In the accompanying article, Alan Millard amply demonstrates that the gold attributed in the Bible to King Solomon was entirely consistent, both in use and extent, with what we know about the ancient Near East. Yet, readers must be led to wonder: If Solomon had all this gold, why haven’t we found it? Where did it go?
The answer is simple: to Egypt!
Soon after Solomon’s death, his kingdom split in two: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Jeroboam ruled in the north and Solomon’s feckless son Rehoboam ruled Judah from Jerusalem.
In the fifth year of Rehoboam’s reign, the formidable Egyptian pharaoh Shoshenq I (referred to in the Bible as Shishak) conducted a devastating military campaign in Judah and Israel. According to the Bible, he took with him as booty the Temple and palace treasures:
“In the fifth year of Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. He carried off the treasures of the Temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made” (1 Kings 14:25–26).
This probably occurred in the summer of 925 B.C. Within a year or so of his conquest, the formidable Shishak (Shoshenq I) was dead. He was followed on the pharaonic throne in 924 B.C. by his son, Osorkon I.