby to make it a scene of health and life, of peace 
and joy, a " paradise of God," where the righteous who are planted 
there flourish, and blossom, and bear fruit to old age (Ps. xcii. 
13). And this idea of the house, as an immoveable dwelling- 
place of God, is in j)erfect harmony with the setting up of two 
colossal cherubim in the Most Holy Place, which filled the whole 
space with their outspread wings, and overshadowed the ark of 
the covenant, to show that the ark of the covenant with its 
small golden cherubim upon the Capporeth, which had journeyed 
with the people through the desert to Canaan, was henceforth to 
have there a permanent and unchangeable abode. 



Vers. 1—12. Ercctio7i of the royal 2Mlace. — Ver. 1 is closely 
connected in form with ch. vi. 38, and contains a summary 
account of the building, which is more minutely described in 

CHAP. VII. 1-12. 89 

vers. 2-12. " And Solomon built his house (his palace) in 
thirteen years, and finished (in that time) all his house." The 
thirteen years are to be reckoned after the completion of the 
temple in seven years, so that the two buildings were executed 
in twenty years (ch. ix. 10). The expression in''5~i'3 is used, 
because the palace consisted of several buildings connected to- 
gether ; namely, (1) the house of the forest of Lebanon (vers. 
2-5) ; (2) the pillar-hall with the porch (ver. 6) ; (3) the throne- 
room and judgment-hall (ver. 7) ; (4) the king's dwelling-house 
and the house of Pharaoh's daughter (ver. 8). That all these 
buildings were only different portions of the one royal palace, 
and the house of the forest of Lebanon was not a summer resi- 
dence of Solomon erected on Lebanon itself, as many of the 
earlier commentators supposed, is indisputably evident, not only 
from the first verse when correctly interpreted, but also and 
still more clearly from the fact that when the buildings of Solo- 
mon are spoken of afterwards (see ch. ix. 1, 10, 15, and x. 12), 
we only read of the house of Jehovah and the house of the king, 
that is to say, of the temple and one palace. The description of 
the several portions of this palace is so very brief, that it is 
impossible to form a distinct idea of its character. The differ- 
ent divisions are given in vers. 1-8 in their natural order, com- 
mencing at the back and terminating with the front (ver. 8), and 
there then follows in vers. 9-12 the description of the stones 
that were used. — Vers. 2-5. The house of the forest of Lebanon. — 
This building — so named because it was built, so to speak, of a 
forest of cedar pillars — is called in the Arabic the " house of 
his arms," because, according to ch. x. 17, it also served as a 
keeping-place for arms : " it is hardly to be regarded, however, 
as simply an arsenal, but was probably intended for other pur- 
poses also. He built it "a hundred cubits its length, fifty cubits its 
breadth, and thirty cubits its height, on four rows of cedar pillars, 
and hewn cedar beams (were) over the pillars." As the building 
was not merely a hall of pillars, but, according to ver. 3, had side- 
rooms (n"ypy, cf. ch. vi. 5) above the pillars, the construction of it 
can hardly be represented in any other way than this, that the 
rooms were built upon four rows of pillars, which ran round all 
four sides of the building, which was 100 cubits long and fifty 
cubits broad in the inside, and thus surrounded the inner court- 
yard on all sides. Of course the building could not rest merely 
upon pillars, but was surrounded on the outside with a strong 


wall of hewn square stones (ver. 9), so that the hewn beams which 
were laid upon the pillars had their outer ends built into the 
wall, and were supported by it, so as to give to the whole build- 
ing the requisite strength.-' — Ver. 3. " And roofing in (of) cedar 
was above over the side-rooms upon the pillars, five and forty ; 
fifteen the row." i^D is to be understood of the roofing, as in 
ch. vi 15. (compare |öp^ ch. vi. 15). The numbers "forty-five 
and fifteen the row " cannot refer to D'''i^öyn, but must refer, as 
Thenius assumes, to nybsn as the main idea, which is more pre- 
cisely defined by D''"i1ti)J?n bv. If we took it as referring to the 
pillars, as I myself have formerly done, we should have to 
assume that there were only galleries or pillar-halls above the 
lower rows of piUars, which is at variance with npsn. There 
were forty-five side-rooms, therefore, built upon the lower rows of 
pillars, in ranges of fifteen each. This could only be done by 
the ranges of rooms being built, not side by side, but one over 
the other, in other words, by the forty-five side-rooms forming 
three stories, as in the side buildings of the temple, so that each 

^ Thenius tlieref ore supposes that " the lower part of the armoury formed a 
peristyle, a fourfold row of pillars running round inside its walls and enclosing 
a courtyard, so that the Vulgate alone gives the true sense, quatuor deambu- 
lacra inter cohimnas cedrinas ; " and he points to the court of the palace of 
Luxor ^ which has a double row of pillars round it. The number of pillars is 
not given in th^ text, but Thenius in his drawing of this building sets it down 
at 400, which would certainly present a forest-like aspect to any one entering 
the building. Nevertheless we cannot regard this assumption as correct, be- 
cause the pillars, which we cannot suppose to have been less than a cubit in 
thickness, would have been so close to one another that the four rows of 
pillars could not have formed four deamhulacra. As the whole building was 
only fifty cubits broad, and this breadth included the inner courtyard, we 
cannot suppose that the sides of the building were more than ten cubits deep, 
which would leave a breadth of thirty cubits for the court. If then four 
pillars, each of a cubit in thickness, stood side by side or one behind the other 
in a space of ten cubits in depth, the distance between the pillars would be 
only a cubit and a half, that is to say, would be only just enough for one man 
and no more to walk conveniently through. And what could have been the 
object of crowding pillars together in this way, so as to render the entire space 
almost useless ? It is on this ground, probably, that Hermann Weiss assumes 
that each side of the oblong building, which was half as broad as it was long, 
was supported by one row, and therefore all the sides together by four rows 
of cedar pillars, and the beams of the same material which rested upon them. 
But this view is hardly a correct one ; for it not only does not do justice ,to 
the words of the text, " four rows of pillars," but it is insufficient in itself, for 
the simple reason that one row of pillars on each side would not have afforded 
the requisite strength and stability to the three stories built upon them, even 

CHAP. VII. 1-12. 91 

story had a " row" of fifteen side-rooms round it. This view- 
receives support from ver, 4 : " and beam-layers (^''^i;^^, beams, as 
in ch. vi. 4) were three rows, and outlook against outlook three 
times ; " i.e. the rows of side-rooms were built one over the other 
by means o'f layers of beams, so that the rooms had windows 
opposite to one another three times ; that is to say, the windows 
looking out upon the court were so arranged in the three stories 
that those on the one side were vis a vis to those on the opposite 
side of the building. The expression in ver. 5, nTno"?j< nrno h^vo^ 
"window over against window," compels us to take '^|n'?~''?? 
in the sense of " opposite to the window" (?N, versus), and not, as 
Thenius proposes, " outlook against outlook," according to which 
^^ is supposed to indicate that the windows were only separated 
from one another by slender piers, "^lil?, Avhich only occurs here, 
is different from li?n^ the ordinary window, and probably denotes 
a large opening affording a wide outlook. — ^Ver. 5. "And all 
the doorways and mouldings were square of beams" (^[>^ is an 
accusative of free subordination, denoting the material or the 
mode of execution ; cf. Ewald, ^ 284, a, ß). " Square with a 

if we should not suppose the rooms in these stories to he very broad, since the 
further three rows of pillars, which Weiss assumes in addition, according to 
ver. 3, as the actual supporters of the upper building, have no foundation in 
the text. The words "four rows of cedar pillars " do not absolutely require 
the assumption that there were four rows side by side or one behind the other 
on every side of the building ; for the assertion that "i^iLD does not denote a row 
in the sense of a straight line, but generally signifies a row surrounding and 
enclosing a space, is refuted by Ex. xxviii. 17, where we read of the four 
D"'"11D of precious stones upon the breastplate of the high priest. — Is it not 
likely that the truth lies midway between these two views, and that the fol- 
lowing is the view most in accordance with the actual fact, namely, that there 
were four rows of pillars running along the full length of the building, but 
that they were distributed on the two sides, so that there were only two rows 
on each side ? In this case a person entering from the front would see four 
rows of piUars running the whole length of the building. In any case the 
rows of pillars would of necessity be broken in front by the entrance itself. 

The utter uncertainty as to the number and position of the four rows of 
pillars is sufficient in itself to render it quite impossible to draw any plan of 
the building that could in the slightest degree answer to the reality. More- 
over, there is no allusion at all in the description given in the text to either 
entrance or exit, orto staircases and other things, and the other buildings are 
still more scantily described, so that nothing certain can be determined with 
regard to their relative position or their probable connection with one another. 
For this reason, after studying the matter again and again, I have been obliged 
to relinquish the intention to illustrate the description in the text by 


straight upper beam" (Thenius) cannot be the correct rendering 
of ^pt^ '^^V?'!- Thenius proposes to read rifnsni for rihrsn"!, after 
the reading al %co/Dat of the Seventy, who have also rendered 
HTno in ver. 4 by x^P"'> ^ broad space. It may be pleaded in 
support of this, that Q''V?1 is less applicable to the doorposts or 
mouldings than to the doorways and outlooks (windows), inas- 
much as, if the doorways were square, the square form of the 
moulding or framework would follow as a matter of course. 
Cnnsn are both the doors, through which the different rooms 
were connected with one another, and also those through which 
the building and its stories were reached, of course by stairs, 
probably winding staircases, as in the side stories of the temple. 
The stairs were placed, no doubt, at the front of the building. 
The height given is thirty cubits, corresponding to that of the 
whole building (ver. 2). If we reckon the height of the lower 
pillars at eight cubits, there were twenty-two cubits left for the 
stories ; and assuming that the roofing of each was one cubit in 
thickness, there remained eighteen cubits in all for the rooms of 
the three stories ; and this, if equally distributed, would give an 
internal height of six cubits for each story, or if arranged on a 
graduated scale, which would probably be more appropriate, a 
height of seven, six, and five cubits respectively. 

Vers. 6-8. The other luilclings. — Ver. 6. "And he made the 
^oillar-hall, fifty cubits its length, and thirty cubits its breadth, 
and a hall in front of them, and pillars and a threshold in front 
of them." With regard to the situation of this hall in relation 
to the other parts of the building, which is not precisely defined, 
we may infer, from the fact that it is mentioned between the 
house of the forest of Lebanon and the throne and judgment 
halls, that it stood between these two. The length of this build- 
ing (fifty cubits) corresponds to the breadth of the house of the 
forest of Lebanon ; so that, according to the analogy of the temple- 
hall (ch. vi. 3), we might picture to ourselves the length given 
here as running parallel to the breadth of the house of the forest 
of Lebanon, and might therefore assume that the pillar-hall was 
fifty cubits broad and thirty cubits deep. But the statement 
that there was a hall in front of the pillar-hall is irreconcilable 
with this assumption. We must therefore understand the length 
in the natural way, as signifying the measurement from back to 
front, and regard the pillar-hall as a portico fifty cubits long and 
thirty cubits broad, in front of which there was also a porch as 

CHAP. VII. 1-12. 93 

an entrance. 2'!}''.??"''^, in front of them, i.e. in front of the 
pillars which formed this portico. The last words, " and pillars 
and threshold in front of them," refer to the porch. This had 
also pillars, probably on both sides of the doorway, which carried 
the roof ; and in front of them was ^V, i.e., according to the 
Chaldee ^0?'?'?» ^^^ moulding or framework of the threshold, a 
threshold-like entrance, with steps. — Ver. 7. "And the throne-hall, 
where he judged, the judgment-hall, he made and (indeed) covered 
with cedar, from floor to floor." The throne-hall and the judg- 
ment-hall are therefore one and the same hall, which was both 
a court of judgment and an audience-chamber, and in which, no 
doubt, there stood the splendid throne described in ch. x. 18-20. 
But it is distinguished from the pillar-hall by the repetition of 
T\'^>V. It probably followed immediately upon this, but was 
clearly distinguished from it by the fact that it was covered with 
cedar J'i?']?'!' "IV S'iP'^.i^'I'O. These words are very obscure. The 
rendering given by Thenius, "panelled from the floor to the 
beams of the roof," is open to these objections : (1) that jöD gene- 
rally does not mean to ^^a^tc^, but simply to eovcr, and that |SD 
n^3 in particular cannot possibly be taken in a different sense 
here from that which it bears in ver. 3, where it denotes the 
roofing of the rooms built above the portico of pillars ; and (2) 
that the alteration of the second yp"ipn into riiiipn has no critical 
warrant in the rendering of the Syriac, a fundamcnto ad ecelum 
ejus usqiic, or in that of the Vulgate, a pavimento usque ad sum- 
mitatem, whereas the LXX. and Chald. both read ViPli^n 1]}, 
But even if we were to read ninipn, this would not of itself 
signify the roof beams, inasmuch as in ch, vi. 16 nh'ipn or 
nnipn receives its more precise definition from the expression 
|£)Bn r\\V\> (nnip) in ver. 15. The words in question cannot have 
any other meaning than this : " from the one floor to the other," 
i.e. either from the floor of the throne-hall to the floor of the 
pillar-hall (described in ver. 6), or more probably from the lower 
floor to the upper, inasmuch as there were rooms built over the 
throne-room, just as in the case of the house of the forest of 
Lebanon ; for VP"^? may denote not only the lower floor, but also 
the floor of upper rooms, which served at the same time as the 
ceiling of the lower rooms. So much, at any rate, may be 
gathered from these words, with all their obscurity, that the 
throne-hall was not an open pillar-hall, but was only open in 
front, and was shut in by solid walls on the other three sides. — 


Ver. 8. After (behind) the throne and judgment hall then fol- 
lowed the king's own j^alace, the principal entrance to which 
was probably through the throne-hall, so that the king really- 
delivered judgment and granted audiences in the gate of his 
palace. "His house, Avhere he dwelt, in the other court inwards 
from the (throne) hall was like this work," i.e. was built like the 
throne-hall ; " and a (dwelling) house he made for the daughter 
of Pharaoh, whom Solomon had taken, like this hall." The con- 
struction of the dwelling-places of the king and queen cannot be 
ascertained from these words, because the hall with which its 
style is compared is not more minutely described. All that can 
be clearly inferred from the words, " in the other court inside 
the hall," is, that the abode of the king and his Egyptian wife 
had a court of its own, and when looked at from the entrance, 
formed the hinder court of the whole ]3alace. The house of 
Pharaoh's daughter was probably distinct from the dwelling-place 
of the king, so that the palace of the women formed a building 
by itself, most likely behind the dwelling-house of the king, 
since the women in the East generally occupy the inner portion 
of the house. The statement that the dwelling-place of the 
Idng and queen formed a court by itself within the complex of 
the palace, warrants the further inference, that the rest of the 
buudings (the house of the forest of Lebanon, the pillar-hall, and 
the throne-hall) were united together in one first or front court. 
Vers. 9-12. " All these (viz. the whole of the buudings de- 
scribed in vers. 2-8) were costly stones, after the measure of 
that which is hewn, sawn with the saw within and without (i.e. 
on the inner and outer side of the halls and buildings), and 
from the foundation to the corbels, and from without to the 
great court." niriDtpn, the corbels, upon which the beams of 
the roof rest. The Sept. renders it eaxj twv yeiacov. Thenius 
understands by this the battlements which protected the flat 
roofs, and therefore interprets HinSD as signifying the stone 
border of the roof of the palace. But <yelao<;, or rye2aao<i, 
yeiaaov, merely signifies the projection of the roof, and, gene- 
rally speaking, every projection in a building resembling a roof, 
but not the battlement-like protection or border of the flat 
roof, which is called nj^yp in Deut. xxii. 8. pn, the outside 
in distinction from the great court, can only be the outer 
court ; and as '^^i"'?L' l^'^ri is no doubt identical with ^IJ^.^^} "'>!0 
(ver. 8), and therefore refers to the court surrounding the king's 

CHAP. VII. 13, 11. 95 

dwelling-house, pn is to be understood as relating to tlie court- 
yard or fore-court surrounding the front halls. — Vers. 10, 11. 
" And the foundation was laid with costly, large stones of ten 
and eight cubits (sc. in length, and of corresponding breadth 
and thickness). And above (the foundation, and therefore the 
visible walls, were) costly stones, after the measure of that 
which is hewn, and cedars." — ^Ver. 12. And (as for) the great 
court, there were round it three rows {i.e. it was formed of three 
rows) of hewn stones and a row of hewn cedar beams, as in 
the inner court of the house of Jehovah (see at ch. vi. 36) and 
the hall of the house, "li'nh siernifies " and so with the court," 
Vav serving as a comparison, as in Prov. xxv. 3, 20, and fre- 
quently in Proverbs (see Dietrich in Ges. Lex. s.v. 1, and Ewald, 
^ 340, h), so that there is no necessity for the un-Hebraic con- 
jecture of Thenius, "iVrif.?. J^'I?l! uP^i'^^ in all probability refers 
not to the temple-hall, but to the pillar-hall of the palace, the 
surrounding wall of which was of the same nature as the wall 
of the great, i.e. the other or hinder, court.-^ 

Vers. 13-51. The Metallic Vessels of the Temple (com- 
pare 2 Chron. ii. 13, 14, and üi. 15-v. 1). — ^Vers. 13, 14. To 

^ The situation of this palace in Jerusalem is not defined. Ewald supposes 
{Gesch. iii. p. 317) that it was probably built on the southern continuation of 
the temple-mountain, commonly called Opliel, i.e. Hill. But " nothing more 
is needed to convince us that it cannot have stood upon Ophel, than a single 
glance at any geographical outline of Ophel on one of the best of the modern 
maps, and a recollection of the fact that, according to Neh. iii. 26, 31, it was 
upon Ophel, where the king's palace is said to have stood, that the temple- 
socagers and shopkeepers had their places of abode after the captivity" 
(Thenius). The view held by earlier travellers and pilgrims to Zion, and 
defended by Berggren (p. 109 sqq.), namely, that the ancient Solomonian 
and Asmonaean palaces stood upon Moriah on the western side of the temple, 
is equally untenable. For the xystus, above which, according to Josephus, 
Bell. Jud. ii. 16, 3, the Asmonsean palace stood, was connected with the temple 
by a bridge, and therefore did not stand upon Moriah, but upon Zion or the 
ävi) xo7i;j, since this bridge, according to Josephus, Bell. Jud. vi. 6, 2, con- 
nected the temple with the upper city. Moreover, it clearly follows from 
the passages of Josephus akeady noticed (p. 84 sq.), in which he refers to the 
substructures of the temple area, that the temple occupied the whole of 
Moriah towards the west, and extended as far as the valley of the Tyropoeon, 
and consqueutly there was no room for a palace on that side. When Jose- 
phus affirms, therefore (Ant. viii. 5, 2), that Solomon's palace stood opposite 
to the temple {xvriKpvs £x,^v vudu), it can only have been built on the north- 
east side of Zion, as most of the modern writers assume (see W. Krafft, 


make tliese vessels king Hiram had sent to Solomon, at liis 
request (2 Chron. ii. 6), a workman named Hiram of Tyre. 
Ver. 13 contains a supplementary remark, in -which l^?^'?} must 
he rendered in the pluperfect (compare the remarks on Gen, 
ii. 19). King Solomon had sent and fetched Hiram from 
Tyre. This artisan bore the same name as the king, Q">''n or 
nnNT (ver. 40), in 2 Chron. ii. 13 n"iin (Huram), with the 
e^Dithet ^3S*, ix. my father, 3X being a title of honour equiva- 
lent to master or counsellor, as in Gen. xlv. 8. He was the 
son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was 
••iV ^'''K, i.e. a Tyrian by birth. According to 2 Chron. ii. 13, 
his mother was '' of the daughters of Dan," i.e. of the tribe of 
Dan. Both statements may easily be united thus : she was a 
Danite by birth, and married into the tribe of NaphtaH. When 
her husband died, she was married again as the widow of a 
Naphtalite, and became the wife of a Tyrian, to whom she bore 
a son, Hiram. This explanation is also adopted by Bertheau 
(on the Chronicles) ; and the conjecture of Lundius, Thenius, and 
others, that the mother was an Israelitish widow of the city of 
Dan in the tribe of Naphtali, which was quite close to Tyre, is 
less in harmony with the expression " of the daughters of Dan." 
nty'nj tJ'nn^ " a brass-worker," refers to Xin (he), i.e. Hiram, and 
not to his father (Thenius). The skill of Hiram is described in 
almost the same terms as that of Bezaleel in Ex. xxxi. 3 sqq., 
with this exception, that Bezaleel's skill is attributed to his 
being filled with the Spirit of God, i.e. is described rather as a 
supernatural gift, whereas in the case of Hiram the more inde- 
finite expression, " he was filled with wisdom, etc.," is used, re- 
presenting it rather as a natural endowment. In the account 
given here, Hiram is merely described as a worker in brass, 
because he is only mentioned at the commencement of the 
section which treats of the preparation of the brazen vessels of 
the temple. According to 2 Chron. ii. 14, he was able to work 
in gold, silver, brass, iron, stone, wood, purple, etc. There is 
nothing improbable in this extension of his skill to wood and to 

Topographie Jems. p. 114 sqq., and Berggr. p. 110). This is sustained not 
only by the probability that the Asraonjeaus would hardly build their palace 
anywhere else than on the spot where the palace of the kings of Judah built 
by Solomon stood, but also by the account of the elevation of Joash to the 
throne in 2 Kings xi. and 2 Chron. xxiii., from which it is perfectly obvious 
that the royal palace stood upon Zion opposite to the temple. 

CHAP. VII. 15-22. 97 

the art of weaving. Bezaleel also combined in himself all these 
talents. Of course Hiram was merely a foreman or leader of 
these different branches of art ; and he certainly did not come 
alone, but brought several assistants with him, who carried out 
the different works under his superintendence. — The enumera- 
tion of them commences with the pillars of the temple-hall. 

Vers. 15—22. The hrazcn pillars of the porch (compare 
2 Chron. iii. 15-17). — He formed the two brazen pillars, 
which were erected, according to 2 Chron. iii. 1 5, " before the 
(temple) house, i.e. in front of the hall of the temple. One 
was eighteen cubits high, and a thread of twelve cubits sur- 
rounded (spanned) the other pillar." The statement of the 
height of the one pillar and that of the circumference of the 
other is to be understood as an abbreviated expression, signify- 
ing that the height and thickness mentioned applied to the one 
as well as to the other, or that they were alike in height and cir- 
cumference. According to the Chronicles, they were thirty-five 
cubits long ; which many expositors understand as signifying 
that the length of the two together was thirty-five cubits, so 
that each one was only 17:|- cubits long, for which the full 
number 18 is substituted in our text. But this mode of re- 
conciling the discrepancy is very improbable, and is hardly in 
harmony with the words of the Chronicles. The number 35 
evidently arose from confounding the numeral letters n^ = 1 8 
with ni3 = 35. The correctness of the number 18 is confirmed 
by 2 Kings xxv. 17 and Jer. Iii. 21. The pillars were hollow, 
the brass being four finger-breadths in thickness (Jer. Iii. 21) ; 
and they were cast in the Jordan valley (ver. 46). — Ver. 1 6. "And 
he made two capitals (niinb), to set them on the heads of the 
pillars, cast in brass, five cubits the height of the one and of the 
other capital." If, on the other hand, in 2 Kings xxv. 17 the 
height of the capital is said to have been three cubits, this dis- 
crepancy cannot be explained on the supposition that the capitals 
had been reduced two cubits in the course of time ; but the state- 
ment rests, like the parallel passage in Jer. Iii. 22, upon an error 
of the text, i.e. upon the substitution of y (3) for n (5). — Ver. 17. 
" Plait (i.e. ornaments of plait), plait-work and cords (twist, re- 
sembling) chain-work, were on the capitals, which were upon the 
heads of the pillars, seven on the one capital and seven on the other 
capital." Consequently this decoration consisted of seven twists 
arranged as festoons, which were hung round the capitals of the 



pillars. — ^Ver. 18. " And lie made pomegranates, and indeed two 
rows round about the one twist, to cover the capitals which were 
upon the head of the pillars; and so he did with the other capital" 
In the Masoretic text the words Q"'^^öy^ and D'^Jis'in are confused 
together, and we must read, as some of the Codd. do, in the 
first clause ^''^sinTii;; for D''1ißj;n-nx, and in the middle clause 
U'-^^^Vr} ti'Ni-^y for D^Jbnn u^i'bv. ' This is not only required by the 
sense, but sustained by a comparison with ver. 19. The relation 
between the two rows of pomegranates and the plaited work is 
indeed not precisely defined ; but it is generally and correctly 
assumed, that one row ran round the pillars below the plaited 
work and the other above, so that the plaited work, which was 
formed of seven cords plaited together in the form of festoons, 
was enclosed above and below by the rows of pomegranates. If 
we compare with this the further statements in vers. 41 and 42, 
2 Chron. iii. 16 and iv. 12, 13, and Jer. lii. 23, nnnbn is there 
more precisely designated nnnbn ni?5, " bowls of the capitals," 
from which it is evident that the lower portion of the capitals, 
to which the braided work was fastened, was rounded in the 
form of a pitcher or caldron. The number of the jDomegranates 
on the two festoons is given at 400, so that there were 200 on 
each capital, and consequently each row contained 100 (2 Chron. 
iii. 16) ; and according to Jer. (I.e.) there were 96 nmn^ " wind- 
wards," and in all 100 on the braided work roimd about. '^[}''^'^, 
" windwards," can hardly be taken in any other sense than this : 
in the direction of the wind, i.e. facing the four quarters of the 
heavens. This meaning is indisputably sustained by the use of 
the word nii^ to denote the quarters of the heavens, in statements 
of the aspect of buildings (Ezek. xlii. 1 6-1 8), whereas there is 
no foundation whatever for such meanings as " airwards = un- 
covered" (Böttcher, Thenius), or hanging freely (Ewald).^ — In 
vers. 1 9 and 20a second decoration of the capitals of the pillars 

^ It is hardly necessary to observe, that the expression nn Pl^^t^^ to gasp for 
air, in Jer. ii. 24, xiv. 6, does not warrant our giving to nnn the meaning 
open or uncovered, as Böttcher supposes. But when Thenius follows Böttcher 
(Proben, p. 335) in adducing in support of this the fact " that the tangent, 
wlüch is drawn to any circle divided into a hundred parts, covers exactly four 
of these parts," the fact rests upon a simple error, inasmuch as any drawing 
will sLow that a tangent only touches one point of a circle divided into a 
hundred parts. And the remark of Böttcher, " If you describe on the out- 
side of a circle of twelve cubits in circumference a hundred small circles of 
twelve-hundredths of a cubit in diameter, a tangent drawn thereupon will 

CHAP. VII. 15-22. 99 

is mentioned, from which we may see that the rounding with the 
chain-like plaited work and the pomegranates enclosing it did 
not cover the capital to the very top, but only the lower portion 
of it. The decoration of the upper part is described in ver. 1 9 : 
" And capitals, which were upon the top of the pillars, were (or, 
Hiram made) lily- work after the manner of the hall, four cubits." 
The lily- work occupied, according to ver. 20, the upper portion of 
the capitals, which is here called nnrib^ as a crown set upon the 
lower portion. It was lily-work, i.e. sculpture in the form of 
flowering lilies. The words HiGX J?b"in D71N3 are obscure. Accord- 
ing to Böttcher and Thenius, DP1X3 is intended to indicate the 
position of the pillars within the hall, so that their capitals 
sustained the lintel of the doorway. But even if D?^X|i were 
rendered, within the hall, as it is by Böttcher, it is impossible to 
see how this meaning could be obtained from the words " capitals 
upon the head of the pillars lily-work within the hall." In that 
case we must at least have " the pillars within the hall;" and 
obixa would be connected with D'''i^li)J^n, instead of being sepa- 
rated from it by 1^1^ ^^'"^J^- Even if we were to introduce a 
stop after \'^'^ and take oTi^'^ by itself, the expression " in (or 
at) the hall" would not in itself indicate the position of the 
pillars in the doorway, to say nothing of the fact that it is 
only in ver. 2 1 that anything is said concerning the position of 
the pillars. Again, the measurement " four cubits " cannot 
be understood, as it is by Thenius, as denoting the diameter of 
the capitals of the pillars ; it must rather indicate the measure 
of the lily-work, that is to say, it affirms that there were four 
cubits of lily-work on the capitals, which were five cubits high, 
— in other words, the lily- work covered the four upper cubits 
of the capitals ; from which it stiU further follows, that the 
plaited work which formed the decoration of the lower portion 
of the capitals was only one cubit broad or high. Consequently 
D?1N3 cannot be understood in any other sense than "in the 
manner of or according to the hall," and can only express the 
thought, that there was lily-work on the capitals of the pillars 
as there was on the haU. For the vindication of this use of 3 

cover to the eye exactly four small circles, altliongli mathematically it touches 
only one of them in one point," is not correct according to any measurement. 
For if the tangent touches one of these smaller circles with mathematical 
exactness, to the eye there -will be covered either three or five half circles, or 
even seven, but never four. 


see Ges. Lex. by Dietrich, s.v. 1^ There is no valid objection 
to the inference to which this leads, namely, that on the frontis- 
piece of the temple-hall there was a decoration of lily-work. 
Por since the construction of the hall is not more minutely de- 
scribed, we cannot expect a description of its decorations. — In 
ver. 20a more precise account is given of the position in which 
the crowns consisting of lily-work were placed on the capitals of 
the columns, so that this verse is to be regarded as an explana- 
tion of ver. 1 9 : namely, capitals upon the pillars (did he make) 
also above near the belly, which was on the other side of the 
plait-work." \^'rf), the belly, i.e. the belly-shaped rounding, can 
only be the rounding of the lower portion of the capitals, which 
is called ^\ in vers. 41,42. Hence r\yi^r\ nny^ {Kcri), " on the 
other side of the plaited work," can only mean behind or under 
the plait, since we cannot suppose that there was a belly-shaped 
rounding above the caldron-shaped rounding which was covered 
with plaited work, and between this and the lily- work. The 
belly-shaped rounding, above or upon which the plaited work 
lay round about, might, when looked at from without, be de- 
scribed as being on the other side of it, i.e. behind it. In the 
second half of the verse : " and the pomegranates two hundred 
in rows round about on the second capital," the number of the 
pomegranates placed upon the capitals, which was omitted in 
ver. 18, is introduced in a supplementary form.^ — Ver. 21. " And 

1 This is the way in which the earlier translators appear to have under- 
stood it: f.^., LXX. SjOyoj/ xpivov x,eiToi to ctv'ha.y^ ncaotpuv -ky,-//,»/ ("lily-work 
according to the hall four cubits") ; Vulg. Capitella . . . quasi opere lilii 
fabricata eraut in porticu quatuor cubitorum ; Chald. J^ipp tsD^K'it^ H^iy 
p!3X y31N N?3/"1N!1 (opus liliaceum collectum in porticu quatuor cuhitoruni) \ 
Syr. opus liliaceum idem fecit {\q_^^\^ ^,^2ili^Q) in porticu quatuor cuhitis. 
These readings appear to be based upon the view supported by Rashi (D^^X3 
for dSiNS) : lily-work as it was in the hall. 

2 Hermann Weiss (Kostümkunde, i. p. 367) agrees in the main with the idea 
worked out in the text ; but he assumes, on the ground of monumental views, 
that the decoration was of a much simpler kind, and one by no means out of 
harmony with the well-known monumental remains of the East. In his 
opinion, the pillars consisted of "a shaft nineteen cubits in height, sur- 
rounded at the top, exactly after the fashion of the ornamentation of the 
Egyptian pillars, with seven bands decorated like plaited work, which 
unitedly covered a cubit, in addition to Avhich there was the lily-work of 
five cubits in height, i.e. a slender capital rising up in the form of the calyx 
of a lily, ornamented with pomegranates." Our reasons for dissenting from 
this opiuion are given in the exposition of the different verses. 

CHAr. VII. 15-22. 101 

he set up the pillars at the hall of the Holy Place, and set up the 
right pillar, and called its name Jacliin, and . . . the left . . . 
Boaz." Instead of ^?''v!f!l ^{^^ we have in 2 Chron. iii. 15 '';)ö^ 
n^.?n and in ver. 17 ^i'\}\^. V.ä'^V, "before the house," "before 
the Holy Place." This unquestionably implies that the two 
brazen pillars stood unconnected in front of the hall, on the 
right and left sides of it, and not within the hall as supporters 
of the roof. Nevertheless many have decided in favour of the 
latter view. But of the four arguments used by Thenius in 
proof that this was the position of the pillars, there is no force 
whatever in the first, which is founded iipon Amos ix. 1, unless 
we assume, as Merz and others do, that the words of the pro- 
phet, " Smite the capital, that the thresholds may shake, and 
break them (the capitals of the pillars), that they may fall upon 
the head of all," refer to the temple at Jerusalem, and not, as 
Thenius and others suppose, to the temple erected at Bethel for 
the calf-worship. For even if the temple at Bethel had really 
had a portal supported by pillars, it would by no means follow 
that the pillars Jachin and Boaz in Solomon's temple supported 
the roof of the hall, as it is nowhere stated that the temple of 
Jeroboam at Bethel was an exact copy of that of Solomon. 
And even with the only correct interpretation, in which the 
words of Amos are made to refer to the temple at Jerusalem, 
the argument founded upon them in support of the position of 
the pillars as bearers of the hall rests upon the false idea, that 
the D''SD, which are shaken by the smiting of the capital, are 
the beams lying upon the top of the pillars, or the super- 
liminaria of the hall. It is impossible to prove that ^p has any 
such meaning. The beam over the entrance, or upon the door- 
posts, is called ^ipK'O in Ex. xii. 7, 22, 23, whereas ^^ denotes 
the threshold, i.e. the lower part of the framework of the door, 
as is evident from Judg. xix. 27. The words of the prophet 
are not to be interpreted architecturally, but to be taken in a 
rhetorical sense ; " so that by the blow, which strikes the capital, 
and causes the thresholds to tremble, such a blow is intended 
as shakes the temple in all its joints" (Baur on Amos ix. 
1). " "»WMn^ a kind of ornament at the top of the pillars, and 
D^EBH, the thresholds, are opposed to one another, to express 
the thought that the building is to be shaken and destroyed 
a summo usque ad itnuin, a capite ad calccin " (Hengstenberg, 
Christal. i. p. 366 transl.). The other arguments derived from 


Ezek. xl. 48 and 49, and from Joseplius, Aoif. viii. 3, 4, prove 
nothing at all. From the words of Josephus, rovrcov tcov klovwv 
Tov fji€v erepov Kara rrjv Be^iav earrjae tov irpoirvXalov TrapaardBa 
. . . TOV Be erepov, k.tX., it would only follow " that the pillars 
(according to the view of Josephus) must have stood in the 
doorway/' if it were the case that irapacrtd'^ had no other mean- 
ing than doorpost, and 'TrpoirvXaiov could be understood as 
referring to the temple-hall generally. But this is conclusively 
disproved by the fact that Josephus always calls the temple- 
hall Trpovaov (I.e., and viii. 3, 2 and 3), so that TrpoTrvkaiov can 
only denote the fore-court, and 7rapaaTd<; a pillar standing by 
itself. Consequently Josephus regarded the pillars Jachin and 
Boaz as 'propylcea erected in front of the hall. "We must 
therefore adhere to the view expressed by Bahr {d. Tempel, p. 
35 sqq.), that these pillars did not support the roof of the 
temple-hall, but were set up in front of the hall on either side 
of the entrance. In addition to the words of the text, this 
conclusion is sustained (1) by the circumstance that the two 
pillars are not mentioned in connection with the building of the 
temple and the hall, but are referred to for the first time here 
in the enumeration of the sacred vessels of the court that were 
made of brass. " If the pillars had formed an essential part 
of the construction and had been supporters of the hall, they 
would certainly have been mentioned in the description of the 
building, and not have been placed among the articles of furni- 
ture " (Schnaase) ; and moreover they would not have been made 
of metal like the rest of the vessels, but would have been con- 
structed of the same building materials as the hall and the 
house, namely, of stone or wood (Bahr). And to this we may 
add (2) the monumental character of the pillars, which is evi- 
dent from the names given to them. No architectural portion 
of the building received a special name.-^ Jacliin (P?^) : " he 
establishes," stdbiliet tem'plum (Simonis Onom. p. 430) ; and Boaz 
(TJ)3), ex TJ? 13 in illo, sc. Domino, rolur (Sim. p. 460). Kimchi 
has correctly interpreted the first name thus : " Let this temple 

1 Stieglitz (Gesell, der Baukunst, p. 127) aptly observes in relation to tliis : 
"The architect cannot subscribe to Meyer's view (that the pillars were sup- 
porters of the ball), since it was only through their independent position fhat 
the pillars received the solemn character intended to be given to them, and 
by their dignity subserved the end designed, of exalting the whole building 
and calling attention to the real purpose of the whole." 

CHAP. VII. 23-20. 103 

stand for ever ;" and the second, " Solomon desired that God 
would give it strength and endurance." The pillars were sym- 
bols of the stability and strength, which not only the temple 
as an outward building, but the kingdom of God in Israel as 
embodied in the temple, received from the Lord, who had chosen 
the temple to be His dwelling-place in the midst of His people.^ 
— In ver. 22 it is stated again that there was lily-work upon the 
head of the pillars, — a repetition which may be explained from 
the significance of this emblem of the capitals of the pillars ; 
and then the words, " So was the work of the capitals finished," 
bring the account of this ornament of the temple to a close. 

Vers. 23-26. Th& Irazm sea (c£ 2 Chron. iv. 2-5). — " He 
made the molten sea — a water-basin called D^ {mare) on 
account of its size — ten cubits from one upper rim to the 
other," i.e. in diameter measured from the upper rim to the one 
opposite to it, " rounded all round, and five cubits its (external) 
height, and a line of thirty cubits encircled it round about," 
i.e. it was thirty cubits in circumference. The Chetlub nip is to 
be read ^)\l here and in Zech. i. 16 and Jer. xxxi. 39, for which 
the Keri has 1i^ in all these passages. ^)? or li^ means a line for 
measuring, which is expressed in ver. 15 by tDW. The relation 
of the diameter to the circumference is expressed in whole 
numbers which come very near to the mathematical proportions. 
The more exact proportions would be as 7 to 22, or 113 to 355. 
— Ver. 24. And colocynths (gourds) ran round it under its brim, 
ten to the cubit, surrounding the sea in two rows ; the colocynths 
" cast in its casting," i.e. cast at the same time as the vessel 
itself. Instead of ^^VP^^, gourds (see at ch. vi. 18), we find Tm^ 
ü''"}p3, figures of oxen, in the corresponding text of the Chronicles, 
and in the last clause merely "'i^?'], an evident error of the pen, 
Dnpn being substituted by mistake for D'':;p3, and afterwards 
interpreted nnp3 niDl. The assumption by which the early 
expositors removed the discrepancy, namely, that they were casts 
of bullocks' heads, is not to be thought of, for the simple reason 
that D''"ipn signifies oxen and not the heads of oxen. How far 
apart the two rows of gourd-like ornaments were, it is impossible 

1 There is do necessity to refute the fanciful notion of Ewald, that these 
pillars, "■ when they were erected and consecrated, were certainly named after 
men who were held in estimation at that time, probably after the yoimger 
sons of Solomon," and that of Thenius, that tV3 r3% "He (the Lord) estab- 
lishes with strength," was engraved upon them as an inscription. 


to decide. Their size may be estimated, from the fact that there 
were ten within the space of a cubit, at a little over two inches 
in diameter. — Ver. 25. This vessel stood (rested) upon twelve 
brazen oxen, three turning to the north, three to the west, three 
to the south, and three to the east, " and the sea above upon 
them, and all their backs (turned) inwards ;" i.e. they were so 
placed that three of their heads were directed towards each 
quarter of the heavens. The size of the oxen is not given ; but 
we must assume that it was in proportion to the size and height 
of the sea, and therefore about five cubits in height up to the 
back. These figures stood, no doubt, upon a metal plate, which 
gave them a fixed and immoveable position (see the engraving 
in my lihl. Ärchäol. Taf. iii. fig. 1). — Ver. 26. "And its thick- 
ness {i.e. the thickness of the metal) was a handbreadth" = four 
finger-breadths, as in the case of the brazen pillars (see at ver. 
1 5), " and its upper rim like work of a goblet (or of a goblet- 
rim, i.e. bent outwards), lily-blossom," i.e. ornamented with lily- 
flowers. It held 2000 baths ; according to the Chronicles, 3000 
baths. The latter statement has arisen from the confusion of 3 
(3) with 3 (2) ; since, according to the calculation of Thenius, 
the capacity of the vessel, from the dimensions given, could not 
exceed 2000 baths. This vessel, which took the place of the 
laver in the tabernacle, was provided for the priests to wash 
themselves (2 Chron. iv. 6), that is to say, that a supply of 
water might be kept in readiness to enable the priests to wash 
their hands and feet when they approached the altar to officiate, 
or were about to enter the Holy Place (Ex. xxx. 1 8 sqq.). There 
were no doubt taps by which the water required for this purpose 
was drawn off from the sea.^ — The artistic form of the vessel 
corresponded to its sacred purpose. The rim of the basin, which 
rose upwards in the form of a lily, was intended to point to the 
holiness and loveliness of that life which issued from the sanc- 
tuary. The twelve oxen, on which it rested, pointed to the 
twelve tribes of Israel as a priestly nation, which cleansed itself 

1 For the different conjectures on this subject, see Luudius, jiid. Heilig- 
thiimei; p. 356. Thenius supposes that there was also a provision for filling 
the vessel, since the height of it would have rendered it a work of great labour 
and time to fill it by hand, and that there was probably a pipe hidden behind 
the figures of the oxen, since, according to Aristeas, histor. LXX. Interp., 
Oxon. 1692, p. 32 (also Eusebii pr.vp. evancj. ix. 38), there were openings 
concealed at the foot of the altar, out of which water was allowed to run at 
certain seasons for the requisite cleansing of the pavement of the court from 

CHAP. VII. 27-G9. 105 

here in the persons of its priests, to appear clean and holy before 
the Lord. Just as the number twelve unquestionably suggests 
the allusion to the twelve tribes of the covenant nation, so, in 
the choice of oxen or bullocks as supporters of the basin, it is 
impossible to overlook the significance of this selection of the 
first and highest of the sacrificial animals to represent the priestly 
service, especially if we compare the position of the lions on 
Solomon's throne (ch, x. 20). 

Vers. 27-39. The Brazen Stands and their Basins.-' — He 
made ten stands of brass, each four cubits long, four cubits 
broad, and three cubits high, rii^ba, stands or stools (Luther), 
is the name given to these vessels from their purpose, viz. to 
serve as supports to the basins which were used for washing the 
flesh of the sacrifices. They were square chests cast in brass, 
of the dimensions given. — Vers. 28, 29. Their work (their con- 
struction) was the following : they had ni"iaDp, lit. surroundings, 
i.e. panels or flat sides, and that between Q''37ti^, commissure, i.e. 
frames or borders, which enclosed the sides, and were connected 
together at the angles ; and upon the panels within the borders 
(there were figures of) lions, oxen, and cherubim. The state- 
ment in Josephus, that each centre was divided into three com- 
partments, has nothing to support it in the biblical text, nor is 
it at all probable in itself, inasmuch as a division of this kind 
would have rendered the figures placed upon them insignificantly 
small. " And upon the borders was a base above." 15 is a noun, 
and has been rendered correctly by the Chaldee ^^??, lasts. 
The meaning is, above, over the borders, there was a pedestal 
for the basin upon the chest, which is more fully described in 
ver. 31. To take|2 as an adverb does not give a suitable sense. 
For if we adopt the rendering, and upon the corner borders (or 
ledges) likewise above (De Wette and Ewald), — i.e. there were 
also figures of lions, oxen, and cherubim upon the corner borders, 

the blood of the sacrifices ; and there is still a fountain just in the neighbour- 
hood of the spot on which, according to ver. 89, the brazen sea must have 
stood (see Schultz's plan) ; and in the time of the Crusaders there was a large 
basin, covered by a dome supported by columns. (see Eobinson, Pal. i. 446). 
But even if the later temple was supplied with the water required by means 
of artificial water-pipes, the Solomonian origin of these arrangements or 
designs is by no means raised even to the rank of probability. 

1 The description which follows will be more easily understood by comparing 
with it the sketch given in my hiblisclie Archäologie., Taf. iii. fig. 4. 


— it is impossible to tell what the meaning of bv'^p can be, to say- 
nothing of the fact that on the corner borders there could hardly 
be room for such figures as these. This last argument also tells 
against the rendering adopted by Thenius : " and upon the corner 
borders, above as well as below the lions and oxen, (there were) 
wreaths ; " in which, moreover, it is impossible to attach any sup- 
portable meaning to the 13. When, on the other hand, Thenius 
objects to our view that the pedestal in question is spoken of for 
the first time in ver. 31, and that the expression "above the 
corner borders (ledges) " would be extremely unsuitable, since 
the pedestal in question was above the whole stand ; the former 
remark is not quite correct, for ver. 3 1 merely contains a more 
minute description of the character of the pedestal, and the latter 
is answered by the fact that the pedestal derived its strength 
from the corner borders or ledges. " And below the lions and 
oxen were wreaths, pendant work." HV?^ here and at ver. 36, 
is to be explained from n;^p in Prov. i. 9 and iv. 9, and signifies 
twists or wreaths. Tjio '^^VJP is not "work of sinking," i.e. 
sunken work (Thenius), which never can be the meaning of 
Tiiü, but pendant work, festoons, by which, however, we cannot 
understand festoons hanging freely, or floating in the air. — 
Ver. 30. " Every stool had four brazen wheels and brazen axles, 
and the four feet thereof had shoulder-pieces ; below the basin 
were the shoulder-pieces cast, beyond each one (were) wreaths." 
The meaning is that the square chests stood upon axles with 
wheels of brass, after the style of ordinary carriage wheels 
(ver. 33), so that they could be driven or easily moved from one 
place to another ; and that they did not rest directly upon the 
axles, but stood upon four feet, which were fastened upon the 
axles. This raised the chest above the rim of the wheels, so 
that not only were the sides of the chest which were ornamented 
with figures left uncovered, but, according to ver. 32, the wheels 
stood below the panels, and not, as in ordinary carriages, at the 
side of the chest. With regard to the connection between the 
axles and the wheels, Gesenius (Thcs. p. 972) and Thenius sup- 
pose that the axles were fastened to the wheels, as in the Eoman 
jplaustra and at the present day in Italy, so as to turn with them ; 
and Thenius argues in support of this, that onp is to be connected 
not only with what immediately precedes, but also with ''Pp 
nc'nj. But this latter is unfounded ; and the idea is altogether 
irreconcilable with the fact that the wheels had naves (ü"'ipti'n^ 

CHAP. VII. 27-39. 107 

ver. 33), from which we must infer that they revolved upon the 
axles. The words D^^ nbn| rnbya nyansi are ambiguous. They 
may either be rendered, " and its four feet had shoulder-pieces," 
or, as Thenius supposes, " and its four feet served as shoulder- 
pieces." ri'DVSi means stepping feet, feet bent out as if for step- 
ping (Ex. XXV. 12). The suffix attached to vnoya refers to n3i3ö, 
the masculine being often used indefinitely instead of the femi- 
nine, as in Cin^ in ver. 28. Thenius compares these feet to the 
ayttafoTToSe? of the Greeks, and imagines that they were divided 
below, like fork^shaped upright contrivances, in which, as in 
forks, the wheels turned with the axles, so that the axle-peg, 
which projected outwards, had a special apparatus, instead of the 
usual pin, in the form of a stirrup-like and on the lower side 
hand-shaped holder (1^), which was fastened to the lower rim of 
the '"i^i^P, and descended perpendicularly so as to cover the foot, 
and the general arrangement of the wheels themselves received 
greater strength in consequence. These feet, which were divided 
in the shape of forks, are supposed to be called nbn3 (shoulders), 
because they were not attached underneath at the edge of the 
stand, but being cast with the corner rims passed down in the 
inner angles, so that their uppermost portion was under the hasin, 
and the lowest portion was under the stand, which we are to 
picture to ourselves as without a bottom, and projecting as a 
split foot, held the wheel, and so formed its shoulder-pieces. 
But we cannot regard this representation as either in accordance 
with the text, or as really correct. Even if Dn? ribns could in 
any case be grammatically rendered, " they served them (the 
wheels and axles) as shoulders," although it would be a very 
questionable course to take on? in a different sense here from 
that which it bears in the perfectly similar construction in 
ver. 28, the feet which carried the stand could not possibly 
be called the shoulders of the wheels and their axles, since 
they did not carry the wheels, but the n^iao. Moreover, 
this idea is irreconcilable with the following words : " below 
the basin were the shoulder-pieces cast." If, for example, 
as Thenius assumes, the mccJionah had a cover which was 
arched like a dome, and had a neck in the centre into which 
the basin was inserted by its lower rim, the shoulder-pieces, 
supposing that they were cast upon the inner borders of the 
chest, would not be heloio the hasin, but simply below the corners 
of the lid of the chest, so that they would stand in no direct 


relation whatever to the basin. We must therefore give the 
preference to the rendering, which is grammatically the most 
natural one, " and its feet had shoulder-pieces," and understand 
the words as signifying that from the feet, which descended of 
course from the four corner borders of the chest down to the 
axles, there ascended shoulder-pieces, which ran along the out- 
side of the chest and reached to the lower part of the basin 
which was upon the lid of the chest, and as shoulders either 
supported or helped to support it. According to ver. 34, these 
shoulder-pieces were so cast upon the four corners of the chest, 
that they sprang out of it as it were. r\vb &i^ "^^V.^, opposite 
to each one were wreaths. Where these festoons were attached, 
the various senses in which i^yo is used prevent our deciding 
with certainty. At any rate, we must reject the alteration pro- 
posed by Thenius, of nv"ij into ^ns^^ for the simple reason that 
nns^ ^""i^ in the sense of " one to the other" would not be 
Hebraic. — In ver. 3 1 we have a description of the upper portion 
of the mechonah, which formed the pedestal for the basin, and 
therewith an explanation of "i'3? nnno. " And the mouth of it 
(the basin) was within the crown and upwards with a cubit, 
and the mouth of it (the crown) was rounded, stand-work, a 
cubit and a half (wide), and on its mouth also there was en- 
graved work, and its panels were square, not round," To under- 
stand this verse, we must observe that, according to ver. 35, the 
mechonah chest was provided at the top with a dome-shaped 
covering, in the centre of which there was an elevation resem- 
bling the capital of a pillar (n^nbn^ the crown), supporting the 
basin, which was inserted into it by its lower rim. The suffix 
in ^n''S (its mouth) is supposed by Thenius to refer to the 
mechonah chest, and he questions the allusion to the basin, on 
the ground that this was so flat that a mo?//7i-like opening could 
not possibly be spoken of, and the basins were never within the 
mechonah. But however correct these two remarks may be in 
themselves, they by no means demonstrate the necessity of 
takinrr ^n''3 as referring to the mechonah chest. For ns (the 
mouth) is not necessarily to be understood as denoting a mouth- 
like opening to the basin; but just as ti'Ni "'S in Ex. xxviii. 32 
signifies the opening of the clothes for the head, i.e. for putting 
the head through when putting on the clothes, so may =in"'3 (its 
m-outh) be the opening or mouth for the basin, i.e. the opening 
into which the basin fitted and was emptied, the water in the 

CHAP. VII. 27-39. 109 

basin being let off into the meclwnah chest through the head- 
shaped neck by means of a tap or plug. The mouth was really 
the lower or contracted portion of the shell-shaped basin, which 
was about a cubit in height within the neck and upwards, that 
is to say, in all, inasmuch as it went partly into the neck and 
rose in part above it. The •^''3 (the mouth thereof) which 
follows is the (upper) opening of the crown-like neck of the lid 
of the meclwnali. This was rounded, |3"nt^l?0^ stand-work, i.e., 
according to De Wette's correct paraphrase, formed after the 
style of the foot of a pillar, a cubit and a half in diameter. 
"^ And also upon the mouth of it (the mecJwnah) was carved 
work." The D5 (also) refers to the fact that the sideS'Of the 
mecJwnaJi were already ornamented with carving. Dn''ri^2D0, the 
panels of the crown-like neck (n^j^i's) and its mouth (n''S) were 
square, like the panels of the sides of the mecJwnah chest. The 
fact that panels are spoken of in connection with this neck, may 
be explained on the assumption that with its height of one cubit 
and its circumference of almost five cubits (which follows from 
its having a diameter of a cubit and a half) it had stronger 
borders of brass to strengthen its bearing power, while between 
them it consisted of thinner plates, which are called fillings or 
panels. — In vers. 32, 33, the wheels are more minutely de- 
scribed. Every stool had four wheels under the panels, i.e. not 
against the sides of the chest, but under them, and HiT, hands 
or holders of the wheels, i.e. special contrivances for fastening 
the wheels to the axles, probably larger and more artistically 
worked than the linch-pins of ordinary carriages. These HIT 
were only required when the wheels turned upon the axles, and 
not when they were fastened to them. The height of the wheel 
was a cubit and a half, i.e. not half the height, but the whole. 
For with a half height of a cubit and a half the wheels would 
have been three cubits in diameter ; and as the chest was only 
four cubits long, the hinder wheels and front wheels would 
almost have touched one another. The work (construction) of 
the wheels resembled that of (ordinary) carriage wheels ; but 
everything about them (holders, felloes, spokes, and naves) was 
cast in brass. — In ver. 34 the description passes to the upper 
portion of the mechonah. " And he made four shoulder-pieces 
at the four corners of one {i.e. of every) stand ; out of the stand 
were its shoulder-pieces." nisri3 are the shoulder-pieces already 
mentioned in ver. 3 0, which were attached to the feet below, or 


wliich terminated in feet. They were fastened to the corners in 
such, a way that they seemed to come out of them ; and they rose 
above the corners with a slight inclination (curve) towards the 
middle of the neck or capital, till they came under the outer 
rim of the basin which rested upon the capital of the lid of the 
chest, so as to support the basin, which turned considerably out- 
wards at the top. — Ver. 35. " And on the upper part of the 
stand (the mcdionah chest) half a cubit high was rounded all 
round, and on the upper part were its holders, and its panels out 
of it. njbian t^kSi is the upper portion of the square chest. 
This was not flat, but rounded, i.e. arched, so that the arching 
rose half a cubit high above the height of the sides. This arched 
covering (or lid) had riiT, holders, and panels, which were there- 
fore upon the upper part of the HJiap. The holders we take to 
be strong broad borders of brass, which gave the lid the neces- 
sary firmness ; and the fillings or panels are the thinner plates 
of brass between them. They Avere both '^^tsp^ " out of it," out 
of the upper part of the mecJionaJi, i.e. cast along with it. With 
regard to the decoration of it, ver. 36 states that " he cut out 
(engraved) upon the plates of its holders, and upon its panels, 
cherubim, lions, and palms, according to the empty space of 
every one, and wreaths all round." We cannot determine any- 
thing further with regard to the distribution of these figures. — 
Vers. 37, 38. " Thus he made the ten stools of one kind of 
casting, measure, and form, and also ten brazen basins (J^ii'^), each 
holding forty baths, and each basin four cubits." In a round 
vessel this can only be understood of the diameter, not of the 
height or depth, as the basins were set upon {yV) the stands. 
nJben'by ins "ii>3 is dependent upon '^V'^\ : he made ten basins, 
. . . one basin upon a stand for the ten stands, i.e. one basin for 
each stand. If then the basins were a cubit in diameter at the 
top, and therefore their size corresponded almost exactly to the 
length and breadth of the stand, whilst the crown-like neck, into 
which they were inserted, was only a cubit and a half in dia- 
meter (ver. 31), their shape must have resembled that of wide- 
spreading shells. And the form thus given to them required 
the shoulder-pieces described in vers. 30 and 34 as supports 
beneath the outer rim of the basins, to prevent their upsetting 
when the carriage was wheeled about.-^ — Ver. 39. And he put 

^ The description wliicli Ewald has given of these stands in his GeschicJite, 
ilL pp. 311, 312, and still more elaborately in an article in the GöUingen 

CHAP. VII. 27-39. Ill 

the stands five on the right side of the house and five on the 
left ; and the (brazen) sea he put upon the right side eastwards, 
opposite to the south. The riglit side is the south side, and the 
left the north side. Consequently the stands were not placed 
on the right and left, i.e. on each side of the altar of burnt- 
offering, but on each side of the house, i.e. of the temple-hall ; 
while the brazen sea stood farther forward between the hall and 
the altar, only more towards the south, i.e. to the south-east of 
the hall and the south-west of the altar of burnt-offering. The 
basins upon the stands were for washing (according to 2 Chron. 
iv. 6), namely, " the work of the burnt-offering," that is to say, 
for cleansing the flesh and fat, which were to be consumed upon 
the altar of burnt-offering. By means of the stands on wheels, 
they could not only easily bring the water required near to the 
priests who were engaged in preparing the sacrifices, but could 
also let down the dirty water into the chest of the stand by 
means of a special contrivance introduced for the purpose, and 
afterwards take it away. As the introduction of carriages for the 
basins arose from the necessities of the altar-service, so the pre- 
paration of ten such stands, and the size of the basins, was 
occasioned by the greater extension of the sacrificial worship, in. 
which it often happened that a considerable number of sacrifices 
had to be made ready for the altar at the same time. The 
artistic work of these stands and their decoration with figures 
were intended to show that these vessels were set apart for the 
service of the sanctuary. The emblems are to some extent the 
same as those on the walls of the sanctuary, viz. cherubim, 
palms, and fl.owers, which had therefore naturally the same 
meaning here as they had there ; the only difi^erence being that 
they were executed there in gold, whereas here they were in 
brass, to correspond to the character of the court. Moreover, 
there were also figures of lions and oxen, pointing no doubt 
to the royal and priestly characters, which were combined, 

GeleJirten Nachr. 1859, pp. 131-146, is not only obscure, but almost entirely- 
erroneous, since he proposes in the most arbitrary way to make several 
alterations in the biblical text, on the assumption that the Solomonian stands 
were constructed just like the small bronze four-wheeled kettle-carriages 
(hardly a foot in size) which have been discovered in Mecklenburg, Steyer- 
mark, and other places of Europe. See on this subject G. C. F. Lisch, 
" über die ehernen Wagenbecken der Bronzezeit," in the Jahrhb. des Vereins 
f. Mecklenh. Geschichte, ix. pp. 373, 374, where a sketch of a small carriage of 
this kind is given.. 


according to Ex. xix. 6, in the nation worshipping the Lord in 
this place. 

Vers. 40—51. Summary enumeration of the other vessels of the 
temple. — In ver. 40 the brazen vessels of the court are given. 
In vers. 41—47 the several portions of the brazen pillars, the 
stands and basins, the brazen sea and the smaller vessels of 
brass, are mentioned once more, together with notices of the 
nature, casting, and quantity of the metal used for making 
them. And in vers. 48-50 we have the golden vessels of the 
Holy Place. This section agrees almost word for word with 
2 Chron. iv. 11— v. 1, where, moreover, not only is the arrange- 
ment observed in the previous description of the temple-build- 
ing a different one, but the making of the brazen altar of burnt- 
offering, of the golden candlesticks, and of the table of shew- 
bread, and the arrangement of the great court (2 Chron. iv. 7-9) 
are also described, to which there is no allusion whatever in the 
account before us ; so that these notices in the Chronicles fill 
up an actual gap in the description of the building of the 
temple which is given here. — Ver. 40 a. The smaller hrazen vessels. 
— Hiram made the pots, shovels, and bowls. ni"i*3n is a slip 
of the pen for niT'Dn^ pots, as we may see by comparing it with 
ver. 45 and the parallel passages 2 Chron. iv. 11 and 2 Kings 
XXV. 1 4. The pots were used for carrying away the ashes ; ^''Vl^}, 
the shovels, for clearing the ashes from the altar ; nip^Tisn were 
the bowls used for catching the blood, when the sacrificial 
animals were slaughtered : compare Ex. xxvii. 3 and Num. iv. 14, 
where forks and fire-basins or coal-pans are also mentioned. — 
Ver. 405 introduces the recapitulation of all the vessels made 
by Hiram, nin^ T)''^^ in the house of the Lord (cf. Ewald, 
§ 3 0, &) ; in 2 Chron. iv. 1 1 more clearly, '''^ n''^3 ; we find it 
also in ver. 45, for which we have in 2 Chron. iv. 16 nin^ n^3b, 
for the house of Jehovah. The several objects enumerated in 
vers. 41-45 are accusatives governed by nib'i;p. — Vers. 41-44, 
the brazen pillars with the several portions of their capitals ; 
see at vers. 15-22. The inappropriate expression ^''^oy'^ ''?.f~^V 
(upon the face of the pillars) in ver. 42 is probably a mistake 
for 'yn V^"''^> " lipon the two pillars," for it could not properly 
be said of the capitals that they Avere upon the surface ol the 
pillars. — Ver. 43. The ten stands and their basins: see at vers. 
27-37; ver. 44, the brazen sea: viel. vers. 23-26; lastly, 
ver. 45, the pots, etc., as at ver. 40. The Chdhib ?nNn is a 

CHAP. VII. 40-51. 113 

mistake for nWn {Kco^y ü'ibo r\m^, of polished brass- 
accusative of the material governed by nb'y. — Ver. 46. " In 
the Jordan valley he cast them — in thickened earth between 
Snccoth and Zarthan/' where the ground, according to Burck- 
hardt, Sijr. ii. p. 593, is marly throughout. "O^^^O "?J^^3, " by 
thickening of the earth," the forms being made in the ground 
by stamping together the clayey soil. Snccoth was on the other 
side of the Jordan, — not, however, at the ford near Bethsean 
(Thenius), but on the south side of the Jabbok (see at Judg. 
viii. 5 and Gen. xxxiii. 17). Zarthan or Zcrcda was in the 
Jordan valley on this side, probably at Kum Sartdbeh (see at 
Judg. vii. 22 and Josh. iii. 16). The casting-place must have 
been on this side of the Jordan, as the (eastern) bank on the 
other side has scarcely any level ground at all. The circum- 
stance that a place on the other side is mentioned in connection 
with one on this side, may be explained from the fact that the 
two places were obliquely opposite to one another, and in the 
valley on this side there was no large place in the neighbour- 
hood above Zarthan which could be appropriately introduced 
to define the site of the casting-place. — Ver. 47. Solomon left 
all these vessels of excessive number unweighed. n3>l does not 
mean he laid them down (= set them up : Llovers), but he let 
them lie, i.e. unweighed, as the additional clause, " the weight 
of the brass was not ascertained," clearly shows. This large 
quantity of brass, according to 1 Chron. xviii. 8, David had 
taken from the cities of Hadadezer, adding also the brass pre- 
sented to him by Toi. — Vers. 48-50. The golden vessels of the 
Holy Place (cf. 2 Chron. iv. 19-22). The vessels enumerated 
here are divided, by the repetition of ">^JD 3nr in vers. 49 and 50, 
into two classes, which were made of fine gold ; and to this a 
third class is added in ver. 505 which was made of sold of 
inferior purity. As "I'lJD 2nr is governed in both instances by 
b'j;;^ as an accusative of the material, the 2nr (gold) attached to 
the separate vessels must be taken as an adjective. " Solomon 
made all the vessels in the house of Jehovah (i.e. had them 

1 After n^NH D'^bsn-isa nS"! the LXX. have the interpolation, kxI ot 
arv'Aot r£a(ixpeix.ovT» xxl oktu tov oi'icov tow ßxat'hiag xxl Toy oi'nov Kvptov, 
which is proved to be apocryphal by the marvellous combination of the 
king's hoiise and the house of God, though it is nevertheless regarded by 
Thenius as genuine, and as an interesting notice respecting certain pillars in 
the enclosure of the inner court of the temple, and in the king's palace ! 



made) : the golden altar, and tlie golden table on whicli was 
the shew-bread, and the candlesticks ... of costly gold ("iiJD : 
see at ch. vi. 20). Tlie house of JeJiovah is indeed here, as in 
ver. 40, the temple with its courts, and not merely the Holy 
Place, or the temple-honse in the stricter sense ; but it by no 
means follows from this that D73n"?3, " all the vessels," includes 
both the brazen vessels already enumerated and also the golden 
vessels mentioned afterwards. A decisive objection to our 
taking the ^3 (all) as referring to those already enumerated as 
well as those which follow, is to be found in the circumstance 
that the sentence commencing with '^Vll is only concluded with 
i^iJD anr in ver. 49. It is evident from this that D"'^3n-^3 is 

T TT . .. _ ^ 

particularized in the several vessels enumerated from nnro ri« 
onwards. These vessels no doubt belonged to the Holy Place 
or temple-house only ; though this is not involved in the ex- 
pression " the house of Jehovah," but is apparent from the con- 
text, or from the fact that all the vessels of the court have 
already been enumerated in vers. 40-46, and were made of 
brass, whereas the golden vessels follow here. That these were 
intended for the Holy Place is assumed as well known from 
the analogy of the tabernacle. nin^ n"'3 IB'N merely af&rms 
that the vessels mentioned afterwards belonged to the house of 
God, and were not prepared for the palace of Solomon or any 
other earthly purpose. We cannot infer from the expression 
" Solomon made " that the golden vessels were not made by 
Hiram the artist, as the brazen ones were (Thenius). Solomon 
is simply named as the builder of the temple, and the introduction 
of his name was primarily occasioned by ver. 47. The " golden 
altar " is the altar of incense in the Holy Place, which is called 
golden because it was overlaid with gold-plate ; for, according 
to ch. vi. 20, its sides were covered with cedar wood, after the 
analogy of the golden altar in the tabernacle (Ex. xxx. 1-5). 
"' And the table, upon which the shew-bread, of gold." ^nt be- 
longs to 1^}^'], to which it stands in free subjection (viel Ewald, 
^287, li), signifying "the golden table." Instead of 1^?^!] we 
have ^i^f^^t^'i? in 2 -Chron. iv. 19 (the tables), because there it 
has already been stated in ver. 8 that ten tables were made, 
and put in the Holy Place. In our account that verse is 
omitted ; and hence there is only a notice of the table upon 
which the loaves of shew-bread generally lay, just as in 2 
Chron. xxix. 18, in which the chronicler does not contradict 

CHAP. VII. 40-51. 115 

himself, as Thenius fancies. The number ten, moreover, is re- 
quired and proved to be correct in the case of the tables, by 
the occurrence of the same number in connection with the 
candlesticks. In no single passage of the Old Testament is it 
stated that there was only one table of shew-bread in the Holy 
Place of Solomon's temple.^ The tables were certainly made of 
wood, like the Mosaic table of shew-bread, probably of cedar 
wood, and only overlaid with gold (see at Ex. xxv. 23-30). 
" And the candlesticks, five on the right and five on the left, 
before the back-room." These were also made in imitation of 
the Mosaic candlestick (see Ex. xxv. 31 sqq.), and were pro- 
bably placed not near to the party wall in a straight line to the 
right and left of the door leading into the Most Holy Place, 
but along the two longer sides of the Holy Place ;. and the 
same with the tables, except that they stood nearer to the side 
walls with the candlesticks in front of them, so that the whole 
space might be lighted more brilliantly. The altar of burnt- 
offering, on the contrary, stood in front of and very near to 
the entrance into the Most Holy Place (see at ch. vi. 20). — 
In the following clause (vers. 49& and 50a) the ornaments of 
the candlesticks are mentioned first, and then the rest of the 
smaller golden vessels are enumerated. ^']^[}, the flower- work, 
with which the candlesticks were ornamented (see Ex. xxv. 33). 
The word is evidently used collectively here, so that the ^'^T^^ 
mentioned along with them in the book of Exodus (I.e.) are 
included. ^'^?.^, the lamps, which were placed upon the shaft 
and arms of the candlestick (Ex. xxv. 3 7). CJ^'nppön^ the snuffers 
(Ex. XXV. 38). niap^ basins in Ex. xii. 22, here probably deep 
dishes (Schalen). riii^IP, loiives. J^ip^tP, bowls (Sehalen) or cans 
with spouts for the wine for the libations ; according to 2 Chron. 
iv. 8, there were a hundred of these made. Dis?, small flat vessels, 

1 Nothing can be learned from 2 Chron. sxix. 18 concerning the number 
of the vessels in the Holy Place. If we were to conclude from this passage 
that there were no more vessels in the Holy Place than are mentioned there, 
we should also have to assume, if we would not fall into a most unscientific 
inconsistency, that there was neither a candlestick nor a golden altar of 
incense in the Holy Place. The correct meaning of this passage may be 
gathered from the words of king Abiam in 2 Chron. xiii. 11 : " "We lay the 
shew-bread upon the pure table, and light the golden candlestick eveiy even- 
ing ;" from which it is obvious that here and there only the table and the 
candlestick are mentioned, because usually only one table had shew-bread 
upon it, and only one candlestick was lighted. 


probably for carrying the incense to the altar, ri^nrto^ extin- 
guishers ; see at Ex. xxv. 38. — Ver. 50&. The riins were also 
of gold, possibly of inferior quality. These were either the 
hinges of the doors, or more probably the sockets, in which the 
pegs of the doors turned. They were provided for the doors of 
the inner temple, viz. the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. 
We must supply Vdv before '^'^/i?. 

All the vessels mentioned in vers. 48 and 49 belonged to the 
Holy Place of the temple, and were the same as those in the 
tabernacle ; so that the remarks made in the Comm. on Ex. 
xxv. 30 and 39, and xxx. 1-10, as to their purpose and signifi- 
cation, apply to them as well. Only the number of the tables 
and candlesticks was ten times greater. If a multiplication of 
the number of these two vessels appeared appropriate on account 
of the increase in the size of the room, the number was fixed 
at ten, to express the idea of completeness by that number. 
No new vessel was made for the Most Holy Place, because the 
Mosaic ark of the covenant was placed therein (ch. viii. 4 : 
compare the remarks on this at Ex. xxv. 10-22). — The account 
of the vessels of the temple is brought to a close in ver. 51 : 
" So was ended all the work that king Solomon made in the 
house of the Lord ; and Solomon brought all that was conse- 
crated by his father, (namely) the silver and the gold (which 
were not wrought), and the vessels he placed in the treasuries of 
the house of Jehovah." As so much gold and brass had already 
been expended upon the building, it might appear strange that 
Solomon should not have used up all the treasures collected by 
his father, but should still be able to bring a large portion of it 
into the treasuries of the temple. But according to 1 Chron. 
xxii. 14, 16, and xxix. 2 sqq., David had collected together an 
almost incalculable amount of gold, silver, and brass, and had 
also added his own private treasure and the freewill offerings 
of the leading men of the nation (1 Chron. xxix. 7-9). Solo- 
mon was also able to devote to the building of the temple a 
considerable portion of his own very large revenues (cf. ch. 
x. 14), so that a respectable remnant might still be left of the 
treasure of the sanctuary, which was not first established by 
David, but had been commenced by Samuel and Saul, and in 
which David's generals, Joab and others, had deposited a por- 
tion of the gold and silver that they had taken as booty (1 Chron. 
xxvi. 20-28). For it is evident that not a little had found its 

CHAP. VIII. 117 

way into this treasure through the successful wars of David, 
from the fact that golden shields were taken from the generals 
of Hadadezer, and that these were consecrated to the Lord along 
with the silver, golden, and brazen vessels offered as gifts of 
homage by king Toi of Hamath, in addition to the gold and 
silver which David had consecrated from the defeated Sjo-ians, 
Moabites, Ammonites, Philistines, and Amalekites (2 Sam. viii. 
V, 11, 12; 1 Chron. xviii. 7, 10, 11).^ 


This solemn transaction consisted of three parts, and the 
chapter arranges itself in three sections accordingly : viz. (a) 
the conveyance of the ark and the tabernacle, together with its 
vessels, into the temple, with the words spoken by Solomon on 
the occasion (vers. 1-21) ; (h) Solomon's dedicatory prayer 
(vers. 22-53) ; (c) the blessing of the congregation, and the 
offering of sacrifice and observance of a feast (vers. 54-66). — 
The parallel account to this in 2 Chron. v. 2-vii. 10, in addition 
to certain minor alterations of words and constructions, intro- 

^ The amazing extent to which this booty may possibly have reached, may 
be inferred from the accounts we have concerning the quantity of the pre- 
cious metals in Syria in the Macedonian age. In the (/aza regia of Damascus, 
Alexander found 2600 talents of gold and 600 talents of uncoined silver 
(Curt. iii. 13, 16, of. Arrian, ii. 11, 10). In the temple of Jupiter at Antioch 
there was a statue of this god of solid silver fifteen cubits high (Justin, 
xxxix. 2, 5. 6) ; and in the temple at Hierapolis there was also a golden 
statue (Lucian, de Dea Syi-, § 31). According to Appian (Partli. 28, ed. 
Schweigh.), this temple was so full of wealth, that Crassus spent several 
days in weighing the vessels of silver and gold. And from the unanimous 
testimony of the ancients, the treasures of the palaces and temples of Asia in 
the earlier times were greater still. Of the many accounts which Bahr 
(Symholik, i. p. 258 sqq.) and Movers (Phönizier, ii. 3, p. 40 sqq.) have col- 
lected together on this subject, we will meuticn only a few here, the credi- 
bility of which cannot be disputed. According to Varro (in Plin. xxxiii. 16), 
Cyrus had taken 34,000 pounds of gold as booty after the conquest of Asia, 
beside the gold wrought into vessels and ornaments, and 500,000 talents of 
silver. In Susa, Alexander took 40,000, or, according to other accounts, 
50,000, talents from the royal treasury; or, as it is still more definitely stated, 
40,000 talents of uncoined gold and silver, and 9000 talents of coined dariks. 
Alexander had these brought to Ecbatana, where he accumulated 180,000 
talents. Antigonus afterwards found in Susa 15,000 talents more in vessels 
and wrought gold and silver. In Persepolis, Alexander took 120,000 talents, 
and in Pasargada 6000 talents. For the proofs, see Movers, pp. 42, 43. 


duced for the most part merely for the sake of elucidation, 
contains here and there, and more especially towards the end, 
a few deviations of greater extent, partly omissions and partly 
additions. But in other respects it agrees almost word for 
word with our account. 

With regard to the time of the dedication, it is merely stated 
in ver. 2 that the heads of the nation assembled at Jerusalem 
to this feast in the seventh month. The year in which this 
took place is not given. But as the building of the temple was 
finished, according to ch. vi. 38, in the eighth month of the 
eleventh year of Solomon's reign, the dedication which followed 
in the seventh month cannot have taken place in the same year 
as the completion of the building. Ewald's opinion, that Solo- 
mon dedicated the building a month before it was finished, is 
not only extremely improbable in itself, but is directly at vari- 
ance with ch. vii. 51. If we add to this, that according to 
ch. ix. 1-10 it was not till after the lapse of twenty years, 
during which he had built the two houses, the temple, and his 
palace, that the Lord appeared to Solomon at the dedication of 
the temple and jDromised to answer his prayer, we must decide 
in favour of the view held by Thenius, that the dedication of 
the temple did not take place till twenty years after the build- 
ing of it was begun, or thirteen years after it was finished, and 
when Solomon had also completed the building of the palace, 
which occupied thirteen years, as the LXX. have indicated at 
the commencement of ch. viii. 1 by the interpolation of the 
words, Kal ijivero d><i avverekeae ^dkcoficov rov olKohofJbricrat, rov 
oHkop Kvplov Kol rov ot/cov avrov /xera et/coai err). 

Vers. 1-21. The first act of the solemnities consisted (1) 
in the removal of the ark of the covenant into the Most Holy 
Place of the temple (vers. 1-11); and (2) in the words with 
which Solomon celebrated the entrance of the Lord into the 
new temple (vers. 12-21). — Vers. 1-11. Removal of the ark 
of the covenant into the temjjle. — This solemn transaction was 
founded entirely upon the solemnities with which the ark was 
conveyed in the time of David from the house of Obed-edom 
into the holy tent upon Zion (2 Sam vi. 12 sqq. ; 1 Chron. xv. 

^ From tlic "whole character of the Alexandrian version, there can be no 
doubt that these words have been transferred by the LXX. from ch. is. 1, 
and have not dropped out of the Hebrew text, as Theuius supposes. 

CHAP. VIII. 1-11. 119 

2 sqq.). Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all tlie 
heads of the tribes, the princes of the fathers' houses ('''^''^J 
niaxn^ contracted from nuxn n""! ''K''K'3) of the Israelites, as repre- 
sentatives of the whole congregation, to himself at Jerusalem, 
to bring the ark of the covenant out of the city of David, i.e. 
from Mount Zion (see the Comm. on 2 Sam. vi. 16, 17), into the 
temple which he had built upon Moriah. (On the use of the 
contracted form of the imperfect ?ni?!I after TX, see Ewald, 
§ 233, &.) — Ver. 2. Accordingly " all the men of Israel {i.e. the 
heads of the tribes and families mentioned in ver. 1) assem- 
bled together to the kingj in the month Ethanim, i.e. the seventh 
month, at the feast." Gesenius explains the name ^''^nxn (in 
5 5 codd. D''Jn''Nri) as meaning " month of the flowing brooks," 
after in''Sl in Prov. xiii. 15 ; Böttcher, on the other hand, sup- 
poses it to denote the equinox. But apart from other grounds, 
the plural by no means favours this. Nor does the seventh 
month answer to the period between the middle of our Sep- 
tember and the middle of October, as is supposed by Thenius, 
who founds upon this supposition the explanation already rejected 
by Böttcher, viz. " month of gifts ;" but it corresponds to the 
period between the new moon of October and the new moon of 
E'ovember, during which the rainy season commences in Pale- 
stine (Eob. Pal. ii. p. 96 sqq.), so that this month may very 
well have received its name from the constant flowing of the 
brooks. The explanation, " that is the seventh month," is added, 
however (here as in ch. vi. 1, 38), not because the arrangement 
of the months was a different one before the captivity (Thenius), 
but because different names came into use for the months 
during the captivity. JHS is construed with the article: " because 
the feast intended was one that was well known, and had 
already been kept for a long time (viz. the feast of tabernacles)." 
The article overthrows the explanation given by Thenius, who 
supposes that the reference is to the festivities connected with 
the dedication of the temple itself — Vers. 3, 4. After the arrival 
of all the elders {i.e. of the representatives of the nation, more 
particularly described in ver. 1), the priests carried the ark and 
brought it up {sc. into the temple), with' the tabernacle and all 
the holy vessels in it. The expression DHX ^IPX, Avhich follows, 
introduces as a supplementary notice, according to the general 
diffuseness of the early Hebrew style of narrative, the more 
precise statement that the priests and Levites brought up these 


sacred vessels, "ivio ?nx is not the tent erected for the ark of 
the covenant upon Zion, which can be proved to have been 
never so designated, and which is expressly distinguished from 
the former in 2 Chron. i. 4 as compared with ver. 3, but is the 
Mosaic tabernacle at Gibeon in front of which Solomon had 
offered sacrifice (ch. iii. 4). The tabernacle with the vessels in 
it, to which, however, the ark of the covenant, that had long 
been separated from it, did not belong, was probably preserved 
as a sacred relic in the rooms above the Most Holy Place. The 
ark of the covenant was carried by priests on all solemn occa- 
sions, according to the spirit of the law, which enjoined, in 
Num. iii. 31 and iv. 5 sqq., that the ark of the covenant and 
the rest of the sacred vessels should be carried by the Levites, 
after the priests had carefully wrapped them up; and the Levites 
were prohibited from directly touching them, on pain of death. 
When, therefore, the ark of the covenant was carried in solemn 
procession, as in the case before us, probably uncovered, this 
could only be done by the priests, more especially as the 
Levites were not allowed to enter the Most Holy Place. Con- 
sequently, by the statement in ver. ob, that the priests and 
Levites carried them (^^k), viz. the objects mentioned before, we 
are to understand that the ark of the covenant was carried 
into the temple by the priests, and the tabernacle with its 
vessels by the Levites.^ — Ver. 5. " And king Solomon and the 
whole congregation, that had gathered round him, were with 
him before the ark sacrificing sheep and oxen in innumerable 
multitude." This took place while the ark of the covenant 
was carried up, no doubt when it was brought into the court of 
tlie temple, and was set down there for a time either within 
or in front of the hall. Then was this magnificent sacrifice 
" offered " there " in front of the ark " (liiNn ^jd^). — Ver. 6. 
After this sacrificing was ended, the priests carried the ark to 
its place, into the back-room of the house, into the Most Holy 
under the wings of the cherubim (already described in ch. 

^ Instead of D''3rib in ver. 3, we have D*"i?n in 2 Clu'on. v. 4 ; and instead 
of D*1^ni D"'3ni)n in ver. 4, we have D'l^n b'^jribn, "the Levitical priests." 
These variations are to be attributed to inexactness in expression. For it is 
obvious that Thenius is wrong in his notion that the chronicler mentioned 
the Levites instead of the priests, from the siiiiple fact that he states in 
ver. 7 that " the priests carried the ark," etc., in exact agreement with our 

CHAP. VIII. 1-11. 121 

vi. 23 sqq.). The latter statement is explained in ver. 7. " For 
the cherubim were spreading out wings towards the place of 
the ark, and so covered (lit. threw a shade) over the ark and 
over its poles from above." If the outspread wings of the great 
cherubic figures threw a shade not only over the ark of the 
covenant, but also over its poles, the ark was probably so placed 
that the poles ran from north to south, and not from east to 
west, as they are sketched in my Archäologie. — Ver. 8. " And 
the poles were long, and there were seen their heads {i.e. 
they were so long that their heads were seen) from the Holy 
Place before the hinder room ; but on the outside (outside 
the Holy Place, say in the porch) they were not seen." I3"is^ 
cannot be rendered : they had lengthened the poles, from which 
Kimchi and others have inferred that they had made new 
and longer carrying-poles, since the form of the tense in this 
connection cannot be the pluperfect, and in that case, more- 
over, the object would be indicated by ^^ as in ch. iii. 14 ; 
but 'n^l^D is used intransitively, " to be long," lit. to show length, 
as in Ex. xx. 12, Deut. v. 16, etc. The remark to the effect 
that the poles were visible, indicates that the precept of the 
law in Ex. xxv. 15, according to which the poles were to be 
left in the ark, was observed in Solomon's temple also. Any 
one could convince himself of this, for the poles were there " to 
this day," The author of our books has retained this chrono- 
logical allusion as he found it in his original sources; for when he 
composed his work, the temple was no longer standing. It is im- 
possible, however, to ascertain from this statement how the heads 
of the poles could be seen in the Holy Place, — whether from the 
fact that they reached the curtain and formed elevations therein, 
if the poles ran from front to back ; or whether, if, as is more 
probable, they ran from south to north, the front heads were to 
be seen, simply when the curtain was drawn back.^ — Ver. 9. 
" There was nothing in the ark but the two tables of stone, 
which Moses had put there at Horeb, when Jehovah concluded 
the covenant with Israel." The intention of this remark is 

1 The proof -which Thenius has endeavoured to give by means of a drawing 
of the correctness of the latter view, is founded upon untenable assumptions 
(see Böttcher, JEhrenl. ii. p. 69). It by no means follows from the expres- 
sion ni^T ""JQ'Py that the heads of the poles were visible as far off as the 
door of the Holy Place, but simply that they could be seen in the Holy Place, 
though not outside. 


also simply to show that the law, which enjoined that the ark 
should merely preserve the stone tables of the covenant (Ex, xxv. 
1 6, xl. 2 0), had not been departed from in the lapse of time. '^^^. 
before rinii is not a pronoun, but a conjunction : when, from the 
time that, as in Deut. xi. 6, etc. n"i3 without nna^ signifying 
the conclusion of a covenant, as in 1 Sam. xx. 16, xxii. 8, etc. 
Horeb, the general name for the place where the law was given, 
instead of the more definite name Sinai, as in Deuteronomy 
(see the Comm. on Ex. xix. 1, 2)} — Vers. 10, 11. At the dedi- 
cation of the tabernacle the glory of Jehovah in the cloud filled 
the sanctuary, so that Moses could not enter (Ex. xl. 34, 35); 
and so was it now. When the priests came out of the sanc- 
tuary, after putting the ark of the covenant in its place, the 
cloud filled the house of Jehovah, so that the priests could not 
stand to minister. The signification of this fact was the same 
on both occasions. The cloud, as the visible symbol of the 
gracious presence of God, filled the temple, as a sign that 
Jehovah the covenant-God had entered into it, and had chosen 
it as the scene of His gracious manifestation in Israel. By the 
inability of the priests to stand, we are not to understand that 
the cloud drove them away ; for it was not till the priests had 
come out that it filled the temple. It simply means that they 
could not remain in the Holy Place to perform service, say to 
offer an incense-offering upon the altar to consecrate it, just as 
sacrifices were offered upon the altar of burnt-offering after the 
dedicatory prayer (vers. 62, 63).^ 

^ The statement in Heb. ix. 4, to the effect that the pot of manna and 
Aaron's rod that budded were also to be found in the ark, which is at 
variance with this verse, and which the earlier commentators endea- 
voured to bring into harmony with it by forced methods of different kinds, 
simply rests upon an erroneous interpretation of niiyn ""iQ? in Ex. xvi. 33, 34, 
and Num. xvii. 25, which had become traditional among the Jews ; since 
this merely affirms that the objects mentioned had been deposited in front of 
the testimony, i.e. in front of the ark which contained the testimony, and 
not within it, as the Jews supposed. — Still less are De Wette and others 
warranted in deducing from this verse an argument against the existence of 
the Mosaic book of the law in the time of Solomon, inasmuch as, according 
to the precept in Deut. xxxi. 26, the book of the law was not to be kept in 
the ark, but by the side of it, or near it. 

2 Bertheau's opinion (on 2 Chron. v. 14), that the priests could not reniain 
in the hall and in front of it on account of the cloud, namely, " the cloud of 
smoke, which, ascending from the sacrifices burned upon the altar of burnt- 
offering, concealed the glory of the Lord," is decidedly erroneous. For the 

CHAP. VIII. 12-21. 123 

The glory of the Lord, which is like a consuming fire (Ex. 
xxiv. 17 ; Deut. iv. 24, ix. 3), before which unlioly man cannot 
stand, manifested itself in the cloud. This marvellous mani- 
festation of the glory of God took place only at the dedication ; 
after that the cloud was only visible in the Most Holy Place 
on the great day of atonement, when the high priest entered it. 
— The Clironicles contain a long account at this place of the 
playing and singing of the Levites at these solemnities {viel. 
2 Chron. v. 12-14). 

Vers. 12-21. Solomon extols this marvellous 'proof of tlic 
favour of tlic Lord. — ^Ver. 12. Then spake Solomon, "Jehovah 
hath spoken to dwell in the darkness." " Solomon saw that the 
temple was filled with a cloud, and remembered that God had 
been pleased to appear in a cloud in the tent of Moses also. 
Hence he assuredly believed that God was in this cloud also, 
and that, as formerly He had filled the tabernacle, so He would 
now fill the temple and dwell therein " (Seb. Schmidt), "löi^ 
'131 m^n''^ which Thenius still renders incorrectly, " the Lord 
intends to dwell in the darkness," refers, as Eashi, C. a Lap., 
and others have seen, to the utterances of God in the Penta- 
teuch concerning the manifestation of His gracious presence 
among His people, not merely to Lev. xvi. 2 (I will appear in the 
cloud), but also to Ex. xix. 9, where the Lord said to Moses, " I 
come to thee ]'\V\} 3J>3/' and still more to Ex. xx. 2 1 and Deut. iv. 
11, V. 19, according to which God came down upon Sinai -'Snyii. 
Solomon took the word ^sny from these passages. That he 
meant by this the black, dark cloud which filled the temple, is 
perfectly obvious from the combination ''S'Ji'.i^^ i^yn in Deut. v. 
1 9 and iv. 11.-^ Solomon saw this word of Jehovah realized in 

cloud which, hindered the priests from performing the service was, accord- 
ing to the distinct words of the text, the cloud which filled the house ; and 
the explanatory clause, " for the glory of the Lord filled the house of 
Jehovah," indicates in the most unmistakeable terms that it was the vehicle 
of the glory of God, and therefore was not a cloud of smoke formed by the 
burning sacrifices, but the cloud in which God manifested His invisible being 
to His people, — the very same cloud in which Jehovah was to appear above 
the Capporeth, when the high priest entered the Most Holy Place on the day 
of atonement, so that he vfas commanded not to enter it at all times, and, 
when he entered, to cover the Capporeth with the cloud of the burning incense 
(Lev. xvi. 2, 13). 

