1 Kings 9-11, Bible Highlights: Week Starting July 13

ADSBYGOOGLE

Highlights From Bible Reading: 1 Kings 9-10-11. Information for personal study.

Read and listen to the reading of the Bible in JW.org:

Research for Highlights of : 1 Kings 9-11


(1 KINGS 9:3)

“Jehovah said to him: “I have heard your prayer and your request for favor that you made before me. I have sanctified this house that you built by permanently putting my name there, and my eyes and my heart will always be there.”

*** it-2 p. 989 Solomon ***
Some have questioned the view just mentioned that the inauguration took place in the year after the temple was completed, because of 1 Kings 9:1-9, which speaks of Jehovah as appearing to Solomon after “the house of the king” was constructed, saying that he had heard Solomon’s prayer. (Compare 2Ch 7:11-22.) This was in his 24th year, after his 20-year building work. Was God 12 years in answering Solomon’s prayer given at the inauguration of the temple? No, for at that inauguration, at the close of Solomon’s prayer, “the fire itself came down from the heavens and proceeded to consume the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and Jehovah’s glory itself filled the house.” This was a powerful manifestation of Jehovah’s hearing of the prayer, an answer by action, and was acknowledged as such by the people. (2Ch 7:1-3) God’s later appearance to Solomon showed that he had not forgotten that prayer offered 12 years previously, and now he was answering it verbally by assuring Solomon of his response to it. God, at this second appearance, also gave Solomon added admonition to continue faithful as had David his father.

(1 KINGS 9:4)

“And you, if you walk before me as your father David walked, with integrity of heart and with uprightness, by doing everything I have commanded you, and you obey my regulations and my judgments,”

*** w12 11/15 p. 7 par. 18 “Teach Me to Do Your Will” ***
18 Although David was exemplary in many ways, he committed several serious sins. (2 Sam. 11:2-4, 14, 15, 22-27; 1 Chron. 21:1, 7) Over the course of his life, however, David proved repentant when he sinned. He walked before God “with integrity of heart.” (1 Ki. 9:4) Why can we say that? Because David tried to act in accord with Jehovah’s will.

*** w07 8/15 p. 12 ‘O Jehovah, Put Me to the Test’ ***
Because of his weaknesses, David committed several serious wrongs, but he nevertheless ‘walked with integrity of heart.’ (1 Kings 9:4) How? By accepting reproof and correcting his way. He thereby showed that he genuinely loved Jehovah. His devotion to God was complete.

*** w97 5/1 p. 5 Trust in an Imperfect World ***
King David of Israel made many mistakes, including his well-documented adulterous relationship with Bath-sheba. (2 Samuel 11:1-27) David’s many failings served to highlight that he was far from perfect. What, though, did Jehovah see in the man? Addressing David’s son, Solomon, Jehovah said: “Walk before me, just as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and with uprightness.” (1 Kings 9:4) Despite his many mistakes, David’s basic trustworthiness was recognized by Jehovah. Why?
David gave the answer when he told Solomon: “All hearts Jehovah is searching, and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning.” (1 Chronicles 28:9) David made mistakes, but he was humble, and he wanted to do what was right. He consistently accepted reproof and correction—indeed, he asked for it. “Examine me, O Jehovah, and put me to the test; refine my kidneys and my heart” was his request. (Psalm 26:2) And refined David was. The constraints resulting from his sin with Bath-sheba, for example, lasted until the end of his life. Still, David never tried to justify his wrongdoing. (2 Samuel 12:1-12) More important, he never swerved from true worship. For this reason, and because of David’s genuine, heartfelt contrition and repentance, Jehovah was prepared to forgive his sins and accept him as a man of integrity.—See also Psalm 51.

(1 KINGS 9:11)

“Hiʹram the king of Tyre had supplied Solʹo•mon with cedar and juniper timbers and with as much gold as he desired, and King Solʹo•mon gave to Hiʹram 20 cities in the land of Galʹi•lee.”

*** w05 7/1 p. 29 par. 3 Highlights From the Book of First Kings ***
9:10-13—Was Solomon’s gift of 20 cities in the land of Galilee to King Hiram of Tyre in harmony with the Mosaic Law? The Law as stated at Leviticus 25:23, 24 could have been regarded as applying only to an area occupied by the Israelites. It is possible that the cities Solomon gave to Hiram were inhabited by non-Israelites, although lying within the boundary of the Promised Land. (Exodus 23:31) Solomon’s action could also have been an indication of his failure to comply completely with the Law, as when he ‘increased horses for himself’ and took many wives. (Deuteronomy 17:16, 17) Whatever the case, Hiram was dissatisfied with the gift. Perhaps the cities were not well-kept by their pagan inhabitants, or it may be that they were not ideally located.

(1 KINGS 9:13)

“He said: “What sort of cities are these that you have given me, my brother?” So they came to be called the Land of Caʹbul down to this day.”

*** it-1 p. 369 Brother ***
“Brother” is also applied to those united in a general cause and having similar aims and purposes. For example, King Hiram of Tyre called King Solomon his brother, not simply because he was an equal in rank and position but also perhaps because of mutual interests in supplying timbers and other things for the temple. (1Ki 9:13; 5:1-12)

*** it-1 p. 381 Cabul ***
2. The name applied to a Galilean district of 20 cities given by Solomon to King Hiram of Tyre, the gift likely deriving from Solomon’s appreciation for Hiram’s assistance in his building program. Hiram, however, on inspecting the cities, found them “not just right in his eyes,” saying to Solomon: “What sort of cities are these that you have given me, my brother?” Thereafter they came to be called “the Land of Cabul.”—1Ki 9:10-13.
According to Josephus, the cities “lay not far from Tyre.” (Jewish Antiquities, VIII, 142 [v, 3]) Galilee is called by Isaiah (9:1) “Galilee of the nations,” and certain scholars consider it probable that the 20 cities were inhabited by a pagan population. It does not seem likely that Solomon would turn them over to a foreign king if they were inhabited by Israelites, and they may indeed have been outside the boundaries actually inhabited by Israel, though still within the limits of the original area promised Israel by God and conquered by Solomon’s father David. (Ex 23:31; 2Sa 8:1-15) The propriety of Solomon’s action has been questioned because of God’s law at Leviticus 25:23, 24. This law may have been regarded as applying only to the region actually occupied by God’s covenant people, in which case Solomon’s gift would not have been improper. If otherwise, then it would be an additional example of his failure to adhere completely to divine counsel, as in the case of his multiplying horses and also taking many wives from the foreign nations.—Compare De 17:16, 17 with 1Ki 4:26; 11:1-8.
The account does not give the reason for Hiram’s lack of satisfaction with the cities. Some suggest that the pagan inhabitants kept them in poor condition; others, that their geographic situation was undesirable. At any rate his displeasure with them resulted in their receiving the name “the Land of Cabul.” The meaning of Cabul in this text has been a subject of considerable discussion. Josephus (as above) says that Cabul “in the Phoenician tongue is interpreted to mean ‘not pleasing,’” but modern scholars find no other evidence to support this interpretation. Lexicographers generally advance the suggestion that a form of pun is involved, Cabul being used in the sense of the similar-sounding Hebrew phrase kevalʹ, meaning “as good as nothing.”

(1 KINGS 9:14)

“In the meantime, Hiʹram sent to the king 120 talents of gold.”

*** w08 11/1 p. 22 Did You Know? ***
How much gold did King Solomon own?
The Scriptures say that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent four tons [4 t] of gold to Solomon, the queen of Sheba gave him a similar amount, and Solomon’s fleet brought over 15 tons [14 t] of gold from Ophir. “The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year,” says the account, “amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,” or more than 25 tons [22 t]. (1 Kings 9:14, 28; 10:10, 14) Is this plausible? How big were royal gold reserves in antiquity?
An ancient inscription, which scholars judge as credible, states that Pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt (second millennium B.C.E.) presented some 13.5 tons [12 t] of gold to the temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak. During the eighth century B.C.E., the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III received over 4 tons [4 t] of gold in tribute from Tyre, and Sargon II gave the same amount of gold as a gift to the gods of Babylon. King Philip II of Macedonia (359-336 B.C.E.) is reported to have extracted more than 28 tons [25 t] of gold each year from the mines of Pangaeum in Thrace.
When Philip’s son Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.E.) captured the Persian city of Susa, he is said to have taken some 1,180 tons [1,070 t] of gold from it and almost 7,000 tons [more than 6,000 t] from the whole of Persia. So when compared with these reports, the Bible’s description of King Solomon’s gold is not exaggerated.

