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1 Kings 4

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Introduction:

Solomon’s reign is now firmly established.

It’s now established politically with the removal of rivals.
It’s becoming established in regards to the political function of other nations
And, perhaps more importantly, it’s established in the hearts of the people of Israel.

The chapter that we are looking at tonight lists his administrators and advisors.

Solomon’s father, David, was gifted at administration.
He developed a functioning administration with the military, the governance, and with the priests … in several places in 1 Samuel there are lists of his administrators.
On several occasions, David removed individuals who were corrupt or not performing and replaced them.
also speaks of David administering justice.
There is some indication, however, that David’s attention to administration slipped later in his reign.
One such indication is where the rebel Absalom began to cause the people to question his father’s ability to administer judgment.
Another indication is later after David had chosen Solomon to take his throne after him, but had not made arrangements and had to do so very quickly to prevent Adonijah from taking it.

But, altogether, David’s record of administration was very good … especially as compared to his predecessor, Saul.

And now, we see that Solomon has inherited and learned from David in regards to administration.
We’ve already seen an example of Solomon’s “understanding heart” when he rightly discerned the wicked woman who tried to steal another woman’s son.
That was in the last chapter.
Two women who were prostitutes were living together.
Both had babies within 3 days of one another.
One mother’s son had died in the night and she then got up and changed her baby out for the living one, claiming it was hers.
The case came before Solomon.
He ordered a sword to be brought and the living baby to but cut in two … one part for each mother.
Of course, he did not intend for that to happen … he knew that the true mother would seek the welfare of the child.
And she did … and in that way, he was able to discern the wicked woman and demonstrate his ability to administer justice in Israel.
But we were not told why this issue came before Solomon the king in the first place.
There would have been lower courts that could have heard this case.
Except perhaps God arranged it this way to demonstrate the “understanding heart” that He had given to Solomon.
Solomon had great wisdom and authority, but he could not effectively handle the affairs of Israel by himself.
So, like his father, Solomon chose capable people to administer the kingdom under him so that the people of Israel could be faithfully served.
----

As we studied last week, and as we’ve already noted … Solomon, in his vision at Gibeon, asked the LORD to give him an understanding heart that he might govern justly.

Solomon was very aware of the great challenge that was before him.

And he was aware that he needed help.
Solomon had great wisdom and authority, but he could not effectively handle the affairs of Israel by himself.
So, like his father, Solomon chose capable people to administer the kingdom under him so that the people of Israel could be faithfully served.
This chapter 4 gives us a list of his chief officials in the first 6 verses.
It gives us a list of his chief officials (4:1–6) responsible for the different offices of the kingdom and a list of governors to administer the different regions of the kingdom (4:7–20). This is followed by the extent of Solomon’s kingdom, the daily requirements for the palace, and his fiscal administration (4:21–28). The section concludes with a review of the knowledge for which Solomon was famous (4:29–34), giving him a reputation for wisdom that drew leaders from distant nations. God has abundantly answered Solomon’s prayer.
These officials were responsible for the different offices of the kingdom.
And then in verses 7-20, we are presented with a list of governors to administer the different regions of the kingdom.
Following that, we have a list of the daily requirements for the palace, and his economic administration, giving us an idea of the extent of Solomon’s kingdom.
And then in verses 29-34, we have a review of the knowledge for which Solomon was famous.
His reputation for wisdom drew leaders from distant nations to seek him out.
----

The greater idea here is that God abundantly answered Solomon’s prayer.

In chapter 3, God said that He was pleased at Solomon’s request for understanding to discern justice, rather than asking for selfish things.

And God told Solomon that He would give him what he asked for, and also what he did not ask for, “Both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.”
Special officers (vv. 1–6). Azariah was the high priest (v. 2). He was the son of Ahimaaz and the grandson of Zadok, the priest who had served David so faithfully. It appears that Ahimaaz had died and therefore his son was given the office. See , ; . The word ben in Hebrew can mean son or grandson. While David had only one scribe, Solomon had two (v. 3), and they were the sons of David’s scribe, Shisha. He was also known as Seriah (), Sheva () and Shavsha (). Solomon’s kingdom was much larger and more complex than that over which his father ruled, so the keeping of records would have been more demanding.
Do not read below:
1 Kings 3:
1 Kings 3:13 NKJV
And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.
However, Solomon would not be a puppet king and God allowed Solomon to make his own decisions … including decisions that violated God’s statutes and commandments.
Solomon gives us a powerful lesson that it does not pay to disobey.
It is not enough to start well; we must seek God’s grace to finish well, too.
Of course, we’ll expound on this more as we get further into the life of Solomon.
----

This chapter, as well as some other chapters draws information from a source called, “The Book of the Acts of Solomon.”