^ Thenius, however, has built up all kinds of untenable conjectures as to 
alterations of the text, upon the erroneous assumption that py means the 


the filling of the temple with the cloud, and learned therefrom 
that the Lord would dwell in this temple. Hence, being firmly 
convinced of the presence of Jehovah in the cloud which filled 
the sanctuary, he adds in ver. 13: "I have built Thee a house 
to dwell in, a place for Thy seat for ever." We are not to 
understand n"'???iy as signifying that Solomon believed that the 
temple built by him would stand for ever ; but it is to be 
explained partly from the contrast to the previous abode of 
God in the tabernacle, which from the very nature of the case 
could only be a temporary one, inasmuch as a tent, such as 
the tabernacle was, is not only a moveable and pro\dsional 
dwelling, but also a very perishable one, and partly from the 
promise given to David in 2 Sam vii. 14-16, that the Lord 
would establish the throne of his kingdom for his seed for ever. 
This promise involved the eternal duration of the gracious con- 
nection between God and Israel, which was embodied in the 
dwelling of God in the temple. This connection, from its very 
nature, was an eternal one ; even if the earthly form, from 
which Solomon at that moment abstracted himself, was tem- 
poral and perishable. — Solomon had spoken these words with 
his face turned to the Most Holy Place. He then (ver. 14) 
tiu?ned his face to the congregation, which was standing in the 
court, and blessed it. The word " blessed " Ol^"*) denotes the 
wish for a blessing with which the king greeted the assembled 
congregation, and introduced the praise of God which follows. 
— In vers. 15-21 he praises the Lord for having now fulfilled 
wdth His hand what He spake with His mouth to his father 
David (2 Sam. vii.). — Ver. 16. The promise of God, to choose 
Jerusalem as the place for the temple and David as prince, is 
taken freely from 2 Sam. vii. 7, 8. In 2 Chron. vi. 6, before 
" I chose David," we find " and I chose Jerusalem, that my 
name might be there ;" so that the affirmation answers more pre- 
cisely to the preceding negation, whereas in the account before 
us this middle term is omitted. — Vers. 17-19. David's inten- 
tion to buud the temple, and the answer of God that his son 
Avas to execute this work, are so far copied from 2 Sam. vii. 2, 
12, 13, that God approves the intention of David as such. 
riTtpn, "Thou didst well that it was in thy mind."— Vers. 20, 21. 
light and radiant cloud, and cannot be synonymous with ?S"iy- Böttcher 
adopts the same opinion, without taking any notice of the striking remarks of 
Bertheau on 2 Chron. v. 14. 

CHAP. VIII. 22-53. 125 

" And Jehovah has set up His word." '131 Di^*i. supplies the ex- 
planation of 11^3 s<po (hath fulfilled with his hand) in ver. 15. 
God had caused Solomon to take possession of the throne of 
David ; and Solomon had built the temple and prepared a place 
there for the ark of the covenant. The ark is thereby declared 
to be the kernel and star of the temple, because it was the 
throne of the glory of God. 

Vers. 22-53. Second Act of the feast of dedication: Solo- 
mon's dedicatorypraycr (cf 2 Chron. vi. 12-42). — Ver. 22. "Then 
Solomon stood before the altar of Jehovah in front of aU the 
assembly of Israel, and stretched out his hands towards heaven." 
It is evident from ver. 54 that Solomon uttered the prayer 
which follows upon his knees. The Chronicles contain the same 
account as we have here, with this addition, that it is said to 
have taken place on a " scaffold," or kind of pulpit ("li'^) specially 
erected for the purpose.^ The altar, to the front of which Solo- 
mon went, was the altar of burnt-offering in the court, where 
the congregation was gathered together. The expression ^33 
'b'^ ?np"?3 favours the idea that Solomon offered the prayer upon 
his knees with his face turned towards the congregation, and 
not with his back to the people and his face turned towards the 
temple, as Thenius supposes. — The substance of the prayer is 
closely connected with the prayer of Moses, especially with the 
blessings and curses therein {vid. Lev. xxvi. and Deut. xxviii.). 
Commencing with the praise of God, who " keepeth covenant 
and truth " towards His servants, and has thus far performed to 
His servant David the promise that He gave him (vers. 23, 24), 
Solomon entreats the Lord still further to fulfil this promise of 
His (vers. 25, 26), and to keep His eyes constantly open over 
the temple, to hearken to the prayers of His people, and to 
avert the curse threatened against sinners from all who shall 
call upon Him in this temple (vers. 27-53). — ^Vers. 23, 24. 
By granting the blessing promised to His people, the Lord has 

1 Böttcher is right in his assertion, that the opinion expressed by Thenius 
and Cappellus, that this passage in the Chronicles has been dropped out of our 
text through a copyist's oversight, is a very improbable one ; although the 
reasons he assigns are for the most part untenable. The omission may be 
explained in a very simple manner, from the fact that the introduction of 
this circumstance had no bearing upon the design or contents of the dedica- 
tory prayer. 


hitherto proved Hmiself to be the true and only God in heaven 
and on earth, who keepeth covenant and mercy Avith those who 
walk before Him with all their heart. This acloiowledgment 
produces the requisite confidence for offering the prayer which 
is sure of an answer (Matt. xxi. 22 ; Mark xi. 24; Jas. i. 6). 
For '^^ '^iö?"^??, compare Ex. xv. 11 with Dent. iv. 39 ; 2 Sam. 
vii. 22, xxii. 32 ; Ps. Ixxxvi. 8. "Who keepeth covenant and 
mercy," verlatim the same as in Deut. vii. 9. The promise given 
to His servant David (2 Sam. vii.), the fulfilment of which the 
commencement now lay before their eyes (cf. vers. 20, 21), was 
an emanation from the covenant faithfulness of God. " As it is 
this day," as in ch. iii. 6. — Ver. 25. The expression "and now" 
(nnj))) introduces the prayer for the further fulfilment of the 
promise, never to allow a successor upon the throne to be 
wanting to David, in the same conditional form in which 
David had uttered the hope in ch. ii. 4, and in which the 
Lord had renewed the promise to Solomon during the building 
of the temple (ch vi. 12, 13). In NDS'^y 2^' ^Ja^o, instead of 
ND3 f'yo in ch. ii. 4, the divine rejection is more distinctly in- 
dicated. — Ver. 26 is not merely a repetition of the prayer in 
ver. 25, as Thenius supposes, but forms the introduction to the 
prayers which follow for the hearing of all the prayers presented 
before the Lord in the temple. The wor(is, " let Thy words be 
verified, which Thou spakest unto Thy servant David," contain 
something more than a prayer for the continual preservation of 
the descendants of David upon the throne, for the fulfilment of 
which Solomon prayed in ver. 25. They refer to the whole of 
the promise in 2 Sam. vii. 12-16. The plural '^n,?1 {Chethib) 
points back to nnn-nn-^s in 2 Sam. vii. 17, and is not to be 
altered into the singular after the Keri. The singular }ö^?^. is 
used as it frequently is with the subject in the plural, when 
the verb precedes (cf. Ewald, § 316, a, 1). Solomon has here in 
mind one particular point in the promise, viz. that God would 
not withdraw His mercy from the seed of David, even when it 
sinned. This is evident from what follows, where he mentions 
simply cases of transgression, and prays that they may be for- 
friven. — Vers. 26-28 sqq. are closely connected in this sense: 
keep Thy words that were spoken to David ; for although this 
temple cannot hold Thine infinite divine nature, I know that 
Thou wilt have respect to the prayer of Thy servant, to keep 
Thine eyes open over this temple, to hear every prayer which 

CHAP. VIII. 22-53. 127 

Thy people sliall bring before Thee therein. ri''3Q^ in ver. 28 
continues the optative NJ ios'' in ver. 26 ; and ver. 27 contains 
an intermediate thought, with which Solomon meets certain 
contracted ideas of the gracious presence of God in the temple. 
■'S (ver. 27) signifies neither but, nevertheless, atqui (Böttcher), 
nor " as " (Thenius, Bertheau) ; and the assertion that ver. 2 7 
is the commencement of a new section is overthrown by the 
inadmissible rendering of ^''^Sl^ " but Thou turnest Thyself" 
(Thenius). — With the words, " Should God really dwell upon 
the earth ! behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens {i.e. 
the heavens in their widest extent, cf. Deut. x. 14) cannot con- 
tain Thee, to say nothing C"? ^^?; cf. Ewald, § 354, c) of this 
house which I have built," in which the infinitude of God and 
His exaltation above the world are expressed as clearly and 
forcibly as possible, Solomon does not intend to guard against 
the delusion that God really dwells in temples (J. D. Mich.), 
but simply to meet the erroneous idea that He dwells in the 
temple as men dwell in a house, namely, shut up within it, 
and not also outside and above it, — a delusion which sometimes 
forced its way into the unspiritual nation, but which was always 
attacked by the prophets (cf. Mic. iii. 11; Jer. vii. 4, etc.). For 
it is evident that Solomon did combine with his clear percep- 
tion of the infinite exaltation of God a firm belief in His real 
presence in the temple, and did not do homage to the abstract 
idealism of the rationalists, not merely from his declaration 
in vers. 12 sqq. that he had built this temple as a dwelling- 
place for God, but also from the substance of all the fol- 
lowing prayers, and primarily from the general prayer in 
vers. 28 and 29, that God would take this temple under His 
special protection, and hearken to every prayer directed towards 
it. The distinction between n?3Ji nsnn and n3"i is the folio w- 
ing : npDn denotes prayer in general, praise, supplication, and 
thanksgiving ; nsnri, supplication or entreaty, prayer for help and 
mercy ; and nn, jubilation, prayer as the joyous utterance of 
praise and thanksgiving. — Ver. 29. "That Thine eyes may be 
open upon this house night and day." rrjari"?«, speciali quadam 
Providentia in Jianc domum directi (Mich.). The following 
clause, " upon the place of which Thou hast said, My name shall 
be there" (namely, 2 Sam. vii. 13, implicite), contains within 
itself the ground upon which the prayer rests. Because the 
name of God will be in the temple, i.e. because God will mani- 


fest His gracious presence there, He will also keep His eyes 
open upon it, so as to hear the prayer of Solomon directed 
towards it. i'^p Di pan bx (toward this place) : because Solomon 
also was praying in the court towards the temple. — In ver. 30, 
" and hear the supplication of Thy servant and of Thy people 
Israel," he begins by asking that those prayers may be heard 
which the king and people shall henceforth bring before God 
in the temple. J^^o^. corresponds to n^JDi in ver. 28, and is 
more precisely defined by the following yoti'n nnxi (as for these 
prayers). Thou wilt hear them up to the place of Thine abode, 
to heaven. ^^ J?OB> is a pregnant expression : to hear the 
prayer, which ascends to heaven. In the Chronicles we find 
throughout the explanatory 1». The last words, " hear and for- 
give," must be left in their general form, and not limited by 
anything to be supplied. Nothing but forgiveness of sin can 
remove the curse by which transgression is followed. 

This general prayer is then particularized from ver. 31 on- 
wards by the introduction of seven special petitions for an 
answer in the different cases in which, in future, prayers may 
be offered to God in the temple. The ßrst prayer (vers. 31,32) 
has reference to the oaths sworn in the temple, the sanctity of 
which God is asked to protect. " If a man sin against his 
neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him, to cause him to swear, 
and he come (and) swear before the altar in this house, then 
wilt Thou hear," etc. "i??'^ nt< does not mean either " granted 
that " (Thenius) or " just lohcn " (Ewald, § 533, a), although D^? is 
used in the Chronicles, and we might render it freely " when ; " 
but Ili? is simply an accusative particle, serving to introduce the 
following clause, in the sense of " as for," or " -with regard to 
(such a case as) that a man sins" {vid. Ewald, § 2 7 7, a). HPX K2n 
cannot be taken as anything but an asyndeton. For if npx 
were a substantive, it would have the article ('"'^^v') provided 
it were the subject, and the verb would be written nxn ; and if 
it were the object, we should have "^/^li, as in Neh. x. 30 (cf. 
Ezek. xvii. 13). The prayer refers to the cases mentioned in 
Ex. xxii. 6-12 and Lev. v. 21-24, Vt^hen property entrusted to 
any one had been lost or injured, or when a thing had been 
found and the finding was denied, or when an act of fraud had 
been committed ; in which cases the law required not only co'm- 
pensation with the addition of a fifth of its value, but also a 
trespass-offering as an expiation of the sin committed by taking 

CHAP. VIII. 33-40. 129 

a false oath. But as this punishment could only be inflicted 

when the guilty person afterwards confessed his guilt, many 

false oaths might have been sworn in the cases in question 

and have remained unpunished, so far as men were concerned. 

Solomon therefore prays that the Lord will hear every such oath 

that shall have been sworn before the altar, and work (^''^i'), 

i.e. actively interpose, and judge His servants, to punish the 

guilty and justify the innocent. The construction D^p^n yoD-n 

(vers. 32, 34, 36, etc.) can be explained more simply from the 

adverbial use of the accusative (Ewald, § 300, &), than from hi^_ 

wmn in ver. 30. i:^'N^Zl ian'n nri, to give (bring) his way upon 

his head, i.e. to cause the merited punishment to fall upon him 

(cf. Ezek. ix. 10, xi. 21, etc.). V^'t T?'!'"? and P'"^V P'^yn recall 

Deut. xxv. 2. For in^nya Sb nn compare 2 Sam. xxii. 21, 25. — 

The following cases are all taken from Lev. xxvi. and Deut. xxviii. 

Vers. 33 and 34. The second petition, — " If Thy people Israel 

are smitten by the enemy, because they have sinned against 

Thee, and they turn to Thee and confess Thy name, . . . then 

hear . . , and bring them back into the land," — refers to the 

threatenings in Lev. xxvi. 17 and Deut. xxviii. 25, where the 

nation is threatened with defeat and subjugation on the part of 

enemies, who shall invade the land, in which case prisoners 

of war are carried away into foreign lands, but the mass of the 

people remain in the land, so that they who are beaten can pray 

to the Lord in the temple, that He will forgive them their sin, 

save them out of the power of the enemy, and bring back the 

captives and fugitives into their fatherland. 

Vers. 35 and 36, The third prayer refers to the remission of 
the punishment of drought threatened against the land, when the 
heaven is shut up, according to Lev. xxvi. 19, Deut. xi, 17, xxviii. 
2 3. ^}Vn ""3^ because Thou humblest them (LXX., Vulg.) ; not "that 
Thou hearest them " (Chald. and others). Dlin '•3^ because Thou 
teachest them the good way. These words correspond to Dij?n ""D, 
and contain a motive for forgiveness. Because God teaches His 
people and seeks by means of chastisements to bring them back 
to the good way when they fail to keep His commandments, He 
must forgive when they recognise the punishment as a divine 
chastisement and come to Him with penitential prayer. 

Vers. 37-40. The fourth prayer relates to the removal of 
other land-plagues: famine (Lev. xxvi. 19, 20, and 26 ; Deut. 
xxviii. 23); pestilence (Lev. xxvi. 25); blight and mildew 



in the corn (Deut. xxviii. 22); locusts (^''P^, devourer, is con- 
nected with ^n■l^« without a copula, — in the Chronicles by Vdv, — 
to depict the plague of locusts more vividly before their eyes 
after Deut. xxviii. 38); oppression by enemies in their own land; 
lastly, plagues and diseases of all kinds, such as are threatened 
against the rebellious in Lev. xxvi. 16 and Deut. xxviii. 59-61. 
lifj is not the imperfect Kal of "i^^* (Ges., Dietr., Fürst, Olsh. 
Gramm, p. 524), but the imperfect Hiphiloi "i^n in Deut. xxviu. 
52, as in Neh. ix. 27; and the difficult expression VW pX3 
is probably to be altered into '^ Kl??, whilst 'i^'^V^ is either to 
be taken as a second object to IVJ, as Luther supposes, or as 
in apposition to P.^^^ in the land (in) his gates, as Bertheau 
assumes. The assertion of Thenius, that all the versions except 
the Vulgate are founded upon the reading vny rinxa^ is incorrect. 
7\)T\\ "»a is omitted after n?no-73^ since Solomon dropped the 
construction with which he commenced, and therefore briefly 
summed up all the prayers, addressed to God under the various 
chastisements here named, in the expression nanrrba n?sri-73^ 
which is placed absolutely at the opening of ver. 38. i^">^ 
'131 |ij?"|1, " when they perceive each one the stroke of his heart," 
i.e. not dolor animi quern qicisque sentit (Vatab., C. a Lap.), but 
the plague regarded as a blow falling upon the heart, in other 
words, as a chastisement inflicted upon him by God. In aU 
these cases may God hear his prayer, and do and give to every 
one according to his way. ^^J!} "i^N*, " as Thou knowest his heart," 
i.e. as is profitable for every one according to the state of his 
heart or his disposition, God can do this, because He knows 
the hearts of all men (cf. Jer. xvii. 10). The purpose assigned 
for all this hearing of prayer (ver. 40), viz. " that they may fear 
Thee," etc., is the same as in Deut. iv. 1 0. 

Vers. 41-43. The ßftJi -pvajer has reference to the hearing of 
the prayers of foreigners, who shall pray in the temple. Solomon 
assumes as certain that foreigners will come and worship before 
Jehovah in His temple ; even Moses himself had allowed the 
foreigners living among the Israehtes to offer sacrifice at the 
temple (Num. xv. 14 sqq.), and the great name and the arm of 
the Lord, that had manifested itseK in deeds of omnipotence, 
had become known in the times of Moses to the surround- 
ing nations (Ex. xv. 14, xviii. 1 ; Josh. v. 1), and the report 
of this had reached Balaam even in INIesopotamia (see the 
Comm. on Num. xxii.). ''1^}'? ^^ does not mean " as for the 

CHAP. VIII. 44-50. 131 

foreigners " (Thenius), for % is never used in this sense ; but 
it is to be connected with J"?fn in ver. 43, as ^^V^f fre- 
quently occurs (Bertheau). — Ver. 42 is a parenthesis inserted 
in explanation of '^''^P ]V^\ : " for they will hear," etc. The strong 
hand and the outstretched arm are connected together as a stand- 
ing expression for the wondrous manifestations of the divine 
omnipotence in the guidance of Israel, as in Deut. iv. 34, v. 15, 
etc. With b)>^^n\ sa^i the p.?^ ^?'' in ver. 41 is resumed, and 
the main thought continued. — Ver. 43. The reason for the 
hearing of the prayers of foreigners is " that all nations may 
know Thy name to fear Thee," etc., as in Deut. xxviii. 10. An 
examination of this original passage, from which K"Jp? 'l^K' "'S 
'1^1 '?^ is taken and transferred to the temple, shows that the 
common explanations of this phrase, viz. " that this house is 
called after Thy name," or " that Thy name is invoked over this 
temple (at its dedication)," are erroneous. The name of the 
Lord is always used in the Scriptures to denote the working of 
God among His people or in His kingdom (see at 2 Sam. vi. 2). 
The naming of this name over the nation, the temple, etc., pre- 
supposes the working of God within it, and denotes the con- 
fession and acknowledgment of that working. This is obvious 
from such passages as Jer. xiv. 9, where the expression " Thy 
name is called over us " is only a further explanation of the 
word " Thou art in the midst of us ;" and from Isa. Ixiii. 19, 
where "we are they over whom Thou hast not ruled from 
eternity " is equivalent to " over whom Thy name has not been 
called." The name of Jehovah will be named over the temple, 
when Jehovah manifests His gracious presence within it in such 
a manner, that the nations who pray towards it experience the 
working of the living God within His sanctuary. It is in this 
sense that it is stated in 2 Sam. vi. 2 that the name of Jehovah 
is named above the ark of the covenant (see the Comm. in loc). — 
There are no cases on record of the worship of foreigners in con- 
nection with Solomon's temple, though there are in connection 
with the temple built after the captivity (vid. Josephus, Ant. xi. 
8, 5, that of Alexander the Great ; xii. 2, 5 sqq., that of Ptole- 
ma3us Phüadelphus ; and 2 Mace. iii. 2, 3, that of Seleucus). 

Finally, in vers, 44-50 Solomon also asks, that Avhen prayers 
are directed towards the temple by those who are far away both 
from Jerusalem and the temple, they may be heard. The sixth 
case, in vers. 44 and 45, is, if Israel should be engaged in war 


"with an enemy by the appointment of God ; and the seventh, 
in vers. 46-50, is, if it should he carried away by enemies on 
account of its sins.^ By the expression in ver. 44, " in the 
way which Thou sendest them," the war is described as one 
undertaken by the direction of God, whether waged against an 
enemy who has invaded the land, or outside the land of Canaan 
for the chastisement of the heathen dwelling around them. 
" And shall pray 'W^ "'"'V'^ T}'!^. : " i-e. in the direction towards the 
chosen city and the temple, namely, in faith in the actual 
presence of the covenant God in the temple. nin;' b^, " to 
Jehovah," instead of " to Thee," is probably introduced for the 
sake of greater clearness. Df S'^'P '^''"^Vl ^"^^ secure them justice 
(cf. Deut. X. 18, Ps. ix. 5, etc.). — Vers. 46 sqq. In the seventh 
prayer, viz. if Israel should be given up to its enemies on 
account of its sins and carried away into the land of the enemy, 
Solomon had the threat in Lev. xxvi. 33 and 44 in his eye, 
though he does not confine his prayer to the exile of the whole 
nation foretold in that passage and in Deut. xxviii. 45 sqq., 
64 sqq., and xxx. 1—5, but extends it to every case of trans- 
portation to an enemy's land. D^p 7S l3''5J'n'!, " and they take it 
to heart," compare Deut. iv. 39, and without the object, Deut. 
XXX. 1 ; not " they feel remorse," as Thenius supposes, because 
the Hiphil cannot have this reflective signification (Böttcher). 
The confession of sin in ver. 47, ^^V??'"! ^^''IV'!?"! ^^^^C^ "^^^ adopted 
by the Jews when in captivity as the most exhaustive ex- 
pression of their deep consciousness of guilt (Dan. ix. 5 ; Ps. cvi. 
6). NüHj to slip, Idbi, depicts sin as a wandering from right ; 

^ Bertheau (ou Chron.) has already proved that there is no force in the 
arguments by which Thenius attempts to show, ou doctrinal grounds, that 
vers. 44-51 are an interpolated addition. As he correctly observes, " it is, 
on the contrary, quite in harmony with the original plan, that the two cases 
are also anticipated, in which the prayers of Israelites who are at a distance from 
the seat of the sanctuary are directed towards the temple, since it is perfectly 
appropriate that the prayers of the Israelites at the place of the sanctuary are 
mentioned first, then the prayers of foreigners at the same i)lace, and lastly 
the prayers of Israelites, who, because they are not in Jerusalem, are obliged 
to content themselves with tuniing their faces towards the temple. We might 
also point to the fact that it is probably intentional that exactly seven 
cases are enumerated, inasmuch as in enumerations of this kind, which are 
not restricted by the nature of the case to any definite measure, sueh a 
number as seven easily furnishes an outward limit," — or more correctly : be- 
cause seven as a sacred or covenant number was more appropriate than any 
other to embrace all prayers addressed to God. 

CHAP. VIII. 54-Gl. 133 

njyn to act perversely, as a conscious perversion of justice; 
and y^'T as a passionate rebellion against God (cf. Isa. Ivii. 20). 
— Ver. 50. Q^^Dlc' 2J^n^^ : literally, "and make (place) them for 
compassion before their captors, that they may have compassion 
upon them," i.e. cause them to meet with compassion from their 
enemies, who have carried them away. — In vers. 51-53 Solo- 
mon closes with general reasons, which should secure the hear- 
ing of his prayer on the part of God. Bertheau follows the 
earlier commentators in admitting that these reasons refer not 
merely to the last petitions, but to all the preceding ones.^ 
The plea "for they are Thy people," etc. (ver. 51), is taken from 
Deut. iv. 10 ; and that in ver. 53, "Thou didst separate them," 
etc., is taken from Lev. xx. 24, 26, compared with Ex. xix. 5. 
'iJl ^''_:''y nvn^, " that Thine eyes may be opened," follows upon 
^m^\ ("then hear Thou") in ver. 49; just as ver. 29 at the 
commencement of the prayer follows upon ri''3Si in ver. 2 8. The 
recurrence of the same expression shows that the prayer is 
drawing to a close, and is rounded off by a return to the 
thought with which it opened. " As Thou spakest by Moses" 
points back to Ex. xix. 5. — In 2 Chron. vi. 40-42 the con- 
clusion of the prayer is somewhat altered, and closes with the 
appeal to the Lord to cause salvation and grace to go forth 
from the temple over His people. 

Vers. 54-66. Concluding Act of the dedication of the 
temple. Vers. 54-61. Blessing the congregation. — After the 
conclusion of the prayer, Solomon rose up from his knees and 
blessed all the assembled congregation. riiCi'^13 VSpl is a cir- 
cumstantial clause, which must be connected with the previous 
words and rendered thus : " from lying upon his knees with 
his hands spread out towards heaven." " And he stood," i.e. he 
came from the altar and stood nearer to the. assembled congre- 
gation. The blessing begins with praise to the Lord for the 
fuljfilment of His promises (ver. 1 6), and consists in the petition 
that the Lord will always fulfil his (Solomon's) prayers, and 

^ Seb. Schmidt has already given the following explanation : " These 
things which I have asked for myself and for my people do Thou, Lord, 
because it is for Thy people that I have prayed, and I am their king : there- 
fore hear Thou the prayers of Thy servant and Thy people. For in ver. 52 he 
makes mention of his own case and of the cases of all the rest, in which they 
would call upon the Lord. 


grant His people the promised salvation.-^ — Ver. 56. The praise 
of Jehovah rests, so far as the first part is concerned, upon the 
promise in Deut. xii. 9, 10, and upon its fulfilment in Josh, 
xxi. 44, 45 and xxiii. 14 ; and the second part is founded upon 
Lev. xxvi. 3—13 and Deut. xxviii. 1-14, where the "good word, 
which the Lord spake by Moses," is more precisely described 
as the blessing which the Lord had promised to His people 
and had hitherto bestowed upon them. He had already given 
Israel rest by means of Joshua when the land of Canaan was 
taken ; but since many parts of the land still remained in the 
hands of the Canaanites, this rest was only fully secured to 
them by David's victories over all their enemies. This glorious 
fulfilment warranted the hope that the Lord would also fulfil in 
the future what He had promised His servant David (2 Sam. 
vii. 10), if the people themselves would only faithfully adhere 
to their God. Solomon therefore sums up all his wishes for 
the good of the kingdom in vers. 57-61 in the words, " May 
Jehovah our God be with us, as He was with our fathers ; may 
He not leave us nor forsake us, to incline our heart to Himself, 
that we may walk in all His ways," etc. — that the evil word 
predicted by Moses in Lev. xxvi. 14 sqq., Deut. xxviii. 15, may 
not fall upon us. For ver. 57 compare Deut. xxxi. 6, 8, and 
Josh. i. 5. 'iJ^tpi 7N corresponds to ^ST. ?^ in these passages. 
In the Pentateuch ^i^^ is used but once of men who forsake 
the Lord, viz. Deut. xxxii. 15 ; in other cases it is only used 
in the general sense of casting away, letting alone, and other 
similar meanings. It is first used of God, in the sense of for- 

1 This blessing is omitted from the Chronicles, because it is simply a re- 
capitulation of the longer prayer ; but instead of it we have a statement, in 
2 Chron. vii. 1-4, to the effect that fire fell from heaven and consumed the 
burnt-offering upon the altar. This statement, which even Movers regards as 
a traditional, i.e. a legendary addition, according to his erroneous view of 
the sources of the Chronicles, is confirmed by the similar miracle which 
occurred at the dedication of the temple. It is omitted, like so many other 
things in the account before us, because all that was essential in this occur- 
rence was contained implicite in the filling of the temple with the glory of the 
Lord. Just as at the consecration of the Mosaic sanctuary the Lord did not 
merely manifest His gracious presence through the cloud which filled the 
tent, but also kindled the first sacrifice with fire from heaven (Lev. ix. 24), 
to sanctify the altar as the legitimate place of sacrifice ; so also at the temple 
the miraculous kindling of the first sacrifice with fire from heaven was the 
immediate and even necessary consequence of the filling of the temple with 
the cloud, in which the presence of Jehovah was embodied. 

CHAP. VIII. 62-66. 135 

saking His people, in Ps. xxvii. 9 in connection with 2Ty ; and 
it frequently occurs afterwards in Jeremiah. — Ver. 59. May 
these my words, which I have prayed (vers. 25-43), be near to 
Jehovah our God day and night, that He may secure the right 
of His servant (the king) and of His people, as every day 
demands, i^ra nv ia^, as in Ex. v. 13, xvi. 4. — For ver. 60 
compare ver. 43. — Ver. 61. Let your heart be '^ üy Dpt'^ wholly, 
tindividedly devoted to the Lord (cf ch. xi. 4, xv. 3, 14, etc.). 

Vers. 62-66. Sacrifices and feast. — Vers. 62, 63. The dedi- 
catory prayer was followed by a magnificent sacrifice offered by 
the king and all Israel. The thank-offering (^"'0?^ n^r) con- 
sisted, in accordance with the magnitude of the manifestation of 
divine grace, of 2 2,0 oxen and 120,000 sheep. This enormous 
number of sacrificial animals, in which J. D. Michaelis found 
serious difficulties, Thenius endeavours to set aside as too large, 
by calculating that as these sacrifices were offered in seven 
days, reckoning the sacrificial day at twelve full hours, there 
must have been about five oxen and about twenty-five sheep 
slaughtered and offered in sacrifice every minute for the king 
alone. This calculation would be conclusive, if there were any 
foundation for the three assumptions upon which it rests : 
namely, (1) that the number of sacrifices mentioned was offered 
for the king alone ; (2) that the slaughtering and preparation 
of the sacrificial animals could only be performed by the priests 
and Levites ; and (3) that tlie whole of the flesh of these 
sacrificial animals was to be consumed u23on the altar. But 
these three assumptions are all erroneous. There is nothing in 
the account about their being " for the king alone." For it is 
obvious that the words " and Solomon offered a sacrifice" are 
not to be understood as signifying that the king had these 
sacrifices offered for himself alone, but that the words refer to 
the sacrifices offered by the king and all Israel for the con- 
secration of the temple, from the simple fact that in ver. 62 
" Solomon and all Israel " are expressly mentioned as offerino- 
sacrifice, and that after the statement of the number of the 
sacrifices we find these words in ver. 63: "so the king and all 
the children of Israel dedicated the house of Jehovah." More- 
over it is very evident from the law in Lev. i. and iii. that at 
the offering of sacrifice the slaughtering, flaying, and prepara- 
tion of the sacrificial animals were performed by any Israelite, 
and that it was only the sprinkling of the blood against the 


altar and the burning of the sacrificial portions upon the altar 
which were the exclusive province of the priests. In order to 
form a correct idea of the enormous number of sacrifices which 
could be slaughtered on any one day, we will refer again to the 
notice in Josephus {Bell. Jud. vi. 9, 3) already mentioned in the 
Comm. on the Pentateuch, vol. iii. p. 51 (translation), that in the 
reign of the emperor Nero the procurator Ccstius directed the 
priests to count the number of the paschal lambs, and that 
they counted 250,000, which were slaughtered for the passover 
between the ninth and eleventh hours of the day, and of which 
the blood Avas sprinkled upon the altar. If then it was pos- 
sible at that time to slaughter more than 250,000 lambs in 
three hours of the afternoon, and to sprinkle the blood upon 
the altar, there can have been no difficulty in slaughtering and 
sacrificing 3000 oxen and 18,000 sheep at the dedication of 
the temple on each of the seven days of the festival. As all 
Israel from Hamath to the brook of Egypt came to Jerusalem 
to this festival, we shall not be above the mark if w-e estimate 
the number of the heads of houses present at 100,000. And 
with very little trouble they could have slaughtered 3000 oxen 
and 18,000 sheep a day and prepared them for sacrificing. 
How many priests took an active part in this, w^e do not indeed 
know, in fact we have no information as to the number of the 
priests in Solomon's time ; but we know that in the time of 
David the number of Levites qualified for service, reckoning 
from their thirtieth year, was 38,000, so that we may certainly 
assume that there were two or three thousand priests. Now if 
only the half of these Levites and priests had come to Jerusalem to 
tlie dedication of the temple, they alone could have slaughtered^ 
3000 oxen and 18,000 sheep every day. And would not al 
thousand priests have been sufficient to sprinkle the blood of | 
so many animals upon the altar and to burn the fat between 
the morning and evening sacrifice ? If we divided these sacri- 
fices among a thousand priests, each one would only have had 
to attend to the sprinlding of the blood and burning of the fat 
of three oxen and eighteen sheep each day. — But the brazen 
altar of burnt-offering might not have been large enough fori 
the burning of so many sacrifices, notwithstanding the fact that 
only the fat portions of the thank-offerings were consumed, and 
they did not require much room ; since the morning and even-j 
hi" burnt-offerings were added daily, and as festal off'eringsl 

CHAP. VIII. C2-66. 137 

they would certainly not consist of a lamb only, but at least of one 
bullock, and they were burned whole, although the altar of burnt- 
offering with a surface of 144 square yards (see my hihl. Archäol. 
i. p. 12 7) would hold a very large quantity of sacrificial flesh at 
once. In ver. 64, however, it is expressly stated that Solomon 
sanctified the middle of the court, which was before the house 
of Jehovah, to burn the burnt-offering and meat-offering and the 
fat portions of the thank-offerings there, because the brazen altar 
was too small to hold these sacrifices. " The middle of the court" 
("lynn T]in) is the whole of the inner portion of the court of the 
priests, which was in front of the temple-house and formed the 
centre of the court surrounding the temple. Of course we have 
not to imagine that the sacrifices were offered upon the stone 
pavement of the court, but must assume that there were auxiliary 
altars erected in the inner court around the brazen altar. By 
the burnt-offering and the meat-offering (belonging to it: HpivnTii;! 
^C'?'?'!'"'^?!?1) we are not to understand certain burnt-offerings, 
which were offered for a definite number of thank-offerings, as 
Thenius supposes. The singular and the definite article are 
both at variance with this. The reference is rather to the 
(well-known) daily morning and evening burnt-offerings with 
their meat-offering, and in this case, no doubt, to such a festal 
sacrifice as is prescribed in Num. xxviii. for the great yearly 
feasts. — Ver. 65. Thus Solomon held the feast at that time, and 
all Israel with him, a great assembly from the neighbourhood 
of Hamath to the brook of Eg}^pt, i.e. from the whole land in its 
fullest extent from north to south. " The district of Hamath," 
i.e. Epiphania on the Orontes, is mentioned as the northern 
boundary (cf. Num. xxxiv. 8, xiii. 21, Josh. xiii. 5, etc.) ; and 
" the brook of Egypt" (Q11VÖ 7n3), RMnocorura, as the southern 
boundary (cf. Num. xxxiv. 8, Josh. xv. 4). " The feast " (^^n)^ 
which Solomon held with the people " seven days and seven 
days, fourteen days," is not the feast of the dedication, but, as 
in ver. 2, the feast of tabernacles, which fell in the seventh 
month ; and the meaning of the verse is, that on that occasion 
the feast of the seventh month was kept for fourteen days, namely, 
seven days as the feast of the dedication, and seven days as the 
feast of tabernacles. We are obliged to take the words in this 
way, partly on account of the evident reference to 3n3 (at the 
feast) in ver. 2 in the expression ^nriTix (the feast) in this 
verse, and partly on account of the statement which follows in 


ver. 66, "and on the eiglitli clay he sent the people away." 
The " eighth day" is not the first day of the feast of tabernacles 
(Thenius) ; but the eighth day, as the conclusion of the feast of 
tabernacles, r!"!.>*y (Lev. xxiii. 36). The correctness of this view 
is placed beyond all doubt by the context in the Chronicles, 
which states more clearly that " Solomon kept the feast seven 
days, and all Israel with hiin . . . and they kept ri"ivy (the 
closing feast) on the eighth day ; for they kept the dedication 
of the altar seven days and the feast seven days ; and on the 
twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people 
away." The feast of tabernacles lasted seven days, from the 
15th to the 21st, with a closing festival on the eighth day, i.e. 
the 2 2d of the month (Lev. xxiii. 33-39). This festival was 
preceded by the dedication of the temple from the 8th to the 
14th of the month. The statement in ver. QQ, " on the eighth 
day he sent the people away," if we take the words in their 
strict sense, is at variance with the statement in the Chronicles, 
"on the 23d day," since the eighth day of the feast of taber- 
nacles was the 2 2d day of the month; but it may easily be 
accounted for from want of precision in a well-known matter. 
Solomon sent the people away on the eighth day, i.e. on the 
afternoon or evening of the atzcrdh of the feast of tabernacles, 
so that on the morning of the next day, i.e. on the 23d of the 
month, the people took their journey home, "joyful and glad of 
heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown to His ser- 
vant David and to the people." David is mentioned, because 
the completion of the building of the temple was the fulfilment 
of the divine promise given to him. " Tents," for houses, as in 
2 Sam. XX. 1, Judg. vii. 8, and other passages. 


Vers. 1-9. The Answer of the Lord to Solomon's Dedica- 
tory Prayer (cf. 2 Chron. vii. 11-22). — Vers. 1, 2. When 
Solomon had finished the building of the temple, and of his 
palace, and of all that he had a desire to build, the Lord 
appeared to him the second time, as He had aj)peared to him^ at 
Gibeon, i.e. by night in a dream (see ch. iii 5), to promise him 
that his prayer should be answered. For the point of time, see 
at ch. viii. 1. P.^D"''?, all Solomon's desire or pleasure, is para- 

CHAP. IX. 1-9. 139 

phrased thus in the Chronicles : 3? ?y ^^l'"''!', " all that came 
into his mind/' and, in accordance with the context, is very 
properly restricted to these two principal buildings by the clause, 
" in the house of Jehovah and in his own house." — ^Vers. 3 sqq. 
The divine promise to Solomon, that his prayer should be 
answered, is closely connected with the substance of the prayer ; 
but in our account we have only a brief summary, whereas in the 
Chronicles it is given more elaborately {viel. 2 Chron. vii. 12-16). 
" I have sanctified this house which thou hast built, to put my 
name there." For the expression, see Deut. xii. 11. The sanc- 
tifying consisted in the fact, that Jehovah put His name in the 
temple ; i.e. that by filling the temple with the cloud which 
visibly displayed His presence. He consecrated it as the scene 
of the manifestation of His grace. To Solomon's prayer, " May 
Thine eyes stand open over this house" (ch. viii. 29), the Lord 
replies, giving always more than we ask, " My eyes and my 
heart shall be there perpetually." — Vers. 4 and 5 contain the 
special answer to ch. viii. 25 and 26. — Vers. 6-9 refer to the 
prayer for the turning away of the curse, to which the Lord 
replies : If ye and your children turn away from me, and do 
not keep my commandments, but worship other gods, this house 
will not protect you from the curses threatened in the law, but 
they will be fulfilled in all their terrible force upon you and 
upon this temple. This threat follows the Pentateuch exactly 
in the words in which it is expressed; ver. 7 being founded 
upon Deut. xxviii. 37, 45, and 63, and the curse pronounced 
upon Israel in Deut. xxix. 23-26 being transferred to the 
temple in vers. 8 and 9. — ''^Q ?y^? ^J^, to dismiss, i.e. to reject 
from before my face. " This house will be P vJ^," i.e. will stand 
high, or through its rejection will be a lofty example for all that 
pass by. The temple stood upon a high mountain, so that its 
ruins could not fail to attract the attention of all who went 
past. The expression li vV is selected with an implied allusion 
to Deut. xxvi. 19 and xxviii. 1. God there promises to make 
Israel P^V., high, exalted above all nations. This blessing will 
be turned into a curse. The temple, which was high and widely 
renowned, shall continue to be high, but in the opposite sense, as 
an example of the rejection of Israel from the presence of God.^ 

^ The conjecture of Böttcher, Thenius, and Bertheau, that }i'>^j; should be 
altered into Di>y, has no support in Mic. iii. 12, Jer. xxvi. 18, and Ps. Ixxix. 1, 


Vers. 10-28. The Means by which the Buildings were 
ERECTED. — In order that all which still remained to be said 
concerning Solomons buildings might be grouped together, 
different notices are introduced here, namely, as to his relation 
to Hiram, the erection of several fortresses, and the tributary 
labour, and also as to liis maritime expeditions ; and these hete- 
rosreneous materials are so arranged as to indicate the resources 
which enabled Solomon to erect so many and such magnificent 
buildings. These resources were : (1) his connection with king 
Hiram, who furnished him with building materials (vers. 10-14); 
(2) the tributary labour which he raised in his kingdom (vers. 
15-25) ; (3) the maritime expedition to Ophir, which brought 
him great wealth (vers. 26-28). But these notices are very 
condensed, and, as a comparison with the parallel account in 2 
Chron. viii. shows, are simjjly incomplete extracts from a more 
elaborate liistory. In the account of the tributary labour, the 
enumeration of the cities finished and fortified (vers. 15-19) 
is interpolated ; and the information concerning the support 
which was rendered to Solomon in the erection of his buildings 
by Hiram (vers. 11—14), is merely supplementary to the 
account already given in ch. v. Vers. 24 and 25 point still 
more clearly to an earlier account, since they would be other- 
wise unintelligible. — In 2 Chron. viii. the arrangement is a 
simpler one : the buildings are first of all enumerated in vers. 
1-6, and the account of the tributary labour foUows in vers. 

Vers. 10—14. The notices concerning Solomon's connection 
lüitli Hiram are very imperfect; for ver. 14 does not furnish 
a conclusion either in form or substance. The notice in 2 
Chron. viii. 1, 2 is still shorter, but it supplies an important 
addition to the account before us. — Vers. 10 and 11 form one 

and has all the ancient versions against it ; for they all contain the Masoretic 
text, either in a verbal translation (LXX.), or in a paraphrase, as for 
example the Chaldee, " the house that was high shall be destroyed ;" the 
Syriac and Arabic, " this house will be destroyed ;" and the Vulgate, domus 
Jiiec erit in crcmplum. — In 2 Chron. vii. 21 the thought is somewhat varied 
bv the alteration of nTl"' into riTl ■^K'^<. For it would never enter the mind 

•' v: • TT V -: 

of any sober critic to attribute this variation to a misinterpretation of our 
text. Still less can it be an unsuccessful attempt to explain or rectify our 
text, as Böttcher imagines, since the assertion of this critic, that ji^^j; is only 
used to signify an exalted position, and never the exaltation of dignity or 
worth, is proved to be erroneous by Deut. xxvi. 19 and xxviii. 1. 

CHAP. IX. 10-14. 141 

period. }J^1 TS (then he gave) in ver. 1 1 introduces the apodosis 
to 'PD "*>})] (and it came to pass, etc.) in ver. 1 ; and ver. 1 1 
contains a circumstantial clause inserted as a parenthesis. 
Hiram had supported Solomon according to his desire with 
cedar wood and cypress wood, and with gold ; and Solomon 
gave him in return, after his buildings were completed, twenty 
cities in the land of Galil. But these cities did not please 
Hiram. When he went out to see them, he said, " What kind 
of cities are these ('"iD in a contemptuous sense) which thou 
hast given me, my brother?" ^ns as in ch. xx. 32, 1 Mace. 
X. 18, xi. 30, 2 Mace. xi. 22, as a conventional expression 
used by princes in their intercourse with one another. " And 
he called the land Cabid unto this day;" i.e. it retained this 
name even to later times. The land of Galil is a part of the 
country which was afterwards known as Galilcca, namely, the 
northern portion of it, as is evident from the fact that in Josh. 
XX. 7, xxi. 32, Kcdes in the mountains of Naphtali, to the north- 
west of Lake Huleh, is distinguished from the Kadesh in southern 
Palestine by the epithet -'yI?. It is still more evident from 
2 Kings XV. 29 and Isa. viii. 23 that Galil embraced the 
northern part of the tribe of Naphtali; whilst the expression 
used by Isaiah, njiiin y?^, also shows that this district was for 
the most part inhabited by heathen {i.e. non-Israelites). The 
twenty cities in Galil, which Solomon gave to Hiram, certainly 
belonged therefore to the cities of the Canaanites mentioned 
in 2 Sam. xxiv. 7 ; that is to say, they were cities occupied 
chiefly by a heathen population, and in all probability they 
were in a very bad condition. Consequently they did not please 
Hiram, and he gave to the district the contemptuous name of 
the land of Cahul. Of the various interpretations given to the 
word Cahil (see Ges. TJics. p. 656), the one proposed by Hiller 
(Onomast. p. 435), and adopted by Eeland, Ges., Maurer, and 
others, viz. that it is a contraction of b=i3n3^ sictit id quod cvanuit 
tanquam oiihil, has the most to support it, since this is the mean- 
ing required by the context. At the same time it is possible, 
and even probable, that it had originally a different significa- 
tion, and is derived from ^33 = bin in the sense of to pawn, 
as Gesenius and Dietrich suppose. This is favoured by the 
occurrence of the name Cahd in Josh. xix. 27, where it is pro- 
bably derivable from ??3, to fetter, and signifies literally a for- 
tress or castle ; but in this instance it has no connection with 


tlie land of Ccibid, since it is still preserved in the village of 
Cabul to the south-east of Acre (see the Comm. on Josh. l.c). 
The " land of Cabnl " would therefore mean the pawned land ; 
and in the mouths of the people this would be twisted into 
" good for nothing." In this case &5'^k'*l would have to be taken 
impersonally : " they called ;" and the notice respecting this 
name would be simply an explanation of the way in which the 
people interpreted it. Hiram, however, did not retain this dis- 
trict, but gave it back to Solomon, who then completed the 
cities (2 Chron. viii. 2.).^ The only way in which we can give to 
ver. 14 a meaning in harmony with the context, is by taking it 
as a supplementary explanation of ^njni . , . nE'j . . . ü^^n in 
ver. 11, and so rendering np'^'l as a pluperfect, as in ch. vii. 
13:" Hiram had sent the king a hundred and twenty talents 
of gold." If we reckon the value of gold as being ten times 
the worth of silver, a hundred and twenty talents of gold would 
be 3,141,600 thalers (about £471,240 : Tr.). This is no doubt 
to be regarded as a loan, which Solomon obtained from Hiram 
to enable him to complete his buildings. Although David may 
have collected together the requisite amount of precious metals 
for the building of the temple, and Solomon had also very con- 
siderable yearly revenues, derived partly from tribute paid by 
subjugated nations and partly from trade, his buildings were 
so extensive, inasmuch as he erected a large number of cities 
beside the temple and his splendid palace (vers. 15—19), that 
his revenues might not suffice for the completion of these costly 
works ; and therefore, since he would not apply the conse- 
crated treasures of the temple to the erection of cities and 
palaces, he might find himself compelled to procure a loan from 
the wealthy king Hiram, which he probably intended to cover 
by ceding to him twenty cities on the border of the Phoenician 
territory. But as these cities did not please the king of Tyre and 
he gave them back to Solomon, the latter will no doubt have re- 
paid the amount borrowed during the last twenty years of his reign. 

^ This simple method of reconciling the account before us with the appa- 
rently discrepant notice in the Chronicles, concerning which even Movers {die 
biblische Chronik, p. 159) observes, that the chronicler interpolated it from a 
second (?) source, is so natui'al, that it is difficult to conceive how Bertheau 
can object to it ; since he admits that the accounts in the books of Kings 
and Chronicles are incomplete extracts from common and more elaborate 

CHAP. IX. 15-23. 143 

Vers. 15—23. Solomon's tribute service, and the building of the 
cities. (Cf. 2 Chron. viii. 3-10.) The other means "by which 
Solomon made it possible to erect so many buildings, was by 
compelling the remnants of the Canaanitish population that 
were still in the land to perform tributary labour. Dsn "ini nr, 
" this is the case with regard to the tribute." Tor DD n?j;n^ 
compare ch. v. 27. To the announcement of the object which 
Solomon had in view in raising tributary labourers, namely, to 
build, etc., there is immediately appended a list of all the build- 
ings completed by him (vers. 15—19) ; and it is not till ver. 20 
that we have more precise details concerning the tribute itself 
Millo, the wall of Jerusalem, and the cities enumerated, are for 
the most part not new buildings, but simply fortifications, or the 
completion of buildings already in existence. David had already 
built the castle of Millo and the wall of Jerusalem (2 Sam. v. 9); 
so that Solomon's building was in both cases merely fortifying 
more strongly. On Ifillo see the fuller remarks at 2 Sam. v. 9 ; 
and on the building of the wall, those at ch. iii. 1 and xi. 27. 
As Solomon thereby closed the breach of the city of David 
according to ch. xi. 27, he probably extended the city wall so 
as to enclose the temple mountain ; and he may possibly have 
also surrounded the lower city with a wall, since David had 
only built a fortification round about the upper city upon Zion 
(see at 2 Sam. v. 9). — Hazor : an old royal city of the Cauaan- 
ites above Lake Huleh, which has not yet been discovered (see 
at Josh. xi. 1). Mcgiddo ; i.e. Lcjun (see at ch. iv. 12). Gezer : 
also an old Canaanitish royal city, which stood close to the 
Philistian frontier, probably on the site of the present village of 
cl Kubab (see at Josh. x. 33). — Ver. 16. This city had been 
taken and burned down by the king of Egypt ; its Canaanitish 
inhabitants had been put to death ; and the city itself had been 
given as a marriage portion to his daughter who was married 
to Solomon. Nothing is known concerning the occasion and 
object of Pharaoh's warlike expedition against this city. The 
conjecture of Thenius, that the Canaanitish inhabitants of Gezer 
had drawn upon themselves the vengeance of Pharaoh, mentioned 
here, through a piratical raid upon the Egyptian coast, is open 
to this objection, that according to all accounts concerning its 
situation, Gezer was not situated near the sea-coast, but very 
far inland.' — Ver. 17. This city Solomon built: i.e. he not only 
rebuilt it, but also fortified it. He did the same also to Loiucr 


£etJihoron, i.e. Bcit-Ur Tacliia, on the western slope of tlie 
mountains, four hours' journey from Gibeon. According to 
2 Chron. viii. 5, Solomon also fortified Upper Bethhoron, which 
was separated by a deep wady from Lower Bethhoron, that lay 
to the west (see Comra. on Josh. x. 10 and xvi. 3). The two 
Bethhorons and Gezer were very important places for the pro- 
tection of the mountainous country of Benjamin, Ephraim, and 
Judah against hostile invasions from the Philistian plain. The 
situation of Megiddo on the southern edge of the plain of 
Jezreel, through which the high road from the western coast to 
the Jordan ran, was equally important ; and so also was Hazor 
as a border fortress against Syria in the northern part of the 
land. — Ver. 18. Solomon also built, i.e. fortified, Baalath and 
Tadmor in the desert. According to Josh. xix. 44, Baalath 
was a city of Dan, and therefore, as Josephus {Ant. viii. 6, 1) 
justly observes, was not far from Gezer ; and consequently is 
not to be identified with either Baalgad or Baalbek in Coele- 
syria (Iken, Mich. Eosenm. ; of. Eobinson, Bill. Res. p. 519). 
"ion (ChctJuh) is either to be read "i^n, or according to Ewald 
(Gesch. iii. p. 344) "I'sn^ palm, a palm-city. The Keri requires 
ibin (Tadmor, after 2 Chron. viii. 4), a pronunciation which 
may possibly have simply arisen from Aramrean expansion, but 
which is still the name for the city current among the Arabs 

•»1/ / 
even in the present day {^sji locus iMlmarum fcr ax). The 

Greeks and Eomans called it Palmyra. It was situated in 
what is certainly now a very desolate oasis of the Syrian desert, 
on the caravan road between Damascus and the Euphrates, — 
according to modern accounts, not more than seventeen hours' 
journey from that river ; and there are still magnificent ruins 
which attest the former glory of this wealthy and, under queen 
Zenobia, very powerful city (cf. Eitter, Erdk. xvii. 2, p. 1486 
sqq., and E. Oslander in Herzog's Cycl.). The correctness of 
this explanation of the name is placed beyond all doubt by the 
words " in the wilderness ; " and consequently even Movers has 
given up his former opinion, viz. that it was the city of Thamar 
in southern Judah (Ezek. xlvii. 19, xlviii. 28), which Thenius 
has since adopted, and has decided in favour of Pahnyi'a, \vith- 
out being led astray by the attempt of Hitzig to explain the 
name from the Sanscrit {rid. Deutsche morgld. Ztschr. viii. p. 222 
sqq.). The ex^^ression p.'J? appears superfluous, as all the cities 

CHAP. IX. 15-23. 145 

named before were situated in the land or kingdom of Solomon, 
and Tadmor is sufficiently defined by "i|i']'?? (in the desert). 
The text is evidently faulty, and either the name of the land, 
namely Hamath (according to 2 Chron. viii. 4), has dropped 
out, or n?? is to be taken in connection with what follows 
(according to the Cod. Al. of the LXX.), and the cop. 1 before 
nj?"?!! ns* must be erased and inserted before ^^5a (" and in the 
land of all the magazine-cities"). — Ver. 19. The "magazine- 
cities " (ni^spsn ny) were fortified cities, in which the produce 
of the land was collected, partly for provisioning the army, and 
partly for the support of the rural population in times of dis- 
tress (2 Chron. xvii. 12, xxxii. 28), similar to those which 
Pharaoh had built in the land of Goshen (Ex. i. 1 1). If they 
were situated on the great commercial roads, they may also have 
served for storing provisions for the necessities of travellers and 
their beasts of burden. The cities for the war-chariots (^?"!1'!|}) 
and cavalry (D''K'i3n) were probably in part identical with the 
magazine-cities, and situated in different parts of the kingdom. 
There were no doubt some of these upon Lebanon, as we may 
on the one hand infer from the general importance of the 
northern frontier to the security of the whole kingdom, and still 
more from the fact that Solomon had an opponent at Damascus 
in the person of Eezin (ch. xi. 24), who could easily stir up 
rebellion in the northern provinces, which had only just been 
incorporated by David into the kingdom ; and as we may on 
the other hand clearly gather from 2 Chron. xvi. 4, according 
to which there Avere magazine-cities in the land of Naphtali. 
Finally, the words " and what Solomon had a desire to build " 
embrace all the rest of his buildings, which it would have 
occupied too much space to enumerate singly. That the words 
P^n ^^ are not to be so pressed as to be made to denote simply 
" the buildings undertaken for pure pleasure," like the works 
mentioned in Eccles. ii. 4 sqq., as Thenius and Bertheau sup- 
pose, is evident from a comparison of ver. 1, where all Solomon's 
buildings except the temple and palace, and therefore the forti- 
fications as well as others, are included in the expression " all 
his desire." — Fuller particiilars concerning the tributary work- 
men are given in ver. 20 sqq. The Canaanitish population 
that was left in the land were made use of for this purpose, — 
namely, the descendants of the Canaanites who had not been 
entirely exterminated by the Israelites. " Their children," 



etc., supplies a more precise definition of the expression " all 
the people/' etc., in ver. 20. (For the fact itself, see the com- 
mentaiy on ch. v. 27, 28.) — Ver, 22. Solomon did not make 
Israelites into tributary slaves ; but they were warriors, mini- 
sters, and civil and military officers. ^^I^V. are the king's ser- 
vants ; Q'''!^, the heads of the military and civil service ; ^''^7^, 
royal adjutants (see at 2 Sam. xxiil 8) ; 1''?'7?^ ^^^1 ''"?.^, cap- 
tains over the royal war-chariots and cavahy. — ^For ver. 23 
compare ch. v. 30. 

Vers. 24 and 25 contain two notices, with which the account 
of Solomon's buildings is brought to a close. Both verses point 
back to ch. iii. 1-4 (viz. ver. 24 to ch. iii. 1, and ver. 25 to 
ch. iii. 2-4), and show how the incongruities which existed at 
the commencement of Solomon's reign were removed by his 
buildings. When Solomon married Pharaoh's daughter, he 
brought her into the city of David (ch. iii. 1), untu he should 
have finished his palace and built her a house of her own 
within it. After this building was completed, he had her 
brought up from the city of David into it. npy^ came up, inas- 
much as the jpalace stood upon the loftier summit of Zion. "i]>? 
is to be connected with 'N! which follows, in the sense of onli/ or 
just as : as soon as Pharaoh's daughter had gone up into the 
house built for her, Solomon built Millo.-^ — Ver. 25. After the 
building of the temple, the xDractice of sacrificing upon the altars 
of the high places could be brought to an end (ch. iii. 2). 
Solomon now offered burnt-offerings and thank-offerings three 
times a year upon the altar which he had built to the Lord, 
i.e. upon the altar of bui'nt-offering in the temple, or as 
2 Chron. viii. 1 2 adds by way of explanation, " before the 
porch." " Three times in the year :" i.e. at the three great yearly 
feasts — passover, the feast of weeks, and the feast of tabernacles 

^ Nothing certain can be gathered from this notice as to the situation of 
this castle. The remark made by Thenius, to the effect that it must have 
joined that portion of the palace in -which the harem was, rests ujDon the 
assumption that Millo was evidently intended to shelter the harem, — au 
assumption which cannot be raised into a probability, to say nothing of a 
certainty. The building of Millo immediately after the entrance of Pharaoh's 
daughter into the house erected for her, may have arisen from the fact that 
David (? Solomon — Tr.) could not undertake the fortification of Jerusalem 
by means of this castle till after his own palace was finished, because, he had 
not the requisite labour at command for carrying on all these buildings at the 
same time. 

CHAP. IX. 26-28. 147 

(2 Chron. viii. 13). The words which follow, W^« "^Vi^^], "and 
indeed burning (the sacrifice) at the (altar) which was before 
Jehovah/' cannot be taken as parallel to the preceding clause, 
and understood as referring to the incense, which was offered 
along with the bleeding sacrifices, because "'''^k'Li is not a pre- 
terite, but an inf. absoL, which shows that this clause merely 
serves as an explanation of the preceding one, in the sense of, 
" namely, burning the sacrifices at the altar which was before 
Jehovah." "•'^i?'} is the technical expression here for the 
burning of the portions of the sacrificial flesh upon the altar, 
as in Ex. xxix. 18, Lev. i. 9, etc. On the use of 1^'^^ after 
inx, which Thenius and Böttcher could not understand, and on 
which they built up all kinds of conjectures, see Ewald, § 333, a, 
note. — ri^3n"nx D?K^i, " and made the house complete," i.e. he put 
the temple into a state of completion, by offering the yearl}^ 
sacrifices there from that time forward, or, as Böttcher explains 
it, gave it thereby its full worth as a house of God and place of 
worship. Qf'^l is to be taken grammatically as a continuation 
of the inf. abs.'^^tDpn. 

Vers. 26-28. Me sends ships to OpJiir. — Solomon built a 
fleet Q^^ is collective, ships or fleet ; the nom. unitatis is njji<i) 
at Eziongeber, near Eloth, on the coast of the Eed Sea (^I^D'D;; : 
see at Ex. x. 1 9), in the land of Edom ; and Hiram sent in the 
fleet " shipmen that had knowledge of the sea " along with 
Solomon's servants to Ophir, whence they brought to king 
Solomon 420 talents of gold. Eziongeber, a harbour at the north- 
eastern end of the Elanitic Gulf, was probably the " large and 
beautiful town of Asziun" mentioned by Makrizi (see at Num. 
xxxiii. 35), and situated on the great bay of Wady Etnrag 
(see Eüppell, Bcisen in Nxdnen, pp. 252—3). Eloth (lit. trees, a 
grove, probably so named from the large palm-grove in the 
neighbourhood), or Elath (Deut. ii. 8 ; 2 Kings xiv. 22 : see at 
Gen. xiv. 6), the Aila and uElana, of the Greeks and Eomans, 
Arab. Aileh, was situated at the northern point of the (Elanitic) 
gulf, which took its name from the town ; and in the time of 
the Fathers it was an important commercial town. It was not 
far from the small modern fortress of Akaha, where heaps of 
rubbish still show the spot on which it formerly stood (compare 
Eüppell, JVub. p. 248, with plates 6 and 7, and Eobinson, Pal. 
i. p. 251 sqq.). — The corresponding text, 2 Chron. viii. 17, 18, 
difi'ers in many respects from the account before us. The state- 


ment in the Chronicles, that Solomon went to Eziongeber and 
Elath, is but a very unimportant deviation ; for the building of 
the fleet makes it a very probable thing in itself that Solomon 
should have visited on that account the two towns on the 
Elanitic Gulf, which were very near to one another, to make 
the requisite arrangements upon the spot for this important 
undertaldng. There is apparently a far greater deviation in 
ver. 27, where, in the place of the statement that Hiram sent 
''J^53^ in the (or a) fleet, his servants as sailors who had know- 
ledge of the sea, the chronicler affirms that Hiram sent by his 
servants ships and men who had knowledge of the sea. For 
the only way in which Hiram could send ships to Eziongeber 
was either by land or (as Eitter, Erclk. xiv. p. 365, supposes) 
out of the Persian Gulf, supposing that the Tyrians had a fleet 
upon that sea at so early a date as this. The statement in the 
Chronicles receives an apparent confirmation from 1 Kings x. 
22, " The king had a Tarshish fleet upon the sea with the fleet 
of Hiram," if indeed this passage also refers to the trade with 
Ophir, as is generally supposed ; for then these words affirm 
that Hiram sent ships of his own to Ophir along with those of 
Solomon. We do not think it probable, however, that the 
words " Hiram sent ships by his own men" are to be so pressed 
as to be taken to mean that he had whole ships, or ships taken 
to pieces, conveyed to Eziongeber either from. Tyre or out of the 
Mediterranean Sea, although many cases might be cited from 
antiquity in support of this view.^ In all probability the words 
affirm nothing more than that Hiram supplied the ships for this 
voyage, that is to say, that he had them built at Eziongeber by 
his own men, and the requisite materials conveyed thither, so 

^ Thus, for example, according to Arriani expcd. Alex. 1. v. p. 329, and 
vii. p. 485 (ed. Blanc), Alexander the Great had ships transported from 
Phoenicia to the Euphrates, and out of the Indus into the Hydaspes, the 
sliips being taken to pieces for the land transport (tri^'/iöyiaocu), and the 
pieces (r/nTJinKTx) afterwards joined together again. Plutarch relates (vita 
Antoi}. p. 948, ed. Frkf. 1620) that Cleopatra M'ould have had her whole 
fleet carried across the isthmus Avhich separates Egypt from the Red Sea, and 
have escaped by that means, had not the Arabs prevented the execution of 
her plan by burning the first ships that were di-awn up on the land. Accord- 
ing to Thucydides, hell. Pelop. iv. 8, the Peloponnesians conveyed sixty ships 
which lay at Corcyra across the Leucadian isthmus. Compare also Poly?eni 
stratefj. v. 2, 6, and Ammian. Marcell. xxiv. 7, and from the middle ages the 
account of Makiizi in Biurckhardt's Rciaen in Syrien, p. 331. 


CHAP. IX. 26-28. 149 

far as tliey were not to be obtained upon the spot. • At any 
rate, Solomon was obliged to call the Tyrians to bis help for 
the building of the ships, since the Israelites, who had hitherto 
carried on no maritime trade at aU, were altogether inexpe- 
rienced in shipbuilding. Moreover, the country round Ezion- 
geber would hardly furnish wood adapted for the purpose, as 
there are only palms to be found there, whose spongy wood, 
however useful it may be for the inside of houses, cannot be 
applied to the building of ships. But if Hiram had ships built 
for Solomon by his own men and sent him sailors who were 
accustomed to the sea, he would certainly have some of his own 
ships engaged in this maritime trade ; and this explains the 
statement in ch. x. 22. 

The destination of the fleet was Opiiir, whence the ships 
brought 420 or (according to the Chronicles) 450 talents of 
gold. The difference between 420 and 450 may be accounted 
for from the substitution of the numeral letter 3 (50) for 3 
(20). The sum mentioned amounted to eleven or twelve million 
doUars (from £1,600,000 to £1,800,000— Te.), and the ques- 
tion arises, whether this is to be taken as the result of one 
voyage, or as the entire profits resulting from the expeditions to 
Ophir. The words admit of either interpretation, although 
they are more favourable to the latter than to the former, inas- 
much as there is no allusion whatever to the fact that they 
brought this amount all at once or on every voyage. (See also 
at ch. x. 14 and 22.) The question as to the situation of 
Ophir has given rise to great dispute, and hitherto no certain 
conclusion has been arrived at ; in fact, it is possible that 
there are no longer any means of deciding it. Some have 
endeavoured to prove that it was in southern Arabia, others 
that it was on the eastern coast of Africa, and others again tliat 
it was in Hither India.^ The decision is dependent upon a 

^ Compare the thorough examination of the different views concerning 
Ophir in C. Ritter's Erdlc. xiv. pp. 348-431, with the briefer collection made 
by Gesenius in his Thes. p. 141 sq. and in the Allgem. Encyclop. der Wissen- 
schaft u. Künste, 3 Sect. Bd. 4, p. 201 sqq., and by Pressel, art. " Ophir," in 
Herzog's Cydopxdia. — We need not dwell upon the different opinions held 
by the earlier writers. But among modern authors, Niebuhr, Gesenius, 
Rosenmüller, and Seetzen decide in favour of Arabia; Quatremere {Memoire 
sur le pays d'OpJiir in Mem. de VInstit. roy. 1845, t. xv. P. ii. p. 350 sqq.) and 
Movers, who takes Ophir to be the name of an emporium on the eastern coast 
of Africa, in favour of Sofala ; while Chr. Lassen {Indische Alter thumskunde, 


previous question, whether ch. x. 22, "The Idng had a Tarshish 
fleet upon the sea with the fleet of Hiram ; once in three years 
came the Tarshish fleet, bringing gold, silver," etc., also applies 
to the voyage to Ophir. The expression " Tarshish fleet ;" the 
word QJ3 (" on the sea "), which naturally suggests that sea to 
which the Israelites applied the special epithet D*i!i, namely the 
Mediterranean ; and lastly, the difference in the cargoes, — the 
ships from Ophir bringing gold and algummim wood (ver. 28 
and ch. x. 11), and the Tarshish fleet bringing gold, silver, 
ivory, apes, and peacocks (ch. x. 22), — appear to favour the 
conclusion that the Tarshish fleet did not sail to Ophir, but 
upon the Mediterranean Sea to Tarshish, i.e. Tartessus in Spain ; 
to which we may add the fact that ti'''*ki''iri "iJiS is reproduced in 
2 Chron. ix. 21 by &€np\ ribbn ni'px, " ships going to Tarshish." 
Nevertheless, however plausible these arguments may appear, 
after a renewed investigation of the subject I cannot regard 
them as having decisive weight : for (1) the expression " Tar- 
shish fleet" is used in ch. xxii. 49 in connection with ships 
that were intended to go to Ophir ; (2) Qjn (upon the sea) 
might receive its more precise definition from what precedes ; 
and (3) the difference in the cargoes reduces itself to this, that 
in addition to the gold, which was the chief production of 
Ophir, there are a few other articles of trade mentioned, so 
that the account in ch. x. 22 is more complete than that in 
ch. ix. 28 and x. 11. The statement concerning the Tarshish 
fleet in ch. x. 22 contains a passing remark, like that in ch. x. 
11, from which we must infer that both passages treat in the 
same manner simply of the voyage to Ophir, and therefore that 
the term " Tarshish ships," like our Indiamen {Inclienfahrer), 
was applied to ships intended for long voyages. If, in addition 
to the ships sailing to Ophir, Solomon had also had a fleet upon 
the Mediterranean Sea which sailed with the Phoenicians to 
Tartessus, this would certainly have been mentioned here (ch. 
ix. 27, 28) at the same time as the Ophir voyage. On aU 

i. p. 537 sqq., ii. p. 552 sqq.) and C. Eitter are the principal supporters of India. 
On the other hand, Albr. Koscher (Ptokmäus und die Handelsstra.^sen in Cen- 
tral-Africa., Gotha 1857, p. 57 sqq.) has attempted to connect together all 
these views by assuming tliat the seamen of Hiram and Solomon fetched the 
gold of Western Africa from the island of Dahlak in the Red Sea, and Laving 
taken it to India to exchange, returned at the cud of a three years' voyage 
enriched with gold and the productions of India. 

CHAP. IX. 26-28. 151 

these grounds we can come to no other conclusion than that 
the expression in 2 Chron. ix. 21, " ships going to Tarshish/' is 
simply a mistaken exposition of the term " Tarshish fleet/' — a 
mistake which may easily be explained from the fact, that at 
the time when the Chronicles were written, the voyages not 
only of the Israelites but also of the Tyrians both to Ophir and 
Tarshish had long since ceased, and even the geographical 
situation of these places was then unknown to the Jews (see 
my Introduction to the Old Test. p. 442, ed. 2). 

The name Ojpliir occurs first of all in Gen. x. 29 among the 
tribes of Southern Arabia, that were descended from Joktan, 
between Seba and Havilah, i.e. the Sabaeans and Chaulotseans. 
Hence it appears most natural to look for the gold-land of Ophir 
in Southern Arabia. But as there is still a possibility that the 
Joktanide tribe of Ophir, or one branch of it, may subsequently 
have emigrated either to the eastern coast of Africa or even to 
Hither India, and therefore that the Solomonian Ophir may 
have been an Arabian colony outside Arabia, the situation of 
this gold country cannot be determined without further evidence 
from Gen. x. 2 9 alone ; but before arriving at an actual decision, 
we must first of all examine the arguments that may be ad- 
duced in support of each of the three countries named. Sofala 
in Eastern Africa, in the Mozambique Channel, has nothing in 

common with the name Opliir, but is the Arabic '^\^ (Heb. 

nPStp), i,e. lowland or sea-coast; and the old Portuguese accounts 
of the gold mines in the district of Fura there, as well as the 
pretended waUs of the queen of Saba, have far too little evidence 
to support them, to have any bearing upon the question before 
us. The supposed connection between the name Oj;/wV and the 
city of SovTrdpa mentioned by Ptolemaeus, or Ovirirapa by 
Periplus {Geogr. min. i. p. 30), in the neighbourhood of Goa, 
or the shepherd tribe of AhJiira, cannot be sustained, ^ovrrdpa 
or Siifara (Edrisi) answers to the Sanscrit Sujpära, i.e. beautiful 
coast (cf. Lassen, Jtic?. Altertlik. i. p. 107); and OvTnrapa in 
Periplus is no doubt simply a false reading for ^ovirdpa, which 
has nothing in common with "i''Sit<. And the shepherd tribe of 
Ahhira can hardly come into consideration, because the country 
which they inhabited, to the south-east of the mouths of the 
Indus, has no gold. — Again, the hypothesis that India is intended 
derives just as little support from the circumstance that, with 


the exception of Gen. x. 29, tlie LXX. have always rendered 
T'SiK either l!ü)(f>tpd or "Xov^ip, which is, according to the Coptic 
lexicographers, the name used by the Copts for India, and 
that Josephns {Ant. viii. 6, 4), who used the Old Test, in the 
Alexandrian version, has given India as the explanation of 
Ophir, as it does from this supposed resemblance in the names. 
For, according to the geographical ideas of the Alexandrians and 
later Greeks, India reached to Ethiopia, and Ethiopia to India, 
as Letronne has conclusively proved (see his Memoire sur tine 
mission arienne, etc., in 3fc)n. de VInstit. Acad, des Inscrij^t. ct 
Bell. Lettrcs, t. x. p. 220 sqq.). 

Greater stress has been laid upon the duration of the voyages 
to Ophir, — namely, that the Tarshish fleet came once in tliree 
years, according to ch. x. 22, and brought gold, etc. But even 
Lassen, who follows Heeren, observes quite truly, that " this 
expression need not be understood as signifying that three whole 
years intervened between the departure and return, but simply 
that the fleet returned once in the course of three years." More- 
over, the stay in Ophir is to be reckoned in as part of the time 
occupied in the voyage ; and that this is not to be estimated as 
a short one, is evident from the fact that, according to Homer, 
Odyss. XV. 454 sqq., a Phoenician merchantman lay for a whole 
year at one of the Cyclades before he had disposed of his wares 
of every description, in return for other articles of commerce, 
and filled his roomy vessel. If we add to this the slowness of 
the voyage, — considering that just as at the present day the 
Arabian coasters go but very slowly from port to port, so the 
combined fleet of Hiram and Solomon would not be able to pro- 
ceed with any greater rapidity, inasmuch as the Tyrians were 
not better acquainted with the dangerous Arabian Sea than the 
modern Arabians are, and that the necessary provisions for a 
lonof voyage, especially the water for drinking, could not be 
taken on board all at once, but would have to be taken in at 
the different landing-places, and that on these occasions some 
trade would be done, — we can easily understand how a voyage 
from Eziongeber to the strait of Bab el Mandeb and the return 
might occupy more than a year,^ so that the time occupied in 

' It is no proof to the contrary, that, according to the testimony of ancient 
writers, as collected by Movers (Phüniz. ii. 3, p. 190 sqq.), the Phoenicians 
sailed almost as rapidly as the modern merchant ships ; for this evidence 
simply applies to the voyages on the Mediterranean Sea with which they were 

CHAP. IX. 26-28. 153 

the voyage as given here cannot furnish any decisive proof 
that the fleet sailed beyond Southern Arabia to the East Indies. 
And lastly, the same remarks apply to the goods brought 
from Ophir, which many regard as decisive evidence in favour of 
India. The principal article for which Ophir became so cele- 
brated, viz. the gold, is not found either in Sitfara near Goa, or 
in the land of Ahhira. Even if India be much richer in gold 
than was formerly supposed (cf Lassen, ii. p. 592), the rich 
gold country lies to the north of Cashmir (see Lassen, ii. 
P23. 603-4). Moreover, not only is it impossible to conceive 
what goods the Phoenicians can have offered to the Indian 
merchants for their gold and the other articles named, since 
large sums of gold were sent to India every year in the Koman 
times to pay for the costly wares that were imported thence 
(see Eoscher, pp. 53, 54) ; but it is still less possible to com- 
prehend how the shepherd tribe of Abhira could have come 
into possession of so much gold as the Ophir fleet brought 
home. The conjecture of Eitter {Erdh xiv. p. 399) and Lassen 
(ii. p. 592), that this tribe had come to the coast not very long 
before from some country of their own where gold abounded, 
and that as an uncultivated shepherd tribe they attached but 
very little value to the gold, so that they parted with it to the 
Phoenicians for their purple cloths, their works in brass and 
glass, and for other things, has far too little probability to 
appear at all admissible. If the Abhira did not know the 
value of the gold, they would not have brought it in such quan- 
tities out of their original home into these new settlements. 
We should therefore be obliged to assume that they were a 
trading people, and this would be at variance with all the 
known accounts concerning this tribe. — As a rule, the gold 
treasures of Hither Asia were principally obtained from Arabia 
in the most ancient times. If we leave Havilah (Gen. ii. 11) 
out of the account, because its position cannot be determined 

familiar, and to the period when the Phoenician navigation had reached its 
fullest development, so that it has no bearing upon the time of Solomon and 
a voyage upon the Arabian Sea, with which the Phoenicians were hitherto 
quite unacquainted. — Again, the calculation made by Lassen (ii. pp. 590-1), 
according to which a voyage from Eziongeber to the mouth of the Indus could 
have been accomplished in a hundred days, is founded upon the assumption 
that the Phoenicians were already acquainted with the monsoon and knew 
what was the best time for the navigation of the Red Sea, — an assumption 
which can neither be proved nor shown to be probable. 


with certainty, the only other place specially referred to in the 
Old Testament besides Ophir as being celebrated as a gold 
country is Saba, in the south-western portion of Yemen, . The 
Sabseans bring gold, precious stones, and incense (Isa. Ix. 6 ; 
Ezek. xxvii. 2 2) ; and the queen of Saba presented Solomon 
with 120 talents of gold, with perfumes and with precious stones 
(1 Kings X. 10). This agrees with the accounts of the classical 
writers, who describe Arabia as very rich in gold (cf Strabo, 
xvi. 777 sq. and 784 ; Diod. Sic. ii. 50, iii. 44; also Bochart, 
Phaleg, 1, ii. c. 27). These testimonies, which we have already 
given in part at Ex. xxxviii. 31, are far too distinct to be set 
aside by the remark that there is no gold to be found in Arabia 
at the present time. For whilst, on the one hand, the wealth of 
Arabia in gold may be exhausted, just as Spain no longer yields 
any silver, on the other hand we know far too little of the 
interior of Southern Arabia to be able distinctly to maintain 
that there is no gold in existence there. — Silver, the other 
metal brought from Ophir, was also found in the land of the 
Nabataeans, according to Strabo, xvi. p. 784, although the wealth 
of the ancient world in silver was chiefly derived from Tarshish 
or Tartessus in Spain (c£ Movers, Phöniz. ii. 3, p. 06 sqq., 
where the different places are enumerated in which silver was 
found). — That precious stones were to be found in Arabia is 
evident from the passages cited above concerning the Sabaeans. 
— On the other hand, however, it has been supposed that the 
remaining articles of Ophir could only have been brought from 
the East Indies. 

According to ch. x. 12, the Ophir ships brought a large 
quantity of D^aD^S* ^VJ? (almuggim wood : 2 Chron. ii. 7, Q''?J^^5). 
According to Kimchi (on 2 Chron. ii. 7), the J^O?X or D^i?X is 

arlor riibri colons, dicta lingua arabica aliaJcam (.jijj^, vulgo 

hrasilica. This tree, according to Abulfadl (Celsius, Hicrob. i. p. 
176), is a native of India and Etliiopia ; and it is still a ques- 
tion in dispute, whether we are to understand by this the Ptero- 
carpus Santal., from which the true sandal-wood comes, and 
which is said to grow only in the East Indies on Malabar and 
Java, or the Cmsalpinia Sappan L., a tree which grows in the 
East Indies, more especially in Ceylon, and also in different 
parts of Africa, the red wood of which is used in Europe chiefly 
for dyeing. Moreover the true explanation of the Hebrew name 

CHAP. IX. 26-28. 155 

is still undiscovered. The derivation of it from the Sanscrit 
Valgu, i.e. pulcJur (Lassen and Eitter), has been set aside by 
Gesenius as inappropriate, and mocha, mochdta, which is said to 
signify sandal-wood in Sanscrit, has been suggested instead. 
But no evidence has been adduced in its favour, nor is the 
word to be found in Wilson's Sanscrit Lexicon. If, however, 
this derivation were correct, ?^ would be the Arabic article, and 
the introduction of this article in connection with the word 
mocha would be a proof that the sandal- wood, together with its 
name, came to the Hebrews through merchants who spoke 
Arabic. — The other articles from Ophir mentioned in ch. x. 22 
are D"'3n3{i^, oh6vTe<; iXecpavrivot (LXX.), denies cleijhantorum or 
ebur (Vulg.), ^''S'l \^, elephants' teeth (Targ.). But however 
certain the meaning of the word may thus appear, the justifica- 
tion of this meaning is quite as uncertain. In other cases 
ivory is designated by the simple term \^ (ch. x. 18, xxii. 39 ; 
Ps. xlv. 9 ; Amos iii. 15, etc.), whereas Ezekiel (xxvii. 15) caUs 
the whole tusk T^ nii"iip^ horns of the tooth. D''3n is said to 
signify elephants here ; and according to Benary it is contracted 
from 2''2sri^ the Sanscrit word ihha, elephant ; according to 
Ewald, from ö''3pn^ from the Sanscrit Kalahha ; and according to . 
Hitzig, from D''3n3 = L]''nn7^ Lilyi ; or else Q''?'!!?^ is a false read- 
ing for Q''J3i^"i W, ivory and ebony, according to Ezek. xxvii. 15 
(see Ges. Thes. p. 1453), Of these four derivations the first two 
are decidedly wrong : the first, because ihha as a name for the 
elephant only occurs, according to Weber, in the later Indian 
writings, and is never used in the earlier writings in this sense 
{vid. Eoediger, Addenda' ad Ges. thes. p. 115); the second, 
because Kalahha does not signify the elephant, but catuhcm 
elephanti, before it possesses any teeth available for ivory. The 
third is a fancy which its originator himself has since given up; 
and the fourth a conjecture, which is not raised to a probability 
even by the attempt of Böttcher to show that 0''3n is a case 
of backward assimilation from Ci''J3n^ because the asyndeton 
D''2n \^ between two couples connected by 1 is without any 
analogy, and the passages adduced by Böttcher, viz. Deut. 
xxix. 22, Josh. xv. 54 sqq., and even Ezek. xxvii. 33, are to be 
taken in quite a different way. — The rendering of D'^SP by apes, 
and the connection of the name not only with the Sanscrit and 
Malabar ka'pi, but also with the Greek Kf]7ro<; and Kf]ßo<;, also 
Kelßo^, are much surer ; but, on the other hand, the assumption 


that the Greeks, like tlie Semitic nations, received the word from 
the Indians along with the animals, is very improbable : for /c^tto? 
in Greek does not denote the ape (tt/Öi^/co?) generally, but simply 
a species of long-tailed apes, the native land of which, accord- 
ing to the testimony of ancient writers, was Ethiopia,^ and the 
Ethiopian apes are hardly likely to have sprung from India. — 
And lastly, even in the case of O''!^^, according to the ancient 
versions 'peacocks, the derivation from the ]\Ialabaric or Tamul 
togai or toghai (cf Roediger in Ges. Thcs. p. 1502) is not placed 
beyond the reach of doubt. 

If, in conclusion, we look through all the articles of commerce 
that were brought to Jerusalem from the Ophir voyages, apart from 
the gold and silver, which were not to be found in the land of 
Abhira, the ivory and ebony (supposing that we ought to read Xv! 
n'':3ni for Q'^^npt^') furnish no evidence in support of India, inas- 
much as both of them could have been brought from Ethiopia, as 
even Lassen admits (ii. p. 554). And even if the words Ähnuggim, 
Xophim, and TuccJiijim really came from India along with the 
objects to which they belonged, it Avould by no means follow 
with certainty from this alone that Ophir was situated in India. 
— For since, for example, there are indisputable traces of very 
early commercial intercourse between India and Hither Asia 
and Africa, especially Southern Arabia and Ethiopia, reaching 
far beyond the time of Solomon, the seamen of Hiram and Solo- 
mon may have obtained these articles either in Arabia or on 
the Ethiopian coast. For even if the statements of Herodotus 
and Strabo, to the effect that the Phoenicians emigrated from 
the islands of the Erythrrean Sea, Tylos (or Tyros ?) and Arados, 
to the Phoenician coast, do not prove that the Phcenicians had 
already extended their commercial enterprise as far as India 
even before the twelfth century, as Lassen (ii. 597 and 584-5) 
supposes; if the Tyrians and Aradians, who were related to them 
by tribe, still continued to dwell upon the islands of the Persian 
Gulf, from which they could much more easily find the way to 

^ Compare Aristoteles, Jiist. animal, ii. 8 : ion Is 6 ^su Kv-ßo; ■:tiSyiko; sy^uv 
oiipüu. Strabo, xvii. p. 812 : san os c x.7i7ro; ro yAv TrpoauTrov ioiKu; "S.urvpu, 
t' aXXa oi x.vviig scctl öipx.rciv fisrec^C' ysvuÜTctt 3' en Aidio-.'». Plinius, h. v. viii. 
19 (28) : liclem (tlie games of Pompey the Great) oxtenderunt ex jEthiopia 
quas vacant x,-/;7rov:, quariim pedes j)OSteriorcs pedihus humanis et cruribvs, 
priores manihus fuere similes. Soliuus Polyh. says the same (Bochart, Hieroz. 
i. lib. ill. c. 31). 

CHAP. IX. 26-28. 157 

India by sea, — since the historical character of these statements 
has been disputed by Movers {Phönizier, ii. 1, p. 38 sqq.) on 
very weighty grounds ; yet it is evident that tliere was a very 
early intercourse between East India and Africa, reaching far 
beyond all historical testimony, from the following well-estab- 
lished facts : that the Egyptians made use of indigo in the 
dyeing of their stuffs, and this could only have been brought to 
them from India ; that muslins, which were likewise of Indian 
origin, are found among the materials in which the mummies 
are enveloped ; and that in the graves of the kings of the 
eighteenth dynasty, who ceased to reign in the year 1476 B.c., 
there have been discovered vases of Chinese porcelain (cf. 
Lassen, ii. p. 596). And the intercourse between the southern 
coast of Arabia and Hither India may have been quite as old, if 
not older ; so that Indian productions may have been brought 
to Hither Asia by the Sabaeans long before the time of Solomon 
{vid. Lassen, ii. pp. 593-4, and Movers, Pliöniz. ii. 3, pp. 247, 
2 5 6). But the commercial intercourse between Arabia and the 
opposite coast of Ethiopia, by which African productions reached 
the trading inhabitants of Arabia, was unquestionably still older 
than the trade with India. If we weigh well all these points, 
there is no valid ground for looking outside Arabia for the 
situation of the Solomonian Ophir. But we shall no doubt be 
obliged to give up the hope of determining with any greater 
precision that particular part of the coast of Arabia in which 
Ophir was situated, inasmuch as hitherto neither the name 
Ophir nor the existence of gold-fields in Arabia has been 
established by modern accounts, and moreover the interior of 
the great Arabian peninsula is still for the most part a terra 

^ If the notice of Eupoleraus contained in a fragment in Eusebiiis (^prxpar. 
ev. ix. 30), to the effect that David (a mistake for Solomon) sent miners to 
the island of Ovp(p^ (for which Gesenius conjectures that Ave should read Ov(pp^ 
or OvCp'/ip) in the Red Sea, which was rich in gold mines, and that they 
brought gold thence to Judsea, could be proved to be historical through 
any earlier testimony, Ophir would have been an island of the Eiythrgean 
Sea, either DaJdak inside Bab el Mandeb, or Diu Zokatara (the Sanscrit 
Dwipa Sukhatara, i.e. the happy island) by the present Cape Guardafui. 
But this notice is evidently simply a conjecture founded upon the Old Testa- 
ment, having no historical value. 