*** it-1 p. 1121 Hiram ***
At the end of Solomon’s 20-year building project he gave Hiram 20 cities, but they proved most undesirable in Hiram’s eyes. (1Ki 9:10-13; see CABUL No. 2.) Whether Hiram returned these same cities or gave Solomon other cities is not certain. (2Ch 8:1, 2) Nor is it certain whether Hiram’s giving Solomon 120 talents of gold ($46,242,000) was subsequent to receiving the gift of cities or if it somehow figured in the exchange.—1Ki 9:14.

(1 KINGS 9:15)

“This is the account of those whom King Solʹo•mon conscripted for forced labor to build the house of Jehovah, his own house, the Mound, the wall of Jerusalem, Haʹzor, Me•gidʹdo, and Geʹzer.”

*** w88 8/15 pp. 24-26 The Mystery of the Gates ***
The Mystery of the Gates
MANY people are intrigued by a mystery—a story with a puzzle, with clues that can be read in various ways, and with a surprise ending, maybe the finding of a treasure. If you are, you will enjoy ‘The Mystery of the Gates.’
This mystery began to surface at Megiddo, a strategic city that dominated trade and military routes in the ancient Middle East. Archaeologists uncovered the remains of a monumental defensive gate, which the evidence convinced them was from King Solomon’s time. What was it like? The clues began.
Look to the right at the model of ancient Megiddo, and especially at the highlighted gate area. An ancient traveler or an attacking army ascending the road to the fortified city first came to a foregate. Inside that was a plaza, or courtyard. In it any attackers would be exposed as they advanced and turned left to reach the main defensive gate, which is at the heart of our mystery.
Fortified towers formed the front sides of the gate. The entire gate structure was built, not of fieldstone or of brick, but of the ashlar (carefully hewn stone blocks) that was typical of Solomon’s period. But there was a distinctive style inside the gate. On the sides of a long vestibule were massive pilasters, or masonry piers, that formed six chambers where guards might be stationed. (Compare Ezekiel 40:6, 10, 20, 21, 28, 29.) In normal times, a chariot or group of merchants could easily pass, yet it would be a different matter for attackers who managed to batter through the heavy main doors. The masonry piers would force attackers into a narrow passage, to run a gauntlet of armed men, the cream of Megiddo’s army, in the chambers right and left.
Now the mystery shifts north of the Sea of Galilee to the tell, or mound, of ancient Hazor, where Professor John Garstang excavated in 1928. Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin turned to this huge tell in 1955. He had in mind a Biblical statement that reads: “This is the account of those conscripted for forced labor that King Solomon levied to build the house of Jehovah and . . . the wall of Jerusalem and Hazor and Megiddo and Gezer.” (1 Kings 9:15) It seemed logical that Solomon’s engineers would follow a master plan for similar fortifications in other cities they rebuilt. Did such Solomonic gates exist at Hazor?
As Yadin’s workers progressed in their excavations, they found a casemate wall, a double wall with rooms in between. Then a large structure connected to the walls began to appear. Yadin says: “We immediately realized that we had discovered the gate . . . Furthermore, it was soon evident that the gate’s plan—comprising six chambers and two towers—as well as its dimensions were identical to those of the gate discovered [many years] earlier at Megiddo . . . Excitement in our camp intensified . . . We traced the plan of the Megiddo gate on the ground, marking it with pegs to denote corners and walls, and then instructed our labourers to dig according to the marking, promising: ‘here you will find a wall,’ or ‘there you will find a chamber.’ When our ‘prophecies’ proved correct, our prestige went up tremendously . . . When we read [to them] the biblical verse about Solomon’s activities in Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer, our prestige took a dive, but that of the Bible rose sky-high!” —Hazor: The Rediscovery of a Great Citadel of the Bible.
It seemed that the mystery of the gates was being solved precisely as expected according to the clues in the Bible. Yet, what about Gezer, to the south? Yadin knew that Irish archaeologist R. A. S. Macalister, who had excavated there between 1902 and 1909, had found nothing that was assigned to Solomon. Might important clues have been overlooked in what even Yadin called “The Mystery of Gezer”?
He relates: “The discoveries at Hazor and the famous passage in 1 Kings led me to a fresh examination of Macalister’s report in the hope of locating a gate. One can well imagine my astonishment and unbounded excitement when . . . I came across a layout . . . entitled ‘Plan of the Maccabean Castle of Gezer.’” Macalister dated the remains of that “castle” to the rebellion of the Jewish Maccabees (second century B.C.E.). But Yadin thought that he could see in this old drawing ‘a casemate wall, an outer gatehouse, and even more important what looked like half of a city gate, exactly like those found in Megiddo and Hazor.’ Yadin published an article on these clues. Later, Dr. William G. Dever excavated at Gezer. The result? Dever excitedly wrote: “Solomon did indeed re-build Gezer!” Or as Yadin puts it: “Sure enough, not only did Dever’s team find the other half of the gate, but the stratigraphy and pottery demonstrated conclusively that the complex had been built in Solomon’s times.”
So the mystery was solved. Yadin observed in The Biblical Archaeologist (Volume XXXIII, 1970, 3): “With the aid of the brief biblical passage from Kings, the Solomonic fortifications, identical in plan in the three cities, were located and dated.” “Indeed, it seems that there is no example in the history of archaeology where a passage helped so much in identifying and dating structures in several of the most important tells . . . as has 1 Kings 9:15.”
[Pictures on page 25]
Based on 1 Kings 9:15, archaeologists found at Hazor a gate of the same size and shape as that in Megiddo
[Pictures on page 26]
An aerial view of the gate at Gezer. The drawing shows what was first uncovered (solid) and what was found some 60 years later (dotted)
[Credit Line]
Pictorial Archive (Near Eastern History) Est.
[Picture Credit Line on page 24]
Pictorial Archive (Near Eastern History) Est.

*** it-1 p. 158 Architecture ***
Among the more impressive ruins uncovered are those of the identical city gates of ancient Megiddo, Hazor, and Gezer, thought to have been built in Solomon’s time. (1Ki 9:15) In each case the 20-m-long (66 ft) external walls were made with carefully drafted stones. Within the gate passage there were three successive pairs of jambs or extended piers, thus producing six recessed chambers flanking the passage on either side, in which business might be transacted or from which soldiers could harass any troops attempting to force their way through the gates. (See GATE, GATEWAY.)

*** it-1 p. 866 Fortifications ***
Besides building the magnificent temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem, he strengthened Jerusalem’s walls and built extensive fortifications at Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. Archaeologists were guided in their excavation of these fortifications by the Bible’s statement at 1 Kings 9:15: “Now this is the account of those conscripted for forced labor that King Solomon levied to build the house of Jehovah and his own house and the Mound and the wall of Jerusalem and Hazor and Megiddo and Gezer.” They found that the gates of these three last-named cities were all built to a single unique plan, each being 17 m (56 ft) wide, with an entrance flanked on both sides by square towers and leading into a vestibule 20 m (66 ft) long, with three chambers on each side. They were somewhat similar to the description of the gates of Ezekiel’s visionary temple.—Eze 40:5-16.