Chapter 11 verse 41 makes that clear.

That book was an official archive of his reign which we do not have anymore.
It was probably written by Iddo, a Prophet and Chronicler during the time of Solomon, Rehoboam, and Abijah.
There is a supposed translation of this book … but it is not the actual book … it is pseudepigrapha.
In other words, it’s a book that imitates Scripture but was written under a false name.
In other words, it’s fake.
So, know that in case you come across a book claiming to be “The book of the Acts of Solomon” … it is fake as fake can be.
Enough introduction.
Let’s pray and dig in.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for everyone here this evening. Thank You that You know each of us by name and have caused us to walk with You. Lord, we open up Your word desiring to hear from You ... not man's word or wisdom, but Your Words and Wisdom. Please soften our hearts to receive from You.

v1-6

The introductory sentence, “So King Solomon was king over all Israel” flows from his verdict in the case of the disputed baby.

He had been anointed king … his ability to justly rule the people established his kingship as all the people, “Saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.”
Do not read below:
1 Kings 3:28 NKJV
And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.
saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.

King Solomon set out to organize his rule.

The list of his officials begins with Azariah.
Azariah was the grandson of Zadok, the priest.
Yes, here it reads “Son of Zadok” … the Hebrew is Ben Tsadoq.
The Hebrew word “Ben” often means “son of” but it can also mean “grandson of.”
We know he was Zadok’s grandson from that:
1 Chronicles 6:8 NKJV
Ahitub begot Zadok, and Zadok begot Ahimaaz;
1 Chronicles 6:8–9 NKJV
Ahitub begot Zadok, and Zadok begot Ahimaaz; Ahimaaz begot Azariah, and Azariah begot Johanan;
Ahimaaz, son of Zadok the priest and the father of Azariah along with Jonathan, son of Abiathar had remained in Jerusalem as informants for David during Absalom’s rebellion.
You might remember from earlier that Solomon had named Zadok High Priest in place of Abiathar who had supported Adonijah as David’s successor to the throne.
Some commentators say that Azariah was Zadok’s successor as High Priest.
Azariah was the high priest (v. 2).
But the title of “priest” in verse 2 likely applies to Zadok rather than to Azariah.
If that is the case, then Azariah is meant to be lumped in with the sons of Shisha in verse 3 as a scribe.
Now, there is another Ahimaaz named in as priest in the temple that Solomon built, but this was a son of Johanan.
Azariah was the high priest during the reign of Solomon.
----

So then, while David had only one scribe, Solomon had three, Ahimaaz, and the 2 sons of David’s scribe, Shisha.

It appears that Ahimaaz had died and therefore his son was given the office.
See , ; .
The word ben in Hebrew can mean son or grandson.
While David had only one scribe, Solomon had two (v. 3), and they were the sons of David’s scribe, Shisha.

Shisha was also known as Seriah in , Sheva in and Shavsha in .

Whether or not this is due to (ironically) scribal errors or he went by multiple names is hard to know.
Whatever the case, all these names refer to the same person.
Solomon’s kingdom was much larger and more complex than that over which his father ruled, so the keeping of records would have been more demanding.
Scribes chronicled the events of the king’s reign.
And it may have been that each of the 3 scribes was in charge of recording a different matter … perhaps taxes and fiscal records, laws and legal decisions, and official events.
Perhaps this is why Azariah seems to have been named here separate from the others.
It may have been that since chapter 3 ended with a court case, it was Azariah who recorded it.
----

Moving on … Jehoshaphat is named as recorder … but this is different from scribe.

The Hebrew word is Mazkir meaning secretary.

He had also been secretary during David’s reign.
He was an appointments secretary who kept the army census of who was able to serve.
And so we also have named Benaiah who had been appointed head of the army by Solomon back in chapter 2.
Benaiah had been appointed head of the army by Solomon (2:35).
Benaiah had been appointed head of the army by Solomon (2:35).
had been secretary during David’s reign (; ), and Benaiah had been appointed head of the army by Solomon (2:35).
He was born into a priestly family but chose a military life instead.
It was this “double calling” that allowed him to go into the sacred area of the altar and execute Joab.
----

Zadok continued as priest, though he must have been very old by this point.

Abiathar had been exiled because of his part in the plot involving Adonijah (2:27).