Vers. 1-13. Visit of the Queen of Saba (cf. 2 Chron. ix. 
1-12). — ^^Vhen the fame of Solomon's great wisdom came to the 
ears of the queen of Saba, probably through the Ophir voyages, 
she undertook a journey to Jerusalem, to convince herself of the 
truth of the report which had reached her, by putting it to the 
test by means of enigmas, i^^^, ^aßd, is not Ethiopia or 
Meroe, as Josephus (Ant. viii. 6, 5), who confounds ^^^ with 
N^p, and the Abyssinian Christians suppose {vid. Ludolfi hist. 
JEth. ii. 3), but the kingdom of the Sahceans, who were cele- 
brated for their trade in incense, gold, and precious stones, and 
who dwelt in Arabia Eelix, with the capital Saha, or the 
Mapidßa of the Greeks. This queen, who is called Balkis in 
the Arabian legend (cf Koran, Su7\ 2 7, and Pococke, Specim. hist. 
Arab. p. 60), heard the fame of Solomon nin^ DB^p j i.e. not " at 
the naming of the name of Jehovah " (Böttcher), nor " in re- 
spect of the glory of the Lord, with regard to that which Solomon 
had instituted for the glory of the Lord " (Thenius) ; nor even 
" serving to the glorification of God " (de Wette and Maurer) ; 
but literally, " belonging to the name of the Lord ; " in other 
words, the fame which Solomon had acquired through the name 
of the Lord, or throucfh the fact that the Lord had so glorified 
Himself in him (Ewald and Dietrich in Ges. Lex. s.v. ?). " She 
came to try him with riddles," i.e. to put his wisdom to the test 
by carrying on a conversation with him in riddles. The love of 
the Arabs for riddles, and their superiority in this jeu d! esprit, 
is sufficiently well known from the immense extent to which 
the Arabic literature abounds in Mcishals. We have only to 
think of the large collections of proverbs made by Ali ben Abi 
Taleb and Meidani, or the IfaJmmen of Hariri, which have been 
made accessible to all by F. Elickert's masterly translation into 
German, and which are distinguished by an amazing fulness of 
word-play and riddles. HT'n, a riddle, is a pointed saying which 
merely hints at the deeper truth and leaves it to be guessed. — 
Vers. 2, 3. As the queen of a wealthy country, she came with a 
very large retinue. ?]^ does not mean a military force or an 
armed escort (Thenius), but riches, property ; namely, her nume- 
rous retinue of men (QH^y, ver. 13), and camels laden with 
valuable treasures. The words nni^i . . . D^oa are an explana- 
tory circimistantial clause, both here and also in the Chronicles, 

CHAP. X. 1-13. 159 

where the cop. Vav stands before 0702 (cf. Ewald, § 341, a, 6). 
" And spake to Solomon all that she had upon her heart," i.e. 
in this connection, whatever riddles she had it in her mind to 
lay before him ; " and Solomon told her all her sayings," i.e. 
was able to solve all her riddles. There is no ground for think- 
ing of sayings of a religious nature, as the earlier commentators 
supposed, but simply of sayings the meaning of which was con- 
cealed, and the understanding of which indicated very deep 
wisdom. — ^Vers. 4, 5. She saw n^nn^ i.e. Solomon's palace, not 
the temple, and " the food of his table," i.e. both the great 
variety of food that was placed upon the king's table (ch. v. 
2, 3), and also the costly furniture of the table (ver. 21), and 
" the seat of his retainers and the standing of his servants," i.e. 
the places in the palace assigned to the ministers and servants 
of the king, which Avere contrived with wisdom and arranged in 
a splendid manner. ^''13^ are the chief officers of the Idng, 
viz. ministers, counsellors, and aides cle camp ; '^''rntyo, the 
court servants ; "^fvo, the rooms of the courtiers in attendance ; 
l^yo, the standing-place, i.e. the rooms of the inferior servants, 
" and their clothing," which they received from the king ; and 
Vi^E'a, not his cup-bearers (LXX., Vulg.), but as in Gen. xl. 21, 
the drink, i.e. probably the whole of the drinldng arrangements; 
inyp"!, and his ascent, by which he was accustomed to go into 
the house of Jehovah, np'y does not mean burnt-offering here, 
as the older translators have rendered it, but ascent, as in Ezek. 
xl. 26, and as the Chronicles have correctly explained it by 
iri*pi;. For burnt-offering is not to be thought of in this con- 
nection, because the queen had nothing to see or to be astonished 
at in the presentation of such an offering, iri^y is most likely 
" the king's outer entrance " into the temple, mentioned in 
2 Kings xvi. 1 8 ; and the passage before us would lead us to 
suppose that this was a work of art, or an artistic arrangement. 
'131 iTH N'?i^ " and there was no more spirit in her:" she was beside 
herself with amazement, as in Josh. v. 1, ii. 11. — Vers. 6-9. 
She then said with astonishment to Solomon, that of what her 
eyes now saw she had not heard the half, through the report 
which had reached her of his affairs and of his wisdom, and 
which had hitherto appeared incredible to her; and not only con- 
gratulated his servants, who stood continually near him and could 
hear his wisdom, but also praised Jehovah his God, that out of 
His eternal love to His people Israel He had given them a king 


to do justice and righteousness. The earlier theologians inferred 
from this praising of Jehovah, which involved faith in the true 
God, when taken in connection with Matt. xii. 42, that this 
queen had been converted to the true God, and conversed with 
Solomon on religious matters. But, as we have already observed 
at ch. V. 21, an acknowledgment of Jehovah as the God of 
Israel was reconcilable with polytheism. And the fact that 
nothing is said about her offering sacrifice in the temple, shows 
that the conversion of the queen is not to be thought of here. — 
Ver. 10. She thereupon presented to Solomon a hundred and 
twenty talents of gold (more than three million thalers [nearly 
half a million sterling — Te.]), and a very large quantity of spices 
and precious stones. The D''o|*3 probably included the genuine 
balsam of Arabia, even if D'^3 was not the specific name of the 
genuine balsam. " There never more came so much of such 
spices to Jerusalem." Instead of 2i7 liy . . . Nn N? we find in 
the Chronicles, ver. 9, simply n^n N/, " there was nothing like 
this balsam," which conveys the same meaning though expressed 
more indefinitely, since i^'^^'] ^^^P points back to the preceding 
words, " balsam (spices) in great quantity." ^ — Vers. 11, 12. The 
allusion to these costly presents leads the historian to introduce 
the remark here, that the Ophir fleet also brought, in addition 
to gold, a large quantity of Algummim wood (see at ch. ix. 
28) and precious stones. Of this wood Solomon had IJ'P'? or 
ni?pp made for the temple and palace. ^^9'?, from ^Vp, signifies 
a support, and npDa may be a later form for ^^, a flight of 
steps or a staircase, so that Ave should have to think of steps 
with bannisters. This explanation is at any rate a safer one 
than that of " divans " (Thenius), which would have been quite 
out of place in the temple, or " narrow pannelled stripes on the 
floor" (Bertheau), which cannot in the smallest degree be de- 
duced from 'iVpo, or " support = moveables, viz. tables, benches, 
footstools, boxes, and drawers " (Böttcher), which neither har- 
monizes with the temple, where there was no such furniture, 
nor with the ni?pö of the Chronicles. " And guitars and harps 
for the singers," probably for the temple singers. 1133 and 
^3?. are string instruments ; the former resembling our guitar 

^ It was this which gave rise to the legend in Josephus {Ant. viii. 6, 6), 
that it was through this queen that the root of the true balsam (Opobalsamftm), 
which was afterwards cultivated in gardens at Jericho and Engedi, was first 
of all brought to Palestine (of. Movers, Phönizier, ii. 3, p. 226 sqq.). 

CHAP. X. 14-22. 161 

rather than the harp, the strings being carried over the sound- 
ing-board lipon a bridge, the latter being of a pitcher shape with- 
out any sounding bridge, as in the case of the harps. — Ver. 13. 
Solomon gave the queen of Saba all that she wished and asked 
for, beside what he gave her " according to the hand," i.e. the 
might, of the king ; that is to say, in addition to the presents 
answering to his might and his wealth, which he was obliged to 
give as a king, according to the Oriental custom. In the Chro- 
nicles (ver. 12) we find "beside that which she had brought 
(HN'-an) to the king," which is an abbreviated expression for " be- 
side that which he gave her in return for what she had brought 
to him," or beside the return presents corresponding to her gifts to 
him, as it has been already correctly paraphrased by the Targum. 

Vers. 14-22. Solomon's Wealth and the Use he made of 
IT (cf. 2 Chron.ix. 13-21). — Ver. 14. The gold which Solomon 
received in one year amounted to 666 talents, — more than 
seventeen million thalers (two million and a half sterling — Te.). 
666 is evidently a round number founded upon an approxima- 
tive valuation, nnx nj^a is rendered in the Vulg. ^cr annos sin- 
gulos ; but this is hardly correct, as the Ophir fleet, the produce 
of which is at any rate included, did not arrive every year, but 
once in three years. Thenius is wrong in supposing that this 
revenue merely applies to the direct taxes levied upon the 
Israelites. It includes all the branches of Solomon's revenue, 
whether derived from his commerce by sea and land (cf vers. 
28, 29) or from the royal domains (1 Chron. xxvii. 26—31), or 
received in the form of presents from foreign princes, who either 
visited him like the queen of Saba or sent ambassadors to him 
(vers. 23, 24), excepting the duties and tribute from conquered 
kings, which are specially mentioned in ver. 15. 'nn ''ti'JXD nnb, 
beside what came in (T\^7Y? ^3) from the travelling traders and 
the commerce of the merchants, and from all the kings, etc. '^3X 
D''"irin (a combination resembling our merchantmen; cf Ewald, 
§ 287, c, p. 721) are probably the tradesmen or smaller dealers 
who travelled about in the country, and D''^3h the wholesale 
dealers. This explanation of ti'^'m cannot be rendered doubtful 
by the objection that "iw only occurs elsewhere in connection 
with the wandering about of spies ; for hy] signified originally to 
go about, spy out, or retail scandal, and after that to trade, and 
go about as a tradesman, nnyn ""a^o are not Idngs of the auxiliary 



and allied nations (Cliald., Ges.), but kings of the mixed popula- 
tion, and according to Jer. xxv. 24, more especially of the popu- 
lation of Arabia Deserta ("'3'^'?? ^''^r''^"'!?), which bordered upon 
Palestine ; for 3"}^ is a mixed crowd of all kinds of men, Avho 
either attach themselves to a nation (Ex, xii. 38), or live in the 
midst of it as foreigners (JSTeh. xiii. 3), hence a number of mer- 
cenaries (Jer. 1. 37). In 2 Chron. ix. 14, y^^^ is therefore cor- 
rectly explained by the term y]V_, which does not mean the whole 
of Arabia, but " only a tract of country not very extensive on the 
east and south of Palestine " (Gesenius), as these tribes were 
tributary to Solomon. KT'.^v' ^'^^^, the governors of the land, 
are probably the of&cers named in ch. iv. 7-19. As they col- 
lected the duties in the form of natural productions and delivered 
them in that form, so also did the tradesmen and merchants pay 
their duties, and the subjugated pastoral tribes of Arabia their 
tribute, in natura. This explains in a very simple manner why 
these revenues are separated from the revenue of Solomon which 
came in the form of money, nna is a foreign word, which first 
found its way into the Hebrew language after the times of the 
Assyrians, and sprang from the Sanscrit paksha, a companion or 
friend, which took the form oi paklcha in Prakrit, and probably 
of pctkha in the early Persian {viel. Benfey and Stern, die, Monats- 
namen, p. 195). — Vers. 16, 17. Solomon had 500 ornamental 
shields made, 200 larger ones (Q''3V, scuta, targets), and 300 
smaller (2''?^'?, dijijei). These shields, like all the shields of the 
ancients, were made of wood or basket-work, and covered with 
gold plate instead of leather (see my tibi. Archäol. ii. pp. 296 
sqq.). tiin*^ anr does not TRean aurum ßigulatum, i.e. gold mixed 
with metal of a different kind, but, as Kimchi has shown, auricm 
didudum, beaten gold, from tDi]*^, to stretch ; since Solomon would 
certainly use pure gold for these ornamental shields. " Six hun- 
dred shekels of gold he spread upon one target," that is to say, 
he used for gilding one target. Six hundred shekels would 
weigh about 1 7^ lbs., so that the value of the gold upon a target 
would be more than 5000 thalers (£750), supposing that the 
Mosaic shekel is meant. But this is rendered doubtful by the 
fact that the gold upon the small shields is estimated at three 
minse. If, for example, the three mince are equal to three 
hundred shekels, according to 2 Chron. ix. 16, as is generally 
assumed, a hundred shekel?, are reckoned as one mina ; and as 
the mina only contained fifty IMosaic shekels, according to Ezek. 

CHAP. X. 14-22. 163 

xlv. 12, the reference must be to shekels after the king's weight 
(2 Sam. xiv. 26), which were only half the sacred shekel (see 
my libl. Archäol. ü. p. 135). Consequently the gold plate upon 
one target was not quite 9 lbs., and that upon a shield not 
quite 4^ lbs. These shields were intended for the body-guard 
to carry on state occasions (ch, xiv. 2 7, 2 8 ; 2 Chron. xii. 1 0), 
and were kept in the house of the forest of Lebanon (ch. vii. 2). 
— Vers. 18-20. Solomon had a great throne of ivory made, and 
had it overlaid with fine gold. I^"^B3 is not a throne made of 
ivory, but one merely ornamented with ivory ; and we are to 
imagine the gilding as effected by laying the gold simply upon 
the wood, and inserting the ivory within the gold plate. TS^O, a 
Iwplial participle of HQ; aurum depuratum, hence = "^inta in 2 
Chron. ix. 1 7. The throne had six steps, and a " rounded head 
on the hinder part thereof," i.e. a back which was arched above 
or rounded off,^ and rilj, arms, i.e. arms on both sides of the 
Beat (n.HB'n Dipo)^ and two lions standing by the side of the arms. 
Beside this there were twelve lions upon the six steps, namely 
two upon each step, one on this side and one on that. Instead 
of Q''''."i5< (ver. 20) we find nvnx in ver. 19, just as we do in both 
verses of the Chronicles, not because the reference is to artificial, 
inanimate figures and not to natural lions, as Thenius supposes, 
but because the plural ending Q""? is an unusual one with this 
word ; and even where natural lions are spoken of, we always 
find ni''"]^ in other passages (cf Judg. xiv. 5; 2 Sam. i. 23 ; 
2 Kings xvii. 25 ; Song of Sol. iv. 8, etc.). The lions were 
symbols of the ruler's authority ; and the twelve lions upon the 
steps may possibly have pointed to the rule over the twelve 
tribes of Israel, which was concentrated in the throne; not 
" watchers of the throne," as Thenius thinks. This throne was 
so splendid a work, that the historian observes that nothing of 
the kind had ever been made for any other kingdom. Upon the 
^ Instead of VinXD nss^ hS^^ C'j^ll we have in tlie Clironicles tJ'aai 
DTnXD ND3^ nn-n, "and a footstool in gold fastened to the throne " (the 
plural D^tnXD refers to the footstool and the steps). Now, however easily 
Ü"'Tnt<0 may have been written by mistake for V"inX?D, DDT C'JD cannot have 
grown out of ^Jljy t*'"^") by any such mistake. The. quid-pro-quo of the LXX. 
for ^ijy ti'5^"l) ■^porofixl f/Ja-^oiv, in which pijy is certainly confounded with 
pjy, does not warrant the conjecture of Thenius, that the Chronicler found 
7jy in his original and substituted ti'33 (lamb), whereupon b*33 (lamb) was 
changed by another hand into {i^as, footstep, and t»>xi was dropped altogether. 


early Assyrian monuments we do indeed find high seats depicted, 
which are very artistically worked, and provided with backs and 
arms, and some with the arms supported by figures of animals 
(see Layard's Nineveh and its Remains, vol. ii. p. 301), but none 
resembling Solomon's throne. It is not till a later age that the 
more splendid thrones appear {vid. Kosenmliller, Ä. u. N. 3Iorgen- 
land, iii. pp. 176 sqq.). — Vers. 21, 22. The drinking vessels of 
Solomon also were all of gold, and all the vessels of the house 
of the forest of Lebanon of costly gold ("ii3D : see at ch. vi. 20). 
Silver was counted as nothing, because the Tarshish fleet arrived 
once in three years, bringing gold, silver, etc. (see at ch. ix. 28). 
In vers. 23-29 everything that had to be stated concerning 
the wealth, wisdom, and revenue of Solomon is summed up as 
a conclusion (cf. 2 Chron. ix. 22-28 and i. 14-17).— Vers. 
23 and 24 point back to ch. v. 9-14. ^^V).'- Solomon became 
greater, not was greater, on account of the Vav consec. n^V* , > 
all the world, corresponds to DVsjjn-pii in ch. v. 1 4. The foreign- 
ers out of all lands, who came on account of his wisdom, brought 
Solomon presents : gold and silver vessels, clothes (HiöP^, court 
dresses, which are still customary presents in the East), ?^?., 
armour, spices, horses and mules. — Ver. 26 is simply a repeti- 
tion of ch. V. 6 (compare also ch. ix. 19) ; and ver. 27 is merely 
a further extension of ver. 21. The words of ver. 27, " Solo- 
mon made silver like stones in Jerusalem, and cedars like the 
sycamores in the lowland for abundance," are a hyperbolical 
description of his collection of enormous quantities of precious 
metals and costly wood. ^'^^\^P, sycomori, mulberry fig-trees, are 
very rare in Palestine in its present desolate state (see Eob. Pal. 
iii. 27), and are only met in any abundance in Egypt; but in 
ancient times they abounded in the lowlands of Palestine to 
such an extent, that they were used as common building wood 
{vid. Isa. ix. 9, on which Theodoret observes, tovtwv (avKa/xlvcov) 
7] UaXata-TLvr) ireTrX'^pcoTat,). According to 1 Chron. xxvii. 28, 
the sycamore forests in the lowland of Judah were royal do- 
mains.— Vers. 28, 29 (cf. 2 Chron. i. 16, 17). "And (as for) 
the going out of horses from Egypt for Solomon, a company of 
king's merchants fetched (horses) for a definite price." This is 
the only possible explanation of the verse according to the 
Masoretic punctuation ; but to obtain it, the first nij^p must be 
connected with ''■?.nb in opposition to the accents, and the second 
must be pointed nij^p. This is the rendering adopted by Ge- 

CHAP. X. 23-29. 

senilis in his Thesaurus and Lexicon (eel. Dietr. s. v. '"'^.p'?). 
meaning company or troop may certainly be justified from (jt. 
i. 10, Ex. vii. 19, and Lev. xi. 36, where the word signifies an 
accumulation of water. Still there is something very strange 
not only in the application of the word both to a company of 
traders and also to a troop of horses, but also in the omission of 
n''DiD (horses) after the second nipD. Hence the rendering of 
the LXX. and Vulgate deserves attention, and may possibly be 
the one to be preferred (as Michaelis, Bertheau on Chron., and 
Movers assume). The translators of these versions have taken 
mpö as the name of a place, e| 'EKove, or rather e/c Kovi, de Coa} 
According to this, the rendering would be : " And as for the 
going out of horses from Egypt and Koa (or Kawe) for Solomon, 
the king's traders fetched them from Koa (Kawe) for a fixed 
price." It is true that the situation of Koa cannot be more 
precisely defined ; but there seems to be very little doubt that 
it was a place for the collection of customs upon the frontier of 
Egypt. — Ver. 29. " And there came up and went out a chariot 
from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a 
hundred and fifty shekels ; and so (in the same manner as for 
Solomon) they led them out for all the kings of the Hittites 
and the kings of Aram through their hand." "^^aio, like ^^1 in 
2 Sam. viii. 4, x. 18, and Ezek. xxxix. 20, denotes a chariot 
with the team of horses belonging to it, possibly three horses 
(see at ch. v. 6), not quadriga (Clericus and others), or two 
draught horses and two as a reserve (Thenius). For the infer- 
ence, that if a horse cost 150 shekels, a team of four would be 
obtained for 600, is not quite a certain one, since the chariot 
itself would certainly not be given in. A hundred and fifty 
shekels are a little more than 130 thalers (£19, 10s. — Tr.), and 
600 would be 525 thalers (£78, 15s.). These amounts are 
sufficient to show how untenable the opinion of Movers is, that 
the sums mentioned are not the prices paid for horses and 
chariots, but the payment made for their exit, or the customs 
duty. And his other opinion is equally erroneous, namely that 
the chariots and horses were state carriages and horses of luxury 
intended for the king. — The merchants, are called the king's 

1 That Kofi or Kui is the earliest reading of the LXX., aud not the Ik 
&ex,ovi of the Cod. Vat. and Alex., is very evident from the statement which 
we find in the Onomast. of Eusebius {ed. Larsow et Parth. p. 260), Kuh, -TrMalov 
A/yii^TToy ; for which Jerome has Coa^ qux estjuxta ^Er/yptum, after the Vulgate. 


.s, not because a portion of their profits went into the royal 
.dsury as the tax upon trade (Bertheau), nor as the brokers 
who bought for the king (Thenius), but because they carried on 
their trade for the king's account. D^l^^ cannot be adduced as 
evidence to the contrary ; for linguists require no proof that this 
cannot mean " auf ihre Hand" as Thenius assumes. Böttcher's 
explanation is the right one, namely, " through their hand," in- 
asmuch as they brought the horses and chariots themselves even 
to those kings who lived at a greater distance, without employing 
intermediate agents. The kings of the C^n, the Hittites in the 
wider sense ( = Canaanites, as in Josh. i. 4, 2 Kings vii. 6, Ezek. 
xvi. 3), and of Aram, were in x^art Solomon's vassals, since his 
rule extended over all the Canaanites with the exception of the 
Phoenicians, and over several kingdoms of Aram. 


The idolatry into which Solomon fell in his old age appears 
so strange in a king so wise and God-fearing as Solomon showed 
himself to be at the dedication of the temple, that many have 
been quite unable to reconcile the two, and have endeavoured 
to show either that Solomon's worship of idols was psycholo- 
gically impossible, or that the knowledge of God and the piety 
attributed to him are unhistoricaL But great wisdom and a 
refined knowledge of God are not a defence against the folly of 
idolatry, since this has its roots in the heart, and springs from 
sensual desires and the lust of the flesh. The cause_assjgned -^ 
in the biblical account for Solomon's falling away from the" 
Lord, is that he loved many strange, i.e. foreign or heathen, 
wives, who turned his heart from Jehovah to their own gods in 
his old age. Consequently the falling away did not take place 
suddenly, but gradually, as Solomon got old, and was not a 
complete renunciation of the worship of Jehovah, to whom he 
offered solemn sacrifices three times a year, and that certainly 
to the day of his death (ch. ix. 25), but consisted simply in the 
fact that his heart was no longer thoroughly devoted to the 
Lord (ch. xi. 4), and that he inclined towards the idols of his 
foreign wives and built them altars (vers. 5-8) ; that is to «ay, 
it consisted merely in a syncretic mixture of Jehovah-worship 
and idolatry, by which the worship which should be paid solely 

CHAP. XI. ^x 167 

and exclusively to the true God was not only injured, but was 
even turned into idolatry itself, Jehovah the only true God 
being placed on a level with the worthless gods of the heathen. 
— Love to foreign wives no doubt presupposed an inclination to 
foreign customs ; it was not, however, idolatry in itself, but was 
still reconcilable with that sincere worship of Jehovah which 
is attributed to Solomon in the earlier years of his reign. At 
the same time it was a rock on which living faith and true' 
adherence to the Lord might at last suffer shipwreck. And wei 
may even infer from the repeated warnings of God (ch. iii. 14^ 
vi. 12, ix. 4), that from the earliest years of his reign Solomon 
was in danger of falling into idolatry. This danger did, indeed, 
spring in his case from his inclination to foreign customs ; but 
this inclination was again influenced by many of the circum- 
stances of his reign, which we must regard as contributing more 
remotely to his eventual fall. And among the first of these we 
must place the splendour and glory of his reign. Through long 
and severe conflicts David had succeeded in conquering all the 
enemies of Israel, and had not only helped his people to peace 
and prosperity, but had also raised the kingdom to great power 
and glory. And Solomon inherited these fruits of his father's 
reign. Under the blessings of peace he was not only able to 
carry out the work of building a splendid temple, which his 
father had urged upon him, but was also able, by a wise use of 
the sources already existing and by opening new ones, still 
farther to increase the treasures which he had collected, and 
thereby to exalt the splendour of his kingdom. The treaty 
with Hiram of Tyre, which enabled him to execute the intended 
state buildings in Jerusalem, was followed by alliances for the 
establishment of a widespread commerce both by sea and land, 
through which ever increasing treasures of gold and silver, and 
other costly goods, were brought to the king. As this accumu- 
lation of riches helped to nourish his inclination to a love of 
show, and created a kind of luxury which was hardly reconcil- 
able with the simplicity of manners and the piety of a servant 
of God, so the foreign trade led to a toleration of heathen 
customs and religious views which could not fail to detract 
from the reverence paid to Jehovah, however little the trade 
with foreigners might be in itself at variance with the nature 
of the Old Testament kingdom of God. And ao-ain, even the 
great wisdom of kina; Solomon might also become a rock en- 


dangering his life of faith, not so much in the manner suggested 
by J. J. Hess (Gcsch. Dav. u. Sal. ii. p. 413), namely, that an 
excessive thirst for inquiry might easily seduce him from the 
open and clearer regions of the kingdom of truth into the darker 
ones of the kingdom of lies, i.e. of magic, and so lead him to 
the paths of superstition ; as because the widespread fame of 
his wisdom brought distinguished and wise men from distant 
lands to Jerusalem and into alliance Avith the king, and their 
homage flattered the vanity of the human heart, and led to a 
greater and greater toleration of heathen ways. But these 
things are none of them blamed in the Scriptures, because they 
did not of necessity lead to idolatry, but might simply give an 
indirect impulse to it, by lessening the wall of partition between 
the worship of the true God and that of heathen deities, and 
making apostasy a possible thing. The Lord Himself had pro- 
mised and had given Solomon wisdom, riches, and glory above 
all other kings for the glorification of his Idngdom; and these 
gifts of God merely contributed to estrange his heart from the 
true God for the simple reason, that Solomon forgot the command- 
ments of the Lord and suffered himself to be besotted by the 
lusts of the flesh, not only so as to love many foreign wives, but 
so as also to take to himself wives from the nations with which 
Israel was not to enter into any close relationship whatever. 

Vers. 1-13. Solomon's Love of many "Wives and Idolatry. 
— Vers. 1, 2. " Solomon loved many foreign wives, and that 
along with the daughter of Pharaoh." '3 l^?'nxi, standing as it 
does between 'i riin^j n''K'J and ni'nxio, cannot mean " and espe- 
cially the daughter of P.," as Thenius follows the earlier com- 
mentators in supposing, but must mean, as in ver. 2 5, " and 
that with, or along with," i.e. actually beside the daughter of 
Pharaoh. She is thereby distinguished from the foreign wives 
who turned away Solomon's heart from the Lord, so that the 
blame pronounced upon those marriages does not apply to his 
marriage to the Egyptian princess (see at ch. iii. 1). AU that 
is blamed is that, in opposition to the command in Deut. xvii, 
17, Solomon loved (1) 7na7nj foreign wives, and (2) Moabitish, 
Ammonitish, and other wives, of the nations with whom the 
Israelites were not to intermarry. All that the law expressly 
prohibited was marriage with Canaanitish women (Deut. vii. 1-3; 
Ex. xxxiv. 1 6) ; consequently the words " of the nations," etc., are 

CHAP. XI. 1-13. 169 

not to be taken as referring merely to tlie Sidonian and Hittite 
women (J. D. Mich.) ; but this prohibition is extended here to 
all the tribes enumerated in ver. 2, just as in Ezra ix. 2 sqq., 
X. 3, Neb. xiii. 23 ; not from a rigour surpassing the law, but 
in accordance with the spirit of the law, namely, because the 
reason appended to the law, 7ic in idololatriam a supcrstiticsis 
mulicribus jpellicerentur (Clericus), applied to all these nations. 
The Moabites and Ammonites, moreover, were not to be received 
into the congregation at all, not even to the tenth generation, 
and of the Edomites only the children in the third generation 
were to be received (Deut. xxiii. 4, 8, 9). There was all the 
less reason, therefore, for permitting marriages with them, that is 
to say, so long as they retained their nationality or their heathen 
ways. The words 03? • • • ''^'^C"'^*'' are connected in form with 
Josh, xxiii. 12, but, like the latter, they really rest upon 
Ex. xxxiv. 16 and Deut. vii. 1—3. In the last clause D^i| is 
used with peculiar emphasis : Solomon clave to these nations, 
of which God had said such things, to love, i.e. to enter into 
the relation of love or into the marriage relation, with them. 
P3"i is used of the attachment of a man to his wife (Gen. 
ii. 4) and also to Jehovah (Deut. iv. 4, x. 20, etc.). — Vers. 
3-8 carry out still further what has been already stated. In 
ver. 3 the taking of many wives is first explained. He 
had seven hundred rii"ib> D'p'J, women of the first rank, who 
were exalted into princesses, and three hundred concubines. 
These are in any case round numbers, that is to say, numbers 
which simply approximate to the reality, and are not to be 
understood as affirming that Solomon had all these wives and 
concubines at the same time, but as including all the women 
who were received into his harem during the whole of his reign, 
whereas the sixty queens and eighty concubines mentioned in 
Song of Sol. vi. 8 are to be understood as having been present 
in the court at one time. Even in this respect Solomon sought 
to equal the rulers of other nations, if not to surpass them.-^ — 
These women " inclined his heart," i.e. determined the inclina- 

^ Nevertheless these numbers, especially that of the wives who were raised 
to the rank of princesses, appear sufficiently large to suggest the possibility 
of an error in the numeral letters, although Oriental rulers carried this custom 
to a very great length, as for example Darius Codomannus, of whom it is re- 
lated that he took with him 360 pellices on his expedition against Alexander 
(see Curtius, iii. 3, 24 ; Athen. Deipnos. iii. 1). 


tion of his heart. Ver. 4. In the time of old ao;e, when the 
flesh gained the supremacy over the spirit, they turned his 
heart to other gods, so that it was no longer wholly with 
Jehovah, his God. Ci?^, integer, i.e. entirely devoted to the 
Lord (c£ ch. viii. 61), like the heart of David his father, who 
had indeed grievously sinned, but had not fallen into idolatry. 
— Vers. 5-8. He walked after the Ashtaroth, etc. According 
to ver. 7, the idolatry here condemned consisted in the fact 
that he built altars to the deities of all his foreign wives, upon 
which they offered incense and sacrifice to their idols. It is 
not stated that he himself also offered sacrifice to these idols. 
But even the building of altars for idols was a participation 
in idolatry which was irreconcilable with true fidelity to the 
Lord. JT?.J^t^y, Astarte, was the chief female deity of all the 
Canaanitish tribes ; her worship was also transplanted from 
Tyre to Carthage, where it flourished greatly. She was a moon- 
goddess, whom the Greeks and Eomans called sometimes Aphro- 
dite, sometimes Urania, Xekrjvair], Ccelestis, and Juno (see the 
Comm. on Judg. ii. 13). "^^pD, which is called "^?b (without 
the article) in ver. 7, and ö3pp in Jer. xlix. 1, 3, and Amos i. 
15, the abomination of the Ammonites, must not be confounded 
with the Molech (^pj^n, always with the article) of the early 
Canaanites, to whom children were offered in sacrifice in the 
valley of Benhinnom from the time of Ahaz onwards (see the 
Comm. on Lev. xviii. 21), since they had both of them their 
separate places of worship in Jerusalem (cf 2 Kings xxiii. 
10 and 13), and nothing is ever said about the offering of 
children in sacrifice to Milcom ; although the want of informa- 
tion prevents us from determining the precise distinction be- 
tween the two. Milcom was at any rate related to the Chemosh 
of the Moabites mentioned in ver. 7 ; for Chemosh is also de- 
scribed as a god of the Ammonites in Judg. xi. 24, whereas 
everywhere else he is called the god of the Moabites (Num. xxi. 
29 ; Amos i. 15, etc.). Chemosh was a sun-god, who was wor- 
shipped as king of his people and as a god of war, and as such 
is depicted upon coins with a sword, lance, and shield in his 
hands, and with two torches by his side (see at Num. xxi. 29). 
The enumeration of the different idols is incomplete ; Chemosh 
being omitted in ver. 5, and Astarte, to whom Solomon also 
built an altar in Jerusalem, according to 2 Kings xxiii. 13, in 
ver. 7. Still this incompleteness does not warrant our filling 

CHAP. XI. 1-13. 171 

up tlie supposed gaps by emendations of the text. '121 yin bv% 
as in Judg. ii. 11, iii. 7, etc. "''' ''ir]^? X.?P, a pregnant expres- 
sion for '^^'ns r\^9? N^o, as in Num. xiv. 24, xxxii. 11, 12, etc. 
— These places of sacrifice ('""??' ^^^ ^^ *^-^- ^i- 2) Solomon built 
upon the mountain in front, i.e. to the east, of Jerusalem, and, 
according to the more precise account in 2 Kings xxiii. 13, to 
the right, that is to say, on the southern side, of the Mount of 
Corruption, — in other words, upon the southern peak of the 
Mount of Olives ; and consequently this peak has been called 
in church tradition from the time of Brocardus onwards, either 
3fons Offensionis, after the Vulgate rendering of rT'nt^^Gjn "in in 
2 Kings xxiii. 13, or Mons Scandali, Mount of Offence {vid. 
Eob. Pal. i. 565 and 566).— Ver. 8. " So did he for all his 
foreign wives," viz. built altars for their gods ; for instance, in 
addition to those already named, he also built an altar for 
Astarte. These three altars, which are only mentioned in the 
complete account in 2 Kings xxiii. 13, were suf&cient for all 
the deities of the foreign wives. For the Hittites and Edomites 
do not appear to have had any deities of their own that were 
pecuKar to themselves. The Hittites no doubt worshipped 
Astarte in common with the Sidonians, and the Edomites pro- 
bably worshipped Milcom. In the whole of the Old Testament 
the only place in which gods of the Edomites are mentioned is 
2 Chron. xxv. 20, and there no names are given. Of course we 
must except Pharaoh's daughter, according to ver. 1, and the 
remarks already made in connection with that verse ; for she 
brought no idolatrous worship to Jerusalem, and consequently 
even in later times we do not find the slightest trace of Egyptian 
idolatry in Jerusalem and Judah.-^ Burning incense (rii"!''t:i?0) is 
mentioned before sacrificing (nin3Tp)^ because vegetable offerings 
took precedence of animal sacrifices in the nature-worship of 
Hither Asia {vid. Bahr, Symbolik, ii. pp. 237 sqq.). — ^Vers. 9 sqq. 
Through this apostasy from the Lord his God, who had appeared 

^ From the fact that these places of sacrifice still existed even in the time of 
Josiah, notwithstanding the reforms of Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, and Heze- 
kiah, which rooted out all public idolatry, at least in Jerusalem, Movers infers 
(PMniz. ii. 3, p. 207), and that not without reason, that there was an essential 
difference between these sacred places and the other seats of Israelitish 
idolatry which were exterminated, namely, that in their national character 
they were also the places of Avorship for the foreigners settled in and near 
Jerusalem, e.g. the Sidonian, Ammonitish, and Moabitish merchants, which 
were under the protection of treaties, since this is the only ground on which 


to him twice (ch. iii. 5 sqq. and ix. 2 sqq.) an»? had warned 
liim against idolatry (nw is a continuation of the participle 
nN"ii)n), Solomon drew down upon himself the anger of Jehovah. 
The emphasis lies upon the fact that God had appeared to him 
Himself for the purpose of warning him, and had not merely 
caused him to he warned by prophets, as Theodoret has ex- 
plained. In consequence of this, the following announcement is 
made to him, no doubt through the medium of a prophet, pos- 
sibly Ahijah (ver. 29) : " Because this has come into thy mind, 
and thou hast not kept my covenant, ... I will tear the kingdom 
from thee and give it to thy servant ; nevertheless I will not do 
it in thy lifetime for thy father David's sake : howbeit I will not 
tear away the whole kingdom ; one tribe I will give to thy son." 
In this double limitation of the threatened forfeiture of the king- 
dom there is clearly manifested the goodness of God (BeUvva-o 
T7]v afierpov dyadoTTjTa — Theodoret) ; not, however, with reference 
to Solomon, who had forfeited the divine mercy through his 
idolatry, but with regard to David and the selection of Jerusalem: 
that is to say, not from any special preference for David and Jeru- 
salem, but in order that the promise made to David (2 Sam. vii.), 
and the choice of Jerusalem as the place where His name should 
be revealed which was connected with that promise, might stand 
immoveably as an act of grace, which no sin of men could over- 
turn (vid. ver. 36). For *in>J tD3B? see the Comm. on vers. 31, 32. 

Vers. 14-40. Solomon's Opponents. — Although the punish- 
ment with which Solomon was threatened for his apostasy was 
not to be inflicted tül after his death, the Lord raised up 
several adversaries even during his lifetime, who endangered 
the peace of his kingdom, and were to serve as constant re- 
minders that he owed his throne and liis peaceable rule over 
the whole of the kingdom inherited from his father solely to 
the mercy, the fidelity, and the long-suffering of God. — The 
rising up of Hadad and Eezon took place even before the com- 

■we can satisfactorily explain their undisturbed continuance at Jerusalem. 
But this would not preclude their having been built by Solomon for the wor- 
ship of his foreign wives ; on the other hand, it is much easier to explain their 
being built in the front of Jerusalem, and opposite to the temple of Jehovah, 
if from the very first regard was had to the foreigners who visited Jerusalem. 
The objection offered by Thenius to this view, which Bcrtheau had already 
adopted (zur Gesch. der Isr. p. 323), has been shown by Böttcher {N. exeg. 
jElirenl. ii, p. 95) to be utterly untenable. 

CHAP. XI. 14-22. 173 

mencement of Solomon's idolatry, but it is brought by nin^ ni5>i 
(ver. 14) into logical connection with the punishment with 
which he is threatened in consequence of that idolatry, because 
it was not tiU a later period that it produced any perceptible 
effect upon his government, yet it ought from the very first to 
have preserved him from self-security. 

Vers. 14-22. The first adversary was Hadad the Edomite, 
a man of royal birth. The name l^n 0'^^-. i^^ ver. IV, accord- 
ing to an interchange of n and N which is by no means rare) 
was also borne by a prse-Mosaic king of Edom (Gen. xxxvi. 35), 
from which we may see that it was not an uncommon name in 
the royal family of the Edomites. But the conjecture of Ewald 
and Thenius, that our Hadad was a grandson of Hadar, the last 
of the kings mentioned there, is quite a groundless one, since it 
rests upon the false assumption that Hadar (called Hadad in 
the Chronicles by mistake) reigned in the time of David (see 
the Comm. on Gen. xxxvi. 31 sqq.). Kin before Cini<3 stands in 
the place of the relative 1^'^: " of royal seed he = who was of the 
royal seed in Edom" (c£ Ewald, § 332, a). — Vers. 15 sqq. When 
David had to do with the Edomites, . . . Hadad fled, nx ^^"^ is 
analogous to oy n\n, to have to do with any one, though in a 
hostile sense, as in the phrase to go to war with (riK) a person, 
whereas DV ^^'^ generally means to be upon the side of any one. 
The correctness of the reading rirnn is confirmed by all the 
ancient versions, which have simply paraphrased the meaning 
in different ways. Eor Böttcher has already shown that the 
LXX. did not read riiSD?, as Thenius supposes. The words 
from Tibv^ to the end of ver. 16 form explanatory circum- 
stantial clauses. On the circumstance itself, compare 2 Sam. 
viii. 13, 14, with the explanation given there. "The slain," 
whom Joab went to bury, were probably not the Israelites who 
had fallen, in the battle in the Salt valley (2 Sam. viii. 13), 
but those who had been slain on the invasion of the land by 
the Edomites, and still remained unburied. After their burial 
Joab defeated the Edomites in the valley of Salt, and remained 
six months in Edom till he had cut off every male. " All 
Israel " is the whole of the Israelitish army. " Every male " is 
of course only the men capable of bearing arms, who fell into 
the hands of the Israelites ; for " Hadad and others fled, and the" 
whole of the Idumsean race was not extinct " (Clericus). Then 
Hadad fled, while yet a little boy, with some of his father's 


Edomitisli servants, to go to Egypt, going first of all to Midian 
and thence to Paran. The country of Midian cannot be more 
precisely defined, inasmuch as we meet with Midianites some- 
times in the peninsula of Sinai on the eastern side of the 
Elanitic Gulf, where Edrisi and Abulfeda mention a city of 
Madian (see at Ex. ii. 15), and sometimes on the east of the 
Moabitish territory (see at Num. xxii. 4 and Judg. vi. 1). 
Here, at any rate, we must think of the neighbourhood of the 
Elanitic Gulf, though not necessarily of the city of Madian, five 
days' journey to the south of Aela ; and probably of the country 
to which Moses fled from Egypt. Paran is the desert of that 
name between the mountains of Sinai and the south of Canaan 
(see at ISTum. x. 12), through which the Haj route from Egypt 
by Elath to Mecca still runs. Hadad would be obliged to 
take the road by Elath in order to go to Egyx3t, even if he 
had taken refage with the Midianites on the east of Moab 
and Edom. — ^Vers. 18 sqq. Erom Paran they took men with 
them as guides through the desert. Thus Hadad came to 
Eg3^t, where Pharaoh received him hospitably, and gave them 
a house and maintenance (^n^), and also assigned him land 
(P.") **^ cultivate for the support of the fugitives who had 
come with him, and eventually, as he found great favour in 
his eyes, gave him for a wife the sister of his own wife, queen 
Taclijßcncs, who bare him a son, Genubath. This son was 
weaned by Tachpenes in the royal palace, and then brought 
up among (with) the children of Pharaoh, the royal princes. 
According to Eosellini and Wilkinson (Ges. Thes. p. 1500), 
Tachpenes was also the name of a female deity of Egypt. The 
wife of Pharaoh is called 'T[''??'^, i.e. the mistress among the king's 
wives, as being the principal consort. In the case of the kings 
of Judah this title is given to the king's mother, probably as 
the president in the harem, whose place was taken by the 
reigning queen after her death. The weaning, probably a 
family festival as among the Hebrews (Gen. xxi. 8) and other 
ancient nations (vid. Dougtsei Analcda ss. i. 2 2 sq.), was carried 
out by the queen in the palace, because the boy was to be 
thereby adopted among the royal children, to be brought up 
with them. — ^Vers. 21, 22. When Hadad heard in Egypt of 
,the death of David and Joab, he asked permission of Pharaoh 
to return to his own country. Pharaoh replied, "What is there 
lacking to thee with me ?" This answer was a pure expression 

CHAP. XI. 23-25. 175 

of love and attachment to Hadad, and involved the request that 
he would remain. But Hadad answered, " No, but let me go." 
We are not told that Pharaoh then let him go, but this must 
be supplied ; just as in Num. x, 32 we are not told what Hobab 
eventually did in consequence of Moses' request, but it has to 
be supplied from the context. The return of Hadad to his native 
land is clearly to be inferred from the fact that, according to 
vers. 14 and 25, he rose up as an adversary of Solomon.^ 

Vers. 23-25. A second adversary of Solomon was Rczon, the 
son of Eliadah (for the name see at ch. xv. 18), who had 
fled from liis lord Hadadezer, king of Zobah, and who became 
the captain of a warlike troop O^^?), when David smote them 
(ariis*), i.e. the troops of his lord (2 Sam. viii. 3, 4). Eezon pro- 
bably fled from his lord for some reason which is not assigned, 

^ The LXX. have supplied what is missing e conjectura: xal dviarpiipeu 
" A'hsp (i.e. Hadad) dg t'^u yvjy xvrov' uvrvj ij x-ukicc tjv Izroimsu" A'^ip' x.x.\ Ißxpv- 
dvi^-fiaiy'lapa.'/i'h, xxl ißxai'Kivasv iu yy\ 'ESw^. Thenius proposes to alter the 
Hebrew text accordingly, and draws this conclusion, that " shortly after the 
accession of Solomon, Hadad, having returned from Egypt, wrested from the 
power of the Israelites the greatest part of Edom, probably the true mountain- 
land of Edom, so that certain places situated in the plain, particularly Ezion- 
geber, remained in the hands of the Israelites, and intercourse could be main- 
tained with that port through the Arabah, even though not quite without 
disturbance." This conclusion, which is described as " historical," is indeed 
at variance with 1 Kings xxii, 48, according to which Edom had no king 
even in the time of Jehoshaphat, but only a vicegerent, and also with 
2 Kings viii. 20, according to Avhich it was not till the reign of Jehoshaphat's 
son Joram that Edom fell away from Judah. But this discrepancy Thenius 
sets aside by the remark at 1 Kings xxii. 48, that in Jehoshaphat's time the 
family of Hadad had probably died out, and Jehoshaphat prudently availed 
himself of the disputes which arose concerning the succession to enforce 
Judah's right of supremacy over Edom, and to appoint first a vicegerent and 
then a new king, though perhaps one not absolutely dependent upon him. 
But this conjecture as to the relation in Avliich Jehoshaphat stood to Edom is 
proved to be an imaginary fiction by the fact that, although the history does 
indeed mention a revolt of the Edomites from Judah (2 Chron. xx. ; see 
at 1 Kings xxii. 48), it not only says nothing whatever about the dying out 
of the royal family of Hadad or about disputes concerning the succession, 
but it does not even hint at them, — But Avith regard to the additions made to 
this passage by the LXX., to which even Ewald {Gesch. iii. p. 276) attri- 
butes historical worth, though without building upon them such confident 
historical combinations as Thenius, Ave may easily convince ourselves of their 
critical worthlessness, if we only pass our eye over the whole section (vers. 
14-25), instead of merely singling out those readings of the LXX. which 
support our preconceived opinions, and overlooking all the rest, after the 
thoroughly unscientific mode of criticism adopted by a Thenius or Böttcher. 


when the latter was engaged in war with David, before his com- 
plete overthrow, and collected together a company from the 
fugitives, with which he afterwards marched to Damascus, and 
having taken possession of that city, made himself king over it. 
This probably did not take place till towards the close of David's 
reign, or even after his death, though it was at the very beginning 
of Solomon's reign ; for " he became an adversary to Israel all 
the days of Solomon (i.e. during the whole of his reign), and that 
with (beside) the mischief which Hadad did, and he abhorred 
Israel (i.e. became disgusted with the Israelitish rule), and became 
king over Aram." T^H "i*^^ is an abbreviated expression, to which 
nb'y may easily be supplied, as it has been by the LXX. (vid. 
Ewald, § 292, h, Anm). It is impossible to gather from these 
few words in what the mischief done by Hadad to Solomon con- 

For example, the LXX. have connected together the two accoimts respecting 
the adversaries Hadad and Eezon who rose up against Solomon (ver. 14 and 
ver. 23), which are separated in the Hebrew text, and have interpolated 
what is stated concerning Eezon in vers. 23 and 24 after irp'lXil in ver. 14, 
and consequently have been obliged to alter 'lil \d^ '>r\'^\ in ver. 25 into xai 
yifjuy 2«T«i/, because they had previously cited Hadad and Eezon as adver- 
saries, whereas in the Hebrew text these words apply to Eezon alone. But 
the rest of ver. 25, namely the words from nyinTlXI onwards, they have 
not given till the close of ver. 22 (LXX.) ; and in order to connect this with 
what precedes, they have interpolated the words -Kal duiarpi-^vj "Ahp it; riv 
yviv avtov. The Alexandrians were induced to resort to this intertwining of 
the accoimts concerning Hadad and Eezon, which are kept separate in the 
Hebrew text, partly by the fact that Hadad and Eezon are introduced as 
adversaries of Solomon with the very same words (vers. 14 and 23), but 
more especially by the fact that in ver. 25 of the Hebrew text the injury done 
to Solomon by Hadad is merely referred to in a supplementary manner in con- 
nection with Eezon's enterprise, and indeed is inserted parenthetically within 
the account of the latter. The Alexandrian translators did not know what 
to make of this, because they did not understand nyiriTlXI and took DNI 
for nJ^Tj «-'^rn ■/] KUKici. With this reading ^'p>i which follows was necessarily 
understood as referring to Hadad ; and as Hadad was an Edomite, "il^jp^] 
DIN'Sy had to be altered into Ißxui'hivaiu h yfi "Eouy.. Consequently all the 
alterations of the LXX. in this section are simply the result of an arbitrary 
treatment of the Hebrew text, which they did not really understand, and 
consist of a collocation of all that is homogeneous, as every reader of this 
translation who is acquainted with the original text must see so clearly even 
at the very beginning of the chapter, where the number of Solomon's wives 
is taken from ver. 3 of the Hebrew text and interpolated into ver. 1, that, as 
Thenius observes, " the true state of the case can only be overlooked from 
ßupei-ficiality of observation or from preconceived opinion." 

CHAP. XI. 2G-40. 177 

sisted.^ Eezon, on the other hand, really obtained possession of 
the rule over Damascus. Whether at the beginning or not till 
the end of Solomon's reign cannot be determined, since all that 
is clearly stated is that he was Solomon's adversary during the 
whole of his reign, and attempted to revolt from him from the 
very beginning. If, however, he made himself king of Damascus 
in the earliest years of his reign, he cannot have maintained his 
sway very long, since Solomon afterwards built or fortified Tadmor 
in the desert, which he could not have done if he had not been 
lord over Damascus, as the caravan road from Gilead to Tadmor 
(Palmyra) went past Damascus.^ 

Vers. 26—40. Attempted rebellion of Jcrohoam the Epiiraimitc. 
— Hadad and Eezon are simply described as adversaries (19^) of 
Solomon ; but in the case of Jeroboam it is stated that " he 
lifted up his hand against the king," i.e. he stirred up a tumult 
or rebellion. 3 1^ Dnn is synonymous with ? "IJ i<^>3 in 2 Sam. 
xviii. 28, XX. 21. It is not on account of this rebellion, which 
was quickly suppressed by Solomon, but on account of the later 
enterprise of Jeroboam, that his personal history is so minutely 
detailed. Jeroboam was an Ephraimite ('''?"If^, as in 1 Sam. i. 1, 
Judg. xii. 5) of Zereda, i.e. Zarthan, in the Jordan valley (see 
ch. vii. 46), son of a widow, and '^'^V., i.e. not a subject (Then.), 
but an officer, of Solomon. All that is related of his rebellion 
against the king is the circumstances under which it took place. 
"I'^'X nn'in nr^ this is how it stands with, as in Josh. v. 4. Solo- 
mon built Millo (ch. ix. 1 5), and closed the rent (the defile ? ) 
in the city of David. p3, ruptura, cannot be a rent or breach 
in the wall of the city of David, inasmuch as noin is not added, 
and since the fortification of the city by David (2 Sam. v. 9) no 

^ What Josephus (^Anf. viii. 7, 6) relates concerning an alliance between 
Hadad and Rezon for the purpose of making hostile attacks upon Israel, is 
merely an inference drawn from the text of the LXX., and utterly worthless. 

2 Compare Ewald, Gesch. iii. p. 276. It is true that more could be inferred 
from 2 Chron, viii. 3, if the conquest of the city of Hamath by Solomon were 
really recorded in that passage, as Bertheau supposes. But although py pjn, 
is used to signify the conquest of tribes or countries, we cannot infer the con- 
quest of the city of Hamath from the words, " Solomon went to Hamath 
Zobah n^'bv pIH'l and built Tadmor," etc., since all that n^'bx} pfn"" distinctly 
expresses is the establishment of his power over the land of Hamath Zobah. 
And this Solomon could have done by placing fortifications in that province, 
because he was afraid of rebellion, even if Hamath Zobah had .tiot actually 
fallen away from his power. 



hostile attack had ever been made upon Jerusalem ; but in all 
probability it denotes the ravine which separated Zion from 
Moriah and Ophel, the future Tyropoeon, through the closing of 
which the temple mountain was brought within the city wall, 
and the fortification of the city of David was completed 
(Thenius, Ewald, Gesch. iii. p. 330). Compare Tl^"^, a gap in the 
coast, a bay. On the occasion of this building, Jeroboam proved 
himself a ?1D "»i^^, i.e. a very able and energetic man ; so that 
when Solomon saw the young man, that he was doing work, i.e. 
urging it forward, he committed to him the oversight over all 
the heavy work of the house of Joseph. It must have been 
while occupying this post that he attempted a rebellion against 
Solomon. This is indicated by '1J1 "^y^J] nf in ver. 27. Accord- 
ing)- to ch. xii. 4, the reason for the rebellion is to be sought for 
in the appointment of the Ephraimites to heavy works. This 
awakened afresh the old antipathy of that tribe to Judah, and 
Jeroboam availed himself of this to instigate a rebellion. — Vers. 
29 sqq. At that time the prophet Ahijah met him in the field 
and disclosed to him the word of the Lord, that he should be- 
come king over Israel. ^^''Ol! ^J^| : at that time, viz. the time 
when Jeroboam had become overseer over the heavy works, and 
not after he had abeady stirred up the rebellion. Eor the whole 
of the account in vers. 29-39 forms part of the explanation of 
•ri^s:! 1"' D"""):! which commences with ver. 27^, so that nyn ''Tpl 
^""^^^ is closely connected with ink ^i;5a|;^ in ver. 28, and there is 
no such gap in the history as is supposed by Thenius, who 
builds upon this opinion most imtenable conjectures as to the 
intertw inin g of different sources. At that time, as Jeroboam 
was one day going out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah of 
Shilo (Seilun) met him by the way (JV!J]/^), with a new upper 
garment wrapped around him ; and when they were alone, he 
rent the new garment, that is to say, his own, not Jeroboam's, 
as Ewald {Gesch. iii. p. 388) erroneously supposes, into twelve 
pieces, and said to Jeroboam, " Take thee ten pieces, for Jehovah 
saith, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and 
give thee ten tribes ; and one tribe shall remain to him (Solomon) 
for David's sake," etc. The new ^'^^ was probably only a large 
four-cornered cloth, which was thrown over the shoulders like the* 
Heih of the Arabs, and enveloped the whole of the upper portion 
of the body (see my hihl. Ärchäol. ii. pp. 36, 37). By the tear- 
ing of the new garment into twelve pieces, of which Jeroboam 

CHAP. XL 26-40. 


was to take ten for himself, the prophetic announcement was 
symbolized in a very emphatic manner. This symbolical action 
made the promise a completed fact. " As the garment was torn 
in pieces and lay before the eyes of Jeroboam, so had the division 
of the kingdom already taken place in the counsel of God " (0. 
V. Gerlach). There was something significant also in the cir- 
cumstance that it was a nau garment, which is stated twice, and 
indicates the newness, i.e. the still young and vigorous condition, 
of the kingdom (Thenius). 

In the word of God explaining the action it is striking that 
Jeroboam was to receive ten tribes, and the one tribe was to 
remain to Solomon (vers. 31, 32, 35, 36, as in ver. 13). The 
nation consisted of twelve tribes, and Ahijah had torn his garment 
into twelve pieces, of which Jeroboam was to take ten ; so that 
there were two remaining. It is evident at once from this, that 
the numbers are intended to be understood symbolically and not 
arithmetically. Ten as the number of completeness and totality 
is placed in contrast with one, to indicate that all Israel was to 
be torn away from the house of David, as is stated in ch. xii. 
20, "they made Jeroboam king over all Israel," and only one 
single fragment was to be left to the house of Solomon out of 
divine compassion. This one tribe, however, is not Benjamin, 
the one tribe beside Judah, as Hupfeld (on Ps. Ixxx.), C. a Lap., 
Mich., and others suppose, but, according to the distinct state- 
ment in ch. xii. 20, ''the tribe of Judah only." Nevertheless 
Benjamin belonged to Judah; for, according to ch. xii. 21, 
Eehoboam gathered together the whole house of Judah and 
the tribe of Benjamin to fight against the house of Israel (which 
had fallen away), and to bring the kingdom again to himself. 
And so also in 2 Chron. xi. 3 and 23 Judah and Benjamin are 
reckoned as belonging to the kingdom of Ptehoboam. This dis- 
tinct prominence given to Benjamin by the side of Judah over- 
throws the explanation suggested by Seb. Schmidt and others, 
namely, that the description of the portion left to Eehoboam as 
one tribe is to be explained from the fact that Judah and Ben- 
jamin, on the border of which Jerusalem was situated, were 
regarded in a certain sense as one, and that the little Benjamin 
was hardly taken into consideration at all by the side of the 
great Judah. For if Ahijah had regarded Benjamin as one with 
Judah, he would not have torn his garment into twelve pieces, 
inasmuch as if Benjamin was to be merged in Judah, or was not 


to be counted along with it as a distinct tribe, the whole nation 
could only be reckoned as eleven tribes. Moreover the twelve 
tribes did not so divide themselves, that Jeroboam really received 
ten tribes and Eehoboam only one or only two. In reality there 
were three tribes that fell to the kingdom of Judah, and only 
nine to the kingdom of Israel, Ephraim and Manasseh being 
reckoned as two tribes, since the tribe of Levi was not counted 
in the political classification. The kingdom of Judah included, 
beside the tribe of Judah, both the tribe of Benjamin and also 
the tribe of Simeon, the territory of which, according to Josh. 
xix. 1-9, was within the tribe-territory of Judah and completely 
surrounded by it, so that the Simeonites would have been obliged 
to emigrate and give up their tribe-land altogether, if they desired 
to attach themselves to the kingdom of Israel. But it cannot be 
inferred from 2 Chron. xv. 9 and xxxiv. 6 that an emigration 
of the whole tribe had taken place (see also at ch. xii. 17). 
On the other hand, whilst the northern border of the tribe of 
Benjamin, with the cities of Bethel, Eamah, and Jericho, fell to 
the kingdom of Jeroboam (ch. xii. 29, xv. 17, 21, xvi. 34), 
several of the cities of the tribe of Dan were included in the 
kingdom of Judah, namely, Ziklag, which Achish had presented 
to David, and also Zorea and Ajalon (2 Chron. xi. 10, xxviii. 
18), in which Judah obtained compensation for the cities of 
Benjamin of which it had been deprived.^ Consequently there 

^ On the other hand, the fact that in Ps. Ixxx. 2 Benjamm is placed between 
Ephraim and, Manasseh is no proof that it belonged to the kingdom of Israel ; 
nor can this be inferred from the fact that Benjamin, as the tribe to which 
Saul belonged, at the earlier split among the tribes took the side of those which 
were opposed to David, and that at a still later period a rebellion originated 
with Benjamin. For in Ps. Ixxx. 2 the exposition is disputed, and the 
jealousy of Benjamin towards Judah appears to have become extinct with the 
(lying out of the royal house of Saul. Again, the explanation suggested by 
Oehler (Hcrzog's Cyd.) of the repeated statement that the house of David 
was to receive only one tribe, namely, that tliere was not a single whole tribe 
belonging to the southern kingdom beside Judah, is by no means satisfactory. 
For it cannot be proved that any portion of the tribe of Simeon ever belonged 
to the kingdom of Israel, although the number ten was not complete Avithout 
it. And it cannot be inferred from 2 Chron. xv. 9 that Simeonites had 
settled outside their tribe-territory. And, as a rule, single families or house- 
holds that may have emigrated cannot be taken into consideration as having 
any bearing upon the question before us, since, according to the very same 
passage of the Chronicles, many members of the tribes of Ephraim and 
Manasseh had emigrated to the kingdom of Judah. 

CHAP. XI. 2C-40. 181 

only remained nine tribes for the northern kingdom. For 
'131 '•'nny |yop see at ver. 13. For ver. 33 compare vers. 4-8. 
The plurals "'^^3Ty, ^inJil'^\ and ^3j'n are not open to critical ob- 
jection, but are used in accordance with the fact, since Solomon 
did not practise idolatry alone, but many in the nation forsook 
the Lord along with him. J''?1>*, with a Chaldaic ending (see 
Ges. § 87, 1, a). In vers. 34-36 there follows a more precise 
explanation : Solomon himself is not to lose the kingdom, but 
to remain prince all his life, and his son is to retain one tribe ; 
both out of regard to David (viel. vers. 12 and 13). t^^^J ''3 
^^0^'^*' " ^^^t I "^^ill ^'^^ h^^^^ fo^ prince," inasmuch as leaving him 
upon the throne was not merely a divine permission, but a 
divine act. " That there may be a light to my servant David 
always before me in Jerusalem." This phrase, which is repeated 
in ch. XV. 4, 2 Kings viii. 19, 2 Chron. xxi. 7, is to be ex- 
plained from 2 Sam. xxi. 17, where David's regal rule is called 
the light which God's grace had kindled for Israel, and affirms 
that David was never to want a successor upon the throne. — 
Vers, 37-39. The condition on which the kingdom of Jeroboam 
was to last was the same as that on which Solomon had also 
been promised the continuance of his throne in ch. iii. 14, 
vi. 12, ix. 4, namely, faithful observance of the command- 
ments of God. The expression, " be king over all that thy soul 
desireth," is explained in what follows by " all Israel." It is 
evident from this that Jeroboam had aspired after the throne. 
On the condition named, the Lord would build him a lasting 
house, as He had done for David (see at 2 Sam. vii. 16). In 
the case of Jeroboam, however, there is no allusion to a lasting- 
duration of the '^?^9'=^ (kingdom) such as had been ensured to 
David ; for the division of the kingdom was not to last for ever, 
but the seed of David was simply to be chastised. riNl \vipb^ for 
this, i.e. because of the apostasy already mentioned ; " only not 
all the days," i.e. not for ever. ^J1J;^^1 is explanatory so far as the 
sense is concerned : " for I will humble." Jeroboam did not 
fulfil this condition, and therefore his house was extirpated at 
the death of his son (ch. xv. 28 sqq.). — Ver. 40 is a con- 
tinuation of ^Sö3 1^ an*l in ver. 26; for vers. 27-39 contain 
simply an explanation of Jeroboam's lifting up his hand against 
Solomon. It is obvious from this that Jeroboam had organized 
a rebellion against Solomon ; and also, as ver. 2 9 is closely con- 
nected with ver. 28, that tliis did not take place till after the 


prophet had foretold his reigning over ten tribes after Solomon's 
death. But this did not justify Jeroboam's attempt ; nor was 
Ahijah's announcement an inducement or authority to rebel. 
Ahijah's conduct was perfectly analogous to that of Samuel in 
the case of Saul, and is no more to be attributed to selfish 
motives than his was, as though the prophetic order desired to 
exalt itself above the human sovereign (Ewald ; see, on the other 
hand, Oeliler's article in Herzogs Cyd.). For Ahijah expressly 
declared to Jeroboam that Jehovah would let Solomon remain 
prince over Israel during the remainder of his life. This deprived 
Jeroboam of every pretext for rebellion. Moreover the prophet's 
announcement, even without this restriction, gave him no right 
to seize with his own hand and by means of rebellion upon that 
throne which God intended to give to him. Jeroboam might 
have learned how he ought to act under these circumstances from 
the example of David, who had far more ground, according to 
human opinion, for rebelling against Saul, his persecutor and 
mortal foe, and who nevertheless, even when God had delivered 
his enemy into his hand, so that he might have slain him, did 
not venture to lay his hand upon the anointed of the Lord, but 
waited in pious submission to the leadings of his God, till 
the Lord opened the way to the throne through the death 
of Saul. By the side of David's behaviour towards Saul the 
attempt of Jeroboam has all the appearance of a criminal 
rebellion, so that Solomon would have been perfectly justified 
in putting him to death, if Jeroboam had not escaped from 
his hands by a flight into Egypt. — On Sliishak see at ch. 
xiv. 25. 

Vers. 41—43. Conclusion of the history of Solomon. — Notice 
of the original works, in which further information can be foiind 
concerning his acts and his wisdom (see the Introduction) ; the 
length of his reign, viz. forty years ; his death, burial, and suc- 
cessor. Solomon did not live to a very great age, since he was 
not more than twenty years old when he ascended the throne. 
— Whether Solomon turned to the Lord again with all his heart, 
a question widely discussed by the older commentators (see 
Pfeifferi Diibia vex. p. 435 ; Buddei hist. eccl. ii. p. 273 sqq.), 
cannot be ascertained from the Scriptures. If the Preacher 
Kohcldli) is traceable to Solomon so far as the leading thoughts 
are concerned, we should find in this fact an evidence of his con- 
version, or at least a proof that at the close of his life Solomon 


discovered the vanity of all earthly possessions and aims, and 
declared the fear of God to be the only abiding good, with which 
a man can stand before the judgment of God. 


Chap. xii.-2 Kings xvir. 

After the death of Solomon the Israelitish kingdom of God 
was rent asunder, through the renunciation of the Davidic 
sovereignty by the ten tribes, into the two kingdoms of Israel 
(the ten tribes) and Judah ; and through this division not 
only was the external political power of the Israelitish state 
weakened, but the internal spiritual power of the covenant 
nation was deeply shaken. And whilst the division itself 
gave rise to two small and weak kingdoms in the place of one 
strong nation, the power of both was still further shaken by 
their attitude towards each other. — The history of the two 
Idngdoms divides itself into three epochs. In the first epoch, 
i.e. the period from Jeroboam to Omri in Israel, and from 
Eehoboam to Asa in Judah (1 Kings xii.— xvi.), they maintained 
a hostile attitude towards each other, until Israel sustained a 
severe defeat in a great war with Judah ; and on the renewal 
of its attacks upon Judah, king Asa called the Syrians to his 
help, and thereby entangled Israel in long and severe conflicts 
with this powerful neighbouring state. The hostility termi- 
nated in the second epoch, under Ahab and his sons Ahaziah 
and Joram in Israel, and under Jehoshaphat, Joram, and 
Ahaziah of Judah, since the two royal families connected them- 
selves by marriage, and formed an alliance for the purpose of a 
joint attack upon their foreign foes, until the kings of both 
kingdoms, viz. Joram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah, were slain 
at the same time by Jehu (1 Kings xvii.-2 Kings x. 27). This 
period of union was followed in the third epoch, from Jehu in 
Israel and Joash in Judah onwards, by further estrangement 
and reciprocal attacks, which led eventually to the destruction 
of the kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians through the untheo- 
cratical policy of Ahaz. 


If we take a survey of the attitude of the two kingdoms 
towards the Lord, the invisible God-King of His people, during 
these three epochs, to all appearance the idolatry was stronger 
in the kingdom of Judah than in the kingdom of Israel. For 
in the latter it is only under Ahab and his two sons, under 
whom the worship of Baal was raised into the state religion at 
the instigation of Jezebel the Phoenician wife of Ahab, that we 
meet with the actual worship of idols. Of the other kings 
both before and afterwards, all that is related is, that they walked 
in the ways of Jeroboam, and did not desist from his sin, the 
worship of the calves. In the kingdom of Judah, on the other 
hand, out of thirteen kings, only five were so truly devoted 
to the Lord that they promoted the worship of Jehovah and 
opposed idolatry (viz. Asa, Jehoshaphat, Uzziah, Jotham, and 
Hezekiah). Of the others, it is true that Joash and Amaziah 
walked for a long time in the ways of the Lord, but in the 
closing years of their reign they forsook the God of their fathers 
to serve idols and worship them (2 Cliron. xxiv. 18 and xxv. 
14 sqq.). Even Rehoboam was strengthened at the outset in 
the worship of Jehovah by the Levites who emigrated from the 
kingdom of the ten tribes to Judah ; but in the course of three 
years he forsook the law of the Lord, and Judah with him, so 
that altars of high places, Baal columns, and Asherah idols, were 
set up on every hill and under every green tree, and there were 
even male prostitutes in the land, and Judah practised all the 
abominations of the nations that were cut off before Israel 
(1 Kings xiv. 23, 24; 2 Chron. xi. 13-17, xii. 1). In all 
these sins of his father Abijam also walked (1 Kings xv. 3). 
At a later period, in the reign of Joram, the worship of Baal 
v\^as transplanted from Israel to Judah and Jerusalem, and was 
zealously maintained by Ahaziah and his mother Athaliah. It 
grew still worse under Ahaz, who even went so far as to set up 
an idolatrous altar in the court of the temple and to close the 
temple doors, for the purpose of abolishing altogether the legal 
worship of Jehovah. But notwithstanding this repeated spread 
of idolatry, the apostasy from the Lord was not so great and deep 
in the kingdom of Judah as in the kingdom of Israel. This is 
evident from the fact that idolatry could not strike a firm root 
there, inasmuch as the kings who were addicted to it were 
always followed by pious and God-fearing rulers, who abolished 
the idolatrous abominations, and nearly all of whom had long 

CHAP. XII. ETC. 185 

reigns; so that during the 253 years which intervened between 
tlie division of the kingdom and the destruction of the kingdom 
of the ten tribes, idolatry did not prevail in Judah for much 
more than fifty-three years/ and for about 200 years the worship 
of the true God was maintained according to the commandment 
of the law. This constant renewal of a victorious reaction 
against the foreign deities shows very clearly that the law of 
God, with its ordinances and institutions for divine worship, had 
taken firm and deep root in the people and kingdom, and that 
the reason why idolatry constantly revived and lifted up its 
head afresh was, that the worship of Jehovah prescribed in the 
law made no concessions to the tendency to idolatry in hearts 
at enmity against God. It was different with the kingdom 
of the ten tribes. There the fact that idolatry only appeared 
in the reigns of Ahab and his sons and successors, is to be 
accounted for very simply from the attitude of that kingdom 
towards the Lord and His lawful worship. Although, for 
instance, the secession of the ten tribes from the house of 
David was threatened by God, as a punishment that would 
come upon Solomon and his kingdom on account of Solomon's 
idolatry ; on the part of the rebellious tribes themselves it was 
simply the ripe fruit of their evil longing for a less theocratic 
and more heathen kingdom, and nothing but the work of 
opposition to the royal house appointed by Jehovah, which had 
already shown itself more than once in the reign of David, though 
it had been suppressed again by the weight of his government, 
which was strong in the Lord. 

This opposition became open rebellion against the Lord, 
when Jeroboam, its head, gave the ten tribes a religious con- 
stitution opposed to the will of God for the purpose of estab- 
lishing his throne, and not only founded a special sanctuary for 
his subjects, somewhat after the model of the tabernacle or 
of the temple at Jerusalem, but also set up golden calves as 
symbols and images of Jehovah the invisible God, to whom no 
likeness can be made. This im age- worship met the wishes 
and religious cravings of the sensual and carnally -minded 
people, because it so far filled up the gap between the legal 

^ Namely, fourteen years under Kelioboam, three under Abijah, six under 
Joram, one under Ahaziah, six under Athaliah, and sixteen under Ahaz, — in 
all forty-six years ; to which we have also to add the closing years of the 
reigns of Joash and Amaziah. 


worship of Jeliovah and the worship of the nature-deities, that 
the contrast between Jehovah and the Baalim almost entirely 
disappeared, and the principal ground was thereby removed for 
the opposition on the part of the idolatrous nation to the 
stringent and exclusive worship of Jehovah. In this respect 
the worship of the calves worked more injuriously upon the 
religious and moral life of the nation than the open worship of 
idols. This sin of Jeroboam is therefore " the ground, the root 
and cause of the very sinful development of the kingdom of 
Israel, which soon brought down the punishment of God, since 
even fxom the earliest time one judgment after another fell 
openly upon the kingdom. For beside the sin of Jeroboam, 
that which was the ground of its isolation continued to increase, 
and gave rise to tumult, opposing aspirants to the throne, and 
revolutionary movements in the nation, so that the house of 
Israel was often split up within itself" (Ziegler). Therefore 
the judgment, with which even from the time of Moses the 
covenant nation had been threatened in case of obstinate rebel- 
lion against its God, namely the judgment of dispersion among 
the heathen, fell upon the ten tribes much earlier than upon 
Judah, because Israel had filled up the measure of sin earlier 
than Judah. 

The chronological computation of this period, both as a whole 
and in its separate details, is one of the more difdcult features 
connected with this portion of the history of the Israelitish 
kingdom. As our books give not only the length of time that 
every king both of Israel and Judah reigned, but also the time 
when every king of Israel ascended the throne, calculated 
according to the year of the reign of the contemporaneous Idng 
of Judah, and vice versa, these accounts unquestionably fur- 
nish us with very important help in determining the chronology 
of the separate data ; but this again is rendered difficult and 
uncertain by the fact, that the sum-total of the years of the 
several kings is greater, as a rule, than the number of years 
that they can possibly have reigned according to the synchro- 
nistic accounts of the contemporaneous sovereigns in the other 
kingdom. Chronologists have therefore sought from time 
immemorial to reconcile the discrepancies by assuming in- 
accuracies in the accounts, or regencies and interregna. The 
necessity for such assumptions is indisputable, from the fact that 
the discrepancies in the numbers of the years are absolutely 

CHAP. XII. ETC. 187 

irreconcilable without them.^ But if the application of them 
in the several cases is not to be dependent upon mere caprice, 
the reconciliation of the sum-totals of the years that the differ- 
ent kincrs reio-ned with the differences which we obtain from 
the chronological data in the synchronistic accounts must be 
effected upon a fixed and well-founded historical principle, 
regencies and interregna being only assumed in cases where 
there are clear indications in the text. Most of the differences 
can be reconciled by consistently observing and applying the 
principle pointed out in the Talmud, viz. that the years of the 
kings are reckoned from Msan to Nisan, and that with such pre- 
cision, that even a single day before or after Msan is reckoned as 
equal to a year, — a mode of reckoning which is met with even in 
the New Testament, e.g. in the statement that Jesus rose from the 
dead after three days, or on the third day, and also in the writ- 
ings of Josephus, so that it is no doubt an early Jewish custom,^ 
— for, according to this, it is not necessary to assume a single in- 
terregnum in the kingdom of Judah, and only one regency (that 

^ This is indirectly admitted even by 0. Wolff (in his Versuch die Wider- 
sprüche in den Jahrreihen der Könige Judo's und IsraeVs und andere Differenzen 
in der hibl. Chronologie auszugleichen ; Theol. Stud. u. Krit. 1858, p. 625 sqq.), 
though for the most part he declares himself opposed to such assumptions 
as arbiti-ary loopholes, inasmuch as, with his fundamental principle to adhere 
firmly to the years of the reigns of the kings of Judah as normative, he is 
only able to effect a reconciliation by shortening at his pleasure the length 
of the reigns given in the text for the kings of Israel in the period extending 
from Eehoboam to the death of Ahaziah of Judah, and in the following 
period by arbitrarily interpolating a thirty-one years' interregnum of the 
Israelitish kings in the kingdom of Judah between Amaziah and Uzziah, 

- Compare Gemara hahyl. tract, n^^n ^UTi, c. i. fol. 3, p. 1, ed. Amstel. : 
|D"']?0 xbx D"'3?0? on? ]''^'\}:i pX, "720?^ numerant in regihus nisi a Nisano'''' 
(z.e. regiini annos nonnisi a Nisano numerant). After quoting certain 
passages, he says as a proof of this, bir\ii>^ '':hlob i6a ""Jti^ i6 ^^^D^ "l "IIDK, 
" dixit R. Chasda : hoc nan docent nisi de regihus Israelitarum.^^ — Ibid. fol. 2, 
p- 2 : r\y\^ y\^n n:^! im^ DVI D^a^ob ^y^i^n K^SI p'^:, " Msanus initium 
anni regibus, ac dies quideni unus in anno {yidcl. post calendas Nisani) instar 
anni computatur.''^ — Ibid.: njCJ' nitJTI nJEJ' fjIDa HflS DV, '''■ unus dies in fine 
anni pro anno computatur.^' For the examples of the use of this mode of 
calculation in Josephus, see TVieseler, cJironoL Synapse der vier Evangelien 
(Hamb. 1852), p. 52 sqq. They are sufficient of themselves to refute the 
assertion of Joach. Hartmann, Systema chronol. hibl., Eostoch. 1777, p. 253 
sq., that this is a mere invention of the Rabbins and later commentators, 
even though the biblical writers may not have carried it out to such an 
extent as to reckon one single day before or after the commencement of 
Nisan as equal to a whole year, as is evident from 2 Kings xv. 17 and 23. 


of Joram with his father JehoshajDhat), which is clearly indicated 
in the text (2 Kings viii. 16) ; and in the kingdom of Israel 
there is no necessity to assume a single regency, and only two 
interregna (the first after Jeroboam ii., the second between Pekah 
and Hoshea). — If, for example, we arrange the chronological 
data of the biblical text upon this principle, we obtain for the 
period between the division of the kingdom and the Babylonian 
captivity the following table, which only differs from the state- 
ments in the text in two instances,^ and has a guarantee of its 
correctness in the fact that it coincides with the well-established 
chronological data of the universal history of the ancient world." 

^ Namely, in the fact that the commencement of the reign of Jehoahaz of 
Israel is placed in the twenty-second year of Joash of Judah, and not in the 
twenty-third, according to 2 Kings xiii. 1, and that that of Azariah or Uzziah 
of Judah is placed in the fifteenth year of Jeroboam of Israel, and not the 
twenty-seventh, according to 2 Kings xv. 1. The reasons for this will be 
given in connection with the passages themselves. 

- Not only with the ordinary chronological calculation as to the beginning 
and end of this entire period, which has been adopted in most text-books of 
the biblical history, and taken from Usserii Annales Vet. et Novi Test., but 
also with such data of ancient history as have been astronomically estab- 
lished. For the fourth year of Jchoiakim, with which the captivity or 
seventy years' servitude of the Jews in Babylon commences, coincides with 
the twenty-first year of the reign of Nabopolasar, in the fifth year of whose 
reign an eclipse of the moon, recorded in Almagest, was observed, which 
eclipse, according to the calculation of Ideler (in the Abhdll. der Berliner 
Academie der Wissensch. für liistor. Klasse of the year 1814, pp. 202 and 224), 
took place on April 22 of the year 621 B.C. Consequently the twenty-first 
year of Nabopolasar, in which he died, coincides with the year 605 B.c. ; and 
the first conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, which occurred before 
the death of Nabopolasar, took place in the year 606 B.c. — Compare with 
this Marc. Niebuhr's Geschichte Assurs und Babels, p. 47. Among other 
things, this scholar observes, at p. 5, note 1, that " the whole of the follow- 
ing investigation has given us no occasion whatever to cherish any doubts 
as to the correctness of the narratives and numbers in the Old Testament ;" 
and again, at p. 83 sqq., he has demonstrated the agreement of the chrono- 
logical data of the Old Testament from Azariah or uzziah to the captivity 
with the Canon of Ptolemy, and in so doing has only deviated two years 
from the numbers given in our chronological table, by assigning the battle 
at Carchemish to the year 143 lera Nahonas., i.e. 605 B.c., the first year of 
Nebuchadnezzar, 144 ler. Nah., or 604 B.c., and the destruction of Jerusalem 
and the temple to the year 162 ^r. Nab., or 586 B.c., — a difference which 
arises chiefly from the fact that Niebuhr reckons the years of the reign of 
Nebuchadnezzar given in the Old Test, from the death of Nabopolasar in the 
year 605, and assumes that the first year of Nebuchadnezzar corresponded to 
the year 605 B.c. 



Chronological View of the Principal Events from the Division of 
the Kingdom to the Babylonian CaiHivity. 

Kingdom of Judah. 

17 years 

Abijam, r. 3 y. 
Asa, r. 41 y. 

Jehoshaphat, r. 25 

Joram, regent 2 y. 
Jehoshaphat +. 
Joram r. 6 y. more 
Ahaziah, r. 1 y. 

Athaliah, r. 6 y. 
Joash, r. 40 y. 

Amaziah, r. 29 y. 
Uzziah, r. 52 y. 













Kingdom of Israel. 

Jeroboam, reigned 
22 years 

Nadab, r. 2 y. 
Baasha, r. 24 y. 

Ela, r. 2 y. 
Simri, r. 7 days 
Tibni & Oniri, r. 4 

Omri alone, r. 8 y. 

Ahab, r. 22 y. 

Ahaziah, r. 2 y. 
Joram, r. 12 y. 

Jehu, r. 28 y. 

Jehoahaz, r. 17 y. 
Jehoash, r. 16 y. 

Jeroboam ii. r.41 j^ 

Jeroboam +. An- 
archy 11 j'ears 

Zechariah, r. 6 

Shallum, r. 1 mon. 

Menahem, r. 10 y. 

Pekahiah, r. 2 y. 
Pekah, r. 20 y. 

o o 



Kingdoms of the 

Shishak of Egypt, 
I^lunders Jeru- 
salem . 

Serah the Cushite 

Benhadad i. of 

Syria . . . 

Ithobal, king of 
Tyre and Sidon. 

Benhadad ii. in 


Hazael in Syria. 

Benhadad iii. in 

Pul, king of As- 




















9 c 5 
S.S c 









Kingdom of Jndab. 

Jütliam, r. 16 y. 
Ahaz, r. 16 y. 

Hezekiah, r. 29 y, 
Manasseh, r. 55 y. 

Amon, r. 2 y. 
Josiah, r. 31 y. 

Jelioahaz, r.Smon, 
Jelioiakim, r. 11 y 
Beginning of the 

Jehoiachin, r. 3 

Zedekiah, r. 11 y. 

Destruction of 

Jehoiachin's ele- 

End of the Cap 



Kingdom of Israel. 1 5 

Pekah+. Anarchy 

8| months 
Hoshea, r. 9 y. 

Destruction of the 


Kingdoms of the 

Building of Eome 
Nabonasar . . 


king of Assyria 
So, king of Egypt 

Salman a sar, king 
of Assyria 

Sennacherib, king of Assyria, besieges Jerusalem 
Merodach-Baladan's embassy. 

Esarhaddon sends colonists to Samaria. 

Nabopolasar, king of Babylon . . . 
Battle at Megiddo with Pharaoh-Necho 

Battle at Carchemish and conquest of Jerusalem 
by Nebuchadnezzar 

Nabopolasar + 

Second conqi^est of Jerusalem and deportation 

Pharaoh-Hophra, king of Egypt, 

Evil-merodach . 
Cyrus sole ruler 

05 -g 














1. From the Division of the Kingdom to the Ascent of 
THE Throne by Ahab in the 38 th yeak of Asa King 
OF Judah. 

Chap, xii.-xvi. 28. 

This epoch embraces only fifty-seven years, which are filled 
up in the kingdom of Judah by the reigns of three kings, and 
in the kingdom of Israel by six rulers from four different houses, 
Jeroboam's sin of rebellion against the ordinance and command- 
ment of God having produced repeated rebellions, so that one 

CHAP. XII. 191 

dynasty was ever rising tip to overthrow and exterminate another. 
— Commencing with tlie secession of the ten tribes from Reho- 
boam, we have first of all an account of the founding of the 
kingdom of Israel (oh. xii.), and of the predictions of the prophets 
concerning the introduction of the calf-worship (ch. xiii.) and 
the rejection of Jeroboam and his house by God (ch. xiv. 1-20) ; 
and after this the most important facts connected with the reigns 
of Eehoboam, Abijam, and Asa are given (ch. xiv. 21-xv. 24) ; 
and, finally, a brief history of the kingdom of Israel from the 
ascent of the throne by ISTadab to the death of Omri (ch. xv. 
25-xvi. 28). 


The jealousy which had prevailed from time immemorial 
between Ephraim and Judah, the two most powerful tribes of 
the covenant nation, and had broken out on different occasions 
into open hostilities (Judg. viii. 1 sqq. ; 2 Sam. ii. 9, xix. 42 
sqq.), issued, on the death of Solomon, in the division of the 
kingdom ; ten tribes, headed by Ephraim, refusing to do homage 
to Eehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, and choosing 
Jeroboam the Ephraimite as their king. Now, although the 
secession of the ten tribes from the royal house of David had 
been ordained by God as a punishment for Solomon's idolatry, and 
not only had Solomon been threatened with this punishment, but 
the sovereignty over ten tribes had been promised to Jeroboam 
by the prophet Ahijah, whilst the secession itself was occasioned 
by Rehoboam's imprudence ; yet it was essentially a rebellion 
against the Lord and His anointed, a conspiracy on the part of 
these tribes against Judah and its king Eehoboam. Eor apart 
from the fact that the tribes had no right to choose at their 
pleasure a different king from the one who was the lawful heir 
to the throne of David, the very circumstance that the tribes 
who were discontented with Solomon's government did not come 
to Jerusalem to do homage to Eehoboam, but chose Sichem as 
the place of meeting, and had also sent for Jeroboam out of 
Egypt, showed clearly enough that it was their intention to 
sever themselves from the royal house of David ; so that the 
harsh reply given by Eehoboam to their petition that the service 
imposed upon them might be lightened, furnished them with the 


desired opportunity for carrying out the secession upon which 
tliey had already resolved, and for which Jeroboam was the 
suitable man. And we have already shown at ch. xi. 40 that 
the promise of the throne, which Jeroboam had already received 
from God, neither warranted him in rebelling against Solomon, 
nor in wresting to himself the government over the tribes that 
were discontented with the house of David after Solomon's 
death. The usurpation of the throne was therefore Jeroboam's 
first sin (vers. 1-24), to which he added a second and much 
greater one immediately after his ascent of the throne, namely, 
the establishment of an unlawful worship, by which he turned 
the political division into a religious schism and a falling away 
from Jehovah the God-King of His people (vers. 25-33). 

Vers. 1-24. Secession of the Ten Tribes (cf. 2 Chron. 
X. 1— xi. 4). — Vers. 1-4. Eehoboam went to Shechem, because 
all Israel had come thither to make him king. " All Israel," 
according to what follows (cf. vers. 20 and 21), was the ten 
tribes beside Judah and Benjamin. The right of making king 
the prince whom God had chosen, i.e. of anointing him and doing 
homage to him (compare 1 Chron. xii. 38, where ^von alternates 
with ^^ob 'qti'b, 2 Sam. ii. 4, v. 3), was an old traditional right 
in Israel, and the tribes had exercised it not only in the case of 
Saul and David (1 Sam. xi. 15 ; 2 Sam. ii. 4, v. 3), but in that 
of Solomon also (1 Chron. xxix. 22). The ten tribes of Israel 
made use of this right on Eehoboam's ascent of the throne ; but 
instead of coming to Jerusalem, the residence of the king and 
capital of the kingdom, as they ought to have done, and doing 
homage there to the legitimate successor of Solomon, they had 
gone to Sichem, the present ISTabulus (see at Gen. xii. 6 and 
xxxiii. 18), the place where the ancient national gatherings were 
held in the tribe of Ephraim (Josh. xxiv. 1), and where Abimelech 
the son of Gideon had offered himself as Idng in the time of the 
Judges (Judg. ix. 1 sqq.). On the choice of Sichem as the place 
for doing homage Kimchi has quite correctly observed, that " they 
sought an opportunity for transferring the government to Jero- 
boam, and therefore were unwilling to come to Jerusalem, but 
came to Sichem, which belonged to Ephraim, whilst Jeroboam 
was an Ephraimite." If there could be any further doubt on the 
matter, it would be removed by the fact that they had sent for 
Jeroboam the son of Nebat to come from Egypt, whither he had 

CHAP. XII. 1-4. 193 

fled from Solomon (ch. xi. 40), and attend this meeting, and that 
Jeroboam took the lead in the meeting, and no doubt suggested 
to those assembled the demand which they should lay before 
Eehoboam (ver. 4).-^ — The construction of vers. 2 and 3 is a 
complicated one, since it is only in 1X3^1 in ver. 3 that the 
apodosis occurs to the protasis '131 ybe'S \nn, and several cir- 
cumstantial clauses intervene. " And it came to pass, when 
Jeroboam the son of JSTebat heard, sc. that Solomon was dead 
and Eehoboam had been made king ... he was still in Egypt, 
however, whither he had fled from king Solomon ; and as Jero- 
boam was living in Egypt, they had sent and called him . . . that 
Jeroboam came and the whole congregation of Israel," etc. On 
the other hand, in 2 Chron. x. 2 the construction is very much 
simplified, and is rendered clearer by the alteration of '"i"* 3^^i 
D^_n>'p3, " and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt," into QnyrsD ''\> 2m, 
"that Jeroboam returned from Egypt." ^ — ^Ver. 4. The persons 
assembled desired that the burdens which Solomon had laid 
upon them should be l^htened, in which case they would serve 
Eehoboam, i.e. would yield obedience to him as their king. 
'?j"'3S nibyo S'?'^, " make light away from the service of thy father," 

1 " This pretext was no doubt furnished to the people by Jeroboam, who, 
because he had formerly been placed above Ephraim as superintendent of the 
works, could most craftily suggest calumnies, from the things which he knew 
better than others."— (Seb. Schmidt.) 