*** it-1 pp. 1049-1050 Hazor ***
At a later period, Hazor, like Gezer and Megiddo, was fortified by King Solomon. (1Ki 9:15) Archaeological finds indicate that the gates of these three cities were of similar construction. Reporting on the excavations at Hazor, Yigael Yadin, in his work The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands (1963, Vol. II, p. 288), writes: “As the first sign of the gate of this wall began to emerge from the dust and earth that were gently being scooped away, we were struck by its similarity to the ‘Gate of Solomon’ which had been discovered at Megiddo. Before proceeding further with the excavation, we made tentative markings of the ground following our estimate of the plan of the gate on the basis of the Megiddo gate. And then we told the laborers to go ahead and continue removing the debris. When they had finished, they looked at us with astonishment, as if we were magicians or fortune-tellers. For there, before us, was the gate whose outline we had marked, a replica of the Megiddo gate. This proved not only that both gates had been built by Solomon but that both had followed a single master plan.”

*** w86 2/15 p. 23 Megiddo—Ancient Battleground With Prophetic Meaning ***
“Now this is the account of those conscripted for forced labor that King Solomon levied to build . . . the wall of Jerusalem and Hazor and Megiddo and Gezer.” (1 Kings 9:15) A 70-foot-high (21 m) mound, overlooking a wide, open valley, now marks the spot where Megiddo once stood. In ancient times, new buildings were often constructed on top of the ruins of old ones. Each level of construction may therefore mark a particular time in history. The archaeologist, starting from the top, digs his way down through layer after layer of history. At least 20 of such layers have been discovered at Megiddo, indicating that the city was rebuilt many times. And how has the Bible helped these patient diggers?
Building city gates was doubtless a vital part of Solomon’s project of fortifying Megiddo, Hazor, and Gezer. Some time ago such gates were discovered at Megiddo. Soon thereafter identically styled gates were found at Hazor. So, taking a clue from the Bible, archaeologists also began searching at Gezer. Not surprisingly, the same style gates were found there too. The significance for Bible students? A well-known archaeologist, Professor Yohanan Aharoni, states:
“In the excavations conducted at the three places, gates identical in plan were discovered in strata from the tenth century B.C.E. . . . Gates like these, with three guardrooms and four sets of piers on each side of the passageway, have been discovered thus far only in two other places. . . . Therefore, there is virtually complete agreement among scholars that the gates of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer with their triple chambers belong to the reign of Solomon.”
Dr. Yigael Yadin similarly concludes: “The discovery of Solomon’s fortifications at Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer is an instructive example of how important and practical a guide is the Bible to archaeologists.”

(1 KINGS 9:16)

“(Pharʹaoh king of Egypt had come up and captured Geʹzer and had burned it with fire, and he had also killed the Caʹnaan•ites dwelling in the city. So he gave it as a parting gift to his daughter, the wife of Solʹo•mon.)”

*** it-1 p. 697 Egypt, Egyptian ***
Just when this unidentified Pharaoh had conquered Gezer, which he now gave to his daughter as a farewell wedding gift, or dowry, is not stated. (1Ki 9:16)

(1 KINGS 9:22)

“But Solʹo•mon did not make any of the Israelites slaves, for they were his warriors, servants, princes, adjutants, and the chiefs of his charioteers and horsemen.”

*** it-1 p. 47 Adjutant ***
After mentioning that none of the sons of Israel were constituted slaves by Solomon, 1 Kings 9:22 states: “For they were the warriors and his servants and his princes and his adjutants and chiefs of his charioteers and of his horsemen.” Commenting on this text, C. F. Keil states that the term sha•li•shimʹ (plural), used in this passage, could be understood as “royal adjutants.”—Commentary on the Old Testament, 1973, Vol. III, 1 Kings, p. 146.

(1 KINGS 9:23)

“There were 550 chiefs of the deputies who were over the work of Solʹo•mon, the foremen over the people who were doing the work.”

*** w05 12/1 p. 19 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
2:18; 8:10—These verses state that the number of deputies serving as overseers and as foremen over the labor force was 3,600 plus 250, whereas according to 1 Kings 5:16; 9:23, they numbered 3,300 plus 550. Why do the numbers differ? The difference seems to be in the way the deputies are classified. It may be that Second Chronicles differentiates between 3,600 non-Israelites and 250 Israelite deputies, while First Kings distinguishes 3,300 foremen from 550 chief supervisors of higher rank. In any case, the total number of those serving as deputies was 3,850.

*** it-1 p. 615 Deputy ***
“Princely deputies” also served as foremen and overseers of the labor force engaged in construction during Solomon’s reign. It seems that the two accounts of these deputies in First Kings and Second Chronicles differed only in methods of classification, the first listing 3,300 plus 550 for a total of 3,850 (1Ki 5:16; 9:23), and the second giving 3,600 plus 250, which also totals 3,850. (2Ch 2:18; 8:10) Scholars (Ewald, Keil, Michaelis) suggest that the Chronicles figures distinguish between the 3,600 non-Israelite and the 250 Israelite deputies, whereas in Kings the distinction in deputies is between 3,300 subordinate foremen and 550 chief supervisors, this latter figure including 300 non-Israelites.

(1 KINGS 9:24)

“But Pharʹaoh’s daughter came up from the City of David to her own house that he had built for her; then he built the Mound.”

*** it-1 p. 591 David, City of ***
After his marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter, Solomon had placed her in the City of David. (1Ki 3:1) But, upon the completion of a new residence closer to the temple area, he removed her from the City of David because it was viewed as holy, the Ark having been stationed there. (1Ki 9:24; 2Ch 8:11)

(1 KINGS 9:25)

“Three times a year Solʹo•mon offered up burnt sacrifices and communion sacrifices on the altar that he had built for Jehovah, also making sacrificial smoke on the altar, which was before Jehovah, so he completed the house.”

*** it-1 p. 84 Altar ***
The statement at 1 Kings 9:25 with regard to Solomon’s ‘offering up sacrifices on the altar’ clearly refers to his causing such to be done through the authorized priesthood.—Compare 2Ch 8:12-15.

(1 KINGS 9:26)

“King Solʹo•mon also made a fleet of ships in Eʹzi•on-geʹber, which is by Eʹloth, on the shore of the Red Sea in the land of Eʹdom.”

*** it-2 pp. 1066-1067 Tarshish ***
Trade Relations With Solomon. Phoenician trading with Tarshish is clearly borne out by the record of King Solomon’s time (some 13 centuries after the Flood), when maritime commerce also began to be engaged in by the nation of Israel. Solomon had a fleet of ships in the Red Sea area, manned in part by experienced seamen provided by Phoenician King Hiram of Tyre, and trafficking especially with the gold-rich land of Ophir. (1Ki 9:26-28) Reference is thereafter made to “a fleet of ships of Tarshish” that Solomon had on the sea “along with Hiram’s fleet of ships,” and these ships are stated to have made voyages once every three years for the importation of gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. (1Ki 10:22) It is generally believed that the term “ships of Tarshish” in course of time came to stand for a type of ship, as one lexicon puts it: “large, sea-going vessels, fit to ply to Tarshish.” (A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, by Brown, Driver, and Briggs, 1980, p. 1077) In a similar way, the name Indiamen originally was derived from the name applied to large British ships engaged in trade with India and in time came to apply to ships of that type no matter what their origin or destination. Thus 1 Kings 22:48 shows that King Jehoshaphat (936-911 B.C.E.) “made Tarshish ships to go to Ophir for gold.”
The Chronicles account, however, states that Solomon’s ships used for the triannual voyages “were going to Tarshish” (2Ch 9:21); also that Jehoshaphat’s ships were designed “to go to Tarshish” and, when wrecked, “did not retain strength to go to Tarshish.” (2Ch 20:36, 37) This would indicate that Ophir was not the only port of call of the Israelite “ships of Tarshish,” but that they also navigated Mediterranean waters. This, of course, poses a problem, since the launching site of at least some of these vessels is shown to have been Ezion-geber on the Gulf of ʽAqaba. (1Ki 9:26) For the ships to reach the Mediterranean Sea, they would either have to traverse a canal from the Red Sea to the Nile River and then into the Mediterranean or else circumnavigate the continent of Africa. While it is by no means possible to determine now the details of navigational routes (including canals) available or employed in Solomon’s and in Jehoshaphat’s time, there is likewise no need to view the record of their maritime projects as unfeasible.

(1 KINGS 9:28)

“They went to Oʹphir and took from there 420 talents of gold and brought it to King Solʹo•mon.”

