The twelve officials of Solomon (1 Kings 4:7-4:19)

“Solomon had twelve officials over all Israel, who provided food for the king and his household. Each one had to make provision for one month in the year. These were their names:

Ben-hur, in the hill country of Ephraim;

Ben-deker, in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth-shemesh, and Elon-beth-hanan; Ben-hesed, in Arub-both; to him belonged Socoh and all the land of Hepher;

Ben-abinadab, in all Naphath-dor; he had the daughter of Solomon Taphath as his wife;

Baana son of Ahilud, in Taanach, Megiddo, and all Beth-shean which is beside Zarethan below Jezreel, and from Beth-shean to Abel-meholah, as far as the other side of Jokmeam;

Ben-geber, in Ramoth-gilead; he had the villages of Jair son of Manasseh, which are in Gilead, and he had the region of Argob, which is in Bashan, sixty great cities with walls and bronze bars; Ahinadab son of Iddo, in Mahanaim;

Ahimaaz, in Naphtali; he had taken Basemath daughter of Solomon as his wife;

Baana son of Hushai, in Asher and Bealoth;

Jehoshaphat son of Paruah, in Issachar;

Shimei son of Ela, in Benjamin;

Geber son of Uri, in the land of Gilead, the country of King Sihon of the Amorites and of King Og of Bashan.

There was one officer in the land of Judah.

You would have thought since there were 12 tribes of Israel, these 12 officials would correspond to that. However, the following 5 tribes are not even mentioned: Simon, Reuben, Gad, Dan, and Zebulun. Israel was divided into 3 major groups, Ephraim and Manasseh was one group, the Transjordan was another, with the tribes of the north being the third. Judah was separate and of course the Levites had no territory. Also of interest is that 2 of these leaders were the sons-in-law of Solomon, but not his sons.  However, this is the only mention of them in biblical literature. 2 others had the same name with 2 different fathers, but their names only appear here, Baana. This is the only biblical occurrence for all of these 12 people, although there are other people with the same name elsewhere.

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