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1 Kings 9:28

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And they came to Ophir - No man knows certainly, to this day, where this Ophir was situated. There were two places of this name; one somewhere in India, beyond the Ganges, and another in Arabia, near the country of the Sabaeans, mentioned by Job, Job 22:24; : Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust; and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. And Job 28:16; : It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. Calmet places this country at the sources of the Euphrates and Tigris.

But there are several reasons to prove that this was not the Ophir of the Bible, which it seems was so situated as to require a voyage of three years long to go out, load, and return. Mr. Bruce has discussed this subject at great length; see his Travels, vol. ii., chap. iv., p. 354, etc. He endeavors to prove

  1. That Ezion-geber is situated on the Elanitic branch of the Arabian Gulf or Red Sea.
  • That Tharshish is Moka, near to Melinda, in the Indian Ocean, in about three degrees south latitude.
  • That Ophir lies somewhere in the land of Sofala, or in the vicinity of the Zimbeze river, opposite the island of Madagascar, where there have been gold and silver mines in great abundance from the remotest antiquity. And he proves,
  • That no vessel could perform this voyage in less than Three years, because of the monsoons; that more time need not be employed, and that this is the precise time mentioned in 1 Kings 10:22.
  • That this is the country of the queen of Sheba, or Sabia, or Azeba, who on her visit to Solomon, brought him one hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices and precious stones great store, 1 Kings 10:10. And that gold, ivory, silver, etc., are the natural productions of this country.
  • To illustrate and prove his positions he has given a map on a large scale, "showing the track of Solomon's fleet in their three years' voyage from the Elanitic Gulf to Ophir and Tharshish;" to which, and his description, I must refer the reader.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    On Ophir, see the marginal reference note. Among the various opinions three predominate; all moderns, except a very few, being in favor of Arabia, India, or Eastern Africa. Arabia‘s claims are supported by the greatest number.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    Here is a further account of Solomon's greatness. He began at the right end, for he built God's house first, and finished that before he began his own; then God blessed him, and he prospered in all his other buildings. Let piety begin, and profit follow; leave pleasure to the last. Whatever pains we take for the glory of God, and to profit others, we are likely to have the advantage. Canaan, the holy land, the glory of all lands, had no gold in it; which shows that the best produce is that which is for the present support of life, our own and others; such things did Canaan produce. Solomon got much by his merchandise, and yet has directed us to a better trade, within reach of the poorest. Wisdom is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold, Pr 3:14.
    Ellen G. White
    The Retirement Years, 183

    All through the history of the Jewish nation we see that the people of God, whether old or young, had to keep themselves distinct and separate from the idolatrous nations around them. God has a people today; and it is just as necessary now as anciently that His people should keep themselves distinct and separate, pure and unspotted from the world, its spirit, and its influences, because the world sets up a standard opposed to the standard of truth and righteousness.—The Review and Herald, January 4, 1887. RY 183.1

    Solomon's repentance was sincere; but the harm that his example of evil-doing had wrought, could not be undone. During his apostasy, there were in the kingdom men who remained true to their trust, maintaining their purity and loyalty. But many were led astray; and the forces of evil set in operation by the introduction of idolatry and worldly practices, could not easily be stayed by the penitent king. His influence for good was greatly weakened. Many hesitated to place full confidence in his leadership. Though the king confessed his sin, and wrote out, for the benefit of after-generations, a record of his folly and repentance, he could never hope entirely to destroy the baleful influence of his wrong deeds. Emboldened by his apostasy, many continued to do evil, and evil only. And in the downward course of many of the rulers who followed him, may be traced the sad influence of the prostitution of his God-given powers.... RY 183.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Prophets and Kings, 72

    The revenue of the king and of many of his subjects was greatly increased, but at what a cost! Through the cupidity and shortsightedness of those to whom had been entrusted the oracles of God, the countless multitudes who thronged the highways of travel were allowed to remain in ignorance of Jehovah. PK 72.1

    In striking contrast to the course pursued by Solomon was the course followed by Christ when He was on this earth. The Saviour, though possessing “all power,” never used this power for self-aggrandizement. No dream of earthly conquest, of worldly greatness, marred the perfection of His service for mankind. “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests,” He said, “but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20. Those who, in response to the call of the hour, have entered the service of the Master Worker, may well study His methods. He took advantage of the opportunities to be found along the great thoroughfares of travel. PK 73.1

    In the intervals of His journeys to and fro, Jesus dwelt at Capernaum, which came to be known as “His own city.” Matthew 9:1. Situated on the highway from Damascus to Jerusalem and Egypt and to the Mediterranean Sea, it was well adapted to be the center of the Saviour's work. People from many lands passed through the city or tarried for rest. There Jesus met with those of all nations and all ranks, and thus His lessons were carried to other countries and into many households. By this means interest was aroused in the prophecies pointing forward to the Messiah, attention was directed to the Saviour, and His mission was brought before the world. PK 73.2

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    The United Monarchy under Solomon (2)
    Solomon's Economic Enterprises