1 Kings 4
King Solomon, the Boss
King Solomon the delegator1King Solomon took complete control of Israel. 2Here are the names of his top officials and their jobs.
Azariah son of Zadok
3Elihoreph and Ahijah sons of Shisha
records and royal correspondence
Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud
protocol and public relations 
3Benaiah son of Jehoiada
commander of the army
Zadok and Abiathar
5Azariah son of Nathan
prime minister, the king’s lead official
Zabud son of Nathan
priest and king’s friend 
royal palace administrator
Adoniram son of Abda
manager of slaves and other forced labor
Twelve districts instead of tribes7Solomon created 12 administrative districts in Israel.  Each district provided a month’s worth of food for the king and the royal family. 8These are the names of the 12 district administrators and their assigned territories.
Hills of Ephraim
Cities of Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth-shemesh, and Elon-beth-hanan;
Arubboth, Socoh, and all the land of Hepher
11Ben-abinadab, he married Taphath, Solomon’s daughter
12Baana son of Ahilud
Cities of Taanach, Megiddo, Beth-shan, by the town of Zarethan below the town of Jezreel, and from Beth-shan to Abel-meholah and the other side of Jokmeam
Ramoth-gilead, villages of Jair son of Manasseh, in Gilead, and the territory Argob in Bashan, with 60 large cities protected by walls and gates locked with bronze bars
14Ahinadab son of Iddo
15Ahimaaz, he married Basemath, Solomon’s daughter
Tribal territory of Naphtali
16Baana son of Hushai
Asher’s tribal land and Bealoth
17Jehoshaphat son of Paruah
Issachar’s tribal land
18Shimei son of Ela
Benjamin’s tribal land
19Geber son of Uri, governor of the district
Gilead, with Amorite territory of King Sihon, and King Og’s land of Bashan.
Rich King Solomon20Judah and Israel filled the land with happy people, who could eat and drink all they wanted. 21Solomon controlled a long swath of land from the Euphrates River southward to the borders of Egypt and Philistine territory. All the people in that stretch of land paid taxes to Solomon for all his life.
22Solomon’s household needed this much food every day:
- Four tons (3,600 kilograms)  of the highest quality flour,
- Eight tons (7,200 kilograms) of coarsely ground grains known as meal,
26Solomon owned 40,000 horses and built stalls for them and his chariots. He had 12,000 charioteers. 27Each administrator of Israel’s dozen districts arranged to cover the cost of everything King Solomon needed for a month of meals for his household. That included any guests who came to eat with him. They had everything they needed. 28The districts fed the king’s horses, too, with straw and barley.
Wise King Solomon29Solomon was a quick study. That’s because God equipped him with incredible wisdom, remarkable insight, and thorough knowledge on a wide range of topics.
30Solomon was wiser than the Wise Men of the East and the sages of Egypt. 31You name them, Solomon was wiser. Wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite.  And wiser than the sons of Mahol: Heman, Calcol, and Darda. People spread the news of Solomon’s wisdom throughout the nations in the region.
32This king wrote 3,000 proverbs  and 1,005 songs.  33He became an authority on trees. He could lecture on the cedars of Lebanon or the hyssop that grow in cracks of the city walls. He knew all about animals, including birds, reptiles, and fish.
34People came from all over the world to experience Solomon’s wisdom for themselves. Kings everywhere sent representatives to listen to him and learn.
The Hebrew word is mazkir. It can mean announcer, herald, secretary, recorder, clerk.
A “king’s friend” is no small thing. Friends can often be more truthful with the king than appointed officials because we don’t often fire our friends. Friends are also generally much more influential than others. We trust them more. Or we know them well enough not to trust them on some subjects.
It seems Solomon ditched the 12-tribe system for a 12-district system he completely controlled. The districts “in Israel” seems to refer to the northern tribes, not Judah. The tribal land of Judah does not seem to show up in the list of the 12 districts. Scholars speculate that this tribe—King Solomon’s tribe—was exempt from these taxes. With 12 district administrators, selected by the king, there was no more dealing with a dozen tribal leader who could sometimes act like angry and divisive little kings of little kingdoms. Solomon put his own men in charge of the dozen administrative districts. The district directors had the job of providing for the king and the royal family. Each district had to cover a month of the royal family’s costs for food. The king was high maintenance, with a massive family (1,000 women), a lot of needs, and probably a few wants that they said were needs.
Four tons of flour would make about 8,000 loaves of bread today. The Hebrew measurement is 30 cors. A cor is roughly six bushels, which is about 220 liters or 58 gallons. Six bushels times 30 cors is 180 bushels, or 1740 gallons or 6600 liters. Four tons is 1600 five-pound bags of flour or 3,600 one-kilogram bags. A loaf of bread takes about one pound of flour or about half a kilogram.
Psalm 89 is attributed to Ethan the Ezrahite. A man by that name was a musician who played the cymbals during King David’s time (1 Chronicles 15:19). “Ezrahite” is apparently another name for the Zerahites, an extended family in the tribe of Judah.
Solomon gets credit for writing most of the nearly 1,000 proverbs in the Bible Book of Proverbs. But the connection between Solomon and those proverbs is a tradition, not an established fact.
“This is Solomon’s Song of Songs” (Song of Songs 1:1). Apparently, some speculate, the Song of Songs (also known as the Song of Solomon) was the best song he ever wrote. And he wrote 1,005 (1 Kings 4:32). That’s one for each wife and five extras, for future needs? We kid the king with love. Many scholars say they doubt he wrote the song. The first verse sounds like someone else telling the story and crediting it to the king. And some phrases the writer uses weren’t common until centuries after Solomon. For more, see the Intro Notes to the Song of Songs.
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