We have here Solomon in his throne, and Solomon in his grave; for the throne would not secure him from the grave. Mors sceptra ligonibus aequat—Death wrenches from the hand the sceptre as well as the spade.
I. Here is Solomon reigning in wealth and power, in ease and fulness, such as, for aught I know, could never since be paralleled by any king whatsoever. In cannot pretend to be critical in comparing the grandeur of Solomon with that of some of the great princes of the earth. But I may observe that the most illustrious of them were famed for their wars, whereas Solomon reigned forty years in profound peace. Some of those that might be thought to vie with Solomon affected retirement, kept people in awe by keeping them at a great distance; nobody must see them, or come near him, upon pain of death: but Solomon went much abroad, and appeared in public business. So that, all things considered, the promise was fulfilled, that God would give him riches, and wealth, and honour, such as no kings have had, or shall have, 2 Chron. 1:12. 1. Never any prince appeared in public with great splendour than Solomon did, which to those that judge by the sight of the eye, as most people do, would very much recommend him. He had 200 targets and 300 shields, all of beaten gold, carried before him (2 Chron. 9:15, 16), and sat upon a most stately throne, 2 Chron. 9:17-19. There was not the like in any kingdom. The lustre wherein he appeared was typical of the spiritual glory of the kingdom of the Messiah and but a faint representation of his throne, which is above every throne. Solomon’s pomp was all artificial; and therefore our Saviour prefers the natural beauty of the lilies of the field before it. Matt. 6:29; Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. 2. Never any prince had greater plenty of gold and silver, though there were no gold or silver mines in his own kingdom. Either he made himself master of the mines in other countries, and, having a populous country, sent hands to dig out those rich metals, or, having a fruitful country, he exported the commodities of it and with them fetched home all this gold that is here spoken of, 2 Chron. 9:13; 14-21. 3. Never any prince had such presents brought him by all his neighbours as Solomon had: All the kings of Arabia, and governors of the country, brought him gold and silver (2 Chron. 9:14), not as tribute which he extorted from them, but as freewill offerings to procure his favour, or in a way of exchange for some of the productions of his husbandry, corn or cattle. All the kings of the earth brought him presents, that is, all in those parts of the world (2 Chron. 9:24, 28), because they coveted his acquaintance and friendship. Herein he was a type of Christ, to whom, as soon as he was born, the wise men of the east brought presents, gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matt. 2:11), and to whom all that are about him must bring presents, Ps. 76:11; Rom. 12:1. 4. Never any prince was so renowned for wisdom, so courted, so consulted, so admired (2 Chron. 9:23): The kings of the earth (for it was too great a favour for common persons to pretend to) sought to hear his wisdom—his natural philosophy, or his skill in physic, or his state policy, or his rules of prudence for the conduct of human life, or perhaps the principles of his religion, and the reasons of it. The application which they then made to Solomon to hear his wisdom will aggravate, shame, and condemn, men’s general contempt of Christ and his gospel. Though in them are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, yet none of the princes of this world desire to know them, for they are foolishness to them, 1 Cor. 2:8, 14.
II. Here is Solomon dying, stripped of his pomp, and leaving all his wealth and power, not to one concerning whom he knew not whether he would be a wise man or a fool (Eccl. 2:19), but who he knew would be a fool. This was not only vanity but vexation of spirit, 2 Chron. 9:29-31. It is very observable that no mention is here made of Solomon’s departure from God in his latter days, not the least hint given of it, 1. Because the Holy Ghost would teach us not to take delight in repeating the faults and follies of others. If those that have been in reputation for wisdom and honour misbehave, though it may be of use to take notice of their misconduct for warning to ourselves and others, yet we must not be forward to mention it, once the speaking of it is enough; why should that unpleasing string be again struck upon? Why can we not do as the sacred historian here does, speak largely of that in others which is praise-worthy, without saying any thing of their blemishes, yea, though they have been gross and obvious? This is but doing as we would be done by. 2. Because, though he fell, yet he was not utterly cast down. His sin is not again recorded, because it was repented of, and pardoned, and became as if it had never been. Scripture-silence sometimes speaks. I am willing to believe that its silence here concerning the sin of Solomon is an intimation that none of the sins he committed were mentioned against him, Ezek. 33:16. When God pardons sin he casts it behind his back and remembers it no more.