He had sided with Adonijah in his bid to claim the throne.
But because he had helped David previously and even suffered with him, Solomon showed him mercy and sent him into exile in the priestly city of Anathoth.
Solomon then had Zadok take his place.
These lists of names are never easy because many names occur over and again in scripture as different people share the same name.
It’s easy to become confused or to make assumptions.
So, while Zadok here is the same Zadok who had taken the place of Abiathar … the Abiathar may not be the same Abiathar.
Since Solomon had exiled Abiathar, it would be odd to have him named in this list of Solomon’s officials.
But it’s possible that Abiathar was demoted rather than permanently exiled and he helped out as priest on occasions when Zadok was unable to do his duties.
----

Azariah was the son of Nathan, but probably not Nathan the prophet.

There was also Nathan the son of David … and that’s a great possibility.

But it could have also been another man named Nathan … it was a popular name in Israel.
Nathan was a popular name in Israel.
Given his great responsibility and that it was over secular things, I lean toward it being a member of the royal household … that is David’s son, Nathan.
By the way, David’s son, Nathan, appears in the genealogy of Jesus in through the line of Mary.
Azariah was in charge of the 12 officers that are listed in the next group of verses.
Those are the officers who supervised the twelve districts that Solomon marked out in Israel, also called Governors … we’ll get to them in a bit.
So, that was quite a large responsibility.
Nathan was a popular name in Israel.
----

Zabud was a priest who served as special adviser to the king.

It also says he was a son of Nathan.

Again, we don’t know which Nathan, but since this was not a secular role but a priestly role, he was probably not Nathan, son of David.
Possibly this was a son of Nathan the prophet, but there is no conclusive evidence, but we cannot be certain
----

Finally, wrapping up this section we have:

Ahishar who was in charge of Solomon’s palace, managing the complex affairs of the king’s household.
Adoniram, also known as Adoram was in charge of the men who were drafted to labor in the public works of the kingdom.
In we find out how large these labor forces were.
These would not be Israelites but foreigners in the land to perform forced labor.
However, in the building of the temple, Solomon selected Israelites to devote 4 months a year to public service.
This was 30,000 men who went in shifts to Lebanon to bring back building materials … wood and stone.
This was an addition to the job that Adoniram already held … back in , he was David’s tax minister.
Under Solomon and then Reheboam he continued to perform as tax minister in addition to being over the labor forces.
Adoniram was not popular because of his job and the heavy burden that Solomon placed on the people.
He was stoned to death by the people when Rehoboam became king.
Adoniram was also known as Adoram and he was stoned to death by the people when Rehoboam became king ().
Samuel had warned the people that their king would do such things ().

v7-19

Solomon had a huge royal court.

His court included his ministers and servants, a large army, and many horses.

In addition, many foreign dignitaries and kings visited to hear his wisdom and insight.
This required a massive supply of food and other resources, which were provided by the public treasury.
To do this, Solomon devised an incredible means of taxation that enabled all segments of the population to share in the cost.
The structure he came up with did not put too much strain on the economy … but it became difficult for the people.
To begin, this was not too burdensome, but it would become so later … and more so under his heir, Reheboam.
----

Solomon marked out twelve “districts” of various sizes and put a commissioner over each district.

The boundaries of the districts ignored the traditional boundaries of the tribes and even incorporated territory that David had taken in battle.

Each district was to provide food for the king’s household for one month.
It’s likely that the commissioners also collected taxes and supervised the recruiting of soldiers and laborers for the temple and Solomon’s other building projects.
They would have done so under the supervision of Adoniram.
It is interesting that Solomon did not follow tribal boundaries for this.
Perhaps by establishing new districts that crossed over old boundaries, Solomon hoped to minimize tribal loyalty and eliminate some of the tension between Judah and the northern tribes.
However, the plan aggravated the tension, especially since Judah wasn’t included in this redistricting program.
Judah was the royal tribe and it’s boundaries contained the royal city … so, Judah was administered separately.
Any king with seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, plus numerous officers and frequent guests, would have a large household to feed.
Any king with seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, plus numerous officers and frequent guests, would have a large household to feed.
The Queen of Sheba came with “a very great contingent” that must have included several hundred people.
I’m jumping ahead, but according to verses 22–23, the meals for one day in the palace required:
185 bushels of fine flour,
375 bushels of coarse meal,
10 oxen fattened in the stall and 20 oxen from the pasture,
20 oxen from the pasture, 100 sheep, and various kinds of game and fowl.
100 sheep, and
various kinds of game and fowl.
Solomon also needed grain for his many horses, which may have been how the coarse meal (barley) was used.

