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8. I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings, and of the provinces: I gat me men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.
“I gathered me also silver and gold;" I heaped it up; as Ps. xxxiii. 7; 1 Kings ix. 28; and x. 14, 15, 27. The means of this great gain were tribute, 1 Kings x. 25; honourable presents sent by other princes, from their high admiration of his wisdom, 1 Kings x. 10. and xiv. 34; and merchandize, or free trade with remote countries, 1 Kings ix. 26, 28. and x. 15, 28.-" And the peculiar treasure of kings and provinces:” precious rarities, or most choice and desirable things, which men use to lay up in their treasures; the chief curiosities of several countries, 1 Chron. xxix. 2, 3. Hence, whatever is intimately dear and honourable is metaphorically called segullah, Exod. xix.5; Ps. cxxxv. 4; Mal. iii. 17. The apostle renders it gepiecior, Tit. ii. 14; others, itaipetov, that which is of principal worth and esteem, Is. xxxix. 2: the most precious and desirable things which kingdoms and provinces could afford, or which princes and provinces used to present him, 1 Kings iv. 21; ix. 11; and x,
10; 2 Chron. ix. 9, 10.—“I gat me men-singers and women-singers ;" the latter as well as the former, because of the peculiar softness and sweetness of their voice. We find them joined, 2 Sam. xix. 35; 2 Chron. xxxv. 25; and we read, not only that Moses and the men, but that Miriam and the women, sang at the overthrow of Pharaoh, Exod. xv. 1, 20, 21; 1 Sam. xviii. 6, 7.-" And the delights of the sons of men,” viz. musical instruments, &c. The word translated musical instruments is no where else used in Scripture, and is variously interpreted : some understanding by it beautiful daughters, Judges v. 30; others, choice and delicate women taken in war; and others again for different things, as we find in Jerome, Drusius, `Mercer, &c. But the most received sense, and most agreeable with the former de. light of singers, is musical instruments.
9. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.
“ So I was great, or increased,” or added to my greatness, as ch. i. 16; 1 Kings x. 23.“ Also my wisdom remained with me:" this he adds, first, as a rare and unusual thing, that pleasures should not at all smother and suppress wisdom. Secondly, as an argument towards the principal conclusion, that, in the midst of all these delights, he intended the object for which he used them, to observe by wisdom what real good and satisfaction they brought to the heart of man.
10. And whatsoever mine eyes desired, I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy: for my heart rejoiced in all my labour; and this was my portion of all my labour.
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“And whatsoever mine eyes desired,” &c. It might be objected, that probably his wisdom and piety restrained both his eye and his heart from so full an enjoyment of these delights as was requisite to extract all the comfort of them: thus Job restrained his eyes, Job xxxi. 1; and Solomon advises a glutton to moderate his appetite, Prov. xxiii. 2; Num. xv. 39. To this he replies, that whatever his eyes desired (as the eye is one of the princi. pal seats of lust or desire, 1 John ii. 16; Josh. vii. 21.) he reserved nothing from them, nor withheld his heart from any joy. Neither did any accidental hinderance intervene, as war, sickness, sorrow, or any singular affliction, which would have debarred hiin from a liberal and cheerful use of all his greatness. The eye here is taken synecdochially for all the senses; for in this ample preparation there was provision for them all. He had bestowed much labour and care to make this provision for the flesh with the view of enjoying it, as it appears he did: “ for my heart rejoiced;" that is, I myself did intimately rejoice and please myself in the fruit of my labours.--" And this was my portion of all my labour;" this was all the benefit, and, as it were, inheritance, which my labours in this kind purchased for me. A metaphor taken from the manner of dividing inheritances, Numb. xviii. 20; or spoils, 1 Sam. xxx. 24.
11. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do; and behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
" Then I looked on all,” &c. After all this, I turned and looked back, or took an impartial survey of all my works, which I had wrought with such painful labour and trouble; and found, that the fruit was not answerable to the toil of reaping it; but that this also was vanity, a perishing, withering, dying comfort, a
feeding on wind, which left no abiding benefit behind it, ch. i. 3.
12. And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king, even that which hath been already done.
Here Solomon once more seriously applies himself (as he did before, ch. i. 17.) to take a view of wisdom and folly ; because it might probably be objected, that, at the first consideration of them, he might let many things slip, which were of weight and moment in his present enquiry; and because second thoughts, and a solemn review of former studies, might possibly produce some retraction, as well as discover some error, the latter day usually being the disciple of the former: therefore, when Scripture will put a thing beyond all doubt, it repeats it, as Gal. vi. 8, 9.--" I turned mye self:” this denotes reconsideration and peculiar caution, to enquire de novo into a business; and also weariness of those pleasures which had disappointed him, John xx. 14.-" To behold wisdom, and madness, and folly:" to compare the one with the other, that I might understand them the better, as contraries serve to illustrate each other. This kind of antithe.