*** w08 11/1 p. 22 Did You Know? ***
How much gold did King Solomon own?
The Scriptures say that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent four tons [4 t] of gold to Solomon, the queen of Sheba gave him a similar amount, and Solomon’s fleet brought over 15 tons [14 t] of gold from Ophir. “The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year,” says the account, “amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,” or more than 25 tons [22 t]. (1 Kings 9:14, 28; 10:10, 14) Is this plausible? How big were royal gold reserves in antiquity?
An ancient inscription, which scholars judge as credible, states that Pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt (second millennium B.C.E.) presented some 13.5 tons [12 t] of gold to the temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak. During the eighth century B.C.E., the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III received over 4 tons [4 t] of gold in tribute from Tyre, and Sargon II gave the same amount of gold as a gift to the gods of Babylon. King Philip II of Macedonia (359-336 B.C.E.) is reported to have extracted more than 28 tons [25 t] of gold each year from the mines of Pangaeum in Thrace.
When Philip’s son Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.E.) captured the Persian city of Susa, he is said to have taken some 1,180 tons [1,070 t] of gold from it and almost 7,000 tons [more than 6,000 t] from the whole of Persia. So when compared with these reports, the Bible’s description of King Solomon’s gold is not exaggerated.

*** it-1 p. 982 Gold ***
Solomon’s Revenue. Large amounts of gold poured into Solomon’s treasury from the king of Tyre (120 talents) and the queen of Sheba (120 talents), from annual tributes and taxes, and by means of his own merchant fleet. The account says: “The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold [c. $256,643,000].” That was apart from revenues from traders, governors, and so forth.—1Ki 9:14, 27, 28; 10:10, 14, 15.
Ophir was one place from which Solomon acquired fine gold. A pottery fragment said to be of the eighth century B.C.E. has been discovered that has inscribed on it: “Ophir gold to bet horon, thirty shekels.”—1Ki 9:28; 10:11; Job 28:16; see OPHIR.

*** it-2 p. 558 Ophir ***
Later, the trading fleet of David’s son Solomon regularly brought back from Ophir 420 talents of gold. (1Ki 9:26-28) The parallel account at 2 Chronicles 8:18 reads 450 talents. Some scholars have suggested that this difference came about when letters of the alphabet served as figures—that an ancient copyist could have mistaken the Hebrew numeral letter nun (נ), representing 50, for the letter kaph (כ), standing for 20, or vice versa. However, the evidence is that all numbers in the Hebrew Scriptures were spelled out, rather than represented by letters. A more probable explanation, therefore, is that both figures are correct and that the gross amount brought was 450 talents, of which 420 were clear gain.

(1 KINGS 10:1)

“Now the queen of Sheʹba heard the report about Solʹo•mon in connection with the name of Jehovah, so she came to test him with perplexing questions.”

*** w99 7/1 p. 30 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
They Did Jehovah’s Will
A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded
THE trip from Sheba to Jerusalem must have been grueling for the queen. She was used to living in luxury. Now, she was trekking at a camel’s pace on a journey of 1,500 miles [2,400 km], much of it through the burning desert. According to one estimate, her travels would have taken some 75 days to complete, and that was just one way!
Why did this wealthy queen leave her comfortable home in Sheba and undertake such an arduous journey?
An Intriguing Report
The queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem after “hearing the report about Solomon in connection with the name of Jehovah.” (1 Kings 10:1) Exactly what the queen heard is not stated. We know, however, that Jehovah blessed Solomon with exceptional wisdom, wealth, and honor. (2 Chronicles 1:11, 12) How did the queen come to know of this? Since Sheba was a center of trade, it may be that she heard of Solomon’s fame through traders who visited her land. Some of these may have been to Ophir, a land with which Solomon had considerable business dealings.—1 Kings 9:26-28.

*** w99 7/1 p. 30 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
Note, however, that the queen heard of Solomon’s fame “in connection with the name of Jehovah.” So this was not just a business trip. Evidently, the queen came primarily to hear Solomon’s wisdom—perhaps even to learn something about his God, Jehovah. Since she likely descended from Shem or Ham, who were worshipers of Jehovah, she may have been curious about the religion of her ancestors.
Perplexing Questions, Satisfying Answers
Upon meeting Solomon, the queen began testing him with “perplexing questions.” (1 Kings 10:1) The Hebrew word here used can be translated “riddles.” But this does not mean that the queen engaged Solomon in trivial games. Interestingly, at Psalm 49:4, the same Hebrew word is used to describe serious questions regarding sin, death, and redemption. Likely, then, the queen of Sheba was discussing deep subjects with Solomon that tested the depth of his wisdom.

*** g94 4/22 p. 25 Yemen—A Country Full of Surprises ***
The kingdom of Sheba, believed to have been located in what is now the eastern portion of Yemen, came to dominate the caravan route. It became renowned for trading in frankincense, myrrh, gold, precious stones, and ivory. (Isaiah 60:6) In Solomon’s day, the queen of Sheba traveled from “the ends of the earth” to hear that king’s wisdom firsthand. (Matthew 12:42) According to the historical Bible account, she went to Jerusalem with “a very impressive train, camels carrying balsam oil and very much gold and precious stones.” (1 Kings 10:1, 2) The memory of this ancient queen is still alive among Yemenis today. Although she is unnamed in the Koran, Islamic tradition calls her Bilqīs—a name appearing on many commercial products in Yemen.

*** it-2 p. 834 Sabeans ***
3. The descendants of Sheba (whether of the line of Shem or of Ham is uncertain) who evidently formed a kingdom near the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Likely the queen of Sheba who visited Solomon was from this land. (1Ki 10:1) Secular sources often refer to this kingdom as Sabean, and the Bible may do likewise.—See SHEBA No. 6.

(1 KINGS 10:2)

“She arrived in Jerusalem with a very impressive entourage, with camels carrying balsam oil and great quantities of gold and precious stones. She went in to Solʹo•mon and spoke to him about everything that was close to her heart.”

*** w99 7/1 p. 30 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
In any event, the queen arrived in Jerusalem “with a very impressive train, camels carrying balsam oil and very much gold and precious stones.” (1 Kings 10:2a) Some say that the “impressive train” included an armed escort. This would be understandable, considering that the queen was a powerful dignitary and was traveling with tens of millions of dollars’ worth of valuables.

*** w99 7/1 p. 30 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
According to the ancient Greek geographer Strabo, the people of Sheba were enormously wealthy. He says that they made lavish use of gold in their furniture, their utensils, and even on the walls, doors, and roofs of their homes.

*** g94 4/22 p. 25 Yemen—A Country Full of Surprises ***
The kingdom of Sheba, believed to have been located in what is now the eastern portion of Yemen, came to dominate the caravan route. It became renowned for trading in frankincense, myrrh, gold, precious stones, and ivory. (Isaiah 60:6) In Solomon’s day, the queen of Sheba traveled from “the ends of the earth” to hear that king’s wisdom firsthand. (Matthew 12:42) According to the historical Bible account, she went to Jerusalem with “a very impressive train, camels carrying balsam oil and very much gold and precious stones.” (1 Kings 10:1, 2) The memory of this ancient queen is still alive among Yemenis today. Although she is unnamed in the Koran, Islamic tradition calls her Bilqīs—a name appearing on many commercial products in Yemen.

*** it-1 p. 140 Arabia ***
Because of the great superiority of the camel over the ass for extended desert travel, its domestication is considered to have accomplished somewhat of an economic revolution for Arabia, contributing to the development of the so-called “Spice Kingdoms” of South Arabia.
Camel caravans out of the more fertile S wound along the desert routes that ran parallel to the Red Sea, moving from oasis to oasis and from well to well until reaching the Sinai Peninsula, from which point they could branch off to Egypt or continue up into Palestine or to Damascus. Besides their highly prized spices and aromatic resins, such as frankincense and myrrh (Isa 60:6), they might carry gold and algum wood from Ophir (1Ki 9:28; 10:11) and precious gems, as did the queen of Sheba on her visit to King Solomon. (1Ki 10:1-10, 15; 2Ch 9:1-9, 14)

*** it-2 p. 912 Sheba ***
This queen, unnamed in the Bible, went to Jerusalem with “a very impressive train, camels carrying balsam oil and very much gold and precious stones.” (1Ki 10:1, 2) The mode of her travel and the type of gifts she brought indicate that she was from the kingdom of Sheba in SW Arabia.

