By Eusebio Tanicala
The Philippine Bible Society wants to make the present generation feel the weight and volumes that are used in olden times by employing currently understood measures. There are several places in the Bible where wealth is expressed in “talents.” However, many Bible students think that “talent” is ability. But “talent” is a weight measure. And there is the “long” or “royal” talent which was about double the “short” or “ordinary” talent.
In the later Philippine dialect translations, the Philippine Bible Society instructed tribal linguists to use the metric weight measure. Instead of “talent” the weight measure of “ton” is used.
In this article, the writer endeavors to roughly calculate the gold and silver collections of King Solomon by using the record of the Iloco Bible where “ton” is employed. A metric ton is 1000 kilograms (kilos). A kilogram is 2.20 ounces (oz.)
If some are interested to make monetary computations, the price of gold in the world market in the third week of February 2009 was more than $1000 per ounce. This report was made by Reuters correspondents from New York and London which appeared in the Business Section of The Philippine Star (Feb. 22): “Gold rose above $1000 an ounce on Friday for the first time since March last year as nervous investors piled into the yellow metal to preserve wealth amid a tumbling stock market.”
Now let’s notice passages where Solomon’s gold and silver are mentioned. “The king made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones.” (see 2 Chron. 1:16 & 1 Kings 10:27) Indeed, Solomon’s time was the golden era of Israel. I may have missed other verses where gold and silver are recorded that were owned by Solomon. But the following will suffice to demonstrate the great collection of the Rich Man.
a) 1 Chron. 22:14- Gold stockpiled by David was 4,000 tons = 4,000,000 kilos = 8,800,000 ounces.
b) 1 Chron.22:14 -King David’s silver was 40,000 tons = 40,000,000 kilos = 88,000,000 ounces.
c) 1 Chron.29:4 -Finest gold from David was 115 tons = 115,000 kilos = 583,000 ounces.
d) 1 Chron. 29:4 -Pure silver from King David was 265 tons = 265,000 kilos = 418,000 ounces.
e) 1 Chron.29:7-Gold from officials was 190 tons or 190,000 kilos or 418 ounces.
f) 1 Chron.29:7- Silver from officers was 380 tons or 380,000 kilos or 836,000 ounces.
g) 1 Kings 10:22- Gold and silver every three year voyage of commercial ships. Solomon ruled forty years so that allows about 12 voyages. If the gold-silver volume is approximately that of 1 Kings 9:28 of 16 tons x 12 = 192 tons or 192,000 kilos or 422,400 ounces.
h) 1 Kings 9:11, 14- Gold was 5 tons or 5,000 kilos = 11,000 ounces.
i) 1 Kings 9:28- Gold was 16 tons or 16,000 kilos=35,200 ounces.
j) 1 Kings 10:10- Gold was 5 tones or 5,000 kilos or 11,000 ounces.
k) 1 Kings 10:14- Gold was 25 tons yearly for 40 years = 1000 tons = 1,000,000 kilos or 220,000,000 ounces.
l) 1 Kings 10:15- Granting that 25 tons of gold come from other sources annually x 40 year reign = 1000 tons = 1,000,000 kilos or 20,000,000 ounces.
m) 1 Kings 10:22- Granting that we have 16 tons as in 1 Kings 9:28 from this source, this is 16,000 kilos or 35,200 ounces.
The above is the best estimate I could make from my reading of the accounts in the historical books. I hope that this will make you feel how wealthy Solomon was, however, the verdict on this Rich Man is found in 1 Kings 11:9, “So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who appeared to him twice.” #