Gold in the Temple of Solomon,
The Garden of Eden, the Margolit, Almugim, Golden Tables and Industrial
Jeremiah and the Five Guardians of Solomon’s Temple Treasures
by Robert Mock MD
In this Mishnah we will explore the evidence of new
furnishing in Solomon’s Temple and art décor of exquisite beauty the was used
to remind His people of their unusual legacy all the way back to the moment of
creation. The Lord of hosts designed a worship service for the Hebrew pilgrims
that appealed and absorbed all their senses: sight, smell, taste and sound.
For them worship in the Temple of the Lord was a total body experience.
Here we are introduced to the Garden of Eden, not as the
home of the progenitor of the human race, Adam and Eve, but as a literal place
associated with the Temple and the services dedicated to the God of Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob. The atmosphere of this paradise was cloaked in gold tapestries,
gold electroplated Almugim trees and tables of gold. All of this was within
the atmosphere of the gold plated exterior of the Temple and the gold lined interior
of the Great House, the Holy Place.
The Almugim tree that is depicted here presents a unique
place in the history and lore of the Temple. Here the Lord of hosts was using
objects for the interior decoration of His House as works of artistic beauty to
fulfill the purpose of elevating the minds of the children of Israel to their
Creator. Yet the identity of the Almugim tree is elusive except for hints found
in the discussion of cedar trees in the Bava Bashra. To find these rare trees,
the Levites would have had to go to Eliot and Ezion Geber, the port where the
Solomonic shipyards were located and where he launched his merchant fleets to
sail the seas of the world searching for gold, peacocks, rare woods, and other
precious commodities. From the depths of the Red Sea, now the favorite site of
scuba divers, we may find the home were the Almugim trees were grown.
What about the Margaliot? Gold was not the only precious
resource used in God’s earthly house. Here again in this Margaliot we find
another enigma in the Temple tradition. Identified linguistically as a
“Pearl”, temple researchers must once again reevaluate the use of “pearls” in
the construction and ornamentation of the Temple. Here the literal blends with
the mystical and allegorical descriptions by the Jews. The parable of Jesus of
the ‘Pearl of Great Price’ and John’s vision beholding a New Jerusalem, who
gates were made of pearls, brings this natural treasure into the symbolism of
sacredness and other dimensional realities.
Also within the Garden of Eden were found tables of gold.
Was the Holy place actually depicted as the Garden of Eden or do we have
evidence of other tables within the temple complex.
First it is important to evaluate the little understood
furnishing called the Table of Showbread. This table did not the awe and
other-dimensional power of the Ark of the Covenant, the visual and mystical
aura of the lamps on the menorah, the spectacular aromatic sound and light
shows associated with the Altar of Incense with the flashing lights and fire
effects, smoke and tantalizing smells as the frankincense was sprinkled on the
The Tables of Showbread with the stacks of Showbread was
simple and inconspicuous. Or so we seem to believe. Yet the table for the
basic ‘staff of life’ was symbolic of the physical man and the tribes of Israel
(twelve showbread) standing in the presence of the Lord of hosts (Presence
Bread) in the Holy of Holies (the Throne of God)
Here we are introduced to the complexity of the Table of
Showbread, the covering, the stacks of twelve loaves of showbread, the ventilation
tubes, the Ke’arot of golden molds, the Kappot the golden bowls or plates, the
container containing the frankincense called the bezikim, the kesawot used for
wine libations and the menakkiyyot or the golden dippers.
What then were these tables in the Garden of Eden?
Structurally the Temple was laid out as a blueprint of the Garden of Eden. So was
the Table of Showbread the same as table in the garden? Was the Garden of Eden
another name for the Holy Place as some Jewish author were suggesting? Yet in
the Eden model, when Adam and Eve approached the Tree of Life and the Tree of
Knowledge, they were also approaching God. If these two trees were symbolized
in the two pillars that guarded the sacred premises of Solomon’s temple, then
the ‘garden’ was outside the temple proper. Therefore the Court of the Temple
could have been the Garden of Eden and the visual description of this garden
was on the patios that all the children of Israel could enjoy and admire as
they came to worship their God.
Gold, Gold, Gold! This precious metal has fascinated
scholars as they attempted to identify the purported vast wealth of Solomon. The
final resting place of his treasury archive has sent explorers to Luxor and the
Valley of the Kings in Egypt, to Axum in Ethiopia, to Elephantine Island in the
Lake Nasser in southern Egypt, to the archived of the Vatican, or to find the
treasury hoard that was taken from Rome by the Vandals and deposited in the
French and Spanish Pyrenees Mountain or to search for the treasures of the
Templar's who held possession and explored for years the cavern system under
the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The writers of this Mishnah in the Emeq HaMelekh state with
conviction, “all the silver and gold that ever existed in the world, from the
six days of creation until the day that Zidkiyahu became king, did not equal
the value of the gold that was overlain on the temple from within and without.
There is no end, no measure, no set amount, and no weighing of the gold that
overlaid the Temple and the face of the temple.”
This topic of Solomon’s gold cannot be researched without
analyzing the ‘types’ of gold used in the Temple construction. This included
‘gold’, ‘pure gold’, the gold of ‘Ophir' and the gold of ‘Havilah’, ‘good
gold’, ‘red gold’ and the gold from the region of the east called Parvaim.
What we do know is that the exterior of the
Tower called the
Holy Place of the Temple was covered in its entirety with gold. The interior
of the Great Room plus the interior of the smaller “Shrine Room” called the
Holy of Holiest was covered in a special Parvaim or Red gold.
All the furnishing of the temple, the ark, the cherubim,
the altar, the menorah and the tables of showbread, the almugim trees and the
almug trees, the interior décor on the walls of the temple with the
ornamentations the tables in the Garden of Eden were all overlaid in gold. For
what reason? Did the superb conductivity of energy found in the gold, the
antiseptic and antibacterial properties within this precious metal become the
secret weapon of the Lord of hosts to preserve His chosen people?
Yet even beyond gold, we now can systematically evaluate
the use of gemstones in the temple. Used in the construction of the temple,
few scholars have attempted to describe the technological use of gems, such as
diamonds and corundum. Yet the technological imprint of the twin diamond drill
has been found in contemporaneous cultures to the united monarchy of Israel.
The ancient descriptions of diamond faceting, diamond engraving on other
gemstones of the ancients is now found in the archives of ancient technologies.
The Margaliot Pearls, the beautiful gold covered Almugim
coral trees, the tables and tapestries of gold, are all part of the Garden of
Eden found in the Temple of Solomon. This vast hoard of gold is now a
contemporary primary document affirming the account of the construction of
Solomon’s temple in the Books of Kings and Chronicles. Here we see the
magnificent golden Temple of Solomon, one of the most marvelous buildings
constructed in the ancient world.
There were 77 tables of
gold, and gold [hangings] from the walls of the Garden of Eden that was revealed to Shlomo. Their radiance was
like the brilliance of the sun and the moon that shine above the world. And all
the silver and gold that ever existed in the world, from the six days of
creation until the day that Zidkiyahu became king, did not equal the value of
the gold that was overlaid on the Temple from within and from without. There is
no end, no measure, no set amount, and no weighing of the gold that overlaid
the Temple and the face of the Temple. All this, plus another 7,000 talents of
gold, were brought and concealed in the "Segel Habar"
(?) with precious stones with which the Temple was built, besides 3 rows of
priceless stones and one row of Almogim (coral?) trees. [Of] the three rows of
priceless stones, the length of each row was 7 cubits, and width 5 cubits, [of
the cubits] established by David. The length of one Margalit (pearl? gem?
building stone?) was 10 cubits. David prepared all of these for the Great House
(Temple), for Shlomo, his son.