These 12 regions ruled by 12 governors included areas of non-Jews … conquered nations.

They probably looked at these monthly donations as part of their tribute to King Solomon.
But the Jewish tribes considered the whole system to be a humiliating form of extortion … especially the way Judah appeared to receive such favoritism from the throne.
After Solomon’s death, the tribes rose up in revolt against Solomon’s successor when he refused to listen to their pleas.
but the Jewish tribes considered the whole system to be a humiliating form of extortion. After Solomon’s death, it was no wonder that the ten tribes rose up in revolt against “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.”
----

Again, we have a lot of names here.

For some reason, five of the commissioners are identified by their fathers.

As we noted before, “Ben” in Hebrew means “son of” or in some instances “grandson of” or “descendant of.”
For some reason, five of the commissioners are identified by their fathers, for ben in Hebrew means “son of” (8–11, 13). The son of Abinadab (v. 11) may have been a son of David’s own brother and therefore a cousin to Solomon (; ). He also married one of Solomon’s daughters, as also did Ahimaaz (v. 15). It’s likely that Solomon instituted this supply system several years into his reign since he didn’t have adult children when he was crowned. Baana was probably a brother to Jehoshaphat the recorder (vv. 12 and 3). These twelve men had great power in the land and were a part of the corrupt bureaucracy that Solomon wrote about in .
Here, because of the context we can be certain it means “son of.”
First listed is Ben-Hur … not of the movie, but the Son of Hur.
He was in the mountains of Ephraim.
Then there is Ben-Deker in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth Shemesh, and Elon Beth Hanan which are northwest of Judah near Philistia.
Third we have Ben-Hesed, the son of Hesed, in Arubboth and including Sochoh and all the land of Hepher.
This district was north of Philistia and on the coast.
Fourth we have Ben-Abinadab, the son of Abinadab, which may have been a son of David’s brother, making him a cousin to Solomon.
He also married one of Solomon’s daughters, as also did Ahimaaz who we’ll see later in verse 15.
His district was in all the region of Dor, on the coast, south of Phoenicia.
Fifth, is Baana, son of Ahilud.
His district was in Taanach, Megiddo, and all Beth Shean.
As you can see on the map, we are going in a clock-wise direction.
Baana was the brother of Jehoshaphat, who is the recorder from verse 3.
We’re halfway there … next was Ben-Geber, the son of Geber whose name means “hero.”
He was in Ramoth Gilead and the Transjordan towns of Jair, which were taken from the original inhabitants by Jair the son of Manasseh.
Also under him was the area of Argob in Bashan with 60 large and powerful cities.
Ahinadab, the son of Iddo who may have been the prophet Iddo who chronicled the reigns of Solomon, Reheboam, and Abijah.
He was in Mahanaim, to the East of the Mountains of Ephraim.
Eighth we have Ahimaaz in Naphtali.
He married Basemath, the daughter of Solomon.
His region breaks our clockwise motion around the map … it is located north of the Sea of Galilee.
Ninth we have Baanah the son of Hushai.
Hushai was the loyal advisor to David during Absalom’s rebellion.
Baanah’s region was in Asher and Aloth which is just west of region 8.
10th is Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah … he was in Issachar, south of the Sea of Galilee.
11th is Shimei the son of Elah who was in Benjamin, just north of Jerusalem.
And finally we have Geber the son of Uri in the land of Gilead, to the west of the Dead Sea.
These twelve men had great power in the land.
They were certainly honored to have been given these positions of authority, but they grew corrupt.
Solomon wrote about them in :
Ecclesiastes 5:10–11 NKJV
He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. When goods increase, They increase who eat them; So what profit have the owners Except to see them with their eyes?
Ecclesiastes 5:

v20-28

Under Solomon, the nation of Israel became famous.

