Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 4
During Solomon’s rule, Israel at last became the great nation that God had promised to Abraham (Genesis 22:17). Israel’s people were very many, like the sand on the shore. They lived in peace and security. They were not afraid of their enemies, as Israel’s people in former centuries had been. Their lives were comfortable; they had good supplies of what they needed, and many things for their pleasure, too. Israel was a good place to live.
Israel had peace because Solomon ruled over many countries. This was in God’s promise to Abraham, too (Genesis 22:17).
Solomon had authority now over the countries that, previously, had been Israel’s enemies. Probably, Solomon chose kings to rule over those countries, who accepted Solomon’s rule over them. In return, Solomon demanded taxes from those kings, who collected them from their people. Solomon became extremely wealthy, and Israel’s people all benefitted.
In Kings 4:22-23, we have a list of the food that Solomon needed each day. The 12 governors or rulers in 1 Kings 4:7-19 supplied this to the king. It was for the king, his guests and his government, his many wives, the servants in his palace and the guards. It seems to be enough food to provide for 20,000 people or more.
The list distinguishes between the best flour and common flour; and similarly between the best oxen (animals like cows) and other oxen. The best supplies were for the palace and government; the other supplies were for servants and guards. They all ate well. The meat came from wild animals as well as farm animals - at this time, the forests in Israel were still very large.
Next part: Solomon's peaceful rule (1 Kings 4:24-25)
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