1 Kings 9

Solomon's Accomplishments


“But if you or your sons turn away . . . and serve other gods and worship them . . .” (1 Kings 9:6)

This bronze figurine of a bull is a Canaanite symbol of fertility, sometimes associated with the worship of the storm god Baal. It was found at an open-air ritual site in the Israelite heartland, most likely built by Israelites. It is reminiscent of the golden calves installed at the worship centers of Dan and Bethel by the Israelite king Jeroboam I (1 Kgs 12:28-29).


“Then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them” (1 Kings 9:7).

God did in fact cut off Israel and Judah from the land when they abandoned Him for other gods. The ten tribes of Israel were finally conquered and deported in about 723 BC, and the people of Judah were deported in several waves, of which the three largest were in 605, 597, and 586 BC. This relief shows deportees being taken away from their city; each carries a sack of belongings over his shoulder. This relief comes from the reign of Tiglath-pileser III.


Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees, cypress trees, and gold (1 Kings 9:11).

In Solomon’s day, Tyre was an island city, situated about a half mile (0.8 km) off the coast. It wasn’t until Alexander the Great built a mole from the mainland to the island in the 4th century BC that the two were connected. Over the millennia, sand has washed up along the mole built by Alexander, with the result that Tyre is now connected to the mainland by a wide sandy beach.


Hiram sent to the king 120 talents of gold (1 Kings 9:14).

Estimates for the weight of one talent vary between 50–100 pounds (23–45 kg), approximately the weight which a single man can carry. If the average weight of 75 pounds (34 kg) is allowed, then this amount of gold was roughly 9,000 pounds (4,082 kg) or 4.5 tons (4 t). Conversion into modern currencies is notoriously difficult, but if given the spot price of about $1,690 US per troy ounce (May 2022), this amount of gold would be worth about $1.20 billion US. At any rate, 120 talents of gold is a very large amount. This bronze lion weight, dating ca. 450 BC, weighs approximately one Babylonian talent.

Southern Port

Solomon made a fleet of ships in Ezion-geber, beside Eloth on the shore of the Red Sea, in Edom (1 Kings 9:26).

The modern city at the southern end of Israel, on the northern tip of the Red Sea, is Eilat. Eilat is located in the general vicinity of biblical Eloth/Elath and Ezion-geber, although the exact locations of the biblical cities have not yet been determined. The modern city is spelled “Eilat,” and the biblical city is usually spelled “Elath,” though here it is spelled as “Eloth.” These two sites were outside the prescribed boundaries of the Promised Land for the children of Israel, but it was one of the stops on their wilderness travels (Num 33:35; cf. Deut 2:8).

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