1 Kings 4:8–19 (ESV)

8 These were their names: Ben-hur, in the hill country of Ephraim;

When you consider that Israel was divided among the twelve tribes in the days of Joshua, it is tempting to conclude that the districts from which the provisions were secured would correspond to the specific territories occupied respectively by the tribes. It may be surprising that this was only roughly the case. Only the following tribal names are found in these verses: Ephraim, Manasseh Naphtali, Asher, and Benjamin.

Therefore, the significance of the number twelve for this particular task was in the number of months in the year more than in the number of the tribes of Israel. If the duty of procurement had fallen so that each tribe was responsible for the same amount of provisions, it would have placed a lighter burden on some of the larger tribes and a heavier burden on the smaller tribes.

Though scholars have specifically identified only some of the deputies, the fact that two of them were sons-in-law to Solomon makes it likely that some bond existed between the deputies and the king that would ensure their loyalty. Going a step further, his observation suggests that the deputies were chosen because of their relationship with Solomon rather than their relationship with the territories from which they were responsible for gathering the provisions.

The important message that we should take away from these verses is the breadth of wisdom that is exhibited in the system of procurement that is set before us. Such a view of this aspect of Solomon's rule supports the writer's desire to present the evidence that Solomon’s request for wisdom was answered in the affirmative.