(1 KINGS 10:5)

“the food of his table, the seating of his servants, the table service of his waiters and their attire, his cupbearers, and his burnt sacrifices that he regularly offered up at the house of Jehovah, she was left completely breathless.”

*** w99 7/1 p. 30 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
The queen of Sheba was so impressed with Solomon’s wisdom and the prosperity of his kingdom that there was “no more spirit in her.” (1 Kings 10:4, 5) Some take this phrase to mean that the queen was left “breathless.” One scholar even suggests that she fainted! Be that as it may, the queen was amazed at what she had seen and heard.

(1 KINGS 10:8)

“Happy are your men, and happy are your servants who stand before you constantly, listening to your wisdom!”

*** w99 11/1 p. 20 When Generosity Abounds ***
Astounded at what she heard and saw, the queen humbly replied: “Happy are these servants of yours who are standing before you constantly, listening to your wisdom!” (1 Kings 10:4-8) She did not pronounce Solomon’s servants happy because they were surrounded by opulence—although they were. Rather, Solomon’s servants were blessed because they could constantly listen to Solomon’s God-given wisdom. What a fine example the queen of Sheba is for Jehovah’s people today, who bask in the wisdom of the Creator himself and that of his Son, Jesus Christ!

(1 KINGS 10:9)

“May Jehovah your God be praised, who has taken pleasure in you by putting you on the throne of Israel. Because of Jehovah’s everlasting love for Israel, he appointed you as king to administer justice and righteousness.””

*** w99 11/1 p. 20 When Generosity Abounds ***
Also noteworthy was the queen’s next comment to Solomon: “May Jehovah your God come to be blessed.” (1 Kings 10:9) Evidently, she saw Jehovah’s hand in Solomon’s wisdom and prosperity. This accords with what Jehovah earlier promised to Israel. ‘Keeping my regulations,’ he said, “is wisdom on your part and understanding on your part before the eyes of the peoples who will hear of all these regulations, and they will certainly say, ‘This great nation is undoubtedly a wise and understanding people.’”—Deuteronomy 4:5-7.

(1 KINGS 10:10)

“Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold and a great amount of balsam oil and precious stones. Never again was such a quantity of balsam oil brought in as what the queen of Sheʹba gave to King Solʹo•mon.”

*** w08 11/1 p. 22 Did You Know? ***
How much gold did King Solomon own?
The Scriptures say that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent four tons [4 t] of gold to Solomon, the queen of Sheba gave him a similar amount, and Solomon’s fleet brought over 15 tons [14 t] of gold from Ophir. “The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year,” says the account, “amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,” or more than 25 tons [22 t]. (1 Kings 9:14, 28; 10:10, 14) Is this plausible? How big were royal gold reserves in antiquity?
An ancient inscription, which scholars judge as credible, states that Pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt (second millennium B.C.E.) presented some 13.5 tons [12 t] of gold to the temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak. During the eighth century B.C.E., the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III received over 4 tons [4 t] of gold in tribute from Tyre, and Sargon II gave the same amount of gold as a gift to the gods of Babylon. King Philip II of Macedonia (359-336 B.C.E.) is reported to have extracted more than 28 tons [25 t] of gold each year from the mines of Pangaeum in Thrace.
When Philip’s son Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.E.) captured the Persian city of Susa, he is said to have taken some 1,180 tons [1,070 t] of gold from it and almost 7,000 tons [more than 6,000 t] from the whole of Persia. So when compared with these reports, the Bible’s description of King Solomon’s gold is not exaggerated.

*** w99 7/1 p. 30 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
Then she gave the king costly gifts, the gold alone totaling, by modern values, some $40,000,000.

*** w99 11/1 p. 20 When Generosity Abounds ***
Her gift, the Bible tells us, included 120 talents of gold “and a very great deal of balsam oil and precious stones.” At today’s prices, the gold alone was worth about $40,000,000. Balsam oil, an aromatic and medicinal oil, was ranked with gold as a precious commodity. While the Bible does not say how much oil the queen gave Solomon, it does tell us that her gift remained unequaled.—1 Kings 10:10.

*** g92 12/22 p. 3 Giving—A Source of Joy ***
The Bible reports on many instances of giving, sometimes lavish giving at that. When the queen of Sheba experienced firsthand King Solomon’s wisdom, “she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold and a very great deal of balsam oil and precious stones.” (1 Kings 10:10) Just the gold itself would be worth over 46 million dollars in modern values!

*** it-2 p. 991 Solomon ***
Then she bestowed upon Solomon the magnificent gift of 120 talents of gold ($46,242,000) and a great number of precious stones and balsam oil in unusually great quantity. Solomon, in turn, gave the queen whatever she asked, apart from his own generous-hearted bounty, possibly more than she had brought to him.—1Ki 10:10, 13; 2Ch 9:9, 12.

(1 KINGS 10:11)

“Hiʹram’s fleet of ships that carried gold from Oʹphir also brought from Oʹphir algum timbers in very great quantity, and precious stones.”

*** it-1 p. 72 Algum ***
ALGUM
[Heb., ʼal•gum•mimʹ (2Ch 2:8; 9:10, 11); ʼal•mug•gimʹ (1Ki 10:11, 12)].
A tree included by Solomon in his request to Hiram of Tyre for timbers for the construction of the temple and from which stairs and supports as well as harps and stringed instruments were constructed.
The algum tree of this account cannot be identified with certainty. It is traditionally suggested to be the red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) now found in India and Sri Lanka, although some favor the white sandalwood (Santalum album), perhaps because of Josephus’ statement that it is whitish in color. (Jewish Antiquities, VIII, 177 [vii, 1]) The red sandalwood grows to heights of about 7.5 to 9 m (25 to 30 ft) and has a hard, fine-grained, reddish-brown wood that takes a high polish. It is suggested as suitable for musical instruments of the type mentioned in the Bible account. The wood has a sweet scent and is highly resistant to insects.
The red sandalwood does not grow in Lebanon at the present time. However, the record is not definite whether the “algum” trees were native to Lebanon or not. At any rate, Hiram later saw fit to bring them from Ophir, and here again, the timbers may have been imports even in Ophir, as it was in position to act as a trading center dealing with India, Egypt, and other places in Africa. (1Ki 10:11, 22) The rarity and preciousness of the wood delivered by Hiram is indicated by the statement that “timbers of algum trees like this have not come in nor have they been seen down to this day.”—1Ki 10:12.

*** it-1 p. 982 Gold ***
Ophir was one place from which Solomon acquired fine gold. A pottery fragment said to be of the eighth century B.C.E. has been discovered that has inscribed on it: “Ophir gold to bet horon, thirty shekels.”—1Ki 9:28; 10:11; Job 28:16; see OPHIR.

(1 KINGS 10:12)

“The king made from the algum timbers supports for the house of Jehovah and for the king’s house, as well as harps and stringed instruments for the singers. Such algum timbers have never again been brought in or seen down to this day.”

*** it-1 p. 72 Algum ***
ALGUM
[Heb., ʼal•gum•mimʹ (2Ch 2:8; 9:10, 11); ʼal•mug•gimʹ (1Ki 10:11, 12)].
A tree included by Solomon in his request to Hiram of Tyre for timbers for the construction of the temple and from which stairs and supports as well as harps and stringed instruments were constructed.
The algum tree of this account cannot be identified with certainty. It is traditionally suggested to be the red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) now found in India and Sri Lanka, although some favor the white sandalwood (Santalum album), perhaps because of Josephus’ statement that it is whitish in color. (Jewish Antiquities, VIII, 177 [vii, 1]) The red sandalwood grows to heights of about 7.5 to 9 m (25 to 30 ft) and has a hard, fine-grained, reddish-brown wood that takes a high polish. It is suggested as suitable for musical instruments of the type mentioned in the Bible account. The wood has a sweet scent and is highly resistant to insects.
The red sandalwood does not grow in Lebanon at the present time. However, the record is not definite whether the “algum” trees were native to Lebanon or not. At any rate, Hiram later saw fit to bring them from Ophir, and here again, the timbers may have been imports even in Ophir, as it was in position to act as a trading center dealing with India, Egypt, and other places in Africa. (1Ki 10:11, 22) The rarity and preciousness of the wood delivered by Hiram is indicated by the statement that “timbers of algum trees like this have not come in nor have they been seen down to this day.”—1Ki 10:12.

