Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 4

A description of Israel and its agriculture

1 Kings 4:8-10

This list (4:8-19) is mainly about the arrangements for the payment of tax; still, however, there is something very special about it. It describes the whole of Israel, except perhaps Judah. It also describes the whole year, as each of these regions supplied Solomon in turn for a month. It shows Israel’s people, under Solomon’s peaceful rule, at last in possession of their whole country. Solomon had brought peace and success to the country; the country provided the products of agriculture to the people; and the people supplied what Solomon needed for his government and his palace.

Let us think about each governor or ruler in turn, and the region that he controlled. The first three governors were probably responsible for the first three months in the year. In ancient Israel, the year began in Spring. That is also the start of the dry season, and the time to harvest grain.

All three of these governors were in the central part of Israel. Ben-Hur controlled the hills in Ephraim, north of Jerusalem. This land was good for agriculture; in addition to the regular supplies for the king, Ben-Hur would have been able to supply the first new grain each year.

Ben-Deker’s land was to the west of Jerusalem. These places had good land to grow grain. There is a reference to the wheat of Beth Shemesh in 1 Samuel 6:13.

Ben-Hesed’s region was north of this. His land included Hepher – the rich plain by the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. That plain (flat land) is today called Sharon.

Next part: The regions that provided for Solomon's palaces in Summer (1 Kings 4:11-13)


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