Treasures by King David, hidden at Segal Habar
Mishnah reveals the contents of the treasures that were preserved from the
Temple of Solomon. One of the dreams of King David was to build the house of
the Lord. It was the peak moment of his reign to be able to bring the ark of
the covenant to Jerusalem, and he spent the remainder of his life preparing
plans, pouring over architectural drawing, preparing the ritual and music for
the temple services, building articles and furnishing to be used in the temple
that was to be the home for this Ark. Yet, due to the fact that David was a
warrior and renown for his heroic acts, the Lord of hosts would not allow him
the privilege to build the temple. This honor would be given to his son,
Solomon. These valuable articles of antiquity written in this Mishnah were
part of the legacy of King David who prepared them for his son Solomon. They
77 tables of gold and golden wall
hangings revealed to Solomon from the walls of the Garden of Eden.
The golden overlay to the Temple of
Solomon plus an additional 7000 (7) talents of gold.
Gem stones that were used to build
the Temple. These were possibly gem cutting stones with the hardness of diamond
(hardness 10) and corundum (hardness 9).
Three rows of priceless stones. Each
row of stones were 7 cubits by 5 cubits
One row of Almogim trees.
The length of one Margalit (pearl?
gem? building stone?) was 10 cubits.
a hidden depository called Segal Habar,
we have another amazing inventory of treasures. The site and location of
these treasures is unknown to this date.
the tenth Mishnah, which we will read
later, there is on inventory “70 tables made of fine gold which stood beneath the Tree of Life in the Holy Garden (Garden of Eden). It clearly
identifies these tables as used for placing the showbread. What then is this first inventory, another 70
tables and 7 curtains, or is it 70 curtains and 7 tables or any mixture of the
in this document, we will see that the showbread on the ten Tables of Showbread
in the Temple of Solomon were replaced with new showbread every seventh-day
Sabbath (Shabbat). The older showbread, when it was removed from the tables of
showbread was taken to a table or maybe several tables in the courtyard for the
priests to eat. Any event, we do know that there were other tables on the
temple complex, which could be apart of this inventory.
other interesting treasures are the Margalit, which is reported to be 10 cubits
and the row of Almugim Trees.
The Garden of Eden
in the Temple of Solomon
the temples in the Middle East, whether Israelite, Canaanite, Sumerian,
Babylonia, or Egyptian were built on an ancient model of a Holy Place and a
Holy of Holiest and is well documented in the archeological findings. That this
model so permeates the most ancient of cultures suggest a common ancestry of
is of interest is that all the temples were built on a model that was
reflective of the Garden of Eden that was described in the first book of the
Torah, the Book of Genesis. It is well known that when Adam and Eve were
expelled from the garden, they were sent to the east and there at the gateway
to the garden a cherubim and a seraphim (flaming or writhing torch) guarded the
entrance. By inference, to return back into the Garden, where God resided they
had to go west. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
both stood in the middle of the garden of the garden.
also the temple of the Lord was built on the same model. The main entrance to
the temple complex was at the eastern gate, and in the Ezekiel temple, this
will be the gate in which the Lord of hosts will return to dwell in His
temple. At this entrance was the causeway that traversed the valley to the
Mount of Olives where the red heifer was slain.
enter the temple complex heading towards the Holy of Holiest where the Shekinah
Glory dwelt on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant one would have to
travel west. To leave the complex, one would have to travel east. At the
entrance to the middle of the temple complex was the Most Holy Place flanked by
two pillars, the pillar on the left was called Boaz, coming from a root of
uncertain meaning, and the pillar on the right Jachim, Yaw-keen, meaning, “It will establish.”
such, the throne of God, or His dwelling place was at the western end of
the Garden, so God’s dwelling place in
the Holy of Holies was in the western end of the temple complex. The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of
Good and Evil stood in the middle of the Garden near where the two pillars,
Boaz and Jachim stood at the entrance to the Holy Place. The courtyard of the
temple complex was the equivalence to the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve
tending plants and cared for the animals that the Lord of hosts gave to their
custody. Finally there was a river that flowed from the Garden, the River
of Eden, which Zechariah portrays in his
future prophecies that in a temple at the Time of the End a fountain that
will erupt from apparently the southern
wall of the temple and will flow to the eastern (Dead Sea) and the western (Mediterranean)
sea. The Emeq HaMelekh identifies this river or fountain to be the Gihon River
that will flow to the Euphrates River.
artistic descriptions of the Temple of Solomon have come down to us in the Holy
Writ, which envisions two major sections of the temple as seen by the priest
during their ministry. The Emeq HaMelekh now opens a new dimension in visual
understanding of this glorious temple.
was the ‘Garden of Eden’ as it relates
to the temple of Solomon? Within the complex of the Temple of Solomon it
appears that a beautiful Garden in inexpressible beauty was created. It was not a forested garden of plants like the
Hanging Garden of Babylon or gardens created by Solomon for his wife, but a
representation of the Garden of Eden completed with wall tapestries possibly
of natural and plant scenes created from woven
gold. Also within the garden were ornamental
trees carved out of almug, or red sandalwood and overlaid with Parvaim gold.
On these trees, carved ornamental fruit also from the almug tree were hung on
the tree representing fruit of all seasons. They were either clustered in
three row sections or laid out in a row of fruit trees like those lining a
street or boulevard.
first impression would be that the Garden of Eden was actually the Most Holy
Place. This would seem reasonable, though not very accessible to the ordinary Israelite;
it could be seen and enjoyed by those of the Levites and priests. On the other
hand, the typology would suggest that the Garden of Eden was in the courtyard.
If the wall hanging were woven of golden thread, they were be impervious to the
elements of nature, while the beauty of the ornamental fruit trees made of red sandalwood
and covered with gold.
was truly the wealth, architecture and exquisite design that legends are made
from. The wealth of Solomon though accepted by most scholars as legendary, now
come alive with these inventories of Solomon’s treasures in these Mishnahs.
Here we can visualize the glory and beauty of the Temple of the Lord built by
Solomon. Here we can visualize in stark literal reality scenic wonders that
greeted the eyes of the Israelite and the majesty of the entire temple complex
that filled the sensory system of the Israelite while he worshipped. He could
feast his eyes upon literal visual images carved in gold or woven in golden
tapestries as he dreamed of the ancient home of his ancestors, the Genesis
Garden of Eden. Yet, here resided the mystical yet real Temple of the Lord,
where the Throne of the Lord of hosts resided.
Margalit: The Margalit, in Hebrew is tylgrm, means “Pearl”
and is derived in the English name of Marjorie. A derivative of the name, Margola, coming from the Hebrew, alagram, actually means Margalit is an object of supreme importance to this
manuscript yet what it is no one seems to know with great certainty.
of this name is obscure, but assuredly it is Hebrew, and can mean pearl,
precious stone, Pearl of Beauty, gem, diamond cutter or daisy. The language
appears to be a part of several cultures but always associated with the Jewish
people: archaic Hebrew, Aramaic, medieval Yiddish, Portuguese, Spanish-Sephardic,
Greek or Byelo-Russian. There are a lot
of Jewish families called Margola or Margalit and various other derivatives
such as Margolies, Margoolies, Margulis, Margulies, Margulius, Margolin,
Margolas, Margolus, Margoles, and Margules. Whether this is due to the ancient
heritage of their forefathers being pearl divers, craftsmen or traders is not
fact a whole village in southern France is called Margolit, because so many
residents on the tax rolls were called Margolits. Near Caesarea and Castel in
the Judean Hills, is a wine house called Margolit, which produces 30,000
bottles of wine a year and considered by many wine lovers to operate the best
non-kosher boutiques in Israel.