(1 KINGS 10:13)

“King Solʹo•mon also gave the queen of Sheʹba whatever she desired and asked for, in addition to what he gave her out of his own generosity. After that she left and returned to her own land, together with her servants.”

*** w99 7/1 p. 31 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
Some take this phrase to mean that the queen had sexual relations with Solomon. Legends state that they even had a son. There is no evidence, however, to support any of this.

*** w99 7/1 pp. 30-31 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
Solomon too presented gifts, giving the queen “all her delight for which she asked.”—1 Kings 10:6-13.

(1 KINGS 10:14)

“And the weight of the gold that came to Solʹo•mon in one year amounted to 666 talents of gold,”

*** w08 11/1 p. 22 Did You Know? ***
How much gold did King Solomon own?
The Scriptures say that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent four tons [4 t] of gold to Solomon, the queen of Sheba gave him a similar amount, and Solomon’s fleet brought over 15 tons [14 t] of gold from Ophir. “The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year,” says the account, “amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,” or more than 25 tons [22 t]. (1 Kings 9:14, 28; 10:10, 14) Is this plausible? How big were royal gold reserves in antiquity?
An ancient inscription, which scholars judge as credible, states that Pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt (second millennium B.C.E.) presented some 13.5 tons [12 t] of gold to the temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak. During the eighth century B.C.E., the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III received over 4 tons [4 t] of gold in tribute from Tyre, and Sargon II gave the same amount of gold as a gift to the gods of Babylon. King Philip II of Macedonia (359-336 B.C.E.) is reported to have extracted more than 28 tons [25 t] of gold each year from the mines of Pangaeum in Thrace.
When Philip’s son Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.E.) captured the Persian city of Susa, he is said to have taken some 1,180 tons [1,070 t] of gold from it and almost 7,000 tons [more than 6,000 t] from the whole of Persia. So when compared with these reports, the Bible’s description of King Solomon’s gold is not exaggerated.

*** w98 5/15 p. 3 A King With Wealth and Wisdom ***
Notice, for example, that verse 14 states: “The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold.” That figure is equivalent to 25 tons of gold. Today, that much gold would be worth well over $200,000,000, U.S.!

*** w96 10/15 pp. 8-9 Is King Solomon’s Wealth Exaggerated? ***
Is King Solomon’s Wealth Exaggerated?
“The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents.”—1 Kings 10:14.
ACCORDING to that Bible verse, King Solomon acquired over 25 tons of gold in a single year! This would be valued today at $240,000,000. It is almost twice as much gold as was mined worldwide in the year 1800. Is this possible? What does archaeological evidence show? It suggests that the Bible’s record of Solomon’s wealth is certainly plausible. Biblical Archaeology Review says:
□ King Thutmose III of Egypt (second millennium B.C.E.) presented approximately 13.5 tons of gold items to the temple of Amon-Ra at Karnak—and this was just part of the gift.
□ Egyptian inscriptions record gifts totaling approximately 383 tons of gold and silver offered by King Osorkon I (early first millennium B.C.E.) to the gods.
Furthermore, the volume Classical Greece of the series Great Ages of Man reports:
□ The mines of Pangaeum in Thrace yielded more than 37 tons of gold each year for King Philip II (359-336 B.C.E.).
□ When Philip’s son Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.E.) captured Susa, the capital of the Persian empire, treasures amounting to well over 1,000 tons of gold were found.—The New Encyclopædia Britannica.
So the Bible’s description of King Solomon’s wealth is not farfetched. Remember, too, that Solomon was “greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth” at that time.—1 Kings 10:23.
How did Solomon use his wealth? His throne was overlaid with “refined gold,” his drinking vessels were “of gold,” and he possessed 200 large shields and 300 bucklers of “alloyed gold.” (1 Kings 10:16-21) Above all, Solomon’s gold was used in connection with Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem. The temple lampstands and sacred utensils, such as forks, bowls, pitchers, and basins, were made of gold and silver. The 15-foot-tall [4.5 m] cherubs in the Most Holy, the altar of incense, and even the entire inside of the house were overlaid with gold.—1 Kings 6:20-22; 7:48-50; 1 Chronicles 28:17.
What about a gold-plated temple? Interestingly, such use of gold was by no means unusual in the ancient world. Biblical Archaeology Review notes that Amenophis III of Egypt “honored the great god Amun with a temple at Thebes that was ‘plated with gold throughout, its floor adorned with silver, [and] all its portals with electrum’”—an alloy of gold and silver. Furthermore, Esar-haddon of Assyria (seventh century B.C.E.) plated the doors and coated the walls of the shrine of Ashur with gold. Regarding the temple of Sin at Harran, Nabonidus of Babylon (sixth century B.C.E.) recorded: “I clad its walls with gold and silver, and made them shine like the sun.”
Thus, historical records suggest that the Biblical account of King Solomon’s wealth is not exaggerated.

*** it-2 p. 990 Solomon ***
Solomon’s annual revenue of gold came to be 666 talents (c. $256,643,000), aside from silver and gold and other items brought in by merchants. (1Ki 10:14, 15; 2Ch 9:13, 14)

(1 KINGS 10:16)

“King Solʹo•mon made 200 large shields of alloyed gold (600 shekels of gold went on each shield)”

*** it-1 p. 171 Arms, Armor ***
The smaller “shield” or “buckler” (Heb., ma•ghenʹ) was customarily carried by archers and is usually associated with light weapons such as the bow. For instance, it was carried by Benjaminite bowmen of Judean King Asa’s military force. (2Ch 14:8) The smaller shield was usually round and more common than the large shield, probably being used chiefly in hand-to-hand fighting. That the Hebrew tsin•nahʹ and ma•ghenʹ differed considerably in size seems to be indicated by the gold shields Solomon made, the large shield being overlaid with four times as much gold as the smaller shield, or buckler. (1Ki 10:16, 17; 2Ch 9:15, 16) Ma•ghenʹ, like tsin•nahʹ, seems to be used as part of a formula for weapons of war.—2Ch 14:8; 17:17; 32:5.

*** it-1 p. 1156 House of the Forest of Lebanon ***
After Solomon finished the house, he placed in it 200 large shields of alloyed gold, each overlaid with 600 shekels of gold (worth c. $77,000), and 300 bucklers of alloyed gold, each plated with three minas of gold (worth c. $19,300). This would be over 21 million dollars’ worth of gold on the shields and bucklers. Besides this, there was an unstated number of gold vessels used in the house. (1Ki 10:16, 17, 21; 2Ch 9:15, 16, 20) These gold shields were carried away by Shishak king of Egypt during the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam.

(1 KINGS 10:17)

“and 300 bucklers of alloyed gold (three miʹnas of gold went on each buckler). Then the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebʹa•non.”

*** it-1 p. 171 Arms, Armor ***
The smaller “shield” or “buckler” (Heb., ma•ghenʹ) was customarily carried by archers and is usually associated with light weapons such as the bow. For instance, it was carried by Benjaminite bowmen of Judean King Asa’s military force. (2Ch 14:8) The smaller shield was usually round and more common than the large shield, probably being used chiefly in hand-to-hand fighting. That the Hebrew tsin•nahʹ and ma•ghenʹ differed considerably in size seems to be indicated by the gold shields Solomon made, the large shield being overlaid with four times as much gold as the smaller shield, or buckler. (1Ki 10:16, 17; 2Ch 9:15, 16) Ma•ghenʹ, like tsin•nahʹ, seems to be used as part of a formula for weapons of war.—2Ch 14:8; 17:17; 32:5.

