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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



3 KINGS 3

 

CHAPTER III.

 

Ver. 1.  Solomon.  By the death of his enemies, and by his affinity with the king of Egypt, and his friendship with Hiram, king Tyre, who were the most potent princes in the neighbourhood.  Eupolemus (ap. Euseb. præp.) has a letter of Solomon to Pharao Vaphres, in which the latter is said to have been the friend of David; (Salien) and Clement (Strom. i.) produces the testimony of Polyhistor, saying, that Vaphres sent 80,000 Egyptian workmen to assist Solomon to build the temple. --- Daughter.  Who probably, embraced the true religion; so that her praises are supposed to be recorded in the 44th Psalm, and in the canticles; though it seems she afterwards relapsed, and became the chief instrument in the perversion of the king.  C. xi. 1. --- David.  She dwelt in the apartments of Bethsabee, (Cant. iii. 4. and viii. 2,) till a magnificent palace could be built for her reception.  C. vii. 8.  To marry idolatrous women was strictly forbidden.  Deut. vii. 3.  1 Esdras x. 2.  2 Esdras xiii. 26.

 

Ver. 2.  But yet.  It is not clear to what this refers.  Heb. "for the rest, (C.) or only;" (as also v. 3,) which may signify that the people, and their king, were blamable; or else, that they zealously offered sacrifices to God, even before the temple was erected.  H. --- Those who afterwards left that sacred place, to imitate the conduct of idolaters, or of the ancient patriarchs, which was no longer tolerated, are justly condemned.  C. --- High places.  That is, altars where they worshipped the Lord, indeed, but not according to the ordinance of the law; which allowed of no other places for sacrifice but the temple of God.  Among these high places, that of Gabaon was the chief, because there was the tabernacle of the testimony wich had been removed from Silo to Nobe, and from Nobe to Gabaon.  Ch. --- Hither David would have gone, as Solomon did, v. 4.  C. --- Hence this was not, at least, once of those high places, where it was unlawful to offer sacrifice; as the tabernacle was there, and the altar of holocausts, which Moses had erected.  The obligation of sacrificing in no place, except in that which the Lord had appointed, regarded the times while the ark was in the desert, (H.) and when it was placed in the temple.  While it continued in an unsettled state, people enjoyed more liberty in this respect; (C.) particularly when there was a prophet present, to sanction what they did.  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Only, &c.  Which David had not done, though  it was lawful.  Pineda. --- Yet we read that he offered victims on Sion, &c.  2 K. vi. 18.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Victims.  These he accompanied with most fervent prayer.  Wisd. vii. 7.  2 Par. i. 9.

 

Ver. 5.  In a prophetic dream, or ecstasy.  His mind had been so filled with the desire of wisdom, that the same thoughts recurred to him while he slept; and, as he had entertained them voluntarily before, he acquired fresh merit even during that time; as a man, who indulges sensual affections, becomes responsible for the accidents of the night.  S. Tho. 1. 2. q. 113. a. 2. and 2. 2. 9. 154. a. 5.  S. Aug. de Gen. ad lit. xii. 15.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  In.  So as to judge with discretion, and to lead my people.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Understanding.  Lit. "docile."  H. --- Heb. "willing to hear," and to obey God.  M.

 

Ver. 12.  After thee.  Solomon has given us some idea of his wisdom in the works which he has left.  They were dictated by the Holy Spirit, who adorned his soul with so many graces.  C. iv. 29. 30.  H. --- His knowledge of nature, and of the art of governing, excelled that of any of the kings of Israel; (Lyran, &c.  2 Paral. ix.) though Moses and the apostles had a more comprehensive knowledge of the mysteries of God.  C. --- Yet, even granting that no mere man might come up to him, Jesus Christ, in whom the treasures of wisdom were contained, was far superior.  H. --- General propositions are often to be understood with a limitation.  M.

 

Ver. 13.  Heretofore: 2 Paral. (i. 12,) adds, nor after thee.  Eccle. ii. 7.  This is also limited by some to the kings of that country.  But the riches of Solomon were not exceeded by those of the greatest monarchs.  Diss. "on the riches which David left."  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Days.  But this he forfeited.  M.

 

Ver. 15.  Dream.  Sent by God, as Gen. xli. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Harlots.  Rather than simply, "innkeepers."  Chal.  M. --- The latter signification of Zona might, however, seem more natural; as harlots seldom have children; or, at least, any affection for them.  Neither would such people have dared to appear before the king.  Deut. xxiii. 17.

 

Ver. 19.  Him.  This she suspected to be the case.  They did not then place infants in the cradle, but let them sleep in their bosoms.  C.

 

Ver. 25.  Other.  This sentence manifested the wisdom of Solomon, who knew that the real mother would feel the emotions of parental tenderness.  By similar experiments, the truth has sometimes been discovered.  Claudius obliged a mother to own her son, by ordering her to take him for a husband.  Seut. xv. --- The king of Trace told three who pretended to be the sons of the deceased king of the Cimmerians, to shoot an arrow at the corpse; which the real son would not do.  C.  Diod. Sic. --- A native of Mexico, reclaiming a horse which a Spaniard pretended was his, as the judge was under some doubts, the American threw his cloak over the horse's head, and asked which eye was blind?  The Spaniard replied, the right; and thus was detected.  Palafox.

 

 








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