When I posed the question of what was the ‘Margolit’ in the
Emeq HaMeleck to Vendyl Jones, the archeologist most responsible for bringing
the attention of this manuscript to the attention of the reading public, he expressed
that he was not sure, but his son Gershon Bar-Yonas, now living in Jericho,
readily replied, “The Margolit is a pearl. I named my daughter after it.”
let us return to the Emeq HaMelekh. Here we have a Margolit recorded to
be 10 cubits. One quickly reflects upon the
parable of Jesus on the Pearl of Great Price. (Matthew 13:46)
ancient traditions have come down to us
about references in the ‘Zohar’ about
the light within the Ark of Noah, which
is described it as a round globe, which emitted a light within its own power or a large pearl
in which a soft light spread throughout the ship.
I mentioned this to Gershon Bar-Yonas,
he reflected and stated, “It was not a pearl, but a sapphire.” Ancient legends are hard to account and to
dismiss. Even if the ancient world had a light source or a form of
electricity, how would we know about it today? I have over my head a convex
dome with fluorescent lights about four feet across which has the appearance of
a pearl. If a priest from the Temple of Solomon, as a time traveler from the
ancient past, walked into my study, would he look to the ceiling in my study
and say, ‘That’s a Margolit”?
was the purpose of the Margolit? We do not know. We only know that it was an
object of beauty with an inherent value like that of a gemstone. Was a pearl
even a recognized object of value in the ancient world? Let us look at an
ancient text, the Book of Jasher, from the time of Abraham and Nimrod, when Job,
a counselor in the court of Nimrod gave a
philosophical essay on the value of ‘wisdom’.
Job 28: 12-19 - “But
where can wisdom be found? And where is the pale of understanding? Man does
not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. The deep says,
‘It is not in me’; and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
“It cannot be purchased
for gold, nor can silver be weighed for its price. It cannot be valued in
the gold of Ophir. In precious onyx
(cornelian) or sapphire (lapis lazuli).
Neither gold nor crystal can equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewelry of fine gold. No
mention shall be made of coral (black coral) or pearl (alabaster), for the price of wisdom is above rubies
(red coral). The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure
word for pearl translated from Hebrew is gabiysh (gaw-beesh) (Strong’s 1378) which is an unusual root
suggesting freezing, like ice or a crystal, yet Strong’s dictionary translates
it as a pearl.
we think of a pearl with such immense dimensions, our mind gets a little
incredulous. Truly a pearl cannot be this big! So our natural tendency is to
spiritualize the description. Before we do, let us consider one more text.
This is a description of the New Jerusalem.
Revelation 21:21 - “The
twelve gates were twelve pearls, each
gate being made from a single pearl.
The streets of the city were of pure gold, like translucent glass.”
Is this city, the New Jerusalem a literal city? Is it just
a spiritual city or a ethereal figment of our imagination? Is you like I vote
for a literal city, even if it is in the fourth dimension, then God is capable of creating a pearl that is ten cubits
in size as well as gold that is translucent as glass.
Almogim - In this Mishnah
we are introduced to a special golden plated tree called the Almogim tree.
This is a unique word that is not found in the scripture. At the same time,
the trees called Almug and Almugim are spoken of and part of the imports by the sailing
expeditions of the sailors of the fleets of Hiram and Solomon that went out of
Ezion-Geber on the northern coast of the Red Sea.
the Bava Basra 80 (28 Sivan) is a
discussion of the Ravs on the types of cedar trees. These types included: Erez (cedar), Shitah (pine),
va'Hadas (myrtle), v'Etz Shemen (balsam),...Berosh (box tree), Tidhar (teak?),
u'S'ashur (?)"; but according to Rav Dimi, “also Alonim (pistachio),
Almonim (oak) and Almugim (coral).
Sea Marine Peace Park in the Gulf of Aqaba the most northerly coral reefs on
the planet. Co- Sponsored by Israel, Jordan and NOAA
So here we have our first hint. Coral,
as a plant product, was a native of the virgin waters of the Red Sea and with
its beauty, would have been recognized as a valued building stone. Coral today
is internationally renowned for its beautiful jewelry and many hues and colors.
We do know that coral is the basis of a lot of limestone depositions, which
was the basic building stone of the temple. Even to today, many people have
beautifully shaped corals as center pieces in their homes.
Not too far from Jerusalem, on the
Red Sea at Ezion-Geber are some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the entire
world. In fact this reef is the most northern reef on this planet earth.
Eliot and Ezion-Geber today are popular destinations for Israelis and
international scuba divers.
the reign of Solomon, ships were built at the port city of Eliot (Ezion Geber),
near the Biblical Ezion-Geber. There the Israeli - Phoenician fleets plied the
oceans of the world bartering for gold, peacocks, Almug (sandalwood). They
also went to the famed nation of Ophir to trade copper refined at Solomon’s
mines at Timna in the Sinai for gold.
Sea Marine Peace Park in the Gulf of Aqaba the most northerly coral reefs on
Sponsored by Israel, Jordan and NOAA
Mishnah states in its description that there was ‘one row of coral (Almugim)
trees’. Knowing well the strength and sturdiness as well as the beauty of the
coral plus coming in shades of black, red, blue and white, we can now imagine a
forest of coral trees used as decorations for the beauty for Temple of
Solomon. During the building of the temple, Solomon’s contractors and shipbuilders
were working at the same time on the Red Sea at Ezion-Geber. Did they have the
capacity to visualize the beauty of the reef under the water? And as such,
would it not be a source of great beauty to lines the halls with museum size
specimens of coral in multiple and vibrant colors and also plated fully or in
part with gold.
The Table of
Showbread or Tables in the Garden of Eden
of Showbread as seen in the Emeq HaMelekh
carries a new dimension with it in the descriptions associated with the Garden
of Eden and the Tree of Life. Placed on the northern wall of the Sanctuary
(Exodus 27:35) it was described in the Septuagint as a table of solid
gold. On the other hand, the table of
showbread made for the Mishkhan, the Wilderness Tabernacle under the
supervision of Moses and Bezaleel, according to the Torah was made of acacia
wood, two ells in length, one ell
in breadth and one and one-half ell in
height. It was then covered with pure gold and a golden rim or border was
placed around the top. The table was carried by two gold covered acacia rods
put through two rings on each side of the table.
transported with the attendant priests, it was covered by a purple-blue
covering cloth, then the loaves and vessels
were then placed on the purple-blue covering and a scarlet cloth was placed over them. Then on top of all this a water-proofed
seal skin cloth placed over the entire table.
the Mishkhan or the Sanctuary of Moses had one Table of Showbread in it, when the temple of Solomon was built, it had
ten tables of Showbread. (II Chron.
later, after the exile was over, and after new temple of Zerubbabel was built,
the land was once again overrun by the invasion military forces of Syrian
ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes IV. Along
with the desecration of the temple, called the Abomination of
Desolation, the golden table of showbread was
stolen from the temple along with all the other articles of furnishing, (1
Maccabees 1:23) but a new table were later remade by the artisans under Judas
Maccabees. (1 Maccabees. 4:49)
1 Maccabees. 1:22 - “In his arrogance, he entered the temple and carried off the golden altar, the lamp-stand with all its
equipment, the table for the Bread of the Presence, the sacred cups and bowls,
the golden censers, the curtain, and the crowns. He stripped off al the gold plating from the temple front. He seized
the silver, gold, and precious vessels, and whatever secret treasures he found,
and took them all with him when he left for his own country. He had caused
much bloodshed, and he gloated over all he had done.”