^ At the same time, neither this explanation in the Chronicles, nor the fact 
that the Vulgate has the same in our text also, warrants our making alterations 
in the text, for the simple reason that the deviation in the Chronicles and 
Vulgate is so obviously nothing but an elucidation of our account, which is more 
obscurely expressed. There is still less ground for the interpolation, which 
■ Thenius has proposed, from the clauses contained in the Septuagint partly 
after ch. xi. 43, partly in ch. xii. between vers. 24 and 25, and in an abbrevi- 
ated form once more after ch. xiii. 34, so as to obtain the following more 
precise account of the course of the rebellion which Jeroboam instigated, and 
of which we have not a very minute description in ch. xi. 26 : " Solomon having 
appointed Jeroboam superintendent of the tributary labour in Ephraim, for 
the purpose of keeping in check the Sichemites, who were probably pre- 
eminently inclined to rebel, directed him to make a fortress, which already 
existed upon Mount Gerizim under the name of Ilillo, into a strong prison 
fn'T'lV') from which the whole district of Gerizim, the table-land, received the 
name of the land of Zerirah, and probably made him governor of it and in- 
vested him with great power. When holding this post, Jeroboam rebelled 
against Solomon, but was obliged to flee. Having now returned from Egypt, he 
assembled the members of his own tribe, and witli them he first of airbesieged 
this prison, for the purpose of making himself lord of the surrounding district. 



i.e. reduce what was imposed upon us by thy father. Solomon 
had undoubtedly demanded greater performances from the people 
than they had previously been accustomed to, not only to meet 
the cost of maintaining the splendour of his court, but also and 
principally to carry out his large and numerous buildings. But 
in return for this, he had secured for his people not only the 
blessings of undisturbed peace throughout his whole reign, but 
also great wealth from the trade and tribute of the subjugated 
nations, so that there cannot have been any well-grounded occa- 
sion for complaint. But when, as is too often the case, men 
overlooked the advantages and blessings which they owed to his 
government, and fixed their attention in a one-sided manner 
merely upon the performances which the king demanded, it might 
appear as though he had o^^pressed his people with excessive 

Vers. 5-24. In order that the request of the tribes might 
be maturely weighed, Eehoboam directed them to appear 
before him again in three days, and in the meantime discussed 
the matter with the older counsellors, who had served his 
father. — ^Ver. 7. These counsellors said (the singular "^i^T}. is 

Now this castle was the citadel of the city in which Jeroboam was born, to 
which he had just returned, and from which they fetched him to take part 
in the negotiations with Rehoboam. Its ruins are still in existence, according 
to Robinson (Pal iii. p. 99), and from all that has been said it was not called 
Zeredah (ch. xi. 26), but (after the castle) Zerira." This is what Thenius 
says. But if we read the two longer additions of the LXX. quite through, 
we shall easily see that the words uy.oQÖf^ms ru Ict'huy.uv tsji/ iv opu ^E(ppui'fi 
do not give any more precise historical information concerning the building 
of the Millo mentioned in ch. xi. 27, since this verse is repeated immediately 
afterwards in the following form : ovro; uKoo6f^-/iai T'/jy uKpa» Iv rxlg äipasaiv 
CIX.OV ^E(ppci'i'f/,, ovro; avi/iKhsias T'/iu vö'hiu A«/3/3, — but are nothing more than 
a legendary supplement made by an Alexandrian, which has no more value 
than the statement that Jeroboam's mother was named Sarira and was yvrh 
TTÖpun. The name of the city letptpü. is simply the Greek form of the 
Hebrew ni")^ which the LXX. have erroneously adopted in the place of 
rm^* as the reading in ch. xi. 26. But in the additional clauses in ques- 
tion in the Alexandrian version, Iccptp» is made into the residence of king 
Jeroboam and confounded with Thirza ; what took place at Thirza according 
to ch. xiv. 17 (of the Hebrew text) being transferred to Sarira, and the 
following account being introduced, viz. that Jeroboam's wife went Ik ^xpipd. 
to the prophet Ahijah to consult him concerning her sick sou, and on return- 
ing heard of the child's death as she was entering the city of Sarira. — these 
remarks will be quite sufficient to prove that the Alexandrian additions have 
not the least historical worth. 

CHAP. XII. 5-24. 195 

used, tecaiise one of them spoke in the name of the whole), 
" If thou wilt be subservient to this people to-day (now), and 
servest them, and hearkenest to them, . . . they will serve 
thee for ever." — Vers. 8 sqq. But Eehoboam forsook this advice, 
and asked the younger ministers who had grown up with him. 
They advised him to overawe the people by harsh threats. 
"My little finger is stronger than my father's loins." ''^^.P[, 
from l^P, littleness, i.e. the little finger (for the form, see Ewald, 
^255, h), — a figurative expression in the sense of, I possess 
much greater might than my father. " And now, my father laid 
a heavy yoke upon you, and I will still further add to your 
yoke (lay still more upon you) : my father chastised you with 
whips, I will chastise you with scorpions." Q''3"]|5i^, scorpiones, 
are whips with barbed points like the point of a scorpion's 
sting.-"- This advice was not only imprudent, " considering all 
the circumstances " (Seb. Schmidt), but it was unwise in itself, 
and could only accelerate the secession of the discontented. It 
was the language of a tjrant, and not of a ruler whom God had 
placed over His people. This is shown in vers. 13, 14 : " The 
king answered the people harshly, and forsook the counsel of 
the old men," i.e. the counsellors who were rich in experience, 
and spoke according to the counsels of the young men, who 
flattered his ambition. It is very doubtful, indeed, whether the 
advice of the old men would have been followed by so favour- 
able a result ; it might probably have been so for the moment, 
but not for a permanency. For the king could not become 
the 1?y of the people, serve the people, without prejudicing 
the authority entrusted to him by God ; though there is no 
doubt that if he had consented to such condescension, he 
would have deprived the discontented tribes of all pretext 
for rebellion, and not have shared in the sin of their seces- 
sion. — Ver. 15. "And the king hearkened not to the people (to 
their request for their burdens to be reduced), for it was niip 
nirr; nj?ö, a turning from the Lord, that He might establish His 
word" (ch. xi. 31 sqq.), i.e. by a divine decree, that Eehoboam 

^ The Eabbins give this explanation: virgsi spinis instructie. Isidor. Hispal. 
Origg. v. c. 27, explains it in a similar manner : virga si est nodosa vel acu- 
leata, Scorpio vocatur. The Targ. and Syr., on the other hand, pjno, 

P-.vSd, i.e. the Greek f^äpayucx,, a whip. See the various explanations in 

Bochart, liieroz. iii. p. 554 sq. ed. Ros. 


contributed to the fulfilment of the counsel of God through his 
own folly, and brought about the accomplishment of the sen- 
tence pronounced upon Solomon. — Ver. 16. The harsh word 
supplied the discontented with an apparently just occasion for 
saying, " What portion have we in David ? We have no in- 
heritance in the son of Jesse ! To thy tents, O Israel ! Now 
see to thy house, David ! " i.e. take care of thy house. David, 
the tribe-father, is mentioned in the place of his family. These 
words, with which Sheba had once preached rebellion in the 
time of David (2 Sam. xx. 1), give expression to the deep- 
rooted aversion which was cherished by these tribes towards 
the Davidic monarchy, and that in so distinct and unvarnished 
a manner, that we may clearly see that there were deeper 
causes for the secession than the pretended oppression of Solo- 
mon's government ; that its real foundation was the ancient 
jealousy of the tribes, which had been onl}'- suppressed for the 
time by David and Solomon, but had not been entirely eradi- 
cated, whilst this jealousy again had its roots in the estrange- 
ment of these tribes from the Lord, and from His law and 
righteousness. — Ver. 17. But the sons of Israel, who dwelt in 
the cities of Judah, over these Eehoboam became king. These 
" sons of Israel " are members of the ten tribes who had settled 
in Judah in the course of ages (cf. ver. 23) ; and the Simeonites 
especially are included, since they were obliged to remain in 
the kingdom of Judah from the very situation of their tribe- 
territory, and might very well be reckoned among the Israelites 
who dwelt in the cities of Judah, inasmuch as at first the 
whole of their territory was allotted to the tribe of Judah, from 
which they afterwards received a portion (Josh. xix. 1). The 
verse cannot possibly mean that " the tribe of Judah declared 
in favour of their countryman Rehoboam as Idng " (Ewald, 
Gesch. iii. p. 399). — Ver. 18. In order to appease the agitated 
tribes and commence negotiations with them, Eehoboam sent 
Adoram, the superintendent of the tribute, to them (see at ch. 
iv. 6). Eehoboam entrusted him with the negotiation, because 
the tribes had complained that the tribute burdens were too 
severe, and the kincr was no doubt serious in his wish to meet 
the demands of the people. But the very fact that he sent 
this man only increased the bitterness of feeling, so that ihey 
stoned him to death, and Eehoboam himself was obliged to 
summon up all his strength (j^'föNnn) to escape a similar fate by 

CHAP. XII. 25-33. 197 

a speedy flight to his chariot. — Ver. 19. Thus Israel fell away 
from the house of David " unto this day " (for this formula, see 
p. 13). — Ver. 20. The secession was completed by the fact 
that all Israel (of the ten tribes) called Jeroboam to the 
assembly of the congregation and made him king " over all 
Israel," so that the tribe of Judah alone adhered to the house 
of David (see at ch. xi. 32). Ver. 20 commences in the same 
manner as ver. 2, to indicate that it closes the account com- 
menced in ver. 2. — Vers. 21-24. But after the return of Eeho- 
boam to Jerusalem he was still desirous of bringing back the 
seceders by force of arms, and raised for that purpose an army of 
180,000 men out of all Judah, the tribe of Benjamin, and the 
rest of the people, i.e. the Israelites dwelling in the cities of 
Judah, — a number which does not appear too large according 
to 2 Sam. xxiv. 9. But the prophet Shemaiah, a prophet who 
is not mentioned again, received instructions from God to forbid 
the king to go to war with their brethren the Israelites, " for 
this thing was from the Lord." Hitn "i3^n^ " this thing, i.e. his 
being deprived of the sovereignty over ten tribes, but not their 
rebellion" (Seb. Schmidt). For the fact itself, see the remark on 
ver. 1 5. The king and the people hearkened to this word. I^IEJ'' 
ri3p?, " they turned to go," i.e. they gave up the intended expedi- 
tion and returned home. In 2 Chron. xi. 4 we have the explana- 
tory phrase fl3?p ^in^tJ'^. 

Vers. 25-33. Founding of the Kingdom of Iseael. — 
Ver. 25. When Jeroboam had become king, it was his first 
care to give a firmer basis to his sovereignty by the fortifica- 
tion of Sichern and Pnuel. n33^ to build, is used here in the 
sense of fortifying, because both cities had stood for a long time, 
and nothing is known of their having been destroyed under 
either Solomon or David, although the tower of Sichern had 
been burnt down by Abimelech (Judg. ix. 49), and the tower of 
Pnuel had been destroyed by Gideon (Judg. viii. 17). Sichern, 
a place well known from the time of Abraham downwards (Gen. 
xii. 6), was situated upon the mountains of Ephraim, between 
Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, and, still exists under the 
name of Ndbulus or Nablus, a name corrupted from Flavia, 
Neapolis. Jeroboam dwelt therein, i.e. he chose it at first as his 
residence, though he afterwards resided in Thirza (see ch. xiv. 
17). Pnuel was situated, according to Gen. xxxii. 31, on the 


other side of the Jordan, on the northern bank of the Jabbok 
(not the southern side, as Thenius supposes) ; and judging from 
Gen. xxxii. 22 sqq. and Judg. viiL 8 sqq., it was on the cara- 
van road, which led through Gilead to Damascus, and thence 
past Palmyra and along the Euphrates to Mesopotamia. It was 
probably on account of its situation that Jeroboam fortified it, 
to defend his sovereignty over Gilead against hostile attacks 
from the north-east and east. — Vers. 26 sqq. In order also to 
give internal strength to his kingdom, Jeroboam resolved to 
provide for his subjects a substitute for the sacrificial worship 
in the temple by establishing new sacra, and thus to take away 
all occasion for making festal journeys to Jerusalem, from which 
he apprehended, and that probably not without reason, a return 
of the people to the house of David, and consequently further 
danger for his own life. " If this people go up to perform 
sacrifice in the house of Jehovah at Jerusalem, their heart will 
turn to their lord, king Eehoboam," etc. — Ver. 28. He there- 
fore consulted, sc. with his counsellors, or the heads of the nation, 
who had helped him to the throne, and made two calves of gold. 
2^1 "^^ ^^^ yo^^o oxen, not of pure gold however, or cast in 
brass and gilded, but in all probability like the golden calf which 
Aaron had cast for the people at Sinai, made of a kernel of 
wood, which was then covered with gold plate (see the Comm. 
on Ex. xxxii. 4). That Jeroboam had in his mind not merely 
the Egyptian Apis-wovship generally, but more especially the 
image-worship which Aaron introduced for the people at Sinai, 

""^ evident from the words borrowed from Ex. xxxii. 4, with 
which he studiously endeavoured to recommend his new form 
of worship to the people : " Behold, this is thy God, Israel, 
who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." ni^V^ 03 ^"^n, 
it is too much for you to go to Jerusalem ; not " let your going 
suf&ce," because p is not to be taken in a partitive sense here, 
as it is in Ex. ix. 28 and Ezek. xliv. 6. What Jeroboam meant 
to say by the words, " Behold thy God," etc., was, " this is no 
new religion, but this was the form of worship which our fathers 
used in the desert, with Aaron himself leading the way" (Seb, 

'^ Schmidt). And whilst the verbal allusion to that event at Sinai 
plainly shows that this worship was not actual idolatry, i.e. was 
not a worship of Egyptian idols, from which it is constantly 
distinguished in our books as well as in Hosea and Amos, but 
that Jehovah was worshipped under the image of the calves or 

CHAP. XII. 25-33. 199 

young oxen; the choice of the places in which the golden calves 
were set up also shows that Jeroboam desired to adhere as 
closely as possible to ancient traditions. He did not select his 
own place of residence, but Bethel and Dan. Bethel, on the 
southern border of his kingdom, which properly belonged to the 
tribe of Benjamin (Josh, xviii. 13 and 22), the present Beitin, 
had already been consecrated as a divine seat by the vision of 
Jehovah which the patriarch Jacob received there in a dream 
(Gen. xxviii. 11, 19), and Jacob gave it the name of Bethel, 
house of God, and afterwards built an altar there to the Lord 
(Gen. XXXV. 7). And Jeroboam may easily have fancied, and 
have tried to persuade others, that Jehovah would reveal Him- 
self to the descendants of Jacob in this sacred place just as well 
as He had done to their forefather. — Ban, in the northern part 
of the kingdom, on the one source of the Jordan, formerly called 
Baish (Judg. xviii. 26 sqq.), was also consecrated as a place of 
worship by the image-worship established there by the Danites, 
at which even a grandson of Moses had officiated ; and regard 
may also have been had to the convenience of the people, 
namely, that the tribes living in the north would not have to go 
a long distance to perform their worship. — Ver. 30, But this 
institution became a sin to Jeroboam, because it violated the 
fundamental law of the Old Testament religion, since this not 
only prohibited all worship of Jehovah under images and symbols 
(Ex. XX. 4), but had not even left the choice of the place of wor- 
ship to the people themselves (Deut. xii. 5 sqq.). " And the 
people went before the one to Dan." The expression " to Dan" 
can only be suitably explained by connecting it with QJ'n : the 
people even to Dan, i.e. the people throughout the whole king- 
dom even to Dan. The southern boundary as the terminus a 
quo is not mentioned ; not because it was for a long time in 
dispute, but because it was already given in the allusion to 
Bethel. '^0 v t is neither the golden calf at Dan nor (as I formerly 
thought) that at Bethel, but is to be interpreted according to the 
preceding nnxri'DNl nnxrrnK : one of the two, or actually both the 
one and the other (Thenius). The sin of which Jeroboam was 
guilty consisted in the fact that he no longer allowed the people 
to go to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, but induced or com- 
pelled them to worship Jehovah before one or the other of the 
calves wliich he had set up, or (as it is expressed in ver. 31) made 
a house of high places, fiiöa n"'3 (see at ch. iii. 2), instead of the 



house of God, which the Lord had sanctified as the pLace of 
worship by filling it with His gracious presence. The singular 
3 n''2 may be accounted for from the antithesis to i^y^''^ n"'3, 
upon which it rests. There was no necessity to say expressly 
that there was a house of high places at Bethel and Dan, i.e. in 
two places, because it followed as a matter of course that the 
golden calves could not stand in the open air, but were placed 
in a temple, by which the sacrificial altar stood. These places 
of worship were houses of high places, Bamoth, because the ark 
of the covenant was wanting, and therewith the gracious pre- 
sence of God, the Shcchincth, for which no symbol invented by 
men could be a substitute. Moreover Jeroboam made " priests 
from the mass of the people, who were not of the sons of Levi." 
nyn riivi?a, i,c. not of the poorest of the people (Luther and 
others), but from the last of the people onwards, that is to say, 
from the whole of the people any one without distinction even 
to the very last, instead of the priests chosen by God out of 

-< the tribe of Levi. For this meaning of nivipö see Gen. xix. 4 
and Ezek. xxxiii. 2, also Lud. de Dieu on this passage. This 
innovation on the part of Jeroboam appears very surprising, if 
we consider how the Ephraimite Micah (Judg. xvii. 10 sqq.) 
rejoiced that he had obtained a Levite to act as priest for his 
image-worship, and can only be explained from the fact that 
the Levites did not consent to act as priests in the worship 
before the golden calves, but set their faces against it, and there- 
fore, as is stated in 2 Chron. xi. 13, 14, were obliged to leave 
their district towns and possessions and emigrate into the king- 
dom of Judah. — Ver. 32. Jeroboam also trans ferred t ^the eighth 
mantlL-ths^ast which ought to have been kept in the seventh 

r'-'^month (the feast of tabernacles. Lev. xxiii. 34 sqq.). The pretext 
for this arbitrary alteration of the law, which repeatedly de- 
scribes the seventh month as the month appointed by the Lord 
(Lev. xxiii. 34, 39, and 41), he may have found in the fact that 
in the northern portion of the kingdom the corn ripened a month 
lafeer than in the more southern Judah (see my lihl. Archciol. ii. 
I 118, Anm. 3, and § 119, Anm. 2), since this feast of the in- 
gathering of the produce of the threshing-floor and wine-press 
(Ex. xxiii. 16 ; Lev. xxiii. 39 ; Deut. xvi. 13) was a feast of 
thanksgiving for the gathering in of all the fruits of the ground. 
But the true reason was to be found in his intention to make 
the separation in a religious point of view as complete as pos- 

CHAP. XIII. 201 

sible, although Jeroboam retained the day of the month, the 
fifteenth, for the sake of the weak wlio took offence at his 
innovations. For we may see very clearly that many beside 
the Levites were very discontented with these illegal institu- 
tions, from the notice in 2 Chron. xi. 16, that out of all the 
tribes those who were devoted to the Lord from the heart went 
to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the God of the fathers there. " And 
he sacrificed upon the altar." This clause is connected with 
the preceding one, in the sense of : he instituted the feast 
and offered sacrifices thereat. In ver. 326 (from nbj; |3 on- 
wards) and ver. 33, what has already been related concerning 
Jeroboam's religious institutions is brought to a close by a 
comprehensive repetition of the leading points. " Thus did he 
in Bethel, (namely) to offer sacrifice to the calves ; and there 
he appointed the priests of the high places which he had made, 
and offered sacrifice upon the altar which he had made at Bethel, 
on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, which he himself had 
devised, and so made a feast for the children of Israel and sacri- 
ficed upon the altar to burn." 1??p signifies scorsum, by him- 
^^.-i^giralone, i.e. in this connection, i.q. " from his own heart." The 
Kcri is?» is therefore a correct explanation as to the fact ; but 
it is a needless correction from Neh. vi. 8. The last clause, 
"CtJi^np , , . ?j?»i^ leads on to what follows, and it ^wou ld be' more 
correct to take it in connection with ch. xiii. 1 and render it 
thus : and when he was offering sacrifice upon the altar to burn, 
behold there came a man of God, etc. Thenius has rendered 
/'J?*! incorrectly, and he stood at the altar. This thought would 
have been expressed by 'or; py li^OJ^'l, as in ch. xiii. 1. By T'tpipn 
we are not to understand the burning or offering of incense, but 
the burning of the sacrificial portions of the flesh upon the altar, 
as in Lev. i. 9, 13, 17, etc. 



A prophet out of Judah announces to Jeroboam the eventual 
overthrow of the idolatrous worship, and attests his divine 
. mission by miraculous signs upon the altar at Bethel and the 
hardened king (vers. 1-10) ; but on the way back he allows 
himself to be enticed by an old prophet out of Bethel to go into his 
house, contrary to the express command of the Lord, and while 


sitting at table with him has to hear from his mouth the divine 
tlireat, that on account of his transgression of the command of 
God he will not come into the sepulclu-e of his fathers. This 
threat was fulfilled on his way home ; and the marvellous "ful- 
filment made so deep an impres'sTon upon the old prophet, that 
he confirmed the testimony which he had given concerning the 
worship at the high places (vers. 11-32). These marvellous 
occurrences not only teach how Jeroboam brought about the 
overthrow of his dynasty by his thorough hardening against 
the word of God (vers. 33, 34), but they also show how false 
prophecy rose up from the very beginning in the kingdom of 
Israel and set itself against the true prophets of the Lord, and 
how it gained a victory, which merely displayed its own im- 
potence, however, and foreshadowed its eventual and certain 

Vers. 1-10. PTO])lucy against tlu idolatrous ivorsliijp at Bethel. 
— ^Vers. 1, 2. Whilst Jeroboam was still occu^Died in sacrificing 
by the altar at Bethel, there came a prophet ('^''P''^ ^'''5) out of 
Judah " in the word of Jehovah " to Bethel, and pronounced 
upon the altar its eventual destruction. L'^^'"':^1t' does not 
mean " at the word of Jehovah " here, as it frec[uentlyLcloes,_ 
but " in the word of Jehovah," as vers. 9 and 17 more -espe- 
cially show;., so that the word of Jehovak. is regarded as a, 
power which comes upon the prophet and drives him to utter 
the divine revelation which he has received. It is the same in 
^r/ch. XX. 35.,/1't:i5n^ is to be^taken as in ch. xii. 33. — " Behold 
a son will Toe bbrn' to the house of David, named Josiah ; he 
will offer upon thee (0 altar) the priests of the high places, who 
burn incense {i.e. kindle sacrifices) upon thee, and men's bones 
will they burn upon thee." According tOi2 Kings xxiii. 1^-20^ 
this prophecy was literally fulfilled. The older theologians 
found in this an evident proof of the divine inspiration of the 
prophets ; modern theology, on the other hand, which denies 
the supernatural inspiration of prophecy in accordance with its 
rationalistic or naturalistic principles, supposes that this pro- 
phecy was not more precisely defined tül after the event, and 
adduces in support of this the apparently just argument, that 
the prediction of particular historical events is without analogy, 
and generally that the introduction either of particular persons 
by name or of definite numbers is opposed to the very essence 
of prophecy, and turns prediction into soothsaying. The dis- 

CHAP. XIII. 1-10. 203 

tinction between soothsaying and prediction, however, is not 
that the latter merely utters general ideas concerning the future, 
whilst the former announces special occurrences beforehand : 
but soothsaying is the foretelling of all kinds of accidental 
things; prophecy, on the contrary, the foretelling of the progres- 
sive development of the kingdom of God, not merely in general, 
but in its several details, according to the circumstances and 
necessities of each particular age, and that in such a manner 
that the several concrete details of the prophecy rest upon the 
general idea of the revelation of salvation, and are thereby 
entirely removed from the sphere of the accidental. It is true 
that perfectly concrete predictions of particular events, with the 
introduction of names and statement of times, are much more 
rare than the predictions of the progressive development of the 
kingdom of God according to its general features; but they are 
not altogether wanting, and we meet with them in every case 
where it was of importance to set before an ungodly generation 
in the most impressive manner the truth of the divine threaten- 
ings or promises. The allusion to Coresh in Isa. xliv. 28, 
xlv. 1, is analogous to the announcement before us. But in 
both cases the names are closely connected with the destination 
of the persons in the prophecy, and are simply a concrete de- 
scription of what God wiU accomplish through these men. 
Hence the name ^n*K^N'' occurs primarily according to its appella- 
tive meaning alone, viz. " he whom Jehovah supports," from 
nti'N, to support, and expresses this thought : there will be bom 
a son to the house of David, whom Jehovah will support or 
establish, so that he shall execute judgment upon the priests of 
the high places at Bethel. This prophecy was then afterwards 
so fulfilled by the special arrangement of God, that the king 
who executed this judgment bore the name of Josliiyaliu as his 
proper name. And so also 55'"J.i3 was originally an appellative in 
the sense of sun. The judgment which the prophet pronounced 
upon the altar was founded upon the/z^s talionis. On the very 
same altar on which the priests offer sacrifice to the Dvjy shall 
they themselves be offered, and the altar shall be defiled for ever 
by the burning of men's bones upon it. ^^^ niDyy^ " men's 
bones," does not stand for " their (the priests') bones," but is 
simply an epithet used to designate human corpses, which defile 
the j)lace where they lie (2 Kings xxiii. 16). — Ver. 3. In con- 
firmation of his word the prophet added a miracle (ri2iü, Tkpa\ 


porfentum, see at Ex. iv. 21): " this is the sign that the Lord 
hath spoken (through me) : behold the altar will be rent in 
pieces, and the ashes upon it will be poured out." JKn is the 
ashes of the fat of the sacrificial animals. The pouring out of 
the sacrificial ashes in consequence of the breaking up of the 
altar was a penal sign, which indicated, along with the destruc- 
tion of the altar, the desecration of the sacrificial service per- 
formed upon it. — Ver. 4. The king, enraged at this announce- 
ment, stretched out his hand against the prophet with the 
words, " seize him" — and his hand dried up, so that he was not 
able to draw it back again. ^^), to dry up, i.e. to become rigid 
in consequence of a miraculous withdrawal of the vital energy. 
Thus Jeroboam experienced in the limbs of his own body the 
severity of the threatened judgment of God. — Vers. 5, 6. The 
penal miracle announced in the word of Jehovah, i.e. in the 
strength of the Lord, also took effect immediately upon the 
altar ; and the defiant king was now obliged to entreat the man 
of God, saying, " Soften, I pray, the face of the Lord thy God, 
and pray for me, that my hand may return to me," i.e. that I 
may be able to draw it back again, to move it once more. And 

^ this also took place at once at the intercession of the prophet. 

'^. '^^ '^?i"'"i^ '^f'?, lit. to stroke the face of God, i.e. to render it soft 
l2y_ intercession (see at Ex. xxxii. 11).^ — Ver. 7. As Jeroboam 
could do nothing by force against the prophet, he endeavoured 
to gain him over to his side by friendliness, that at least he 
might render his threat harmless in the eyes of the people. 
For this purpose, and not to do him honour or to make him 
some acknowledgment for the restoration of his hand, he in-. 
vited him to his house, to strengthen himself with food ^VO 
as in Gen. xviii. 5, Judg. ix. 5 ; for the form '"T ^yP. see Ewa Wr 
§ 41, c) and receive from him a present. — Vers. 8 sqq. But 
this design was also frustrated, and the rejection of his worship 
on the part of God was still more strongly declared. " If thou 
gavest me," the man of God replied, " the half of thy house, I 
shall not go in with thee, nor eat bread and drink water in this 
place; for thus hath Jehovah commanded me," etc. The subject, 
Jehovah, is easily supplied to ni^y from the context {vid. Ewald, 
§ 294, Z*). God had forbidden the prophet to eat. and drink 
" to manifest His detestation of idolatry, and to show by that 
fact that the Bethelites were so detestable, and as it were ex- 
communicated by God, that He wished none of the faithfiü to 

CHAP. XIII. 11-32. 205 

join with them in eating and drinking " (C. a Lap.). He was 
not to return by the way by which he came, that no one might 
look out for him, and force him to a delay which was irrecon- 
cilable with his commission, or "lest by chance being brought 
back by Jeroboam, he should do anything to please him which 
was unworthy of a prophet, or from which it might be inferred 
that idolaters might hope for some favour from the Deity" 

Vers. 11-32. Seduction of the man of God hy an old prophet, and 
his consequent j^unishment. — Vers. 1 1-1 9. The man of God had re- 
sisted the invitations of Jeroboam, and set out by a different road 
to return to Judah. An old prophet at Bethel heard from his 
sons what had taken place (the singular i33 t«i2J as compared with 
the plural C)i">SD''.!l may be explained on the supposition that first 
of all one son related the matter to his father, and that then the 
other sons supported the account given by the first) ; had his ass 
saddled ; hurried after him, and found him sitting under the tere- 
binth (the tree well known from that event) ; invited him to come 
into his house and eat with him ; and when the latter appealed 
to the divine prohibition, said to him (ver. 18), " I am a prophet 
also as thou art, and an angel has said to me in the word of the 
Lord : Bring him back with thee into thy house, that he may 
eat and drink," and lied to him (p CJ'na without a copula, because 
it is inserted as it were parenthetically, "simply as an explaha-^^'T; 
tion) — then he went back with him, and ate and drank in his 
house."— Vers. 20-22. As they were sitting at table the word 
of the Lord came to the old prophet, so that he cried out to the 
man of God from Judah : " Because thou hast been rebellious 
against the command of the Lord, and hast not kept the com- 
mandment, . . . thou wilt not come to the grave of thy fathers," 
i.e. thou wilt meet with a violent death by the way. This 
utterance was soon fulfilled. — Vers. 2 3 sqq. After he had eaten 
he saddled the ass for liim, i.e. for the prophet whom he had 
fetched back, and the latter (the prophet from Judah) departed 
upon it. On the road a lion met him and slew him ; " and his 
corpse was cast in the road, but the ass stood by it, and the lion 
stood by the corpse." The lion, contrary to its nature, had 
neither consumed the prophet whom it had slain, no^ torn in 
pieces and devoured the ass upon which he rode, but/ hfl.d 
remained standing by the corpse and by the ass, that the slaying 
of the prophet might not be "regarded as a misfortuilö' that "had- 


befallen him by accident^ but that the hand of the Lord might 
be manifest therein^ so tliat passers-by saw this marvel and 
related it in Bethel. — Ver. 26. When the old prophet at Bethel 
heard of this, he said, " It is the man of God, who was disobedi- 
ent to the word of the Lord ; the Lord hath dehvered him to the 
lion, so that it hath torn him p?*^, frangere, confringere, used of 
a lion which tears its prey in pieces) and slain him according 
to the word of the Lord, which He spake to him." — Vers. 27-32. 
He thereupon had his ass saddled, and went and found the 
corpse and the ass standing by it, without the lion having eaten 
the corpse or torn the ass in pieces ; and he lifted the corpse 
upon his ass, and brought it into his own city, and laid the 
corpse in his grave with the customary lamentation: ''nN ''in^ 
alas, my brother ! (cf. Jer. xxii. 1 8), and then gave this com- 
mand to his sons : " When I die, bury me in the grave in which 
the man of God i^ buried, let my bones rest beside his bones ; 
for the word which he proclaimed in the word of Jehovah upon 
the altar at Bethel and upon all the houses of the high places 
in the cities of Samaria will take place " {i.e. will be fulfilled). 
The expression " cities of Samaria " belongs to the author of 
these books, and is used proleptically of the kingdom of the ten 
tribes, which did not receive tliis nam ejtill after the building of 
the city of Samaria as the capital of the kingdom and the resi- 
dence of the kings of Israel (ch. xvi. 24). There is a prophetic 
element in the words " upon all the houses of the high places," 
etc., inasmuch as the only other erection at that time beside the 
one at Bethel was a temple of the high places at Dan. But after 
such a beginning the multiplication of them might be foreseen 
with certainty, even without any higher illumination. 

The conduct of the old prophet at Bethel appears so strange, 
that Josephus and the Chald., and most of the Eabbins and of 
the earlier commentators both Catholic and Protestant, have 
regarded him 8,s a false prophet, who tried to lay a trap for the 
prophet from Judah, in order jtD counteract the effect of hisprob- 
phecy upon the king and the people. But this assumption cannot 
be reconciled with either "tlTe~"cfi.vine revelation which came to 
him at the table, announcing to the Judcean prophet the punish- 
ment of his transgression of the commandment of God, and was 
SO speedily fulfilled (vers. 20-24) ; or with the honour which he 
paid to the dead man after this punishment had fallen upon him, 
by burying him in his own grave \ and still less with his con- 

CHAP. XIII. 11-32. 207 

firmation of liis declaration concerning the altar at Bethel (vers. 
29-32). We must therefore follow Ephr. Syr., Theodor., Heng- 
stenberg, and others, and regard the old prophet as a true 
prophet, who with good intentions, and not " under the influence 
of human envy " (Thenius), but impelled by the desire to enter 
into a closer relation to the man of God from Judah and to 
strengthen himself through his prophetic gifts, urged him to enter 
his house. The fact that he made use of sinful means in order 
to make more sure of securing the end desired, namely, of the 
false pretence that he had been directed by an angel to do this, 
may be explained, as Hengstenberg suggests {Dissert, vol. ii. p. 
149), on the ground that when Jeroboam introduced his innova- 
tions, he had sinned by keeping silence, and that the appearance 
of the Judeean prophet had brought him to a consciousness of 
this sin, so that he had been seized with shame on account of 
his fall, and was anxious to restore himself to honour in his 
own eyes and those of others by intercourse with this witness to 
the truth. But however little the lie itself can be excused or 
justified, we must not attribute to him alone the consequences 
by which the lie was followed in the case of the Judsean prophet. 
For whilst he chose reprehensible means of accomplishing what 
appeared to be a good end, namely, to raise himself again by 
intercourse with a true prophet, and had no wish to injure the 
other in any way, the Judsean prophet allowed himself to be 
seduced to a transgression of the clear and definite prohibition of 
God simply by the sensual desire for bodily invigoration by 
meat and drink, and had failed to consider that the divine reve 
lation which he had received could not be repealed by a pretended 
revelation froiji an angel, because thewoKl of , God does not con 
tradict itself. He was therefore obliged to listen to a ime, 
revelation from God from the mouth of the man whose pretended 
revelation from an angel he had too carelessly believed, namely, 
to the announcement of punishment for his disobedience towards 
the commandment of God, which punishment he immediately 
afterwards endured, " for the destruction of the flesh, but for the 
preservation of the spirit : 1 Cor. xv. 5 " {Berleb. Bible). That 
the punishment fell upon him alone and not upon the old prophet 
of Bethel also, and that for apparently a smaller crime, may be 
accounted for " not so much from the fact that the old prophet 
had lied with a good intention (this might hold good of the other 
also), as from the fact that it was needful to deal strictly with 


the man who had just received a great and holy commission from 
the Lord " (0. v. Gerlach). It is true that no bodily punish- 
ment fell upon the old prophet, hut this punishment he received 
instead, that with his lie he was put to shame, and that his 
' conscience must have accused him of having occasioned the death 
of the man of God from Judah. He was thereby to be cured of 
his weakness, that he might give honour to the truth of the 
testimony of God. ■- " Thus did the wondrous providence of God 
know how to direct all things most gloriously, so that the bodily 
destruction of the one contributed to the spiritual and eternal 
preservation of the soul of the other" {Berleb. Bible). — Concern- 
ing the design of these marvellous events, H. Witsius has the 
following remarks in his Misccll. ss. i. p. 118 (ed. nov. 1736): 
" So many wondrous events all concurring in one result caused 
the prophecy against the altar at Bethel to be preserved in the 
mouths and memories of all, and the mission of this prophet to 
become far more illustrious. Thus, although the falsehood of 
the old man of Bethel brought disgrace upon himself, it injured 
no one but the man of God whose credulity was too great ; and, 
under the overruling providence of God, it contributed in the 
most signal manner to the confirmation and publication of the 
truth," ■"" The heaping up of the marvellous corresponded to the 
great object of the mission of the man of God out of Judah, 
through which the Lord would enter an energetic protest against 
the idolatrous worship of Jeroboam at its first introduction, to 
cuard those who feared God in Israel, of whom there were not 
a few (2 Chron. xi. 16 ; 2 Kings xviii. 3, xix. 18), from falling 
away from Him by joining in the worship of the calves, and to 
take away every excuse from the ungodly who participated 

Vers. 33 and 34. But this did not lead Jeroboam to conver- 
sion. He turned not from his evil way, but continued to make 
high priests from the mass of the people. '^Vl\ 3'd'*l, " he re- 

1 Compare -with this the remark of Theodoret in his qiwest. 43 in 3 Ubr. 
Reg. : " In my opinion this punishment served to confirm the declaration con- 
cerning the altar. For it was not possible for the statement of such a man 
to be concealed : and this was sufficient to fill with terror those who heard 
it ; for if partaking of food contrary to the command of God, and that not 
of his own accord, but uTltfer ti-deception, brought euch retribution upon a 
righteous man, to what punishments would they be exposed who liad for- 
saken the God who made them, and worshipped the likenesses of irrational 

CHAP. XIV. 1-20. 209 

turned and made," i.e. he made again or continued to make. 
For the fact itself compare ch. xii. 31. "Whoever had plea- 
sure (r??0"' cf- ^6^- § 1^^)' ^'^^ filled his hand, that he might 
become a priest of the high places." i"!!)'^? ^.PP, to fill the 
hand, is the technical expression for investing with the priest- 
hood, according to the rite prescribed for the consecration of 
the priests, namely, to place sacrificial gifts in the hands of the 
persons to be consecrated (see at Lev. vii. 37 and viii. 25 sqq.). 
The plural riioa ''^jrn is used with indefinite generality : that 
lie might be ranked among the priests of high places. — Ver. 
34. " And it became in (with) this thing the sin of the. house 
of Jeroboam, and the destroying and cutting off from the 
earth;" that is to say, this obstinate persistence in ungodly con- 
duct was the guilt which had as its natural consequence the 
destroying of his house from the face of the earth. ^)J} "'?"^? 
is not a mistake for n-rn li^^n, but 3 is used, as in 1 Chron. 
ix. 33, vii. 23, to express the idea of being and persisting in a 
thing (for this use of 3 compare Ewald, § 295,/). 


Vers. 1-20. Eeign of Jeroboam. — Vers. 1-18. Ahijalis 
prophecy against Jeroboam and the, kingdom of Israel. — As 
Jeroboam did not desist from his idolatry notwithstanding the 
threatened punishment, the Lord visited him with the illness 
of his son, and directed the prophet Ahijah, to whom his wife 
had gone to ask counsel concerning the result of the illness, to 
predict to him not only the cutting off of his house and the 
death of his sick son, but also the thrusting away of Israel out 
of the land of its fathers beyond the Euphrates, and in confirma- 
tion of this threat caused the sick son to die when the returnincr 
mother crossed the threshold of her house again. — Vers. 1—3. 
When his son fell sick, Jeroboam said to his wife : Disguise thy- 
self, that thou may est not be known as the wife of Jeroboam, and 
go to Shiloh to the prophet Ahijah, who told me that I should 
be king over this people ; he will tell thee how it will fare with 
the boy. '"is^iitf'«?, from ^\^, to alter one's self, i.e. to disguise one's 
self She was to go to Shiloh disguised, so as not to be recognised, 
to deceive the old prophet, because otherwise Jeroboam did not 
promise himself any favourable answer, as he had contemptuously 
neglected Ahijah's admonition (ch. xi. 38, 39). But he turned 


to this prophet because he had spoken concerning him 'H^p?, to 
be king, i.e. that he would become long, over this people. ^^)y? 
stands for '^?ö nvnp^ with which the infinitive esse can be omitted 
{vid. Ewald, § 336, 6). As this prophecy, which was so favour- 
able to Jeroboam, had come to pass (ch. xi. 29, 30), he hoped 
that he might also obtain from Ahijah a divine revelation con- 
cerning the result of his son's illness, provided that he did not 
know who it was who came to seek coimsel concerning her sick 
son. To complete the deception, she was to take with her as 
a present for the prophet (c£ 1 Sam. ix. 8) " ten loaves and 
crumbs" and a jar with honey, i.e. a trifling gift such as a simple 
citizen's wife might take. According to the early versions and 
the context, a kind of plain cake, KoXKvpßa (LXX.), crustulam 
(Vulg.). It is different in Josh. ix. 5. — Vers. 4, 5. Ahijah could 
no longer see, because his eyes were blinded with age. ^öj? 
VJ''y as in 1 Sam, iv. 15, an expression applied to the black 
cataract, amaurosis. It was therefore all the less possible for him 
to recognise in a natural manner the woman who was coming to 
him. But before her arrival the Lord had not only revealed to 
him her coming and her object, but had also told him what he 
was to say to her if she should disguise herself when she came, 
nni nf3 ; see at Judg. xviii. 4. "i^i nshD ^t\\ " let it be if she 
comes and disguises herself ;" i.e. if when she comes she should 
disguise herself — ^Ver. 6. When Ahijah heard the sound of 
her feet entering the door (the participle nK2, according to the 
number and gender, refers to the ritJ'X implied in v'Y^l, vid. 
Ewald, § 317, c), he addressed her by her name, charged her 
with her disguise of herself, and told her that he was entrusted 
with a hard saying to her. n^'i^ (cf. ch. xii. 13) is equivalent 
to n^i? n^iri; for the construction, compare Ewald, § 284, c. — 
Vers. 7 sqq. The saying was as follows : " Therefore, because 
thou hast exalted thyself from the people, and I have made 
thee prince over my people Israel (cf. ch. xi. 31), . . . but thou 
hast not been as my servant David, who kept my command- 
ments . . . (cf. ch. xi. 34), and hast done worse than all who 
were before thee (judicea nimirum et duces Israelis — Cler.), and 
hast gone and hast made thyself other gods (contrary to tha 
express command in Ex. xx. 2, 3), . . . and hast cast me be- 
hind thy back : therefore I bring misfortune upon the house, of 
Jeroboam," etc. The expression, to cast God behind the back, 
which only occurs here and in Ezek, xxiii. 35, denotes the most 

CHAP. XIV. 1-20. 211 

scornful contempt of God, tlie strict opposite of " keeping God 
before the eyes and in the heart." "i"'i?^ priK'O; every male per- 
son ; see at 1 Sam. xxv. 22. A synonymous expression is "i^^J? 
^^ti'i., the fettered {i.e. probably the married) and the free (or 
single); see at Deut. xxxii. 36. "In Israel," i.e. in the king- 
dom of the ten tribes. The threat is strengthened by the' 
clause in ver. 1 0, " and I will sweep out after the house of 
Jeroboam, as one sweepeth out dung, even to the end," which 
expresses shameful and utter extermination ; and this threat 
is stiU further strengthened in ver. 11 by the threat added 
from Deut. xxviii. 26, that of those cut off not one is to come 
to the grave, but their bodies are to be devoured by the dogs 
and birds of prey, — the worst disgrace that could befall the dead. 
Instead of wild beasts (Deut. xxviii. 26) the dogs are mentioned 
here, because in the East they wander out in the streets without 
owners, and are so wild and ravenous that they even devour 
corpses {vid. Harmar, Beobachtungen, i. p. 198). ^^Tif^ with 
P of relationship, equivalent to of those related to Jeroboam. 
It is the same in ver. 13. — Vers. 12, 13. After this announce- 
ment of the judgment upon the house of Jeroboam, Ahijah 
gave the Avife information concerning her sick son. He would 
die as soon as she entered the city, and of all the male mem- 
bers of the house of Jeroboam he only would receive the honour 
of a proper burial, because in him there was some good thing 
towards Jehovah found. Ewald (§247, 1) regards the form nxii3 
as standing for i^Nba^ and refers the suf&x to the following word 
"i^j;n (vid. Ewald, § 309, c). But as this use of the sufidx would be 
very harsh, the question arises whether nxia is not to be regarded 
as a feminine form of the infinitive, after the analogy of nj?"n in 
Ex. ii. 4 and ^"f?, in 2 Kings xix. 3, etc. * From the fulfihnent 
of this declaration in vers. 17 and 18 Jeroboam was to learn 
that the threatened destruction of his royal house wouM also be 
just as certainly fulfilled. The sick son appears to have been 
the heir-presumptive to the throne. This may be inferred 
partly from the lamentation of all Israel at his death (ver. 18), 
and partly from what follows here in the next verse, nin'j-^s' 
means in his relation to Jehovah. — Ver. 14. "Jehovah wiU 
raise Himself up a king over Israel, who will cut off the 
house of Jeroboam this day ; but what (sc. do I say) ? even 
now," sc. has He raised him up. This appears to be the 
simplest explanation of the last words of the verse, of which 


very various interpretations have been given, HT is placed 
before Qi'n^ to give it the stronger emphasis, as in Ex. xxxii. 1 
(compare Josh. ix. 12, 13, and Ewald, § 293, 5; and for nny Da 
compare Delitzsch on Joh, i. p. 290, transL). — Vers. 15, 16. 
But in order that not only Jeroboam, but also the people who 
had joined in his idolatry, might perceive the severity of the 
divine judgment, Ahijah also announced to the nation its 
banishment into exile beyond the Euphrates. " Jehovah will 
smite Israel, as the reed shakes in the water," is an abbreviated 
phrase for : Jehovah will smite Israel in such a manner that 
it will sway to and fro like a reed in the water moved by a 
strong wind, which has not a sufficiently firm hold to resist 
the violence of the storm. " And will thrust them out of the 
good land," etc., as Moses threatened the transgressors of the 
law (Deut. xxix. 2 7), " and scatter them beyond the river 
(Euphrates)," i.e. banish them among the heathen, from w^hom 
God brought out and chose their forefather (Josh. xxiv. 3), 
" because they have made themselves Ashera-idols, to provoke 
Jehovah." D''']t^'^s is used for idols generally, among which the 
golden calves are reckoned. I^^l, that He may deliver up 
Israel, on account of the idolatrous forms of worship introduced 
by Jeroboam. For the fulfilment see 2 Kings xv. 29, xvii. 23, 
and xviii. 11. — In vers. IV and 18 the exact fulfilment of 
Ahijah's announcement concerning the death of Jeroboam's sick 
son is described. According to ver. 17, Jeroboam was then 
residing at Thirza, whereas he had at first resided at Shechem 
(ch. xii. 25). TJiirza is probably the present Talluza, on the 
north of Shechem (see at Josh. xii. 24). — ^Vers. 19 and 20. 
End of Jeroboam's reign. Of the wars, which were described in 
the annals of the kings (see p. 12), the war with Abijam of 
Judah is the only one of which we have any account (2 Chron. 
xiii. 2 sqq.). See also the Comm. on ver. 30. He was followed 
on the throne by his son Nadab. 

Vers. 21-31. Eeign of Eehoboam in Judah (compare 2 
Chron. xi. 5— xii. 16). — Ver. 21. Eehoboam, who ascended the 
throne at the age of forty-one, was born a year before the 
accession of Solomon (see at ch. ii. 24). In the description of 
Jerusalem as the city chosen by the Lord (cf. ch. xi. 36) there 
is implied not so much an indirect condemnation of the falling 
away of the ten tribes, as the striking contrast to the idolatry 

CHAP. XIV. 21-31. 213 

of Eehoboam referred to in vers. 23 sqq. The name of his 
mother is mentioned (here and in ver. 31), not because she 
seduced the king to idolatry (Ephr. Syr.), but generally on ac- 
count of the great influence which the queen-mother appears to 
have had both upon the king personally and upon his govern- 
ment, as we may infer from the fact that the mother's name is 
given in the case of every king of Judah {vid. ch. xv. 2, 13, 
xxii. 42, etc.). — ^Vers. 22-24. The general characteristics of 
Eehoboam's reign are supplied and more minutely defined in 
the account in the Chronicles. According to 2 Chron. xi. 5- 
xii. 1, he appears to have been brought to reflection by the an- 
nouncement of the prophet, that the falling away of the ten 
tribes had come from the Lord as a punishment for Solomon's 
idolatry (ch. xii. 23, 24; 2 Chron. xi. 2-4); and in the first 
years of his reign to have followed the law of God with 
earnestness, and to have been occupied in the establishment 
of his government partly by the fortification of different cities 
(2 Chron. xi. 5-12), and partly by setting in order his do- 
mestic affairs, placing his numerous sons, who were born of 
his many wives and concubines, in the fortified cities of the 
land, and thus providing for them, and naming Abijam as his 
successor (2 Chron. xi. 18-22); while his kingdom was still 
further strengthened by the priests, Levites, and pious Israelites 
who emigrated to Judah and Jerusalem from the ten tribes 
(2 Chron. xi. 13-17). But this good beginning only lasted 
three years (2 Chron. xi. 1 7). When he thought that he had 
sufficiently fortified his kingdom, he forsook the law of the 
Lord, and all Israel {i.e. all the covenant nation) with him 
(2 Chron. xii. 1). " Judah did that which was displeasing in 
the sight of the Lord ; they provoked Him to jealousy more 
than all that their fathers {sc. under the Judges) had done with 
their sins." ^}J^, to provoke to jealousy (Num. v. 14), is to be 
explained, when it refers to God, from the fact that the relation 
in which God stood to His people was regarded under the 
figure of a marriage, in which Jehovah appears as the husband 
of the nation, who is angry at the unfaithfulness of his wife, 
i.e. at the idolatry of the nation. Compare the remarks on 
N3i? ^x in the Comm. on Ex. xx. 5. — Ver. 23. They also (the 
Judseans as well as the Israelites) built themselves hamoth, 
altars of high places (see at ch. iii. 3), monuments and Ashera- 
idols. rii32»;o are not actual images of gods, but stones set up as 


memorials (Gen. xxxi. 13, xxxv. 20; Ex. xxiv. 4), more espe- 
cially stone monuments set up in commemoration of a divine 
revelation (Gen. xxviii. 18, 22, xxxv. 14). Like the hamoth, 
in connection with which they generally occur, they were 
originally dedicated to Jehovah ; hut even under the law they 
were forbidden, partly as places of divine worship of human 
invention which easily degenerated into idolatry, but chiefly 
because the Canaanites had erected such monuments to Baal by 
the side of his altars (Ex. xxiii. 24, xxxiv. 13 ; Deut. vii. 5, 
etc.), whereby the worship of Jehovah was unconsciously identi- 
fied with the worship of Baal, even when the mazzcbotli were 
not at first erected to the Canaanitish Baal. As the rii32fD of 
the Canaanites were dedicated to Baal, so were the Q''15^'^?. to 
Astarte, the female nature-deity of those tribes. ^"^S^., how- 
ever, does not mean a grove (see the Comm, on Deut. xvi. 21), 
but an idol of the Canaanitish nature-goddess, generally most 
likely a lofty wooden pillar, though sometimes perhaps a straight 
trunk of a tree, the branches and crown of Avhich were lopped 
off, and which was planted upon heights and in other places by 
the side of the altars of Baal. The name nnK't? was transferred 
from the idol to the goddess of nature (ch. xv. 13, xviii. 19 ; 
2 Kings xxi. 7, etc.), and was used of the image or column 
of the Phoenician Astarte (ch. xvi. 33; 2 Kings xiii. 6, xvii. 
16, etc.), just as nil'^'X in Judg. iii. 7 alternates with riiiriK'y 
in Judg. ii. 13. These idols the Israelites (? Judceans — Tr.) 
appear to have also associated with the worship of Jehovah; 
for the external worship of Jehovah was still maintained in the 
temple, and was performed by Ptchoboam himself with princely 
pomp (ver. 28). " On every high hill," etc.; see at Deut. xii. 2. 
— Ver. 2 4. " There were also prostitutes in the land." ^7.iJ is 
used collectively as a generic name, including both male and 
female hierodylpe, and is exchanged for the plural in ch. xv. 1 2. 
The male ^""PlP. had emasculated themselves in religious frenzy 
in honour of the Canaanitish goddess of nature, and were called 
Galli by the Eomans. They were Canaanites, who had found 
their way into the land of Judah' when idolatry gained the 
upper hand (as indicated by D.J]). '"' They appear here as strangers 
among the Israelites, and are those notorious Cinredi more espe- 
cially of the imperial age of Eome who travelled about in all 
directions, begging for the Syrian goddess, and even in the time 
of Auoiustine Avent about asking for alms in the streets of Car- 

CHAP. XIV. 21-31. 215 

thage as a remnant of the Phoenician worship (de civ. Dei, vii. 
26)." — Movers, p. 6 79. On the female niK'np see the Comm. 
on Gen. xxxviii. 21 and Deut. xxiii. 18. 

This sinking into heathen abominations was soon followed 
by the punishment, that Judah was given up to the power of 
the heathen. — Vers. 25—28. King ShishaJc of Egypt invaded 
the land with a powerful army, conquered all the fortified 
cities, penetrated to Jerusalem, and would probably have put 
an end to the kingdom of Judah, if God had not had compas- 
sion upon him, and saved him from destruction, in consequence 
of the humiliation of the king and of the chiefs of the nation, 
caused by the admonition of the prophet Shemaiah, so that 
after the conquest of Jerusalem Shishak contented himself with 
withdrawing, taking with him the treasures of the temple and 
of the royal palace. Compare the fuller account of this expe- 
dition in 2 Chron. xii. 2-9. Shishah (P^''^) was the first king 
of the twenty-second (or Bubastitic) dynasty, called Sesonchis in 
Jul. Afric, SesoncJiosis in Eusebius, and upon the monuments 
on which Champollion first deciphered his name, Sheslionk or 
ShesTunh Shishak has celebrated his expedition against Judah 
by a bas-relief on the outer wall of the pillar-hall erected by 
him in the first palace at Karnak, in which more than 130 
figures are led in cords by Ammon and the goddess Muth with 
their hands bound upon their backs. The lower portion of the 
figures of this long row of prisoners is covered by escutcheons, 
the border of which being provided with battlements, shows 
that the prisoners are symbols of conquered cities. About a 
hundred of these escutcheons are still legible, and in the names 
upon them a large number of the names of cities in the king- 
dom of Judah have been deciphered with tolerable certainty.^ 
Shishak was probably bent chiefly upon the conquest and 

1 Compare Max Duncker, Gesch. des Alterthuins, Bd. i. p. 909, ed. 3, and 
for the different copies of this bas-relief in the more recent works upon 
Egypt, Ruetschi in Herzog's Cycl. (art. Rchohoam). The latest attempts at 
deciphering are those by Brngsch, Geogr. Inschriften in den ägypt. Denk- 
mälern, ii. p. 56 sqq., and 0. Blau, Slsaqs Zug gegen Juda aus dem Denkmale 
hei Karnak erläutert^ in the Deutsch, morgenl. Ztschr. xv. p. 283 sqq. Cham- 
pollion's interpretation of one of these escutcheons, in his Precis du Systeme 
hierogl. p. 204, viz. Juda hammcdek, " the king of Judah," has been rejected 
by Lepsius and Brugsch as philologically inadmissible. Brugsch writes the 
name thus : Judh malk or Joud-hamalok, and identifies Judh with Jehudijeh, 
which Robinson (Pal. iii. p. 45) supposes to be the ancient Jehud (Josh. xix. 45). 


plundering of the cities. But from Jerusalem, beside other 
treasures of the temple and palace, he also carried off the golden 
shields that had been made by Solomon (ch. x. 16), in the 
place of which Kehoboam had copper ones made for his body- 
o-uard. The guard, Q''V"i runners, are still further described as 
■i]?an n"'3 nns Dnobn, " who kept the door of the king's house," 
i.e. supplied the sentinels for the gate of the royal palace. — 
Ver. 28. Whenever the king went into the house of Jehovah, 
the runners carried these shields ; from which we may see that 
the king was accustomed to go to the temple with solemn 
pomp. These shields were not kept in the state-house of the 
forest of Lebanon (ch. x. 17) as the golden shields were, but in 
the guard-chamber (NJ^ ; see at Ezek. xl. 7) of the runners. — 
Vers. 29-31. Further particulars are given in 2 Chron. xi. and 
xii. concerning the rest of the acts of Eehoboam. " There was 
war between Eehoboam and Jeroboam the whole time (of their 
reign)." As nothing is said about any open war between them, 
and the prophet Shemaiah prohibited the attack which Eehoboam 
was about to make upon the tribes who had fallen away (ch. 
xi. 23 sqq.), •^^'j'?^ can only denote the hostile feelings and atti- 
tude of the two rulers towards one another. — Yer. 31. Death 
and hurial of Bchoboam: as in the case of Solomon (ch. xi. 43). 
The name of the queen-motlier has already been given in ver. 
21, and the repetition of it here may be explained on the sup- 
position that in the original sources employed by the author of 
our books it stood in this position. The son and successor of 
Eehoboam upon the throne is called Abijam (°'?^.) in the 
account before us ; whereas in the Chronicles he is always 
called Abijali (n^^x, 2 Chron. xii. 16, xiii. 1, etc., or =in^'ns;, 
2 Chron. xiii. 21). 2*3X, i.e. father of the sea, is unquestion- 
ably the older form of the name, which was reduced to n>3X, 

This Jcluid in the tribe of Dan, Blau (p. 238) therefore also finds in the name ; 
and it will not mislead any one that this city is reckoned as belonging to the 
tribe of Dan, since in the very same chapter (Josh. xix. 42) Ajalon is assigned 
to Dan, though it was nevertheless a fortress of Kehoboam (2 Chron. xi. 10). 
But Blau has not given any explanation of the addition malk or maIol\ 
whereas Gust. Roesch takes it to be Tll?a, and supposes it to mean " Jehud of 

the king, namely, of Rehoboam or of Judah, on accoimt of its being situated 
in Dan, which belonged to the northern kingdom." But this is certainly in- 
correct. For where could the Egyptians have obtained this exact knowledge 
of the relation in which the tribes of the nation of Israel stood to one 
another ? 

CHAP. XV. 1-8. 217 

and then identified with the formation from ""^x and n^=^n^ 
(from nin>). 



Vers. 1-8. Eeign of Abijam (cf. 2 Chron. xiii.). — Abijam 
reigned three years, and his mother's name was Maacah, 
daughter {i.e. grand-daughter) of Absalom. We have the same 
in 2 Chron. xi. 20, 21 ; but in 2 Chron. xiii. 2 she is called 
Michajahu, daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. If Qi^'UN was without 
doubt Absalom, the well-known son of David, as we may infer 
from the fact that this name does not occur again in the Old 
Testament in connection with any other person, since Absalom 
had only one daughter, viz. Tliamar (2 Sam. xiv. 27), who was 
fifty years old when Solomon died, Maacah must have been a 
daughter of this Thamar, who had married Uriel of Gibeah, 
and therefore a grand-daughter of Absalom. This is sustained 
by Josephus (Ant. viii. 10, 1), The form of the name ^•^^^9'''? 
is probably an error in copying for ^^V)?, as the name is also 
written in 2 Chron. xi. 20 and 21, and not a different name, 
which Maacah assumed as queen, as Caspari supposes {Micha, 
p. 3, note 4). — Vers. 3, 4. Abijam walked as king in the foot- 
steps of his father. Although he made presents to the temple 
(ver. 15), his heart was not D/'^, wholly or undividedly given 
to the Lord, like the heart of David (cf. ch. xi. 4) ; but ("'S, after 
a previous negative) for David's sake Jehovah had left him a 
light in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him and to let Jeru- 
salem stand, because (^^!^) David had done right in the eyes of 
God, etc., i.e. so that it was only for David's sake that Jehovah 
did not reject him, and allowed the throne to pass to his 
son. For the fact itself compare ch. xi. 13 and 36 ; and 
for the words, " except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite," 
see 2 Sam. xi. and xii. — Ver. 6. " And there was war between 
Behoboam and Jeroboam all his life ;" i.e. the state of hostility 
which had already existed between Eehoboam and Jeroboam 
continued " all the days of his life," or so long as Abijam lived 
a,nd reigned. If we take V^n '•p.''"''? in this manner (not 
^'T^r T ' "^®^- 1^)' ^^^ statement loses the strangeness which 
it has at first sight, and harmonizes very well with that in 
ver. 7, that there was also war between Abijam and Jeroboam. 


Under Abijam it assumed the form of a serious war, in which 
Jeroboam sustained a great defeat (see 2 Chron. xiii. 3-20). — 
The other notices concerning Abijam in vers. 7 and 8 are the 
same as in the case of Eehoboam in ch. xiv, 29 and 31. 

Vers. 9-24. Eeign of Asa (cf. 2 Chron. xiv.-xvi.). — As Asa 
ascended the throne in the twentieth year of the reign of Jero- 
boam, his father Abijam, who began to reign in the eigiiteenth 
year of Jeroboam (ver. 1), can only have reigned two years and 
a few months, and not three full years. — Ver, 10. Asa reigned 
forty-one years. " The name of his mother was Maacah, the 
daughter of Absalom." This notice, which agrees verbatim with 
ver. 2, cannot mean that Abijam had his own mother for a 
wife ; though Tlienius finds this meaning in the passage, and 
then proceeds to build up conjectures concerning emendations 
of the text. We must rather explain it, as Ephr. Syr., the 
Eabbins, and others have done, as signifying that Maacah, the 
mother of Abijam, continued during Asa's reign to retain the 
post of queen-mother or i^i''??'!', i.e. sultana valide, till Asa de- 
posed her on account of her idolatry (ver. 13), probably because 
Asa's own mother had died at an early age. — Vers. 11 sqq. As 
ruler Asa walked in the ways of his j)ious ancestor David : he 
banished the male prostitutes out of the land, abolished all the 
abominations of idolatry, which his fathers (Abijam and Eeho- 
boam) had introduced, deposed his grandmother Maacah from 
the rank of a queen, because she had made herself an idol for 
the Ashera, and had the idol hewn in pieces and burned in the 
valley of the Kidron. Qv?? is a contemptuous epithet applied 
to idols (Lev, xxvi. 30); it does not mean stercorci, however, as 
the Eabbins af&rm, but logs, from b2\, to roll, or masses of stone, 
after the Chaldee ?/ii (Ezra v. 8, vi. 4), generally connected 
with ^'"'^W- It is so in Deut, xxix. 16. ^^-»^3?, formido, from 
^73, tcrrcre, timere, hence an idol as an object of fear, and not 
imclcndum, a shameful image, as Movers {Plwniz. i. p. 571), 
who follows the Eabbins, explains it, understanding thereby a 
Phallus as a symbol of the generative and fructifying power of 
nature. With regard to the character of this idol, nothing 
further can be determined than that it was of wood, and 
possibly a wooden column like the Q''"lt^'X (see at ch. xiv. 23). 
" But the high places departed not," i.e. were not abolished. 
By the niD2 we are not to understand, according to ver. 12, 

CHAP. XV. 9-24. 219 

altars of high places dedicated to idols, but unlawful altars to 
Jehovah. It is so in the other passages in which this formula 
recurs (ch. xxii. 24; 2 Kings xii. 4, xiv. 4, xv. 4; and the 
parallel passages 2 Chron. xv. 17, xx. 33). The apparent dis- 
crepancy between the last-mentioned passages and 2 Chron. 
xiv. 2, 4, and xvii. 6, may be solved very simply on the sup- 
position that the kings (Asa and Jehoshaphat) did indeed 
abolish the altars on the high places, but did not carry their 
reforms in the nation thoroughly out ; and not by distinguish- 
ing between the hamoth dedicated to Jehovah and those dedi- 
cated to idols, as Thenius, Bertheau, and Caspari, with many 
of the earlier commentators, suppose. For although 2 Chron. 
xiv. 2 is very favourable to this solution, since both niD2 
and "i^an ninatp are mentioned there, it does not accord with 
2 Chron. xvii. 6, where riioan cannot be merely idolatrous altars 
dedicated to the Canaanitish Baal, but unquestionably refer to 
the unlawful altars of Jehovah, or at any rate include them. 
Moreover, the next clause in the passage before us, " neverthe- 
less Asa's heart was wholly given to the Lord," shows that the 
expression ^ID iib does not mean that the king allowed the un- 
lawful J eliOYsh-hamoth to remain, but simply that, notwith- 
standing his fidelity to Jehovah, the hamoth did not depart, so 
that he was unable to carry the abolition of them thoroughly 
out. — Ver. 15. He brought the sacred offerings of his father 
and his own sacred offerings into the house of Jehovah ; pro- 
bably the booty, in silver, gold, and vessels, which his father 
Abijam had gathered in the war with Jeroboam (2 Chron. 
xiii. 16, 17), and he himself on the conquest of the Cushites 
(2 Chron. xiv. 12, 13). The Keri "'??'1i^"! is a bad emendation 
of the correct reading in the Chethib '1K'^P, i.e. V^np (lY'^p) ; 
for nin'' n''Zi is an accusative, and is to be connected with 
X3*\ — Vers. 16, 17. The state of hostility between Judah and 
Israel continued during the reign of Asa ; and Baasha the king 
of Israel advanced, etc. These statements are completed and 
elucidated by the Chronicles. After the great victory obtained 
by Abijam over Jeroboam, the kingdom of Judah enjoyed rest 
for ten years (2 Chron. xiii. 23). Asa employed this time in 
exterminating idolatry, fortifying different cities, and equipping 
his army (2 Chron. xiv. 1-7). Then the Cushite Zerali invaded 
the land of Judah with an innumerable army (in the eleventh 
year of Asa), but was totally defeated by the help of the Lord 


(2 Chron. xiv. 8-14) ; whereupon Asa, encouraged by the 
prophet Azariah, the son of Oded, proceeded with fresh zeal to 
the extermination of such traces of idolatry as still remained in 
the kingdom, then renewed the altar of burnt-offering in front 
of the temple-hall, and in the fifteenth year of his reign held, 
with the whole nation, a great festival of thanksgiving and 
rejoicing to the Lord at Jerusalem (2 Chron. xv. 1-15). The 
next year, the sixteenth of his reign and the thirty-sixth from 
the division of the kingdom (2 Chron. xvi. 1), Baasha com- 
menced hostilities, by advancing against Judah, taking pos- 
session of Bamali, the present er Earn (see at Josh, xviii. 25), 
which was only two hours and a quarter from Jerusalem, and 
fortifying it. The occupation of Eamah is not expressly men- 
tioned indeed, but it is implied in Tn\r\\ py py^i^ which affirms 
the hostile invasion of Judah. Eor Eamah, from its very situa- 
tion in the heart of the tribe of Benjamin and the immediate 
neighbourhood of Jerusalem, can neither have been a border 
city nor have belonged to the kingdom of Israel. The inten- 
tion of Baasha, therefore, in fortifying Eamah cannot have been 
merely to restrain his own subjects from passing over into the 
kingdom of Judah, but was evidently to cut off from the king- 
dom of Judah all free communication with the north. ""^P?^ 
'131 nn^ " that they might not give one going out or one coming 
in to Asa ;" i.e. to cut off from the others all connection with 
Asa, and at the same time to cut off from those with Asa all 
connection with this side. The main road from Jerusalem to 
the north passed by Eamah, so that by shutting up this road 
the line of communication of the kingdom of Judah was of 
necessity greatly disturbed. Moreover, the fortification of 
Eamah by Baasha presupposes the reconquest of the cities 
which Abijam had taken from the kingdom of Israel (2 Chron. 
xiii. 19), and which, according to 2 Chron. xiii. 19, were still in 
the possession of Asa. — Vers. 18, 19. In order to avert the 
danger with which his kingdom was threatened, Asa endea- 
voured to induce the Syrian king, Benhadad of Damascus, to 
break the treaty which he had concluded with Baasha and to 
become his ally, by sending him such treasures as were left in 
the temple and palace.^ Dnnisn niay be explained from the 

^ Asa had sought help from the Lord and obtained it, when the powerful 
army of the Cushites invaded the land ; but when an invasion of the Israel- 
ites took place, he sought help from the Syrians. This alteration in his con- 

CHAP. XV. 9-24, 221 

fact that the temple and palace treasures had been plundered 
by Shishak in the reign of Rehoboam (ch. xiv. 26) ; and there- 
fore what Asa had replaced in the temple treasury (ver. 15), 
and had collected together for his palace, was only a remnant 
in comparison with the former state of these treasures. The 
name TuuTi?, i-C- son of Hadacl, the sun-god (according to 
Macrobius, i. 23 ; cf. Movers, PJiöniz. i. p. 196), was borne by 
three kings of Damascus : the one here named, his son in the 
time of Ahab (ch. xx. 1, 34), and the son of Hazael (2 Kings 
xiii. 24). The first was a son of Tahrinmion and grandson of 
Rczyon. According to ver. 19, his father Tahrimmon (good is 
Rimmon ; see at 2 Kings v. 1 8) had also been king, and was 
the contemporary of Abijam. But that his grandfather Hczyon 
was also king, and the same person as the Eczon mentioned in 
ch. xi. 23, cannot be shown to be even probable, since there is 
no ground for the assumption that Hezyon also bore the name 
Rezon, and is called by the latter name here and by the former 
in ch. xi. 23. — Ver. 20. Benhadad consented to Asa's request, 
and directed his captains to advance into the kingdom of Israel: 
they took several cities in the north of the land, whereby 
Baasha was compelled to give up fortifying Eamah and with- 
draw to Thirza. Ijon (i^'V) is to be sought for in all probability 
in Tell Dibhin, on the eastern border of Mcrj Äyun ; and in 
Ajun, although Ajun is written with Aleph, the name Ijon is 
probably preserved, since the situation of this Tell seems 
thoroughly adapted for a fortress on the northern border of 
Israel {vid. Ptobinson, Bill. Bcs. p. 375, and Van de Velde, Mem. 
p. 322). Dan is the present Tell el Kadi ; see at Josh. xix. 47. 
Ahel-Beth-Maacliah, the present AUl el Kamh, to the north-west 
of Lake Huleh (see at 2 Sam. xx. 1 4). " All Cliinneroth " is 
the district of Chinnereth, the tract of land on the western shore 
of the Lake of Gennesareth (see at Josh. xix. 3 5). 'J P.^"-'? "^V, 
together with all the land of N"aphtali (for this meaning of ?J^ 
compare the Comm. on Gen. xxxii. 12). The cities named were 

duct may probably be explained in part from the fact, that notwithstanding 
the victory, his army had been considerably weakened by the battle which 
he fought with the Cushites (2 Chron. xiv. 9), although this by no means 
justified his want of confidence in the power of the Lord, and still less his 
harsh and unjust treatment of the prophet Hanani, whom he caused to be 
put in the house of the stocks on account of his condemnation of the con- 
fidence which he placed in the Syrians instead of Jehovah (2 Chron. xvi. 


the principal fortresses of tlie land of Naplitali^ with which the 
whole of the country round was also smitten, i.e. laid waste. — 
Ver. 21. "^^JX and remained at Thirza, his place of residence 
(see at ch. xiv. 17). — Ver. 22. Asa thereupon summoned all 
Judah ''i?3 T^, nemine immuni, i.e. excepto, no one being free (cf 
Ewald, § 286, a), and had the stones and the wood carried 
away from Ramah, and Geha and Miz'pah in Benjamin built, i.e. 
fortified, with them. Gela must not be confounded with Gibeah 
of Benjamin or Saul, but is the present Jela, three-quarters of 
an hour to the north-east of Eamah (see at Josh, xyiii. 24). 
Mizjpali, the present Nehi Samivil, about three-quarters of a geo- 
graphical mile to the south-west of Eamah (see at Josh, xviii. 
26). — ^Vers. 23, 24. Of the other acts of Asa, the building 
of cities refers to the building of fortifications mentioned in 
2 Chron. xiv. 5, 6. The disease in his feet in the time of 
his old age commenced, according to 2 Chron. xvi. 12, in the 
thirty-ninth year of his reign ; and he sought help from the 
physicians, but not from the Lord ; from which we may see, 
that the longer he lived the more he turned his heart away from 
the Lord (compare 2 Chron. xvi. 10). 


Vers. 25-32. The Eeign of Nadab lasted not quite two 
years, as he ascended the throne in the second year of Asa, and 
was slain in his third year. — ^Ver. 6. He walked in the ways of 
his father (Jeroboam) and in his sin, i.e. in the calf- worship intro- 
duced by Jeroboam (ch. xii. 28). When Nadab in the second 
year of his reign besieged Gibbethon, which the Philistines had 
occupied, Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house, i.e. the family 
or tribe, of Issachar, conspired against him and slew him, and 
after he became king exterminated the whole house of Jero- 
boam, without leaving a single soul, whereby the prediction of 
the prophet Ahijah (ch. xiv. 10 sqq.) was fulfilled. GihbctJwn, 
which was allotted to the Danites (Josh. xix. 44), has not yet 
been discovered. It probably stood close to the Philistian 
border, and was taken by the Philistines, from whom the Israel- 
ites attempted to wrest it by siege under both Nadab and 
Baasha (ch. xvi. 16), though apparently without success, ii? 
no^j-^3 "^^^^'1 as in Josh. xi. 14 (see the Comm. on Deut. xx. 

CHAP. XV. SC-XVI. 7. 223 

16). — Ver. 32 is simply a repetition of ver. 16 ; and the re- 
mark concerning Baasha's attitude towards Asa of Judah im- 
mediately after his entrance upon the government precedes the 
account of his reign, for the purpose of indicating at the very 
outset, that the overthrow of the dynasty of Jeroboam and the 
rise of a new dynasty did not alter the hostile relation between 
the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. 

Ver. 33-ch. xvi. 7. The Eeign of Baasha. is described very 
briefly according to its duration (two years) and its spirit, 
namely, the attitude of Baasha towards the Lord (ver. 34) ; 
there then follow in ch. xvi. 1—4 the words of the prophet 
Jehu, the son of Hanani (2 Chron. xvi. 7), concerning the ex- 
termination of the family of Baasha ; and lastly, in vers. 5-7, 
his death is related with the standing allusion to the annals of 
the kings. The words of Jehu concerning Baasha (ch. xvi. 
1-4) coincide exactly mutatis mutandis with the words of 
Ahijah concerning Jeroboam.-^ The expression " exalted thee 
out of the dust," instead of " from among the people" (ch. xiv. 
7), leads to the corjecture that Baasha had risen to be king 
from a very low position. STTKil (his might) in ver. 5 refers, as 
in the case of Asa (ch, xv. 23), less to brave warlike deeds, 
than generally to the manifestation of strength and energy in 
his government. — Ver. 7 adds a supplementary remark concern- 
ing the words of Jehu (vers. 2 sqq.), not to preclude an excuse 
that might be made, in which case DJ1 would have to be taken 
in the sense of nevertheless, or notwithstanding (Ewald, S 354, a), 
but to guard against a misinterpretation by adding a new fea- 
ture, or rather to preclude an erroneous inference that might be 
drawn from the words, " I (Jehovah) have made thee prince " 

^ "There was something very strange in the perversity and stohdity of the 
kings of Israel, that when they saw that the families of preceding kings were 
evidently overthrown by the command of God on account of the worship of 
the calves, and they themselves had overturned them, they nevertheless 
worshipped the same calves, and placed them before the people for them to 
worship, that they might not return to the temple and to Asa, king of Jeru- 
salem ; though prophets denounced it and threatened their destruction. 
Truly the devil and the ambition of reigning blinded them and deprived them 
of their senses. Hence it came to pass, through the just judgment of God, 
that they all were executioners of one another in turn : Baasha was the 
executioner of the sons of Jeroboam ; Zambri was the executioner of the 
sons of Baasha ; and the executioner of Zambri was Omri." — C. a Lapide. 


(ver. 2), as though Baasha had exterminated Nadab and his 
house by divine command (Thenius). Di"i simply means " and 
also" and is not to be connected specially with Xin^ i;;3, but to 
be taken as belonging to the whole sentence : " also the word of 
Jehovah had come to Baasha through Jehu, . , . not only because 
of the evil, etc., but also QV\ . . . ?V]) because he had slain him 
(Jeroboam)." With regard to this last reason, we mvist call to 
mind the remark made at ch. xi. 39, viz. that the prediction of 
the prophet to Baasha gave him no right to put himself forward 
arbitrarily as the fulfiUer of the prophecy. The very fact that 
Baasha continued Jeroboam's sin and caused the illegal worship 
to be perpetuated, showed clearly enough that in exterminating 
the family of Jeroboam he did not act under divine direction, 
but simply pursued his own selfish ends. 

Vers. 8-14. The Eeign of Elah. — As Baasha reigned frora 
the third to the twenty-sixth year of Asa, i.e. not quite twenty- 
four years, but only twenty-three years and a few months, so his 
son Elah reigned from the twenty-sixth to the twenty-seventh year 
of Asa, i.e. not quite two years. — Vers. 9, 10. Zimri, the com- 
mander of the half of his war-chariots, conspired against him, 
and not only slew him, when he was intoxicated (list?' nnt*') at a 
drinking bout in the house of Arza, the prefect of his palace, 
but after ascending the throne exterminated the whole family of 
Baasha to the very last man. The prefect of the palace was no 
doubt a party to the conspiracy, and had probably arranged the 
drinking bout in his house for the purpose of carrying it out. 
" He did not leave him yp.} PJ^f o (see at ch. xiv. 1 0), either his 
avengers (1/^3, blood-relations, who might have avenged his 
death) or his friends." These words simply serve to explain 
y\>2 pnti'O, and show that this phrase is to be understood as 
relating to males only. — Vers. 12, 13. " According to the word 
of the Lord ;" see at vers. 1 sqq. nist3n-^3 h^^ with regard to 
all, i.e. on account of all the sins (compare ver. 7, where ^V 
is used). Dn^nnn, through their notliingnesses, i.e. their idols, 
by which the golden calves are meant. 

Vers. 15-22. The PcEIGN of Zimei lasted only seven days. 
As soon as the people of war (pVT\), who were besieging Gib- 
bethon (see at ch. xv. 27), heard of his conspiracy, his usurpa- 
tion of the throne, and his murderous deeds, they proclaimed 

CHAP. XVr. 23-28, 225 

Omri king in the camp of the military commanders, and he at 
once, with all Israel, i.e. all the army, raised the siege of Gib- 
bethon, to lay siege to Thirza. Now when Zimri saw that the 
city was taken, he went into the castle of the royal palace and 
burned the king's house over his own head, as Sardanapalus did, 
according to Justin {Hist. i. 3). |iö"is does not mean harem 
(Ewald), but the high castle (from Q"l^, to be high) ; here and 
in 2 Kings xv. 25, the citadel of the royal palace, which con- 
sisted of several buildings. — Ver. 19 is connected with rib'i 
in ver. 18: "and so died for his sins," i.e. as a punishment 
for them. — Vers. 21, 22. But Omri did not come into pos- 
session of an undisputed sovereignty immediately upon the 
death of Zimri. The nation divided itself into two halves ; one 
half was behind Tihii, the son of Ginath {i.e. declared in favour 
of Tibni), to make him king, the other adhered to Omri. Never- 
theless Omri's gained the upper hand over the party of Tibni, 
and the latter died, whereupon Omri became king after four 
years, as we may see from a comparison of vers. 15, 16 with 
ver. 23. The ''people of Israel" (ver. 21) are probably the 
lighting people, so that the succession to the throne was decided 
by the military, "'"inx n^n as in 2 Sam. ii. 10. p\^, with an 
accusative instead of with ^V, in the sense of to overpower, as in 
Jer. XX. 7. According to Josephus {Ant. viii. 12, 5), Tibni was 
slain by his opponent ; but this is not contained in the words ; 
on the contrary, all that is implied in the connection of nbM 
with 'IJI ptn'l is that he met with his death in the decisive en- 
gagement in which the opposing party triumphed. 

Vers. 23-28. The Eeign of Omei. — Ver. 23. Omri reigned 
twelve years, i.e., if we compare vers. 15 and 23 with ver. 29, 
reckoning from his rebellion against Zimri ; so that he only 
possessed the sole government for eight years (or, more exactly, 
seven years and a few months), viz. from the 31st to the 38th 
years of Asa, and the conflict with Tibni for the possession 
of the throne lasted about four years. " At Thirza he reigned 
six years," i.e. during the four years of the conflict with Tibni, 
and after his death two years more. — Ver. 24. As soon as he 
had obtained undisputed possession of the throne, he purchased 
the hill Shomron (Samaria) from Shemer {Semer) for two talents of 
silver, about 5200 thalers (£780 — Tr.), built houses upon it, 
and named the town which he built after the former owner of 



the hill liip't^', rendered by the LXX. l!e/u.7]pcov here, but every- 
where else ^afxdpeia (Samaria), after the Chaldee form P.P^ 
(Ezra iv. 10, 17). This city he made his seat {Residenz, place 
of residence, or capital), in which he resided for the last six years 
of his reign, and where he was buried after his death (ver. 28). 
Samaria continued to be the capital of the kingdom of the ten 
tribes from that time forward, and the residence of all succeed- 
ing kings of Israel until the destruction of this Idngdom after 
its conquest by Salmanasar (2 Kings xviii. 9, 10). The city 
was two hours and a half to the north-west of Sichem, upon a 
mountain or hill in a mountain-hollow {Bergkessel, lit. moun- 
tain-caldron) or basin of about two hours in diameter, sur- 
rounded on all sides by still higher mountains. " The mountains 
and valleys round about are still for the most part arable, and 
are alive with numerous villages and diligent cultivation." The 
mountain itself upon which Samaria stood is still cultivated to 
the very top, and about the middle of the slope is surrounded 
by a narrow terrace of level ground resembling a girdle. And 
even higher up there are marks of smaller terraces, where streets 
of the ancient city may possibly have run. After the captivity 
Samaria was retaken and demolished by John Hyrcanus, and 
lay in ruins till Gabinius the Eoman governor rebuilt it (Joseph. 
Ant. xiii. 19, 2, 3, and xiv. 5, 3). Herod the Great afterwards 
decorated it in a marvellous manner, built a temple there to the 
emperor Augustus, and named the city after him "Zeßaarrj, i.e. 
Augusta, from which arose the present name Sehuste or Scbustieh, 
borne by a village which is still standing on the ancient site : 
" a pitiable hamlet consisting of a few squalid houses, inhabited 
by a band of plunderers, notorious as thieves even among their 
lawless fellow-countrymen" (V. de Velde, i. p. 378). — But by 
the side of this there are magnificent ruins of an ancient Johan- 
nite church, with the reputed grave of John the Baptist and 
remains of limestone columns at the foot of the mountain (cf. 
Eobinson, Pal. iii. p. 136 sqq. ; Van de Velde, Sijria and Pal. 
i. p. 374 sqq. ; and C. v. Eaumer, Pal. pp. 159, 160). — Vers. 
25, 26. Omri also walked in the ways of Jeroboam, and acted 
worse than his predecessors upon the throne. — For vers. 26 and 
27, compare vers. 13 and 14. 

chap. xvi. 29, etc. 227 

2. Feom Ahab's Ascent of the Throne to the Death of 
JoEAM of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah. 

Chap. xvi. 29-2 Kings x. 27. 

In this epoch, which embraces only thirty-four years, the 
history of the kings of Judah falls so far into the background 
behind the history of the kingdom of Israel, that it seems to 
form merely an appendix to it ; and the history of the monarchy 
is so controlled by the description of the labours of the prophets, 
that it seems to be entirely absorbed in them. These pheno- 
mena have their foundation in the development of the two Idng- 
doms during this period. Through the alliance and affinity of 
Jehoshaphat with the idolatrous Ahab, the kingdom of Judah 
not only lost the greatest part of the blessing which the long 
and righteous reign of this pious king had brought, but it became 
so entangled in the political and religious confusion of the king- 
dom of Israel in consequence of the participation of Jehosha- 
phat in the wars between Israel and the Syrians, and other foes, 
and the inclination of Joram and Ahaziah to the worship of 
Baal, -that its further development during this period was almost 
entirely dependent upon the history of Israel. In the latter 
kingdom the prophets maintained a fierce confhct with the ido- 
latry introduced by Ahab and Jezebel, in which the worship of 
Baal did indeed eventually succumb, but the pure lawful wor- 
ship of Jehovah did not attain to full supremacy, so that this 
great spiritual conflict was no more followed by a permanent 
blessing to the kingdom as such, than the single victories of 
Ahab and Joram over the Syrians by outward peace and rest 
from its oppressors. To guard against the spreading apostasy 
of the people from the living God through the exaltation of the 
worship of Baal into the ruling national religion in Israel, the 
Lord raised up the most powerful of all the prophets, Elijah 
the Tishbite, with his fiery zeal, who worked so mightily upon 
the formation of the spiritual life of the covenant nation and 
the fate of the kingdom, not only in his own person in the 
reigns of Ahab and Ahaziah (ch. xvii.-2 Kings ii.), but indi- 
rectly in the person of his successor Elisha under Joram (2 Kings 
iii.-ix.), and also under the succeeding kings of Israel, that the 
labours of these prophets and their disciples form the central 
and culminating point of the Old Testament kingdom of God 
during the period in question. 



The ascent of the throne of Israel by Ahab (ver. 29) formed 
a turning-point for the worse, though, as a comparison of ver. 
30 with ver. 25 clearly shows, the way had already been pre- 
pared by his father Omri. — Vers. 30, 31. Whereas the former 
kings of Israel had only perpetuated the sin of Jeroboam, i.e. the 
calf-worship, or worship of Jehovah under the image of an ox, 
which he had introduced, Ahab was not satisfied with this. 
^ inap 'Pip.Jn ''n^i^ " it came to pass, was it too little ?" i.e. because 
it was too little (cf. Ewald, § 362, a) to walk in the sins of 
Jeroboam, that he took as his wife Jezebel, the daughter of 
Ethbaal the kinii of the Sidonians, and served Baal, and wor- 
shipped him. "^^X before *12I^!5, " he went and served," is a pic- 
torial description of what took place, to give greater prominence 
to the new turn of affairs, ^'i'^n? {i-c with Baal) is the EWcoßaXo^ 
(7yn inx or ^I66ßa\o^ : Jos. Ant. viii. 13, 1) mentioned by Menan- 
der in Josephus, c. Ap. i. 1 8, who was king of Tyre and Sidon, and 
priest of Astarte, and who usurped the throne after the murder 
of his brother, king Pheles, and reigned thirty-two years. Jeze- 
bel (^?r^, improbably without cohabitation, cf. Gen. xxx. 20,= 
untouched, chaste ; not a contraction of ''^.r-?^» ^'^ Ewald, ^ 273, Z/, 
supposes) was therefore, as tyrant and murderess of the prophets, 
a worthy daughter of her father, the idolatrous priest and regicide. 
Baal (always ^7^'^ with the article, the Baal, i.e. Lord Kar i^o'^yjv) 
was the principal male deity of the Phoenicians and Canaanites, 
and generally of the western Asiatics, called by the Babylonians 
73 = Sys (Isa. xlvi. 1), BijjXo'i, and as the sun-god was worshipped 
as the supporter and first principle of psychical life and of the 
generative and reproductive power of nature (see at Judg. ii. 13). 
Ahab erected an altar to this deity pV2^ JT'a, in the house (temple) 
of Baal, which he had built at Samaria. The worship of Baal 
had its principal seat in Tyre, where Hiram, the contemporary of 
David and Solomon, had built for it a splendid temple and placed 
a golden pillar (■)(pvaovv Kiova) therein, according to Dius and 
Menander, in Joseph. Ant. viii. 5, 3, and c. A2J. i. 18. Ahab also 
erected a similar pillar ('">?■??) to Baal in his temple at Samaria 
(^cid. 2 Kings iii. 2, x. 27). For statues or images of Baal are 
not met with in the earlier times ; and the Q v^l are not statues 
of Baal, but different modifications of that deity. It was only in 
the later temple of Baal or Hercules at Tyre that there was, as 

CHAP. XVI. 29-34. 229 

Cicero observes (Vcrr. iv. 43), ex cere simulacrum ipsius HercuUs, 
quo non facile quidquam dixcrivi mc vidissc 2^ulcrius. — Ver. 33. 
" And Ahab made '"'7^'^!^}"^^; ^-c- the Asherali belonging to the 
temple of Baal" (see at Judg. vi. 25 and Ex. xxxiv, 13), an idol 
of Astarte (see at ch. xiv. 23). — Ver. 34. In his time Hiiil the 
Bethelite C^xn n^3 ; compare Ges. § HI, 1 with § 86, 2. 5) built 
Jericho : " he laid the foundation of it with Abiram his first- 
born, and set up its gates with Segub his youngest, according to 
the word of Jehovah," etc. (for the explanation see the Comm. on. 
Josh. vi. 26). The restoration of this city as a fortification, upon 
which Joshua had pronounced the curse, is mentioned as a proof 
how far ungodliness had progressed in Israel ; whilst the fulfil- 
ment of the curse upon the builder shows how the Lord will not 
allow the word of His servants to be transgressed with impunity, 
Jericho, on the border of the tribe of Ephraim (Josh. xvi. 7), 
which was allotted to the Benjaminites (Josh, xviii. 21), had come 
into the possession of the kingdom of Israel on the falling away 
of the ten tribes from the royal house of David, and formed a 
border city of that kingdom, through the fortification of which 
Ahab hoped to secure to himself the passage across the Jordan. 