*** it-1 p. 1156 House of the Forest of Lebanon ***
After Solomon finished the house, he placed in it 200 large shields of alloyed gold, each overlaid with 600 shekels of gold (worth c. $77,000), and 300 bucklers of alloyed gold, each plated with three minas of gold (worth c. $19,300). This would be over 21 million dollars’ worth of gold on the shields and bucklers. Besides this, there was an unstated number of gold vessels used in the house. (1Ki 10:16, 17, 21; 2Ch 9:15, 16, 20) These gold shields were carried away by Shishak king of Egypt during the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam.

(1 KINGS 10:22)

“For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarʹshish on the sea along with Hiʹram’s fleet. Once every three years, the fleet of ships of Tarʹshish would come loaded with gold and silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.”

*** w08 11/1 p. 27 The Rise and Fall of “the Ships of Tarshish” ***
Solomon’s “fleet of ships of Tarshish” collaborated with Hiram’s fleet, probably operating out of Ezion-geber and trading in the Red Sea and beyond.—1 Kings 10:22.

*** it-1 p. 119 Ape ***
APE
[Heb., qohph].
The apes imported by King Solomon may have been a species of long-tailed monkeys referred to by ancient writers as being native to Ethiopia. (1Ki 10:22; 2Ch 9:21) The fact that the Hebrew word qohph may be related to the Sanskrit word kapi and that peacocks are considered to be native to SE Asia has given rise to the conclusion that the apes were brought by Solomon’s fleet from India or Sri Lanka. However, the imported items need not necessarily have come directly from the country of origin nor from the same land, in view of the indications that commercial intercourse existed between India and Africa even before Solomon’s time.—See PEACOCK; TARSHISH No. 4.

*** it-2 p. 593 Peacock ***
In King Solomon’s time his fleet of ships of Tarshish made triannual voyages, bringing cargoes of “gold and silver, ivory, and apes and peacocks.” (1Ki 10:22) While certain of Solomon’s ships made trips to Ophir (evidently in the Red Sea area; 1Ki 9:26-28), 2 Chronicles 9:21 mentions ships “going to Tarshish” (likely in Spain) in connection with the carrying of the above commodities, including peacocks. It is not certain, therefore, from what place or area the peacocks were imported.

*** it-2 pp. 1066-1067 Tarshish ***
Trade Relations With Solomon. Phoenician trading with Tarshish is clearly borne out by the record of King Solomon’s time (some 13 centuries after the Flood), when maritime commerce also began to be engaged in by the nation of Israel. Solomon had a fleet of ships in the Red Sea area, manned in part by experienced seamen provided by Phoenician King Hiram of Tyre, and trafficking especially with the gold-rich land of Ophir. (1Ki 9:26-28) Reference is thereafter made to “a fleet of ships of Tarshish” that Solomon had on the sea “along with Hiram’s fleet of ships,” and these ships are stated to have made voyages once every three years for the importation of gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. (1Ki 10:22) It is generally believed that the term “ships of Tarshish” in course of time came to stand for a type of ship, as one lexicon puts it: “large, sea-going vessels, fit to ply to Tarshish.” (A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, by Brown, Driver, and Briggs, 1980, p. 1077) In a similar way, the name Indiamen originally was derived from the name applied to large British ships engaged in trade with India and in time came to apply to ships of that type no matter what their origin or destination. Thus 1 Kings 22:48 shows that King Jehoshaphat (936-911 B.C.E.) “made Tarshish ships to go to Ophir for gold.”
The Chronicles account, however, states that Solomon’s ships used for the triannual voyages “were going to Tarshish” (2Ch 9:21); also that Jehoshaphat’s ships were designed “to go to Tarshish” and, when wrecked, “did not retain strength to go to Tarshish.” (2Ch 20:36, 37) This would indicate that Ophir was not the only port of call of the Israelite “ships of Tarshish,” but that they also navigated Mediterranean waters. This, of course, poses a problem, since the launching site of at least some of these vessels is shown to have been Ezion-geber on the Gulf of ʽAqaba. (1Ki 9:26) For the ships to reach the Mediterranean Sea, they would either have to traverse a canal from the Red Sea to the Nile River and then into the Mediterranean or else circumnavigate the continent of Africa. While it is by no means possible to determine now the details of navigational routes (including canals) available or employed in Solomon’s and in Jehoshaphat’s time, there is likewise no need to view the record of their maritime projects as unfeasible.

(1 KINGS 10:27)

“The king made the silver in Jerusalem as plentiful as the stones, and cedarwood as plentiful as the sycamore trees in the She•pheʹlah.”

*** it-2 p. 125 Judah ***
Just E of it rises a hilly area, cleft by numerous valleys, that attains an altitude of about 450 m (1,500 ft) above sea level in the S. This is the Shephelah (meaning “Lowland”), a region anciently covered with sycamore trees. (1Ki 10:27) It is a lowland when compared with the mountainous region of Judah, which lies farther to the E and has elevations varying from about 600 to more than 1,000 m (2,000 to 3,300 ft) above sea level.

(1 KINGS 10:29)

“Each chariot imported from Egypt cost 600 silver pieces, and a horse cost 150; in turn, they would export them to all the kings of the Hitʹtites and the kings of Syria.”

*** g 11/10 p. 16 A Book You Can Trust—Part 1 ***
Business enterprises. Jeremiah, who wrote the two books of Kings, gave specific details regarding King Solomon’s trade in horses and chariots with the Egyptians and the Hittites. A chariot cost “six hundred silver pieces, and a horse . . . a hundred and fifty,” or one quarter the cost of a chariot, the Bible states.—1 Kings 10:29.
According to the book Archaeology and the Religion of Israel, the Greek historian Herodotus and archaeological findings both confirm that a lively trade in horses and chariots was carried on during the reign of Solomon. In fact, “a standard exchange rate of four . . . horses for one Egyptian chariot was established,” the book states, corroborating the figures given in the Bible.

*** it-1 p. 1145 Horse ***
During Solomon’s reign, royal merchants trafficked in horses and chariots. The price of a horse was 150 silver pieces ($330, if the silver pieces were shekels), and the price of a chariot was 600 silver pieces (c. $1,320, if shekels).—1Ki 10:28, 29; 2Ch 1:16, 17.

(1 KINGS 11:1)

“But King Solʹo•mon loved many foreign women besides the daughter of Pharʹaoh: Moʹab•ite, Amʹmon•ite, Eʹdom•ite, Si•doʹni•an, and Hitʹtite women.”

*** it-1 p. 945 Kingdoms Surrounding Israel ***
Phoenicia 1Ki 11:1, 2, 5; 16:30, 31

(1 KINGS 11:4)

“In Solʹo•mon’s old age, his wives inclined his heart to follow other gods, and his heart was not complete with Jehovah his God like the heart of David his father.”

*** w05 7/1 p. 29 par. 4 Highlights From the Book of First Kings ***
11:4—Did senility cause Solomon to become unfaithful in his old age? This does not seem to be the case. Solomon was quite young when he began ruling, and although he reigned for 40 years, he did not reach an advanced old age. Moreover, he did not completely leave off following Jehovah. He apparently tried to practice some form of interfaith.