1 Maccabees. 4:49 - “They took unhewn stones, as the law commands, and built a new altar on the
model of the previous one. They rebuilt the temple and restored its interior, and consecrated the
temple courts. They renewed the sacred vessels and the land-stand, and brought the altar of incense and the table into the temple. They burnt incense on the altar and lit the lamps
on the lamp-stand to shine within the temple. When they had put the Bread of
Presence on the table and hung the curtains. All their work was
early on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, the month Kislev, in the year 148, sacrifice was offered as the law commands on the newly made altar of
dimensions of the Table of Showbread in
the Mishnah are identical to the dimensions of the 12 loaves of showbread as if
they were placed side by side over the entire table. Yet the picture in
Josephus suggests that six showbread were stacked in two separate stacks with
the dimensions of ten handbreadths long and five handbreadths wide. According
to Rabbi Akiba in dissent, the size was twelve handbreadths by six. In the space
between the two piles of showbread, the cups of incense were placed.
ventilating tubes placed beneath each
showbread, is an addition not mentioned in the Torah, which suggests that the
bread rested with no support on the table. (Men xi. 5) Yet according to the
Mishnah it claims that there were fourteen ventilating tubes for each stack of
bread. Each ventilating tube was like a hollow pipe split in two with the open
end of the pipe facing up.
the table of the showbread, four temple vessels were used, the “ke’arot”, the golden molds in which the bread was baked, the “kappot”
or hand-like bowls or plates. Then there was
the “bezikin” or container holding the frankincense, the “menakkiyyot” or the dippers, and the “kesawot” which some sages were used for the libations of wine while the Jerusalem and Samaritan Targumim state
that they were molds to cover the bread.
all the Gemara (Men. 97) suggests such a description. There were four fork-like
supports that went to the floor, two on each side, in which they extended above
the table of show bread. On the table itself, were fourteen half tubes, closed on one end that were fastened to each other
like a grate-like coaster. Three tubes
in a coaster went under each of the bottom four loaves and two tubes in a
smaller coaster on the upper two loaves. (Josephus, “B. J.” v. 5, § 5; "Ant." iii.
Gold Overlay used in the Temple of Solomon
and legends abound in the ancient literature abound in the beauty and the
wealth that was built into the structure of the temple. If one can express
beauty of the golden dome of the Moslem mosque, the Dome of the Rock, than can
you image the entire temple of Solomon begin overlaid with gold. The morning
and evening sun would glisten with the rays of the sun off the golden surface.
Whereas the ark of the covenant was designed as a capacitor box with an outer
and an inner layer of gold surrounding a box of shittim wood, so also the Inner
Shrine, the Holy of Holiest in the Temple of the Lord was built of cedar wood
and overlaid on the inside and the outside with gold. Yes, the Inner Shrine was
another Ark, built as an huge capacitor designed to store an enormous amount of
1 Kings 6:16 - “Then he
built the twenty-cubit room at the rear of the temple, from floor to ceiling,
with cedar boards; he built it inside as the
inner sanctuary, as the Most Holy Place.
advance of the anticipated advance of the Babylonian army, the priests and
Levites on the maintenance crew of the temple were no doubt frantically busy
stripping off the gold overlay that was
placed over the Temple of Solomon. This gold could have been placed in a safe
transport area, such as the Grotto or Genizah
under Solomon’s Temple, until Jeremiah and
the Temple worthies made plans to secretly store this gold away to prevent the
Babylonian armies from carrying off the gold as booty of war.
The gold overlay that was put on the outside of Solomon’s Temple
in this Mishnah is not calculated and there its quantity is unknown. No doubt
this would have been an immense amount of gold.
In addition to this unknown
quantity of gold there was also 7000 (7) talents
of gold bullion in reserves that was stored in this location.
Talents of gold bullion = 525 pounds = 0.26 tons = 6,300 troy ounces = $2.2
we evaluate the gold deposits we will be making conversions into to modern
monetary conversions. Here is our Monetary Conversion Table
Monetary Conversion Table
In the Hebrew system of measurement we have the following: The talent, mina,
shekel, Öpim, beka, and gerah.
Talent - 3000 shekels
Mina - 50 shekels (60 Babylonian) 1.260 pounds.
(‘to weigh’) 0.403
beka and gerah.
English system of measurement we have the following”
pounds = 12 troy ounces
English ton = 2000 pounds
and the Temple of
turquoise, in which each piece is so unique that it can be traced to a given
mine anywhere in the world, so the gold of ancients was mined and used in its
raw purity. Like the modern tri-colored golden jewelry, gold takes on a
different hue depending on the natural impurities and trace elements that are
mixed with it. In the ancient biblical account, and also in the Biblical record,
we know that the ancients understood the difference in the quality of gold.
and archeologists have puzzled over the various types and descriptions of gold.
The first indication of gold found in the Torah is called “Good Gold”. There in the remotest of antiquity, in the Garden
of Eden, the Pishon river which flowed from
the garden and encircled the land of Havilah. There in the Land of Havilah is where gold was found, and it was
“good” gold. (Genesis 2:11). This word in
Hebrew was called zahab (zaw-hawb)
coming from an (Strong’s 2091) unused root word, meaning to shimmer,
gold-colored (yellow). This same word is used for gold throughout scripture. This
was the gold that the wilderness sanctuary was built with no qualification of
type or origin.
within the construction of the Palace of Solomon, the House of the Forest of
Lebanon and the Temple of the Lord, we begin to get a differentiation of the
types of gold used. Of most interest to the Emeq HaMelekh is the usage of the
word, “Parvaim Gold”.
there was ‘pure gold’, that was used extensively throughout the temple of
Solomon, yet here in these Mishnahs are described the use of Parvaim gold.
What was Parvaim Gold? Only one time in the Old Testament is the use of Parvaim
gold recorded. When Solomon began the construction of the House of the Lord, he
used a special type of gold to be used in the Holy Place
II Chronicles 3:3-7 -
“This is the foundation which Solomon laid for building the house of God: The
length was sixty cubits (by cubits
according to the former measure) and the width twenty cubits. And the vestibule that was in front of the sanctuary was twenty cubits long
across the width of the house, and the height
was one hundred twenty. He overlaid
the inside with pure gold.”
“The larger room
(Holy Place) he paneled with cypress
which he overlaid with fine gold, and he
carved palm trees and chainwork on it.