The proplicts Elijah and Elisha. 

When Ahab, who was not satisfied with the sin of Jeroboam, 
had introduced the worship of Baal as the national religion in 
the kingdom of the ten tribes, and had not only built a temple 
to Baal in his capital and place of residence, but had also 
appointed a very numerous priesthood to maintain the worship 
(see ch. xviii. 19); and when his godless wife Jezebel was perse- 
cuting the prophets of Jehovah, for the purpose of exterminat- 
ing the worship of the true God : the Lord God raised up the 
most powerful of all the prophets, namely Elijah the Tishbite, 
who by his deeds attested his name ^'"i*r^ or n'px^ ^.c. whose God 
is Jehovah. For however many prophets of Jehovah arose in 
the kingdom of the ten tribes from its very commencement and 
bore witness against the sin of Jeroboam in the power of the 
Spirit of God, and threatened the kings with the extermination 
of their house on account of this sin, no other prophet, either 
before or afterwards, strove and worked in the idolatrous king- 
dom for the honour of the Lord of Sabaoth with anything like 
the same mighty power of God as the prophet Elijah. And 
there was no other prophet whom the Lord so gloriously acknow- 


leclged by signs and wonders as Elijah, although He fulfilled the 
words of all His servants by executing the judgments with 
which they had threatened the rebellious, and whenever it was 
necessary accredited them as His messengers by miraculous signs. 
— Although, in accordance with the plan of our books, which was 
to depict the leading features in the historical development of 
the kingdom, all that is related in detail of the life and labours 
of Elijah is the miracles which he performed in his conflict with 
the worshippers of Baal, and the miraculous display of the omni- 
potence and grace of God which he experienced therein ; yet 
we may see very clearly that these formed but one side of his 
prophetic labours from the passing notices of the schools of the 
prophets, which he visited once more before his departure from 
the earth (2 Kings ii.) ; from which it is obvious that this other 
side of his ministry, which was more hidden from the world, 
was not less important than his public ministry before the Idngs 
and magnates of the land. For these societies of " sons of the 
prophets," which we meet with at Gilgal, Bethel, and Jericho 
(2 Kings ii. 3, 5, iv. 38), had no doubt been called into exist- 
ence by Elijah, by associating together those whose souls were 
fitted to receive the Spirit of God for mutual improvement in the 
knowledge and fear of Jehovah, in order to raise up witnesses to 
the truth and combatants for the cause of the Lord, and through 
these societies to provide the godly, who would not bow the loiee 
before Baal, with some compensation for the loss of the Levitical 
priesthood and the want of the temple-worship. Compare the 
remarks on the schools of the prophets at 1 Sam. xix. 24. — The 
more mightuy idolatry raised its head in the kingdom of Israel, 
the more powerfully did the Lord show to His people that He, 
Jehovah, and not Baal, was God and Lord in Israel. In the 
prophet Elijah there were combined in a marvellous manner a 
life of solitude spent in secret and contemplative intercourse with 
God, and an extraordinary power for action, which would suddenly 
burst forth, and by which he acted as a personal representative 
of God (see at ch. xvii. 1). In his person the spirit of Moses 
revived ; he was the restorer of the kingdom of God in Israel, of 
which Moses was the founder. His life recalls that of Moses in 
many of its features : namely, his flight into the desert, the ap- 
pearance of the Lord to him at Horeb, and the marvellous ter- 
mination of his life. Moses and Elijah are the Coryphaei of the 
Old Testament, in whose life and labours the nature and glory 

CHAP. XVII. 231 

of this covenant are reflected. As the thnnder and lightning 
and the blast of trumpets and the smoking mountain bare witness 
to the devouring fire of the holiness of the God who had come 
down upon Sinai to give effect to the promises He had made to 
the fathers, and to make the children of Israel the people of His 
possession ; so does the fiery zeal of the law come out so power- 
fully in Moses and Elijah, that their words strike the ungodly 
like lightning and flames of fire, to avenge the honour of the 
Lord of Sabaoth and maintain His covenant of grace in Israel. 
Moses as lawgiver, and Elijah as prophet, are, as Ziegler has well 
said (p. 206), the two historical anticipations of those two future 
witnesses, which are " the two olive-trees and two torches stand- 
ing before the God of the earth. And if any one will hurt them, 
fire proceedeth out of their mouth and devoureth their enemies ; 
and if any man will hurt them, he must therefore be slain. These 
have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their 
prophecy, and have power over waters to turn them into blood, 
and to smite the earth with all kinds of plagues, as often as they 
will " (Eev. xi. 4 sqq.). Elijah was called to this office of witness 
to turn the heart of the fathers to the sons, and of the sons to 
their fathers (Mai. iii. 24), so that in his ministry the prophecy 
of the future of the kingdom of God falls quite into the back- 
ground. Nevertheless he was not only a forerunner but also a 
type of the Prophet promised by Moses, who was to fulfil both 
law and prophets (Matt. v. 1 7) ; and therefore he appeared as the 
representative of prophecy, along with Moses the representative 
of the law, upon the mount of the Transfiguration, to talk with 
Christ of the decease which He was to accomplish at Jerusalem 
(Luke ix. 31 ; Matt. xvii. 3). — To continue his work, Elijah, by 
command of God, called Elishct the son of Shaphat, of Abel- 
Meholah, who during the whole of his prophetic course carried 
on with power the restoration of the law in the kingdom of Israel, 
which his master had begun, by conducting schools of the pro- 
phets and acting as the counsellor of kings, and proved himself 
by many signs and wonders to be the heir of a double portion of 
the gifts of Elijah. 

Modern theology, which has its roots in naturalism, has 
taken offence at the many miracles occurring in the history of 
these two prophets, but it has overlooked the fact that these 
miracles were regulated by the extraordinary circumstances 
under which Elijah and Elisha worked. At a time when the 




sovereignty of the living God in Israel was not only called in 
question, but was to be destroyed by the worship of Baal, it was 
necessary that Jehovah as the covenant God should interpose 
in a supernatural manner, and declare His eternal Godhead 
in extraordinary miracles. In the kingdom of the ten tribes 
there were no priestly or Levitical duties performed, nor was 
there the regular worship of God in a temple sanctified by. 
Jehovah Himself; whilst the whole order of life prescribed in 
the law was undermined by unrighteousness and ungodliness. 
But with all this, the kingdom was not yet ripe for the judg- 
ment of rejection, because there were still seven thousand in 
the land who had not bowed their knee before Baal. For the 
sake of these righteous men, the Lord had still patience with 
the sinful kingdom, and sent it prophets to call the rebellious 
to repentance. If, then, under the circumstances mentioned, 
the prophets were to fulfil the purpose of their mission and 
carry on the conflict against the priests of Baal with success, 
they needed a much greater support on the part of God, through 
the medium of miracles, than the prophets in the kingdom of 
Judah, who had powerful and venerable supports in the Levi- 
tical priesthood and the lawful worship.-^ It is only when we 
overlook the object of these miracles, therefore, that they can 
possibly appear strange. " If," as Kurtz has said,^ " we take 
the history of our prophet as one living organic link in the 
whole of the grand chain of the marvellous works of God, which 
stretches from Sinai to Golgotha and the Mount of Olives, and 
bear in mind the peculiarity of the position and circumstances 
of Elijah, the occurrence of a miracle in itself, and even the 
accumulation of them and their supposed externality, will 

1 " Where the temple was wanting, and image-worship took its place, and 
the priesthood was an unlawful caste, it was only by extraordinary methods 
that the spreading evil could be met. The illegitimacy, Avhich was represented 
here by the monarchy and priesthood, was opposed by the prophetic order as 
the representative of the law, and therefore also as a peculiarly constituted 
and strong body divided up into societies of considerable scope, and having 
a firm organization. And this prophetic order, as the only accredited repre- 
sentative of the law, also took the place of the law, and was therefore en- 
dowed with the power and majesty of the law which had been manifested in 
wonders and signs. Not only was the spirit of Moses inherited by Elijah and 
others, but his miraculous power also." — Haevernick, Einl. in d. A. Test. ii. 1, 
pp. 16G, 167. Compare Hengstenberg, Dissertation, vol. i. p. 186 sqq. 

2 Herzog's Cychpsßdia, Art. Elijah. 

CHAP. XVII. 233 

appear to us in a very different light. — "Without miracle, with- 
out very striking, i.e. external miracles, their ministry would 
have been without basis, without a starting-point, and without 
hold." — The miracles are still more numerous in the history of 
Elisha, and to some extent bear such a resemblance to those of 
Elijah, that the attempt has been made to set them down as 
merely legendary imitations of the latter ; but considered as a 
whole, they are more of a helpful and healing nature, whereas 
those of Elijah are for the most part manifestations of judicial 
and punitive wrath. The agreement and the difference may 
both be explained from Elisha's position in relation to Elijah 
and his time. By the performance of similar and equal 
miracles (such as the division of the Jordan, 2 Kings ii. 8 and 
14 ; the increase of the oil, 2 Kings iv. 3 sqq. compared with 
1 Kings xvii. 14 sqq.; the raising of the dead, 2 Kings iv. 34 
sqq. compared with 1 Kings xvii. 19 sqq.) Elisha proved him- 
self to be the divinely-appointed successor of Elijah, who was 
carrying forward his master's work (just as Joshua by the 
drying up of the Jordan proved himself to be the continuer of 
the work of Moses), and as such performed more miracles, so 
far as number is concerned, than even his master had done, 
though he was far inferior to him in spiritual power. But 
the difference does not prevail throughout. For whilst the 
helpful and healing side of Elijah's miraculous power is dis- 
played in his relation to the widow at Zarephath ; the judicial 
and punitive side of that of Elisha comes out in the case of the 
mocking boys at Bethel, of Gehazi, and of Joram's knight. But 
the predominance of strict judicial sternness in the case of Elijah, 
and of sparing and helpful mildness in that of Elisha, is to be 
accounted for not so much from any difference in the personality 
of the two, as from the altered circumstances. Elijah, with his 
fiery zeal, had broken the power of the Baal- worship, and had 
so far secured an acknowledgment of the authority of Jehovah 
over His people that Joram and the succeeding kings gave heed 
to the words of the prophets of the Lord ; so that Elisha had for 
the most part only to cherish and further the conversion of the 
people to their God, for which Elijah had prepared the way. 


The prophet Elijah predicts to Ahab, as a punishment for his 
idolatry, the coming of a drought and famine. During their con- 


tinuance he is miraculously preserved by God^ first of all at the 
brook Cherith, and then at the house of a widow at Zarephath 
(vers. 1-16), Avhose deceased son he calls to life again (vers. 

Ver. 1. Elijah the Tishbite is introduced without the for- 
mula " The word of the Lord came to . . ./' with which the ap- 
pearance of the prophets is generally announced, proclaiming 
to king Ahab in the name of the Lord the punitive miracle of 
a drought that will last for years. This abrupt appearance of 
Elijah cannot be satisfactorily explained from the fact that we 
have not the real commencement of his history here ; it is rather 
a part of the character of this mightiest of all the prophets, and 
indicates that in him the divine power of the Spirit appeared as 
it were personified, and his life and acts were the direct effluence 
of the higher power by which he was impelled. His origin is 
also uncertain. The epithet ''3t^nn is generally derived from a 
place called Tishleh, since, according to Tobit i. 2, there existed 
in Upper Galilee a ©laßr] eK Se^ioov KvB[(o<;, " on the right, i.e. 
to the south of Kydios," probably Kedesli in the tribe of ISTaphtali, 
from which the elder Tobias was carried away captive, although 
this description of the place is omitted in the Hebrew version 
of the book of Tobit issued by Fagius and Münster, and in the 
Vuloate. And to this we must adhere, and as no other Thisbe 
occurs, must accept this Galilean town as the birthplace of 
Elijah ; in which case the expression " of the settlers of Gilead " 
indicates that Elijah did not live in his birthplace, but dwelt as 
a foreigner in Gilead. Eor 2^in in itself by no means denotes 
a non-Israelite, but, like i?, simply one who lived away from his 
home and tribe relations in the territory of a different tribe, 
without having been enrolled as a member of it, as is clearly 
shown by Lev. xxv. 40, and still more clearly by Judg. xvii. 7, 
where a Levite who was born in Bethlehem is described as "i3 in 
the tribe of Ephraim.-^ The expression " as truly as Jehovah 

1 The supposition of Seb. Schmidt, with which I formerly agreed, namely, 
that Elijah was a foreigner, a Gentile by birth, after furtlier examination I 
can no longer uphold, though not from the a priori objection raised against 
it by Kurtz (in Herzog's Cycl), namely, that it would show a complete mis- 
apprehension of the significance of Israel in relation to sacred history and the 
history of the Avorld, and that neither at this nor any other time in the Old 
Testament history could a prophet for Israel be called from among the Gen- 
tiles, — an assertion of which it would bedifficult to find any proof, — but because 
we are not forced to this conclusion by either "»ac'nn or ny^j '2C''np. For 

CHAP. XVII. 1. 235 

the God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand (i.e. whom I serve; 
see at ch. i. 2), there shall not fall dew and rain these years, 
except at my word/' was a special ajDplication of the threats of 
the law in Deut. xi. 16, 17, xxviii. 23, 24, and Lev. xxvi. 
19, to the idolatrous kingdom, npxn D''JK'n, ''these (ensuing) 
years," does not fix any definite terminus. In ''"l^l "'S? there is 
involved an emphatic antithesis to others, and more especially 
to the prophets of Baal. " When I shall say this by divine 
authority and might, let others prate and lie as they may please " 
{Berleb. Bibel). Elijah thereby describes himself as one into 
whose power the God of Israel has given up the idolatrous 
king and his people. In Jas. v. 17, 18, this act of Elijah is 

even if the Thisbeh in Tob. i. 2 should not be Elijah's birthplace, it would not 
follow that there was no other place named Thisbeh in existence. How many- 
places in Canaan are there that are never mentioned in the Old Testament ! 
And such cases as that described in Judg. vii. 7, where the Levite is said to 
have left his birthplace and to have lived in another tribe as a foreigner or 
settler, may not have been of rare occurrence, since the Mosaic law itself 
refers to it in Lev. xxv. 41. — Again, the LXX. were unable to explain i^t^'no 

*7j;[?:i, and have paraphrased these words in an arbitrary manner by ö ix, Qsaßuv 
TT,; r«7ia««5, from which Thenius and Ewald conjecture that there was a 
Thisbeh in Gilead, and that it was probably the Tisieli (^AaaaJ^L) mentioned 
by Eobinson {Pal. iii. 153) to the south of Busra=Bostra. The five argu- 
ments by which Kurtz has attempted to establish the probability of this con- 
jecture are very weak. For (1) the defective writing i^tJ'riö ^J no means 
proves that the word which is written plene (3E>>in) in every other case must 

necessarily have been so written in the stat. constr. plur. ; and this is the only 
passage in the whole of the Old Testament in which it occurs in the stat. 
constr. plur. ; — (2) the precise description of the place given in Tobit i. 2 does 
not at all lead " to the assumption that the Galilean Thisbeh was not the 
only place of that name," but may be fully explained from the fact that 
Thisbeh was a small and insignificant place, the situation of which is defined 
by a reference to a larger town and one better known ; — (3) there is no doubt 
that " Gilead very frequently denotes the whole of the country to the east of 
the Jordan," but this does not in the least degree prove that there was a Thisbeh 
in the country to the east of the Jordan ; — (4) "that the distinction and dif- 
ference between a birthplace and a place of abode are improbable in themselves, 
and not to be expected in this connection," is a perfectly unfounded assump- 
tion, and has first of all to be proved ; — (5) the Tisieh mentioned by Robinson 
cannot be taken into consideration, for the simple reason that the assumption 
of a copyist's error, the confusion of a with a ( T'ls/e/i instead of Thisbeh), 
founders on the long i of the first syllable in Tisieh ; moreover the Arabic 
ij corresponds to the Hebrew L3 and not to n. 


ascribed to the power of his prayers, since Elijah " was also a 
man such as we are," inasmuch as the prophets received their 
power to work solely through faith and intercourse with God in 
prayer, and faith gives power to remove mountains. 

Vers. 2-9. After the announcement of this judgment, Elijah 
had to hide himself, by the command of God, until the period of 
punishment came to an end, not so much that he might be safe 
from the wrath and pursuit of Ahab and Jezebel, as to preclude 
all earnest entreaties to remove the punishment. " For inasmuch 
as the prophet had said that the rain would come at his w^ord, 
how would they have urged him to order it to come ! " (Seb. 
Schm.) He was to turn '^^'^P.., eastward, i.e. from Samaria, where 
he had no doubt proclaimed the divine judgment to Aliab, to the 
Jordan, and to hide himself at the brook Chcrith, which is in 
front of the Jordan. The brook Cherith was in any case a brook 
emptying itself into the Jordan; but whether upon the eastern or 
the western side of that river, the ambiguity of ''^^'V, which means 
both " to the east of " (Gen. xxv. 1 8) and also " in the face of," 
i.e. before or towards (Gen. xvi. 1 2, xviii. 1 6), it is impossible to 
determine with certainty. That it must signify " to the east of 
the Jordan " here, does not follow from i^^lp. with anything like 
the certainty that Thenius supposes. An ancient tradition places 
the Cherith on this side of the Jordan, and identifies it Avith the 
spring Phasaelis, which takes its rise in the slope of the mountains 
into the Jordan valley above the city of Phasaelis, and empties 
itself into the Jordan (cf. Ges. tlics. p. 719, and V. de Velde, Eclsc, 
ii. pp. 273-4) ; whereas Eusebius,in the Onom. s.v. Chorat (Xoppd), 
places it on the other side of the Jordan, and Thenius thinks of 
the apparently deep Wady Eajih or Ajlun. All that can be 
affirmed with certainty is, that neither the brook Kanah (Josh. 
xvi. 8, xvii. 9), which flows into the JMediterranean, nor the Wady 
Kelt near Jericho, which Eobinson {Pal. ii. p. 288) suggests, can 
possibly come into consideration : the latter for the simple reason^ 
that the locality in the neighbourhood of Jericho was unsuitable 
for a hiding-place. Elijah was to drink of this brook, and the 
ravens by divine command were to provide him with bread and 
meat, which they brought him, according to ver. 6, both morning 
and evening. It is now generally admitted that L2''3")j?n does not 
mean either Arabs or Orebites (the inhabitants of an imaginary 
city named Oreb), but ravens. Through this miracle, which un- 
believers reject, because they do not acknowledge a living God, by 

CHAP. XVII. 10-1 G. 237 

whom, as the Creator and Lord of all creatures, even the voracious 
ravens are made subservient to His plans of salvation, Elijah was 
not only cut off from intercourse with men, who might have 
betrayed his place of abode to the king, but was mightily 
strengthened himself, through the confidence inspired in the 
almighty assistance of his God, for his approaching contests with 
the worshippers of idols, and for the privations and sufferings 
which awaited him in the fulfilment of his vocation. — Vers. 7-9. 
After some time this brook dried up for want of rain. Then the 
Lord directed His servant to go to the Sidonian Zarcphath, and to 
live with a widow whom He had commanded to provide for him. 
D''»^ f Ipn does not mean i^ost annum, for D''D^ merely derives this 
meaning in certain passages from the context (cf. Lev. xxv. 29 ; 
1 Sam. xxvii. 7 ; Judg. xvii. 10); whereas in this instance the con- 
text does not point to the space of a year, but to a longer period 
of indefinite duration, all that we know being that, according to 
ch. xviii. 1, the sojourn of Elijah at Cherith and Zarephath lasted 
at least two years. Zarephath (Xapeina, LXX.) was situated on 
the Mediterranean Sea between Tyre and Sidon, where a mise- 
rable Mohammedan village with ruins and a promontory. Sura- 
fend, still preserve the name of the former town (Eob, iii. p. 413 
sqq., and V. de Velde, Syria and Palestine, i. pp. 101-3, transl.). 
Vers. 10—16. When Elijah arrived at the city gate, he met a 
widow engacred in gatherino- wood. To discover whether it was 
to her that the Lord had sent him, he asked her for something 
to drink and for a morsel of bread to eat ; whereupon she assured 
him, with an oath by Jehovah, that she had nothing baked 
(3ij?0=:n3y^ ijKpvcpia^, a cake baked in hot ashes), but only a 
handful of meal in the ^| (a pail or small vessel in which meal 
was kept) and a little oil in the pitcher, and that she was just 
gathering wood to dress this remnant for herself and her son, 
that they might eat it, and then die. From this statement of 
the Avidow it is evident, on the one hand, that the drought and 
famine had spread across the Phoenician frontier, as indeed 
Menander of Ephesus attests ;^ on the other hand, the widow 
shoAved by the oath, " as Jehovah thy God liveth," that she was 
a worshipper of the true God, who spoke of JcJiovah as his God, 

^ Josephus gives this statement from his Phoenician history : dopoxla n tx' 
avrov {sc. ^löoßa.'Kov) syi'jSTO ktto rov 'T'77spßipiTUiov juyjuog 'iug rov ipy^oi/.iuoir 
iTovg 'TTTipßipiTo.iov {Ant. viii. 13, 2). Hyperhcretaius answers to Tishri of the 
Hebrews ; cf. Benfey and Stern, die Monatsnamen, p. 18. 


because she recognised the prophet as an Israelite. — Vers. 13 
sqq. In order, however, to determine with indisputable certainty 
whether this believing Gentile was the protectress assigned him 
by the Lord, Elijah comforted her, and at the same time desired 
her first of all to bake him a little cake ^f^, i.e. of the last of the 
meal in the Kad and of the oil in the pitcher, and then to bake 
for herself and her son, adding this promise : Jehovah the God 
of Israel wiU not let the meal in the ICad and the oil in the 
pitcher fail, till He sends rain upon the earth again. And the 
widow did according to his word. She gave up the certain for 
the uncertain, because she trusted the word of the Lord, and 
received the reward of her believing confidence in the fact that 
during the whole time of the drought she suffered from no want 
of either meal or oil. This act of the pious Gentile woman, who 
had welcomed with a simple heart the knowledge of the true 
God that had reached her from Israel, must have been the source 
of strong consolation to Elijah in the hour of conflict, when his 
faith was trembling because of the multitude of idolaters in 
Israel. If the Lord Himself had raised up true worshippers of 
His name among the Gentiles, his work in Israel could not 
be put to shame. The believing widow, however, received from 
the prophet not only a material blessing, but a spiritual blessing 
also. Eor, as Christ tells His unbelieving contemporaries to 
their shame (Luke iv. 25, 26), Elijah was not sent to this widow 
in order that he might be safely hidden at her house, although 
this object was better attained thereby than by his remaining 
longer in Israel ; but because of her faith, namely, to strengthen 
and to increase it, he was sent to her, and not to one of the 
many widows in Israel, many of whom would also have received 
the prophet if they had been rescued by him from the pressure 
of the famine. And the miraculous increase of the meal and oil 
did not merely subserve the purpose of keeping the prophet and 
the widow alive ; but the relief of her bodily need was also 
meant to be a preparatory means of quieting her spiritual need 
as well. On the Chdhib ]^^, see at ch. vi. 19. In ver. 15 the 
Keri nim N\n is an unnecessary emendation of the ChctMb 
N^'^^ Nin • the feminine form ?3Nni is occasioned primarily by the 
preceding verbs, and may be taken as an indefinite neuter : " and 
there ate he and she." The offence which Thenius has taken a't 
C'?^^ (days) has no foundation, if wq do not understand the sen- 
tence as referring merely to their eating once of the bread just 

CHAP. XVII. 17-24. 239 

baked, but take it generally as signifying that in consequence of 
their acting according to the word of Jehovah, they (Elijah, the 
widow, and her family) ate for days, i.e. until God sent rain 
again (ver. 14). 

Vers. 17—24. The loicloid's deceased son raised to life again. 
— Ver. 17. After these events, when Elijah had taken up his 
abode in the upper room of her house, her son fell sick, so that 
he breathed out his life. '1J1 "»^'^^ ly, literally till no breath re- 
mained in him. That these words do not signify merely a 
death-like torpor, but an actual decease, is evident from what 
follows, where Elijah himself treats the boy as dead, and the 
Lord, in answer to his prayer, restores him to life again. — Ver. 
18. The pious woman discerned in this death a punishment 
from God for her sin, and supposed that it had been drawn to- 
wards her by the presence of the man of God, so that she said 
to Elijah, " What have we to do wdth one another (^\ ^"'"ID ; of. 
Judg. xi. 12 ; 2 Sam. xvi. 10), thou man of God ? Hast thou 
come to me to bring ray sin to remembrance (with God), and 
to kill my son ? " In this half-heathenish belief there spoke at 
the same time a mind susceptible to divine truth and conscious 
of its sin, to which the Lord could not refuse His aid. Like 
the blindness in the case of the man born blind mentioned 
in John ix., the death of this widow's son was not sent as a 
punishment for particular sins, but was intended as a medium 
for the manifestation of the works of God in her (John ix. 3), 
in order that she might learn that the Lord was not merely the 
God of the Jews, but the God of the Gentiles also (Eom. iii. 29). 
— ^Vers. 19, 20. Elijah told her to carry the dead child up to 
the chamber in which he lived and lay it upon his bed, and 
then cried to the Lord, " Jehovah, my God ! hast Thou also 
brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, to slay her 
son ? " These words, in which the word also refers to the other 
calamities occasioned by the drought, contain no reproach of 
God, but are expressive of the heartiest compassion for the 
suffering of his benefactress and the deepest lamentation, which, 
springing from living faith, pours out the whole heart before 
God in the hour of distress, that it may appeal to Him the 
more powerfully for His aid. The meaning is, " Thou, Lord 
my God, according to Thy grace and righteousness, canst not 
possibly leave the son of this widow in death." Such confident 
belief carries within itself the certainty of being heard. The 



prophet therefore proceeds at once to action, to restore the boy 
to life. — Ver. 21. He stretched himself Ol'^^l) three times upon 
him, not to ascertain whether there was still any life left in 
him, as Paul did in Acts xx. 10, nor to warm the body of the 
child and set its blood in circulation, as Elisha did with a dead 
child (2 Kings iv. 34), — for the action of Elisha is described in 
a different manner, and the youth mentioned in Acts xx. 1 was 
only apparently dead, — but to bring down the vivifying power 
of God upon the dead body, and thereby support his own word 
and prayer.^ He then cried to the Lord, " Jehovah, my God, I 
pray Thee let the soul of this boy return within it." Sl^'yp'hv, 
inasmuch as the soul as the vital principle springs from above. 
— ^Vers. 22, 23. The Lord heard this prayer : the boy came to 
life again ; whereupon Elijah gave him back to his mother. — 
Ver. 24. Through this miracle, in which Elijah showed himself 
as the forerunner of Him who raiseth all the dead to life, the 
pious Gentile woman was mightily strengthened in her faith in 
the God of Israel. She now not only recognised Elijah as a man 
of God, as in ver. 18, but perceived that the word of Jehovah in 
his mouth was truth, by which she confessed implicite her faith 
in the God of Israel as the true God. 


As the judgment of drought and famine did not bring king 
Ahab to his senses and lead him to turn from his ungodly 
ways, but only filled him with exasperation towards the pro- 
phet who had announced to him the coming judgment ; there 
was no other course left than to lay before the people with 
mighty and convincing force the proof that Jehovah was the 
only true God, and to execute judgment upon the priests of 
Baal as the seducers of the nation. 

Vers. 1-19. Elijalis meeting ivith Aliah. — Vers. 1 and 2a. 
In the third year of his sojourn at Zarephath the word of the 
Lord came to Elijah to show himself to Ahab ; since God was 
about to send rain upon the land again. The time given, " the 
third year," is not to be reckoned, as the Eabbins, Clericus, 

^ " This was done, that the prophet's body might be the instrument of the 
miracle, just as in other cases of miracle there was an imposition of the hand." 
—See. Schmidt. 

CHAP. XVIII. 1-19. 241 

TheniiTS, and others assume, from the commencement of the 
drought, but from the event last mentioned, namely, the so- 
journ of Elijah at Zarephath, This view merits the preference 
as the simplest and most natural one, and is shown to he 
the oldest by Luke iv. 25 and Jas. v. 17, where Christ and 
James both say, that in the time of Ahab it did not rain for 
three years and six months. And this length of time can only 
be obtained by allowing more than two years for Elijah's stay 
at Zarephath. — From ver. 2b to ver. 6 we have parenthetical 
remarks introduced, to explain the circumstances which led to 
Elijah's meeting with Ahab. The verbs t^^P*}, ^^;1, ">pN*l, and 
^pbn]] (vers. 3, 4, 5, 6) carry on the circumstantial clauses: 
" and the famine was . . ." (ver. 2&), and " Obadiah feared . . ." 
(ver. 3&), and are therefore to be expressed by the pluperfect. 
When the famine had become very severe in Samaria (the 
capital), Ahab, with Obadiah the governor of his castle (P^^. 
^^?'I' ''i?, see at cli. iv. 6), who was a God-fearing man, and on 
the persecution of the prophets of Jehovah by Jezebel had 
hidden a hundred prophets in caves and supplied them with 
food, had arranged for an expedition through the whole land to 
seek for hay for his horses and mules. And for this purpose 
they had divided the land between them, so that the one explored 
one district and the other another. We see from ver, 4 that 
Jezebel had resolved upon exterminating the worship of Jeho- 
vah, and sought to carry out this intention by destroying the 
prophets of the true God. The hundred prophets whom Oba- 
diah concealed were probably for the most part pupils (" sons ") 
of the prophets, ^''i^ Q''üpn must signify, according to the con- 
text and also according to ver. 13, "fifty each," so that D''tJ'pn 
must have fallen out through a copyist's error. I^ ^'''laj aSb\, 
that we may not be obliged to kill (a portion) of the cattle (r? 
partitive). The Kcri '"'O'l?']? is no doubt actually correct, but 
it is not absolutely necessary, as the ChetJuh "^^ -? ^^ ^^^7 ^^ 
taken as an indefinite phrase : " any head of cattle." — Vers. 
7, 8. Elijah met Obadiah on this expedition, and told him to 
announce his coming to the king. — Vers. 9 sqq. Obadiah was 
afraid that the execution of this command might cost him his 
life, inasmuch as Ahab had sent in search of Elijah " to every 
kingdom and every nation," — a hyperbole suggested by inward 
excitement and fear, px ^"I05<1 is to be connected with what 
follows in spite of the accents: " and if they said he is not 



here, he took an oath," etc. — Vers. 12, 13. "And if it comes to 
pass (that) I go away from thee, and the Spirit of Jehovah carries 
thee away whither I know not, and I come to tell Ahab (sc. that 
thou art here) and he findeth thee not, he will slay me, and thy 
servant feareth the Lord from his youth," etc. ; i.e. since I as a 
God-fearing man and a protector of the prophets cannot boast 
of any special favour from Ahab. ''1^0, from m]/ youth up : 
" thy servant " being equivalent to " I myself." From the fear 
expressed by Obadiah that the Spirit of Jehovah might suddenly 
carry the prophet to some unknown place, Seb. Schmidt and 
others have inferred that in the earlier history of Elijah there 
had occurred some cases of this Idnd of sudden transportation, 
though they have not been handed down ; but the anxiety ex- 
pressed by Obadiah might very well have sprung from the fact, 
that after Elijah had announced the coming drought to Ahab, 
he disappeared, and, notwithstanding all the inquiries instituted 
by the king, was nowhere to be found. And since he was not 
carried off miraculously then (compare the "Hr and ^.p*l, " get 
thee hence " and " he went," in ch. xvii. 3, 5), there is all the 
less ground for imagining cases of this kind in the intermediate 
time, when he was hidden from his enemies. The subsequent 
translation of Elijah to heaven (2 Kings ii. 11, 12), and the 
miraculous carrying away of Philip from the chamberlain of 
Mauritania (Acts viii. 39), do not warrant any such assumption ; 
and still less the passage which Clericus quotes from Ezekiel 
(iii. 12, 14), because the carrying of Ezekiel through the air, 
which is mentioned here, only happened in vision and not in 
external reality. If Obadiah had known of any actual occur- 
rence of this kind, he would certainly have stated it more 
clearly as a more striking vindication of his fear. — Vers. 15-19. 
But when Elijah assured him with an oath (J^i^?^ '^j'^l, see at 
1 Sam. L 3) that he would show himself to Ahab that day, 
Obadiah went to announce it to the king; whereupon Ahab 
went to meet the prophet, and sought to overawe him with the 
imperious words, " Art thou here, thou troubler of Israel ?" (i?^, 
see at Gen. xxxiv. 3 0). But Elijah threw back this charge : 
" It is not I who have brought Israel into trouble, but thou 
and thy family, in that ye have forsaken the commandments 
of Jehovah, and thou goest after Baalim." He then called upon 
the king to gather together all Israel to him upon Carmel, to- 
gether with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of 

CHAP. XVIII. 1-10. 243 

Asherah, who ate of Jezebel's table, i.e. who were maintained by 
the queen. 

Caemel, a mountain ridge " with many peaks, intersected 
by hundreds of larger and smaller ravines," which stands out as 
a promontory running in a north-westerly direction into the 
Mediterranean (see at Josh. xix. 26), and some of the loftiest 
peaks of which rise to the height of 1800 feet above the level 
of the sea, when seen from the northern or outer side shows 
only " bald, monotonous rocky ridges, scantily covered with 
short and thorny bushes ;" but in the interior it still preserves 
its ancient glory, which has procured for it the name of " fruit- 
field," the valleys being covered with the most beautiful flowers 
of every description, and the heights adorned with myrtles, 
laurels, oaks, and firs (c£ V. de Velde, i?. i. p. 292 sqq.). At 
the north-western extremity of the mountain there is a cele- 
brated Carmelite monastery, dedicated to Elijah, whom tradition 
represents as having lived in a grotto under the monastery ; 
but we are certainly not to look there for the scene of the con- 
test with the priests of Baal described in the verses which 
follow. The scene of Elijah's sacrifice is rather to be sought 
for on one of the south-eastern heights of Carmel ; and Van de 
Velde (i. p. 320 sqq.) has pointed it out with great probability 
in the ruins of el Mohraka, i.e. " the burned place," " a rocky 
level space of no great circumference, and covered with old 
gnarled trees with a dense entangled undergrowth of bushes." 
For " one can scarcely imagine a spot better adapted for the 
thousands of Israel to have stood drawn up on than the gentle 
slopes. The rock shoots up in an almost perpendicular wall of 
more than 200 feet in height on the side of the vale of Esdrae- 
lon. On this side, therefore, there was no room for the gazing 
multitude ; but, on the other hand, this wall made it visible 
over the whole plain, and from all the surrounding heights, so 
that even those left behind, who had not ascended Carmel, 
would still have been able to witness at no great distance the 
fire from heaven that descended upon the altar." — " There is not 
a more conspicuous spot on all Carmel than the abrupt rocky 
height of el Mohraka, shooting up so suddenly on the east." 
Moreover, the soil was thoroughly adapted for the erection of 
the altar described in vers. 3 1 and 32: "it showed a rocky 
surface, with a sufficiency of large fragments of rock lying all 
around, and, besides, well fitted for the rapid digging of a trench." 


There is also water in the neiglibourhood, as is assumed in 
ver, 34. " Nowhere does the Kishon run so close to Mount 
Carmel as just beneath el Mohraka," which is "1635 feet 
above the sea, and perhaps 1000 feet above the Kishon. This 
height can be gone up and down in the short time allowed by 
the Scripture (vers. 40—44)." But it was possible to find water 
even nearer than this, to pour upon the burnt-offering in the 
manner described in vers. 34, 35. Close by the steep rocky 
wall of the height, just where you can descend to the Kishon 
through a steep ravine, you find, "250 feet it might be beneath 
the altar plateau, a vaulted and very abundant fountain built 
in the form of a tank, with a few steps leading down into it, 
just as one finds elsewhere in the old wells or springs of the 
Jewish times." — " From such a fountain alone could Elijah 
have procured so much water at that time. And as for the 
distance between this spring and the supposed site of the 
altar, it was every way possible for men to go thrice thither 
and back again to obtain the necessary supply." Lastly, 
el Mohraka is so situated, that the circumstances mentioned 
in vers. 42-44 also perfectly coincide (Van de Velde, pp. 

Vers. 20-46. Elijah's contest with the prophets of Baal. — 
Ahab sent through all Israel and gathered the prophets (of Baal) 
together upon Mount Carmel. According to vers. 21, 22, and 
39, a number of the people ("all the people") had also come 
with them. On the other hand, not only is there no further 
reference in what follows to the 400 prophets of Asherah (cf. 
vers. 25 and 40), but in ver. 22 it is very obvious that the 
presence of the 450 prophets of Baal alone is supposed. We 
must therefore assume that the Asherah prophets, foreboding 
nothing good, had found a Avay of evading the command of 
Ahab and securing the protection of Jezebel.^ King Ahab also 
appeared upon Carmel (cf ver. 41), as he had no idea of 

^ It is true that in ver. 22 the LXX. have this clause, x.u.\ oi T7po(p-/iTxt rov 
ccTiaov; (i.e. mt^'XH) nrpocKOaioi, which Thenius regards as an original portion 
of the text, though without observing the character of the LXX. If the 
Asherah prophets had also been present, Elijah would not only have com- 
manded the prophets of Baal to be seized and slain (ver. 40), but the 
Asherah prophets also. From the principle a potiori ßt., etc., it may be po's- 
sible to explain the omission of the Asherah prophets in ver. 25, but not in 
ver. 40. 

CHAP. XVIII. 20-46. 245 

Elijah's intention, which was by no means " to prove to the 
king that he (Ahab) and not Elijah h?"" brought Israel into 
trouble " (Vat., Seb. Schm.), but to put before the eyes of the 
whole nation a convincing practical proof of the sole deity of 
Jehovah and of the nothingness of the Baals, that were re- 
garded as gods, and by slaying the priests of Baal to give a 
death-blow to idolatry in Israel.— Ver. 21. Elijah addressed the 
assembled people as follows : " How long do ye limp upon 
both sides ? Is Jehovah God, then go after Him ; but if Baal 
be God, then go after him" — and the people answered him not 
a word. They wanted to combine the worship of Jehovah and 
Baal, and not to assume a hostile attitude towards Jehovah by 
the worship of Baal ; and were therefore obliged to keep silence 
under this charge of infatuated halving, since they knew very 
well from the law itself that Jehovah demanded worship with 
a whole and undivided heart (Deut. vi. 4, 5). This dividing of 
the heart between Jehovah and Baal Elijah called limping ^y 
a-'sysn ''riK', " upon the two parties (of Jehovah and Baal)." 
Eor ti'BVp the meaning " divided opinions, parties," is well 
established by the use of Q'SJ^? in Ps. cxix. 113; and the ren- 
dering of the LXX. lyvvai, the hollow of the knee, is only a 
paraphrase of the sense and not an interpretation of the word. 
— Vers. 22-25. As the people adhered to their undecided 
double-mindedness, Elijah proposed to let the Deity Himselt 
decide who was the true God, Jehovah or Baal. The prophets 
of Baal were to offer a sacrifice to Baal, and he (Elijah) would 
offer one to Jehovah. And the true God should make Himself 
known by kindling the burnt-offering presented to Him with 
fire from heaven, and in this way answering the invocation of 
His name. This proposal was based upon the account in Lev. 
ix. As Jehovah had there manifested Himself as the God of 
Israel by causing fire to fall from heaven upon the first sacrifice 
presented in front of the tabernacle and to consume it, Elijah 
hoped that in like manner Jehovah would even now reveal 
Himself as the living God. And the form of decision thus 
proposed would necessarily appear all the fairer, because Elijah, 
the prophet of Jehovah, stood alone in opposition to a whole 
crowd of Baal's prophets, numbering no less than 450 men. 
And for that very reason the latter could not draw back, with- 
out publicly renouncing their pretensions, whether they be- 
lieved that Baal would really do what was desired, or hoped 


that they might be ahle to escape, through some accident or 
stratagem, from the difficult situation that had been prepared 
for them, or fancied that the God of Elijah would no more fur- 
nish the proof of His deity that was desired of Him than Baal 
would. In order, however, to cut off every subterfuge in the 
event of their attempt proving a failure, Elijah not only yielded 
the precedence to them on the occasion of this sacrifice, but 
gave them the choice of the two oxen brought to be offered ; 
which made the fairness of his proposal so much the more con- 
spicuous to every one, that the people willingly gave their 

Vers. 26-29. The prophets of Baal then proceeded to the 
performance of the duty required. They prepared {^^'V]) the 
sacrifice, and called solemnly upon Baal from morning to noon : 
" O Baal, hear us," limping round the altar ; " but there was no 
voice, and no one to hear (to answer), and no attention." nss 
is a contemptuous epithet applied to the pantomimic sacrificial 
dance performed by these priests round about the altar,-*^ "i*^** 
nb'j? (" which one had made "). — Ver. 2 7. As no answer had 
been received before noon, Elijah cried out to them in deri- 
sion : " Call to him with a loud voice, for he is God (sc. accord- 
ing to your opinion), for he is meditating, or has gone aside ( ''K', 
secessio), or is on the journey (Jl'T}^, on the way) ; perhaps he 
is sleeping, that he may wake up." The ridicule lies more 
especially in the ^^^n ^''npx "'3 (for he is a god), when contrasted 
with the enumeration of the different possibilities which may 
have occasioned their obtaining no. answer, and is heightened by 
the earnest and threefold repetition of the ""S. With regard 
to these possibilities we may quote the words of Clericus : 
" Although these things when spoken of God are the most 
absurd things possible, yet idolaters could believe such things, 
as we may see from Homer." The priests of Baal did actually 
begin therefore to cry louder than before, and scratched them- 
selves with swords and lances, till the blood poured out, 
" according to their custom " (DDS'J'ps). Movers describes this 
as follows {Phönizier, i. pp. 682, 683), from statements made 
by ancient authors concerning the processions of the strolling 

^ The following is the description which Herodian {hist. v. 3), among 
others, gives of Heliogabalus when dancing as chief priest of the Emesinian 
sun-god: ' Yspovpyovvrcc O'/i tovtou, Trspi n ro7s ßuf^oig xopivouToe, vÖ^m Bs«o- 
ßap!.>v, iiTTÖ Ti »i/'Kol:;\ avpcy^i ■jrxvroooCTrci'U t£ opyAvav ijxv- 

CHAP. XVIII. 30-39. 247 

bands of the Syrian goddess : " A discordant howling opens 
the SQene. They then rush wildly about in perfect confusion, 
with their heads bowed down to the ground, but always re- 
volving in circles, so that the loosened hair drags through the 
mire ; they then begin to bite their arms, and end with cutting 
themselves with the two-edged swords which they are in the 
habit of carrying. A new scene then opens. One of them, 
who surpasses all the rest in frenzy, begins to prophesy with 
sighs and groans ; he openly accuses himself of the sins which 
he has committed, and which he is now about to punish by 
chastising the flesh, takes the knotted scourge, which the 
Gain generally carry, lashes his back, and then cuts himself 
with swords till the blood trickles down from his mangled 
body." The climax of the Bacchantic dance in the case of 
the priests of Baal also was the prophesying (K33rin)^ and it 
was for this reason, probably, that they were called prophets 
(D"'S''a:). This did not begin tul noon, and lasted till about 
the time of the evening sacrifice {p^'bvb ^V, not nipy iy, ver. 29). 
nmjsn niby, " the laying on (offering) of the meat-offering," refers 
to the daily evening sacrifice, which consisted of a burnt-offer- 
ing and a meat-offering (Ex. xxix. 38 sqq.; Num. xxviii. 3-8), 
and was then offered, according to the Eabbinical observance 
(see at Ex. xii. 6), in the closing hours of the afternoon, as is 
evident from the circumstances which are described in vers. 40 
sqq. as having taken place on the same day and subsequently 
to Elijah's offering, which was presented at the time of the 
evening sacrifice (ver. 36). 

Vers. 30—39. ElijaKs sacrifice. — As no answer came from 
Baal, Elijah began to prepare for his own sacrifice. Ver. 30. 
He made the people come nearer, that he might have both eye- 
witnesses and ear-witnesses present at his sacrifice, and restored 
the altar of Jehovah which was broken down. Consequently 
there was already an altar of Jehovah upon Carmel, which 
either dated from the times anterior to the building of the 
temple, when altars of Jehovah were erected in different places 
throughout the land (see at ch. iii. 2), or, what is more probable, 
had been built by pious worshippers belonging to the ten tribes 
since the division of the kingdom (Hengstenberg, Dissertations 
on the Pentateuch, vol. i. p. 183, transl.), and judging from ch. 
xix. 10, had been destroyed during the reign of Ahab, when 
the worship of Baal gained the upper hand. — Vers. 31, 32. 


Elijah took twelve stones, " according to the number of the 
tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had 
come (Gen. xxxii. 29, xxxv. 10), Israel shall be thy name," and 
built these stones into an altar. The twelve stones were a 
practical declaration on the part of the prophet that the division 
of the nation into two kingdoms was at variance with the divine 
calling of Israel, inasmuch as according to the will of God the 
twelve tribes were to form one people of Jehovah, and to have 
a common sacrificial altar ; whilst the allusion to the fact that 
Jehovah had given to the forefather of the nation the name of 
Israel, directs attention to the wrong which the seceding ten 
tribes had done in claiming the name of Israel for themselves, 
whereas it really belonged to the whole nation, njn^ Dtt'S (in 
the name of Jehovah) belongs to n^a^_ (built), and signifies by 
the authority and for the glory of Jehovah. " And made a 
trench as the space of two seahs of seed (i.-c. so large that you 
could sow two seahs ^ of seed upon the ground which it covered) 
round about the altar," The trench must therefore have been 
of considerable breadth and depth, although it is impossible to 
determine the exact dimensions, as the kind of seed-corn is not 
defined. He then arranged the sacrifice upon the altar, and 
had four Kad (pails) of water poured three times in succession 
upon the burnt-offering which was laid upon the pieces of wood, 
so that the water flowed round about the altar, and then had 
the trench filled wüth water." Elijah adopted this course for 
the purpose of precluding all suspicion of even the possibility 
of fraud in connection with the miraculous burning of the 
sacrifice. For idolaters had carried their deceptions to such a 
length, that they would set fire to the wood of the sacrifices from 

1 i.e. about two Dresden pecks (Metzeii). — Tiienius. 

2 Thenius throws suspicion upon tlie historical character of this account, on 
the ground that " the author evidently forgot the terrible drought, by which 
the numerous sources of the Carmel and the Nachal Kishon must have been 
dried up ;" but Van de Velde has already answered this objection, which has 
been raised by others also, and has completely overthrown it by pointing out 
the covered well of el 3Iohraka, in relation to which he makes the following 
remark: "In such springs the water remains always cool, under the shade 
of a vaulted roof, and with no hot atmosphere to evaporate it. While all 
other fountains were dried up, I can well understand that there might have, 
been found here that superabundance of water which Elijah poured so pro- 
fusely over the altar" (vol. i. p. 325, transl.). But the drying up of the 
Kishon is a mere conjecture, which cannot be historically proved. 

CHAP. XVIir. 40-46. 249 

hollow spaces concealed beneath the altars, in order to make 
the credulous people believe that the sacrifice had been mira- 
culously set on fire by the deity, Ephraem Syrus and Joh. 
Chrysostom both affirm this ; the latter in his Oratio in Fdrum 
Apost. et Eliam ;proph. t. ii. p. 737, ed. Montf., the genuineness 
of which, however, is sometimes called in question. — Vers. 
36, 37. After these preparations at the time of the evening 
sacrifice, Elijah drew near and prayed : " Lord God of Abra- 
ham, Isaac, and Israel (this name is used with deliberate pur- 
pose instead of Jacob : see at ver. 31), let it be known this 
day that Thou art God in Israel, and I am Thy servant, and do 
all these things through Thy word. Hear me, Jehovah, hear 
me, that this people may know that Thou Jehovah art God, 
and turnest back their hearts !" {i.e. back from idols to Thyself.) 
This clearly expresses not only the object of the miracle which 
follows, but that of miracles universally. The perfects "^"^ybv 
and ri3pi!l are used to denote not only what has already occurred, 
but what will still take place and is as certain as if it had 
taken place already. ''Tf^V refers not merely to the predicted 
drought and to what Elijah has just been doing (Thenius), but 
to the miracle which was immediately about to be performed ; 
and ri'3?n to the conversion of the people to the Lord their 
God, for which Elijah's coming had already prepared the way, 
and which was still further advanced by the following miracle. 
— Ver. 38. Then fire of Jehovah fell and consumed the burnt- 
offering and the pieces of wood, etc. nin^ c'x^ the fire proceed- 
ing from Jehovah, was not a natural flash of lightning, which 
could not produce any such effect, but miraculous fire falling 
from heaven, as in 1 Chron. xxi. 26, 2 Chron. vii. 1 (see at 
Lev. ix. 24), the supernatural origin of which was manifested 
in the fact, that it not only consumed the sacrifice with the pile 
of wood upon the altar, but also burned up (in calcem rcdcgit — 
Cler.) the stones of the altar and the earth that was thrown up to 
form the trench, and licked up the water in the trench. Through 
this miracle Jehovah not only accredited Elijah as His servant 
and prophet, but proved Himself to be the living God, whom 
Israel was to serve ; so that all the people who were present fell 
down upon their faces in worship, as they had done once before, 
viz. at the consecration of the altar in Lev. ix. 24, and con- 
fessed " Jehovah is God :" Q''n<!^'7, the true or real God. 

Vers. 40—46. Elijah availed himself of this enthusiasm of 


the people for the Lord, to deal a fatal blow at the prophets of 
Baal, who turned away the people from the living God. He 
commanded the people to seize them, and had them slain at the 
brook Kishon, and that not so much from revenge, i.e. because 
it was at their instigation that queen Jezebel had murdered the 
prophets of the true God (ver. 13), as to carry out the funda- 
mental law of the Old Testament kingdom of God, which pro- 
hibited idolatry on pain of death, and commanded that false 
prophets should be destroyed (Deut. xvii. 2, 3, xiii. 13 sqq.).^ — 
Ver. 41. Elijah then called upon the king, who had eaten nothing 
from morning till evening in his eagerness to see the result of the 
contest between the prophet and the priests of Baal, to come up 
from the brook Kishon to the place of sacrifice upon Carmel, where 
his wants were provided for, and to partake of meat and drink, for 
he (Elijah) could already hear the noise of a fall of rain. hSp is 
without a verb, as is often the case {e.g. Isa. xiii. 4, lii. 8, etc.); 
literally, it is the sound, the noise. After the occasion of the 
curse of drought, which had fallen upon the land, had been 
removed by the destruction of the idolatrous priests, the curse 
itself could also be removed. " But this was not to take place 
without the prophet's saying it, and by means of this gift 
proving himself afresh to be the representative of God " (0. v. 
Gerlach). — Vers. 42 sqq. While the king was refreshing himself 
with food and drink, Elijah went up to the top of Carmel to 
pray that the Lord would complete His work by fulfilling His 
promise (ver. 1) in sending rain ; and continued in prayer till 
the visible commencement of the fulfilment of his prayer was 
announced by his servant, who, after looking out upon the sea 
seven times, saw at last a small cloud ascend from the sea 

1 It was necessary that idolatry and temptation to tlie -worship of idols 
sbould be punished with death, as a practical denial of Jehovah the true God 
and Lord of His chosen people, if the object of the divine institutions was to 
be secured. By putting the priests of Baal to death, therefore, Elijah only 
did what the law requii-ed ; and inasmuch as the ordinary administrators of 
justice did not fulfil their obligations, he did this as an extraordinary mes- 
senger of God, whom the Lord had accredited as His prophet before all the 
people by the miraculous answer given to his prayer. — To infer from this act 
of Elijah the right to institute a bloody persecution of heretics, would not 
only indicate a complete oversight of the difference between heathen idolaters 
and Christian heretics, but the same reprehensible confounding of the evan- 
gelical standpoint of the New Testament with the legal standpoint of the Old, 
which Christ condemned in His own disciples in Luke ix. 55, 56. 

CHAP. XVIII. 40-46. 251 

about the size of a man's hand.'^ The peculiar attitude assumed 
by Elijah when praying (Jas. v. 18), viz. bowing down even 
to the earth (if-''!) and putting his face between his knees, pro- 
bably the attitude of deep absorption in God, was witnessed 
by Shaw and Chardin in the case of certain dervishes {viel. 
Harmar, Beobachtungen, iii. pp. 373-4). — Ver. 44. As soon as 
the small cloud ascended from the sea, Elijah sent his servant 
to tell the king to set off home, that he might not be stopped 
by the rain. T], go down, sc. from Carmel to his chariot, which 
was standing at the foot of the mountain.^ — Ver. 45. Be- 
fore any provision had been made for it (nb'nyi ^3"^J? : hither 
and thither, i.e. while the hand is .being moved to and fro, 
"very speedily;" cf Ewald, § 105, h) the heaven turned black 
with clouds and wind, i.e. with storm-clouds (Thenius), and 
there came a great fall of rain, while Ahab drove along the road 
to Jezreel. It was quite possible for the king to reach Jezreel 
the same evening from that point, namely, from the foot of 
Carmel below el Mohraica : but only thence, for every half- 
hour farther west would have taken him too far from his capital 
for it to be possible to accomplish the distance before the rain 
overtook him (V. de Velde, i. p. 326). Jezreel, the present Zerin 
(see at Josh. xix. 18), was probably the summer residence of 
Ahab (see at Josh. xxi. 1). The distance from el Mohraka thither 
is hardly 2^ German geographical miles (? 14 Engl, miles — Tr.) 
in a straight line. — Ver. 46. When Ahab drove off, the hand of 
the Lord came upon Elijah, so that he ran before Ahab as far as 
Jezreel, — not so much for the purpose of bringing the king to 
his residence unhurt (Seb. Schm.), as to give him a proof of his 
humility, and thus deepen the impression already made upon his 
heart, and fortify him all the more against the strong temptations 
of his wife, who abused his weakness to support the cause of 
ungodliness. This act of Elijah, whom Ahab had hitherto only 

^ V. de Velde has shown how admiralDly these circumstances (vers. 43 and 
44) also apply to the situation of el Muhraka : " on its west and north-west 
side the view of the sea is quite intercepted by an adjacent height. That 
height may be ascended, however, in a few minutes, and a full view of the 
sea obtained from the top " (i. p. 326). 

2 " After three years' drought all herbage must have disappeared from the 
plain of Jezreel, and the loose clay composing its soil must have been changed 
into a deep layer of dust. Had time been allowed for the rain to convert that 
dust into a bed of mud, the chariot-wheels might have stuck fast in it." — 
V. DE Velde, i. pp. 326-7. 


known as a stern, imperious, and powerful prophet, by wliicli 
he now showed himself to he his faithful subject and servant, 
was admirably adapted to touch the heart of the king, and pro- 
duce the conviction that it was not from any personal dislike 
to him, but only in the service of the Lord, that the prophet 
was angry at his idolatry, and that he was not trying to effect 
his ruin, but rather his conversion and the salvation of his soul. 
>^)p] "^-, the hand {i.e. the power) of the Lord, denotes the super- 
natural strength with which the Lord endowed him, to accom- 
plish superhuman feats. This formula is generally applied to 
the divine inspiration by which the prophets were prepared for 
their prophesying (cf. 2 Kings iii. 15 ; Ezek. i. 3, iii. 15, etc.). 

CHAP. XIX. Elijah's flight into the desert, the revelation 


The hope of completing his victory over the idolaters and 
overthrowing the worship of Baal, even in the capital of the 
kingdom, with which Elijah may have hastened to Jezreel, was 
frustrated by the malice of the queen, who was so far from dis- 
cerning any revelation of the almighty God in the account 
given her by Ahab of what had occurred on Carmel, and bending 
before His mighty hand, that, on the contrary, she was so full of 
■wrath at the slaying of the prophets of Baal as to send to the 
prophet Elijah to threaten him with death. This apparent 
failure of his ministry was the occasion of a severe inward con- 
flict, in which Elijah was brought to a state of despondency and 
fled from the land. The Lord allowed His servant to pass through 
this conflict, that he might not exalt himself, but, being mindful 
of his own impotence, might rest content with the grace of his 
God, whose strength is mighty in the weak (2 Cor. xii. 8, 9), 
and who would refine and strengthen him for the further fulfil- 
ment of his calling. 

Vers. 1-8. ElijaTis flight into the desert and guidance to 
Horeb. — Vers. 1, 2. When " Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah 
had done, and all, how he had slain all the prophets (of Baal)," 
she sent a messenger to Elijah in her impotent wrath, with a 
threat, which she confirmed by an oath (see at ch. ii. 2 3), that in 
the morning she would have him slain like the prophets whom 
he had put to death. The early commentators detected in this 
threat the impotcniia mulichris iracundia:, and saw that all that 

CHAP. XIX. 1-S. 253 . 

Jezebel wanted was to get rid of the man wlio was so distressing 
and dangerous to her, because she felt herself unable to put him 
to death, partly on account of the people, who were enthusiastic 
in his favour, and partly on account of the king himself, upon 
whom the affair at Carmel had not remained without its salutary 
effect. — Vers. 3, 4. But when Elijah saw (^1!ü), sc. how things 
stood, or the audacity of Jezebel, from which the failure of his 
work was evident, he rose up and went to Beersheba in Judah, 
i.e. Bir-seba on the southern frontier of Canaan (see at Gen. xxi. 
31). The expression niiri''^ nc'X, "which to Judah," i.e. which 
belonged to the kingdom of Judah, for Beersheba was really 
allotted to the tribe of Simeon (Josh. xix. 2), is appended not 
merely as a geographical indication that Elijah went outside the 
land, but to show that he meant to leave the kingdom of Israel, 
the scene of his previous labours, just as Jeremiah in a similar 
internal conflict gave utterance to the wish that he could leave 
his people, if he had but a lodging-place in the wilderness (Jer. 
ix. 2). N"!*? is not to be altered into N"^"**^, et timuit, after the 
LXX. and "Vulg., notwithstanding the fact that some Codd. have 
this reading, which only rests upon an erroneous conjecture. For 
it is obvious that Elijah did not flee from any fear of the vain 
threat of Jezebel, from the fact that he did not merely withdraw 
into the kingdom of Judah, where he would have been safe under 
Jehoshaphat from all the persecutions of Jezebel, but went to 
Beersheba, and thence onwards into the desert, there to pour out 
before the Lord God his weariness of life (ver. 4). ^tJ'DJ'bx '^}^, he 
went upon his soul, or his life, i.e. not to save his life (as I once •/ 

thought, with many other commentators), for his wish to die 
(ver. 4) is opposed to this ; but to care for his soul in the 
manner indicated in ver. 4, i.e. to commit his soul or his life to 
the Lord his God in the solitude of the desert, and see what He 
would determine concerning him.^ — He left his servant in Beer- 
sheba, while he himself went a day's journey farther into the 
desert (Paran), not merely because he was so filled with weari- 

^ G. Menken (christl. Homil. ub. den Proph. Elias, p. 231) lias given the 
following admirable explanation of "itJ'SJ bi^ so far as the sense is concerned : 
" For conscience sake, from conviction, out of obligation, not from fear. After 
all his former experience, and from the entire relation in which Elijah stood 
to God, it was impossible that he should be afraid, and not be firmly convinced 
that the God who had shut up heaven at his word, who had supplied him with 
bread and flesh for a whole year in the desert through the medium of ravens, 
■who had supported him miraculously for years in a foreign land through the 


ness of life in his dark oppression, that he thought he should 
have no further need of his servant, and therefore left him be- 
Mnd in Beersheba, but that he might pour out his heart before 
G-od alone in the desert and yield himself up to His guidance. 
For however unquestionabl}'' his lamentation in ver. 4, for example, 
expresses a weariness of life, this merely indicates the feeling 
which had taken possession of his soul after a day's journey in 
the barren desert. And even there he lays his wish to die before 
God in prayer ; so that this feeling is merely to be regarded as 
one result of the spiritual conflict, which his bodily exhaustion 
had now raised to a height that it cannot have reached when he 
was in Beersheba. If, therefore, he did not start with the inten- 
tion of making a pilgrimage to Horeb, he had certainly gone into 
the desert for the purpose of seeing whether the Lord would 
manifest His mercy to him, as He had formerly done to His 
people under Moses, or whether He would withdraw His hand 
entirely from him. After a day's journey he sat down under a 
DO'i (construed here as a feminine, in ver. 5 as a masculine), a 
species of broom {genista Retem in Forskal), which is the finest 
and most striking shrub of the Arabian desert, growing constantly 
in the beds of streams and in the valleys, where places of en- 
campment are frequently selected for the sake of the shelter 
which they afford by night from the wind and by day from 
the sun (Bob. Pal. i. 299). mo^, . . . ^^^^1: and wished that his 
soul might die (a kind of accusative with infinitive ; see Ewald, 
^336, I), and said, nrij; nn^ "Enough now; take, Lord, my soul, 
for I am not better than my fathers ;" i.e. I have worked and en- 
dured enough, and deserve no longer life than my fathers. From 
this it appears that Elijah was already of a great age. — Vers. 5 
sc|.q. In this disturbed state of mind he lay down and slept under 
a broom-tree. Then the Lord came with His power to the help 
of the despairing man. " An angel touched him (wakened him 
out of his sleep), and said to him : Arise, eat." And behold he 
saw at his head 0^2^*1 "^^V, a bread cake baked over red-hot stones, 
a savoury article of food which is still a great favourite with the 
Bedouins (see at Gen. xviii. 6, xix. 3), and a pitcher of water, 

medium of a poor widow, who had concealed and rescued him for three years 
and a half from the search of the king, who had accredited and honoured him 
in the sight of all the people as His servant, who had given an immediate answer 
to his prayer for rain, could also defend him in this extremity, and rescue him 
from this danger, if such should be His will." 

CHAP. XIX. 9-18. 257 

his life, ^nnsro are altars, which pious Israelites in the kingdom 
of the ten tribes had built in different places for the worship of 
Jehovah (see at ch. xviii. 30). — Vers. 11 sqq. The Lord replied 
to the prophet's complaint first of all by the manifestation of 
His control of the phenomena of nature (vers. 11-13), and then 
by a verbal explanation of His design (vers. 15—18). 

In this divine revelation men have recognised from the very 
earliest times a repetition of the appearance of God which was 
granted to Moses upon Sinai. As God, in token of His grace, 
granted the prayer of Moses that he might see His glory, after 
he had striven zealously for the honour of the Lord when the 
people rebelled by worshipping the golden calf; so did He also 
display His glory upon Horeb to Elijah as a second Moses 
for the purpose of strengthening his faith, with this simple dif- 
ference, that He made all His goodness pass by Moses, and 
declared His name in the words, " Jehovah, a gracious and 
merciful God," etc. (Ex. xxxiv. 6, 7), whereas He caused Elijah 
first of all to behold the operation of His grace in certain 
phenomena of nature, and then afterwards made known to 
him His will with regard to Israel and to the work of His 
prophets. This difference in the form of the revelation, while 
the substance and design were essentially the same, may be 
explained from the difference not only in the historical cir- 
cumstances, but also in the state of mind of the two servants 
to whom He manifested His glory. In the case of Moses it 
was burning love for the welfare of his people which impelled 
him to offer the prayer that the Lord would let him see His 
glory, as a sign that He would not forsake His people ; and 
this prayer was granted him, so far as a man is ever able to see 
the glory of God, to strengthen him for the further discharge of 
the duties of his office. Hidden in the cleft of the rock and 
shielded by the hand of God, he saw the Lord pass by him, and 
heard Him utter in words His inmost being. Elijah, on the 
other hand, in his zeal for the honour of God, which was not 
quite free from human passion, had been led by the want of 
any visible fruit from his own labour to overlook the work of 
the Lord in the midst of His people ; so that he had fled into 
the desert and wished to be released from this world by death, 
and had not been brought out of his despair by the strengthen- 
ing with meat and drink which he had received from the angel, 
and which enabled him to travel for forty days to the mount of 



God witliout suffering from want, a fact whicli was intended to 
remind liim of the ancient God of the fathers, to whose omni- 
potence and goodness there is no end; so that it was in a most 
gloomy state of mind that he reached Horeb at last. And now 
the Lord designed not only to manifest His glory as the love in 
which grace and righteousness are united, but also to show him 
that his zeal for the honour of the Lord was not in harmony 
with the love and grace and long-suffering of God. " The 
design of the vision was to show to the fiery zeal of the 
prophet, who wanted to reform everything by means of the 
tempest, the gentle way which God pursues, and to proclaim 
the long-suffering and mildness of His nature, as the voice had 
already done to Moses on that very spot ; hence the beautiful 
change in the divine appearance " (Herder, Geist der heir. Poesie, 
1788, ii. p. 52). — Vers. 11, 12. After God had commanded 
him to come out of the cave and stand upon the mountain (that 
part of the mountain which was in front of the cave) before 
Him, " behold Jehovah went by (the participle "^^V is used to 
give a more vivid representation of the scene) ; and a great and 
strong tempest, rending mountains and breaking rocks in pieces, 
before Jehovah — it was not in the tempest that Jehovah was ; 
and after the tempest an earthquake — it was not in the earth- 
quake that Jehovah was ; and after the earthquake fire — it 
was not in the fire that Jehovah was ; and after the fire a still, 
gentle rustling." Hi^l noOT bSp, literally the tone of a gentle 
blowing. On the change of gender in ptni. n^iia rrn^ see Ewald, 
§ 174, c. — Temjpest, earthquake, and fire, which are even more 
terrible in the awful solitude of the Horeb mountains than in 
an inhabited land, are signs of the coming of the Lord to judg- 
ment (c£ Ps. xviii. 8 sqq.). It was in the midst of such terrible 
phenomena that the Lord had once come down upon Sinai, to 
inspire the people who were assembled at the foot of the moun- 
tain with a salutary dread of His terrible majesty, of the fiery 
zeal of His wrath and love, which consumes whatever opposes 
it (see at Ex. xix. 16 sqq.). But now the Lord was not in 
these terrible phenomena ; to signify to the prophet that He 
did not work in His earthly kingdom with the destroying zeal 
of wrath, or with the pitiless severity of judgment. It was in 
a soft, gentle rustling that He revealed Himself to him. — Vers. 
13, 14. When Elijah heard this, he covered up his face in his 
cloak (n'J.'n« j see at 2 Kings i. 8) and went out to the entrance 

CHAP. XIX. 9-18. 259 

to the cavv /i-nd behold he heard the question a second time, 
"What doest^ou here, Elijah?" and answered with a repeti- 
tion of his complaint (see vers. 9 and 10). — While the appear- 
ance of God, not in the tempest, the earthquake, and the fire, 
but in a gentle rustling, revealed the Lord to him as a merciful 
and gracious God, long-suffering, and of great goodness and 
truth (Ex. xxxiv. 6), the answer to his complaint showed him 
that He did not leave guilt unpunished (Ex. xxxiv. 7), since the 
Lord gave him the following command, vers. 15 sqq.: " Go 
back in thy way to the desert of Damascus, and anoint Hazael 
king over Aram (see 2 Kings viii. 12, 13), and Jehu the son 
of Nimshi king over Israel (see 2 Kings ix. 2), and Elisha the 
son of Shaphat prophet in thy stead " (see ver. 19) ; and then 
added this promise, which must have quieted his zeal, that was 
praiseworthy in the feelings from which it sprang, although it 
had assumed too passionate a form, and have given him courage 
to continue his prophetic work : " And it wiU come to pass, 
that whoever escapeth the sword of Hazael, him will Jehu 
slay, and whoever escapeth the sword of Jehu, him will Elisha 
slay." — Ver. 18. But in order that he might learn, to his shame, 
that the cause of the Lord in Israel appeared much more des- 
perate to his eye, which was clouded by his own dissatisfaction, 
than it really was in the eye of the God who knows His own 
by number and by name, the Lord added : " I have seven thou- 
sand left in Israel, all knees that have not bent before Baal, and 
every mouth that hath not kissed him." Pf »l nnsio, into the 
desert of Damascus (with the Ee loc. with the construct state as 
in Deut. iv. 41, Josh. xii. 1, etc. ; cf. Ewald, § 216, 5), i.e. the 
desert lying to the south and east of the city of Damascus, 
which is situated on the river Barady; not jjer desertum in 
Bamascum (Vulg., Luth., etc.) ; for although Elijah would neces- 
sarily pass through the Arabian desert to go from Horeb to 
Damascus, it was superfluous to teU him that he was to go that 
way, as there was no other road. The words " return by thy 
way . . . and anoint Hazael," etc., are not to be understood as 
signifying that Elijah was to go at once to Damascus and anoint 
Hazael there, but simply that he was to do this at a time which 
the Spirit would more precisely indicate. According to what 
follows, all that Elijah accomplished immediately was to call 
Elisha to be his successor ; whereas the other two commissions 
were fulfilled by Elisha after Elijah's ascension to heaven 


_';li was 
(2 Kings viii. and ix.). The opinion that Elija.g ^.^oO anointed 

Hazael and Jehu immediately, but that this anoiiidng was kept 
secret, and was repeated by Elisha when the time for their 
public appearance arrived, has not only very little probability in 
itself, but is directly precluded by the account of the anointing 
of Jehu in 2 Kings ix. The anointing of Hazael and Jehu is 
mentioned first, because God had chosen these two kings to be 
the chief instruments of His judgments upon the royal family 
and people for their idolatry. It was only in the case of Jehu 
that a real anointing took place (2 Kings ix. 6) ; Hazael was 
merely told by Elisha that he would be king (2 Kings viii. 1 3), 
and Elisha was simply called by Elijah to the prophetic office 
by having the cloak of the latter thrown upon him. Moreover, 
the Messianic passage, Isa. Ixi. l,is the only one in which there 
is any allusion to the anointing of a prophet. Consequently 
nü'D must be taken figuratively here, as in Judg. ix, 8, as de- 
noting divine consecration to the regal and prophetic offices. 
And so, again, the statement that Elisha would slay those who 
escaped the sword of Jehu is not to be understood literally. 
Elisha slew by the word of the Lord, which brought judgments 
upon the ungodly, as we see from 2 Kings ii. 24 (cf, Jer. i. 10, 
xviii. 7). The " seven thousand," who had not bowed the knee 
before Baal, are a round number for the iKXoy^ of the godly, 
whom the Lord had preserved for Himself in the sinful Idngdom, 
which was really very large in itself, however small it might be 
in comparison with the whole nation. The number seven is the 
stamp of the works of God, so that seven thousand is the number 
of the " remnant according to the election of grace " (Eom. 
xi. 5), which had then been preserved by God. Kissing Baal 
was the most usual form in which this idol was worshipped, and 
consisted not merely in throwing kisses with the hand (cf Job 
xxxi. 27, and Plin. h. n. 28, 8), but also in kissing the images of 
Baal, probably on the feet (cf Cicero in Vcrr. 4, 43). 

Vers. 19-21. Call of Elisha to he a 'prophet. — Ver. 19. As 
he went thence (viz. away from Horeb), Elijah found Elisha the 
son of Shaphat at Abel-Meholah, in the Jordan valley (see at 
Judg. vii. 22), occupied in ploughing; "twelve yoke of oxen be- 
fore him, and he himself with the tweKth " (a very wealthy man 
therefore), and threw his cloak to him as he passed by. The 
prophet's cloak was a sign of the prophet's vocation, so that 
throwing it to him was a symbol of the call to the prophetic 

CHAP. XIX. 1-8. 255 

and ate and drank^ and lay down again. — Ver. 7. But the angel 
wakened him a second time, and called upon him to eat with 
these words : " for the way is too far for thee " (!}/}}] "^^'P ^!!, iter 
est majus quam -pro viribus ticis — Vat.). — Ver. 8. " Then he arose, 
ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days 
and forty nights to the mount of God at Horeb." As the angel 
did not tell him whither he was to go, and Elijah wandered to 
Horeb in consequence of this strengthening, it ajDpears to have 
been his intention from the very beginning to go into the desert, 
and see whether the Lord would still further acknowledge him 
and his work ; so that in the support and strength imparted by 
the angel he saw an indication that he was to follow the foot- 
steps of the divine grace still farther into the desert, and make 
a pilgrimage to Horeb, with the hope that there perhaps the Lord 
would reveal to him His counsel concerning the further guidance 
of the people of His covenant, as He had formerly done to His 
servant Moses, and give him the necessary instruction for the 
continuance of his prophetic service. Horeb is called the mount 
of God here, as it was proleptically in Ex. iii. 1, as the place 
where the Lord confirmed the covenant, already made with the 
patriarchs, to their descendants, and adopted the tribes of Israel 
as His people and made them into a kingdom of God. The 
distance from Beersheba to Horeb is about 200 miles. Conse- 
quently Elijah would not have required forty days to travel 
there, if the intention of God had been nothing more than to 
cause him to reach the mountain, or " to help him on his way " 
(Thenius). But in the strength of the food provided by the angel 
Elijah was not only to perform the journey to Horeb, but to 
wander in the desert for forty days and forty nights, i.e. forty 
whole days, as Moses had formerly wandered with all Israel for 
forty years ; that he might know that the Lord was still the same 
God who had nourished and sustained His whole nation in the 
desert with manna from heaven for forty years. And just as the 
forty years' sojourn in the desert had been to Moses a time for 
the trial of faith and for exercise in humility and meekness 
(Num. xii. 3), so was the strength of Elijah's faith to be tried 
by the forty days' wandering in the same desert, and to be puri- 
fied from all carnal zeal for the further fulfilment of His calling, 
in accordance with the divine wiU. What follows shows very 
clearly that this was the object of the divine guidance of Elijah 
(cf. Hengstenberg, Diss, on the Pentateuch, vol. i. 171, 172), 


Vers. 9-18. Ajjpcarance of God at Rorcb. — Ver. 9. When 
Elijah arrived at Horeb, he went into the cave (the definite 
article in •"''JV'?'^» with the obvious connection between the ap- 
pearance of God, which follows here, and that described in Ex. 
xxxiii. 12 sqq., points back to the cleft in the rock, "ilSfD n"}i53) 
in which Moses had stood while the glory of Jehovah passed by 
(see at Ex. xxxiii. 22), and there he passed the night. And 
behold the word of the Lord came to him (in the night ): " What 
doest thou here, Elijah ? " This question did not involve a 
reproof, as though Elijah had nothing to do there, but was 
simply intended to lead him to give utterance to the thoughts 
and feelings of his heart. — Ver. 1 0. Elijah answered : " I have 
striven zealously for Jehovah the God of hosts, for the children 
of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, destroyed Thine altars, and 
killed Thy prophets Avith the sword; and I only am left, and they 
seek my life." In these words there was not only the greatest 
despair expressed as to the existing condition of things, but also 
a carnal zeal which would gladly have called down the imme- 
diate vengeance of the Almighty upon all idolaters. The com- 
plaint contained, on the one hand, the tacit reproof that God had 
looked on quietly for so long a time at the conduct of the ungodly, 
and had suffered things to come to such an extremity, that he. 
His prophet, was the only one left of all the true worshippers of 
God, and, on the other hand, the indirect appeal that He would 
interpose at last with His penal judgments. Because Elijah 
had not seen the expected salutary fruits of his zeal for the 
Lord, he thought that all was lost, and in his gloomy state of 
mind overlooked what he had seen a short time before with his 
own eyes, that even in the neighbourhood of the king himself 
there lived a pious and faithful worshipper of Jehovah, viz. 
Obadiah, who had concealed a hundred prophets from the 
revenge of Jezebel, and that the whole of the people assembled 
upon Carmel had given glory to the Lord, and at his command 
had seized the prophets of Baal and put them to death, and 
therefore that the true worshippers of the Lord could not all 
have vanished out of Israel, nin^ ''0X3 jp N3ip recalls to mind the 
zeal of Phinehas (Num. xxv. 1 1 sqq.), which put an end to the 
whoredom of the sons of Israel with the daughters of Moab. 
But whereas Phinehas received the promise of an everlasting 
priesthood for his zeal, Elijah had seen so little fruit from his 
zeal against the worshippers of Baal, that they actually sought 

CHAP. XX. 1-22. 261 

office. — Ver. 20. Elislia understanding the sign, left the oxen 
standing, ran after Elijah, and said to him, " Let me kiss my 
father and my mother," i.e. take leave of my parents, and then I 
will follow thee. For the form Hi^t^'x see Ewald, § 228, &. As 
he has ploughed his earthly field with his twelve pair of oxen, 
he was now to plough the spiritual field of the twelve tribes of 
Israel (Luke ix. 62). Elijah answered, " Go, return, for what 
have I done to thee ? " ^'^^ 'H.? belong together, as in ver. 1 5 ; 
so that Elijah thereby gave him permission to return to his father 
and mother. "'S signifies for, not yd (Thenius) ; for there is no 
antithesis here, according to which "'S might serve for a more 
emphatic assurance (Ewald, § 330, h). The words "what have 
I done to thee ? " can only mean, I have not wanted to put any 
constraint upon thee, but leave it to thy free will to decide in 
favour of the prophetic calling. — Ver. 21. Then Elisha returned, 
took the pair of oxen with which he had been ploughing, sacri- 
ficed, i.e. slaughtered them (nir used figuratively), boiled the 
flesh with the plough, gave a farewell meal to the people (of his 
place of abode), i.e. his friends and acquaintance, and then fol- 
lowed Elijah as his servant, i.e. his assistant. The suffix in Q^ti'a 
refers to ip3[? ^^v*' ^^^^ is more precisely defined by the apposi- 
tion "'i^'IC', " namely, the flesh of the oxen." 


Even if the impression which the miracle upon Carmel had 
made upon Ahab, who was v/eak rather than malevolent, remained 
without any lasting fruit, the Lord did very quickly manifest His 
mercy towards him, by sending a prophet with a promise of vic- 
tory when the Syrians invaded his kingdom, and by giving the 
Syrians into his power. This victory was a fruit of the seven 
thousand who had not bent their knee before Baal. Elijah was 
also to learn from this that the Lord of Sabaoth had not yet 
departed from the rebellious kingdom. 

Vers. 1-22. The First Victory. — Ver. 1. Benhadad, the son 
of that Benhadad who had conquered several cities of Galilee in 
the reign of Baasha (ch. xv. 20), came up with a great army — 
there were thirty-two kings with him, with horses and chariots 
— and besieged Samaria. The thirty-two kings with him (inx) 
were vassals of Benhadad, rulers of difi'erent cities and the terri- 


tory belonging to them, just as in Joshua's time almost every 
city of Canaan had its king ; they were therefore hound to follow 
the army of Benhadad with their troops. — Vers. 2 sqq. During 
the siege Benhadad sent messengers into the city to Ahab with 
this demand : " Thy silver and thy gold are mine, and the best 
of thy wives and thy sons are mine ; " and Ahab answered with 
pusillanimity : " According to thy word, my lord king, I and all 
that is mine are thine." Benhadad was made still more audacious 
by this submissiveness, and sent messengers the second time with 
the following notice (ver. 6) : " Yea, if I send my servants to thee 
to-morrow at this time, and they search thy house and thy servants' 
houses, all that is the pleasure of thine eyes they will put into 
their hands and take." Cl^5 ""S does not mean " only = certainly " 
here (Ewald, ^356, h), for there is neither a negative clause nor 
an oath, but Q^ signifies if and "'S introduces the statement, as 
in ver. 5 ; so that it is only in the repetition of the "'S that the 
emphasis lies, which can be expressed by yea. The words of 
Ahab in ver. 9 show unquestionably that Benhadad demanded 
more the second time than the first. The words of the first 
demand, " Thy silver and thy gold," etc., were ambiguous. Ac- 
cording to ver. 5, Benhadad meant that Ahab should give him all 
this ; and Ahab had probably understood him as meaning that 
he was to give him what he required, in order to purchase peace ; 
but Benhadad had, no doubt, from the very first required an un- 
conditional surrender at discretion. He expresses this very 
clearly in the second demand, since he announces to Ahab the 
plunder of his palace and also of the palaces of his nobles. 
T'j''j; nonjo'ba, all thy costly treasures. It was from this second 
demand that Ahab first perceived what Benhadad's intention had 
been ; he therefore laid the matter before the elders of the land, 
i.e. the king's counsellors, ver. 7 : " Mark and see that this man 
seeketh evü," i.e. that he is aiming at our ruin, since he is not 
contented with the first demand, which I did not refuse him. — 
Ver. 8, The elders and all the people, i.e. the citizens of Samaria, 
advised that his demand should not be granted, nnxn iib) VOK^rrPN, 
" hearken not (to him), and thou wilt not be wuling " (Nvl is 
stronger than b^; yet compare Ewald, ^ 350, a) ; whereupon Ahab 
sent the messengers away with this answer, that he would sub- 
mit to the first demand, but that the second he could not grai^t. 
— Ver. 10. Benhadad then attempted to overawe the weak-minded 
Ahab by strong threats, sending fresh messengers to threaten him 

CHAP. XX. 1-22. 


with the destruction of the city, and confirming it by a solemn 
oath : " The gods do so to me — if the dust of Samaria should suf- 
fice for the hollow hands of all the people that are in my train." 
The meaning of this threat was probably that he would reduce 
the city to a'shes, so that scarcely a handful of dust should be 
left ; for his army was so powerful and numerous, that the rub- 
bish of the city would not suffice for every one to fill his hand. 

Ver. 11. Ahab answered this loud boasting with the proverb : 

" Let not him that girdeth himself boast as he that looseneth the 
airdle," equivalent to the Latin, -Jit; trkcmpJmm cartas ante vidoriam. 
—Ver. 12. After this reply of Ahab, Benhadad gave command 
to attack the city, while he was drinking with his kings in the 
booths. ni2D are booths made of branches, twigs, and shrubs, 
such as are still erected in the East for kings and generals in 
the place of tents {vid. EosenmüUer, Ä. u. K Morgenl. iii. pp. 
198-9). ^^''^: take your places against the city, sc. to storm it 
(for D''Jy in the sense of arranging the army for battle, see 1 Sam. 
xi. 11 and Job i. 17); not olKo^ofxijaare x^paKa (LXX.), or 
place the siege train.— Vers. 13, 14. While the Syrians were 
preparing for the attack, a prophet came to Ahab and told him 
that Jehovah would deliver this great multitude (of the enemy) 
into his hand that day, " that thou mayest know that I am 
Jehovah," and that through the retainers of the governors of the 
provinces (nii^lön "'-}b>, who had fled to Samaria), i.e. by a small 
and weak host. In the appearance of the prophet in Samaria 
mentioned here and in vers. 28 and 35 sqq. there is no such 
irreconcilable contradiction to ch. xviii. 4, 22, and xix. 10, as 
Thenius maintains ; it simply shows that the persecution of the 
prophets by Jezebel had somewhat abated, and therefore Elijah's 
labour had not remained Avithout fruit, '»n nbx^. ^o, who shall 
open the battle ? ids answers to the German cmf adeln (to string, 
unite; Eng. ^om battle — Te.) ; cf. 2 Chron. xiii. 3. — Vers. 15, 16. 
Ahab then mustered his fighting men: there were 232 servants 
of the provincial governors ; and the rest of the people, all the 
children of Israel, i.e. the whole of the Israelitish fighting men 
that were in Samaria (^^nn, ver. 19), amounted to 7000 men. 
And at noon, when Benhadad and his thirty-two auxiliary kings 
were intoxicated at a carousal in the booths ("li^K' nn'^ as in ch. 
xvi. 9), he ordered his men to advance, with the servants of the 
provincial governors taking the lead. The 7000 men are not 
to be regarded as the 7000 mentioned in ch. xix. 18, who had 


not "bowed their knee "before Baal, as Easlii supposes, altlaongli 
the sameness in the numbers is apparently not accidental ; but 
in both cases the number of the covenant people existing in Israel 
is indicated, though in ch. xix. 18 the 7000 constitute the 
iKXoyi] of the true Israel, whereas in the verse before us they are 
merely the fighting men whom the Lord had left to Ahab for the 
defence of his kingdom. — Vers. 17, 18. When Benhadad was 
informed of the advance of these fighting men, in his drunken 
arrogance he ordered them to be taken alive, whether they came 
with peaceable or hostile intent. — Vers. 19, 20. But they — 
the servants of the governors at the head, and the rest of the 
army behind — smote every one his man, so that the Arampeans 
fled, and Benhadad, pursued by the Israelites, escaped on a 
horse with some of the cavalry. D''K'^ö=i is in apposition ta 
"^I'T!?, " he escaped, and horsemen," sc. escaped with him, i.e. 
some of the horsemen of his retinue, whilst the king of Israel, 
going out of the city, smote horses and chariots of the enemy, 
who were not prepared for this sally of the besieged, and com- 
pletely defeated them. — Ver. 22. After this victory the prophet 
came to Ahab again, warning him to be upon his guard, for at 
the turn of the year, i.e. the next spring (see at 2 Sam. xi. 1), the 
Syrian king would make war upon him once more. 

