Biblical Archaeology Review 15:3, May/June 1989

Does the Bible Exaggerate King Solomon’s Golden Wealth?

By Alan R. Millard

Those who read the Biblical text and make a subjective judgment as to its reliability often conclude—and understandably so—that the descriptions of Solomon’s gold are gross exaggerations. The quantity of gold the Bible claims for King Solomon is simply unbelievable, even unimaginable!

Take, for example, the Jerusalem Temple that Solomon built for Israel’s God, Yahweh. Walk inside, and all you would see was gold! The walls, the ceiling, even the floors were all covered with gold.

The description in 1 Kings tells us that the interior stone-core walls were covered with cedar boards (1 Kings 6:15). The floor was covered with planks of pine (1 Kings 6:15). “No stone was to be seen” (1 Kings 6:18). The wood was then completely plated with gold:

“He overlaid the [inner sanctuary] with pure gold … Solomon covered the inside of the Temple with pure gold … He overlaid the whole interior with gold … He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms of the Temple with gold” (1 Kings 6:20, 21, 22, 30; see also the parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 3:4–7).

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