And he decorated
the house with precious stones for beauty,
and the gold was gold from Parvaim. He also overlaid the house - the beams and
doorposts, its walls and doors - with gold; and he carved cherubim on
do note that “Parvaim” is truly a unique word in Hebrew, used only once in the scripture as noted above as lining
the interior decor of the Holy Place. The word comes from the Hebrew word, parvayim (Par-vah-yim) which refers to an oriental
region (Strong’s 6516). Yet this gold is not
called ‘pure gold’, but gold from the region of Parvaim.
was this gold differentiated from other gold. Notice that the house of God as
built by Solomon was one large room in which on the western end was a smaller
room, not as tall as the Holy Place, called the Holy of Holiest or the Inner
this gold from Parvaim the gold of Havilah or the gold of India that the River
Pishon encircled? This would be reasonable as the land of India in
ancient times and even more so today is known for its gold. The wealth of the individual inhabitants is
measured in the amount of gold they possess. The women of India are the
possessors of most of the gold, because the jewelry is part of the dowry and
remains in the possession of the bride. This is her insurance policy. So
today, the nation of India has the largest personal hoard of gold in the entire
there is another type of gold called “Pure Gold”. This was differentiated from regular gold, zahab, and appeared to be used in special types of
layering or ornamentation. This gold was called tahor (taw-hore), which in a physical, chemical
and ceremonial sense was pure and clean
(Strong’s 2889). This type of gold was to used in the Wilderness Sanctuary for
the ark of the covenant (Exodus 25:11),
the mercy seat (25:17), the table
of showbread (25:24), the dishes, pans,
pitchers, and bowls for pouring (25:29), the menorah
or beaten candlestick (25:31,36, 38-39), the holding
chains for the breast plate (25:14, 22), engraved
plate for the turban of the high priest
(28:36), and the altar of burnt incense
came for the construction of the Temple of Solomon, whereas the King’s James
Version states that ‘pure’ gold was
used in building or constructing specific parts of the temple or furnishings,
the New English Bible states that these were made of “Red Gold” and the Tanakh calls it “Solid Gold”. In reality, the Hebrew word is truly a different
word used in eight different usages called cagar (saw-gar) coming from a primitive root, having a
meaning to enclose with something pure.
was built that was so special that it was to be used by a physical and
ceremonially pure gold that is also called ‘Red’ or “Solid’ by some translators?
These special objects were the inside lining of the Holy Place (I Kings 6:21), the inside lining of the Holy
of Holiest (6:21), the golden lamp
stands (7:49, II Chronicles 4:20), the
basins, the trimmers, the bowls, the ladles, and the censers (7:50, II Chronicles 4:22), and the vessels
of the House of the Forest of Lebanon (10:21,
II Chronicles 9:20). Was this word meant to depict a type of pure gold that
was a different color or hue or was it a description of whether it was to
depict a solid as opposed to a gold laminate or covering? Of this group, the
only the lining of the Holy Place was designated as gold that came from
more, Solomon overlaid the entire exterior of the Temple of Solomon with gold
and even the carved cherubim on the outside walls. Yet the interior walls of
the Holy Place and the exterior and interior walls of the Holy of Holiest were
lined with “pure, red, solid” gold. In distinction, the exterior of the temple
was covered only with “gold”. It is interesting that all the vessels in the
Palace of Solomon were made of gold, where the vessels in the House of the
Forest of Lebanon were made of “pure, red, solid” gold. Once again, what is the
meaning of these various distinctions in the Hebrew for gold?
The Gold of Ophir is the most famous name for gold used in
the house of the Lord and vaulted Solomon as the richest man
in the world with the successful peril-oceanic sea voyages to Ophir for gold,
algum trees, and precious stones.
I Kings 9:28 - Then Hiram sent his servants
with the fleet, seamen who knew the sea, to work with the servants of Solomon. And
they went to Ophir, and acquired four hundred and twenty talents of gold from
there, and brought it to King Solomon.
I Kings 10;11 - “The ships of Hiram, which brought
gold form Ophir, brought great quantities of almug wood and precious stones
I Kings 22:48 - “Jehoshaphat made
merchant ships to go to Ophir for gold; but they never
sailed, for the ships were wrecked Ezion Geber. Then Ahaziah the son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat,”Let
my servants go with your servants in the ships.” But Jehoshaphat would not.”
I Chronicles 29:4 - “I (King David) have set my
affection on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and
above all that I have prepared for the
holy house, my own special treasure of gold and silver: three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses; the gold for
things of gold and the silver for things of silver, and for all kinds of work
to be done by the hands of craftsmen. Who then is willing consecrate himself
this day to the Lord?
3000 talents of gold = 225,000 pounds -
112.5 tons =
2.7 million troy ounces = 8.235 billion
2 Chronicles 8:18 - “And Hiram sent him ships by the hand of his servants, and servants who knew the sea. they went
with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and acquired
four hundred and fifty talents of gold from there, and brought it to King
talents of gold = 33,750 pounds = 16.875 tons =
troy ounces = 1.42 billion dollars.
2 Chronicles 9:10 - “Also, the servants of Hiram and
the servants of Solomon, who brought gold from Ophir, brought algum wood and precious stones.
Job 22:24 - “Then you will lay your gold in the dust, and the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks.
Yes, the Almighty will be your gold and your precious silver; for then you will
have your delight in the Almighty.
Psalms 45:9 - This song set to the music of ‘The
Lilies” was a song of love. It was to the Chief Musician, a contemplation of
the sons of Korah. Here is described the opulence of a Near Eastern royal
wedding, with spices, royal persons from other countries and gorgeous wedding
The Song for the coming
King Messiah (Anointed One) and His bride
throne, O God is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of
Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your
God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions. All
Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia, our of the ivory
palaces, by which they have made You glad. Kings’ daughters are among Your
honorable women; at Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.
Isaiah 13:12 - “I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, a man more than the
golden wedge of Ophir.”
- Judgments upon all nations symbolic of Babylon.
Yet where was Ophir. It appeared to be a place famous for
its gold as noted in the texts above. In the LXX, this word is rendered “Sophir” and “Sofir”, which is actually the Coptic name for the land of India, which is also, reflected the same in the Vulgate and the
Arabic version. In Josephus, he identifies Ophir with the Golden Chersonese or
the peninsula of Malay. This is generally recognized with Abhira at the mouth
of the Indus River in India.
Actually the word, India, was not used in scripture until
the Book of Esther (Esther 1:1 and 8:8, which depicted the extent of the
farther reaches of the eastern border of the Persian Empire. This was the land
surrounding the Indus River, the Punjab region and not the Hindustan peninsula
of India. It appears at least after the Babylonian and Persian experience, the
land of India carried on a thriving trade with the land of Judea. (Ezekiel 27:
It was Herodotus in his book, The
History of the Persian Wars, III.106, written about 430 BCE, he wrote:
“It seems as if the extreme regions of the earth were
blessed by nature with the most excellent productions, just in the same way
that Hellas enjoys a climate more excellently tempered than any other country. In
India, which, as I observed lately, is the furthest region of the inhabited
world towards the east, all the four-footed beasts and the birds are very
much bigger than those found elsewhere, except only the horses, which are
surpassed by the Median breed called the Nisaean. Gold too is produced there
in vast abundance, some dug from the earth, some washed down by the rivers,
some carried off in the mode which I have but now described. And further,
there are trees which grow wild there, the fruit whereof is a wool exceeding in
beauty and goodness that of sheep. The natives make their clothes of this tree-wool.”
The land of India, ancient Ophir, to this day lives up to
her ancient and legendary image. According to a recent report,
the citizens of India possess approximately 29,000 tons of gold. Only 400 tons
of gold is held in public reserves by the government, yet the biggest bulk,
28,600 tons are held in private possessions by the Indian people themselves. In
2001, India imported according to public documents about $3 billion in gold.