Vers. 23-34. The Second Victory. — ^Vers. 23, 24. The 
servants (ministers) of Benhadad persuaded their lord to enter 
upon a fresh campaign, attributing the defeat they had sustained 
to two causes, which could be set aside, viz. to the supposed 
nature of the gods of Israel, and to the position occupied by 
the vassal-kings in the army. The gods of Israel were moun- 
tain gods : when fighting with them upon the mountains, the 
Syrians had had to fight against and succumb to the power of 
these gods, whereas on the plain they would conquer, because 
the power of these gods did not reach so far. This notion con- 
cerning the God of Israel the Syrians drew, according to their 
ethnical religious ideas, from the fact that the sacred places of 
this God — not only the temple at Jerusalem upon Moriah, but 
also the altars of the high places — were erected upon moun- 
tains ; since heathenism really had its mountain deities, i.e. 
believed in gods who lived upon mountains and protected and 
conducted all that took place upon them (cf. Dougttei Analcct. 
ss. i. 178, 179; Deyling, Obscrvv. ss. iii. pp. 97 sqq.; Winer, 

CHAP. XX. 23-34. 265 

hihi. R. W. i. p. 154), and in Syrophoenicia even mountains 
themselves had divine honours paid to them {viel. Movers, 
PlWniz. i. p. 667 sqq.). The servants of Benhadad were at 
any rate so far right, that they attributed their defeat to the 
assistance which God had given to His people Israel; and 
were only wrong in regarding the God of Israel as a local 
deity, whose power did not extend beyond the mountains. 
They also advised their lord (ver. 24) to remove the kings in 
his army from their position, and appoint governors in their 
stead (nins^ see ch. x. 15). The vassal-kings had most likely 
n,ot shown the desired self-sacrifice for the cause of their superior 
in the war. And, lastly (ver. 25), they advised the king to raise 
his army to its former strength, and then carry on the war in 
the plain. " Number thyself an army, like the army which 
has fallen from thee." "nC*^^^, " from with thee," rendered cor- 
rectly de tuis in the Vulgate, at least so far as the sense is con- 
cerned (for the form see Ewald, § 2 6 4, 6). But these prudently- 
devised measures Avere to be of no avail to the Syrians ; for 
they were to learn that the God of Israel was not a limited 
mountain-god. — Ver. 26. With the new year (see ver. 22) Ben- 
hadad advanced to Aphek again to fight against Israel. Äplick 
is neither the city of that name in the tribe of Asher (Josh. 
xix. 30 and xiii. 4), nor that on the mountains of Judah (Josh. 
XV. 53), but the city in the plain of Jezreel not far from Endor 
(1 Sam. xxix. 1 compared with xxviii. 4) ; since Benhadad had 
resolved that this time he would fight against Israel in the 
plain. — Ver. 27. The Israelites, mustered and provided for 
(i?3p3 : supplied with ammunition and provisions), marched to 
meet them, and encamped before them " like two little separate 
flocks of goats " {i.e. severed from the great herd of cattle). 
They had probably encamped upon slopes of the mountains by 
the plain of Jezreel, where they looked like two miserable flocks 
of goats in contrast with the Syrians who filled the land. — 
Ver. 28. Then the man of God (the prophet mentioned in vers. 
13 and 22) came again to Ahab with the word of God : " Be- 
cause the Syrians have said Jehovah is a mountain-God and not 
a God of the valleys, I will give this great multitude into thy 
hand, that ye may know that I am Jehovah." — Vers. 29, 30. 
After seven days the battle was fought. The Israelites smote 
the Syrians, a hundred thousand men in one day ; and when the 
rest fled to Aphek, into the city, the wall fell upon twenty-seven 


thousand men, iva Be KaKeivoi koI ovtoi fxaOcocriv, («9 BerjXaro'i 
■q TrXTjy)] (Theocloret). The flying Syrians had probably some of 
them climbed the wall of the city to offer resistance to the 
Israelites in pursuit, and some of them sought to defend them- 
selves by taking shelter behind it. And during the conflict, 
through the special interposition of God, the wall fell and 
buried the Syrians who were there. The cause of the fall is 
not given. Thenius assumes that it was undermined, in order 
to remove all idea of any miraculous working of the omni- 
potence of God. Benhadad himself fled into the city " room to 
room," i.e. from one room to another (cf ch. xxii. 25, 2 Chron. 
xviii. 24). — Vers. 31, 32. In this extremity his servants made 
the proposal to him, that trusting in the generosity of the kings 
of Israel, they should go and entreat Ahab to show favour to him. 
They clothed themselves in mourning apparel, and put ropes on 
their necks, as a sign of absolute surrender, and went to Ahab, 
praying for the life of their king. And Ahab felt so flattered 
by the fact that his powerful opponent was obliged to come and 
entreat his favour in this humble manner, that he gave him his 
life, without considering how a similar act on the part of Saul 
had been blamed by the Lord (1 Sam. xv. 9 sqq.). " Is he still 
alive ? He is my brother ! " was his answer to Benhadad' s ser- 
vants. — Ver. 3 3. And they laid hold of these words of Ahab as 
a good omen O^l"',?'!), and hastened and bade him explain {i.e. 
bade him quickly explain) ; ^3:£iDn, whether (it had been u.ttered) 
from himself, i.e. whether he had said it with all his heart 
(Maurer), and said, " Benhadad is thy brother." The «tt. Xey. t^pH, 
related to Y^i^, exuere, signifies ahstraliere, nudare, then figura- 
tively, aliquid facer e nude, i.e. sine prcetcxtu, or aliquid oiude, i.e. 
sine fuco atqiie amhagihus testari, eovfirmare (cf Fürst, Concord. 
p. 398); then in the Talmud, to give an explanation {vid. Ges. 
thes. p. 476). This is perfectly applicable here, so that there is 
no necessity to alter the text, even if we thereby obtained a 
better meaning than Thenius with his explanation, " they tore it 
out of him," which he takes to be equivalent to " they laid hold 
of him by his word " (! !). Ahab thereupon ordered Benhadad to 
come and get up into his chariot. — Ver. 34. Benliadad, in order 
to keep Ahab in this favourable mood, promised to give him 
back at once the cities which his father had taken away from 
Ahab's father, and said, " Thou mayest make thyself roads in 
Damascus, as my father made in Samaria." There is no account 

CHAP. XX. 23-34. 267 

of any war between Omri and Benhadad i.; it is simply stated 
in ch. XV. 20 that Benhadad i. had taken away several cities in 
Galilee from the Israelites during the reign of Baasha. This 
cannot be the war intended here, however, not indeed because 
of the expression T^i< rixo^ since ^^? might certainly be taken in 
a broader sense as referring to Baasha as an ancestor of Ahab, 
but chiefly on account of the statement that Benhadad had 
made himself roads in Samaria. This points to a war between 
Omri and Benhadad, after the building of Samaria into the 
capital of the kingdom, of which no account has been preserved. 
r? niifn D''B'^ " to make himself roads," cannot be understood as 
referring either to fortifications and military posts, or to roads 
for cattle and free pasturage in the Syrian kingdom, since 
Samaria and Damascus were cities ; nor can it signify the estab- 
lishment of custom-houses, but only the clearing of portions of 
the city for the purpose of trade and free intercourse (Cler., Ges., 
etc.), or for the establishment of bazaars, which would occupy 
a whole street (Böttcher, Thenius ; see also Movers, Fhönizier, 
ii. 3, p. 135). — "And I," said Ahab, "will let thee go upon a 
covenant " (a treaty on oath), and then made a covenant with 
him, giving him both life and liberty. Before ''^^'l we must sup- 
ply in thought ^^^^ ""P^'Ü. This thoroughly impolitic proceed- 
ing on the part of Ahab arose not merely from a natural and 
inconsiderate generosity and credulity of mind (G. L. Bauer, 
Thenius), but from an unprincipled weakness, vanity, and blind- 
ness. To let a cruel and faithless foe go unpunished, was not 
only the greatest harshness to his own subjects, but open 
opposition to God, who had announced to him the victory, and 
delivered the enemy of His people into his hand.-^ Even if 
Ahab had no express command from God to put Benhadad to 
death, as Saul had in 1 Sam. xv. 3, it was his duty to punish 
this bitter foe of Israel with death, if only to secure quiet for 
his own subjects ; as it was certainly to be foreseen that Ben- 

1 Clericus is correct in the explanation winch he has given : " Although, 
therefore, this act of Ahab had all the appearance of clemency, it was not 
an act of true clemency, which ought not to be shown towards violent 
aggressors, who if released will do much more injury than before, as Ben- 
hadad really did. God had given the victory to Ahab, and delivered the 
guilty king into his hands, that he might inflict punishment upon him, not 
that he might treat him kindly. And Ahab, who had allowed so many 
prophets to be slain by his wife Jezebel, had no great clemency at other 


hadad would not keep the treaty which had been wrung from 
him by force, as was indeed very speedily proved (see ch. 
xxii. 1). 

Vers. 35-43. Tlic verdict of God upon AhaVs conduct toivards 
Benliadad. — Vers. 35, 36. A disciple of the prophets received 
instructions from God, to announce to the king that God would 
punish him for letting Benhadad go, and to do this, as Nathan 
had formerly done in the case of David (2 Sam. xii. 1 sqq.), by 
means of a symbolical action, whereby the king was led to pro- 
nounce sentence iipon himself The disciple of the prophets 
said to his companion, " in the word of Jehovah," i.e. by virtue 
of a revelation from God (see at ch. xiii. 2), " Smite me ;" and 
when the friend refused to smite him, he announced to him 
that because of this disobedience to the voice of the Lord, after 
his departure from him a lion would meet him and smite him, 
i.e. would kill him ; a threat which was immediately fulfilled. 
This occurrence shows with how severe a punishment all oppo- 
sition to the commandments of God to the prophets was followed, 
as a warning for others ; just as in the similar occurrence in 
ch. xiii. 24. — Ver. 27. The disciple of the prophets then asked 
another to smite him, and he smote him, " smiting and wound- 
ing," i.e. so that he not only smote, but also wounded him {vid. 
Ewald, § 280, a). He wished to be smitten and wounded, not 
to disguise himself, or that he might be able to appeal loudly 
to the king for help to obtain his rights, as though he had 
suffered some wrong (Ewald), nor merely to assume the decep- 
tive appearance of a warrior returning from the battle (Thenius), 
but to show to Ahab symbolically what he had to expect from 
Benhadad whom he had released (C. a Lap., Calm., etc.). — Ver. 
38. With these wounds he placed himself in the king's path, 
and disguised himself (ti'snn"' as in 1 Sam. xxviii. 8) by a ban- 
dage over his eyes, "i??*^ does not mean ashes (Syi'., Vulg., Luth., 
etc.), but corresponds to the Chaldee *^'',^V^, head-band, reXaficov 
(LXX.), — Vers. 39, 40. When the king passed by, he cried 
out to him and related the following fictitious tale : He 
had gone to the war, and a man had come aside to him ("i^D 
as in Ex. iii. 3, Judg. xiv. 8, etc.), and had given a man (a 
prisoner) into his care with this command, that he was to watch 
him, and if he should be missing he was to answer for liis life 
with his own life, or to pay a talent of silver (as a punish- 
ment). The rest may be easily imagined, namely the request 

CHAP. XXI. 1-15. 269 

to be saved from this punishment. Ahab answered (ver. 40), I? 
?jt3Q^bj " thus thy sentence, thou hast decided," i.e. thou hast 
pronounced thine own sentence, and must endure the j)unish- 
ment stated. — Vers. 41, 42. Then the disciple of the prophets 
drew the bandage o[uickly from his eyes, so that the king 
recognised him as a prophet, and announced to him the word 
of the Lord : " Because thou hast let go out of thy hand the 
man of my ban {i.e. Benhadad, who has fallen under my ban), 
thy life shall stand for his life, and thy people for his people," 
i.e. the destruction to which Benhadad was devoted will fall 
upon thee and thy people. The expression ''p^n"tJ'''X (man of 
my ban) showed Ahab clearly enough what ought to have been 
done with Benhadad. A person on whom the ban was pro- 
nounced was to be put to death (Lev. xxvii. 29). — Ver 43. 
The king therefore went home, and returned sullen (iD, from 
lip) and morose to Samaria. 


After these events Ahab was seized with such a desire for a 
vineyard which was situated near his palace at Jezreel, that 
when Naboth, the owner of the vineyard, refused to part with 
his paternal inheritance, he became thoroughly dejected, until 
his wife Jezebel paved the way for the forcible seizure of the 
desired possession by the shameful execution of Naboth (vers. 
1—15). But when Ahab was preparing to take possession of 
the vineyard, Elijah came to meet him with the announcement, 
that both he and his wife would be visited by the Lord with a 
bloody death for this murder and robbery, and that his idolatry 
would be punished with the extermination of all his house 
(vers. 16-26). Aliab was so affected by this, that he humbled 
himself before God ; whereupon the Lord told Elijah, that the 
threatened judgment should not burst upon his house till after 
Ahab's death (vers. 27-29). 

Vers. 1—15. — Ahab wanted to obtain possession of the vine- 
yard of Naboth, which was in Jezreel (^^^. refers to 0"}!), near 
the palace of the king, either in exchange for another vineyard 
or for money, that he might make a vegetable garden of it. 
Erom the fact that Ahab is called the king of Samaria we may 
infer that Jezreel, the present Zerin (see at Josh. xix. 18), was 
only a summer residence of the king.^Ver. 3. Naboth refused 


to part with the vineyard, because it was the inheritance of his 
fathers, that is to say, on religious grounds (nvT-o 7 np^n)^ be- 
cause the sale of a paternal inheritance was forbidden in the 
law (Lev. xxv. 23-28; Num. xxxvi. 7 sqq.). He was there- 
fore not merely at liberty as a personal right to refuse the 
king's proposal, but bound by the commandment of God. — 
Ver. 4. Instead of respecting this tender feeling of shrinking 
from the transgression of the law and desisting from his covet- 
ing, Ahab went home, i.e. to Samaria (c£ ver. 8), sullen and 
morose (^Vtl. "iD as in ch. xx. 43), lay down upon his bed, turned 
his face (viz. to the wall; c£ 2 Kings xx. 2) — " after the manner 
of sorrowful persons, who shrink from and refuse all conversa- 
tion, and even the sight of others " (Seb. Schmidt) — and did 
not eat. This childish mode of giving expression to his dis- 
pleasure at ISTaboth's refusal to comply with his wish, shows 
very clearly that Ahab was a man sold under sin (ver. 2 0), who 
only wanted the requisite energy to display the wickedness of 
his heart in vigorous action. — Vers. 5-7. When Jezebel learned 
the cause of Aliab's ill-humour, she said to him, " Thou, dost 
thou now exercise royal authority over Israel ? " nriK is placed 
first for the sake of emphasis, and the sentence is to be taken as 
an ironical question, as it has been by the LXX. " I (if thou 
hast not courage enough to act) wiU procure thee the vineyard 
of Naboth the Jezreehte." — ^Vers. 8, 9. The shameless woman 
then wrote a letter in the name of Ahab, sealed it below with 
the royal seal, which probably bore the king's signature and 
was stamped upon the writing instead of signing the name, as is 
done at the present day among Arabs, Turks, and Persians {vid. 
Paulsen, Beg. der Morgenl. p. 295 sqq.), to give it the character 
of a royal command (cf. Esther viii. 13, Dan. vi. 17), and sent 
this letter (the Chetlub DnSDn is correct, and the Keri has 
arisen from a misunderstanding) to the elders and nobles of his 
town {i.e. the members of the magistracy, Deut. xvi. 18), who 
lived near Naboth, and therefore had an opportunity to watch 
his mode of life, and appeared to be the most suitable persons to 
institute the charge that was to be brought against him. The 
letter ran thus : " Proclaim a fast, and set JSTaboth at the head of 
the people, and set two worthless men opposite to him, that they 
may give evidence against him: Thou hast blasphemed God 
and king ; and lead him out and stone him, that he may die." 
Jezebel ordered the fasting for a sign, as though some public 

CHAP. XXI. 16-26. 271 

crime or lieavy load of guilt rested upon the city, for which it 
was necessary that it should humble itself before God (1 Sam. 
vii. 6). The intention was, that at the very outset the appear- 
ance of justice should be given to the legal process about to be 
instituted in the eyes of all the citizens, and the stamp of 
veracity impressed upon the crime of which N'aboth was to be 
accused, oyn i^^Nna . . . n^E^'in^ " seat him at the head of the 
people," i.e. bring him to the court of justice as a defendant 
before all the people. The expression may be explained from 
the fact, that a sitting of the elders was appointed for judicial 
business, in which Naboth and the witnesses who were to 
accuse him of blasphemy took part seated. To preserve the 
appearance of justice, two witnesses were appointed, according 
to the law in Deut. xvii. 6, 7, xix. 16, Num. xxxv. 30; but 
worthless men, as at the trial of Jesus (Matt. xxvi. 60). 'H']? 
'^^O-'M, to bless God, i.e. to bid Him farewell, to dismiss Him, as 
in Job ii. 9, equivalent to blaspheming God. God and king 
are mentioned together, like God and prince in Ex. xxii. 27, 
to make it possible to accuse Naboth of transgressing this law, 
and to put him to death as a blasphemer of God, according to 
Deut. xiii. 1 1 and xvii. 5, where the punishment of stoning is 
awarded to idolatry as a practical denial of God. Blaspheming 
the king is not to be taken as a second crime to be added to the 
blasphemy of God; but blaspheming the king, as the visible 
representative of God, was eo ipso also blaspheming God. — 
Vers. 11-13. The elders of Jezreel executed this command 
without delay ; a striking proof both of deep moral corruption 
and of slavish fear of the tyranny of the ruthless queen.- — 
Vers. 14, 15. When the report of Naboth's execution was 
brought to her, she called upon Ahab to take possession of his 
vineyard (^2 = ^1, Deut. ii. 24). As Naboth's sons were put 
to death at the same time, according to 2 Kings ix. 26, the 
king was able to confiscate his property ; not, indeed, on any 
rule laid down in the Mosaic law, but according to a principle 
involved in the very idea of high treason. Since, for example, 
in the case of blasphemy the property of the criminal was 
forfeited to the Lord as cJierem (Deut. xiii. 16), the property 
of traitors was regarded as forfeited to the king. 

Vers. 16-26. But when Ahab went down to Jezreel to 
take possession of the vineyard of Naboth, Elijah came to meet 
him by the command of God, with the word of the Lord, 


" Hast thou murdered and also taken possession ? " The ques- 
tion served to sharpen his conscience, since Ahab was obliged 
to admit the fact, piob'ii nu'N means " who lives at Samaria," 
for when Elijah came to meet him, Ahab was in Jezreel. 
Elijah then said to him still further : " Thus saith the Lord : 
In the place where the dogs have licked the blood of Naboth, 
will they also lick thine, yea, thy blood." nnx Da serves as 
an emphatic repetition of the suffix (cf Ges. § 121, 3). This 
threat was only so far fulfilled upon Ahab, from the compassion 
of God, and in consequence of his humbling himself under the 
divine judgment (vers. 27—29), that dogs licked his blood at 
Samaria when the carriage was washed in which he had died (ch. 
xxii. 38) ; but it was literally fulfilled in the case of his son 
Joram, whose corpse was cast into Naboth's piece of ground 
(2 Kings ix. 25, 26). — Ver. 20. Ahab answered, '^ Hast thou 
found me (met with me), mine enemy ? " (not, hast thou ever 
found me thine enemy ? — Vulg., Luth.) i.e. dost thou come to 
meet me again, mine enemy ? He calls Elijah his enemy, to 
take the sting from the prophet's threat as an utterance caused 
by personal enmity. But Elijah fearlessly replied, " I have 
found (thee), because thou seilest thyself to do evil in the eyes 
of the Lord." He then announced to him, in vers. 21, 22, the 
extermination of his house, and to Jezebel, as the principal 
sinner, the most ignominious end (ver. 23). V"iri nirj;? "izionn^ 
to sell one's self to do evil, i.e. to give one's self to evil so as to 
have no will of one's own, to make one's self the slave of evil 
(cf. ver. 25, 2 Kings xvii. 17). The consequence of this is 
ireirpaadaL viro ttjv ajxaprlav (Rom. vii. 14), sin exercising un- 
limited power over the man who gives himself up to it as a 
slave. Eorvers. 21, 22, see ch. xiv. 10, 11, xv. 29, 30, xvi. 3, 
12, 13. The threat concerning Jezebel (ver. 23) was literally 
fulfilled, according to 2 Kings ix. 3 sqq. -'H, written defectively 
for ?''n, as in 2 Sam. xx, 15, is properly the open space by the 
town-wall, 2^omcerium. Instead of -'na we have P^ns in the 
repetition of this threat in 2 Kings ix. 10, 36, 37, and con- 
sequently Thenius and others propose to alter the ^'H here. But 
there is no necessity for this, as V?^"^, on the portion, i.e. the 
town-land, of Jezreel (not, in the field at Jezreel), is only a more 
general epithet denoting the locality, and *'[} is proved to be tlie 
original word by the LXX. — Vers. 25 and 26 contain a reflec- 
tion on the part of the historian concerning Ahab's ungodly 

CHAP. XXII. 1-14. 273 

conduct, whereby he brought such an ignominious end upon 
himself and his house. '1^1 ^]^ ^^ PI, " only there has not been 
(one) like Ahab," i.e. there was no one else like Ahab, " who 
sold himself," etc. '"'^9[' for •^^''Dri, from tad, to entice, to seduce 
or lead astray (cf. Ewald, § 114, a, and Ges. § 72, Anm. 6). 
nyn*l, and he acted abominably. Amorites : for Canaanites, as in 
Gen. XV. 16, etc. 

Vers. 27-29. This terrible threat made such an impression 
upon Ahab, that he felt deep remorse, and for a time at least 
was sincerely penitent. Kending the clothes, putting on the 
mourning garment of hair (P'^), and fasting, are frequently 
mentioned as external signs of humiliation before God or of 
deep mourning on account of sin. t^i* ^\P., he walked about 
lightly (slowly), like one in deep trouble. This repentance was 
neither hypocritical, nor purely external ; but it was sincere 
even if it was not lasting and produced no real conversion. 
For the Lord Himself acknowledged it to be humiliation before 
Him (ver. 29), and said to Elijah, that because of it He would 
not bring the threatened calamity upon Ahab's house in his own 
lifetime, but only in the days of his son. ''3X for i^"'?^, as in 
ver. 21. 


Vers. 1-40. Allied Campaign of Ahab and Jehoshaphat 

pare 2 Chron. xviii. 2-34). — Ver. 1. " And they rested three 
years ; there was no war between Aram and Israel." 3K^) here 
is to keep quiet, to undertake nothing, as in Judg. v. 17, etc. 
The subject to i2'<Ji*l is Aram and Israel mentioned in the second 
clause. The length of time given here points back to the end 
of the war described in ch. xx. — Vers. 2-4. In the third year 
(not necessarily " towards the end of it," as Thenius supposes, for 
Jehoshaphat's visit preceded the renewal of the war) Jehoshaphat 
visited the king of Israel, with whom he had already formed 
a marriage alliance by marrying his son to Ahab's daughter 
(2 Chron. xviii. 1; 2 Kings viii. 18). Ahab then said to his 
servants that the king of Syria had kept the city of Ramoth in 
Gilead (probably situated on the site of the present Szalt : see at 



Dent. iv. 43), wliich he ought to have given up, according to the 
conditions of the peace in ch. xx. 34, and asked Jehoshaphat 
whether he would go with him to the war against Eamoth, which 
the latter promised to do. " I as thou, my people as thy people, 
my horses as thy horses;" i.e. I am at thy service with the whole 
of my military power. In the place of the last words we have 
therefore in the Chronicles nnnpsa '^'0V\ " I am with thee in the 
war," i.e. I will assist thee in the war. — ^Vers. 5, 6. < But as Jeho- 
shaphat wished also to inquire the word of the Lord concerning 
the war, Ahab gathered together about 400 prophets, who all 
predicted as out of one mouth a prosperous result to the cam- 
paign./' These 400 prophets are neither the 400 prophets of 
Asherali who had not appeared upon Carmel when Elijah was 
there (ch. xviii. 19, 20), nor prophets of Baal, as some of the 
earlier commentators supposed, since Ahab could not inquire of 
them nini "iitdn. On the other hand, they were not " true 
prophets of Jehovah and disciples of the prophets " (Cler., Then.), 
but prophets of the Jehovah worshipped under the image of an 
ox, who practised prophesying as a trade without any call from 
God, and even if they were not in the pay of the idolatrous 
kings of Israel, were at any rate in their service. . For Jehosha- 
phat did not recognise them as genuine prophets "of Jehovah, 
but inquired whether there was not such a prophet still in exist- 
ence (ver. 7), that they might inquire the will of the Lord of 
him (iniso). — Ver. 8. Ahab then named to him one, but one 
whom he hated, because he never prophesied good concerning 
him, but only evü,^ namely, Micafi the son of Jimlah. ' Josephus 
and the Eabbins suppose him to have been the prophet, whose 
name is not given, who had condemned Ahab in the previous 
war for setting Benhadad at liberty (ch. xx. 35 sqq.). But there 
is no foundation for this, and it is mere conjecture. At any rate, 
"■'Ahab had already come to know Micah as a prophet of evil, and, 
as is evident from ver. 26, had had him imprisoned on account 
of an unwelcome prophecy. Ahab's dislike to this prophet had 
its root in the belief, which was connected with heathen notions 
of prophecy and conjuring, "that the prophets stood in such a 
relation to the Deity that the latter necessarily fulfilled their will; 
a belief which had arisen from the fact that the predictions of 
true prophets always came to pass (see at Num. xxii. 6 and 1 7). 
^ Just as Agamemnon says to Calchas iu IL iv. 106 : ^«i/t/ xuhuv^ ov 'jruTsroTs 

CHAP. XXII. 15-28. 275 

— Ver. 9. By Jehoshaphat's desire, Ahab nevertheless sent a 
chamberlain (D"'"!? ; see at 1 Sam. viii. 15 and Gen. xxxvii. 36) 
to fetch Micah (^"J^^, bring quickly).— Vers. 10-12. In the 
meantime the prophets of the calves continued to prophesy 
success before the two kings, who sat upon thrones " clothed 
in robes," i.e. in royal attire, upon a floor in front of the gate of 
Samaria. T}}, a threshing-floor, i.e. a levelled place in the open 
air. In order to give greater effect to their announcement, one 
of them, named Zedekiyali the son of Cnaanah, made himself 
iron horns, probably iron spikes held upon the head (Thenius), 
and said, " With these wilt thou thrust down Aram even to 
destruction," This symbolical action was an embodiment of 
the figure used by Moses in the blessing of Joseph (Deut. xxxiii. 
17): " Buffalo horns are his (Joseph's) horns, with them he 
thrusts down nations " [vid. Hengstenberg, Beitrr. ii. p. 13 1), 
and was intended to transfer to Ahab in the case before them 
that splendid promise which applied to the tribe of Ephraim. 
But the pseudo-prophet overlooked the fact that the fulfil- 
ment of the whole of the blessing of Moses was dependent upon 
fidelity to the Lord. All the rest of the prophets adopted the 
same tone, saying, " Go to Eamoth, and prosper," i.e. and thou 
wilt prosper. (On this use of tv/o imperatives see Ges. § 130, 2). 
— Vers. 13, 14. 'The messenger who fetched Micah tried on the 
way to persuade him to prophesy success to the king as the other 
prophets had done ; but Micah replied with a solemn oath, that 
he would only speak what Jehovah said to him. 

Vers. 15-28. MicaJis projjJicci/ concerning the war, and his 
testimony against the lying ;prophcts. — Vers. 15, 16. When Micah 
had come into the i^resence of the king, he replied to his ques- 
tion, ''Shall we go against Eamoth ? " etc., in just the same words 
as the pseudo-prophets^ to show the king how he would speak if 
he were merely guided by personal considerations, as the others 
were. From the verbal agreement in his reply, and probably 
also from the tone in which he spoke, Ahab perceived that his 
words were ironical, and adjured him to speak only truth in the 
name of Jehovah. Micah then told him what he had seen in the 
spirit (ver. 17) : "I saw all Israel scatter itself upon the moun- 
tains, as sheep, that have no shepherd ;" and then added the word 
of the Lord : " These have no master ; let them return every one 
to his house in peace." That is to say, Ahab would fall in the 
war against Eamoth in Gilead, and his army scatter itself with- 


out a leader upon the mountains of Gilead, and then every one 
would return home, without being pursued and slain by the enemy ._5) 
Whilst Zedekiyah attempted to give greater emphasis to his pro- 
phecy by symbolically transferring to Ahab's enterprise the success 
predicted by Moses, Micah, on the other hand, showed to the king 
out of the law what would really take place in the intended war, 
namely, that very state of things which ]\Ioses before his departure 
sought to avert from Israel, by the prayer that the Lord would set 
a man over the congregation to lead them out and in, that the 
congregation might not become as sheep that have no shepherd 
(Num. xxvii. 16, 17). — Ver. 18.' But although Ahab had asked 
for a true word of the Lord, yet he endeavoured to attribute the 
unfavourable prophecy to Micah's personal enmity, saying to 
Jehoshaphat, " Did I not tell thee that he prophesies nothing 
good concerning me, but only evil (misfortune) ? " — A^ers. 1 9 sqg^ 

''Micah was not led astray, however, by this, but disclosed to him 
by a further revelation the hidden ground of the false prophecy 
of his 400 prophets.' '131 yipc^ jsp, "therefore, sc. because thou 
thinkest so, hear the word of Jehovah : I saw the Lord sit upon 
His throne, and all the army of heaven stand around Him (^ö■y 
Ivy as in Gen. xviii. 8, etc.) on His right hand and on His left. 
And the Lord said, Who will persuade Ahab to go up and fall 
at Eamoth in Gilead ? and one spake so, the other so ; and the 
spirit came forth (from the ranks of the rest), stood before 
Jehovah, and said, I will persuade him. . . I will go out and be a 
lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And He (Jehovah) 
said. Persuade, and thou wilt also be able ; go forth and do so. 
And now Jehovah has put a lying spirit into the mouth of all 
his prophets ; but Jehovah (Himself) has spoken evil (through 
me) concerning thee." ' The vision described by Micah was not 
merely a subjective drapery introduced by the prophet, but a 
simple communication of the real inward vision by Avhich the 
fact had been revealed to him, that the prophecy of those 400 
prophets was inspired by a lying spirit. ""The spirit (CI"';') which 
inspired these prophets as a lying spirit is neither Satan, nor any 

! evil spirit whatever, but, as the definite article and the whole of 
the context show, the personified spirit of prophecy, which is only 
so far a irvevfia aKadaprov tyj^ irXdvr]'; (Zech. xiii. 2 ; 1 John 
iv. 6) and under the influence of Satan as it works as "ip^ nn 
in accordance with the will of God. For even the jDredictions 
of the false prophets, as we may see from the passage before us, 

CHAP. XXII. 15-28, 277 

and also from Zech. xiii. 2 and the scriptural teaching in other 
passages concerning the spiritual principle of evil, were not mere 
inventions of human reason and fancy ; but the false prophets 
as well as the true were governed by a supernatural spiritual 
principle, and, according to divine appointment, were under the 
influence of the evil spirit in the service of falsehood, just as the 
true prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit in the service of 
the Lord, The manner in which the supernatural influence of 
the lying spirit upon the false prophets is brought out in Micah's 
vision is, that the spirit of prophecy (pi^M^n nil) offers itself to 
deceive Ahab as "'i^ti' nn in the false prophets. Jehovah sends 
this spirit, inasmuch as the deception of Ahab has been inflicted 
upon him as a judgment of God for his unbelief. But there is 
no statement here to the effect that this lying spirit proceeded 
from Satan, because the object of the prophet was simply to bring 
out the working of God in the deception practised upon Ahab by 
his prophets. — The words of Jehovah, " Persuade Ahab, thou wilt 
be able," and " Jehovah has put a lying spirit," etc., are not to 
be understood as merely expressing the permission of God,,^s the 
fathers and the earlier theologians suppose. According to the 
Scriptures, God does work evil, but without therefore willing it 
and bringing forth sin. The prophet's view is founded upon this 
thought : Jehovah has ordained that Ahab, being led astray by a 
prediction of his prophets inspired by the spirit of lies, shall enter 
upon the war, that he may find therein the punishment of Ms 
unaodliness. As he would not listen to the word of the Lord in 
the mouth of His true servants, God had given him up {irapedcoKev, 
Eom. i. 24, 26, 28) in his unbelief to the working of the spirits 
of lying. But that this did not destroy the freedom of the human 
will is evident from the expression ^^^^_, " thou canst ^persuade 
him," and still more clearly from baw DS, " thou wilt also be 
able," since they both presuppose the possibility of resistance to 
temptation on the part of man. \ 

Zedekiah was so enraged at this unveiling of the spirit of 
lying by which the pseudo-prophets were impelled, that he 
smote Micah upon the cheek, and said (ver. 24): " Where did the 
Spirit of Jehovah depart from me, to speak to thee V To nr^x 
the Chronicles add as an explanation, Ti^J] : " by what way had 
he gone from me ?" (cf. 2 Kings iii. 8, and Ewald, § 326, a.) 
Zedekiah was conscious that he had not invented his prophecy 
himself, and therefore it was that he rose up with such audacity 


against Micah ; but he only proved that it was not the Spirit of 
God which inspired him. If he had been inspired by the Spirit 
of the Lord, he would not have thought it necessary to try and 
give effect to his words by rude force, but he would have left the 
defence of his cause quietly to the Lord, as Micah did, who calmly 
replied to the zealot thus (ver. 25) : "Thou wilt see it (that the 
Spirit of Jehovah had departed from thee) on the day when 
thou shalt go from chamber to chamber to hide thyself" (i^?nri 
for ^?nn^ see Ges. § "75, Anm. 21). This was probably fulfilled 
at the close of the war, when Jezebel or the friends of Ahab 
made the pseudo-prophets suffer for the calamitous result ; 
although there is nothing said about this in our history, which 
confines itself to the main facts. — Vers. 26, 27. But Ahab had 
Micah taken back to Amon the commander of the city, and to 
Joash the king's son, with the command to put him in prison 
and to feed him with bread and water of affliction, till he 
came safe back (Qi-'*^?) from the war. From the expression 
^'"'?''^!Ü, " lead him back," it evidently follows that Micah had 
been fetched from the commander of the city, who had no 
doubt kept him in custody, as the city-prison was probably in 
his house. The opposite cannot be inferred from the words 
" put him into the prison ;" for this command, when taken in 
connection with what follows, simply enjoins a more severe 
imprisonment. — Ver. 28. In his consciousness of the divine 
truth of his announcement, Micah left the king with these 
words : " If thou come back safe, Jehovah has not spoken by 
me. Hear it, all ye nations." ^^W does not mean people, for 
it is only in the antique language of the Pentateuch that the 
word has this meaning, but nations ; and Micah thereby in- 
vokes not only the persons present as witnesses of the truth of 
his words, but the nations generally, Israel and the surround- 
ing nations, who were to discern the truth of his word from the 
events which would follow (see at Mic. i. 2). 

Vers. 29—40. The issue of the war, and death of Ahah. — ^Ver, 
29. Ahab, disregarding Micah's prophecy, went on with the ex- 
pedition, and was even joined by Jehoshaphat, of whom we 
should have thought that, after what had occurred, he at any 
rate would have drawn back. He was probably deterred by 
false shame, however, from retracting the unconditional promise 
of help which he had given to Ahab, merely in consequence 
of a prophetic utterance, wliich Ahab had brought against his 

CHAP. XXII. 29-40. 279 

own person from Micah's subjective dislike. But Jehoshapliat 
narrowly escaped paying the penalty for it with his life (ver. 
32), and on his fortunate return to Jerusalem had to listen to a 
severe reproof from the prophet Jehu in consequence (2 Chron. 
xix. 2). — Vers. 30, 31. And even Ahab could not throw off a 
certain fear of the fulfilment of Micah's prophecy. He there- 
fore resolved to go to the battle in disguise, that he might not 
be recognised by the enemy. N*31 ^^l'?'? (" disguise myself and 
go into the battle," i.e. I will go into the battle in disguise) : an 
infin. dbsol., — a broken but strong form of expression, which is 
frequently used for the imperative, but very rarely for the first 
person of the voluntative (cf. Ewald, § 328, c), and which is 
probably employed here to express the anxiety that impelled 
Ahab to take so much trouble to ensure his own safety. 
(Luther has missed the meaning in his version ; in the 
Chronicles, on the contrary, it is correctly given.) t^'?^ ^^^\ 
" but do thou put on thy clothes." These words are not to be 
taken as a command, but simply in this sense : " thou mayest 
(canst) put on thy (royal) dress, since there is no necessity for 
thee to take any such precautions as I have to take." There 
is no ground for detecting any cunning, vafritics, on the part of 
Aliab in these words, as some of the older commentators have 
done, as though he wished thereby to divert the predicted evil 
from himself to Jehoshaphat. But we may see very clearly that 
Ahab had good reason to be anxious about his life, from the 
command of the Syrian king to the captains of his war-chariots 
(ver. 31) to fight chiefly against the king of Israel. We can- 
not infer from this, however, that Ahab was aware of the com- 
mand. The measure adopted by him may be sufficiently 
accounted for from his fear of the fulfilment of Micah's evil 
prophecy, to which there may possibly have been added some 
personal offence that had been given on his part to the Syrian 
king in connection with the negotiations concerning the sur- 
render of Ramoth, which had no doubt preceded the war. The 
thirty-two commanders of the war-chariots and cavalry are, no 
doubt, the commanders who had taken the place of the thirty- 
two kings (ch. xxi. 24). " Fight not against small and great, 
but against the king of Israel only," i.e. endeavour above all 
others to fight against the king of Israel and to slay him. — 
Vers. 32, 33. And when the leaders of the war-chariots saw 
Jehoshaphat in the battle in his royal clothes, they took him 


for the king of Israel (Aliab), and pressed upon him. Then 
Jehoshaphat cried out ; and from this they perceived that he 
was not the king of Israel, and turned away from him. i^"!^!]] 
'1J1 ijK ll^X, " and they thought, it is only (i.e. no other than) 
the king of Israel." V?i; ^"ip^, " they bent upon him." Instead 
of this we have in the Chronicles V^y I3b\ " they surrounded 
him," and Thenius proposes to alter our text to this ; but there 
is no necessity for doing so, as niD also occurs in a similar sense 
and connection in ch. xx. 39. How far Jehoshaphat was saved 
by his crying out, is not precisely stated. He probably cried 
out to his followers to come to his aid, from which the Syrians 
discovered that he was not the king of Israel, whom they were 
in search of The chronicler adds (ch. ii. 18, 31): "and the 
Lord helped him and turned them off from him ;" thus believ- 
ingly tracing the rescue of the king to its higher causality, 
though without our having any right to infer from this that 
Jehoshaphat cried aloud to God for help, which is not implied 
in the words of the Chronicles. — Ver. 34. But notwithstanding 
the precaution he had taken, Ahab did not escape the judgment 
of God. " A man drew his bow in his simplicity " (iJsnp as in 
2 Sam. XV. 11), i.e. without trying to hit any particular man, 
" and shot the king of Israel between the skirts and the coat 
of mail." Q''i?91 are "joints by which the iron thorax was 
attached to the hanging skirt, which covered the abdomen " 
(Cler.). The true coat of mail covered only the breast, to some- 
where about the last rib ; and below this it had an appendage 
(skirts) consisting of moveable joints. Between this appendage 
and the true coat of mail there was a groove through which 
the arrow passed, and, entering the abdomen, inflicted upon the 
king a mortal wound ; so that he said to his charioteer : "^SiT} 
Ty^, vcrtc manics tuas, i.e. turn round (cf 2 Kings ix. 23). The 
ChctMb T'T (plural) is the only correct reading, since the driver 
held the reins in both his hands. ""^yCl,? "'•? • ^^^ I ^^^ wounded. 
■ — Ver. 35. "And the conflict ascended," i.e. became more 
violent. The use of the verb npy in this sense may be ac- 
counted for on the supposition that it is founded upon the 
figure of a rising stream, which becomes more and more impe- 
tuous the higher it rises (vid. Isa. viii. 7). " And the king was 
stationed {i.e. remained or kept himself in an upright posture) 
upon the chariot before the Syrians," that he might not dis- 
hearten his soldiers, " and died in the evening, and poured the 

CHAP. XXII. 41-50. 281 

blood of the wounds in the middle hollow (P''[}) of the chariot." 
— Yer. 36. Towards sunset the cry went through the army 
('">.? r"?Ü', the army drawn up in battle array), " Every one into 
his city and into his land ! " — In ver. 3 7 the liistorian shows 
how the word of the Lord was fulfilled in the case of Ahab. 
" Thus the king died and came to Samaria : " equivalent to, 
thus the king reached Samaria dead ; and he was buried there. 
— Ver. 38. When they washed the chariot at the pool of 
Samaria, the dogs licked his blood, while the harlots were 
bathing (in the pool). li'H'^ rii>rni is a circumstantial clause, and 
YÜ1 means to bathe, as in Ex. ii. 5. This explanation, which is 
sustained by the grammar and is the only tenable one, disposes 
of the several arbitrary interpretations of these words, together 
with the emendations of the text of which Thenius is so fond. 
In this way was the word of the Lord through Elijah (ch. xxi. 
19) and the imknown prophet (ch. xx. 42) fulfilled; also the 
prediction of Micah (ver. 17). Ahab had paid the penalty 
with his own life for sparing the life of Benhadad (ch. xx. 42), 
and his blood was licked up by the dogs (ch. xxi. 19). The 
fact that the dogs licked up the blood and the harlots were 
bathing in the pool, when the chariot that was stained with the 
blood of Ahab was being washed, is mentioned as a sign of the 
ignominious contempt which was heaped upon him at his death. 
— Vers. 39, 40. Close of Ahab's history. We have no further 
account of his buildings. " The ivory palace," i.e. the ]3alace 
inlaid with ivory, he had probably built in his capital Samaria 
(c£ Amos iii. 15). 

Vers. 41-50. Eeign of Jehoshaphat of Judah. — The 
account of this in the books before us is a very condensed one. 
Beside the two campaigns in which he joined with Ahab and 
Joram of Israel against the Syrians and Moabites, and which are 
described in the history of the kingdom of Israel (ch. xxii. 1-35 
and 2 Kings iii.), we have simply a short notice of his attempt 
to restore the trade with Ophir, and a general statement of the 
spirit of his reign ; whereas we learn from the extract preserved 
in the Chronicles from the annals of the kings, that he also 
carried on a victorious war against the Edomites and Ammonites 
(2 Chron. xx.), and did a great deal to promote the spread of 
the knowledge of the law among his people, and to carry out 
the restoration of a better administration of justice, and to 


improve the condition of the army (2 Chron. xvii. and xix.). 
— ^Vers. 41—44, wliich give tlie age of Jehoshaphat when he 
ascended the throne, and the duration and character of his reign, 
are also found with slight deviations in 2 Chron. xx. 31-33, in 
the closing summary of the history of his reign. — ^Ver. 43. " He 
walked entirely in the way of his father Asa and departed not 
from it, to do what was well-pleasing to the Lord," whereas 
Asa's heart had become more estranged from the Lord in the 
last years of his reign (see ch. xv. 18 sqq.). — On the worship 
of the high places (ver. 43), see at ch. xv. 14. — Ver. 44. He 
maintained peace with the king of Israel, i.e. with every one of 
the Israelitish kings who were contemporaneous with him, viz. 
Ahab, Ahaziah, and Joram, whereas hitherto the two kingdoms 
had assumed an attitude of hostility towards each other. Even 
if this friendly bearing towards Israel was laudable in itself, 
Jehoshaphat went beyond the bounds of what was allowable, 
since he formed a marriage alliance with the house of Ahab, by 
letting his son Joram marry a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel 
(2 Chron. xviii. 1). — Ver. 45. The brave deeds ("TJI^lin) which 
he performed include both his efforts to strengthen his kingdom, 
partly by raising fortifications and organizing the military force, 
and partly by instructing the people in the law and improving 
the administration of justice (2 Chron. xvii. 7-19 and xix. 4-11), 
and also the wars which he waged, viz. the expeditions already 
mentioned. — Eor ver. 46 see ch. xv. 12. — Ver. 47. "There 
was (then) no (real) king in Edom ; a vicegerent w^as king," i.e. 
governed the country. This remark is introduced here merely 
on account of what follows, namely, to show how it was that 
Jehoshaphat was able to attempt to restore the maritime trade 
with O^jliir. If we observe this connection between the verse 
before ns and what follows, we cannot infer from it, as Ewald 
does {Gesch. iii. pp. 464 and 474 sqq.), that the Edomites with 
Egyptian help had forced from Eehoboam both their liberty and 
also their right to have a king of their own blood, and had re- 
mained in this situation till Jehoshaphat completely subjugated 
them again. (See the remarks on ch. xi. 21, 22.) All that 
can be gathered from 2 Chron. xx. is, that the Edomites, in 
league with the Ammonites and other desert tribes, made an 
incursion into Judah, and therefore tried to throw off the sujJre- 
macy of Judah, but did not succeed in their attempt. — Vers. 
48, 49. The brief notice concerning Jehoshaphat's attempt to 

CHAP, XXII. 51-53. 283 

build Tarshisli ships (for the word, see p. 150) for the voyage 
to Ophir is expanded in 2 Chron. xx. 36, 37, where we learn 
that Jehoshaphat had allied himself with Ahaziah of Israel for 
this purpose, and that the prophet Eliezer predicted the destruc- 
tion of his ships on account of this alliance. When the ships 
had been broken in pieces in Eziongeber, no doubt by a storm, 
Ahaziah made this fresh proposal to him : " Let my people sail 
with thy people ;" but Jehoshaphat would not. Ahaziah evi- 
dently wanted to persuade Jehoshaphat to make another attempt, 
after the destruction of the ships which were first built ; but 
Jehoshaphat did not agree to it any more, because it was im- 
possible for him, after the fulfilment of Eliezer's prediction, to 
expect a more favourable result. Thus the two accounts can be 
harmonized in a very simple manner, with the exception of the 
words " to go to Tarshish," which we find in the Chronicles in 
the place of " to go to Ophir," the reading in our text, and 
which sprang from an erroneous interpretation of the expression 
" ships of Tarshish" (see above, p. 150). The Chetlub "iB'y 
is an error of the pen for nb'i? (Keri) ; but ^y^^} {ChetMh) is not 
to be altered into l"i|^.?, since the construction of a singular verb 
with the subject following in the plural is by no means rare 
{vid. Ewald, § 317, a). On Eziongeber and Ophir, see at ch. 
ix. 26 and 28. 

Vers. 51-53. Eeign of Ahaziah of Iseael. — Ver. 51. For 
the datum " in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat," see at 
2 Kings i. 17. — Vers. 52, 53. Ahaziah walked in the way of his 
father and his mother, who had introduced the worship of Baal 
into the kingdom, and in the way of Jeroboam, who had set up 
the calves (cf ch. xvi. 30—33). — In ver. 53 it is again expressly 
added, that he adored and worshipped Baal, as in ch. xvi. 31. — 
With this general description of his character not only is the 
chapter brought to a close, but the first book of Kings also, — 
very unsuitably, however, since the further account of Ahaziah's 
reign and of his death is given in ch. i. of the following book. 
It would have been incomparably more suitable to commence a 
fresh chapter with ver. 52, and indeed to commence the second 
book there also. 



F T E E the Moabites had rebelled against Israel, 
Ahaziah became sick in consequence of a fall 
through a grating in his upper room, and sent 
messengers to Ekron to consult the idol Baalzebub 
concerning the result of his illness. By the command of God, 
however, Elijah met the messengers on the road, and told them 
that the king would die (vers. 1-8). When Ahaziah sent 
soldiers to fetch Elijah, the messengers were miraculously slain 
on two successive occasions, and it was only his humiliation 
before the prophet which saved the third captain and his host 
from sharing a similar fate; whereupon Elijah went with him to 
the king, and repeated the threat already announced on account 
of his idolatry, which was very soon fulfilled (vers. 9-18). 

Vers. 1-8. After the death of Ahab, Moab rebelled against 
Israel (ver. 1). The Moabites, who had been subjugated by 
David (2 Sam. viii. 2), had remained tributary to the kingdom 
of the ten tribes after the division of the kingdom. But when 
Israel was defeated by the Syrians at Eamoth in the time of 
Ahab, they took advantage of this defeat and the weakening of 
the Israelitish power in the country to the east of the Jordan to 
shake off the yoke of the Israelites, and very soon afterwards 
attempted an invasion of the kingdom of Judah, in alliance 
with the Edomites and other tribes of the desert, which ter- 
minated, however, in a great defeat, though it contributed to 
the maintenance of their independence. For further remarks, 
see at ch. iii. 4 sqq. — Ver. 2. Ahaziah could not do anything 
to subjugate the Moabites any further, since he was very soon 
afterwards taken grievously ill. He fell through the grating in his 
upper room at Samaria. ^???^'!', the grating, is either a window 


CHAP. 1. 1-8. 285 

furnished with a shutter of lattice-work, or a door of lattice- 
work in the upper room of the palace, but hardly a grating- in 
the floor of the Aliyah for the purpose of letting light into the 
lower rooms, as the Eabbins supposed. On account of this mis- 
fortune, Ahaziah resorted to the Ekronitish Baalzcbuh to obtain 
an oracle concerning the result of his illness. 2i3r^y3, ix. Fly- 
Baal, was not merely the " averter of swarms of insects," like the 
Zev<; aTTOfjivm, fiviaypo<i of Elis (Ges., Winer, Movers, Plwniz. i, 
p. 175), since "the Fly-God cannot have received his name as 
the enemy of flies, like lucus a non htccndo," but was Mvla 6e6<; 
(LXX., Joseph.), i.e. God represented as a fly, as a fly-idol, to 
which the name Myiodcs, gnat-like, in Plin. h. n. xxix. 6, clearly 
points, and as a god of the sun and of summer must have stood 
in a similar relation to the flies to that of the oracle-god Apollo, 
who both sent diseases and took them away {viel. J. G. Müller, 
Art. Bcclzehuh in Herzog's Cycl. i. p. 768, and Stark, Gaza, pp. 
260, 261). The latter observes that "these (the flies), which 
are governed in their coming and going by all the conditions of 
the weather, are apparently endowed with prophetic power 
themselves." This explains the fact that a special power of 
prophecy was attributed to this god.^ Ekron, now Aldr, the 
most northerly of the five Philistian capitals (see at Josh. xiii. 
3). — Vers. 3, 4. But the angel of the Lord, the mediator of the 
revelations made by the invisible God to the covenant nation 
(see Comm. on the Pentateuch, vol. i. pp. 185-191, transL), had 
spoken to Elijah to go and meet the king's messengers, who 
were going to inquire of Baalzebub, and to ask them whether 
it was from the want of a God in Israel (r?< \^?P as in 
Ex. xiv. 11 ; see Ewald, § 323, a) that they turned to Baal- 
zebub, and to announce to them the word of Jehovah, that 
Ahaziah would not rise up from his bed again, but would die. 
" And Elijah went," sc. to carry out the divine commission. — 
Vers. 5-8. The messengers did not recognise Elijah, but yet 
they turned back and reported the occurrence to the king, 
who knew at once, from the description they gave of the 

^ The later Jews altered the name BeeJzehiib into BssTn^s/Sot^Ti, i.e. probably 
lord of the (heavenly) dwelling, as a name given to the ä.pxo>v tuv Imf^oviav 
(Matt. X. 25, etc.) ; and the later Rabbins finally, by changing ^^ar ^yzi into 
''?! ''V?' ^^^^ ^ fly-god into a dung-god, to express in the most intense form 
their abomination of idolatry (see Lightfoot, Horse heh: et talm. in Matt. 
xii. 24, and my hihl. Archüol. i. pp. 440, 441). 


habitus of the man in reply to his question, that it was Elijah 
the TishUte. t^^sn tDsp-n hd : " what was the manner of the 
man ? " tOBtt'p is used here to denote the peculiarity of a person, 
that which in a certain sense constitutes the vital law and right 
of the individual personality; figura et habitus (Vulg.). The 
servants described the prophet according to his outward appear- 
ance, which in a man of character is a reflection of his inner 
man, as '^V'^ ^V^ ^^'^, vir pilosus, hirsutus. This does not mean 
a man with a luxuriant growth of hair, but refers to the hairy 
dress, i.e. the garment made of sheep-skin or goat-skin or coarse 
camel-hair, which was wrapped round his body ; the ni^N (ch. 
ii. 8 ; 1 Kings xix. 13), or -\W nn^s* (Zech. xiii. 4, cf. Matt. iii. 
4, Heb. xi. 37), which was worn by the prophets, not as mere 
ascetics, but as preachers of repentance, the rough garment de- 
noting the severity of the divine judgments upon the effeminate 
nation, which revelled in luxuriance and worldly lust. And 
this was also in keeping with " the leather girdle," "liy ">iTSi, ^covt} 
BepfiaTLVT] (Matt. iii. 4), whereas the ordinary girdle was of 
cotton or linen, and often very costly. 

Vers. 9-16. After having executed the divine command, 
Elijah returned to the summit of the mountain, on which he 
dwelt. Most of the commentators suppose it to have been one 
of the peaks of Carmel, from ch. ii. 25 and 1 Kings xviii. 42, 
which is no doubt very probable, though it cannot be raised 
into certainty. Elijah's |)hice of abode was known to the 
king ; he therefore sent a captain with fifty men to fetch the 
prophet. To the demand of the captain, "Man of God, the 
Idng has said. Come down," Elijah replied, "And if I am a 
man of God, let fire fall from heaven and consume thee and thy 
fifty." (The expression 2N1., and if, shows that Elijah's words 
followed immediately upon those of the captain.) This judicial 
miracle was immediately fulfilled. — Vers. 11,12. The same fate 
befell a second captain, whom the king sent after the death of 
the first. He was more insolent than the first, " both because 
he was not brought to his senses by hearing of his punishment, 
and because he increased his impudence by adding make haste 
(nnno)." — C. a Lap. Eor n?1'^l m the LXX. (Cod. Alex.) have kuI 
äveßr] Kai iXaXrjae, so that they read bvi\. The correctness of 
this reading, according to which JVul would be an error of the pen, 
is favoured not only by bp] in vers. 9 and 13, but also by "^ifT). 
•which follows ; for, as a general rule, 1^*1 would be followed by 

CHAP. I. 9-16. 


npt^*1. The repetition of this judicial miracle was meant to 
show in the most striking manner not only the authority which 
rightfully belonged to the prophet, but also the help and pro- 
tection which the Lord gave to His servants. At the same time, 
the question as to the " morality of the miracle/' about which 
some have had grave doubts, is not set at rest by the remark of 
Thenius, that " the soldiers who were sent come into considera- 
tion here purely as instruments of a will acting in opposition to 
Jehovah." The third captain also carried out the ungodly com- 
mand of the king, and he was not slain (vers. 13 sqq.). The 
first two must therefore have been guilty of some crime, which 
they and their people had to expiate with their death. This 
crime did not consist merely in their addressing him as " man 
of God," for the third addressed Elijah in the same way (ver. 
13), but in their saying "Man of God, come down." This 
summons to the prophet, to allow himself to be led as a 
prisoner before the king, involved a contempt not only of tbe 
prophetic office in the person of Elijah, but also of the Lord, 
who had accredited him by miracles as His servant. The two 
captains who were first sent not only did what they were bound 
to do as servants of the king, but participated in the ungodly 
disposition of their lord (av/u,ßaLVovT€<; t« o-kottco rov '/re'TrofjLcpoTO'i 
— Theodoret) ; they attacked the Lord with reckless daring in the 
person of the prophet, and the second captain, with his " Come 
down quickly," did it even more strongly than the first. This 
sin was punished, and that not by the prophet, but by the 
Lord Himself, who fulfilled the word of His servant.-^ What 
Elijah here did was an act of holy zeal for the honour of the 
Lord, in the spirit of the old covenant, under which God de- 
stroyed the insolent despisers of His name with fire and sword, 
to manifest the energy of His holy majesty by the side of the 
dead idols of the heathen. But this act cannot be transferred 
to the times of the new covenant, as is clearly shown in Luke 
ix. 54, 5 5, where Christ does not blame Elijah for what he did, 
but admonishes His disciples, who overlooked the difference 
between the economy of the law and that of the gospel, and in 
their carnal zeal wanted to imitate what Elijah had done in 
divine zeal for the honour of the Lord, which had been injured 
in his own person. — Vers. 13, 14. The king, disregarding the 

^ 0/ rov ■77po(pv}TOV xxr/jyopovi/rig aunx. rov Qeov rot/ "TrpoCP'jjTOv x.ii/ovi/1 T»i 
y'hÜTTcc;, as Theodoret very aptly observes. 


punishing hand of the Lord, which, even if it might possibly 
have been overlooked in the calamity that befell the captain who 
was first sent and his company, could not be misunderstood 
when a similar fate befell the second captain with his fifty men, 
sent a third company, in his defiant obduracy, to fetch the pro- 
phet, (p''^?'^ after ^''^pn is apparently an error of the pen for 
•'^^K', as the following word ''ti'vE'n shows.) But the third cap- 
tain was better than his king, and wiser than his two prede- 
cessors. He obeyed the command of the king so far as to go to 
the prophet ; but instead of haughtily summoning him to follow 
him, he bent his knee before the man of God, and prayed that 
his own life and the lives of his soldiers might be spared. — Vers. 
15, 16. Then Elijah followed him to the king 0''jsp, before him, 
i.e. before the king, not before the captain ; and inx for w^5, see 
Ewald, § 2 6 4, h), having been directed to do so by the angel of 
the Lord, and repeated to him the word of the Lord, which he had 
also conveyed to him through his messengers (see vers. 4 and 6). 
Vers. 17 and 18. Wlien Ahaziah died, according to the word 
of the Lord through Elijah, as he had no son, he was followed 
upon the throne by his brother Joram, " in the second year of 
Joram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah." This statement 
is at variance both with that in ch. iii. 1, to the effect that Joram 
began to reign in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat, and with 
that in 1 Kings xxii. 5 2, viz. that Ahaziah ascended the throne in 
the seventeenth year of the reign of Jehoshaphat, which lasted 
twenty-five years, and also with the statement in ch. viii. IG, 
that Joram of Judah became king over Judah in the fifth year of 
Joram of Israel. If, for example, Ahaziah of Israel died after a 
reign of not quite two years, at the most a year and a half, in the 
eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat ; as Jehoshaphat himself reigned 
twenty-five years, he cannot have died till the seventh year of 
Joram of Israel, and his son Joram followed him upon the throne. 
The last of these discrepancies may be solved very simply, from 
the fact that, according to ch. viii. 16, Jehoshaphat was still king 
when his son Joram began to reign, so that Jehoshaphat abdicated 
in favour of his son about two years before his death. And the 
first discrepancy (that between ch. i. 17 and ch. iii. 1) is removed 
by Usher {Annales M. ad a.m. 3106 and 3112), Lightfoot, and 
others, after the example of the Seder Olam, by the assumption 
of a co-regency. According to this, when Jehoshaphat 'went 
with Ahab to Kamoth in Gilead to war against the Syrians, in 

CHAP. I. 17, 18. 289 

the eighteenth year of his reign, which runs parallel to the 
twenty-second year of the reign of Ahab, he appointed his son 
Joram to the co-regency, and transferred to him the administra- 
tion of the Idngdom. It is from this co-regency that the state- 
ment in ch. i. 17 is dated, to the effect that Joram of Israel 
became Idng in the second year of Joram of Judah. This second 
year of the co-regency of Joram corresponds to the eighteenth 
year of the reign of Jehoshaphat (ch. iii. 1). And in the fifth 
year of his co-regency Jehoshaphat gave up the reins of govern- 
ment entirely to him. It is from this point of time, i.e. from the 
twenty-third year of Jehoshaphat, that we are to reckon the eight 
years of the reign of Joram (of Judah), so that he only reigned 
six years more after his father's death.^ We have no informa- 
tion as to the reason which induced Jehoshaphat to abdicate in 
favour of his son two years before his death ; for there is very 
little probability in the conjecture of Lightfoot {Oijp. i. p. 85), 
that Jehoshaphat did this when he commenced the war with the 
Moabites in alliance with Joram of Israel, for the simple reason 
that the Moabites revolted after the death of Ahab, and Joram 
made preparations for attacking them immediately after their 
rebellion (ch. iii. 5-7), so that he must have commenced this 
expedition before the fifth year of his reign. 

^ Wolff indeed boldly declares that " the co-regency of Joram is a pure 
fiction, and the biblical historians do not furnish the slightest warrant for 
any such supposition " (see p. 628 of the treatise mentioned at p. 187) ; but he 
cannot think of any other way of reconciling the differences than by making- 
several alterations in the text, and inventing a co-regency in the case of the' 
Israelitish king Ahaziah. The synchronism of the reigns of the Israelitish 
kings necessarily requires the solution adopted in the text. For if Joram of 
Israel, who began to reign in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat and reigned 
twelve years (ch. iii. 1), was slain at the same time as Ahaziah of Judah (ch. 
ix. 24-27), and Ahaziah of Judah reigned about one year and his predecessor 
Joram about eight yeai's, so that the two together certainly reigned fully 
eight years ; Joram of Judah must have ascended the throne four years after 
Joram of Israel, i.e. in the twenty-third year of Jehoshaphat, which runs 
parallel to the fifth year of Joram of Israel. Consequently the twenty-five 
years of Jehoshaphat are to be reduced to twenty-three in reckoning the sum- 
total of the years embraced by the period of the kings. It is true that there is 
no analogy for this combination of the years of the reigns of two kings, since 
the other reductions of which different chronologists are fond are perfectly 
arbitrary, and the case before us stands quite alone ; but this excej^tion to the 
rule is indicated clearly enough in the statement in ch. viii. 16, that Joram 
began to reign while Jehoshaphat was (still) king. When, however, Thenius 
objects to this mode of reconciling the differences, which even Winer adopts 




Vers. 1-13. Elijah's Ascension to Heaven. — ^Vers. 1-10. 
Journey from Gilgal to the other side of the Jordan. — Vers. 1,2. 
When the time arrived that Jehovah was about to take up His 
servant Ehjah in a tempest to heaven, Ehjah went with his 
attendant Elisha from Gilgal do-wn to Bethel. '^"jyB?, in the 
tempest or storm, i.e. in a tempestuous storm, which was fre- 
quently the herald of the divine self-revelations in the terres- 
trial world (yid. Job xxxviii. 1, xl. 6 ; Ezek. i. 4; Zech. ix. 14). 
D^ttB'n is the accusative of direction. Gilgal and Bethel {Beitin, 
see at 1 Kings xii. 29) were seats of schools of the prophets, 
which Elijah had founded in the kingdom of the ten tribes. It 
is now generally admitted that Gilgal, from which they went 
down to Bethel, cannot be the place of that name which was 
situated in the Jordan valley to the east of Jericho, but must 
be the Gilgal upon the mountains, the elevated Jiljilia to the 
south-west of Silo (Seilun, see at Josh. viii. 35). On the wsij 
Ehjah said to Elisha, " Stay here, I pray, for the Lord has sent 
me to Bethel ;" but Elisha declared with a solemn oath that he 
would not leave him. The Lord had revealed to both that the 
seal of divine attestation was to be impressed upon the work 
of Elijah by his being miraculously taken up into heaven, to 

in the third edition of his hihl. Eeal-Wörterbuch, i. p. 539, on the ground that 
the reign of Joram is dated most precisely in 1 Kings xxii. 51 and 2 Chron. 
xxi. 1, 5, 20, from the death of Jehoshaphat, and that an actual co-regency, 
viz. that of Jotham, is expressly mentioned in ch. xv. 5, which does not render 
it at all necessary to carry the years of his reign into those of his father's, this 
appeal to the case of Jotham cannot prove anything, for the simple reason that 
the biblical text knows nothing of any co-regency of Jotham and Uzziah, but 
simply states that when Uzziah was smitten with leprosy, his son Jotham 
judrjed the people of the land, but that he did not become king till after his 
father's death (ch. xv. 5, 7 ; 2 Chron. xxvi. 21, 23). It is indeed stated in 
1 Kings xxii. 51 and 2 Chron. xxvi. 1, 5, 20, that Jehoshaphat died and his 
son Joram became king, which may be understood as meaning that he did not 
become king till after the death of Jehoshaphat ; but there is no necessity to 
understand it so, and therefore it can be very easily reconciled with the more 
precise statement in ch. viii. 16, that Joram ascended the throne during the 
reign of Jehoshaphat, whereas the assertion of Thenius, that the circumstantial 
clause rTKV Tj^O £:22*^inM inch. viii. 16 is a gloss, is not critically establi'shed 
by the absence of these words from the LXX., Syr., and Arabic, and to expunge 
them from the text is nothing but an act of critical violence. 

CPiAP. II. 1-10. 291 

strengthen the faith not of Elisha only, but also of the disciples 
of the prophets and of all the godly in Israel ; but the revela- 
tion had been made to them separately, so that Elijah had no 
suspicion that Elisha had also been informed as to his being 
taken away. He wanted, therefore, to get rid of his servant, not 
" to test his love and attachment " (Vatabl.), but from humility 
(C. a Lap. and others), because he did not wish to have any 
one present to witness his glorification without being well 
assured that it was in accordance with the wiU of God. — 
Ver. 3. In Bethel the disciples of the prophets came to meet 
Elisha, and said to him, "Knowest thou that Jehovah wiU 
take thy master from over thy head to-day ? " tJ'N"i ?VD npb 
expresses in a pictorial manner the taking away of Elijah from 
his side by raising him to heaven, like iTratpeiv and vTroXa/x- 
ßdveiv in Acts i. 9, 10. Elisha replied, " I know it, be 
silent," because he knew Elijah's feeling. The Lord had there- 
fore revealed to the disciples of the prophets the taking away 
of Elijah, to strengthen their faith. — Vers. 4-7. In Bethel, and 
again in Jericho, to which they both proceeded from Bethel, 
Elijah repeated the appeal to Elisha to stay there, but always 
in vain. The taking away of Elijah had also been revealed 
to the disciples of the prophets at Jericho. Thus they both 
came to the Jordan, whilst fifty disciples of the prophets from 
Jericho foUowed them at a distance, to be eye-witnesses of 
the miraculous translation of their master. The course which 
Elijah took before his departure from this earth, viz. from Gilgal 
past Bethel and Jericho, was not merely occasioned by the fact 
that he was obliged to touch at these places on the way to the 
Jordan, but had evidently also the same higher purpose, for 
which his ascension to heaven had been revealed both to Elisha 
and to the disciples of the prophets at Bethel and Jericho. 
Elijah himself said that the Lord had sent him to Bethel, to 
Jericho, to the Jordan (vers. 2, 4, 6). He therefore took this 
way from an impulse received from the Spirit of God, that he 
might visit the schools of the prophets, which he had founded, 
once more before his departure, and strengthen and fortify the 
disciples of the prophets in the consecration of their lives to 
the service of the Lord, though without in the least surmising 
that they had been informed by the Spirit of the Lord of his 
approaching departure from this life. But as his ascension to 
heaven took place not so much for his own sake, as because of 


those associates in his office who were left behind, God had 
revealed it to so many, that they might be even more firmly 
established in their calling by the miraculous glorification of 
their master than by his words, his teaching, and his admoni- 
tions, so that they might carry it on without fear or trembling, 
even if their great master should no longer stand by their side 
with the might of his spiritual power to instruct, advise, or 
defend. But above all, Elisha, whom the Lord had appointed 
as his successor (1 Kings xix. 16), was to be prepared for carry- 
ing on his work by the last journey of his master. He did not 
leave his side therefore, and resolved, certainly also from an 
inward impulse of the Spirit of God, to be an eye-witness of his 
glorification, that he might receive the spiritual inheritance of 
the first-born from his departing spiritual father. — Ver. 8. When 
they reached the Jordan, Elijah took his prophet's cloak, rolled 
it up (Q?3^ air. \ey. convolvit), and smote the water with it ; 
whereupon the water divided hither and thither, so that they 
both passed through on dry ground. The cloak, that outward 
sign of the prophet's office, became the vehicle of the Spirit's 
power which works unseen, and with which the prophet was 
inspired. The miracle itself is analogous to the miraculous 
dividing of the Eed Sea by the stretching out of Moses' rod 
(Ex. xiv. 16, 21) ; but at the same time it is very peculiar, and 
quite in accordance with the prophetic character of Elijah. Moses, 
the leader of the people, performed his miracles with his shepherd's 
crook, Elijah the prophet divided the river with his prophet's 
mantle. — Vers. 9, 10. After crossing the Jordan, Elijah allowed 
his servant and companion to make one more request before 
he was taken away, in the full confidence that the Lord would 
fulfil it in answer to his prayer ; and Elisha asked, " Let Ci1?p^''3 
^nna^ BiTrXa eV irve-uixari aov, i.e. a double portion in (of) thy 
spirit be granted to me." This request has been misunderstood 
by many translators, from Ephraem Syrus down to Köster and 
F. W. Krummacher, who have supposed that Elisha wished 
to have a double measure of Elijah's spirit (" that thy spirit 
may be twofold in me :" Luther after the Vulgate, " ut fiat in 
me duplex spiritus tuus ") ; and some have taken it as referring 
to the fact that Elisha performed many more mu-acles and 
much greater ones than Elijah (Cler., Pfeiffer, chib. vex. p. 442), 
others to the gift of prophecy and miracles (Köster, die Propli. 
p. 82), whilst others, like Krummacher, have understood by it 

CHAP. II. 1-10. 293 

that the spirit of Elisha, as an evangelical spirit, was twice as 
great as the legal spmt of Elijah. But there is no such mean- 
ino- implied in the words, nor can it he inferred from the answer 
of Elijah ; whilst it is impossible to show that there was any 
such measure of the Spirit in the life and works of Elisha in 
comparison with the spirit of Elisha, although his request was 
falfilled. The request of Elisha is evidently based upon Deut. 
xxi. 17, where 3 D^JtJ'"''? denotes the double portion which the 
first-born received in (of) the father's inheritance, as K. Levi b. 
Gers., Seb. Miinst., Vatabl, Grot., and others have perceived, 
and as Hengstenberg {Beitrr. ii. p. 133 f.) in our days has once 
more proved. Elisha, resting his foot upon this law, requested 
of Elijah as a first-born son the double portion of his spirit for 
his inheritance. Elisha looked upon himself as the first-born 
son of Elijah in relation to the other " sons of the prophets," 
inasmuch as Elijah by the command of God had called him to 
be his successor and to carry on his work. The answer of 
Elijah agrees with this : " Thou hast asked a hard thing," he said, 
because the granting of this request was not in Ids power, but in 
the poAver of God. He therefore made its fulfilment dependent 
upon a condition, which did not rest with himself, but was under 
the control of God: "if thou shalt see me taken from thee (ni5?, 
jjartic. Pual with the » dropped, see Ges. § 52, Anm. I; Ewald, 
§ 169, d), let it be so to thee ; but if not, it will not be so." 
From his own personal inclination Elijah did not wish to have 
Elisha, who was so closely related to him, as an eye-witness of 
his translation from the earth ; but from his persistent refusal to 
leave him he could already see that he would not be able to send 
him away. He therefore left the matter to the Lord, and made 
the guidance of God the sign for Elisha whether the Lord would 
fulfil his request or not. Moreover, the request itself even on 
the part of the petitioner presupposes a certain dependence, 
and for this reason Elisha could not possibly desire that the 
double measure of Elijah's spirit should be bestowed upon him. 
A dying man cannot leave to his heir more than he has himself. 
And, lastly, even the ministry of Elisha, when compared with 
that of Elijah, has all the appearance of being subordinate to 
it. He lives and labours merely as the continuer of the work 
already begun by Elijah, both outwardly in relation to the wor- 
shippers of idols, and inwardly in relation to the disciples of the 
prophets. Elisha performs the anointing of Jehu and Hazael, 


with which Elijah was charged, and thereby prepares the way 
for the realization of that destruction of Ahab's house which 
Elijah predicted to the king ; and he merely receives and 
fosters those schools of the prophets which Elijah had already 
founded. And again, it is not Elisha but Elijah who appears 
as the Coryphaeus of prophecy along with Moses, the represen- 
tative of the law, upon the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 
xvii. 3). — It is only a thoroughly external mode of observation 
that can discover in the fact that Elisha performed a greater 
number of miracles than Elijah, a proof that the spirit of Elijah 
rested doubly upon him. 

Vers. 11-13. Elijah's ascension. — Yer. 11. While they were 
walldng on and talking to each other, " behold (there suddenly 
appeared) a fiery chariot and fiery horses, and separated the two 
(by driving between them), and Elijah went up in the tempest 
to heaven." As God had formerly taken Enoch away, so that he 
did not taste of death (see at Gen. v. 24), so did He also suddenly 
take Elijah away from Elisha, and carry him to heaven without 
dying. It was n"iyD|i, " in the tempest," that he was taken away. 
The storm was accompanied by a fiery phenomenon, which ap- 
peared to the eyes of Elisha as a chariot of fire with horses of 
fire, in which Elijah rode to heaven. The tempest was an earthly 
substratum for the theophany, the fiery chariots and fiery horses 
the symbolical form in which the translation of his master to 
heaven presented itself to the eye of Elisha, who was left behind.-' 
— The ascension of Elijah has been compared to the death of 
Moses. " As God Himself buried Moses, and his grave has not 
been found to this day, so did He fetch Elias to heaven in a still 
more glorious manner in a fiery chariot with fiery horses, so that 
fifty men, who searched for him, did not find him on the earth " 
(Ziegler). This parallel has a real foundation in the appearance 
of Moses and Elijah with Christ on the mountain of transfigura- 
tion, only we must not overlook the difference in the departure 
from this life of these two witnesses of God. For Moses died 
and was to die in the wilderness because of his sin (Deut. xxxii. 

^ All further questions, e.g. concerning the nature of the fiery chariot, the 
place to which Elijah was carried, the day of his ascension, which C. a Lap., 
according to the Komish niartyrology, assigns to the 20th of July in the 19th 
year of Jehoshaphat, and others of the same kind, which have been discussed 
by the earlier commentators, are to be set down as useless triflßs, which go 
beyond the bounds of our thought and comprehension. 

CHAP. II. 11-13. 295 

49 sqq.), and was only buried by the hand of the Lord, so that 
no one has seen his grave, not so much for the purpose of con- 
cealing it from men as to withdraw his body from corruption, and 
preserve and glorify it for the eternal life (see the Comm. on 
Deut. xxxiv. 5, 6). Elijah did not die, but was received into 
heaven by being " changed" (1 Cor. xv. 51, 52 ; 1 Thess. iv. 15 
sqq.). This difference is in perfect harmony with the character 
and position of these two men in the earthly kingdom of God. 
Moses the lawgiver departed from the earthly life by the way of 
the law, which worketh death as the wages of sin (Eom. vi. 23, 
vü. 13); Elijah the prophet, who was appointed to admonish 
for future times (6 Karaypa<pel<; iv i\e'yfxol<i eh Kaipom), to 
pacify the wrath before the judgment, to turn the heart of the 
father to the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob (Ecclus. 
xlviii. 10), was taken to heaven as the forerunner of Christ (Mai. 
iii. 23, 24; Matt. xi. 10, 11) without tasting of death, to pre- 
dict the ascension of our Lord, and to set it forth in Old Testa- 
ment mode ; for as a servant, as the servant of the law, who 
with his fiery zeal preached both by word and deed the fire of 
the wrath of divine justice to the rebellious generation of his own 
time, Elijah was carried by the Lord to heaven in a fiery storm, 
the symbol of the judicial righteousness of God. " As he was an 
unparalleled champion for the honour of the Lord, a fiery war- 
chariot was the symbol of his triumphal procession into heaven " 
(0. V. Gerlach). But Christ, as the Son, to whom all power is 
given in heaven and on earth, after having taken away from death 
its sting and from hell its victory, by His resurrection from the 
grave (1 Cor. xv. 55), returned to the Father in the power of His 
eternal deity, and ascended to heaven in His glorified body before 
the eyes of His disciples as the victor over death and hell, until 
a cloud received Him and concealed His figure from their sio'ht 
(Luke xxiv. 51; Acts i. 9).-^ — Ver. 12. When Elisha sav/ his 

1 The actual truth of this miraculous departure of the prophet is strongly 
confirmed by the appearance of Elijah, as recorded in Matt. xvii. 3, 4 and 
Luke ix. 30, upon which the seal of attestation is impressed by the ascension 
of our Lord. His ascension was in harmony with the great mission with which 
he, the mightiest of all the prophets, was entrusted in that development of the 
divine plan of salvation which continued through the centuries in the interval 
between Moses and Christ. — Whoever is unable to do justice to the spirit and 
nature of the divine revelation of mercy, will be unable to comprehend this 
miracle also. This was the case with Josephus, and even with Ephraem the 
Syrian father. Josephus, for example {Ant. ix. 2, 2), says nothing about the 


master carried thus miraculously away, lie exclaimed, " My father, 
my father, the chariot of Israel and horsemen thereof !" and as he 
saw him no more, he took hold of his clothes and rent them in 
two pieces, i.e. from the top to the bottom, as a proof of the great- 
ness of his sorrow at his being taken away. He called Elijah 
■•^X» " i^y father," as his spiritual father, who had begotten him 
as his son through the word of God. " Chariot (war-chariot) and 
horsemen of Israel," on which the Israelitish kings based the 
might and security of their kingdom, are a symbolical representa- 

miracle, and simply states that 'HA/«f Vi, dvöpÜTruv '/^(paviadr; x.ccl ovou; 'iyvo 
fiiXP'i '"^f (j-/!/^spov ccvTou TYiv TsAsfT'/jj', aiid adds that it is ■written of Elijah 
and Enoch in the sacred books, oV; yiyovaaiv d(;. dxyarov os »vrcjy ovOsl; 
oJoi!/. Ephraem, the Christian father, passes over the last clause of ver. 11, 
" so Elijah went up in the whirlwind to heaven," in his exposition of our 
chapter, and paraphrases the rest of the words thus : " There came suddenly 
from on high a fire-storm, and in the midst of the flame the form of a chariot 
and of horses, and separated them from one another ; one of the two it left on 

the earth, the other, namely Elijah, it carried up on high ((^nn Ao\ . . \v) j 

but whither the wind (or Spirit? poOJ) took him, or in what place it left 
him, the Scriptures have not told us. They say, however, that some years 
afterwards an alarming letter from him, full of threats, was delivered to king 
Joram of Judah." Following the lead of such predecessors as these, J. D. 
Michaelis, who boasts so much of his orthodoxy, informed the " unlearned" 
(in the Anmerkuvgcn to his Bibel-iibersetzung) that Elijah did not go to heaven, 
but was simply carried away from Palestine, and lived at least twelve years 
more, that he might be able to write a letter to king Joram (2 Chron. xxi. 12), 
for " men do not receive letters from people in heaven." This incident has 
been frequently adduced since then as a disproof of the ascension of EHjah. 
But there is not a word in the Chronicles about any letter (Q''"i2D, "12D, 
or niJX, which would be the Hebrew for a letter) ; all that is said is that a 
writing (3n3?o) from the prophet Elijah was brought to Joram, in which he 
was threatened with severe punishments on account of his apostasy. Now 
such a writing as this might very well have been written by Elijah before 
his ascension, and handed to Elisha to be sent by him to king Joram at the 
l^roper time. Even Bertlieau admits that, according to the chronological data 
of the Old Testament, Elijah might have been still living in the reign of Joram 
of Judah ; and it is a priori probable that he both spoke of Joram's sin and 
threatened him with punishment. It is impossible to fix the year of Elijah's 
ascension. Neither the fact that it is mentioned after the death of Ahaziah of 
Israel, which he himself had personally foretold to that ungodly king, nor the 
circumstance that in the war Avhich Jehoshaphat and Joram of Israel waged 
with the Moabites the prophet Elisha was consulted (ch. iii.), warrants the 
conclusion that Elijah was taken from the earth in the interval between these 
two events. It is very obvious from ch. iii. 11, that the two kings applied to 
Elisha simply because he was in the neighbourhood, and not because Elijah 
was no longer alive. 

CHAP. II. 14-25. 297 

tion of tlie strong defence which Elijah had been through his 
ministry to the kingdom of Israel (cf. ch. xiii. 14). — Ver. 13. He 
then took up Elijah's prophet's mantle, which had fallen from him 
when he was snatched away, and returned to the Jordan. The 
prophet's mantle of the master fell to Elisha the disciple, as a 
pledge to himself that his request was fulfilled, and as a visible 
sign to others that he was his divinely appointed successor, and 
that the spirit of Elijah rested upon him (ver. 15). 

Vers. 14-25. Ketuen of Elisha to Jericho and Bethel, 
AND HIS First Miracles. — Vers. 14, 15. Having returned to 
the banks of the Jordan, Elisha smote the water with Elijah's 
mantle, saying, "Where is Jehovah the God of Elijah, yea 
He ? " and the water divided hither and thither, so that he was 
able to go through. Xin-fjx^ which the LXX. did not under- 
stand, and have simply reproduced in Greek characters, äcpcf^co, 
is an emphatic apposition, " yea He," such as we find after 
suffixes, c.f/. Prov. xxii. 1 9 ; and 'INI is only a strengthened 
D3, which is more usual when emphatic prominence is given 
to the suffix {vid. Ges. § 121, 3). The Masoretic accentuation, 
which separates it from the preceding words, rests upon a false 
interpretation. There is no need either for the alteration pro- 
posed by Ewald, § 362,«, of ^f< into ^^?, "he had scarcely 
smitten the water," especially as not a single analogous ex- 
ample can be adduced of the use of Xin ^^? followed by a Vav 
conscc; or for the conjecture that the original reading in the 
text was Nisx (Houb., Böttch., Then.), " where is now the God 
of Elijah ? " which derives no critical support from the ä(f)(p(o of 
the LXX., and is quite at variance with Hebrew usage, since i^is^ 
generally stands immediately after n'X^ when it serves to strengthen 
the interrogation (vid. Judg. ix. 38, Job xvii. 15, Isa. xix. 12, 
Hos. xiii. 10). This miracle was intended partly to confirm 
Elisha's conviction that his petition had been fulfilled, and partly 
to accredit him in the eyes of the disciples of the prophets and the 
people generally as the divinely appointed successor of Elijah. 
All the disciples of the prophets from Jericho saw also from 
this that the spirit of Elijah rested upon Elisha, and came to 
meet him to do homage to him as being now their spiritual 
father and lord. — ^Vers. 16-18. But the disciples of the prophets 
at Jericho were so unable to realize the fact of Elijah's trans- 
lation, although it had been previously revealed to them, that 


tliey begged permission of Elisha to send out fifty brave men 
to seek for Elijah, i^f r!?" : whether the Spirit of the Lord has 
not taken him and cast him upon one of the mountains, or into 
one of the valleys. |Si with the perfect is used " where there is 
fear of a fact, which as is conjectured almost with certainty has 
already happened," like fxrj in the sense of " whether not " {viel. 
Ewald, § 337, h). nin^ nn is not a wind sent by Jehovah 
(Ges.), but the Spirit of Jehovah, as in 1 Kings xviii. 12. 
The Chcthib niX*";! is the regular formation from N^a or ^''5 (Zech. 
xiv. 4) ; the Kcri with the transposition of ^? and ^ the later 
form: rii"'^??., Ezek. vii. 16, xxxi. 12, etc. The belief expressed 
by the disciples of the prophets, that Elijah might have been 
miraculously carried away, was a popular belief, according to 
1 Kings xviii. 12, which the disciples of the prophets were pro- 
bably led to share, more especially in the present case, by the 
fact that they could not imagine a translation to heaven as a 
possible thing, and with the indefiniteness of the expression 
^^N"i ^yö T\\h could only understand the divine revelation which 
they had received as referring to removal by death. So that 
even if Elisha told them how miraculously Elijah had been 
taken from him, which he no doubt did, they might still believe 
that by the appearance in the storm the Lord had taken away 
His servant from this life, that is to say, had received his soul 
into heaven, and had left his earthly tabernacle somewhere on 
the earth, for which they would like to go in search, that they 
might pay the last honours to their departed master. Elisha 
yielded to their continued urgency and granted their request ; 
whereupon fifty men sought for three days for Elijah's body, 
and after three days' vain search returned to Jericho. ti'3"iy^ 
to being ashamed, i.e. till he was ashamed to refuse their request 
any longer (see at Judg. iii. 25). 

The two following miracles of Elisha (vers. 19-25) were 
also intended to accredit him in the eyes of the people as a 
man endowed with the Spirit and power of God, as Elijah had 
been. Vers. 19—22. Elisha makes the vxiter at Jericho whole- 
some. — During his stay at Jericho (ver. 18) the people of the 
city complained, that whilst the situation of the place was good 
in other respects, the water was bad and the land produced mis- 
carriages. r^^'7; the land, i.e. the soil, on account of the bad- 
ness of the water ; not " the inhabitants, both man and beast " 
(Thenius). Elisha then told them to bring a new dish with 

CHAP. II. U-2Ö. 299 

salt, and poured tlie salt into the spring with these words : 
" Thus saith the Lord, I have made this water sound ; there 
will no more be death and miscarriage thence " (D^P). ^i^'^^ 
is a substantive here (viel Ewald, 160, e). ö'^n i<^'iD is no 
doubt the present spring Ain es Sultan, the only spring near to 
Jericho, the waters of which spread over the plain of Jericho, 
thirty-five minutes' distance from the present village and castle, 
taking its rise in a group of elevations not far from the foot 
of the mount Quarantana (Kuruntul) ; a large and beautiful 
spring, the water of which is neither cold nor warm, and has an 
agreeable and sweet (according to Steph. Schultz, " somewhat 
salt ") taste. It was formerly enclosed by a kind of reservoir 
or semicircular wall of hewn stones, from which the water was 
conducted in different directions to the plain (viel. Eob. Fed. ii. 
p. 283 sqq.). With regard to the miracle, a spring which sup- 
plied the whole of the city and district with water could not 
be so greatly improved by pouring in a dish of salt, that the 
water lost its injurious qualities for ever, even if salt does 
possess the power of depriving bad water of its unpleasant taste 
and injurious effects. The use of these natural means does 
not remove the miracle. Salt, according to its power of pre- 
serving from corruption and decomposition, is a symbol of incor- 
ruptibility and of the power of life which destroys death (see 
Bahr, Symlolik, ii. pp. 325, 326). As such it formed the earthly 
substratum for the spiritual power of the divine word, tlirough 
which the spring was made for ever sound. A new dish was 
taken for the purpose, not 6b munditiem (Seb. Schm.), but as a 
symbol of the renewing power of the word of God. — But if 
this miracle was adapted to show to the people the beneficent 
character of the prophet's ministry, the following occurrence was 
intended to prove to the despisers of God that the Lord does 
not allow His servants to be ridiculed with impunity. — Vers, 
23-25. The juelgment of Goel iipon the loose fellows at Bethel. 
Elisha proceeded from Jericho to Bethel, the chief seat of the 
idolatrous calf-worship, where there was also a school of the 
prophets (ver. 3). On the way thither there came small boys 
out of the city to meet him, who ridiculed him by calling out, 
" Come up, bald-head, come," etc. nnp^ bald-head (with a bald 
place at the back of the head), was used as a term of scorn (cf. 
Isa. iii. 17, 24) ; but hardly from a suspicion of leprosy (Winer, 
Thenius). It was rather as a natural defect, for Elisha, who 


lived for fifty years after this (cli. xiii. 14), could not have been 
bald from age at that time. — Ver. 24. The prophet then tm^ned 
round and cursed the scoffers in the name of the Lord, and 
.there came two bears out of the wood, and tore forty-two boys 
of them in pieces. The supposed " immorality of cursing," 
which Thenius still adduces as a disproof of the historical truth 
of this miracle, even if it were established, would not affect 
Elisha only, but would fall back upon the Lord God, whc 
executed the curse of His servant in such a manner upon these 
worthless boys. And there is no need, in order to justify the 
judicial miracle, to assume that there was a preconcerted plan 
which had been devised by the chief rulers of the city out of 
enmity to the prophet of the Lord, so that the children had 
merely been put forward (0. v. Gerlach). All that is necessary 
is to admit that the worthless spirit which prevailed in Bethel 
was openly manifested in the ridicule of the children, and that 
these boys knew Elisha, and in his person insulted the prophet 
of the Lord. If this was the case, then Elisha cursed the boys 
for the purpose of avenging the honour of the Lord, which had 
been injured in his person ; and the Lord caused this curse to 
be fulfilled, to punish in the children the sins of the parents, 
and to inspire the whole city with a salutary dread of His holy 
majesty.-^ — Ver. 25. Elisha went from Bethel to Carmel (see at 
1 Kino's xviii. 19), probably to strengthen himseK in solitude 
for the continuation of his master's work. He returned thence 
to Samaria, where, according to ch. vi. 32, he possessed a house. 


Vers. 1-3. PtEiGN of Joram of Israel. — Eor the chronolo- 
gical statement in ver. 1, see at ch. i. 17. Joram or Jclioram was 

1 Augustine, or the author of the Sermo 204 de Tempore (or Sermo 41 de 
Elisfco in t. v. of the 0pp. August, ed. J. P. Migne, p. 1826), which is attri- 
buted to him, gives a similar explanation. " The insolent boys," he says, " are 
to be supposed to have done this at the instigation of their parents ; for they 
would not have called out if it had displeased their parents." And with 
regard to the object of the judicial punishment, he says it was inflicted " that 
the elders might receive a lesson through the smiting of the little ones, and 
the death of the sons might be a lesson to the parents ; and that they might 
learn to fear the prophet, whom they would not love, notwithstanding the 
wonders which he performed." 

CHAP. III. 4-27. 


not SO ungodly as his father Ahab and his mother Jezebel. He 
had the statue or pillar of Baal, which his fatlier had erected in 
Samaria, removed; and it was only to the sin of Jeroboam, %.c. 
the calf-worship, that he adhered. Joram therefore wished to 
abolish the worship of Baal and elevate the worship of Jehovah, 
under the image of the calf (ox), into the religion of his king- 
dom once more. For the singular suffix nasp see Ewald, § 3 17, a. 
He did not succeed, however, in exterminating the worship of 
Baal. It not only continued in Samaria, but appears to have 
been carried on again in the most shameless manner (cf ch. x. 
18 sqq.) ; at which we cannot be surprised, since his mother 
Jezebel, that fanatical worshipper of Baal, was living through- 
out the whole of his reign (ch. ix. 30). 