*** it-2 pp. 991-992 Solomon ***
His Deviation From Righteousness. As long as Solomon remained true to the worship of Jehovah, he prospered. Evidently his proverbs were uttered, and the books of Ecclesiastes and The Song of Solomon, as well as at least one of the Psalms (Ps 127), were written during his period of faithful service to God. However, Solomon began to disregard God’s law. We read: “And King Solomon himself loved many foreign wives along with the daughter of Pharaoh, Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian and Hittite women, from the nations of whom Jehovah had said to the sons of Israel: ‘You must not go in among them, and they themselves should not come in among you; truly they will incline your heart to follow their gods.’ It was to them that Solomon clung to love them. And he came to have seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives gradually inclined his heart. And it came about in the time of Solomon’s growing old that his wives themselves had inclined his heart to follow other gods; and his heart did not prove to be complete with Jehovah his God like the heart of David his father. And Solomon began going after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the disgusting thing of the Ammonites. And Solomon began to do what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah, and he did not follow Jehovah fully like David his father. It was then that Solomon proceeded to build a high place to Chemosh the disgusting thing of Moab on the mountain that was in front of Jerusalem, and to Molech the disgusting thing of the sons of Ammon. And that was the way he did for all his foreign wives who were making sacrificial smoke and sacrificing to their gods.”—1Ki 11:1-8.
While this took place “in the time of Solomon’s growing old,” we need not assume that his deviation was because of senility, for Solomon was relatively young when taking the throne, and the length of his reign was 40 years. (1Ch 29:1; 2Ch 9:30) The account does not say that Solomon completely forsook the worship at the temple and the offering of sacrifices there. He apparently attempted to practice a sort of interfaith, in order to please his foreign wives. For this, “Jehovah came to be incensed at Solomon, because his heart had inclined away from Jehovah the God of Israel, the one appearing to him twice.” Jehovah informed Solomon that, as a consequence, He would rip part of the kingdom away from him, but not in Solomon’s day, out of respect for David and for the sake of Jerusalem. But he would do it in the days of Solomon’s son, leaving that son with only one tribe (besides Judah), which tribe proved to be Benjamin.—1Ki 11:9-13.

(1 KINGS 11:7)

“It was then that Solʹo•mon built a high place to Cheʹmosh, the disgusting god of Moʹab, on the mountain in front of Jerusalem and to Moʹlech, the disgusting god of the Amʹmon•ites.”

*** it-2 p. 553 Olives, Mount of ***
King Solomon built high places for idolatrous worship there “to the right [south] of the Mount of Ruination,” but King Josiah later made these unfit for worship. (1Ki 11:7; 2Ki 23:13, ftn)

(1 KINGS 11:13)

“but I will not rip away the entire kingdom. One tribe I will give to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.””

*** it-1 p. 947 Divided Kingdom ***
DIVIDED KINGDOM
JUST 120 years after Saul became the first king of Israel, the nation was torn in two. Why? Because of the apostasy of King Solomon. Desiring to please his foreign wives, Solomon allowed rank idolatry to infiltrate the nation, building ‘high places’ to false gods. This interfaith was abhorrent to Jehovah. Yet, loyal to his covenant with David, God did not cut short the Davidic dynasty. Rather, he decreed the ripping away of part of the nation.—1Ki 11:7-13.
This occurred in 997 B.C.E. when the actions of Solomon’s headstrong son Rehoboam incited ten tribes to rebel and form a kingdom largely in the northern part of the land but also including Simeonite enclave cities scattered throughout Judah. Only the tribes of Benjamin and Levi remained loyal to the southern kingdom in Judah.

(1 KINGS 11:26)

“And there was Jer•o•boʹam the son of Neʹbat, an Eʹphra•im•ite from Zerʹe•dah, a servant of Solʹo•mon’s whose mother’s name was Ze•ruʹah, a widow. He too began to rebel against the king.”

*** it-2 p. 37 Jeroboam ***
1. First king of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel; the son of Nebat, one of Solomon’s officers in the village of Zeredah; of the tribe of Ephraim. Apparently at an early age Jeroboam was left fatherless, to be raised by his widowed mother Zeruah.—1Ki 11:26.

(1 KINGS 11:27)

“This is why he rebelled against the king: Solʹo•mon had built the Mound and had closed up the gap of the City of David his father.”

*** nwt p. 1705 Glossary ***
Mound. A geographic or structural feature of the City of David. It may have been terraced supporting walls or some other supporting feature.—2Sa 5:9; 1Ki 11:27.

*** it-2 p. 990 Solomon ***
He further fortified the Mound. He “closed up the gap of the City of David.” (1Ki 11:27) This may have reference to his building or extending “Jerusalem’s wall all around.” (1Ki 3:1)

(1 KINGS 11:36)

“To his son I will give one tribe, so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city that I have chosen for myself as the place to put my name.”

*** it-2 p. 48 Jerusalem ***
It was the only city in all the earth upon which Jehovah God placed his name. (1Ki 11:36) After the ark of the covenant, associated with God’s presence, was transferred there, and even more so when the temple sanctuary, or house of God, was constructed there, Jerusalem became Jehovah’s figurative ‘residence,’ his “resting-place.” (Ps 78:68, 69; 132:13, 14; 135:21; compare 2Sa 7:1-7, 12, 13.)

(1 KINGS 11:38)

“And if you obey all that I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my statutes and my commandments, just as David my servant did, I will also be with you. I will build you a lasting house, just as I have built for David, and I will give you Israel.”

*** it-2 p. 37 Jeroboam ***
Subsequently, Jeroboam was approached by God’s prophet Ahijah with startling news. After tearing his own new garment into 12 pieces, the prophet told Jeroboam to take ten of them in symbol of how Jehovah would rip Solomon’s kingdom in two and make Jeroboam king over ten of the tribes. This, however, was to be merely a governmental division and not also a departure from true worship as centered at the temple in Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom. So Jehovah assured Jeroboam that he would bless and prosper his reign and build him a lasting house of successors provided he kept God’s laws and commandments.—1Ki 11:29-38.

(1 KINGS 11:40)

“So Solʹo•mon tried to put Jer•o•boʹam to death, but Jer•o•boʹam fled to Egypt, to Shiʹshak the king of Egypt, and he remained in Egypt until Solʹo•mon’s death.”

*** w05 7/1 p. 30 par. 5 Highlights From the Book of First Kings ***
11:30-40. King Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam because of what Ahijah had prophesied concerning Jeroboam. How different the king’s response was some 40 years earlier when he refused to seek revenge against Adonijah and other conspirators! (1 Kings 1:50-53) This change of attitude was a result of his drawing away from Jehovah.

*** it-2 p. 37 Jeroboam ***
Subsequently, Jeroboam was approached by God’s prophet Ahijah with startling news. After tearing his own new garment into 12 pieces, the prophet told Jeroboam to take ten of them in symbol of how Jehovah would rip Solomon’s kingdom in two and make Jeroboam king over ten of the tribes. This, however, was to be merely a governmental division and not also a departure from true worship as centered at the temple in Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom. So Jehovah assured Jeroboam that he would bless and prosper his reign and build him a lasting house of successors provided he kept God’s laws and commandments.—1Ki 11:29-38.
Possibly it was upon learning of these events that Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam. However, Jeroboam fled to Egypt, and there under the sheltering protection of Pharaoh Shishak he remained until the death of Solomon.—1Ki 11:40.

(1 KINGS 11:43)

“Then Solʹo•mon was laid to rest with his forefathers and was buried in the City of David his father; and his son Re•ho•boʹam became king in his place.”

*** w05 7/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
The faithful ones referred to in Hebrews chapter 11, then, are in Sheol, or Hades, awaiting the resurrection. Among these are God’s loyal servants Abraham, Moses, and David. Now consider how the Bible speaks of them with regard to their dying. “As for you,” Jehovah told Abraham, “you will go to your forefathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.” (Genesis 15:15) Jehovah said to Moses: “Look! You are lying down with your forefathers.” (Deuteronomy 31:16) Concerning Solomon’s father, David, the Bible says: “David lay down with his forefathers and was buried in the City of David.” (1 Kings 2:10) Thus, the expression ‘lying down with one’s forefathers’ is another way of saying that the person went to Sheol.
What happened to Solomon when he died? The Bible answers: “The days that Solomon had reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel were forty years. Then Solomon lay down with his forefathers, and was buried in the City of David his father.” (1 Kings 11:42, 43) Hence, it seems reasonable to conclude that Solomon is in Sheol, or Hades, from which he will be resurrected.

Click on the image to Download complete information into digital files for Computer, Tablet PC, Smartphone

Download information for the personal Studio for Computer, Tablet PC, Smartphone

Download information for the personal Studio for Computer, Tablet PC, Smartphone