Yet the name Ophir was known since the days of Noah and
Ophir was associated also with Havilah. The sons of Noah were Japheth, Shem
and Ham. The descendants of Shem who were forefathers of Abraham were Arphaxad à Selah à Eber (where the name Hebrew comes
form) à Peleg and
These lives of these two brothers are fascinating in the
history of earth changes or catastrophes. In Genesis 10:25
it states, “the name of one was Peleg,
for in his days the
was divided, and his
brother’s name was Joktan.” In the name of Peleg, whose name
means “watercourse” or “Division” we see at Peleg’s birth the watercourse rushing into the oceans
under the continents as the earth began to split. Here was the beginning of the separation of the continents of the earth from one continent
land of Eden, known by geologists as Pangea, the earliest single land mass on
this earth. Yet at the death of Peleg the
Tower of Babel collapsed
as civilization at Babel confronted the Lord of hosts, the Elohim. At this
time the continents began to separate and families and tribes living on each
continental masses were separated from each other.
The genealogies of the nations continue, when we see the
sons of Joktan.
Genesis 10:26-30 - “And Joktan begat Almodad, Shelph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,
Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba,
Ophir, Havilah and
Jobab. All these were the sons of Joktan. And their dwelling place was from Mesha (Media) as you go toward Sephar,
the mountain of the east.”
What is of interest, the Queen of Sheba was a descendant
of Joktan of the House of Shem, Arphaxad, Salah, and Eber. So also Ophir
and Havilah were of the same genealogical tree. They were all Hebrews,
or of the House of Eber, as were the children of Israel, though through
It is interesting that we identify the Queen of Sheba with the
legendary kingdom of Sheba in the Yemeni province of Marib. Here
archeologists are excavating a 10th century temple build during the
reign of Balgis, the Queen of Sheba, according to Arabic traditions, which
according to scholars was restricted only to the elite in the land. To the
east about 1.8 miles, in Aswam, is also the Moon temple also built in
the thriving kingdom of Sheba.
The Temple of
Balgis, 10th century Queen of Sheba
Also the land of Saba (Sheba) is right across the Red Sea
from Ethiopia, where history records the second most prominent home for the
Queen of Sheba, in ancient Ethiopia. Here we have by tradition, the birth of Meneyelek,
born to Makeda, the Queen of Sheba and Solomon. This history of the
Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia is recorded in the translation of the Kebra Nagast by Sir.
E. A. Wallis Budge, the famous archeologist of Egypt.
The legendary abduction of the Ark of the Covenant to the
land of Ethiopia according to the Kebra Nagast was done by Meneyelek and it is
presently residing in Axum in Ethiopia. To date, there is no one except the
guardian of the Temple of Axum who has seen what is reputed to be the Ark of
the Covenant. The tale of the Queen of Sheba as the wife of Solomon is the
exotic story that has created vivid images for generations over thousands of
years. This story along has made its prominent mark in three Holy Books, the
Hebrew Bible, the Ethiopian Kebra Nagast and the Holy Koran
In the biblical account, the Queen of Sheba, the Queen of
Sheba came on a expedition of commerce, but also hearing:
I Kings 10:1-2 - “the fame
of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard
question. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that
bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to
Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart.”
The description of the house of Solomon and the
conduct of his palace is interesting. It is fascinating what impresses people.
To the queen of Sheba, the conduct of the palace, the relationship of the king
to his people and importance of how the king approached the God in which he
served so moved this queen.
I Kings 10:4-5 - “And when
the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he
had built, the goods on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of
his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he
went up to the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her.”
And so Balgis or Makeda, the queen of Sheba and Ethiopia
gave to Solomon:
I Kings 10:10 - “…one hundred and twenty talents
of gold, spices in great quantity, and precious stones. There never
again came such abundance of spies as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.”
120 talents of gold = 9000 pounds = 4.5
108,000 troy ounces = $37.8 million
archeologists are digging in the Marib oasis for clues to the ancient
history of the Sabeaean dynasty that built an agrarian culture, plus
temples and great houses. What is of interest is that all of the South
Arabian Kingdom began as theocracies.
of Saba was the dominate culture in South Arabia for about two thousand
years. A large dam, the Marib Dam was built to pool the waters of the
seasonal floods and become the source of life to a large and complex irrigation
system that fed and sustained over 30,000 inhabitants. The Sabeaneas were
known as supreme traders of the ancient world for they were located at
the junctions of the trade routes between the east and the west. The camels
were domesticated about 1800 B.C.E. as well as the Arabian horse,
and with both, they could travel great distances across arid deserts. In 60
- 70 days the Sabeaean trade caravans could travel from Qana on the Indian
Ocean to Gaza on the Mediterranean Sea. Here the “Gold and Incense Road”
was protected as a sustenance of all the kingdom along its route. Incense,
grown in the farther reaches of lower Hadhramaut in the East was used in
thousands of pounds a year in the temples of the Mediterranean and the
with incense, the Sabaean merchants transported ebony, silk, fine textiles
from India, animal skins, feathers, gold and rare woods from East Africa.
By the 1st century A.D., the era of the Sabaean merchants was over.
The great Marib Dam finally collapsed about 570 A.D. according to Arab
Was the gold
of Ophir and the gold of Havilah the same? Chances are they are regions of
India inhabited by close genetic cousins. Was there a family dynasty that
controlled the gold and spice road throughout the generations in the families
of Sheba, Ophir and Havilah?
do know is that the story of the Queen of Sheba is the link of two great
people, the King and the Queen of two great empires, who met in one moment of
time and left their legacy of love and dynastic power in the archives of great
stories and legends of the world. There was one difference than most other
dynastic romances, they both learned to love the God of Abraham, Isaac and
I Kings 10:6-9 - “Then she said to the king: “It was a
true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom.
However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed
the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which
I heard. Happy are your men and happy are these you servants, who stand
continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who
delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord has
loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and
Gem stones that were used to build the Temple
9 carat Hermitage Diamond of the 16th century depicts the simple cut
of three triangular facets on each pyramidal side. Loaned Hermitage State
Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
is easy to overlook this hoard of gemstones, thinking that they are an
inventory of stones in which the ancients had placed a economic or cultural
value. We must not forget that stones to the ancients also had significant
mystical value. How to appraise these stones today would be very difficult if
we used the modern standard of gemology to them as the modern symbolic meanings
given to gems are more attached to ego and economics status rather than
mystical religious symbolism or attributes of personality.
gemstones in the ancient world in their
value as a technological tool is only in recent years been appreciated as their
imprints in ancient technology is being understood by the modern archeologist
coupled with the historian, the ancient art curator and the translator of
ancient manuscripts. The earliest known reference to the diamond, the hardest
mineral in the world was found in a Sanskrit document called the Arthasastra
("The Lesson of Profit") by Kautiliya, a minister to Chandragupta of
the Mauryan dynasty in northern India. This
manuscript is dated to 320-296 BCE. It states:
"(a diamond that
is) big, heavy, capable of bearing blows, with symmetrical points, capable of scratching (from the inside) a (glass) vessel (filled with
water), revolving like a spindle and brilliantly
shining is excellent. That (diamond) with
points lost, without edges and defective on one side is bad."
the ancient Indians described brilliantly the process of faceting and the value assigned to facets, points and
brilliants in a fine diamond octahedron.
