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Chapter 5

Solomon’s Riches: International Affairs. [a]Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River[b] to the land of the Philistines, down to the border of Egypt; they paid Solomon tribute and served him as long as he lived. [c]Solomon’s provisions for each day were thirty kors of fine flour, sixty kors of meal, ten fatted oxen, twenty pasture-fed oxen, and a hundred sheep, not counting harts, gazelles, roebucks, and fatted fowl. He had dominion over all the land west of the River, from Tiphsah to Gaza, and all its kings, and he had peace on all his borders round about. (A)Thus Judah and Israel lived in security, everyone under their own vine and fig tree from Dan to Beer-sheba, as long as Solomon lived.

Solomon’s Riches: Chariots and Horses. (B)Solomon had forty thousand stalls for horses for chariots and twelve thousand horsemen. [d]The governors, one for each month, provided food for King Solomon and for all the guests at King Solomon’s table. They left nothing unprovided. For the chariot horses and draft animals also, each brought his quota of barley and straw to the required place.

Solomon’s Renown. (C)Moreover, God gave Solomon wisdom, exceptional understanding, and knowledge, as vast as the sand on the seashore. 10 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed that of all the peoples of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. 11 He was wiser than anyone else—wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, or Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the musicians—and his fame spread throughout the neighboring peoples. 12 Solomon also uttered three thousand proverbs, and his songs numbered a thousand and five. 13 He spoke of plants, from the cedar on Lebanon to the hyssop growing out of the wall, and he spoke about beasts, birds, reptiles, and fishes. 14 (D)People from all nations came to hear Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

Preparations for the Temple.[e]

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  1. 5:1–32 This translation follows the numeration of the Hebrew Bible, rather than the Vulgate; in many English translations, 5:1–14 is 4:21–34, and 5:15 is 5:1.
  2. 5:1 The River: that is, the Euphrates. This claim may be exaggerated, but “from the Euphrates to the border of Egypt” was the traditional description of the extent of the Davidic holdings.
  3. 5:2 The list of Solomon’s supplies may have originally belonged with the list of governors in 4:7–19, but the author has placed it here to imply that Solomon’s vassal kingdoms, not his own citizenry, supplied his vast daily needs. The daily provisions listed could have supported several thousand people. Kors: see note on Ez 45:14.
  4. 5:7 This verse suggests that the governors also saw to the provender for Solomon’s animals (v. 8).
  5. 5:15–32 The fifth major unit of the Solomon story explains the preparations Solomon made for the construction of the Temple. He negotiates with Hiram of Tyre for materiel (5:15–26), and conscripts a labor force for personnel (5:27–32). Compare 9:11–23, which returns to the same two themes after the Temple has been built and dedicated. 2 Chr 2:1–17 presents another version of the same material.

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