Vers. 4-27. Wak of Joeam, in alliance with Jehoshaphat, 
AGAINST THE MOABITES. — Vers. 4, 5. The occasion of this war was 
the rebellion of the Moabites, i.e. the refusal to pay tribute to 
Israel since the death of Ahab. Mesha the (vassal-) king of Moab 
was a possessor of flocks, and paid to the king of Israel 100,000 
lambs and 100,000 rams ; not merely at the commencement of 
each new reign (Cler.), but as a yearly tribute {y^\^, to bring 
again = to bring repeatedly, as in Num. xviii. 9, etc.). This 
yearly tribute could not be exorbitant for the land of the 
Moabites, which abounded in good pasture, and was speciaUy 
adapted for the rearing of flocks. The payment of tribute in 
natural objects and in the produce of the land was very cus- 
tomary in ancient times, and is still usual among the tribes of 
Asia.^ 1i?i3 signifies both a shepherd (Amos i. 1) and also a 
possessor of flocks. In Arabic it is properly the possessor of a 
superior kind of sheep and goats {vid. Boch. Eieroz. i. p. 483 
sq. ed. Eos.). 1^^ may either be taken as a second object to 
n^c^n, or be connected with n')'^ as an accusative of looser govern- 
ment (Ewald, § 287, li). In the first case the tribute would 
consist of the'wool (the fleeces) of 100,000 lambs and 100,000 
rams ; in the second, of 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 
rams. In support of the latter we may quote Isa. xvi. 1, where 
lambs are mentioned as tribute. — Vers. 5 sqq. The statement 

1 Pecunia ipsa a pecore appdlahatur. Etiam nunc in tabnlis Censoriis pascua 
dicuntur omnia, ex quihus populus reditus habet, quia diu hoc solum vectigal 
fuit. Midctatio quoque nonnisi avium loumque impendio dicebatur.—PhWil h. 
nat. xviii. 3. 


concerning the rebellion of the Moabites, which has already 
been mentioned in ch. i. 1, is repeated here, because it furnished 
the occasion for the expedition about to be described. Ahaziah 
had been unable to do anything during his short reign to renew 
the subjugation of Moab ; Joram was therefore anxious to over- 
take what had been neglected immediately after his ascent of 
the throne. He went to Samaria ^^'inn Di'3, at that time, 
namely, when he renewed his demand for the tribute and it was 
refused (Thenius), and mustered all Israel, i.e. raised an army 
out of the whole kingdom, and asked Jehoshaphat to join in the 
war, wliich he willingly promised to do (as in 1 Kings xxii. 4), 
notwithstanding the fact that he had been blamed by prophets 
for his alliance with Ahab and Ahaziah (2 Chron. xix. 2 and xx. 
37). He probably wished to chastise the Moabites still further 
on this occasion for their invasion of Judali (2 Chron. xx.), and 
to do his part by bringing them once more under the yoke of 
Israel, to put it out of their power to make fresh incursions into 
Judah. — ^Ver. 8. In reply to Joram's question, " By which way 
shall we advance (against Moab) ? " Jehoshaphat decided in 
favour of " the way through the desert of Edom." There were 
two ways by which it was possible to enter the land of the 
Moabites ; namely, either by going above the Dead Sea, and 
crossing the Jordan and the boundary river Arnon, and so enter- 
ing it from the north, or by going round the southern point of 
the Dead Sea, and advancing through the northern portion of 
the mountains of Edom, and thus entering it from the south. 
The latter way was the longer of the two, and the one attended 
with the greatest difficulties and dangers, because the army would 
have to cross mountains which were very difficult to ascend. 
Nevertheless Jehoshaphat decided in its favour, partly because, 
if they took the northern route, they would have the Syrians at 
Eamoth in Gilead to fear, partly also because the Moabites, from 
their very confidence in the inaccessibility of their southern 
boundary, would hardly expect any attack from that side, and 
might therefore, if assailed at that point, be taken off their 
guard and easily defeated, and probably also from a regard to 
the king of Edom, whom they could induce to join them with 
his troops if they took that route, not so much perhaps for the 
purpose of strengthening their own army as to make sure of his 
forces, namely, that he would not make a fresh attempt at re- 
bellion by a second inA^asion of the kingdom of Judah while 

CHAP. III. 4-27. 303 

Jelioshapliat was taking the field against the Moabites. — ^Ver. 9. 
But however cleverly this plan may have been contrived, when 
the united army had been marching round for seven days and 
was passing through the deep rocky valley of the Ahsy} which 
divided the territories of Edom and Moab, it was in the greatest 
danger of perishing from want of water for men and cattle, as 
the river which flows through this valley, and in which they 
probably hoped to find a sufficient supply of water, since accord- 
ing to Kobinson {Pal. ii. pp. 476 and 488) it is a stream which 
never fails, was at that time perfectly dry. 

In this distress the hearts of the two kings were manifested. — 
Vers. 1 0—1 2. Joram cried out in his despair : "Woe, that Jehovah 
has called these three kin2[s, to crive them into the hand of Moab !" 
(■•3, that, serves to give emphasis to the assurance; see Ewald, § 3 3 0, 
b.) Jehoshaphat, on the other hand, had confidence in the Lord, 
and inquired whether there was no prophet there, through whom 
they could seek counsel of the Lord (as in 1 Kings xxii. 7) ; where- 
upon one of the servants of the Israelitish king answered that 
Elisha was there, who had poured water upon the hands of Elijah, 
i.e. had been with him daily as his servant, and therefore could 
probably obtain and give a revelation from God. Elisha may 
perhaps have come to the neighbourhood of the army at the 
instigation of the Spirit of God, because the distress of the kings 
was to be one means in the hand of the Lord, not only of dis- 

^ The usual route from southern Judsea to the land of the Moabites, which 
even the Crusaders and more recent travellers took, runs round the Dead Sea 
up to the mouth of the Wady ed Deraah or Keral\ and then up this wady to 
Kerak {vid. Rob. ii. p. 231). The alhed kings did not take this route how- 
ever, but went through the Wady el Kuraliy or es-Saßeh, which opens into 
the southern end of the Dead Dea, and which is called the Wady el AJisy 
farther up in the mountains, by Seetzen (R. ii. pp. 355, 356) erroneously the 
Wady el Hössa (Rob. ii. p. 488), a ravine through which Burckhardt passed 
with the greatest difficulty {Syrien, ii. p. 673). That they advanced by this 
route is a necessary inference from the fact, that when they first suffered from 
want of water they were on the border of the Moabitish territory, of which 
this very wady forms the boundary (ver. 21 ; see Burckh. p. 674:, and Rob. 
Pal. ii. p. 555), and the water came flowing from Edom (ver. 20). Neither 
of these circumstances is applicable to the Wady el Kerak. — Still less can we 
assume, with 0. v. Gerlach, that they chose the route through the Arabah 
that they might approach Moab from the south, as the Israelites under Moses 
had done. For it would have been impossible for them to reach the border 
of Moab by this circuitous route. And why should they go so far round, with 
the way through Edom open to them ? 


tinguisliing the prophet in the eyes of Joram, but also of point- 
ing Joram to the Lord as the only true God. The three kings, 
humbled by the calamity, went in person to Elisha, instead of 
sending for him. — ^Vers. 13, 14. In order still further to humble 
the king of Israel, who was already bowed down by the trouble, 
and to produce some salutary fruit of repentance in his heart, 
Elisha addressed him in these words : " What have I to do with 
thee ? Go to the (Baal-) prophets of thy father and thy mother ! 
Let them help thee." When Joram replied to this in a suppli- 
catory tone : aS*, no, pray (as in Paitli i. 1 3), i.e. speak not in 
this refusing way, for the Lord has brought these three kings — 
not me alone, but Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom also — 
into this trouble ; Elisha said to him with a solemn oath (c£ 
1 Kings xvii. 1) : " If I did not regard Jehoshaphat, I should 
not look at thee and have respect to thee," i.e. I should not 
deign to look at thee, much less to help thee. — Vers. 15—17. 
He then sent for a minstrel, to collect his mind from the im- 
pressions of the outer world by the soft tones of the instru- 
ment, and by subduing the self-life and life in the external 
world to become absorbed in the intuition of divine things. On 
this influence of music upon the state of the mind, see the 
remark on 1 Sam. xvi. 16, and Passavant's TJntcrsxicliungen -iiber 
den Lehens-magnctismus, p. 207 (ed. 2). — As the minstrel was 
playing, the hand of the Lord came upon him (i^^ni according 
to the later usage for ^■^1Ü, as in 1 Sam. xvii. 48, etc. ; compare 
Ewald, § 345, b, and nin^ T as in 1 Kings xviii. 46), so that he 
said in the name of the Lord : " Make this valley full of trenches 
{rwv, inf. ahs. for the imperative; for Q'3a D^32 see Ges. § 108, 
4) ; for thus saith the Lord, ye will see neither wind nor rain, 
and this valley will be filled with water, that ye may be able 
to drink, and your flocks and your cattle." ^"'33 are trenches 
for collecting water {viel. Jer. xiv. 3), which would suddenly 
flow down through the brook-valley. This large quantity of 
water came on the (following) morning " by the way of Edom" 
(ver. 20), a heavy fall of rain or violent storm having taken 
place, as is evident from the context, in the eastern mountains 
of Edom, at a great distance from the Israelitish camp, the water 
of which filled the brook- valley, i.e. the Wady el Kurahy and el 
Ahsy (see at ver. 9) at once, without the Israelites observing 
anything either of the wind, which always precedes rain in the 
East (Harmar, Beobl. i. pp. 51, 52), or of the rain itself. Ö3\J?0 

CHAP. III. 4-27. 305 

are the flocks intended for slaughtering, O^^'fna the beasts of 
burden. — Vers. 18, 19. Elisha continued: " and this is too little 
for Jehovah (the comparative force of i'i?3 is implied in the con- 
text, especially in the alternating combination of the two clauses, 
which is indicated by 1 . . . 1., see Ewald, § 360, c) : He will also 
give Moab into your hand, and ye will smite all the fortified and 
choice cities, fell all the good trees (fruit-trees), stop up all the 
springs of water, and spoil all the good fields with stones." ly^D 
and linnp are intended to produce a play upon words, through 
the resemblance in their sound and meaning (Ewald, ^160, c). 
In the announcement of the devastation of the land there is an 
allusion to Deut. xx. 19, 20, according to which the Israelites 
were ordered to spare the fruit-trees when Canaan was taken. 
These instructions were not to apply to Moab, because the 
Moabites themselves as the arch-foes of Israel would not act 
in any other way with the land of Israel if they should gain 
the victory. 3N3n to add pain, is a poetical expression for spoil- 
ing a field or rendering it infertile through the heaping up of 
stones. — Ver. 20. The water came in the morning at the time 
of the morning sacrifice (see 1 Kings xviii. 36), to indicate that 
the Lord was once more restoring His favour to the people on 
account of the sacrifice presented to Him in His temple. 

The help of God, which preserved the Israelitish army from 
destruction, also prepared destruction for the Moabites. Vers, 
21-23. On hearing the report of the march of the allied Idngs, 
Moab had raised all the men that were capable of bearing arms, 
and stationed them on the frontier. In the morning, when the 
sun had risen above the water, the Moabites saw the water 
opposite to them like blood, and said : " That is blood : the (allied) 
kings have destroyed themselves and smitten one another ; and 
now to the spoil, Moab ! " Coming with this expectation to the 
Israelitish camp, they were received by the allies, who were 
ready for battle, and put to flight. The divine hel]3 consisted, 
therefore, not in a miracle which surpassed the laws of nature, 
but simply in the fact that the Lord God, as He had predicted 
through His prophet, caused the forces of nature ordained by Him 
to work in the predetermined manner. As- the sudden supply of 
an abundance of water was caused in a natural way by a heavy 
fall of rain, so the illusion, which was so fatal to the Moabites, 
is also to be explained in the natural manner indicated in the 
text. From the reddish earth of the freshly dug trenches the 



water collected in them had acquired a reddish colour, which was 
considerably intensified by the rays of the rising sun, so that when 
seen from a distance it resembled blood. The Moabites, however, 
were the less likely to entertain the thought of an optical delusion, 
from the fact that with their accurate acquaintance with the 
country they knew very well that there was no water in the 
wady at that time, and they had neither seen nor heard any- 
thing of the rain which had fallen at a great distance off in the 
Edomitish mountains. The thought was therefore a natural 
one, that the water was blood, and that the cause of the blood 
could only have been that their enemies had massacred one an- 
other, more especially as the jealousy between Israel and Judah 
was not unkno'wn to them, and they could have no doubt that 
Edom had only come with them as a forced ally after the un- 
successful attempt at rebellion which it had made a short time 
before ; and, lastly, they cannot quite have forgotten their own 
last expedition against Judah in alliance with the Edomites 
and Ammonites, which had completely failed, because the men 
composing their own army had destroyed one another. But if 
they came into collision with the allied army of the Israelites 
under such a delusion as this, the battle could only end in 
defeat and in a general flight so far as they were concerned. — 
Vers. 24, 25. The Israelites followed the fugitives into their own 
land and laid it waste, as Elisha had prophesied (ver. 25 com- 
pared with ver. 19). The ChetUb nn-u^l is to be read nn un 
(for i<i2*5, as in 1 Kings xii. 12): and (Israel) came into the 
land and smote Moab. The Keri ^3^5 is a bad emendation. 
ni3n is either the infinitive construct used instead of the infin. 
absolute (Ewald, § 351, c), or an unusual form of the inf. absol. 
(Ewald, § 240, h). "»'5<fn"iy, till one (= so that one only) left 
its stones in Kir-charesdh. On the infinitive form '^'^^'^^>} see at 
Josh, viii, 22. The suf&x in n\J9^ probably points forward to 
the following noun (Ewald, § 309,' c). The city called riK'nn -\'\) 
here and Isa. xvi. 7, and '^IJ} l''i? in Isa. xvi. 11 and Jer. xlviii. 
31, 36, i.e. probably city of potsherds, is called elsewhere '^''i? 
nxiD the citadel of Moab (Isa. xv. 1), as the principal fortress of 
the land (in the Chaldee Vers. 3^;iD^ X3^3), and still exists under 
the name of Kerak, with a strong castle built by the Crusaders, 
upon a lofty and steep chalk rock, surrounded by a deep and 
narrow valley, which runs westward under the name of "VVady 
Kerak and falls into the Dead Sea (^id. Burcldiardt, Syr. pp. 643 

CHAP. IV. 307 

sqq., C. V. Eaumer, Pal. pp. 271, 272). This fortress the allied 
kings besieged. " The slingers surrounded and smote it," i.e. 
bombarded it. — ^Ver. 26. When the king of Moab saw that the 
battle was too strong for him, he attempted to fight a way through 
the beseigers with 700 men with drawn swords (^P^']?, lit. to 
split them) to the king of Edom, i.e. on the side which was held 
by this king, from whom he probably hoped that he should meet 
with the weakest resistance. — Ver. 27. But when this attempt 
failed, in his desperation he took his first-born son, who was to 
succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice upon the wall, 
i.e. in the sight of the besiegers, not to the God of Israel (Joseph., 
Ephr. Syr., etc.), but to his own god Camos (see at 1 Kings xi. 7), 
to procure help from him by appeasing his wrath ; just as the 
heathen constantly sought to appease the wrath of their gods by 
human sacrifices on the occasion of great calamities (viel. Euseb. 
^rcepar. ev. iv. 16, and E. v. Lasaulx, die Sühnopfer der Griechen 
und Römer, pp. 8 sqq.). — " And there was (came) great wrath 
upon Israel, and they departed from him (the king of Moab) and 
returned into their land." As hv l^j"?. hm is used of the divine 
wrath or judgment, which a man brings upon himself by sinning, 
in every other case in which the phrase occurs, we cannot under- 
stand it here as signifying the " human indignation," or ill-will, 
which broke out among the besieged (Budd., Schulz, and others). 
The meaning is : this act of abomination, to which the king of 
the Moabites had been impelled by the extremity of his distress, 
brought a severe judgment from God upon Israel. The besiegers, 
that is to say, felt the wrath of God, which they had brought 
upon themselves by occasioning human sacrifice, which is 
strictly forbidden in the law (Lev. xviii. 21, xx. 3), either in- 
wardly in their conscience or in some outwardly visible signs, so 
that they gave up the further prosecution of the siege and the 
conquest of the city, without having attained the object of the 
expedition, namely, to renew the subjugation of Moab under the 
power of Israel 


From eh. iv.-ch. viii. 6 there follows a series of miracles on 
the part of Elisha, which both proved this prophet to be the con- 
tinuer of the work which Elijah had begun, of converting Israel 
from the service of Baal to the service of the living God, and also 


manifested the beneficent fruits of the zeal of Elijah for the 
honour of the Lord of Sabaoth in the midst of the idolatrous 
generation of his time, partly in the view which we obtain from 
several of these accounts of the continuance and prosperity of the 
schools of the prophets, and partly in the attitude of Elisha 
towards the godly in the land as well as towards Joram the king, 
the son of the idolatrous Ahab, and in the extension of his fame 
beyond the limits of Israel. (See the remarks on the labours of 
both prophets at pp. 229 sqq, and those on the schools of the 
prophets at 1 Sam. xix. 24.) — All the miracles described in this 
section belong to the reign of Joram king of Israel. They are 
not all related, however, in chronological order, but the chronology 
is frequently disregarded for the purpose of grouping together 
events which are homogeneous in their nature. This is evident, 
not only from the fact that (a) several of these accounts are at- 
tached quite loosely to one another without any particle to in- 
dicate sequence {vid. ch. iv. 1, 38, 42, v. 1, vi. 8, and viii. 1), and 
(h) we have first of all those miracles which were performed for 
the good of the scholars of the prophets and of jDarticular private 
persons (ch. iv.-vi. 7), and then such works of the prophet as 
bore more upon the political circumstances of the nation, and of 
the king as the leader of the nation (ch. vi. 8-vii. 20), but also 
from the circumstance that in the case of some of these facts you 
cannot fail to perceive that their position is regulated by their 
substantial relation to what precedes or what follows, without 
any regard to the time at which they occurred. Tlius, for 
example, the occurrence described in ch. viii. 1—6, which should 
undoubtedly stand before ch. v. so far as the chronology is con- 
cerned, is placed at the end of the miracles which Elisha wrought 
for king Joram, simply because it exhibits in the clearest manner 
the salutary fruit of Avhat he had done. And so, again, the ac- 
count of ISTaaman the leper is placed in ch. v., although its proper 
position would be after ch. vi. 7, because it closes the series of 
miracles performed for and upon private persons, and the miracle 
was wrought upon a foreigner, so that the fame of the prophet 
had already penetrated into a foreign country ; whereas in order 
of time it should either stand between vers. 23 and 24 of the 
sixth chapter (because the incursions of the flying parties of 
Syrians, to which ch. vi. 8-23 refers, had already taken place), 
or not till after the close of ch. vii. On the other hand, the 
partial separation of the miracles performed for the schools of 

CHAP. IV. 1-7. 309 

the prophets (ch. iv. 1-7, 38-41, 42-44, and ch. vi. 1-7) can 
only be explained on chronological grounds ; and this is favoured 
by the circumstance that the events inserted between are attached 
by a Vav consec, which does indicate the order of sequence (ch. 
V. 8 sqq. and vi. 1 sqq.). Eegarded as a whole, however, the 
section ch. iv. 1-viii. 6, which was no doubt taken from a pro- 
phetical monograph and iaserted into the annals of the kings, is 
in its true chronological place, since the account in ch. iii. belongs 
to the earlier period of the history, and the events narrated from 
ch, viii. 7 onwards to the later period. 

Vers. 1-7. The Widow's Cruse of Oil. — A poor widow of 
the scholars of the prophets complained to Elisha of her distress, 
namely, that a creditor was about to take her two sons as ser- 
vants (slaves). The Mosaic law gave a creditor the right to 
claim the person and children of a debtor who was unable 
to pay, and they were obliged to serve him as slaves till 
the year of jubilee, when they were once more set free (Lev. 
XXV. 39, 40). When the prophet learned, on inquiry, that 
she had nothing in her house but a small flask of oil (^^DN^ 
from "il^D, means an anointing flask, a small vessel for the oil 
necessary for anointing the body), he told her to beg of all her 
neighbours empty vessels, not a few (''tp''i?ori'7S, make not few, 
sc. to beg), and then to shut herself in with her sons, and to 
pour from her flask of oil into all these vessels till they were 
full, and then to sell this oil and pay her debt with the money, 
and use the rest for the maintenance of herself and her chil- 
dren. She was to close the house-door, that she might not be 
disturbed in her occupation by other people, and also generally 
to avoid all needless observation while the miracle was being 
performed, ''^''^n t5P?3n^ let that which is filled be put on one 
side, namely by the sons, who handed her the vessels, according 
to vers. 5 and 6, so that she was able to pour without inter- 
mission. The form npVO is a participle Fid, and is quite 
appropriate as an emphatic form ; the Kcri rii?iliD (Hiphil) is 
an unnecessary alteration, especially as the Hiphil of PT, is P''^*'?. 
}ü*i^n lbj;*l^ then the oil stood, i.e. it ceased to flow. The asyn- 
deton ""^^J? J^iXl is very harsh, and the Vav co-pul. has probably 
dropped out. With the alteration proposed by L. de Dieu, viz. 
of T\)^\ into nxi^ " live with thy sons," the verb ''inn would neces- 
sarily stand first (Thenius). 


Vers. 8-37. The Shunammite and her Son. — Ver. 8. When 
Elisha was going one day (lit. the day, i.e. at that time, then) to 
Shunem (ßolam, at the south-western foot of the Lesser Hermon ; 
see at 1 Kings i. 3), a wealthy woman (npnji as in 1 Sam. 
XXV. 2, etc.) constrained him to eat at her house ; whereupon, 
as often as he passed by that place in his subsequent journeys 
from Carmel to Jezreel and back, he was accustomed to call 
upon her ("i^D as in Gen. xix. 2). — Vers. 9, 10. The woman 
then asked her husband to build a small upper chamber for 
this holy man of God, and to furnish it with the necessary 
articles of furniture (viz. bed, table, seat, and lamp), that he 
might always turn in at their house, "'''i?"^!'?^ is either a walled 
upper chamber, i.e. one built with brick and not with wooden 
walls (Cler., Then.), or an upper chamber built upon the wall 
of the house (Ges.). — Vers. 11-13. After some time, when 
Elisha had spent the night in the chamber provided for him, he 
wanted to make some acknowledgment to his hostess for the 
love which she had shown him, and told his servant Gehazi to 
call her, and say to her : " Thou hast taken all this care for us, 
what shall I do to thee ? Hast thou (anything) to say to the 
king or the chief captain ?" i.e. hast thou any wish that I could 
convey to them, and intercede for thee? There is something 
striking here in the fact that Elisha did not address the woman 
himself, as she was standing before him, but told his servant to 
announce to her his willingness to make some return for what 
she had done. This was, probably, simply from a regard to the 
great awe which she had of the " holy man of God " (ver. 9), 
and to inspire her with courage to give expression to the wishes 
of her heart. ■■• She answered : " I dwell among my people," i.e. 
not, I merely belong to the people (Thenius), but, I live quietly 
and peaceably among my countrymen, so that I have no need 
for any intercession with the king and great men of the king- 
dom. 'Airpajfjioa-vi'T] '^aipo), Koi elpr]viKü)<i Scdyco Kai Trpo^ rtva 
ä/jb(jjiaß)]T'i]a-iv ovK avexpfjiai, (Theodoret). — ^Vers. 14-16. When 
Elisha conversed with Gehazi still further on the matter, the 
latter said: " But she has no son, and her husband is old," Elisha 

1 The conjecture that Elisha would not speak to her directly for the sake 
of maintaining his dignity, or that the historian looked \xy>o\\ such conversation 
with women as unbecoming in a teacher of the law (Thenius), is alrcJtdy 
proved to be untenable by vers. 15, 16, where Elisha does speak to her 

CHAP. IV. 8-37. 311 

then had her called again, and told her when she had entered 
the door: "At this time a year hence (n^n nys, lit. at the 
time when it revives again; see at Gen. xviii. 10) thou wilt 
embrace a son." The same favour was to he granted to the 
Slnmammite as that which Sarah had received in her old age, 
that she might learn that the God of Abraham still ruled in 
and for Israel. She replied : " No, my lord, thou man of God," 
3;T3ri"^s*, i.e. do not excite in thy servant any deceptive hopes. 
— Ver. 17. But however incredible this promise might appear 
to her, as it had formerly done to Sarah (Gen. xviii. 12, 13), it 
was fulfilled at the appointed time (cf Gen. xxi. 2). — Vers. 
18-20. But even the faith of the pious woman was soon to be 
put to the test, and to be confirmed by a still more glorious 
revelation of the omnipotence of the Lord, who works through 
the medium of His prophets. When the child presented to her 
by God had grown up into a lad, he complained one day to the 
reapers in the field of a violent headache, saying to his father, 
" My head, my head!" He was then taken home to his mother, 
and died at noon upon her knees, no doubt from inflammation 
of the brain produced by a sunstroke. — ^Vers. 21-23. The 
mother took the dead child at once up to the chamber built for 
Ehsha, laid it upon the bed of the man of God, and shut the 
door behind her ; she then asked her husband, without telling 
him of the death of the boy, to send a young man with a she- 
ass, that she might ride as quickly as possible to the man of 
God ; and when her husband asked her, " Wherefore wilt thou go 
to him to-day, since it is neither new moon nor Sabbath?"^ 
she replied, sJialom ; i.e. either " it is all well," or " never mind." 
For this word, which is used in reply to a question after one's 
health (see ver. 26), is apparently also used, as Clericus has 
correctly observed, when the object is to avoid giving a definite 
answer to any one, and yet at the same time to satisfy him. — 
Vers. 24, 25. She then rode without stopping, upon the animal 

1 From these "words, Theod., Kimclii, C. a Lap., Vatabl., and others have 
drawn the correct conclusion, that the pious in Israel were accustomed to 
meet together at the prophets' houses for worship and edification, on those 
days which were appointed in the law (Lev. xxiii. 3 ; Num. xxviii. 11 sqq.) 
for the worship of God ; and from this Hertz and Hengstenberg have still 
further inferred, that in the kingdom of the ten tribes not only were the 
Sabbath and new moons kept, as is evident from Amos viii. 5 also, but the 
prophets supplied the pious in that kingdom with a substitute for the missing 
Levitical priesthood. 


driven by the young man, to Elisha at mount Carmel. v""'V^^"^^ 
^'siX literally, do not hinder me from riding. — Vers. 25-27. 
When the prophet saw her 1J30 (from the opposite), that is to 
say, saw her coming in the distance, and recognised her as the 
Shunammite, he sent Gehazi to meet her, to ask her about her 
own health and that of her husband and child. She answered, 
sJialom, i.e. well, that she might not be detained by any further 
discussion, and came to the prophet and embraced his feet, to 
pray for the help of the " holy man of God." Gehazi wanted 
to thrust her away, " because it seemed to him an immodest 
importunity to wish to urge the prophet in such a way as this, 
and as it were to compel him " (Seb. Schm.) ; but the prophet 
said, " Let her alone, for her soul is troubled, and Jehovah has 
hidden it from me and has not told me." ^ — Ver. 28. The pious 
woman then uttered this complaint to the prophet : " Did I 
ask a son of the Lord ? Did I not say. Do not deceive me ?" 
What had happened to her she did not say, — a fact which 
may easily be explained on psychological grounds from her deep 
sorrow, — but Elisha could not fail to discover it from what she 
said. — Ver. 29. He therefore directed his servant Gehazi : " Gird 
thy loins and take thy staff in thy hand and go : if thou meet 
any one, thou wilt not salute him ; and if any one salute thee, 
thou wilt not answer him ; and lay my staff upon the face of 
the boy." The object of this command neither to salute nor 
to return salutations by the way, was not merely to ensure the 
greatest haste (Thenius and many others), inasmuch as the people 
of the East lose a great deal of time in prolonged salutations 
(Mebuhr, Besclir. v. Arab. p. 48),^ but the prophet wished 
thereby to preclude at the very outset the possibility of attribut- 
ing the failure of Gehazi's attempt to awaken the child to any 
external or accidental circumstance of this kind. For since it 
is inconceivable that the prophet should have adopted a wrong 
method, that is to say, should have sent Gehazi with the hope 

1 All that we can infer from these last words with regard to the nature of 
prophecy, is that the donum proplieticum did not involve a supernatural reve- 
lation of every event. 

- Or, as C. a Lap. supposes : " that Gehazi might avoid all distraction of 
either eyes or ears, and prepare himself entirely by prayers for the accomplish- 
ment of so great a miracle." Theodoret explains it in a similar manner : 
" He knew that he was vainglorious and fond of praise, and that he would be 
sure to tell the reason of his journey to those who should meet him by the 
way. And vainglory is a hindrance to thaumaturgy." 

CHAP. IV. 8-37. 313 

that he would restore the dead boy to life, his only intention 
in sending the servant must have been to give to the Shunammite 
and her family, and possibly also to Gehazi himself, a practical 
proof that the power to work miracles was not connected in any 
magical way with his person or his staff, but that miracles as 
works of divine omnipotence could only be wrought through 
faith and prayer ; not indeed with the secondary intention of 
showing that he alone could work miracles, and so of increasing 
his own importance (Köster), but to purify the faitli of the godly 
from erroneous ideas, and elevate them from superstitious reliance 
upon his own human person to true reliance upon the Lord God. 
— Ver. 30. The mother of the boy does not appear, indeed, to have 
anticipated any result from the measures adopted by Elisha; for 
she swears most solemnly that she will not leave him. But the 
question arises, whether this urging of the prophet to come 
himself and help arose from doubt as to the result of Gehazi's 
mission, or whether it was not rather an involuntary utterance 
of her excessive grief, and of the warmest wish of her maternal 
heart to see her beloved child recalled to life. We may pro- 
bably infer the latter from the fulfilment of her request by 
Elisha. — Ver. 31. Gehazi did as he was commanded, but the 
dead child did not come to life again ; the prophet's staff worked 
no miracle. " There was no sound and no attention," i.e. the 
dead one gave no sign of life. This is the meaning of 7^? P?? 
^^i^ r??'! both here and 1 Kings xviii. 29, where it is used 
of dead idols. The attempt of Gehazi to awaken the child 
was unsuccessful, not propter ficlcm ijjsi a mulicrc non adhihitam 
(Seb. Schm.), nor because of the vainglory of Gehazi himself, but 
simply to promote in the godly of Israel true faith in the Lord. 
— Vers. 32—35. Elisha then entered the house, where the boy 
was lying dead upon his bed, and shut the door behind them 
both (i.e. himself and the dead child), and prayed to the Lord. 
He then lay down upon the boy, so that his mouth, his eyes, 
and his hands lay upon the mouth, eyes, and hands of the 
child, bowing down over him (ini ; see at 1 Kings xviii. 42) ; 
and the flesh (the body) of the child became warm. He then 
turned round, i.e. turned away from the boy, went once up and 
down in the room, and bowed himself over liim again ; where- 
upon the boy sneezed seven times, and then opened his eyes. 
This raising of the dead boy to life does indeed resemble the 
raising of the dead by Elijah (1 Kings xvii. 20 sqq.) ; but it 


differs so obviously in the manner in whicli it was effected, 
that we may see at once from this that Elisha did not possess 
the double measure of the spirit of Elijah. It is true that 
Elijah stretched liimself three times upon the dead child, but 
at his prayer the dead returned immediately to life, whereas in 
the case of Elisha the restoration to life was a gradual thing.-^ 
And they both differ essentially from the raising of the dead by 
Christ, who recalled the dead to life by one word of His omni- 
potence (Mark v. 39-42 ; Luke vii. 13-15 ; John xi. 43, 44), 
a sign that He was the only-begotten Son of God, to whom 
the Father gave to have life in Himself, even as the Father has 
life in Himself (John v. 25 sqq.), in whose name the Apostle 
Peter also was able through prayer to recall the dead Tabitha 
to life, whereas Elisha and Elijah had only to prophesy byword 
and deed of the future revelation of the glory of God. — ^Vers. 
36, 37. After the restoration of the boy to life, Elisha had his 
mother called and gave her back her son, for which she fell at 
his feet with thanksgiving. 

Vers. 38-41. Elisha makes Uneatable Food "Wholesome. 
— Ver. 38. When Elisha had returned to Gilgal, the seat of a 
school of the prophets (see at ch. ii. 1), i.e. had come thither once 
more on his yearly circuit, during the famine which prevailed 
in the land (see at ch. viii. 1), and the prophets' scholars sat 
before him (the teacher and master), he directed his servant {i.e. 
probably not Gehazi, but the pupil who waited upon him) to 
put the large pot to the fire and boil a dish for the pupils of the 
prophets. HSK' answers to the German heisdzen', which is used 
for placing a vessel tcpon the fire (cf Ezek. xxiv. 3). — Ver. 39. 
One (of these pupils) then went to the field to gather vegetables 
(nns, olera : for the different explanations of this word see 
Celsii Hierobot. i. 459 sqq., and Ges. Thes. p. 56), and found iö3 
n'lb', i.e. not wild vines, but wild creepers (Luther), field-creepers 

1 The raising of the dead by Elijah and Elisha, especially by the latter, has 
been explained by many persons as being merely a revivification by magnetic 
manipulations or by the force of animal magnetism (even Passavant and 
Ennemoser adopt tliis view). But no dead person was ever raised to life 
by animal magnetism ; and the assmnption that the two boys were only 
apparently dead is at variance with the distinct words of the text, in addi- 
tion to which, both Elisha and Elijah accomplished the miracle through their 
prayer, as is stated as clearly as possible both here (ver. 33) and also at 
1 Kings xvii. 21, 22. 

CHAP. IV. 42-44. 315 

resembling vines ; and having gathered his lap full of wild 
cucumbers, took them home and cut them into the vegetable 
pot, because they did not know them. riyi;3Q is rendered in the 
ancient versions colocynths (LXX. iroXvirrj a<ypia, i.e., according to 
Suid., colocyntliis), whereas Gesenius {Hies. p. 1122), Winer, and 
others, following Celsius {I.e. i. 393 sqq.), have decided in favour 
of wild cucumbers, a fruit resembling an acorn, or, according to 
Oken, a green fleshy fruit of almost a finger's length and an 
inch thick, which crack with a loud noise, when quite ripe, on 
very gentle pressure, spirting out both juice and seeds, and have 
a very bitter taste. The reason for this decision is, that the 
peculiarity mentioned answers to the etymon V\>_^, to split, in 
Syr. and Chald. to crack. Nevertheless the rendering given by 
the old translators is apparently the more correct of the two ; 
for the colocynths also belong to the genus of the cucumbers, 
creep upon the ground, and are a round yellow fruit of the size 
of a large orange, and moreover are extremely bitter, producing 
colic, and affecting the nerves. The form of this fruit is far 
more suitable for oval architectural ornaments (CJ^i'P^Q, 1 Kings 
vi. 18, vii. 24) than that of the wild cucumber. — Ver. 40. The 
extremely bitter flavour of the fruit so alarmed the pupils of 
the prophets when they began to eat of the dish, that they 
cried out, " Death in the pot," and therefore thought the fruit 
was poison. If eaten in any large quantity, colocynths might 
really produce death: vid. Dioscorid. iv. 175 (178). — Ver. 41. 
Elisha then had some meal brought and poured it into the pot, 
after which the people were able to eat of the dish, and there 
was no longer anything injurious in the pot. IHipi, then take, i 
denoting sequence in thought (viel. Ewald, § 348, ci). The meal 
might somewhat modify the bitterness and injurious qualities of 
the vegetable, but could not take them entirely away; the author 
of the Exegetical Handbook therefore endeavours to get rid of 
the miracle, by observing that Elisha may have added something 
else. The meal, the most wholesome food of man, was only the 
earthly substratum for the working of the Spirit, which proceeded 
from Elisha, and made the noxious food perfectly wholesome. 

Vers. 42-44. Feeding- of a hundeed Pupils of the Pro- 
phets WITH Twenty Barley Loaves. — A man of Baal-Shalisha 
(a place in the land of Shalisha, the country to the west of 
Gilgal, Jiljilia ; see at 1 Sam. ix. 4) brought the prophet as first- 


fruits twenty barley loaves and ?pT3=bo"i3 b^3, i.e. roasted ears 
of corn (see the Comm. on Lev. ii. 14), in his sack (P^py, air. 
\ej., sack or pocket). Elisha ordered this present to be given 
to the people, i.e. to the pupils of the prophets who dwelt in 
one common home, for them to eat ; and when his servant 
made this objection : " How shall I set this (this little) before 
a hundred men ? " he repeated his command, " Give it to the 
people, that they may eat; for thus hath the Lord spoken: They 
will eat and leave" ("^riini pbx, inßn. ahsoL; see Ewald, § 328, a); 
which actually was the case. That twenty barley loaves and a 
portion of roasted grains of corn were not a sufficient quantity 
to satisfy a hundred men, is evident from the fact that one man 
was able to carry the whole of this gift in a sack, and still more 
so from the remark of the servant, which shows that there was 
no proportion between the whole of this quantity and the food 
required by a hundred persons. In this respect the food, 
which was so blessed by the word of the Lord that a hundred 
men were satisfied by so small a quantity and left some over, 
forms a type of the miraculous feeding of the people by Christ 
(Matt. xiv. 16 sqq., xv. 36, 37 ; John vi. 11, 12) ; though there 
was this distinction between them, that the prophet Elisha did 
not produce the miraculous increase of the food, but merely pre- 
dicted it. The object, therefore, in communicating this account 
is not to relate another miracle of Elisha, but to show how the 
Lord cared for His servants, and assigned to them that which 
had been appropriated in the law to the Levitical priests, who 
Avere to receive, according to Deut. xviii. 4, 5, and Num. xviii. 13, 
the first-fruits of corn, new wine, and oil. This account there- 
fore furnishes fresh evidence that the godly men in Israel did 
not regard the worship introduced by Jeroboam (his state-church) 
as legitimate worship, but sought and found in the schools of 
the prophets a substitute for the lawful worship of God (vid. 
Hengstenberg, Beitrr. ii. S. 136 f). 


Vers. 1-19. Curing of Naaman from Leprosy. — Yer. 1. 
Naaman, the commander-in-chief of the Syrian king, who was a 
very great man before his lord, i.e. who held a high place in the 
service of his king and was greatly distinguished (Q"'JQ Nbo, cf Isa. 
iii. 3, ix. 14), because God had given the Syrians salvation (vie- 

CHAP. V. 1-19. 317 

tory) through him, w\as as a warrior afflicted with leprosy. The 
has not dropped out before V^Vd, nor has the copula been omitted 
for the purpose of sharpening the antithesis (Thenius), for the 
appeal to Ewald, § 354, a, proves nothing, since the passages 
quoted there are of a totally different kind ; but TH niaa is a 
second predicate : the man was as a brave warrior leprous. There 
is an allusion here to the difference between the S3rrians and the 
Israelites in their views of leprosy. Whereas in Israel lepers 
were excluded from human society (see at Lev. xiii. and xiv.), in 
S3rria a man afflicted with leprosy could hold a very high state- 
office in the closest association with the kinsr. — Vers. 2, 3. And 
in Naaman's house before his wife, i.e. in her service, there Avas 
an Israelitish maiden, whom the Syrians had carried off in a 
marauding expedition (Q'^^^nJ. ^^^^J : they had gone out in (as) 
marauding bands). She said to her mistress : " that my lord 
were before the prophet at Samaria ! (where Elisha had a house, 
ch. vi. -32,) he would free him from his leprosy." nynsfo f]px^ to 
receive (again) from leprosy, in the sense of " to heal," may be 
explained from Num. xii. 14, 15, where ^^^ is applied to the 
reception of Miriam into the camp again, from which she had 
been excluded on account of her leprosy. — Vers. 4, 5. When 
iSTaaman related this to his lord (the king), he told him to go to 
Samaria furnished with a letter to the king of Israel ; and he 
took with him rich presents as compensation for the cure he 
was to receive, viz. ten talents of silver, about 25,000 thalers 
(£3750 — Tk.); 6000 shekels (= two talents) of gold, about 
50,000 thalers (£7500) ; and ten changes of clothes, a present 
still highly valued in the East (see the Comm. on Gen. xlv. 22). 
This very large present was quite in keeping with Naaman's 
position, and was not too great for the object in view, namely, 
his deliverance from a malady which would be certainly, even 
if slowly, fatal. — Vers. 6, 7. When the king of Israel (Joram) 
received the letter of the Syrian king on Naaman's arrival, and 
read therein that he was to cure Naaman of his leprosy {^^V\ 
and now, — showing in the letter the transition to the main point, 
which is the only thing communicated here ; cf. Ewald, § 353, &), 
he rent his clothes in alarm, and exclaimed, " Am I God, to be 
able to kill and make alive ?" i.e. am I omnipotent like God ? (cf. 
Deut. xxxii. 39 ; 1 Sam. ii. 6;) " for he sends to me to cure a man 
of his leprosy." The words of the letter il^SD><;i, " so cure him," 
were certainly not so insolent in their meaning as Joram supposed, 


but simply meant : have him cured, as thou hast a wonder-work- 
ing prophet ; the Syrian king imagining, according to his heathen 
notions of priests and goetes, that Joram could do what he liked 
with his prophets and their miraculous powers. ■ There was no 
ground, therefore, for the suspicion which Joram expressed : " for 
only observe and see, that he seeks occasion against me." ■^3^^'?, 
to seek occasion, sc. for a quarrel (cf Judg. xiv. 4). — Ver. 8. 
When Elisha heard of this, he reproved the king for his unbeliev- 
ing alarm, and told him to send the man to him, " that he may 
learn that there is a prophet in Israel." — Vers. 9, 10. When 
Naaman stopped with his horses and chariot before the house of 
Elisha, the prophet sent a messenger out to him to say, " Go and 
wash thyself seven times in the Jordan, and thy flesh will return 
to thee, i.e. become sound, and thou wilt be clean." ^^], return, 
inasmuch as the flesh had been changed through the leprosy into 
festering matter and putrefaction. The reason why Elisha did 
not go out to iSTaaman himself, is not to be sought for in the leo-al 
prohibition of intercourse with lepers, as Ephraem Syrus and 
many others suppose, nor in his fear of the leper, as Thenius 
thinks, nor even in the wish to magnify the miracle in the eyes 
of Naaman, as C. a Lapide imagines, but simply in Naaman's 
state of mind. This is evident from his exclamation concerning 
the way in which he Avas treated. Enraged at his treatment, he 
said to his servant (vers. 11, 12) : "I thought, he will come out 
to me and stand and call upon the name of Jehovah his God, 
and go with his hand over the place {i.e. move his hand to 
and fro over the diseased places), and take away the leprosy." 
V'li^'sn^ the leprous = the disease of leprosy, the scabs and ulcers 
of leprosy. "Are not Ahana and PlLCtrpar, the rivers of Damascus, 
better than all the waters of Israel ? (for the combination of 2it3 
with niin^, see Ewald, § 114:, f.) Should I not bathe in them, 
and become clean ? " With these words he turned back, going 
away in a rage. Naaman had been greatly strengthened in the 
pride, which is innate in every natural man, by the exalted 
position which he held in the state, and in which every one 
bowed before him, and served him in the most reverential 
manner, with the exception of his lord the king ; and he was 
therefore to receive a salutary lesson of humiliation, and at the 
same time was also to learn that he owed his cure not to any 
magic touch from the propliet, but solely to the power of God 
workincr through him.- — Of the two rivers of Damascus, Alalia 

CHAP. V. 1-19, 319 

or Amana (the reading of the Ko^i with the interchange of the 
labials n and o, see Song of Sol. iv. 8) is no doubt the present 

Baracla or Barady ii^dj, ^-ß- the cold river), the Chrysorrlioas 

(Strabo, xvi. p. 755 ; Plin. h. ti. 18 or 16), which rises in the 
table-land to the south of Zebedany, and flows through this city 
itself, and then dividing into two arms, enters two small lakes 
about 4|- hours to the east of the city. The Pharpar is probably 
the only other independent river of any importance in the dis- 
trict of Damascus, namely, the Avaj, which arises from the union 
of several brooks around Sasa\ and flows through the plain to 
the south of Damascus into the lake Heijany (see Eob. Bihl. 
Researches, p. 444). The water of the Barada is beautiful, 
clear and transparent (Eob.), whereas the water of the Jordan is 
turbid, " of a clayey colour " (Rob. Fed. ii. p. 256) ; and therefore 
Naaman might very naturally think that his own native rivers 
were better than the Jordan. — Yer. 13. His servants then ad- 
dressed him in a friendly manner, and said, " My father, if the 
prophet had said to thee a great thing (i.e. a thing difiicult to 
carry out), shouldst thou not have done it ? how much more then, 
since he has said to thee. Wash, and thou wilt be clean ? " ''^N, 
my father, is a confidential expression arising from childlike 
piety, as in ch. vi. 2 1 and 1 Sam. xxiv. 1 2 ; and the etymological 
jugglery which traces ""^x from ""^P = ''1;' = ^7 (Ewald, Gr. § 358, 
Anm.), or from Qi;? (Thenius), is quite superfluous (see Delitzsch 
on Job, vol. ii. p. 265, transl). — "i2T . . . ?ina 13^ is a con- 
ditional clause without öi< (see Ewald, § 357, h), and the object 
is placed first for the sake of emphasis (according to Ewald, 
§ 309, a). ""^ f]5<, how much more (see Ewald, § 354, c), sc. 
shouldst thou do what is required, since he has ordered thee so 
small and easy a thing. — Ver. 14. Naaman then went down 
(from Samaria to the Jordan) and dipped in Jordan seven times, 
and his flesh became sound (^b*^^ as in ver. 10) like the flesh of 
a little boy. Seven times, to show that the healing was a work 
of God, for seven is the stamp of the works of God. — Vers. 15, 
16. After the cure had been effected, he returned with aU his 
train to the man of God with this acknowledgment : " Behold, I 
have found that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel," 
and with the request that he would accept a blessing (a present, 
nana, as in Gen. xxxiii. 11, 1 Sam. xxv. 27, etc.) from him; 
which the prophet, however, stedfastly refused, notwithstanding 


all his urging, that he might avoid all appearance of selfishness, 
by which the false prophets were actuated. — Vers. 17, 18. Then 
Naaman said : ^^7J, " and not " = and if not, koI el /nrj (LXX. ; not 
" and 0," according to Ewald, § 358, J, Anm.), " let there be given 
to thy servant ( = to me) two mules' burden of earth (on the 
construction see Ewald, § 287, h), for thy servant will no more 
make (offer) burnt-offerings and slain-offerings to any other gods 
than Jehovah. May Jehovah forgive thy servant in this tiling, 
when my lord (the king of Syria) goeth into the house of Kim- 
mon, to fall down (worship) there, and he supports himself upon 
my hand, that I fall down (with him) in the house of Eimmon ; 
if I (thus) fall down in the house of Eimmon, may," etc. It 
is very evident from Naaman's explanation, " for thy servant," 
etc., that he wanted to take a load of earth with him out of the 
land of Israel, that he might be able to offer sacrifice upon it to 
the God of Israel, because he was still a slave to the polytheistic 
superstition, that no god could be worshipped in a proper and 
acceptable manner except in his own land, or upon an altar 
built of the earth of his own land. And because Naaman's 
knowledge of God was still adulterated with superstition, he was 
not yet prepared to make an unreserved confession before men 
of his faith in Jehovah as the only true God, but hoped that 
Jehovah would forgive him if he still continued to join outwardly 
in the worship of idols, so far as his official duty required. 
Eimmon (i.e. the pomegranate) is here, and probably also in the 
local name Haclad-rimmon (Zech. xii. 11), the name of the 
supreme deity of the Damascene Syrians, and probably only a 
contracted form of Haclad-rimmon, since Hadad was the supreme 
deity or sun-god of the Syrians (see at 2 Sam. viii. 3), signifying 
the sun-god with the modification expressed by Eimmon, which 
has been differently interpreted according to the supposed deri- 
vation of the word. Some derive the name from Dp"^ = Dl"i, as 
the supreme god of heaven, like the ^EXlovv of Sanchun. (Cler., 
Seid., Ges. tlics. p. 1292) ; others from pJ^"!, a pomegranate, as a 
personification of the power of generation, as numcn naturae omnia 
fcecundantis, since the pomegranate with its abundance of seeds 
is used in the symbolism of both Oriental and Greek mythology 
along with the Phallus as a symbol of the generative power 
{vid. Bahr, Symholik, ii. pp. 122, 123), and is also found upo^i 
Assyrian monuments {vid. Layard, Nineveh and its Bcmains, 
p. 343); others again, with less probability, from T\)y\^ jacidari, 

CHAP. V. 20-27. 321 

as the sun-god who vivifies and fertilizes the earth with his rays, 

like the kicr}ßo\o<i 'AttoXXcov ; and others from QO"i = ^ coin;pu- 

truit, as the dying winter sun (according to Movers and Hitzig ; 
see Leyrer in Herzog's Cyclo'pceclia). — The words " and he sup- 
ports himself upon my hand" are not to be understood lite- 
rally, but are a general expression denoting the service which 
Naaman had to render as the aide-de-camp to his king (of. ch. 
vii. 2, 17). For the Chaldaic form 'ri^inriji^n, see Ewald, § 1 56, a. 
— In the repetition of the words " if I fall down in the temple 
of Kimmon," etc., he expresses the urgency of his wish. — Ver. 
19. Elisha answered, "Go in peace," wishing the departing 
Syrian the peace of God upon the road, without thereby either 
approving or disapproving the religious conviction which he had 
expressed. For as Naaman had not asked permission to go with 
his king into the temple of Eimmon, but had simply said, might 
Jehovah forgive him or be indulgent with him in this matter, 
Elisha could do nothing more, without a special command from 
God, than commend the heathen, who had been brought to belief 
in the God of Israel as the true God by the miraculous cure of 
his leprosy, to the further guidance of the Lord and of His grace. ^ 

Vers. 20-27. Punishment of Gehazi. — Vers. 20-22. When 
Naaman had gone a stretch of the way (pN nna3, ver 1 9 ; see 
at Gen. xxxv. 16), there arose in Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, 

^ Most of the earlier theologians found in Elisha's words a direct approval 
of the religious conviction expressed by Naaman and his attitude towards 
idolatry ; and since they could not admit that a prophet would have permitted 
a heathen alone to participate in idolatrous ceremonies, endeavoured to get rid 
of the consequence resulting from it, viz. licitam ergo esse Christkinis avf^cpojunaiv 
"Ziarov (/.iroi d'Trtarou, sen sijmhoUzationem et commimicationem cum ceremonla 
idololatrica, either by appealing to the use of n'lnri'Li'n and to the distinction 
between incurvatio regis voliintaria et rellgiosa (real worship) and incnrvatio 
servilis et coacta Naemmii, quie erat politica et civilis (mere prostration from 
civil connivance), or by the ungrammatical explanation that Naaman merely 
spoke of what he had already done, not of what he would do in future {vid. 
Pfeiffer, Duh. vex. p. 445 sqq., and J. Meyer, ad Seder Olani, p. 904 sqq., 
Budd., and others). — Both are unsatisfactory. The dreaded consequence falls 
of itself if we only distinguish between the times of the old covenant and 
those of the new. Under the old covenant the time had not yet come in 
which the heathen, who came to the knowledge of the true deity of the God 
of Israel, could be required to break off from all their heathen ways, unless 
they would formally enter into fellowship Avilh the covenant nation. 



the desire for a portion of the presents of the Syrian which his 
master had refused (^^ ""^ ''''' V, as truly as Jehovah liveth, 
assuredly I run after him; DN ""3 as in 1 Sam. xxv. 34). He 
therefore hastened after him ; and as Naaman no sooner saw 
Gehazi running after him than he sprang quickly down from his 
chariot in reverential gratitude to the prophet (?'^\ as in Gen. xxiv. 
64), he asked in the name of Elisha for a talent of silver and 
two changes of raiment, professedly for two poor pupils of the 
prophets, who had come to the prophet from Mount Ephraim. — 
Ver. 23. But Naaman forced him to accept two talents (ni^ PNin, 
be pleased to take ; and Qp.s?, with the dual ending, nc ;pcrcat 
indicium numeri — Winer) in two purses, and two changes of 
raiment, and out of politeness had these presents carried by two 
of his servants before Gehazi. — Ver. 24. When Gehazi came to 
the hill (''^pyn, the well-known hill before the city) he took the 
presents from the bearers, and dismissing the men, laid them up 
in the house. 3 li?S, to bring into safe custody. — Vers. 25, 26. 
But when he entered his master's presence again, he asked him, 
"Wlience (comest thou), Gehazi ?" and on his returning the lying 
answer that he had not been anywhere, charged him with all 
that he had done. '^'^ ''27 ^, " had not my heart gone, when the 
man turned from his chariot to meet thee ?" This is the simplest 
and the only correct interpretation of these difficult words, which 
have been explained in very different ways. Theodoret {ov')(l rj 
Kaphia fjbov rjv fxera aov) and the Vulgate {nonne cor meum in 
p-cesenti erat, quando, etc.) have already given the same explana- 
tion, and so far as the sense is concerned it agrees with that 
adopted by Thenius : was I not (in spirit) away (from here) and 
present (there)? 'Hi'C stands in a distinct relation to the "^^ N? 
of Gehazi. — '131 nyn : " is it time to take silver, and clothes, and 
olive-trees, and vineyards, and sheep and oxen, and servants and 
maidens ?" i.e. is this the time, when so many hypocrites pretend 
to be prophets from selfishness and avarice, and bring the pro- 
phetic office into contempt with unbelievers, for a servant of 
the true God to take money and goods from a non-Israelite for 
that which God has done through him, that he may acquire 
property and luxury for himself? — Ver. 27. "And let the 
leprosy of Naaman cleave to thee and to thy seed for ever." 
This punishment took effect immediately. Gehazi went -out 
from Elisha covered with leprosy as if with snow (cf Ex. iv. 6, 
Num. xii. 10). It was not too harsh a punishment that the 

CHAP. VI. 1-7 323 

leprosy taken from Naaman on account of his faitli in the 
living God, should pass to Gehazi on account of his departure 
from the true God. For it was not his avarice only that was 
to be punished, hut the abuse of the prophet's name for the pur- 
pose of carrying out his selfish purpose, and his misrepresenta- 
tion of the prophet/ 


Vers. 1-7. Elisha causes an Ikon Axe to float. — The 
following account gives us an insight into the straitened life of 
the pupils of the prophets. Vers. 1-4. As the common dwell- 
ing-place had become too small for them, they resolved, with 
Elisha's consent, to build a new house, and went, accompanied by 
the prophet, to the woody bank of the Jordan to fell the wood 
that was required for the building. The place where the com- 
mon abode had become too small is not given, but most of the 
commentators suppose it to have been Gilgal, chiefly from the 
erroneous assumption that the Gilgal mentioned in ch. ii. 1 
was in the Jordan valley to the east of Jericho. Thenius only 
cites in support of this the reference in '^''^f? ü'^2^'' (dwell with 
thee) to ch. iv. 38 ; but this decides nothing, as the pupils of 
the prophets sat before Elisha, or gathered together around their 
master in a common home, not merely in Gilgal, but also in 
Bethel and Jericho. We might rather think of Jericho, since 
Bethel and Gilgal (Jiljilia) were so far distant from the Jordan, 
that there is very little probability that a removal of the meeting- 
place to the Jordan, such as is indicated by Dip^ DK' ^y^'n^V}, 
would ever have been thought of from either of these localities. 
— Ver. 5. In the felling of the beams, the iron, i.e. the axe, of one 
of the pupils of the prophets fell into the water, at which he 
exclaimed with lamentation : " Alas, my lord (i.e. Elisha), and 
it was begged ! " The sorrowful exclamation implied a petition 
for help. ''.P.?'!'"fi^l: "and as for the iron, it fell into the water " 
so that even here nx does not stand before the nominative, but 

^ " This was not the punishment of his immoderate lupoloaixs (receiving of 
gifts) merely, but most of all of his lying. For he who seeks to deceive the 
prophet in relation to the things which belong to his office, is said to lie to 
the Holy Ghost, whose instrmneuts the prophets are" {vid. Acts v. 3). — 


Serves to place the noun in sulDJection to the clause (cf. Ewald, 
S 277, a). Pi5<tf' does not mean borrowed, hut begged. The 
meaning to borrow is attributed to bi<^ from a misinterpretation 
of particular passages (see the Comm. on Ex. iii. 22). The pro- 
phets' pupil had begged the axe, because from his poverty he was 
unable to buy one, and hence the loss was so painful to him. — 
Vers. 6, 7. When he showed Elisha, in answer to his inquiry, the 
place wdiere it had fallen, the latter cut off a stick and threw it 
thither (into the water) and made the iron flow, i.e. float (^>*^ 
from Pi'i^*, to flow, as in Deut. xi. 4) ; whereupon the prophets' 
pupil picked the axe out of the water wdth his hand. The 
object of the miracle was similar to that of the stater in the 
fish's mouth (Matt. xvii. 27), or of the miraculous feeding, 
namely, to show how the Lord could relieve earthly want 
through the medium of His prophet. The natural interpreta- 
tion of the miracle, which is repeated by Thenius, namely, that 
" Elisha struck the eye of the axe wdth the long stick which he 
thrust into the river, so that the iron was lifted by the Avood," 
needs no refutation, since the raising of an iron axe by a long 
stick, so as to make it float in the water, is impossible according 
to the laws of gravitation. 

Vers. 8-23. Elisha's Action in the War with the Syrians. 
— ^Vers. 8-10. In a war which the Spians carried on against 
the Israelitish king Joram (not Jehoahaz, as Ewald, Gesch. iii. 
p. 557, erroneously supposes), by sending flying parties into the 
land of Israel (cf. ver. 23), Elisha repeatedly informed king 
Joram of the place where the Syrians had determined to encamp, 
and thereby frustrated the plans of the enemy, ^ninn . . . Dlprp'XS : 
" at the place of so and so shall my camp be." ''^^f^? ''•?^f as 
in 1 Sam. xxi. 3 (see at Euth iv. 1). nijnn the encamping or the 
place of encampment (cf. Ewald, § 161, a), is quite appropriate, so 
that there is no need either for the alteration into 1^^?^?, "ye shall 
hide yourselves " (Then.), or into ^inhjri, with the meaning which 
is arbitrarily postulated, " ye shall place an ambush " (Ewald, 
Gesch. iii. p. 558), or for the much simpler alteration into Y ^^H^, 
" pitch the camp for me " (Böttcher). The singular suffix in 
\"iinri refers to the king as leader of the w^ar : " my camp " = the 
camp of my army. " Beware of passing over (i^y) this place," 
-i.e. of leaving it unoccupied, " for there have the Syrians deter- 
mined to make their invasion." D'J^n:, from nnj^ going down, 

CHAP. VI. S-23. 325 

with dagcsh cwfjlion., whereas Ewald (§ 187, &) is of opinion 
that Q''^n3, instead of being an intrans. part. Kal, might rather 
he a part. Ni'pli. of nn, which would not yield, however, any 
suitable meaning. Thenius renders "»^IIO, "to pass by this 
place," which would be grammatically admissible, but is con- 
nected with his conjecture concerning "'^inri, and irreconcilable 
with ver. 10. When the king of Israel, according to ver. 10, 
sent to the place indicated on account of Elisha's information, 
he can only have sent troops to occupy it ; so that when the 
Syrians arrived they found Israelitish troops there, and were 
unable to attack the place. There is nothing in the text about 
the Syrians bursting forth from their ambush. "'''Ot'"? means to 
enlighten, instruct, but not to warn. D*^""in^3, " he took care 
there," i.e. he occupied the place with troops, to defend it against 
the Syrians, so that they were unable to do anything, " not once 
and not twice," i.e. several times. — Ver. 11. The king of the 
Syrians was enraged at this, and said to his servants, " Do ye 
not show me who of our men (leans) to the king of Israel ? " 
i.e. takes his part, i^p^'? = ^^P "^^^^j probably according to an 
Aramaean dialect: see Ewald, 181, &, though he pronounces the 
reading incorrect, and would read ^J?3p, but without any ground 
and quite unsuitably, as the king would thereby reckon himself 
among the traitors. — Vers. 12 sqq. Then one of the servants 
answered, " No, my lord king," i.e. it is not we who disclose 
thy plans to the king of Israel, '' but Elisha the prophet tells 
him what thou say est in thy bed-chamber;" whereupon the 
king of Syria inquired where the prophet lived, and sent a 
powerful army to Dothan, with horses and chariots, to take him 
prisoner there. Dothan (see Gen. xxxvii. 17), which according 
to the Onom. was twelve Eoman miles to the north of Samaria, 
has been preserved under its old name in a Tell covered with 
ruins to the south-west of Jenin, on the caravan-road from 
Gilead to Egypt (see Eob. Bill. Res. p. 158, and V. de Velde, 
Journey, i. pp. 273, 274). — Vers. 15-17. When Elisha's ser- 
vant went out the next morning and saw the army, which had 
surrounded the town in the night, he said to the prophet, 
" Alas, my lord, how shall we do ? " But Elisha quieted him, 
saying, " Fear not, for those with us are more than those with 
them." He then prayed that the Lord might open his servant's 
eyes, whereupon he saw the mountain upon which Dothan stood 
full of fiery horses and chariots round about Elisha. Opening 


the eyes was translation into the ecstatic state of clairvoyance, 
in which an insight into the invisible spirit-world was granted 
him. The fiery horses and chariots were symbols of the pro- 
tecting powers of Heaven, which surrounded the prophet. The 
fiery form indicated the super-terrestrial origin of this host. 
Fire, as the most ethereal of all earthly elements, was the most 
appropriate substratum for making the spirit-world visible. 
The sight was based upon Jacob's vision (Gen. xxxii. 2), in 
which he saw a double army of angels encamped around him, 
at the time when he was threatened with danger from Esau. — 
Vers. 18-20. When the enemy came down to Elisha, he prayed 
to the Lord that He would smite them with blindness ; and 
when this took place according to his word, he said to them. 
This is not the way and this is not the city; follow me, and I 
will lead you to the man whom ye are seeking ; and led them to 
Samaria, which was about four hours' distance from Dothan, 
where their eyes were opened at Elisha's prayer, so that they 
saw where they had been led. vJ'N nn»! cannot be understood 
as referring to Elisha and his servant, who went down to the 
Syrian army, as J. H. Mich., Budd., F. v. Meyer, and Thenius, 
who wants to alter ivN into ^'i^y.^., suppose, but must refer to 
the Syrians, who went down to the prophet, as is evident from 
what follows. For the assumption that the Syrians had 
stationed themselves below and round the mountain on which 
Dothan stood, and therefore would have had to come up to 
Elisha, need not occasion an unnatural interpretation of the 
words. It is true that Dothan stands upon an isolated hill in 
the midst of the plain ; but on the eastern side it is enclosed 
by a range of hills, which project into the plain (see V. de Velde, 
B. i. p. 273). The Syrians who had been sent against Elisha 
had posted themselves on this range of hills, and thence they 
came doivn towards the town of Dothan, which stood on the 
hill, whilst Elisha went out of the town to meet them. It is 
true that Elisha's going out is not expressly mentioned, but 
in ver. 19 it is clearly presupposed. Qniip is mental blind- 
ness here, as in the similar case mentioned in Gen. xix. 11, 
that is to say, a state of blindness in which, though a man has 
eyes that can see, he does not see correctly. Elisha's untruthful 
statement, "this is not the way," etc., is to be judged in the 
same manner as every other ruse dc guerre, by which the enemy 
is deceived. — Vers. 21-23. Ehsha forbade Idng Joram to slay 

CHAP. VI. 24-33. 327 

tlie enemy that he had brought to him, because he had not 
taken them prisoners in war, and recommended him to treat 
them hospitably and then let them return to their lord. The 
object of the miracle would have been frustrated if the 
Syrians had been slain. For the intention was to show the 
Syrians that they had to do with a prophet of the true God, 
against whom no human power could be of any avail, that they 
might learn to fear the almighty God. Even when regarded 
from a political point of view, the prophet's advice was more 
likely to ensure peace than the king's proposal, as the result in 
ver. 23 clearly shows. The Syrians did not venture any more 
to invade the land of Israel with flying parties, from fear of 
the obvious protection of Israel by its God ; though this did 
not preclude a regular war, like that related in the following 
account. For ^?^it see the Comm. on ch. v. 13. "lai n^?^ "^f^^ : 
" art thou accustomed to slay that which thou hast taken cap- 
tive with sword and bow ? " i.e. since thou dost not even slay 
those whom thou hast made prisoners in open battle, how 
wouldst thou venture to put these to death ? n"i3 Dnp nna^^ 
he prepared them a meal. nn3 is a denom. from nns^ a meal, so 
called from the union of several persons, like ccena from kolvyj 
(vid. Dietr. on Ges. Lex. s. v. n"i3). 

CHAP. VI. 24-vii. 20. elisha's action dueing a famine in 


Vers. 24-33. After this there arose so fearful a famine in 
Samaria on the occasion of a siege by Benhadad, that one 
mother complained to the king of another, because she would 
not keep her agreement to give up her son to be eaten, as she 
herself had already done. — Ver. 25. The famine became great — 
till an ass's head was worth eighty shekels of silver, and a 
quarter of a cab of dove's dung was worth five shekels. ? n^n^ 
to become for = to be worth. The ass was an unclean animal, so 
that it was not lawful to eat its flesh. Moreover the head of 
an ass is the most inedible part of the animal. Eighty shekels 
were about seventy thalers (£10, 10s. — Tr.), or if the Mosaic 
bekas were called shekels in ordinary life, thirty-five thalers 
(£5, 5s. ; see Bertheau, Zur Gesch. der Isr. p. 49). According 
to Thenius, a quarter of a cab is a sixth of a small Dresden 
measure {Mässehoi), not quite ten Parisian cubic inches. Five 


shekels : more than four thalers (twelve shillings), or more than 
two thalers (six shillings). The Chdhlh D^:vnn is to be read ^"^J} 
Q^Ji"', excrcmcnta columharum, for which the Kcri substitutes the 
euphemistic Q^^i"* y'\ fluxiis, 2J^'oßuvium. cohimharum. The ex- 
pression may be taken literally, since dung has been known to 
be collected for eating in times of terrible famine (vid. Joseph. 
Bell. Jud. V. 13, 7) ; but it may also be figuratively employed to 
signify a very miserable kind of food, as the Arabs call the 

herla Alcali U<i)l, i-C- sparrow's dung, and the Germans call 

Asafcetida Teufelsdreck. But there is no ground for thinking of 
wasted chick-pease, as Bochart {Hieroz. ii. p. 582, ed. Eos.) sup- 
poses (see, on the other hand, Celsii Hicrobot. ii. p. 30 sqq.).^ 
— Ver. 26. As the king was passing by upon the wall to con- 
duct the defence, a woman cried to him for help ; whereupon he 
replied : ""^ ^^P'^''"'^', " should Jehovah not help thee, whence 
shall I help thee ? from the threshing-floor or from the wine- 
press ?" It is difficult to explain the b«, which Ewald (§355, h) 
supposes to stand for N^ 25«. Thenius gives a simpler explana- 
tion, namely, that it is a subjective negation and the sentence 
hypothetical, so that the condition would be only expressed by 
the close connection of the two clauses (according to Ewald, 
v^ 357). "From the threshing-floor or from the wine-press ?" 
i.e. I can neither help thee with corn nor with wine, cannot 
procure thee either food or drink. He then asked her what 
her trouble was ; upon which she related to him the horrible 
account of the slaying of her own child to appease her hunger, 
etc. — ^Ver. 30. The king, shuddering at this horrible account, 
in which the curses of the law in Lev. xxvi. 29 and Deut. 
xxviii. 53, 57 had been literally fulfilled, rent his clothes ; and 
the people then saw that he wore upon his body the hairy gar- 
ment of penitence and mourning, JT'ap, within, i.e. beneath the 
upper garment, as a sign of humiliation before God, though it 
was indeed more an opus operatum than a true bending of the 
heart before God and His judgment. This is proved by his 
conduct in ver. 31. When, for example, the complaint of the 

1 Clericus gives as a substantial parallel the foUowiug passage from 
Plutarch {Artax. c. 24): "he only killed the beasts of burden, so that the 
head of on ass was hardly to be bought for sixty drachmte ;" and Grotitis 
quotes the statement in Plin. h. n. viii. 57, that when Casalimim was besieged 
by Hannibal a naouse was sold for 200 denaria. 

CHAP. VI. 21-33. 329 

■woman brought the heart-breaking distress of the city before 
him, he exclaimed, " God do so to me . . . if the head of Elisha 
remain upon him to-day." Elisha had probably advised that 
on no condition should the city be given up, and promised that 
God would deliver it, if they humbled themselves before Him 
in sincere humility and prayed for His assistance. The king 
thought that he had done his part by putting on the hairy gar- 
ment ; and as the anticipated help had nevertheless failed to 
come, he flew into a rage, for which the prophet was to pay 
the penalty. It is true that this rage only proceeded from a 
momentary ebullition of passion, and quickly gave place to a 
better movement of his conscience. The king hastened after 
the messenger whom he had sent to behead Elisha, for the pur- 
pose of preventing the execution of the murderous command 
which he had given in the hurry of his boiling wrath (ver. 3 2) ; 
but it proves, nevertheless, that the king was still wanting in 
that true repentance, which would have sprung from the recog- 
nition of the distress as a judgment inflicted by the Lord. The 
desperate deed, to which his violent wrath had impelled him, 
would have been accomplished, if the Lord had not protected 
His prophet and revealed to him the king's design, that he 
might adopt defensive measures. — Ver. 32. The elders of the 
city were assembled together in Elisha's house, probably to seek 
for counsel and consolation ; and the king sent a man before 
him (namely, to behead the prophet) ; but before the messenger 
arrived, the prophet told the elders of the king's intention : 
" See ye that this son of a murderer (Joram, by descent and 
disposition a genuine son of Ahab, the murderer of Naboth and 
the prophets) is sending to cut off my head ? " and commanded 
them to shut the door against the messenger and to force him 
back at the door, because he already heard the sound of his 
master's feet behind him. These measures of Elisha, therefore, 
were not dictated by any desire to resist the lawful authorities, 
but were acts of prudence by which he delayed the execution 
of an unrighteous and murderous command which had been 
issued in haste, and thereby rendered a service to the king 
himself. — In ver. 33 we have to supply from the context that 
the king followed close upon the messenger, who came down to 
Elisha while he was talking with the elders ; and he (the king) 
would of course be admitted at once. For the subject to "'ö^<'1 
is not the messenger, but the king, as is evident from ch. vii. 2 


and 1 7. The king said : " Behold the calamity from the Lord, 
why shall I wait still further for the Lord ? " — the words of 
a despairing man, in whose soul, however, there was a spark of 
faith still glimmering. The very utterance of his feelings to 
the prophet shows that he had still a weak glimmer of hope 
in the Lord, and wished to be strengthened and sustained by 
the prophet ; and this strengthening he received. 

Ch. vii. 1, 2. Elisha announced to him the word of the 
Lord : " At the (this) time to-morrow a seah of wheaten flour 
(nbb, see at 1 Kings v. 2) will be worth a shekel, and two seahs 
of barley a shekel in the gate, i.e. in the market, at Samaria." 
A seah, or a third of an ephah = a Dresden peck {Maze), for a 
shekel was still a high price ; but in comparison with the prices 
Given in ch. vi. 2 5 as those obtained for the most worthless kinds 
of food, it was incredibly cheap. The king's aide-de-camp (5J^v"^: 
see at 2 Sam. xxiii. 8 ; jyf ? ^!^ "^^^ an error in writing for 
':^J Tjban "Il^'n, cf. ver. 17, and for the explanation ch. v. 18) 
therefore replied with mockery at this prophecy : " Behold {i.e. 
granted that) the Lord made windows in heaven, will this 
indeed be ?" i.e. such cheapness take place. (For the construc- 
tion, see Ewald, § 3 5 7, 5.) The ridicule lay more especially in 
the " windows in heaven," in which there is an allusion to Gen. 
vii. 11, sc. to rain down a flood of flour and corn. Elisha 
answered seriously : " Behold, thou wilt see it with thine eyes, 
but not eat thereof " (see vers. 1 7 sqq.). The fulfilment of these 
words of Elisha was brought about by the event narrated in 
vers. 3 sqq. — Vers. 3—7. " Eour men were before the gate as 
lepers," or at the gateway, separated from human society, accord- 
ing to the law in Lev. xiii. 46, Num. v. 3, probably in a build- 
ing erected for the purpose (cf ch. xv, 5), just as at the present 
day the lepers at Jerusalem have their huts by the side of the 
Zion gate {viel. Strauss, Sinai u. Golgatha, p. 205, and Tobler, 
DenkUcitter aus Jems. p. 411 sqq.). These men being on the 
point of starvation, resolved to invade the camp of the Syrians, 
and carried out this resolution ^^}/^, in the evening twilight, 
not the morning twuight (Seb. Schm., Cler., etc.), on account of 
ver. 12, where the king is said to have received the news of the 
flight of the Syrians during the night. Coming to " the end 
of the S}Tian camp," i.e. to the outskirts of it on the city side, 
they found no one there. For (vers. 6,7)" the Lord had caused 
the army of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots and horses. 


CHAP. VII. 1-20. 331 

a noise of a great army," so that, believing the king of Israel to 
have hired the kings of the Hittites and Egyptians to fall upon 
them, they fled from the camp in the twilight DK'srPN, with 
regard to their life, i.e. to save their life only, leaving behind 
them their tents, horses, and asses, and the camp as it was. — 
The miracle, by which God delivered Samaria from the famine 
or from surrendering to the foe, consisted in an oral delusion, 
namely, in the fact that the besiegers thought they heard the 
march of hostile armies from the north and south, and were 
seized with such panic terror that they fled in the greatest haste, 
leaving behind them their baggage, and their beasts of draught 
and burden. It is impossible to decide whether the noise which 
they heard had any objective reality, say a miraculous buzzing 
in the air, or whether it was merely a deception of the senses 
produced in their ears by God ; and this is a matter of no im- 
portance, since in either case it was produced miraculously by 
God. The kings of the Hittites are kings of northern Canaan, 
upon Lebanon and towards Phoenicia ; ^''^^in in the broader sense 
for Canaanites, as in 1 Kings x. 29. The plural, "kings of the 
Egyptians," is probably only occasioned by the parallel expres- 
sion " kings of the Hittites," and is not to be pressed. — Vers. 
8-11. When these lepers (these, pointing back to vers. 3 sqq.) 
came into the camp which the Syrians had left, they first of all 
satisfied their own hunger with the provisions which they found 
in the tents, and then took different valuables and concealed 
them. But their consciences were soon aroused, so that they 
said: We are not doing right ; this day is a day of joyful tidings : 
if we are silent and wait till the morning light, guilt will over- 
take us ; " for it is the duty of citizens to make known things 
relating to public safety" (Grotius). They then resolved to 
announce the joyful event in the king's palace, and reported 
it to the watchman at the city gate. ">''yn nyb' stands as a 
generic term in a collective sense for the persons who watched 
at the gate ; hence the following plural ^[b, and in ver. 1 1 
Dnj;!^/;}. " And the gate-keepers cried out (what they had 
heard) and reported it in the king's palace." — Vers. 12 sqq. The 
king imagined that the unexpected departure of the Syrians was 
only a ruse, namely, that they had left the camp and hidden 
themselves in the field, to entice the besieged out of the fortress^ 
and then fall upon them and press into the city. "^Tf D? accord- 
ing to later usage for nnti^ii (vid. Ewald, § 244, a). In order to 


make sure of the correctness or incorrectness of this conjecture, 
one of the king's servants (counsellors) gave this advice : " Let 
them take (the Vav hefore ^Hjp^^ as in ch. iv, 41) five of the 
horses left in the city, that we may send and see how the 
matter stands." The words, " Behold they (the five horses) are 
as the whole multitude of Israel that are left in it (the city) ; 
behold they are as the whole multitude of Israel that are gone," 
have this meaning : The five horsemen (for horses stand for 
horsemen, as it is self-evident that it was men on horseback and 
not the horses themselves that were to be sent out as spies) 
can but share the fate of the rest of the people of Samaria, 
whether they return unhurt to meet death by starvation with 
the people that still remain, or fall into the hands of the enemy 
and are put to death, in which case they will only suffer the lot 
of those who have already perished. Five horses is an approxi- 
mative small number, and is therefore not at variance with the 
following statement, that two pair of horses were sent out with 
chariots and men. The ChctMh li^nn is not to be altered, since 
there are other instances in which the first noun is written with 
the article, though in the construct state (vid. Ewald, ^ 290, c) ; 
and the Kcri is only conformed to the following p?Dn"^33. — Vers. 
14& and 15. They then sent out two chariots with horses, who 
pursued the flying enemy to the Jordan, and found the whole of the 
road full of traces of the hurried flight, consisting of clothes and 
vessels that had been tlirown away. The Chctliib Djsnna is the 
only correct reading, since it is only in the Niphal that Tsn has 
the meaning to fly in great haste (cf. 1 Sam. xxiii. 2G, Ps. 
xlviii. 6, civ. 7). — A^ers. 16, 17, When the returning messen- 
gers reported this, the people went out and plundered the camp 
of the Syrians, and this was followed by the consequent cheap- 
ness of provisions predicted by Elisha. As the people streamed 
out, the unbelieving aide-de-camp, whom the king had ordered 
to take the oversight at the gate (l''i??'?, to deliver the oversight) 
for the purpose of preserving order in the crowding of the 
starving multitude, was trodden down by the people, so that he 
died, whereby this prediction of Elisha was fulfilled. The 
exact fulfilment of this prediction appeared so memorable to 
the historian, that he repeats this prophecy in vers. 18-20 
along with the event which occasioned it, and refers again to its 



Vei-3. 1-6. Elisha's Influence helps the Shunammite to 
THE Possession of her House and Field. — Vers. 1 and 2. 
By the advice of Elisha, the woman whose son the prophet had 
restored to life (ch. iv. 33) had gone with her family into the 
land of the Philistines during a seven years' famine, and had 
remained there seven years. The two verses are rendered by 
most commentators in the pluperfect, and that with perfect cor- 
rectness, for they are circumstantial clauses, and ^\^^] is merely 
a continuation of "i^l, the two together preparing the way for, 
and introducing the following event. The object is not to 
relate a prophecy of Elisha of the seven years' famine, but what 
afterwards occurred, namely, how king Joram was induced by 
the account of Elisha's miraculous works to have the property 
of the Shunammite restored to her upon her application. The 
seven years' famine occurred in the middle of Joram's reign, 
and the event related here took place before the curing of 
Naaman the Syrian (ch. v.), as is evident from the fact that 
Gehazi talked with the king (ver. 4), and therefore had not yet 
been punished with leprosy. But it cannot have originally 
stood between ch. iv. 37 and iv. 38, as Thenius supposes, be- 
cause the incidents related in ch. iv. 38-44 belong to the time 
of this famine (cf. ch. iv. 38), and therefore precede the occur- 
rence mentioned here. By the words, " the Lord called the 
famine, and it came seven years" (sc. lasting that time), the 
famine is described as a divine judgment for the idolatry of the 
nation. — Ver. 3. When the woman returned to her home at the 
end of the seven years, she went to the king to cry, ic. to invoke 
his help, with regard to her house and her field, of which, as is 
evident from the context, another had taken possession during 
her absence. — Ver. 4. And just at that time the king was 
asking Gehazi to relate to him the great things that Elisha had 
done ; and among these he was giving an account of the re- 
storation of the Shunammite's son to life. — Vers. 5, 6. While 
he was relating this, the woman herself came in to invoke the 
help of the king to recover her property, and was pointed out 


to the king by Gehazi as the very woman of whom he was 
speaking, which caused the king to be so interested in her 
favour, that after hearing her complaint he sent a chamberlain 
with her (saris as in 1 Kings xxii. 9), with instructions to pro- 
cure for her not only the whole of her property, but the produce 
of the land during her absence. — For nary without majJjnq, see 
Ewald, § 247, cZ. 

Vers. 7-15. Elisha peedicts to Hazael at Damascus the 
Possession of the Throne. — Vers. 7 sqq. Elisha then came to 
Damascus at the instigation of the Spirit of God, to carry out 
the commission which Elijah had received at Horeb with regard 
to Hazael (1 Kings xix, 15). Benhadad king of Syria was 
sick at that time, and when Elisha's arrival was announced to 
him, sent Hazael with a considerable present to the man of 
God, to inquire of Jehovah through him concerning his illness. 
The form of the name ^^<^IÖ. (here and ver. 15) is etymo- 
logically correct ; but afterwards it is always written without n. 
'»T niD'pa'i (" and that all kinds of good of Damascus ") follows 
with a more precise description of the mmchah — " a burden of 
forty camels." The present consisted of produce or wares of 
the rich commercial city of Damascus, and was no doubt very 
considerable ; at the same time, it was not so large that forty 
camels were required to carry it. The affair must be judged 
according to the Oriental custom, of making a grand display 
with the sending of presents, and employing as many men or 
beasts of burden as possible to carry them, every one carrying 
only a single article (cf. Harmar, Bcobb. ii. p. 29, iii. p. 43, and 
Eosenmiiller, A. u. N. Morgcnl. iii. p. 17). — Ver. 10. According 
to the Clidhib n^n N7, Elisha's answer was, " Thou wilt not live, 
and (for) Jehovah has shown me that he will die ;" according 
to the Keri n^n i?, " tell him : Thou wilt live, but Jehovah," etc. 
Most of the commentators follow the ancient versions, and the 
Masoretes, who reckon our N^ among the fifteen passages of the 
0. T. in which it stands for the pronoun Sh (viel. Hilleri Arcan. 
Keri, p. 62 seq.), and some of the codices, and decide in favour 
of the Keri. (1) because the conjecture that ii? was altered into 
N^ in order that Elisha might not be made to utter an untruth, 
is a very natural one ; and (2) on account of the extreme rarity 
with wliich a negative stands before the inf abs. with the finite 
verb followiuGf. But there is not much force in either argument. 

CHAP. VIII. 7-15. 335 

The rarity of the position of xb before the inf. ahs. followed by 
a finite verb, in connection with the omission of the pronoun i^ 
after "ibK, might be the very reason why Nt' was taken as a pro- 
noun ; and the confirmation of this opinion might be found in 
the fact that Hazael brought back this answer to the king: 
"Thou wilt live" (ver. 14). The reading in the text i6 (non) 
is favoured by the circumstance that it is the more difficult of 
the two, partly because of the unusual position of the negative, 
and partly because of the contradiction to ver. 14. But the iö 
is found in the same position in other passages (Gen. iii. 4, Ps. 
xlix. 8, and Amos ix. 8), where the empliasis lies upon the 
negation ; and the contradiction to ver. 14 may be explained 
very simply, from the fact that Hazael did not tell his king the 
truth, because he wanted to put him to death and usurp the 
throne. We therefore prefer the reading in the text, since it is 
not in harmony with the character of the prophets to utter an 
untruth ; and the explanation, " thou wilt not die of thine illness, 
but come to a violent death," puts into the words a meaning 
which they do not possess. For even if Benhadad did not die 
of his illness, he did not recover from it. — Ver. 11. Elisha then 
fixed Hazael for a long time with his eye, and wept. "1^1 '^^V% 
literally, he made his face stand fast, and directed it (upon 
Hazael) to shaming. tf'3"iy as in Judg. iii. 2 5 ; not in a 
shameless manner (Thenius), but till Hazael was embarrassed 
by it. — Ver. 12. "V^Hien Hazael asked him the cause of his 
weeping, Elisha replied : " I know the evil which thou wilt 
do to the sons of Israel : their fortresses wilt thou set on fire 
(K'Xii nW\ see at Judg. i. 8), their youths wilt thou slay with the 
sword, and wilt dash their children to pieces, and cut asunder 
their women with child" (^153, split, cut open the womb). This 
cruel conduct towards Israel which is here predicted of Hazael, 
was only a special elaboration of the brief statement made by 
the Lord to Elijah concerning Hazael (1 Kings xix. 17). The 
fulfilment of this prediction is indicated generally in ch. x. 32, 33, 
and xiii. 3 sqc[. ; and we may infer with certainty from Hos. x. 1 4 
and xiv. 1, that Hazael really practised the cruelties mentioned. 
— Vers, 13 sqq. But when Hazael replied in feigned humility, 
What is thy servant, the dog {i.e. so base a fellow : for 3p| see 
at 1 Sam. xxiv. 15), that he should do such great things ? 
Elisha said to him, " Jehovah has shown thee to me as king over 
Aram/' whereupon Hazael returned to his lord, brought him the 


pretended answer of Elisha that he would live (recover), and tlie 
next day suffocated him with a cloth dipped in water, "is^??, 
from I??, to plait or twist, literally, anything twisted ; not, how- 
ever, a net for gnats or flies (Joseph., J. D. Mich., etc.), but a 
twisted thick cloth, which when dipped in water became so 
thick, that when it was spread over the face of the sick man it 
was sufficient to suffocate him. 

Vers. lG-24. Reign of Joram of Judah (cf. 2 Chron. xxi. 
2-20). — Joram became king in the fifth year of Joram of Israel, 
while Jehoshaphat his father was (still) king, the latter handing 
over the government to him two years before his death (see at 
ch. i. 17), and reigned eight years, namely, two years to the 
death of Jehoshaphat and six years afterwards.'^ The Chdlilh 
nrii' n^bK' is not to be altered, since the rule that the numbers 

T T V : ' 

two to ten take the noun in the plural is not without exception 
(cf. Ewald, § 287, i). — Vers. 18, 19. Joram had married a 
daughter of Ahab, namely Athaliah (ver. 26), and walked in the 
ways of the house of Ahab, transplanting the worship of Baal 
into his kingdom. Immediately after the death of Jehoshaphat 
he murdered his brothers, apparently with no other object than 
to obtain possession of the treasures which his father had left 
them (2 Chron. xxi. 2-4). This wickedness of Joram would 
have been followed by the destruction of Judah, had not the 
Lord preserved a shoot to the royal house for David's sake. 
Eor "I'J i^ 7\rb see 1 Kings xi. 36. The following word v:3^ 
serves as an explanation of 'T'3 v, " a light with regard to his 
sons," i.e. by the fact that he kept sons (descendants) upon the 
throne. — Vers. 20-22, Nevertheless the divine chastisement 
was not omitted. The ungodliness of Joram was punished 
partly by the revolt of the Edomites and of the city of Libnah 
from his rule, and partly by a horrible sickness of which he died 
(2 Chron. xxi. 12-15). Edom, which had hitherto had only a 

^ The words niliT' TJ^ö t33'3'in"'1 have been improi^erly omitted by the 
Arabic and Syriac, and by Luther, Dathe, and De Wette from their transla- 
tions ; whilst Schulz, Maurer, Thenius, and others pronounce it a gloss. The 
genuineness of the words is attested by the LXX. (the Edit. Complut. being 
alone in omitting them) and by the Chaldec : and the rejection of them is just 
as arbitrary as the interpolation of n?3, which is proposed by Ivimchi and 
Ewald ("when Jehoshaphat was dead"). Compare J. Meyer, annotatt. ad 
Seder Olam, p. Ü16 sq. 