so, no diamonds have been found in any ancient archeological site. Yet what have
been found are the technological imprints of diamonds in the culture of the
ancient world. Holes in beads that are worn for purposes of personal jewelry
have been found throughout the ancient world.
that use twin diamonds, as shown in the left photo, leave concentric grooves in
the holes formed in hardstone beads, as shown in the right photo. The
concentric grooves are characteristic of the use of a twin-diamond drill (American Museum of
holes have what is called the ‘diamond footprint’ with concentric grooves left
by a twin-diamond drill. These marking are unique and cannot be replicated by
any modern or ancient drilling technique. The work of the archeologists as
discovered in the ornamental beads found with human remains have been found in
the lands of India, Thailand, Yemen, Sri Lanka and Egypt. They all show
conclusive evidence of twin-diamond drills as late as 700 CE and as early as
the 4th century BCE in Yemen, the possible ancient land of Sheba.
power of gems upon the ancient minds is legendary. The legends of the man
searching for a precious gem are found in the literature of every ancient
culture. The ancient Indian culture was the first to take the value of the
diamond and the record of its meaning to their culture and life
by Buddha Bhatta is best known for its 6th-century BCE insight into the
value of gems and the myths in their culture of legendary powers of gemstones.
To the Indian, the diamond octahedron was a gem highly valued.
who, having pure body always carries a diamond with sharp points,
without blemish, free from all faults; that one, as long as he
lives, knows each day will bear some things: happiness, prosperity, children,
riches, grain, cows and meat. He who wears [such] a diamond will see
dangers recede from him whether he is threatened by serpents, fire, poison,
sickness, thieves, flood or evil spirits."
The diamond with the most prized
value flashed a dispersion of light into a rainbow of colors.
if it has blunt points, if it has a speck, a crack, the diamond that has the
reflection of the rainbow procures wealth, grain and sons. The king
who carries, so it is said, a beautiful diamond with glittering flashes
has a force that triumphs over all other powers and becomes master of all
Again to the ancient Indian, the
diamond was supreme, not only because of its beauty and the brilliant radiance
of its color, but because of its hardness and durability.
gems and the metals that exist on earth are all scratched by the diamond:
the diamond is not (scratched) by them. A noble substance scratches that
which is noble and that which is not; the diamond scratches even the ruby.
The diamond scratches all and is not scratched by any."
the base of Mount Sinai, the art of gemology was instilled in the consciousness
of the ancient Israelites. Because there is a bias against the antiquity of
the Torah, most scholars do not give it the same respect and credibility as
they would a similar Sanskrit Indian manuscript. Yet as BibleSearchers, we
have respect for the antiquity of the knowledge and industry of the Hebrews and
recognize that in the 15th century, the art of faceting and
engraving gemstones was an art and technology known to the fleeing captives
from the land of Egypt. They were the industrial and technological powerhouse
of the Old Dynasty of Egypt.
the Sanctuary of the Congregation was being constructed in the Sinai wilderness
in the 16th century BCE, the most ancient recorded assembly of
engraved and possibly faceted stones was created and recorded.
the Book of Exodus, the Breastplate of the High Priest, called the Cohen Gadol,
contained one stone that was white or colorless and called µwlhy or
the 3rd century BCE when the Hebrew scriptures was codified by Ezra
the Scribe, this word, meaning ‘smiter’
was translated to ‘adamas’ in Greek
meaning ‘indomitable’. Many have
thought this to be a diamond.
the gemology historian, this produces a problem. The size of the stones on the
breastplate would indicate that the diamond would be measured in inches, a
stone of incredible rarity and value. The next problem is that the name of one
of the tribes of Judah was engraved on this stone and diamonds, the hardest
stone on earth cannot be engraved. To the historians at the American Museum of
Natural History, their third problem is the most serious. “The text (in the Torah)
precedes knowledge of diamond outside of India.” As such “yahalom” is translated as onyx, a milky white stone, used for pressing engraved images into clay seals.
needs to be discussed is that the gemstone that was used to engrave the
name of the sons of Judah on the twelve stones in the Breast Plate of the Cohen
Gadol was probably a diamond. Once again, we
have to give the Israelites the same credibility as we do the Indians, the
Sumerian and any other ancient culture. It was the diamond that was used to
The twelve stones on the breastplate
of the High Priest. (The
now know the trade routes of the ancient gemstones between Orient and the
Greco-Roman world. During this era, the word, ‘adamas’, became part of the lexicon of the Romans, about
100 CE, as known in the writings of Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE) during the last
days of the Herodian kingdom of Judea, and by the evidence of engraved
sapphires (hardness of 9) which have to be engraved
by diamonds and the talismanic diamond rings.
Theophrastus (372-322 BCE), Plato’s student who wrote the
treatise, De lapidibus, meaning “On Stones” uses the Greek word adamas
referring to emery, which in this
instance was felt to be corundum, the chemical of rubies and sapphires, the next hardest mineral to diamonds.
Yet it was Pliny the Elder,
author of the encyclopedia of the ancient world, Historia naturalis, who wrote
before his death in the flames and ashes of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius,
substance that possesses the greatest value, not only among precious
stones, but of all human possessions, is adamas; a mineral which for a
long time, was known to kings only, and to very few of them...These
stones [diamonds] are tested upon the anvil, and will resist the blow to
such an extent as to make the iron rebound and the very anvil split
particles (diamond bits) are held in great request by engravers, who enclose
them in iron, and are enabled thereby, with the greatest facility, to cut
the very hardest substances known."
The art of engraving sapphires,
cameos, and intaglios by the Romans in the first century can now be recognized
as being a secondary product of diamond engraving points. It was from the Roman
engraver that we had a reverse trade route, for the art of engraving now went
back east clear to China, where its references to diamonds is in the possession
of the Roman scribes. The Chinese main interest was to utilize the diamond to
make the priceless ancient jade engravings, and to use diamonds for drill bits
for beads and pearls.
Temple of Solomon with Precious Stones
This now get us to this present
Mishnah, we are introduced to the “precious stones with which the Temple was
built”. This is a strange statement. We consider precious stones for
their beauty, rarity and evidence of social status, but rarely do we consider
the ‘precious stones’ for their utilitarian value.
To date I have not heard nor read
of any author investigating the technological value of gemstones such as
corundum or diamonds to be used in the building and construction of the Temple
of Solomon. Extreme and rigid requirements were placed on the construction of
Prior to the actual building of
the Temple of Solomon, all the major pre-construction preparation were done in
Kings 5:127-18 - “And the king commanded
and they brought great stones, costly stones and hewed stones,
to lay the foundation of the house. And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s
builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared
timber and stone to build the house.
Kings 6:7 - “And the house, when it was in
building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither:
so that here was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the
house, while it was in building.”
Consider seriously the
implications of building an edifice without any iron or hammers. Large and
massive building stones were lifted and set in place in which the alignment was
determined in advance. The large massive doors of brass were lifted into place
on hinges without the use of a hammer. The walls were engraved with reliefs of
cherubim and pomegranates without the use of any iron. The wooden ceiling,
banisters and porticoes was fitted and embellished with the finest of
craftsmen’s art without the plane or saw or hammer. Yet they had precious
stones in which they could build the temple.
