After twenty years the LORD visited Solomon again, and warned him to keep His commandments. By this time all the glory and wealth which today’s reading records had come upon Solomon. There was no king before or after him in the ancient world for wealth or glory or renown; not even the kings of Egypt or Persia came close to Solomon’s glory.
Thus the warning. Scripture records in many places, warnings of what wealth can do to a person, even if their heart is right at first:
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of allkinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Tim 6:9-10
So with this in mind, it is interesting that it says of the amount of gold which came into Solomon’s coffers every year was 666 talents of gold. A talent is equal to 1000 denarii. A denarius was one day’s wage for a laborer. So I figured that in today’s money a denarius would be roughly $80.00 ($10/hr x 8 hours), or 1 talent would equal $80,000.00. That is 80 thousand dollars. 666 talents, then, would equal $53,280,000.00 — 53 million dollars per year in gold, with silver as common as stones in the street, and not counting precious jewels and other valuable treasures which were continually brought to him.
666 is the number of the beast (Rev 13:18). It says there that it is the number of a man. Now Solomon was a type of Messiah, and the glory of Solomon’s kingdom is a picture of the glory Messiah’s kingdom will attain to. Messiah’s kingdom will be so great, that no kingdom before it, even Solomon’s, will be able to compare to it.
But what the Scripture is teaching us is that there is such a thing as too much: too much power, too much money, too much fame, and too much glory. Once a man passes a certain point in amassing wealth and riches, he is in danger of the evil outcome associated with riches coming upon him. Man cannot handle it without it corrupting him.
Solomon had every advantage in the world: he was trained in God’s Word from infancy, his father loved him and spent time with him and did not make the mistakes with him that he made with Amnon and Absalom. He was visited by God and given his own prophetic revelations. We have not read it yet, but Solomon fell away from the LORD; the pressure of all his glory corrupted his way and went to his head. Famous pastors at mega churches do the same thing. They let their success go to their head, then comes the affairs or other sin that brings about their downfall.
The Torah says:
“When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.“Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the onebefore the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.” Deu 17:14-20
Solomon did not do this. He multiplied horses, gold, silver, and wives for himself, and the abundance of his riches and all that he had helped his heart to be lifted up, and when his heart was lifted up, that was when he turned aside from the commandments.
But, the blessing of the LORD makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it (Pro 10:22). So how do we protect ourselves? We meditate in His Law day and night (Psa 1), and I am beginning to believe He means just that, to keep the Torah before the eyes of our heart every day, as well as the rest of the Word of God. And also, keep giving the wealth away, as fast as God multiplies it to us. We don’t have to accumulate it — we can keep it flowing out as fast as it is flowing in. The pastor of our home church in Colorado presides over a ministry of 10 million dollars annually, but even after 32 years, it has not corrupted him. But he keeps God’s Word in front of his eyes day and night, and he keeps the money flowing out as fast as it flows in. He doesn’t allow it to stop with the church or with him so that it would accumulate.