CHAP. VIII. lG-24. 33 7 

vicegerent with the title of king (see ch. iii. 9 and 1 Kings 
xxii. 48), threw off the authority of Judah, and appointed its 
own king, nnder whom it acquired independence, as the attempt 
of Joram to bring it back again under his control completely 
failed. The account of this attempt in ver. 21 and 2 Chron. 
xxi. 9 is very obscure. " Joram went over to Zair, and all his 
chariots of war with him ; and it came to pass that he rose up 
by night and smote the Edomites round about, and indeed the 
captains of the war-chariots, and the people fled {i.e. the Judreaii 
men of war, not the Edomites) to their tents." It is evident 
from this, that Joram had advanced to Zair in Idumsea ; but 
there he appears to have been surrounded and shut in, so that 
in the night he fought his way through, and had reason to be 
glad that he had escaped utter destruction, since his army fled 
to their homes. "^T^V is an unknown place in Idumtea, which 
Movers, Hitzig, and Ewald take to be Zoar, but without consider- 
ing that Zoar was in the land of Moab, not in Edom. The Chro- 
nicles have instead Vnb' Dy^ "with his captains," from a mere 
conjecture ; whilst Thenius regards HT'yi* as altered by mistake 
from ^"^^V^ (" to Seir "), which is very improbable in the case of 
so well-known a name as "'"'i^j?'. ^"'^E'l' is a later mode of writing 
for 3niDn^ probably occasioned by the frequently occurring word 
n''aD. " To this day," i.e. to the time when the original sources 
of our books were composed. For the Edomites were subjugated 
again by Amaziah and Uzziah (ch. xiv. 7 and 22), though under 
Ahaz they made incursions into Judah again (2 Chron. xxviii. 1 7). 
— At that time Lihnah also revolted. This was a royal city of 
the early Canaanites, and at a later period it was still a con- 
siderable fortress (ch. xix. 8). It is probably to be sought for 
in the ruins of AraJc cl Mcnshiych, two hours to the west of Bcit- 
Jihrin (see the Comm. on Josh. x. 29). This city probably 
revolted from Judah on the occurrence of an invasion of the 
land by the Philistines, when the sons of Joram were carried off, 
with the exception of the youngest, Jehoahaz (Ahaziah ; 2 Chron. 
xxi. 16, 17). — Vers. 23, 24. According to 2 Chron. xxi. 18 sqq., 
Joram died of a terrible disease, in which his bowels fell out, 
and was buried in the city of David, though not in the family 
sepulchre of the kings.^ 

^ " The building of Carthage, Dido, her husband Sichseus, her brother 
Pygmalion king of Tyre (scelere ante aliox immanior omncs), all coincide with 
the reign of Joram. This synchronism of the history of Tyre is not without 



Vers. 25-29. Eeign of Ahaziaii of Judah (cf. 2 Chron. 
xxii. 1—6). — Ahaziah, the youngest son of Joram, ascended the 
throne in the twenty-second year of his age. The statement in 
2 Chron. xxii. 2, that he was forty-two years old when he be- 
came king, rests upon a cojoyist's error, namely, a confusion of 3 
twenty with ?o forty. Now, since his father became king at the 
age of thirty-two, and reigned eight years, Ahaziah must have 
been born in the nineteenth year of his age. Consequently it 
may appear strange that Ahaziah had brothers still older than 
himself (2 Chron. xxi. 1 7) ; but as early marriages are common 
in the East, and the royal princes had generally concubines along 
with their wife of the first rank, as is expressly stated of Joram 
in 2 Chron. xxi. 17, he might have had some sons in his nine- 
teenth year. His mother was called Athaliah, and was a daughter 
of the idolatrous Jezebel. In ver. 2 6 and 2 Chron. xxii. 2 she 
is called the daughter, i.e. grand-daughter, of Omri ; for, according 
to ver. 18, she was a daughter of Ahab. Omri, the grand- 
father, is mentioned in ver. 26 as the founder of the dynasty 
which brought so much trouble upon Israel and Judah tlu-ough 
its idolatry. — Ver. 27. Ahaziah, like his father, reigned in the 
spirit of Ahab, because he allowed his mother to act as his 
adviser (2 Chron. xxii. 3, 4). — Vers. 28, 29. Ahaziah went 
with Joram of Israel, his mother's brother, to the war with the 
Syrians at Eamoth. The contest for this city, which had 
already cost Aliab his life (1 Kings xxii.), was to furnish the 
occasion, according to the overruling providence of God, for the 
extermination of the whole of Omri's family. Being wounded 
in the battle with the Syrians, Joram Idng of Israel returned to 
Jezreel to be healed of his wounds. His nephew Ahaziah 
visited him there, and there he met with his death at the same 
time as Joram at the hands of Jehu, who had conspired against 
Joram (see ch. ix. 14 sqq. and 2 Chron. xxii, 7-9), Whether 
the war with Hazael at Eamoth was for the recapture of this 
city, which had been taken by the Syrians, or simply for hold- 
ing it against the Syrians, it is impossible to determine. All 

significance here. The Tyrian, Israelitish, and Judsean histories are closely 
connected at this time. Jezebel, a Tyrian princess, was Ahab's wife, and again 
her daughter Athaliah was the wife of Joram, and after his death the mur- 
deress of the heirs of the kingdom, and sole occupant of the throne. Tyre, 
through these marriages, introduced its own spirit and great calamity into 
both the Israelitish kingdoms." — J. D. Mich.^elis on ver. 24. 

CHAP. IX. 1-10. 339 

that we can gather from ch. ix. 1 4 is, that at that time Eamoth 
was in the possession of the Israelites, whether it had come into 
their possession again after the disgraceful rout of the Syrians 
before Samaria (ch. vii.), or whether, perhaps, it was not recovered 
till this war. For Q''?»'!^* without the article see Ewald, § 277, c 
— Ver. 29. no"ja = nj;^3 nb"i3, ver. 28 ; see at 1 Kings xxii. 4. 


Vers. 1-10. Anointing of Jehu by command of Elisha. — 
"While the Israelitish army \yas at Eamoth, Elisha executed the 
last of the commissions which Elijah had received at Horeb 
(1 Kings xix. 16), by sending a pupil of the prophets into the 
camp to anoint JeMo the commander-in-chief of the army as 
king, and to announce to him, in the name of Jehovah, that he 
would be king over Israel ; and to charge him to exterminate 
the honse of Ahab. — Vers. 1-3 contain the instructions which 
Elisha gave to the pupil of the prophets, jpf [■ "^Ir" as in 1 Sam. 
X. 1. i<in''_ m nxn, look round there for Jehu. "IJI i^lbi^q, let him 
(bid him) rise up from the midst of his brethren, i.e. of his com- 
rades in arms. "Tin^ 170 • ^^^ true meaning is, " into the inner- 
most chamber" (see at 1 Kings xx. 30). Ver. 3 contains only 
the leading points of the commission to Jehu, the full particu- 
lars are communicated in the account of the fulfilment in vers. 
6 sqq. " And flee, and thou shalt not wait." Elisha gave him 
this command, not to protect him from danger on the part of 
the secret adherents of Ahab (Theodoret, Cler.), but to prevent 
all further discussions, or " that he might not mix himself up 
with other affairs" (Seb. Schmidt). — Ver. 4. "And the young 
man, the servant of the prophet, went." The second 1J^3 has the 
article in the construct state, contrary to the rule {vid. Ges. 
§ 110, 2, V). — ^Vers. 5 sqq. After the communication of the 
fact that he had a word to Jehu, the latter rose up and went 
with him into the house, i.e. into the interior of the house, in 
the court of which the captains were sitting together. There 
the pupil of the prophets poured oil upon Jehu's head, and 
announced to him that Jehovah had anointed him king for 
Israel, and that he was to smite, i.e. exterminate, the house of 
Aliab, to avenge upon it the blood of the prophets {vid. 1 Kings 
xviii. 4, xix. 10). — Vers. 8-10 are simply a repetition of the 


threat in 1 Kings xxi. 21-23. For 'V ppns, see at 1 Kings 
xxi. 23. 

Vers. 11-15. Jehu's Conspiracy against Joeam. — Ver. 
11. When Jehu came out again to his comrades in arms, 
after the departure of the pupil of the prophets, they inquired 
DiP^'n, i.e. " is it all well ? why did this madman come to thee ?" 
not because they were afraid that he might have done him 
some injury (Ewald), or that he might have brought some evil 
tidings (Tlienius), but simply because they conjectured that he 
had brought some important news. They called the prophet 
Vipp, a madman, in derision, with reference to the ecstatic 
utterances of the prophets when in a state of holy inspiration. 
Jehu answered evasively, " Ye know the man and his mutter- 
ing," i.e. ye know that he is mad and says nothing rational. 
n''b> includes both meditating and speaking. — Ver. 12. They 
were not contented with this answer, however, but said ij?'^, 
i.e. thou dost not speak truth. Jehu thereupon informed them 
that he had anointed him king over Israel in the name of 
Jehovah. — Ver. 13. After hearing this, they took quickly every 
man his garment, laid it under him upon the steps, blew the 
trumpet, and proclaimed him king. The clothes, which con- 
sisted simply of a large piece of cloth for wrapping round the 
body (see at 1 Kings xi. 29), they spread out in the place of 
carpets upon the steps, which served as a throne, to do homage 
to Jehu. For these signs of homage compare Matt. xxi. 7 and 
Wetstein, iV. Test, ad h. I. The difficult words r\'bv;ßn n-ir^s\ as 
to the meaning of which the early translators have done nothing 
but guess, can hardly be rendered in any other way than that 
proposed by Kimchi (lib. racl.), super ipsosmet gracilis, upon the 
steps themselves = upon the bare steps ; Ci"i.| being taken accord- 
ing to Chaldee usage like the Hebrew DVj; in the sense of sub- 
stantia rei, whereas the rendering given by Lud. de Dieu, after 

I- / . . . . , 

the Arabic ^.-^, scctio — super aliqucm e grcLclibus, ]s without 

analogy in Hebrew usage {vid. L. de Dieu ad h. I., and Ges. Thes. 
p. 303).-^ The meaning is, that without looking for a suitable 

^ The objection raised by Theniiis, that it is only in combination -with per- 
sonal pronouns that the Chaldaic D~i3 signifies self either in the Chaldee or 
Samaritan versions, is proved to be unfounded by DiJi^ in Job i. 3 (Targ.). 
Still less can the actual circumstances be adduced as an objection, since 

CHAP. IX. lG-29. 341 

place on which to erect a throne, they laid their clothes upon 
the bare steps, or the staircase of the house in which they were 
assembled, and set him thereon to proclaim him king. — Vers. 
14, 15. Thus Jehu conspired against Joram, who (as is related 
acjain in the circumstantial clause which follows from HTi Divi 

O . TT T : 

to D^x TjPD ; cf. ch. viii. 28, 29) had been keeping guard at 
Eamoth in Gilead, i.e. had defended this city against the attacks 
of Hazael, and had returned to Jezreel to be healed of the wounds 
which he had received ; and said, " If it is your wish (DD^i'SJ), let 
no fugitive go from the city, to announce it in Jezreel (viz. what 
had taken place, the conspiracy or the proclamation of Jehu 
as king)." It is evident from this, that the Israelites were in 
possession of the city of Eamoth, and were defending it against 
the attacks of the Syrians, so that l^ti' in ver. 1 4 cannot be un- 
derstood as relating to the siege of Eamoth. The Chetlnb T*?? 
for "'"in? is not to be altered according to the Keri, as there are 
many examples to be found of syncope in cases of this kind 
{viel. Olshausen, Lchrh. d. Hcbr. Sp\ p. 140). 

Vers. 16-29. Slaying of the two Kings, Joram of Israel 
AND Ahaziah of Judah. — Ver. 16. Jehu drove without delay to 
Jezreel, where Joram was lying sick, and Ahaziah had come 
upon a visit to him. — Vers. 17-21. As the horsemen, who were 
sent to meet him on the announcement of the watchman upon 
the tower at Jezreel that a troop was approaching, joined tlie 
followers of Jehu, and eventually the watchman, looking down 
from the tower, thought that he could discover the driving of 
Jehu in the approaching troop, Joram and Ahaziah mounted 
their chariots to drive and meet him, and came upon him by the 
portion of ground of ISTaboth the Jezreelite. The second T\Vp'^ 
in ver. 17 is a rarer form of the absolute state (see Ges. § 80, 
2, Anm. 2, and Ewald, § 173, c?).— Di^^^^ ^l^-no : " what hast'thou 
to do with peace 1 " i.e. to trouble thyself about it. '''in|!?"^^ 2b : 
" turn behind me," sc. to foUow me. '03 Jnjsn ; " the driving is 
like the driving of Jehu ; for he drives like a madman." Pi'2t;^3, 
in insania, i.e. in actual fact in ]prceci;pitatione (Vatabl.). " The 

there is no evidence to support the assertion that there was no stair- 
ease in front of the house. The perfectly un-Hebraic conjecture D^V^JN 
nibj/ön, " as a figure (or representation) of the necessary ascent" (Theniusj, 
has not the smallest support in the Vulgate rendering, ad siviilitudinem 


portion of Naboth" is tlie vineyard of Nabotli mentioned in 
1 Kings xxi., whicli formed only one portion of the gardens of the 
king's palace. — Ver. 22. To Joram's inquiry, " Is it peace, Jehu ?" 
the latter replied, " What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy 
mother Jezebel and her many witchcrafts continue ? " The notion 
of continuance is implied in IJ? (see Ewald, § 217, c) ; D''J^3T is 
spiritual whoredom, i.e. idolatry. 2''?''^?, incantationes magicce, 
then witchcrafts generally, which were usually associated with 
idolatry (cf. Deut. xviii. 10 sqq.). — ^Ver. 23. Joram detecting the 
conspiracy from this reply, turned round (V'T T]bn;| as in 1 Kings 
xxii. 34) and fled, calling out to Ahaziah nonp, " deceit," i.e. we 
are deceived, in actual fact betrayed. — Ver. 24. But Jehu seized 
the bow (ntJ'i^n Ti\ s|?d, lit. filled his hand with the bow), and 
shot Joram " between his arms," i.e. in his back between the 
shoulders in an oblique direction, so that the arrow came out at 
his heart, and Joram sank down in his chariot. — Ver. 25. Jehu 
then commanded his aide-de-camp (^v*^, see at 2 Sam. xxiii. 8) 
Bidkar to cast the slain man into the field of Naboth the 
Jezreelite, and said, " For remember how we, I and thou, both 
rode (or drove) behind his father Ahab, and Jehovah pronounced 
this threat upon him." nrisi^ ""JX are accusatives, written with a 
looser connection for '^nitsl ''nx^ as the apposition S"*??^ shows : 
literally, think of me and thee, the riders. The olden translators 
were misled by ''.?>^^ and therefore transposed "ibT into the first 
person, and Thenius naturally follows them. ^''I^V D^3Di, riding 
in pairs. This is the rendering adopted by most of the com- 
mentators, although it might be. taken, as it is by Kimchi and 
Bochart, as signifying the two persons who are carried in the 
same chariot. ^I'O, a burden, then a prophetic utterance of a 
threatening nature (see the Comm. on Nah. i. 1). For the con- 
nection of the clauses '1^1 nin^l, see Ewald, § 338, a. In ver. 26 
Jehu quotes the word of God concerning Ahab in 1 Kings 
xxi. 19 so far as the substance is concerned, to show that he is 
merely the agent employed in executing it. " Truly (^•'"Q'?, a 
particle used in an oath) the blood of Nabpth and the blood of 
his sons have I seen yesterday, saith the Lord, and upon this 
field will I requite him," The slaying of the sons of Naboth 
is not expressly mentioned in 1 Kings xxi. 13, " because it was 
so usual a thing, that the historian might leave it out as a 
matter of course " (J. D. Mich., Ewald). It necessarily followed, 
however, from the fact that Naboth's field was confiscated (see 

CHAP. IX. 16-29. o4ö 

at 1 Kings xxi. 14). — Vers. 27, 28. When Ahaziah saw this, 
he fled by the way to the garden-house, but was smitten, i.e. 
mortally wounded, by Jehu at the height of Gur near Jibleam, 
so that as he was flying still farther to Megiddo he died, and 
was carried as a corpse by his servants to Jerusalem, and buried 
there. After I'^sn, " and him also, smite him," we must supply 
^'"i?!!!, " and they smote him," which has probably only dropped out 
through a copyist's error. The way by which Ahaziah fled, and 
the place where he was mortally wounded, cannot be exactly deter- 
mined, as the situation of the localities named has not yet been 
ascertained. The " garden-house " (|3n IT'S) cannot have formed 
a portion of the royal gardens, but must have stood at some 
distance from the city of Jezreel, as Ahaziah went away by the 
road thither, and was not wounded till he reached the height 
of near Jibleam. "i^mbyö, the ascent or eminence of Gut, 
is defined by Jibleam. Now, as Ahaziah fled from Jezreel to 
Megiddo past Jibleam, Thenius thinks that Jibleam must have 
been situated between Jezreel and Megiddo. But between 
Jezreel and Megiddo there is only the plain of Jezreel or 
Esdrelom, in which we cannot suppose that there was any such 
eminence as that of Ckir. Moreover Jibleam or Bilcam. (1 Chron. 
vi. 55, see at Josh. xvii. 11) was probably to the south of 
Jcnin, where the old name DVps has been preserved in the well 

of i^xij, Belameh, near Beled SheiJc Manssür, which is half an 

hour's journey off. And it is quite possible to bring this situa- 
tion of Jibleam into harmony with the account Ijefore us. For 
instance, it is a priori probable that Ahaziah would take the 
road to Samaria when he fled from Jezreel, not only because his 
father's brothers were there (ch. x. 13), but also because it was 
the most direct road to Jerusalem ; and he might easily be pur- 
sued by Jehu and his company to the height of Gur near Jibleam 
before they overtook him, since the distance from Jezreel (Zerin) 
to Jenin is only two hours and a half (Eob. Pal. iii. p. 828), and 
the height of Gur might very well be an eminence which he 
would pass on the road to Jibleam. But the wounded king may 
afterwards have altered the direction of his flight for the purpose 
of escaping to Megiddo, probably because he thought that he 
should be in greater safety there than he would be in Samaria.^ 

^ In 2 Chron. xxii. 8, 9, the account of the slaying of Ahaziah and his 
brethren (ch. s. 12 sqq.) is condensed into one brief statement, and then 


— In ver. 29 we are told once more in which year of Joram's 
reign Ahaziah became king. The discrepancy between " the 
eleventh year" here and "the twelfth year" in cli. viii. 25 may 
be most simply explained, on the supposition that there was a 
difference in the way of reckoning the commencement of the years 
of Joram's reign. 

Vers. 30-37. Death of Jezebel. — Ver. 30. When Jehu 
came to Jezreel and Jezebel heard of it, " she put her eyes 
into lead polish (i.e. painted them with it), and beautified her 
head and placed herself at the window." "q^S is a very 
favourite eye-paint with Oriental women even to the present 

day. It is prepared from antimony ore {J^, Cohol or Stibium 

of the Arabs), which when pounded yields a black powder 
with a metallic brilliancy, wdiich was laid upon the eyebroAvs 
and eyelashes either in a dry state as a black powder, or 
moistened generally with oil and made into an ointment, which 
is applied with a fine smooth eye-pencil of the thickness of 
an ordinary goose-quill, made either of wood, metal, or ivory. 
The Avay to use it was to hold the central j)ortion of the pencil 
horizontally between the eyelids, and then draw it out between 
them, twisting it round all the while, so that the edges of the 
eyelids were blackened all round ; and the object was to 
heighten the splendour of the dark southern eye, and give it, 
so to speak, a more deeply glowing fire, and to impart a youth- 
ful appearance to the whole of the eyelashes even in extreme 
old age. Kosellini found jars with eye-paint of this kind in 
the early Egyptian graves {via. Hille, vlicr den Gebraiicli ii. die 

afterwards it is stated -witli regard to Ahaziah, that " Jehvi sought him, and 
they seized him when he was hiding in Samaria, and brought him to Jehu 
and slew him," from which it appears that Ahaziah escaped to Samaria. From 
the brevity of these accounts it is impossible to reconcile the discrepancy with 
perfect certainty. On the one hand, our account, which is only limited to the 
main fact, does not preclude the possibility that Ahaziah really escaped -to 
Samaria, and was there overtaken by Jehu's followers, and then brought back 
to Jehu, and wounded upon the height of Gur near Jibleam, whence he 
fled to Megiddo, where he breathed out his life. On the other hand, in the 
perfectly summary account in the Chronicles, jin^t^a l^snnp N^lHI may be 
understood as referring to the attempt to escape to Samaria and hide himself 
there, and may be reconciled with the assumption that he was seized upon the 
way to Samaria, and when overtaken by Jehu was mortally wounded. 

CHAP. IX. 30-37. 345 

Zusammensetzung der oriental. Augcnschmmhe : Deutsch, morg. 
Ztscli. V. p. 236 sqq.). — Jezebel did this that she might present 
an imposing appearance to Jehu and die as a queen ; not to 
allure him by her charms (Ewald, after Ephr. Syr.). For (ver. 
31). when Jehu entered the palace gate, she cried out to him, 
" Is it peace, thou Zimri, murderer of his lord ? " She addressed 
Jehu as Zimri the murderer of the king, to point to the fate 
which Jehu would bring upon himself by the murder of the 
king, as Zimri had already done {vid. 1 Kings xvi. 10-18). — 
Vors. 32, 33. But Jehu did not deign to answer the worthless 
■\\'oman ; he simply looked up to the window and inquired : 
" Who is (holds) with me ? who ?" Then two, three chamber- 
lains looked out (of the side windows), and by Jehu's command 
threw the proud queen out of the window, so that some of her 
blood spirted upon the wall and the horses (of Jehu), and Jehu 
trampled her down, driving over her with his horses and chariot. 
— Ver. 34. Jehu thereupon entered the palace, ate and drank, 
and then said to his men : " Look for this cursed woman and 
bury her, for she is a king's daughter." 'TJ^i^'n, the woman 
smitten by the curse of God. — Vers. 35, 36. But when they 
went to bury her, they found nothing but her skull, the two 
feet, and the two hollow hands. The rest had been eaten by 
the dogs and dragged away. When this was reported to Jehu, 
he said : " This is the word of the Lord, which He spake by 
His servant Elijah," etc. (1 Kings xxi. 23), i.e. this has been 
done in fulfilment of the word of the Lord. Ver. 37 is also 
to be regarded as a continuation of the prophecy of Elijah 
quoted by Jehu (and not as a closing remark of the historian, 
as Luther supposes), although what Jehu says here does not 
occur verbatim in 1 Kings xxi. 23, but Jehu has simply 
expanded rather freely the meaning of that prophecy, ri^ni 
(Clidhib) is the older form of the 3d pers. fem. Kai, which is 
only retained here and there {vid. Ewald, § 194, a). iC'vS is 
a conjunction (see Ewald, § 337,«): " that men may not be 
able to say, This is Jezebel," i.e. that they may no more be 
able to recognise Jezebel. 



Vers. 1-11. Extermination of the Seventy Sons of Ahab 
IN Samaria. — Vers. 1-3. As Aliab had seventy sons in Samaria 
(D''J3 in the wider sense, viz. sons, including grandsons [see at 
ver. 13], as is evident from the fact that Ci''?'?^^', foster-fathers, 
are mentioned, whereas Ahab had been dead fourteen years, and 
therefore his youngest sons could not have had foster-fathers any 
longer), Jehu sent a letter to the elders of the city and to the 
foster-fathers of the princes, to the effect that they were to 
place one of the sons of their lord upon the throne. There is 
something very strange in the words C^iP/ID -'^J^IP. "'1^"''^, " to the 
princes of Jezreel, the old men," partly on account of the name 
Jezreel, and partly on account of the combination of ^''^i?'!'!' with 
^"1^. If we compare ver. 5, it is evident that Q''^P-1'] cannot 
be the adjective to 'f ''T^, but denotes the elders of the city, so 
that the preposition b^ has dropped out before D''Jptn. bsi;"}^ "•"iL*'^ 
the princes or principal men of Jezreel, might certainly be the 
chief court-officials of the royal hous'e of Ahab, since Ahab 
frequently resided in Jezreel. But against this supposition 
there is not only the circumstance that we cannot discover 
any reason why the court-officials living in Samaria should be 
called princes of Jezreel, but also ver. 5, where, instead of the 
princes of Jezreel, the governor of the city and the governor of 
the castle are mentioned. Consequently there is an error of 
the text in b^5y■lT^ which ought to read ?^ i''yn, though it is older 
than the ancient versions, since the Chaldee has the reading 
bxy"lt^ and no doubt the Alexandrian translator read the same, 
as the Septuagint has sometimes t^9 iroKeoa^, like the Vulgate, 
and sometimes ^afxape[a<;, both unquestionably from mere con- 
jecture. The " princes of the city " are, according to ver 5, the 
prefect of the palace and the captain of the city ; the !3''Ji?t, 
" elders," the magistrates of Samaria ; and 2^^^? D''JtDN\ the foster- 
fathers and tutors appointed by Ahab for liis sons and grand- 
sons. 2xns is governed freely by D''JOxri. In ver. 2 the 
words from ^^^^] to ?'^'^'!} form an explanatory circumstantial 
clause : " since the sons of your lord are Avith you, and with 
you the war-chariots and horses, and a fortified city and arms," 
i.e. since you have everything in your hands, — the royal 

CHAP. X. 1-11. 347 

princes and also the power to make one of them king. It is 
perfectly evident from the words, "the sons of your lord," 
i.e. of king Joram, that the seventy sons of Ahab included 
grandsons also. This challenge of Jehu was only a ruse, by 
which he hoped to discover the feelings of the leading men of 
the capital of the kingdom, because he could not venture, with- 
out being well assured of them, to proceed to Samaria to exter- 
minate the remaining members of the royal family of Ahab who 
were living there. ^V ^U?\ to fight concerning, i.e. for a person, 
as in Judg. ix. 17. — Vers. 4, 5. This ruse had the desired 
result. The recipients of the letter were in great fear, and said. 
Two kings could not stand before him, how shall we ? and sent 
messengers to announce their submission, and to say that they 
were willing to carry out his commands, and had no desire to 
appoint a king. — Vers. 6, 7. Jehu then wrote them a second 
letter, to say that if they would hearken to his voice, they were 
to send to him on the morrow at this time, to Jezreel, the heads 
of the sons of their lord ; which they willingly did, slaying the 
seventy men, and sending him their heads in baskets. '''^^1 
'IX ""pi "'ti'JX^ " the heads of the men of the sons of your lord," 
i.e. of the male descendants of Ahab, in which ''tf'JX may be 
explained from the fact that D3''J'lS"''J3 has the meaning '' royal 
princes" (see the similar case in Judg. xix. 22). In order to 
bring out still more clearly the magnitude of Jehu's demand, 
the number of the victims required is repeated in the circum- 
stantial clause, " and there were seventy men of the king's sons 
with (nx) the great men of the city, who had brought them up." 
— ^Vers. 8, 9. When the heads were brought, Jehu had them 
piled up in two heaps before the city -gate, and spoke the next 
morning to the assembled people in front of them : " Ye are 
righteous. Behold I have conspired against my lord, and have 
slain him, but who has slain all these ?" Jehu did not tell the 
people that the king's sons had been slain by his command, but 
spake as if this had been done without his interfering by a 
higher decree, that he might thereby justify his conspiracy in 
the eyes of the people, and make them believe what he says 
still further in ver. 10 : " See then that of the word of the Lord 
nothing falls to the ground {i.e. remains unfulfilled) which 
Jehovah has spoken concerning the house of Ahab; and Jehovah 
has done what He spake through His servant Elijah." — Ver. 11. 
The effect of these words was, that the people looked quietly 


on when he proceeded to slay all the rest of the house of Ahab, 
i.e. all the more distant relatives in Jezreel, and " all his great 
men," i.e. the superior officers of the fallen dynasty, and " all his 
acquaintances," i.e. friends and adherents, and " all his priests," 
probably court priests, such as the heathen kings had; not secular 
counsellors or nearest servants (Thenius), a meaning which D''jn3 
never has, not even in 2 Sam. viii. 18 and 1 Kings iv. 5. 

Vers. 12-17. Extermination of the Brothers of Aiiaziaii 


Vers. 1 2 sqq. Jehu then set out to Samaria ; and on the way, at 
the binding-house of the shepherds, he met with the brethren of 
Ahaziah, who were about to visit their royal relations, and when 
he learned who they were, had them all seized, viz. forty-two 
men, and put to death at the cistern of the binding-house. N^*! 
^?.^l, " he came and went," appears pleonastic ; the words arc 
not to be transposed, however, as Böttcher and Thenius pro- 
pose after the Syriac, but '^^,^1 is added, because Jehu did not 
go at once to Samaria, but did what follows on the way. By 
transposing the words, the slaying of the relations of Ahaziah 
would be transferred to Samaria, in contradiction to vers. 15 
sqq. — The words from '1^1 ri''3 N^n onwards, and from N^n;'') to 
m^H"' TITO, are two circumstantial clauses, in which the sub- 
ject ^nI'T is added in the second clause for the sake of greater 
clearness : " when he was at the binding-house of the shep- 
herds on the road, and Jehu (there) met with the brethren of 
Aliaziah, he said . . . ." ^'p^ l^^'^^? {BaLOaKde, LXX.) is 
explained by Eashi, after the Chaldee ^''Ti n^'^Ja nn, as signify- 
ing locus conventus pastor icni, the meeting-place of the shep- 
herds ; and Gesenius adopts the same view. But the rest of 
the earlier translators for the most part adopt the rendering, 
locus Ugationis 2'>astorum, from Ij^V, to bind, and think of a house 
ubi iKistorcs ligahant ovcs quando eas tondchant. In any case it 
was a house, or perhaps more correctly a place, where the 
shepherds were in the habit of meeting, and that on the road 
from Jezreel to Samaria ; according to Eusebius in the Onom. 
s.v. BatduKaO, a place fifteen Eoman miles from Zegio {Lejtm, 
Mcgiddo), in the great plain of Jezreel : a statement which 
may be correct with the exception of the small number of miles, 
but which does not apply to the present village of Beit Kad to 
the east of Jenin (Eob. Pal iii. p. 157), with which, according 

CHAP. X. 12-17. 349 

to Tlienius, it exactly coincides. Ii^^lfx ""nx, for which we have 
'ns ^^^s ""^a, Ahaziah's brothers' sons, in 2 Chron. xxii. 8, were 
not the actual brothers of Ahaziah, since they had been carried 
off by the Arabians and put to death before he ascended the 
throne (2 Chron. xxi. 17), but partly step-brothers, i.e. sons of 
Joram by his concubines, and partly Ahaziah's nephews and 
cousins. Qi-'^?, acl salidandum, i.e. to inquire how they were, or 
to visit the sons of the king (Joram) and of the queen-mother, 
i.e. Jezebel, therefore Joram's brothers. In ver. 1 they are both 
included among the "sons" of Ahab. — Vers. 15 sqq. As Jehu 
proceeded on his way, he met with Jclionadab the son of 
Eechab, and having saluted him, inquired, " Is thy heart true as 
my heart towards thy heart ? " and on his replying ^\, " it is 
(honourable or true)," he bade him come up into the chariot, 
saying tJ'_^), " if it is (so), give me thy hand ;" whereupon he said 
still further, " Come with me and see my zeal for Jehovah," and 
then drove with him to Samaria, and there exterminated all 
that remained of Ahab's family. Jclionadab the son of Rcchah 
Avas the tribe-father of the Eechabites (Jer. xxxv. 6). The rule 
which the latter laid down for his sons and descendants for all 
time, was to lead a simple nomad life, namely, to dwell in tents, 
follow no agricultural pursuits, and abstain from wine ; which 
rule they observed so sacredly, that the prophet Jeremiah held 
them up as models before his own contemporaries, who broke 
the law of God in the most shameless manner, and was able to 
announce to the Eechabites that they would be exempted from 
the Chaldsean judgment for their faithful observance of their 
father's precept (Jer. xxxv.). Eechab, from whom the descend- 
ants of Jehonadab derived their tribe-name, was the son of 
Hammath, and belonged to the tribe of the Kenites (1 Chron. 
ii. 55), to which Hobab the father-in-law of Moses also belonged 
(Num. x. 29) ; so that the Eechabites were probably descend- 
ants of Hobab, since the Kenites the sons of Hobab had gone 
with the Israelites from the Arabian desert to Canaan, and had 
there carried on their nomad life (Judg. i. 16, iv. 11 ; 1 Sam. 
XV. 6 ; see Witsii Misccll. ss. ii. p. 223 sqq.). This Jehonadab 
was therefore a man distinguished for the strictness of his life, 
and Jehu appears to have received him in this friendly manner 
on account of the great distinction in which he was held, not 
only in his own tribe, but also in Israel generally, that he 
might exalt himself in the eyes of the people through liis 


friendship.-^ — In "^nnpTix K'''n, " is with regard to thy heart hon- 
ourable or upright ?" riN is used to subordinate the noun to the 
clause, in the sense of quoad (see Ewald, ^ 277, a). U^y^mrrb'^ 
nsnsp, " all that remained to Ahab," i.e. all the remaining mem- 
bers of Ahab's house. 

Vers. 18-27. Extekmination of the Prophets and Ppjests 
OF Baal and of the Baal-woeship. — Vers. 18 sqq. Under the 
pretence of wishing to serve Baal even more than Ahab had 
done, Jehu appointed a great sacrificial festival for this idol, 
and had all the worshippers of Baal throughout all the land 
summoned to attend it ; he then placed eighty of his guards 
around the temple of Baal in which they were assembled, and 
after the sacrifice was offered, had the priests and worshippers 
of Baal cut down by them with the sword. Objectively con- 
sidered, the slaying of the worshippers of Baal was in accord- 
ance with the law, and, according to the theocratical principle, 
was perfectly right ; but the subjective motives which impelled 
Jehu, apart from the artifice, were thoroughly selfish, as Seb. 
Schmidt has correctly observed. For since the priests and 
prophets of Baal throughout the Israelitish kingdom were 
bound up with the dynasty of Ahab, Avith all their interests 
and Avith their whole existence, they might be very dangerous 
to Jehu, if on any political grounds he should happen not to 
promote their objects, whereas by their extermination he might 
hope to draw to his side the whole of the very numerous 
supporters of the Jehovah-Avorship, which had formerly been 
legally established in Israel, and thereby establish his throne 
more firmly. The very fact that Jehu allowed the calf-Avor- 
ship to continue, is a proof that he simply used religion as the 
means of securing his own ends (ver. 29). nnyi; Vii^'np (ver. 20), 
" sanctify a festal assembly," i.e. proclaim in the land a festal 
assembly for Baal (compare Isa. i. 1 3 ; and for nnvi? =. ri'ivi?, see 
at Lev. xxiii. 36). ^^1p^)., and they proclaimed, sc. the festal 
meeting. — Ver. 21. The temple of Baal was fiUed nap ns, 

^ According to C. a Lapidc, Jehu took him up into his chariot " that he 
might establish his authority with the Samaritans, and secure a name for 
integrity by having Jehonadab as liis ally, a man whom all held to be both 
an upright and holy man, that in this way he might the more easily carry out 
the slaughter of the Baalites, which he was planning, without any one daring 
to resist him." 

CHAP. X. 18-27. 351 

"from one edge (end) to the other." nsi in this sense is not 
to be derived from nXQ, a corner (Cler., Ges.), but signifies 
mouth, or the upper rim of a vessel. Meta'phora sitmta a vasi- 
bus humore aliquo plenis : VatabI — ^Ver. 22. '"'C^?^'!}"?^ "1??'^? is 
the keeper of the wardrobe (Arab, prcefectus vestium), for the 
air. Xey. nrijri??^ signifies vcstiarium (Ges. Tlies. p. 764). The refer- 
ence is not to the wardrobe of the king's palace, out of which 
Jehu had every one who took part in the feast supplied with a 
festal dress or new caftan (Deres., Then., etc.), but the ward- 
robe of the temple of Baal, since the priests of Baal had their 
own sacred dresses like the priests of almost all religions (as 
Silius has expressly shown in his Ital. iii. 2 4-2 7, of the priests 
of the Gadetanic Hercules). These dresses were only worn at the 
time of worship, and were kept in a wardrobe in the temple. — 
Vers. 23, 24. Jehu then came with Jehonadab to the temple, 
and commanded the worshippers of Baal to be carefully examined, 
that there might not be one of the worshippers of Jehovah with 
(among) them. When the priests of Baal were preparing to 
offer sacrifice, Jehu had eighty men of his guards stationed before 
the temple, and laid this injunction upon them : " Whoever lets 
one of the men escape whom I bring into your hands (we must 
read t:?'^'; instead of ^2''T)> ^^^^ li^s shall answer for his (the 
escaped man's) life. it^'?J iT]n iti^pj, as in 1 Kings xx. 39. — 
Ver. 25. in'pas : when he (the sacrificing priest, not Jehu) had 
finished the burnt-offering (the singular suffix i may also be 
taken as indefinite, when one had finished, vid. Ewald, § 294, b), 
Jehu commanded the runners and aides-de-camp : Come and 
smite them (the worshippers of Baal), without one coming out 
(escaping) ; whereupon they smote them with the edge of the 
sword, i.e. slew them unsparingly, ^^''pe'*"!: and the runners 
and aides-de-camp threw (those who had been slain) away, 
and went into the citadel of the temple of Baal. ^yanTT"!! Tiy 
cannot be the city of the temple of Baal, i.e. that part of 
the city in which the temple of Baal stood, for the runners 
were already in the court of the temple of Baal ; but it is 
no doubt the temple-citadel, the true temple-house ("^V from 
iiy, locus circumse23tus) — templum Baalis onagnifice exstructum 
instar arcis alicvjus (Seb. Schm.). — Ver. 26. They then fetched 
the columns (J^^^fö) out of the temple and burned them (the 
suffix in nisy^l refers to the plural nhj:» taken as an abstract 
noun, as in ch. iii. 3 ; cf. Ewald, § 317, a). They then broke 


in pieces the ^V^^ ^^^^, column of Baal, i.e. the real image of 
Baal, probably a conical stone dedicated to Baal, whereas the 
nbso, which were burned, were wooden columns as irdpeSpot or 
avfiß(Ofioc of Baal (see Movers, Phoniz. i. p. 674). — Ver. 27. 
Lastly, they destroyed the temple itself and made it niX"]nDp, 
privies, for which the Masoretes have substituted the euphemistic 
nisyiD^ sinks, as a mark of the greatest insult, many examples 
of which are to be met with among Oriental tribes (vid. Ezra 
vi. 11, Dan. ii. 5, and Haevernick in loc). — Thus Jehu exter- 
minated Baal from Israel This remark in ver. 28 forms the 
introduction to the history of Jehu's reign, with which the last 
epoch in the history of the ten tribes begins. 

3. FpvOm the Commencement of the Eeigns of Jehu in Israel, 


Chap. x. 28-xvii. 

In the 161 years which this epoch embraces, from B.c. 883 
to 722, the fate of the kingdom of Israel was accomplished. 
The first hundred years, which comprised the reigns of Jehu and 
his descendants, Jehoahaz, Jehoash, and Jeroboam ii., were the 
last day of grace for the rebellious ten tribes, at the expira- 
tion of which the judgment began to burst upon them. As the 
anointing of Jehu by Elisha was performed by the command of 
God, so also was the religious reform, which Jehu vigorously 
commenced with the extermination of the Baal-worship, a fruit 
of the labours of the prophets Elijah and Elisha within the 
sinful kingdom ; but this reform stood still half-way, since Jehu 
merely restored the idolatrous Jehovah- worship introduced by 
Jeroboam, and neither he himself nor his successors desisted 
from that sin. In order, therefore, if possible, to complete the 
work begun by His prophets of converting Israel to its God, the 
Lord now began to visit the rebellious tribes with severe chas- 
tisements, giving them up into the power of the Syrians, who 
under Hazael not only conquered the whole of the land to the 
east of the Jordan, but almost annihilated the military force of 
the Israelites (ch. x. 32, 33, xiii. 3, 7). This chastisement Hid 
not remain without fruit. Jehoahaz prayed to the Lord, and the 
Lord had compassion upon the oppressed for the sake of His 

CHAP. X. 28, ETC. 353 

covenant with the patriarchs, and sent them deliverers in Joash, 
who recovered the conquered land from the Syrians after the 
death of Hazael, and in Jeroboam, who even restored the ancient 
boundaries of the kingdom (ch. xiii. 4, 5, and 23 sqq., xiv. 25, 
26). But with this renewal of external strength, luxuriance and 
debauchery, partiality in judgment and oppression of the poor 
began to prevail, as we may see from the prophecies of Hosea 
and Amos (Amos v. 10 sqq., vi. 1-6 ; Hos. vi. 7 sqq.) ; and in 
addition to the Jehovah-worship, which was performed in an 
idolatrous manner (Hos. viii. 13, ix. 4, 5), the worship of Baal 
was carried on most vigorously (Hos. ii. 13, 15, x. 1, 2), so 
that the people made pilgrimages to Bethel, Gilgal, and even to 
Beersheba in the south of the kingdom of Judah (Hos. iv. 15 ; 
Amos iv. 4, v. 5, viii. 14), and on account of the worship thus 
zealously performed, relied in carnal security upon the protection 
of God, and scoffed at the judgments of the Lord which were 
threatened by the prophets (Amos v. 14, 18). This internal 
corruption increased with the death of Jeroboam, till all civil 
order was dissolved. Anarchy, conflicts for the possession of 
the throne, and repeated regicides, broke up the kingdom and 
made it ripe for the judgment of destruction, which was gradu- 
ally accomplished by the Assyrians, whom one party in the 
reign of Menahem had called to their help, under Pul, Tiglath- 
pileser, and Shalmanasar. — The kingdom of Judah, on the other 
hand, was purified from the destructive consequences of the alli- 
ance with the dynasty of Ahab through the overthrow by the 
high priest Jehoiada of the godless Athaliah, who had murdered 
the royal children after the death of Ahaziah and seized upon 
the government, and, with the renewal of the covenant and the 
extermination of the worship of Baal under the young king whom 
Jehoiada had trained, was brought back to the theocratic path ; 
and notwithstanding the fact that in the closing years of Joash 
and Amaziah idolatry found admission again, was preserved in 
that path, in which it increased in strength and stability, so that 
not only were the wounds quickly healed which the war with 
Israel, occasioned by Amaziah's pride, had inflicted upon it through 
the conquest and plunder of Jerusalem fch. xiv. 8 sqq.), but 
during the sixty-eight years comprised in the reigns of Uzziali 
and Jotham, the people rose to a state of great prosperity and 
w^ealth through the pursuit of agriculture and trade, and a 
thouglitful development of the resources of the land, and the 



kingdom acquired great external power tlirougli the humiliation 
of the Philistines and the subjugation of the Edomites once 
more (2 Chron. xxvi.). At the same time, neither of these 
kings was able entirely to suppress the illegal worship of the 
high places, although the temple-worship was regularly sustained 
according to the law ; and with the increase of wealth and power, 
not only did luxuriance and pride set in, but also idolatry and 
an inclination to heathen ways (Isa. ii. 5-8 and 16 sqq., v. 18 
sqq.) ; so that even in the reigns of Uzziah and Jotham Isaiah 
predicted the day of the Lord's judgment, which was to fall 
upon everything lofty and proud (Isa. ii.-iv.). This prophecy 
began to be fulfilled, so far as its first beginnings were concerned, 
even in the time of Ahaz. Under this weak and idolatrous 
ruler idolatry gained the upper hand, and the worship of Jehovah 
was suppressed ; and this open apostasy from the Lord was 
followed by immediate punishment. The allied kings of Israel 
and Syria forced their way victoriously into Judah, and even 
stood before the gates of Jerusalem, with the intention of 
destroying the kingdom of Judah, when Ahaz, despising the 
help of the Lord, which was offered him. by the prophet Isaiah, 
purchased the assistance of Tiglath-pileser the king of Assyria 
with silver and gold, and was thereby delivered from his foes. 
But this made him dependent upon the Ass5aians, who would 
have conquered the kingdom of Judah and destroyed it, as they 
had already destroyed the kingdom of Israel, had not the Lord 
hearkened to the prayer of the pious king and miraculously 
routed the powerful army of Sennacherib before the walls of 


Vers. 28, 29. Jehu exterminated the worship of Baal from 
Israel ; but the sins of Jeroboam, the golden calves at Bethel 
and Dan, that is to say, the idolatrous worship of Jehovah, he 
allowed to remain. " The golden calves, etc. : " this is a supple- 
mentary and explanatory apposition to " tlie sins of Jeroboam." 
— Vers. 30, 31. Jehu is promised the possession of the throne to 
the fourth generation of liis sons for having exterminated the 
godless royal house of Ahab {viel. ch. xv. 12). The divine sen- 
tence, " because thou hast acted well to do right in mine eyes, 
(because thou) hast done as it was in my heart to the house of 
Ahab," refers to the deed as such, and not to the subjective 

CHAP. XI. 1-3. 355 

motives by which Jehu had been actuated. For it is obvious 
that it had not sprung from pure zeal for the honour of the Lord, 
from the limitation added in ver. 31:" but Jehu did not take 
heed to walk in the law of Jehovah with all his heart, and did 
not depart from the sins of Jeroboam." — Vers. 32, 33. There- 
fore (this link of connection follows from the actual fact, though 
it is not distinctly mentioned in the text) Hazael had now to 
inflict chastisement upon faithless Israel. In Jehu's days Jeho- 
vah began " to cut off in Israel," i.e. to rend away certain portions 
from the kingdom. " Hazael smote them (the Israelites) on the 
whole of the border of Israel," i.e. of the kingdom, " from Jordan 
to the sun-rising {i.e. on the eastern side of the Jordan), the 
whole of the land of Gilead (P.^"''? ^^ is dependent upon n3'^ 
which must be supplied from 02^), namely, the territory of the 
tribes of Gad, Eeuben, and Half-Manasseh, from Aroer on the 
brook Arnon (now Araayr, a ruin on the northern border of the 
Mojeb (Arnon) valley; see at Num. xxxii. 34), the southern 
border of the Israelitish land to the east of the Jordan (Deut. 
ii. 36, iii. 12), both Gilead and Bashan," the two countries into 
which Gilead in the broader sense was divided (see at Deut. iii. 
8-1 7). — These conquests took place during the twenty-eight years' 
reign of Jehu, since Hazael began to reign before Jehu, viz. while 
Joram was king, and had already fought successfully against the 
Israelites at Eamoth in Joram's reign (ch. viii. 28, 29), but not 
in the later part of Jehu's reign, as Thenius supposes. — Vers. 
34-36. Conclusion of the history of Jehu's reign. The length 
of his reign is not given till the end in this instance (ver. 36), 
contrary to the usual custom in our books, because his ascent of 
the throne is not expressly mentioned in what precedes ; but the 
general character of his reign is given in immediate connection 
with the account of his anointing and of the extermination of 
Ahab's dynasty. 


Vers. 1-3. The Government of Athaliah (cf 2 Chron. xxii. 
10-12). After the death of Ahaziah of Judah, his mother 
Athaliah, a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel (see at ch. viii. 18 
and 26), seized upon the government, by putting to death all 
the king's descendants with the exception of Joash, a son of 
Ahaziah of only a year old, who had been secretly carried off 


from the midst of the royal children, who were put to death, 
by Jehosheba, his father's sister, the wife of the high priest 
Jehoiada, and was first of all hidden with his nurse in the bed- 
chamber, and afterwards kept concealed from Athaliah for six 
years in the high priest's house. The 1 before nnsn is no doubt 
original, the subject, Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah, being 
placed at the head absolutely, and a circumstantial clause intro- 
duced with i^n^"!.^. : " Athaliah, when she saw that, etc., rose up." 
nabeln y^r^s, all the royal seed, i.e. all the sons and relations of 
Ahaziah, who could put in any claim to succeed to the throne. 
At the same time there were hardly any other direct descend- 
ants of the royal family in existence beside the sons of Ahaziah, 
since the elder brothers of Ahaziah had been carried aAvay by 
the Arabs and put to death, and the rest of the closer blood- 
relations of the male sex had been slain by Jehu (see at ch. x. 
13). — Jehosheba (V^^'in^, in the Chronicles nya^in;), the wife of 
the high priest Jehoiada (2 Chron. xxii. 11), was a daughter of 
king Joram and a sister of Aliaziah, but she was most likely 
not a daughter of Athaliah, as this worshipper of Baal would 
hardly have allowed her own daughter to marry the high 
priest, but had been born to Joram by a wife of the second 
rank. cniDO (Chethih), generally a substantive, mortes (Jer. 
xvi. 4 ; Ezek. xxviii. 8), here an adjective : slain or set apart 
for death. The Keri cn^n is the participle Hophal, as in 
2 Chron. xxii. 11. 'on "inns is to be taken in connection with 
333ri : she stole him (took him away secretly) from the rest of 
the king's sons, who were about to be put to death, into the 
chamber of the beds, i.e. not the children's bed-room, but a room 
in the palace where the beds (mattresses and counterpanes) 
were kept, for which in the East there is a special room that is 
not used as a dwelling-room (see Chardin in Harm. Beohb. iii. 
p. 357). This was the place in which at first it was easiest to 
conceal the child and its nurse. ^">J?ip*), " they (Jehosheba and 
the nurse) concealed him," is not to be altered into ^nn;riDW after 
the Chronicles, as Thenius maintains. The masculine is used 
in the place of the feminine, as is frequently the case. After- 
wards he was concealed with her (with Jehosheba) in the house 
of Jehovah, i.e. in the home of the high-priest in one of the 
buildings of the court of the temple. 

Vers. 4-20. Dethronement of Athaliah and Coronation 

CHAP. XI. 4-20. 357 

OF JOASH (compare the account in 2 Chron. xxiii., which is 
more elaborate in several points). ^ — Ver. 4. In the seventh 
year of Athaliah's reign, Jehoiada sent for the captains of the 
king's body-guard to come to him into the temple, and concluded 
a covenant with them, making them swear and showing them 
the king's son, namely, to dethrone the tyrant Athaliah and set 
the king's son upon the throne, nrxjsn '•nb', centuriones, mili- 
tary commanders of the executioners and runners, i.e. of the 
royal body-guard. The Chcthtb ni"'KO may be explained from 
the fact that nxö is abridged from n;KO (viel Ewald, § 267, d). 
On D^^l ^-)3=:-n^Qrii ^nnan (l Kings i." 38) see the Comm. on 
2 Sam. viii. 1 8 ; and on p as a periphrasis of the genitive, see 
Ewald, § 292, a. In 2 Chron xxiii. 1-3 the chronicler not 
only gives the names of these captains, but relates still more 
minutely that they went about in the land and summoned the 
Levites and heads of families in Israel to Jerusalem, probably 
under the pretext of a festal celebration ; whereupon Jehoiada 
concluded a covenant with the persons assembled, to ensure their 
assistance in the execution of his plan. — Vers. 5-8. Jehoiada 
then communicated to those initiated into the plan the necessary 
instructions for carrying it out, assigning them the places which 
they were to occupy. "The third part of you that come on 
the Sabbath (i.e. mount guard) shall keep the guard of the 
king's house Q"}}^'^] is a corruption of ^""?^'l), and the third part 
shall be at the gate Sur, and the third part at the gate behind the 
runners, and (ye) shall keep guard over the house for defence; 
and the two parts of you, (namely) all who depart on the 
Sabbath, shall keep the guard of the house of Jehovah for 
the king ; and ye shall surround the king round about, every 
one with his weapons in his hand; and whoever presses into 
the ranks shall be slain, and shall be with the king when 

' Iq both accounts we have only short extracts preserved from a common 
and more complete original, the extracts having been made quite indepen- 
dently of one another and upon different plans. Hence the apparent dis- 
crepancies, which have arisen partly from the incompleteness of the two 
abridged accounts, and partly from the different points of view from which 
the extracts were made, but which contain no irreconcilable contradictions. 
The assertion of De Wette, which has been repeated by Thenius and Bertheau, 
that the chronicler distorted the true state of the case to favour the Levites, 
rests upon a misinterpretation of our account, based upon arbitrary assump- 
tions, as I have already shown in my apologetischer Versuch über die Chronik 
(p. 361 sqq.). 


lie goes out and in," i.e. in all his steps. The words T^^r\ ^xa 
and ri^D'n "'N>'\ "those coming and those going out on the 
Sabbath," denote the divisions of the watch, those who per- 
formed duty on the Sabbath and those who were relieved on 
the Sabbath ; not the military guard at the palace however, but 
the temple-guard, which consisted of Levites. For David had 
divided the priests and Levites into classes, every one of which 
had to perform service for a week and was relieved on the 
Sabbath : compare 1 Chron. xxiii.-xxvi. with Josephus {Ant. 
vii. 1 4, 7), who expressly says that every one of the twenty-four 
classes of priests had to attend to the worship of God " for 
eight days, from Sabbath to Sabbath," also with Luke i. 5. On 
the other hand, we do not know that there was any similar 
division and obligation to serve in connection with the royal 
body-guard or with the army. The current opinion, that by 
those who come on the Sabbath and those who go out on the 
Sabbath we are to understand the king's halberdiers or the 
guard of the palace, is therefore proved to be unfounded and 
untenable. And if there could be any doubt on the matter, 
it would be removed by vers. 7 and 10. According to ver. 7, 
two parts of those who went away (were relieved) on the Sab- 
bath were to undertake the guarding of the house of Jehovah 
about the king, i.e. to keep guard over that room in the temple 
where the king then was. Could Jehoiada have used the royal 
body-guard, that was being relieved from guarding the palace, 
for such a purpose as this ? Who can imagine that this is a 
credible thing ? According to ver. 1 0, Jehoiada gave to the 
captains over a hundred the weapons of king David, which 
were in the house of Jehovah. Did the palace-guard then 
return without weapons ? In 2 Chron. xxiii. 4, " those coming 
on the Sabbath" are correctly described as the priests and 
Levites coming on the Sabbath, i.e. the priests and Levites who 
entered upon their week's duty at the temple on the Sabbath. 
According to this explanation of the words, which is the only 
one that can be grammatically sustained, the facts were as fol- 
lows: "When Jehoiada had initiated the captains of the royal 
halberdiers, and with their help the heads of families of the 
people generally, into his plan of raising the youthful Joash to 
the throne and dethroning Athaliah, he determined to cal-ry 
out the affair chiefly with the help of the priests and Levites 
who entered upon their duty in the temple on the Sabbath, and 

CHAP. XI. 4-20. ' 359 

of those who left or were relieved at the same time, and entrusted 
the command over these men to the captains of the royal hal- 
berdiers, that they might occupy the approaches to the temple 
with the priests and Levites under their command, so as to 
prevent the approach of any military from the king's palace 
and protect the youthful king. These captains had come to 
the temple without weapons, to avoid attracting attention. 
Jehoiada therefore gave them the weapons of king David that 
were kept in the temple. 

With regard to the distribution of the different posts, the 
fact that two-thirds are spoken of first of all in vers. 5, 6, 
and then two parts in ver. 7, occasions no difficulty. For the 
two-thirds mentioned in vers. 5, 6 were those who came on the 
Sabbath, whereas the " two divisions " (n^^*^l ""riD) referred to in 
ver. 7 were all who went away on the Sabbath. Consequently 
the priests and Levites, who came on the Sabbath and entered 
upon the week's service, were divided into three sections ; and 
those who should have been relieved, but were detained, into 
two. Probably the number of those who came this time to 
perform service at the temple was much larger than usual, as 
the priests were initiated into Jehoiada's secret ; so that it was 
possible to make three divisions of those who arrived, whereas 
those who were about to depart could only be formed into two. 
The three divisions of those who were entering upon duty are 
also distinctly mentioned in the Chronicles ; whereas, instead of 
the two divisions of those who were relieved, " all the people " 
are spoken of. The description of the different posts which 
were assigned to these several companies causes some difficulty. 
In general, so much is clearly indicated in vers. 7 and 8, that 
the two divisions of those who were relieved on the Sabbath 
were to keep guard over the young king in the house of 
Jehovah, and therefore to remain in the inner spaces of the 
temple-court for his protection ; whereas the three divisions of 
those who were entering upon duty were charged with the 
occupation of the external approaches to the temple. One- 
third was to " keep watch over the king's house," i.e. to observe 
whatever had to be observed in relation to the king's palace ; 
not to occupy the king's palace, or to keep guard in the citadel 
at the palace gate (Thenius), but to keep watch towards the 
royal palace, i.e. to post themselves so that no one could force a 
way into the temple, with which the indefinite ^^'|n n''3| in the 


Chronicles harmonizes, if we only translate it " against (at) the 
king's house." The idea that the palace was guarded is pre- 
cluded not only by ver. 13, according to which Athaliah came 
out of the palace to the people to the house of Jehovah, which 
she would not have been able to do if the palace had been 
guarded, but also by the circumstance that, according to ver. 
19, the chief men were in the temple with the whole of the 
(assembled) people, and did not go out of the house of Jehovah 
into the king's house till after the anointing of Joash and the 
death of Athaliah. The other third was to station itself at 
the gate Siir (iiD), or, according to the Chronicles, Ycsod (1^0^.), 
foundation-gate. There is no dovibt as to the identity of the 
gate Siir and the gate Ycsod; only we cannot decide whether 
one of these names has simply sprung from a copyist's error, or 
whether the gate had two different names. The name ^iD^ "lyK'^ 
foundation-gate, suggests a gate in the outer court of the temple, 
at the hollow of either the Tyropoeon or the Kedron ; for the 
context precludes our thinking of a palace gate. The third 
division was to be posted " at the gate behind the runners ;" 
or, as it is stated in ver. 19, "at the gate of the runners." 
It is very evident from ver. 19 that this gate led from the 
temple-court to the royal palace upon Zion, and was there- 
fore on the western side of the court of the temple. This also 
follows from ver. 4 of the Chronicles, according to which this 
division was to act as " doorkeepers of the thresholds" {'''}Vpp 
D''2En)j i.e. to keep guard at the gate of the thresholds. For we 
may safely infer, from a comparison with 1 Chron. ix. 19, that 
CQEin were the thresholds of the ascent to the temple. The 
last clause, " and shall keep guard over the house for defence," 
refers to all three divisions, and serves to define with greater 
precision the object for which they were stationed there. HDD 
is not a proper name (LXX., Luther, and others), but an appel- 
lative in the sense of defence or resistance, from np3^ depdlerc. 
The meaning is, that they were to guard the house, to keep off 
the people, and not to let any of the party of Athaliah force a 
way into the temple. — In ver 7, '^^ ^^^^ t'S is an explanatory 
apposition to 03? ^^"'*'!! ""^^l " ^^cl the two parts in (of) you," 
namely, all who go ovit on the Sabbath, i.e. are relieved from 
duty. Their task, to observe the watch of the house of Jehovah 
with regard to the king, is more precisely defined in ver. 8 as 
signifying, that they were to surround the king with weapons 

CHAP. XI. 4-12. 3G1 

in their hands, and slay every one who attempted to force a 
way into their ranks. iN^ni iriNVa, i.e. in all his undertakings, 
or in all his steps ; ^<i3i ^xv being applied to the actions and 
pursuits of a man, as in Deut. xxviii. 6, xxxi. 2, etc. (see the 
Comm. on Num. xxvii. 17). Thenius has explained this incor- 
rectly : " in his going out of the temple and entering into the 
palace."— Vers. 9-11. The execution of these plans. The high 
priest gave the captains " the spears and shields (p^''^^^ : see at 
2 Sam. viii. 7) which (belonged) to king David, that were in the 
house of Jehovah," i.e. the weapons which David had presented 
to the sanctuary as dedicatory offerings. Instead of ^''^'^^ 
we ought probably to read nJT'pnn (cf. Mic. iv. 3, Isa. ii. 4), 
after the 2"''?''Jf.L' of the Chronicles, since the collective force of 
n^jn is very improbable in prose, and a n might easily drop out 
through a copyist's error. Jehoiada gave the captains w^eapons 
from the temple, because, as has been already observed, they 
had come unarmed, and not, as Thenius imagines, to provide 
them with old and sacred weapons instead of their ordinary 
ones. In ver. 11 the position of all the divisions is given in 
a comprehensive manner, for the purpose of appending the 
further course of the affair, namely, the coronation of the king. 
" Thus the halberdiers stood, every one with his weapons in his 
hand, from the right wing of the house to the left wing, towards 
the altar (of burnt-offering) and the (temple-) house, round 
about the king," i.e. to cover the king on all sides. For it is 
evident that we are not to understand 3''3D "^bön vy as signify- 
ing the encircling of the king, from the statement in ver. 12, 
according to which Jehoiada did not bring out the king's son 
till after the men had taken up their positions. The use of 
D''V^n, to signify the captains with the armed priests and Levites 
put under their command for this purpose, is an uncommon 
one, but it may be explained from the fact that D''V'^ had retained 
the general meaning of royal halberdiers ; and the priests and 
Levites under the command of the captains of the royal body-guard 
by this very act discharged the duty of the royal body-guard 
itself. The chronicler has used the indefinite expression oyn'bs, 
the whole of the people assembled in the ' temple-court. — Ver. 
12. After the approaches to the temple had all been occupied 
in this manner, Jehoiada brought out the king's son from his 
home in the temple ; or, he brought him forth, set the crown 
upon him, and handed him the testimony, i.e. the book of the 


law, as the rule of his life and action as king, according to the 
precept in Deut. xvii. 18, 19. nflyn-nsi is connected with I^i^ 
nwn'ns vbv, because vSy ]r\\ has the general meaning " delivered 
to him, handed him," and does not specially affirm the putting on 
of the crown, ^^''^^^l, they made him king. The subject is the 
persons present, though, as a matter of course, the anointing 
was performed by Jehoiada and the priests, as tlie Chonicles 
expressly affirm. Clapping the hands was a sign of joyful accla- 
mation, like the cry, " Long live the Idng" (cf 1 Kings i. 39). 

Vers. 13-16. Death of AtJicdiaJi. — Vers. 13, 14. As soon as 
Athaliah heard the loud rejoicing of the people, she came to the 
people into the temple, and when she saw the youthful king in 
his standing-place surrounded by the princes, the trumpeters, and 
the whole of the people, rejoicing and blowing the trumpets, 
she rent her clothes with horror, and cried out. Conspiracy, con- 
spiracy ! oyn rV"!'? does not mean the people running together, 
but the original reading in the text was probably oyni TVlv", the 
people and the halberdiers, and the Vav dropped out through an 
oversight of the copyist. By TV")"? we are to understand the 
captains of the halberdiers with the armed Levites, as in ver. 
11 ; and Qyn is the people who had assembled besides (cf ver. 
19). In the Chronicles ^^i^n D^Jj^Jnoni D^nn is in apposition to 
Dyn : the noise of the people, the halberdiers, and those who 
praised the king. The "Tiisy, upon which the king stood, was not 
a pillar, but an elevated standing-place (suggcstus) for the king 
at the eastern gate of the inner court (^i^'f»?, 2 Chron. xxiii. 
1 3 compared with Ezek. xlvi. 2), when he visited the temple 
on festive occasions (cf ch. xxiii. 3), and it was most probably 
identical with the brazen scaffold ("ii*3) mentioned in 2 Chron. 
vi. 13, which would serve to explain tD3rä3, " according to the 
right " (Angl. V. " as the manner was "). Q"'lti'n are not merely 
the captains mentioned in vers. 4, 9, and 10, but these together 
with the rest of the assembled heads of the nation (nUNH ''^^1, 
2 Chron. xiii. 2). rih:i'i'nn^ the trumpets, is an abbreviated ex- 
pression for those blowing the trumpets, the trumpeters. The 
reference is to the Levitical musicians mentioned in 1 Chron. 
xiii. 8, XV. 24, etc.; for they are distinguished from '121 DJ?n"?3, " all 
the people of the land rejoicing and blowing the trumpets," i.e. 
not all the military men of the land who were present in Jeru- 
salem (Theuius), but the mass of the people present in the temple 
(Bertheau). — Ver. 15. Jehoiada then commanded the captains 

CHAP. XL 17-20. 363 

^^DD HP?, those placed over the army, i.e. the armed men of the 
Levites, to lead out Athaliah between the ranks, and to slay 
every one who followed her, i.e. who took her part (n^n^ inf. abs. 
instead of imperative) ; for, as is added supplementarily in ex- 
planation of this command, the priest had (previously) said : 
" Let her not be slain in the house of Jehovah." The temple 
was not to be defiled with the blood of the usurper and mur- 
deress. — Ver. 16. Thus they made way for her on both sides, or, 
according to the correct explanation given by the Chaldee, 1ö''B'^ 
^IX ^i> ^^^®y foi'iTied lines {Spalier, fences) and escorted her back, 
and she came by the way of the horses' entrance into the palace, 
and was there put to death. D''D^Dn KUO is explained in the 
Chronicles by Cp^Drt "iJ/K^ ^^2^, entrance of the horse-gate. The 
entrance for the horses, i.e. the way which led to the royal mews, 
is not to be identified with the horse-gate mentioned in Keh. 
iii. 2 8 ; for this was a gate in the city wall, whereas the road 
from the temple to the royal mews, which were no doubt near 
the palace, was inside the wall. 

Vers. 17-20. Beneival of the covenant, extermination of the 
worship of Baal, and entrance of the hing into the palace. — ^Ver. 

17. After Jehoash was crowned and Athaliah put to death, 
Jehoiada concluded the covenant (1) between Jehovah on the 
one hand and the king and people on the other, and (2) between 
the king and the people. The former was simply a renewal of 
the covenant which the Lord had made with Israel through 
Moses (Ex. xxiv.), whereby the king and the people bound them- 
selves niiT'p DVp nvnp, i.e. to live as the people of the Lord, or to 
keep His law (cf. Deut. iv. 20, xxvii. 9, 10), and was based u^^on 
the " testimony " handed to the king. This covenant naturally 
led to the covenant between the king and the people, whereby 
the king bound himseK to rule his people according to the law 
of the Lord, and the people vowed that they would 'be obedient 
and subject to the king as the ruler appointed by the Lord (cf. 
2 Sam. V. 3). The renewal of the covenant with the Lord was 
necessary, because under the former kings the people had fallen 
away from the Lord and served Baal. The immediate conse- 
quence of the renewal of the covenant, therefore, was the exter- 
mination of the worship of Baal, which is mentioned at once in 
ver. 18, although its proper place in order of time is after ver. 

18. All the people (H^'v' ^-^"^l^ as in ver. 14) went to the temple 
of Baal, threw down his altars, broke his images (the columns of 


Baal and Astarte) rightly, i.e. completely (^^''i} as in Deut. ix. 21), 
and slew the priest Mattan, probably the chief priest of Baal, 
before his altars. That the temple of Baal stood within the 
limits of the sanctuary, i.e. of the temple of Jehovah (Thenius), 
cannot be shown to be probable either from 2 Chron. xxiv. 7 or 
from the last clause of this verse. (For 2 Chron. xxiv, 7 see 
the fuller remarks on ch. xii. 5.) The words " and the priest 
set overseers over the house of Jehovah " do not afßrm that 
Jehoiada created the office of overseer over the temple for the 
purpose of guarding against a fresh desecration of the temple by 
idolatry (Thenius), but simply that he appointed overseers over 
the temple, namely, priests and Levites entrusted with the duty 
of watching over the performance of worship according to the 
precepts of the law, as is more minutely described in vers. 18 
and 19. — Ver. 19. And he took the captains, and they brought 
the king down out of the house of Jehovah, etc. The word np^ 
is not to be pressed, but simply affirms that Jehoiada entrusted 
the persons named with the duty of conducting the king into 
his palace. Beside the captains over a hundred (see at ver, 4) 
there are mentioned ^''T\'}] ''"1?l', *"-e- the royal halberdiers (the 
body-guard), who had passed over to the new king immediately 
after the fall of Athaliah and now followed their captains, and 
pxn Dy'^JS, all the rest of the people assembled. Instead of the 
halberdiers there are mentioned in the Chronicles D7'Ji?3n D''n;^xri 
ÜV^, the nobles and lords in the nation, — a completion implied 
in the facts themselves, since Jehoiada had drawn the heads of 
the nation into his plan, and on the other hand the express al- 
lusion to the body-guard might be omitted as of inferior import- 
ance. We cannot infer from 11"'')' that the bridge between Moriah 
and Zion was not yet in existence, as Thenius supposes, but 
simply that the bridge was lower than the temple-courts. In- 
stead of D'VI'? "^^^y the gate of the runners {i.e. of the halberdiers), 
we find in the Chronicles F^^n -\V^^ the upper gate, which appears 
to have been a gate of the temple, according to ch, xv, 35 and 
2 Chron. xxvii. 3. The statement that they came by the way 
of the runners' gate into the house of the king is not at variance 
with this, for it may be understood as meaning that it was by 
the halberdiers' gate of the temple that the entry into the palace 
was carried out. — In ver. 20 this account is concluded witli the 
general remark that all the people rejoiced, sc. at the coronation 
of Joash, and the city was quiet, when they slew Athaliah with 

CHAP. XII. 1-4. 365 

tlie sword. This is the way, so far as the sense is concerned, in 
which the last two clauses are to be connected. 


All that is recorded of the forty years' reign of Joash, in 
addition to the general characteristics of the reign (vers. 1-4), 
is the repairing of the temple which was effected by him (vers. 
5-17), and the purchased retreat of the Syrians from their 
invasion of Judah (vers. 18 and 19), and finally his violent 
death in consequence of a conspiracy formed against him, of 
which we have only a brief notice in vers. 20-22. The parallel 
account in 2 Chron. xxiv. supplies several additions to this : 
viz. concerning the wives of Joash, the distribution of the 
Levites at the repairing of the temple, the death of Jehoiada, 
and the seduction of Joash to idolatry by the chief men of 
Judah, and the stoning of the prophet Zechariah, who condemned 
this rebellion, — all of which can easily be fitted into our account. 

Vers. 1-4 (1-5). Beign of Joash. — Ver. 1 (1, 2). His age on 
ascending the throne, viz. seven years (cf. ch. xi. 4). — Com- 
mencement and length of his reign. His mother's name was 
Zibiali of Beersheba. — Ver. 2 (3). Joash did that which was 
right in the eyes of the Lord '131 "ip'i^^ V^r^a, " all his days 
that," etc., i.e. during the whole period of his life that Jehoiada 
instructed him (for "i^J't? after substantives indicating time, place, 
and mode, see Ewald, § 331, c, 3 ; and for the use of the suffix 
attached to the noun defined by '131 "^^^.^ compare ch. xiii. 14) ; 
not " all his life long, because Jehoiada had instructed him," 
although the Athnach under V^J favours this view. For Jehoiada 
had not instructed him before he began to reign, but he instructed 
him after he had been raised to the throne at the age of seven 
years, that is to say, so long as Jehoiada himself lived. The 
V1\^'^\ V^'^^ of the Chronicles is therefore a correct explanation. 
But after Jehoiada's death, Joasli yielded to the petitions of the 
princes of Judah that he would assent to their worshipping 
idols, and at length went so far as to stone the son of his bene- 
factor, the prophet Zechariah, on account of his candid reproof 
of this apostasy (2 Chron. xxiv. 17-22). — Ver. 3 (4). But the 
worship on the high places was not entirely suppressed, not- 
withstanding the fact that Jehoiada instructed him (on this 
standing formula see the Comm. on 1 Kings xv. 14). 


Vers. 4-16 (5-17). Eepairing of the tcrrvpU (cf. 2 Chron. 
xxiv. 5-14). — Vers. 4, 5. That the temple, which had fallen 
into ruins, might be restored, Joasli ordered the priests to collect 
all the money of the consecrated gifts, that was generally brought 
into the house of the Lord, and to effect therewith all the 
repairs that were needed in the temple. The general expression 
D"'B'npn ?1D3, money of the^ holy gifts, i.e. money derived from 
holy gifts, is more specifically defined by '131 "inij? ^M, according 
to which it consisted of three kinds of payments to the temple : 
viz. (1) i3iy ^p3, i.e. money of persons mustered (or numbered 
in the census) ; "i^iy is an abbreviated expression for i^iV'T 
^''IP^l', " he who passes over to those who are numbered " (Ex. 
XXX. 13), as it has been correctly interpreted by the Chald., 
Rashi, Abarb., and others ; whereas the explanation " money 
that passes" (Luther), or current coin, which Thenius still 
defends, yields no suitable sense, since it is impossible to see 
why only current coin should be accepted, and not silver in 
bars or vessels, inasmuch as Moses had accepted gold, silver, 
copper, and other objects of value in natura, for the buuding 
of the tabernacle (Ex. xxv. 2, 3, xxxv. 5, xxxvi. 5, 6). The 
brevity of the expression may be explained from the fact, that 
"iniy fipz) had become a technical term on the ground of the 
passage in the law already cited. The objection raised by 
Thenius, that the explanation adopted would be without any 
parallel, would, if it could be sustained, also apply to his own 
explanation " current money," in which l^iy is also taken as 
an abbreviation of inbp "lay in Gen. xxiii. 16. There is still 
less ground for the other objection, that if "i^iy Pip3 denoted 
one kind of temple-revenue, ?3 or 5J'''X would necessarily have 
been used. (2) i3"|y , . . ^^^, " every kind of souls' valuation 
money ;" ^^^ is more precisely defined by i3"iy, and the position 
in wliich it stands before ^p3 resembles the iinn in Gen. xv. 
10 — literally, soul money of each one's valuation. Thenius is 
wrong in his interpretation, " every kind of money of the souls 
according to their valuation," to which he appends the erroneous 
remark, that ^'''^ is also used in Zech. x. 1 and Joel ii. 7 in con- 
nection with inanimate objects as equivalent to bb. 13"^!? . . . ^''^, 
every kind of valuation, because both in the redemption of, the 
male first-born (Num. xviii. 15, 16) and also in the case of 
persons under a vow a payment had to be made according to 
the valuation of the priest. (3) " All the money that cometh 

CHAP. XII. 4-16. 367 

into any one's mind to bring into the house of the Lord," i.e. all 
the money which was offered as a free-will offering to the 
sanctuary. This money the priests were to take to themselves, 
every one from his acquaintance, and therewith repair all the 
dilapidations that were to be found in the temple. In the 
Chronicles the different kinds of money to be collected for this 
purpose are not specified; but the whole is embraced under 
the general expression " the taxes of Moses the servant of God, 
and of the congregation of Israel, to the tent of the testimony," 
which included not only the contribution of half a shekel for 
the building of the temple, which is prescribed in Ex. xxx. 
12 sqq., but also the other two taxes mentioned in this 
account.-^ Again, according to ver. 7 of the Chronicles, Joash 
gave the following reason for his command : " For Athaliah, 
the wicked woman, and her sons have demolished the house of 
God, and all the dedicated gifts of the house of Jehovah have 
they used for the Baals." We are not told in what the violent 
treatment or demolition (P.S) of the temple by Athaliah and 
her sons consisted. The circumstance that considerable repairs 
even of the stonework of the temple were required in the time 
of Joash, about 130 or 140 years after it was built, is quite 
conceivable without any intentional demolition. And in no 
case can we infer from these words, as Thenius has done, that 
Athaliah or her sons had erected a temple of Baal within the 
limits of the sanctuary. The application of all the dedicatory 
offerings of the house of Jehovah to the Baals, involves nothing 
more than that the gifts which were absolutely necessary for the 
preservation of the temple and temple-service were withdrawn 
from the sanctuary of Jehovah and applied to the worship of 
Baal, and therefore that the decay of the sanctuary would neces- 
sarily follow upon the neglect of the worship. — Vers. 6 sqq. But 

1 There is no ground either iu the words or in the facts for restricting the 
perfectly general expression " taxes of Moses and of the congregation of 
Israel " to the payment mentioned in Ex. xxx. 12, as Thenius and Berthean 
have done, except perhaps the wish to find a discrepancy between the two 
accounts, for the purpose of being able to accuse the chronicler, if not of 
intentional falsification, as De TYette does, at any rate of perverting the true 
state of the case. The assertion of Thenius, that the yearly payment of half a 
shekel, which was appointed in the law and regarded as atoucment-money, 
appears to be directly excluded in our text, is simply founded ujDon the inter- 
pretation given to I2iy P|D3 fis current money, which we have already proved 
to be false. 


wlien the twenty-third year of the reign of Joash arrived, and the 
dilapidations had not been repaired, the king laid the matter 
before the high priest Jehoiada and the priests, and directed 
them not to take the money any more from their acquaintance, 
but to give it for the dilapidations of the temple ; " and the 
priests consented to take no money, and not to repair the 
dilapidations of the house," i.e. not to take charge of the repairs, 
"We may see from this consent how the command of tlie king is 
to be understood. Hitherto the priests had collected the money 
to pay for the repairing of the temple ; but inasmuch as they 
had not executed the repairs, the king took away from them 
both the collection of the money and the obligation to repair 
the temple. The reason for the failure of the first measure is 
not mentioned in our text, and can only be inferred from the 
new arrangement made by the king (ver. 9) : " Jehoiada took a 
chest, — of course by the command of the king, as is expressly 
mentioned in 2 Chron. xxiv. 8, — bored a hole in the door (the 
lid) thereof, and placed it by the side of the altar (of burnt- 
offering) on the right by the entrance of every one into the 
house of Jehovah., that the priests keeping the threshold might 
put thither (i.e. into the chest) all the money that was brought 
into the house of Jehovah." — Ver. 10. "And when they saw 
that there was much money in the chest, the king's writer and 
the high priest came, and bound up and reckoned the money 
that was found in the house of Jehovah." "i^V, to bind up the 
money in bags (c£ ch. v. 23). The binding is mentioned before 
the reckoning, because the pieces of money were not counted 
singly, but packed at once into bags, which were then weighed 
for the purpose of estimating the amount received. — Vers. 11, 
1 2. " They gave the money weighed into the hands of those who 
did the work, who were placed over the house of Jehovah," i.e. 
the appointed overlookers of the work ; " and they paid it (as 
it was required) to the carpenters and builders, who worked at 
the house, and to the masons and the hewers of stone, and for 
the purchase of wood and hewn stones, to repair the dilapida- 
tions of the house, and for all that might be spent (^<)»^, i.e. be 
given out) for the house for repairing it." It is quite clear 
from this, that the assertion of J. D. Michaelis, De Wette, and 
others, that the priests had embezzled the money collected, is 
perfectly imaginary. For if the king had cherished any such 
suspicion against the priests, he would not have asked for their 

CHAP. XII. 4-16. 369 

consent to an alteration of tlie first arrangement or to the new 
measure; and still less would he have commanded that the 
priests who kept the door should put the money into the chest, 
for this would have been no safeguard against embezzlement. 
Eor if the door-keepers wished to embezzle, all that they would 
need to do would be to put only a part of the money into the 
chest. The simple reason and occasion for giving up the first 
arrangement and introducing the new arrangement with the 
chest, was that the first measure had proved to be insufficient 
for the accomplishment of the purpose expected by the king. 
For inasmuch as the king had not assigned any definite amount 
for the repairing of the temple, but had left it to the priests to 
pay for the cost of the repairs out of the money that was to 
be collected, one portion of which at least came to themselves, 
according to the law, for their own maintenance and to provide 
for the expenses of worship, it might easily happen, without the 
least embezzlement on the part of the priests, that the money 
collected was paid out again for the immediate necessities of 
worship and their own maintenance, and that nothing remained 
to pay for the building expenses. For this reason the king 
himself now undertook the execution of the requisite repairs. 
The reason why the chest was provided for the money to be 
collected was, first of all, that the money to be collected for the 
building might be separated from the rest of the money that 
came in and was intended for the priests ; and secondly, that 
the contributions to be gathered for the building might be in- 
creased, since it might be expected that the people would give 
more if the collections were made for the express purpose of 
restoring the temple, than if only the legal and free-will offerings 
were simply given to the priests, without any one knowing how 
much would be applied to the building. — And because the king 
had taken the building into his own hand, as often as the chest was 
full he sent his secretary to reckon the money along with the high 
priest, and hand it over to the superintendents of the building. 

If we compare with this the account in the Chronicles, it 
helps to confirm the view which we have obtained from an un- 
prejudiced examination of the text as to the affair in question. 
According to ver. 5 of the Chronicles, Joash had commanded 
the priests and Levites to accelerate the repairs ; " but the 
Levites did not hurry." This may be understood as signifying 
that they were dilatory both in the collection of the money and 

2 A 


in the devotion of a portion of their revenues to the repairing of 
the temple. But that the king took the matter in hand himself, 
not so much because of the dilatoriness or negligence of the 
priests as because his first measure, regarded as an expedient, 
did not answer the purpose, is evident from the fact that, 
according to the Chronicles, he did not content himself with 
placing the chest at the entrance, but had a proclamation made 
at the same time in Judah and Jerusalem, to offer the tax of 
Moses for the repair of the temple (ver. 9) — evidently with no 
other intention than to procure more liberal contributions. For, 
according to ver. 10, all the chief men and all the people 
rejoiced thereat, and cast their gifts into the chest, i.e. they 
offered their gifts with joy for the purpose that had been pro- 
claimed. — The other points of difference between the Chronicles 
and our text are unimportant. For instance, that they placed the 
chest " at the gate of the house of Jehovah on the outside." The 
nv^n merely defines the expression in our text, ITia C'^N'Kina ^ö^a 
'■''', "to the right at the entrance into the temple," more minutely, 
by showing that the ark was not placed on the inner side 
of the entrance into the court of the priests, but against the 
outer wall of it. This is not at variance with n?tön ^)fx in 
ver. 10 ; for even apart from the account in the Chronicles, 
and according to our own text, this cannot be understood as 
signifying that the ark had been placed in the middle of the 
court, as Thenius explains in opposition to '1^1 C'"'N"Ni2ii, but can 
only mean at the entrance which was on the right side of the 
altar, i.e. at the southern entrance into the inner court. Again, 
the further variation, that according to the Chronicles (ver. 11), 
when the chest was full, an ofi&cer of the high priest came with 
the scribe (not the high priest himseK), furnishes simply a more 
exact definition of our account, in which the high priest is 
named; just as, according to ver. 10, the high priest took the 
chest and bored a hole in the lid, which no intelligent commen- 
tator would understand as signifying that the high priest did it 
with his own hand. But there is a real difference between 
vers. 14 and 15 of our text and ver. 14 of the Chronicles, 
though the solution of this suggests itself at once on a closer 
inspection of the words. According to our account, there were 
no golden or silver vessels, basons, knives, bowls, etc., made with 
the money that was brought in, but it was given for the repair- 
ing of the house. In the Chronicles, on the contrary, it is 

CHAP. XII. 17, IS. 371 

stated tliat " when they had finished the repairs, they brought 
the remnant of the money to the Idng and Jehoiada, and he (the 
king) used it for vessels for the house of the Lord, for vessels of 
the service," etc. But if we take proper notice of Drii?33 here, 
there is no ground for saying that there is any contradiction, 
since the words of our text af&rm nothing more than that none 
of the money that came in was applied to the making of vessels 
of worship so long as the repairing of the building went on. 
What took place afterwards is not stated in our account, which 
is limited to the main fact ; this we learn from the Chronicles. 
— Ver. 15. ISTo return was requked of the inspectors as to the 
money handed over to them, because they were convinced of 
their honesty. — Ver. 16. The money obtained from trespass- 
offerings and sin-offerings was not brought into the house of 
Jehovah, i.e. was not applied to the repairing of the temple, but 
was left for the priests. In the case of the trespass-offering 
compensation had to be made for the earthly debt according to 
the valuation of the priest, with the addition of a fifth in money ; 
and this was assigned to the priests not only in the case of a 
bV'O committed against Jehovah, but also when a neighbour had 
been injured in his property, if he had died in the meantime 
(see at Lev. v. 16 and Num. v. 9). On the other hand, in the 
case of the sin-offerings the priests received no money according 
to the law. Most of the commentators therefore assume, that 
those who lived at a distance had sent money to the priests, 
that they might offer sin-offerings with it, and what money was 
over they had retained for themselves. But there is not the 
slightest trace of any such custom, which is quite at variance 
with the idea of the sin-offering. It may probably have become 
a customary thing in the course of time, for those who presented 
these offerings to compensate the officiating priest for his trouble 
by a free-will gift. 

Vers. 17 and 18. The brief account of EazaeVs cam2oaign 
against Jerusalem is completed by 2 Chron. xxiv. 23, 24. 
Hazael had gone down along the coast after defeating Israel 
(see ch. xiii. 3), for the purpose of making war upon Judah 
also, and had taken Gath, which Eehoboam had fortified 
(2 Chron. xi. 8). He then set his face, i.e. determined, to 
advance to Jerusalem ; and Joash took the temple treasures, 
etc. According to the Chronicles, he sent an army against 
Judah and Jerusalem, which destroyed aU the princes of the 


nation and sent mucli booty to the king to Damascus, as the 
small army of the Syrians had smitten the very large army of 
Judah. To protect Jerusalem, after this defeat, from being 
taken by the Syrians, Joash sent all the treasures of the temple 
and palace to Hazael, and so purchased the withdrawal of the 
Syrians. In this way the two brief accounts of the war may 
be both reconciled and explained ; whereas the opinion, still 
repeated by Thenius, that the two passages treat of different 
wars, has no tenable ground to rest upon. The Philistian city 
of Gath (see the Comm. on Josh. xiii. 3) appears to have be- 
longed at that time to the kingdom of Judah, so that the Gath- 
ites were not among the Philistines who made an incursion into 
Judah in the reign of Joram along with the Arabian tribes of 
the south (2 Chron. xxi. 16). And it is impossible to deter- 
mine when Gath was wrested from the S3rrians again ; probably 
in the time of Joash the son of Jehoahaz of Israel, as he re- 
covered from the Syrians all the cities which they had taken 
from the Israelites under Jehoahaz (ch. xiii. 25), and even 
smote Amaziah the king of Judrea at Bethshemesh and took 
him prisoner (ch. xiv. 13; 2 Chron. xxv. 2 1 sqq.). " All the 
consecrated things, which Jehoshaphat, Joram, and Ahaziah had 
consecrated, and his own consecrated things," i.e. what he (Joash) 
himself had consecrated. The existence of such temple treasures 
is not at variance either with the previous account of the repairing 
of the temple, for Joash would not use the consecrated offerings for 
the restoration of the temple, as the current revenue of the temple 
was sufficient for the purpose, or with 2 Chron. xxiv. 7, where 
it is stated that AthaKah and her sons had applied all the "'t^'^i^ 
nin"! JT'n to the Baals (see at ch. xii. 5, p. 367); for even if we are 
to understand by the sons of Athaliah not bastard sons (Ewald, 
Gesch. iii. p. 582), but the brethren of Joram whom the Philis- 
tines and Arabians had carried off, Ahaziah and Joram, although 
they both of them served Baal, may, from political considera- 
tions, have now and then made consecrated gifts to the temple, 
if only in a passing fit of religious fear. 

Vers. 19-21. Conspiracy against Joash. — Not long after the 
departure of the SjTians, who had left Joash, according to 
2 Chron. xxiv. 25, with many wounds, his servants formed a 
conspiracy against him and slew him upon his bed in the 'house 
Millo, which goeth down to Silla. This description of the 
locality is perfectly obscure for us. The conjecture that N??p"n"'3 

CHAP. XIII. 1-9. 373 

was the house in the castle of Millo which is so frequently 
mentioned (see at 1 Kings ix. 15 and 2 Sam. v. 9), is pre- 
cluded by the fact that this castle is always called N??3n (with 
the article}. ^?i? is regarded by many as an abbreviation of 
n?pD^ " which goes down by the road ;" and Thenius supposes 
that the reference is to the road which ran diagonally through 
the city from the Joppa gate to the Haram-area, corresponding 
to the present David's road. Others regard t<?? as the proper 
name of a place in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. It is ini- 
jjossible to get any certain meaning out of it, unless we alter 
the text according to arbitrary assumptions, as Thenius has done. 
The conspirators were Jozachar the son of Sliimcatli, and Jclioza- 
hacl the son of Sliomcr, according to ver. 21 ; but according to 
the Chronicles (ver. 26), they were Zahacl the son of Shimeath 
the Ammonitess, and Jchozabad the son of Shimrith the Moab- 
itess. The identity of the first names is perfectly obvious, ^^r 
is a copyist's error for "i^T, and this is the contracted form of 
19P^ The difference in the second : son of Sliomer according 
to our text, and son of the Shimrith accord