Today we are reading similar history to what we have already read about Solomon in 1 Kings, about how great his wisdom and wealth and glory was. None of the kings of Egypt, or Babylon, or Persia, ever matched the greatness of Solomon’s glory. You will most likely never see a Discovery Channel program on Solomon or his kingdom, but it was far greater than any other kingdom in the ancient world.
Silver as common as stones? The gold which came in as tribute was 666 talents per year. Now one talent of gold = 75 pounds. That is 49,950 pounds of gold coming in every year as tribute — from foreign nations that Solomon exercised authority over. That is 799,200 ounces of gold coming in every year. Today the value of gold is $1500 per ounce. That would make Solomon’s annual income in gold alone worth, $1,198,800,000.oo. That is over one trillion dollars in gold every year, besides the value of horses, silver, precious stones, ivory, spices, purple cloth and other valuable items. While there are billionaires in the world today, where are the trillionaires? There aren’t any, it is too high a number. Solomon was a trillionaire from just gold tribute alone.
Now at this time a day’s wage was a denarius. There are 17 years of wages, in denarius, in one talent of gold. Solomon’s annual tribute was worth 11,322 years worth of income for a laborer. We just cannot imagine that level of wealth.
In today’s reading they omit the history of Solomon forsaking the LORD, but then repenting of it and returning to Him at the end of his life.
All of his wisdom, glory, and wealth says to me, besides the fact that it is prophetic of how glorious the reign of Messiah, the Son of David, will be, is that none of the things the world goes after, which men spend their life acquiring (money, power, influence, fame, women, etc.) can help a man stay true to the LORD, and often they are a hindrance. What matters is a heart true to the LORD. We read at the end of Ecclesiastes, the capstone of all of Solomon’s wisdom, learning, glory, and power at the end of his life:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all. Ecc 12:13