It had a large population.
It had peace and security.
It’s buildings were incredible.
Its king was amazingly wise.
And the people lived satisfying lives … as verse 20 says, “eating, and drinking, and rejoicing.”
These things were the fulfillment of God’s promises.
The population grew because of God’s promise to the patriarchs.
Genesis 15:5 NKJV
Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
The Angel of the LORD said to Abraham:
Genesis 17:8 NKJV
Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
Genesis 22:17 NKJV
blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
Genesis 26:4 NKJV
And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;
Genesis 32:12 NKJV
For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ ”
God also fulfilled promises made in the covenant of … that they would be blessed in the city and in the country and more.
The enlarged territory was also a part of God’s promise to the patriarchs.
Genesis 15:18 NKJV
On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—
And Solomon enjoyed immense blessing because of God’s covenant with David of .
Exodus 23:31 NKJV
And I will set your bounds from the Red Sea to the sea, Philistia, and from the desert to the River. For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.
This was also a fulfilment of Gods promise to Solomon from chapter 3.
Deuteronomy 1:7 NKJV
Turn and take your journey, and go to the mountains of the Amorites, to all the neighboring places in the plain, in the mountains and in the lowland, in the South and on the seacoast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the River Euphrates.
Joshua 1:4 NKJV
From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory.
The conquered nations submitted to Solomon’s rule and brought him gifts and tribute every year.
And Solomon enjoyed immense blessing because of God’s covenant with David of ..
.
But Solomon disregarded inconvenient parts of God’s law.
Speaking of the future king, God had instructed Israel:
Deuteronomy 17:16 NKJV
But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’
Contrary to God’s law, Solomon multiplied horses in the land.
contrary to God’s law, Solomon multiplied horses in the land. () and built special cities for housing them (v. 26; 10:26–29; ; , ).
And as verse 26 points out, Solomon had so many that he built special cities for housing them.
The wise king was making some very unwise choices.

v29-34

God gave Solomon wisdom and breadth of understanding beyond that of the great wise men of the east.

But Solomon looked upon nature more as an object of study.
God gave Solomon wisdom and breadth of understanding beyond that of the great wise men of the east.

In addition to the wisdom required to govern the vast kingdom, Solomon had knowledge that rivaled everyone of ancient times.

In addition to the wisdom required for the governance of a vast kingdom, Solomon has a breadth of knowledge (4:29) that rivals that of all ancient time. Mesopotamia and Egypt were famous for wisdom, some aspects of which are preserved to the present time.
Mesopotamia and Egypt were famous for wisdom, some aspects of which are preserved to the present time.
But Solomon was wiser.
Ethan and Heman as well as Chalcol and Darda were noted Psalmists, skilled in lyric, music, and dance.
These men were also known for their wisdom.
The wording here subtly indicates that Solomon was up on his classic pre-exodus music, modern music, and world instruments and music … and the arts, including poetry and literature.
He was wise in Dendrology, herbology, ethology, zoology, anthropology … he was so wise and knowledgable that all the kings of the earth came to hear him.
He was able to lecture accurately about so many things he drew a world-wide audience.
informs us that Solomon planted great gardens, and no doubt it was in these that he observed the way plants and trees developed.
Do not read below:
Ecclesiastes 2:5 NKJV
I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.
He also wrote many more proverbs than we have in the Bible.
We have fewer than 600, while he wrote 3,000.
As I mentioned before, we also don’t have “the acts of Solomon” (11:41) as well as the books about Solomon written by Nathan, Ahijah, and Iddo ().
2 Chronicles 9:29 NKJV
Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat?
We do find evidence of Solomon’s study of nature in Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.
so Solomon’s scientific enquiries did yield spiritual truth and practical lessons for life.
And, while we do not have 1001 of his songs … well, we do have a few … , and 72 … and a longer one called the Song of Solomon.
----
While Solomon ruled, peace and prosperity marked the kingdom.
B
Yet, things were not exactly kosher in Israel.
At first, and until the time of the dedication of the Temple, it seems that Solomon walked with the LORD and desired to please him.
But the steadfast devotion that marked his father David’s life was eroding in Solomon’s life.
Over time he began to compromise in his devotion to God.
And his many pagan wives were planting seeds in his heart that would bear bitter fruit for the kingdom.
But Alexander Whyte expressed it vividly when he wrote that “the secret worm … was gnawing all the time in the royal staff upon which Solomon leaned.” Solomon didn’t have the steadfast devotion to the Lord that characterized his father, and his many pagan wives were planting seeds in his heart that would bear bitter fruit.
But Alexander Whyte expressed it vividly when he wrote that “the secret worm … was gnawing all the time in the royal staff upon which Solomon leaned.” Solomon didn’t have the steadfast devotion to the Lord that characterized his father, and his many pagan wives were planting seeds in his heart that would bear bitter fruit.
Wiersbe, W. W. (2002). Be responsible (pp. 32–36). Colorado Springs, CO: Victor.
So, we’ll close here and pick it up next week with chapter 5.
And I’ll go ahead and announce that there will be no service on Wednesday the 21st of this month as I’ll be traveling.
Let’s pray:
Prayer: Lord Father we thank You for this time we’ve had together studying Your Word and we ask that You would make it fertile in our lives to do what You desire. Help us to be devoted to You and to Your Word. Thank You for loving us so much and may Your desires be the desires of our hearts.
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