Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 9

Solomon tries to hand over 20 towns to the king of Tyre

1 Kings 9:10-14

It was only during Solomon’s rule that Israel’s people finally gained complete control over their own land. Until this time, people from the nations that formerly controlled Canaan lived there in their own towns. Some of those people, like Araunah (2 Samuel 24:18-24), had friendly relations with Israel’s kings. However, many of them were enemies of Israel and caused much trouble for Israel’s people. It seems likely that many of them robbed and attacked Israel’s people. Therefore, it was important that Solomon should act against them.

The king of Tyre was friendly with Solomon; he helped Solomon to build his palace and the temple, God’s house (1 Kings chapter 5). However, between Tyre and Israel, there were 20 towns that belonged to Israel’s enemies (compare 2 Chronicles 8:2). That made trade and travel between the two countries difficult. The people in those towns would demand payments from anyone who passed through their region. We have no account of any battle – but somehow, Solomon managed to gain control over those 20 towns. It seems likely that he forced their people to work for him (9:20-21). So, they had to move to the places where he wanted them to work.

Hiram, the King of Tyre, had supplied much gold to Solomon. Solomon proposed to hand over this region to him, to pay the debt. However, Hiram had no use for these towns. His people were skilled workmen and traders; the towns were only suitable for agriculture, and the land was not especially good even for that. So, Hiram handed the towns back to Israel. Solomon rebuilt them, and people from Israel lived there after that (2 Chronicles 8:2).

Next part: Solomon forces the Canaanites to work for him (1 Kings 9:15)


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