1 Kings 4

Solomon's government

1 So King Solomon was the king of all Israel.

2 And these were his important officers:

Azariah, the son of Zadok, was the priest.

3 Elihoreph and Ahijah. They were the sons of Shisha. They wrote down what happened.

Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud. Jehoshaphat looked after what was written.

4 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. Benaiah was the leader of the army.

Zadok and Abiathar were priests.

5 Azariah the son of Nathan. He told the 12 officers (in verse 7) what to do.

Zabud, a son of Nathan. Zabud was a priest and he was a friend of the king.

6 Ahishar kept the king's houses.

Adoniram the son of Abda. Adoniram told the workers what they should do.

7 Solomon had 12 officers. They were in different places in Israel. They supplied food for the king and for the people that lived in his houses. Each officer had to supply food for one month in each year.

8 These are their names.

Ben-hur. He supplied food from the hills in Ephraim.

9 Ben-deker. He supplied food from Makaz and Shaalbim and Beth Shemesh and Elon Beth Hanan.

10 Ben-hesed. He supplied food from Arubboth. Socoh and all the fields round Hepher were his.

11 Ben-abinadab. He supplied food from the hills near Dor. He had married Solomon's daughter called Taphath.

12 Baana the son of Ahilud. He supplied food from Taanach and Megiddo and all of Beth-shean. Beth-shean is near Zarethan, which is below Jezreel. He also supplied food from Beth-shean, Abel-Meholah and Jokmeam.

13 Ben-Geber. He supplied food from Ramoth Gilead. The villages of Manasseh's son Jair in Gilead were his. Also, the country round Argob in Bashan was his. It included 60 large cities. The cities had walls and long pieces of metal to lock the gates.

14 Ahinadab the son of Iddo. He supplied food from Mahanaim.

15 Ahimaaz. He supplied food from Naphtali. Ahimaaz had married Basemath, Solomon's daughter.

16 Baana the son of Hushai. He supplied food from Asher and Aloth.

17 Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah. He supplied food from Issachar.

18 Shimei the son of Ela. He supplied food from Benjamin.

19 Geber the son of Uri. He supplied food from Gilead. Gilead was the country where Sihon was king. He was king of the people called Amorites. It was also the country where Og was the king of Bashan. Geber was the only officer in this country.

Solomon's kingdom

20 There were very many people in Judah and Israel. There were as many of them as there are bits of sand by the sea. They ate and they drank. So they were very happy.

21 And Solomon ruled over all the kingdom. The kingdom was from the River Euphrates to the country where the Philistines live. They live near the border of Egypt. The people from these places brought gifts to Solomon and they were his servants all the days of his life.

22 And this is what his officers supplied to Solomon each day:

30 cors (6,600 litres or 1,700 gallons) of flour.

60 cors (13 200 litres or 3,400 gallons) of wheat.

23 10 cows that ate in the farm buildings.

20 cows that ate in the fields.

100 sheep.

also animals called deer, gazelle, roebuck and chickens.

24 Solomon ruled all the land west of the River Euphrates. He ruled from Tiphsah to Gaza. There was no war in any of these places. 25 While Solomon ruled, Judah and Israel were safe. Each person lived under their vine or fig tree, from Dan to Beersheba. 26 Solomon had 4,000 buildings for horses that pulled chariots. And he had 12,000 horses. 27 The 12 officers supplied food for King Solomon and for everybody that ate with him. The king got everything that he needed. 28 Each officer brought his part. They brought food and dry grass for the horses that pulled chariots and for the other horses.

4:28Verse 27. The 12 officers are the men in verses 8-19.

Solomon's wisdom

29 God gave Solomon wisdom. He could see what things mean. So he understood them well. He had more wisdom than there are bits of sand on the sea shore! 30 Solomon had more wisdom than all the men in the East. His wisdom was greater than all the wisdom in Egypt. 31 He had more wisdom than any other man. This includes the man called Ethan the Ezrahite. And it includes Heman, Calcol and Darda. Calcol and Darda were the sons of Mahol. Solomon was famous in all the countries round Israel. 32 He spoke 3,000 proverbs and he wrote 5,000 songs. 33 And he described many plants: he described large ones like the cedar trees that grow in Lebanon. And he described small ones like the small plant called hyssop. Hyssop grows on walls. And he taught people about all kinds of animals, birds, fish and things that move on their stomachs. 34 People came from all countries to listen to the wisdom of Solomon. Every king on earth who had heard about his wisdom sent someone.

4:34Verses 7-19. The Hebrew word ‘ben’ means ‘son’ or ‘son of’. So, Ben-hur is ‘son of Hur’, and so on. ‘He supplied food from’ is not in the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew Bible just has ‘in’ in each verse. So, verse 8 is ‘Ben-hur in the hills in Ephraim’, and so on. This translation uses the words from verse 7 for all 12 officers. Some Bible students think this: Each place grew food that was best for just one month. That was the month when they had to supply food!
4:34Verse 13. The long pieces of metal locked the gates so that people outside could not open them.
4:34Verse 19. The reports about Sihon and Og are in Numbers 21:21-35.
4:34Verse 26. Bible students are not sure if it is 4000 or 40,000. Some Bible students think that ‘12,000 horses’ should be ‘12,000 men that rode on horses’.
4:34Verses 29-34. 1 Chronicles 2:6 tells us that Ethan, Heman, Calcol and Darda (verse 31) were famous because of their wisdom. Some Bible students think ‘sons of Mahol’ should be ‘singers’.
4:34Verse 32. There is a whole book of Solomon's proverbs in the Bible.