Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


1 Kings 10:28

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Horses brought out of Egypt - It is thought that the first people who used horses in war were the Egyptians; and it is well known that the nations who knew the use of this creature in battle had greatly the advantage of those who did not. God had absolutely prohibited horses to be imported or used; but in many things Solomon paid little attention to the Divine command.

And linen yarn - The original word, מקוה mikveh, is hard to be understood, if it be not indeed a corruption.

The versions are all puzzled with it: the Vulgate and Septuagint make it a proper name: "And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and from Coa, or Tekoa." Some think it signifies a tribute, thus Bochart: "They brought horses to Solomon out of Egypt; and as to the tribute, the farmers of this prince received it at a price." They farmed the tribute, gave so much annually for it, taking the different kinds to themselves, and giving a round sum for the whole.

Some suppose that Mikveh signifies the string or cord by which one horse's head is tied to the tail of another; and that the meaning is, Solomon brought droves of horses, thus tied, out of Egypt.

Rabbi Solomon Jarchi, in his comment on the parallel place, 2 Chronicles 1:14, says that מקוה mikveh signifies a collection or drove of horses, or what the Germans call stutte, a stud. He observes on that place, "That he has heard that there was a company of merchants in Egypt, who bought horses from the Egyptians at a certain price, on condition that no person should be permitted to bring a horse out of Egypt but through them." Houbigant supposes the place to be corrupt, and that for מקוה mikveh we should read מרכבה mercabah, chariots: "And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and chariots; and the king's merchants received the chariots at a price: and a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver," etc. This makes a very good and consistent sense; but none of the versions acknowledged it, nor is there any various reading here in any of the MSS. yet collated.

If we understand it of thread, it may refer to the byssus or fine flax for which Egypt was famous; but I do not see on what authority we translate it linen thread. Bochart's opinion appears to me the most probable, as the text now stands; but the charge contended for by Houbigant makes the text far more simple and intelligible.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The word translated “linen yarn” is thought now by Hebraists to mean “a troop” or “company.” If the present reading is retained, they would translate the passage - “As for the bringing up of Solomon‘s horses out of Egypt, a band of the king‘s merchants fetched a band (or troop) of horses at a price.” But the reading is very uncertain. The Septuagint had before them a different one, which they render “and from Tekoa.” Tekoa, the home of Amos Amos 1:1, was a small town on the route from Egypt to Jerusalem, through which the horses would have naturally passed. The monuments of the 18th and of later dynasties make it clear that the horse, though introduced from abroad, became very abundant in Egypt. During the whole period of Egyptian prosperity the corps of chariots constituted a large and effective portion of the army. That horses were abundant in Egypt at the time of the Exodus is evident from Exodus 9:3; Exodus 14:9, Exodus 14:23, Exodus 14:28; Deuteronomy 17:16. That they continued numerous in later times appears from frequent allusions, both in the Historical Books of Scripture and in the prophets, as 2 Kings 7:6; 2 Kings 18:24; Isaiah 36:9; Ezekiel 17:15, etc. The monuments show that the horse was employed by the Egyptians in peace no less than in war, private persons being often represented as paying visits to their friends in chariots.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Solomon increased his wealth. Silver was nothing accounted of. Such is the nature of worldly wealth, plenty of it makes it the less valuable; much more should the enjoyment of spiritual riches lessen our esteem of all earthly possessions. If gold in abundance makes silver to be despised, shall not wisdom, and grace, and the foretastes of heaven, which are far better than gold, make gold to be lightly esteemed? See in Solomon's greatness the performance of God's promise, and let it encourage us to seek first the righteousness of God's kingdom. This was he, who, having tasted all earthly enjoyments, wrote a book, to show the vanity of all worldly things, the vexation of spirit that attends them, and the folly of setting our hearts upon them: and to recommend serious godliness, as that which will do unspeakably more to make us happy, that all the wealth and power he was master of; and, through the grace of God, it is within our reach.
The United Monarchy under Solomon (2)
Solomon's Economic Enterprises