Everybody has read about King Solomon in the Bible. Everybody knows that this king was wiser than the wisest and richer than the richest. His half-mythical gold mines are still a subject of discussions. Yet, is it possible to calculate how much the great king was really worth and how much he would have had today?
Wisdom or Gold? What Was King Solomon’s Wealth?
Solomon (Schlomo) was the son of David the King. After David’s death, he became the ruler of Israel. When the Lord asked young Solomon what he would like to have above everything else in the world, the king chose wisdom. The Lord appreciated this wish a lot. The man did not want gold or fame, he did not ask God to kill his enemies or make him live forever. He made the right choice because this smartness allowed him to gain everything he had in his life.
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He was a peaceful lord and within his rule (that lasted for about 40 years) there were no big wars. He inherited a big and strong state and did everything to support and reinforce it. At the very beginning of his reign, he married a daughter of an Egyptian pharaoh in order to protect the southern border of his kingdom. Later, he took other wives from other nations in order to be a good neighbor to all the surrounding states.
King Solomon possessed a perfect sense of diplomacy. He was a great builder and trader. He turned the agricultural land into a strong, economically powerful state that had a lot of influence in its part of the world. He raised Jerusalem and other cities within his state, erected the first temple in Jerusalem, introduced horsemen and chariots as a part of Israel's army, created a trading fleet, developed crafts and supported trading with other countries.
During the reign of Solomon the King, Jerusalem valued gold and silver as cheap as plain cobblestones. Ambassadors from different foreign countries arrived at Jerusalem to offer the king rich gifts and make peace with Israel.
However, in spite of the streams of riches that ran towards Israel, wisdom was the chief of king Solomon wealth and without it, he would have never gained such glory and prosperity.
What’s King Solomon net worth from the today’s point of view?
As we have already discovered, Solomon inherited a lot from his father, King David, but with time, he managed to replenish the heritage. So, there were several other sources that provided Solomon with his treasures. Let’s see what they were.
- Taxes. In spite of being renowned and beloved for his wisdom and justice, he took advantage of collecting huge taxes from his nation. This was one detail, which slightly reduced people’s love for him. Besides that, several neighboring kingdoms used to pay him tributes, too.
- Gifts from guests. One of them was the famous visit of the Queen of Sheba. She arrived with rich presents that involved camels, gold and silver, and other riches. Apart from her, the king often accepted other guests and other kings who added to his existing treasures.
- Trading alliances. Apart from trading on his own, the king joined other alliances that guaranteed the growth of his wealth and prosperity of his kingdom.
If we accept the myth about the famous Solomon’s gold mines as true and try to calculate the gold he was said to extract from them in accordance to the Bible, we’ll come up with 25 tons of gold annually stacked in King Solomon’s palace and treasury. This is incredible wealth, actually. Calculated by today’s prices in US dollars, we will see that each ounce of gold that costs about $2,000 made him around $70,000,000 per a ton of gold. Within his reign, some researchers claim, he has earned about $2 trillion, which is a threshold nobody has ever crossed. What’s more, it’s said to be only a part of his riches because he had other sources of income, too.
Were Solomon’s gold mines a tale or a real natural treasure?
There’s nobody in the world who knows where the mines are or should be found. The famous natural treasures of diamonds and gold are a mystery that enchants many but cannot be proved. There are researchers who claim that Solomon did have mines but extracted copper, not gold, and not even silver. There are no and have never been gold mines of the mentioned size anywhere around the area of the past Solomon’s kingdom.
Still, the idea with copper is worth attention. It’s known well that copper was expensive at those ancient times and that extraction of this metal could really be quite a profitable business. Indeed, the process of copper fusion and forging was quite expensive, so, the provider of copper goods could really earn a fortune in no time. However, this fortune would have certainly been smaller than $2 trillion. Researchers claim that the words about the incredible wealth hidden underground are simply grossly misinterpreted.
King Solomon temple: the essence of richness
Well, let’s doubt the incredible $2 trillion and imagine that there were no such treasures. How then did Solomon build the First Temple in Jerusalem? The building and the existing temple is the king Solomon fact that is not doubted.
Within the years of his reign, David prepared a lot for the creation of the temple. He collected enormous amounts of gold and silver from the wars he participated in. He left these treasures for his son together with incredible amounts of iron and copper. The initial Canaan people were used as a workforce for the epic building. They extracted and transported processed stones for the Temple walls. Phoenicians provided him with famous expensive Lebanon cedar wood logs.
Right before his passing, David informed all the Israeli chiefs that Solomon would be his heir in everything. Then, he suggested that each of them contributed to the creation of the Temple. He offered the gathering his plan as one approved by the Lord, and everybody agreed to contribute.
Erected within 7 years, the Temple astonished everyone with unseen luxury. Plenty of precious copper, silver and gold made the building extraordinarily luxurious for that time. Of course, the king took advantage of some help from other kings and rulers, yet, the building would have been impossible without any starting capital. King Solomon’s wealth made it possible.
King Solomon’s everyday life in luxury
It’s said that while being the king of Israel, Solomon had a throne cast with pure gold. Small stools used to support feet were whole gold. Besides that, he had other everyday items made out of pure gold, not even silver. It’s also said that silver was never used to make anything for the king because it was too cheap for him.
He had such plenty of it in his palace that valued it equal to cobblestones under his feet. In addition to all this, not only the Temple but also the living rooms of the king were decorated with precious cedar wood, which had a very high money equivalent in Solomon’s kingdom.
Different theories forced by different researchers provide us with a disputable information regarding the net worth of Solomon the King. Still, no matter how much gold or silver, or even copper he had. It matters much how clever he was and how smartly he managed to develop his kingdom, his glory, and his power. Now, we know him as a king of kings and, probably, have all reasons to think so. No matter, whether this man had the $2 trillion or not. He was among the wisest, most glorified, and most blessed men on the Earth.
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