1 Kings 4

Israel Under Solomon

A Happy Kingdom

They ate, drank, and were happy (1 Kings 4:20).

This painting reflects the way Egyptian banquets were typically shown during the New Kingdom. Each of the women is shown holding a lotus flower. Although such scenes do not typically represent the participants actually eating, this was the standard way in which banquets were depicted, illustrating the happy scene described by this verse. This painting was photographed at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.

The River

Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines (1 Kings 4:21).

“The River” in this context is to be understood as the major river to the north, the Euphrates. This view of the Euphrates is near Carchemish, nearly straight north of the kingdom of Israel.

The Border of Egypt

Even to the border of Egypt (1 Kings 4:21).

The “border of Egypt” is likely to be identified with Wadi el-Arish. The Wadi el-Arish was also known as the “wadi of Egypt” in the Bible (nahal mitzraim; to be distinguished from nahar mitzraim, which is the “River of Egypt,” the Nile). It may also be the “Shihor” of Joshua 13:3. This photo was taken near the location where the Wadi el-Arish meets the sea.

Royal Tribute

They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life (1 Kings 4:21).

This scene depicts a wide variety of goods and animals being brought as tribute to the Egyptian king Ramesses II. Among the animals are cattle, leopards, an ostrich, lion, and gazelle-type animals. The long, black planks carried over the shoulders of several men may be expensive ebony wood. The bundles visible at the upper right may be additional ebony and also ivory elephant tusks. This cast of a wall-painting was photographed at the British Museum.


So Judah and Israel lived in safety, every man under his vine and his fig tree (1 Kings 4:25).

Figs and grapevines both grow well in the hill country of Judah and Israel and are useful for a variety of edible products. Grapes could be eaten fresh, dried, or pressed to make wine. Figs could be eaten fresh or dried to preserve them as a sweet food for later use. The image of every man sitting under his own vine and fig tree was picked up by Micah and Zechariah as images of the coming messianic kingdom (Mic 4:4; Zech 3:10). Solomon’s kingdom provided a preview of the earth under the rule of a greater Son of David.

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