The whole passage in the Book of
Kings suggests that there was a certain dignity and quietness, a decorum that
was to be maintained as the contractors and the artisans could feel the
presence of the Lord in the House that they were constructing. There was to be
a spirituality of the Presence. They were not to hear the pounding or banging
of instruments of iron. Was the literalness of the message also to have a
spiritual connection? Yet within the House of the Lord, there was no
injunctions of the Lord against the humming of diamond drill bits as they
cut, polished and finished off the massive limestone walls, or trimmed the
edges of the cedars of Lebanon, or engraved the wood on the porticoes, or drill
holes into the limestone to set beams and stabilize pillars, to embellish the
trimming on the ceilings of the Holy Place, place engraved images on the Molten
Sea or on the large doors that entered into the temple proper. Is it not time
to consider that Solomon with all his wisdom and wealth also had access to
technology that we think are modern, only to someday know that the ancients
were using them too?
The Magical Worm,
the Shamir, that cut and engraved stone
Sometime one has to go to the world
of legends to find the revelation of truth. The sages of the Hebrews puzzled
long over the apparent difficulty of building the grandeur of the temple of
Solomon without the known building tools of the iron chisel and hammer. Yet the
very use of these instruments was forbidden by the Lord of hosts. In the
Pesikta Rabbati 6, 28a, it was also revealed that a hidden technology for
moving large stones was also known to the ancients.
Pesikta Rabbati 6, 28a - The stones moved of
their own accord; they flew and rose up by themselves, setting themselves
in the wall of the Temple and erecting it."
puzzled on how the temple of the Lord would be built without these building
instruments. The altar and the temple were to be an emblem of peace while the
tools of iron had been corrupted as instruments of war, death and destruction.
The Shamir with Moses
According to Rabbi Judah, we have
the Legend of the Shamir.
Solomon learned of an amazing little worm, no bigger than the grain of a barley
that could cut through any stone on earth. It was better than the sharpest iron
instrument known. Solomon also learned that Moses also used this ‘worm’ in
order to engrave the ten commandments on the stone that Yahweh had entrusted to
him. Since that day, the ‘worm’ was kept in the custody of the demon Ashamed,
the Prince of the Sea, who in turn kept it in the safe custody of the hoopoe
bird (or woodcock).
In the Mishnah Avon 5:6, the
Shamir was created on the sixth day of creation and was given to the
hoopoe-bird (woodcock) who kept it in her custody throughout the ages in the
Garden of Eden. This marvelous bird would on occasion take this worm and carry
it across the earth, carrying it tightly in her beak, letting it down only to
create a fissure on a desolate mountain peak so that the seeds of plants and
trees could sprout and provide her food.
When the Israelites were camped
near Mount Horeb/Sinai, the Lord brought the Shamir and gave it to Bezaleel to
engrave the names of the twelve tribes on the twelve stones of the breastplate
of the high priest, Aaron. Then the Lord gave it back to the custody of the
hoopie-bird. Here she kept it in a leaden box, with fresh barley, wrapped in a
woolen cloth. That is until Solomon needed it to build the Temple of the Lord
in Jerusalem. Since that day, the Shamir has been lost.
As with all good rabbinic Talmudic
debates, there was always a dissent. Judah R. Nehemiah claimed that the stones
were quarried and then brought to the temple in a finished condition for the
building of the temple. It appears that Rabbi Nehemiah’s argument carried the
debate as most scholars today believe this also to be true.
most Talmudic arguments were debated during the Roman imperial rule. In Latin,
the Shamir was known as smirks corundum, the substance of
sapphires and rubies and the hardest known gem next to the diamond.
The substance of legends has a kernel of truth and now we know the ‘rest of
This story took tremendous play in
the middle ages and was retold by Ellen Frankel in The
Classic Tales: 4.000 Years of Jewish Lore, Publ. Jason Aronson, 1996. It is
also found in English language sources: Ginsburg, Legends of the Jews I, 66-69
and the Hebrew sources in Pirkei Avot 5:6; Sifre Deut. (ed. Friedmann), 355;
Midrash Tannaim 219; B. Pesahim 54a; Avot de Rabbi Natan 37, 95; Pirke de Rebbe
Eliezer 19; Tosefta Sotah 15:1-Bavli 48b; Yerushalmi 9, 20d.
Maybe within the hoard of the
treasures of Solomon’s temple, we will find evidence of the technological
sophistication, such as diamond drills, diamond and corundum bit saws that
scholars have long felt did not exist in the 11th century BCE.
The Prophet Jeremiah and the Five Guardians of Solomon’s Temple Treasures
The Emeq HaMelekh – The Story of the Five Hebrew Priests who Hid the Treasures of Solomon’s Temple
Go to Part One – “The Emeq Ha Melekh (Valley of the Kings) - The Hebrew Account of Hiding the Ark, the Sanctuary and the Treasures of Solomon’s Temple”
Go to Part Two – “The Hiding of the Ark, the Furnishings and the High Priest Garments with the Sanctuary of the Congregations”
Go to Part Three – “The Copper Scroll, the Anointing Oil, the Temple Incense and the Ashes of the Red Heifer”
Go to Part Four – “The Exile of Judah and Babylon the City of Wonders - Section One”
Go to Part Five – “Babylon, the City of Wonders – Section Two”
Go to Part Six – “Baghdad, the 49 Lamped Menorah, Bread Molds, and the Table of Showbread”
Go to Part Seven – “The Garden of Eden, the Margalit Pearl, Almugim Trees, Golden Tables of Showbread and Industrial Gemstones”
Go to Part Eight – “Industrial Gems, Golden Trees, The Tree of Life, the Guardian Angel of Solomon’s Temple”
Go to Part Nine – “The Cosmic Golden Curtains”
Go to Part Ten – “The Garments of the Priests, Levites and the High Priest”
Go to Part Eleven – “The Harps and Lyres of King David”
Go to Part Twelve – “Treasures at Ein Kahal, in a Wall at Babylon And at Tel Bruk where the Willow Tree was in Babylon”
Go to Part Thirteen – “The Twelve Stones for the Tribes of Israel, David, son of David, a righteous king over Israel and the Gihon River at the Final Restoration of Israel”
Credits and Links:
Babylon and the Exile
of the Jews by Robert D. Mock MD
that will erupt from the Temple Mount by Robert D. Mock MD
Jones Research Institute Sites
Vendyl Jones Research Institute Home
Emeq HaMelekh by the Vendyl Jones
A Door of Hope
by the Vendyl Jones Research Institute
for Beauty--The Mysterious Ashes of the Red Heifer by Jim Long
The Gate Between
Two Walls, by Vendyl Jones
Vendyl Jones and the Ark of the
Covenant by Gerard Robins
Temple Mount Sites
The Temple Institute on recreation
the Furnishing for the New Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple Menorah
and vessels for New Temple of Jerusalem
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem
by the Temple Mount Organization
The Gihon Springs Temple Site by Ernest Martin
Emeq HaMelekh Sites
Emeq HaMelekh by the Vendyl Jones
The Temple and the Copper
Scrolls by the Order of the Nazorean Essenes
HaMelekh and the Ark in King Tut’s Tomb by Emeq HaMelekh by the Vendyl Jones
The Treasures in
the House of the Lord by Lambert Dolphin
The Table of Showbread
Images of Egypt
the Temple Bakers by Jewish Encyclopedia
the Showbread by Jewish Encyclopedia
of Showbread by the Jewish Encyclopedia
Age Baking by National Geographic and Harvard
The Almugim Tree
Life: Plant Lore and Image in the Solomonic Writings by Lytton John
The Algum Tree for King Solomon’s Temple by The Ancient Grove and
Basra by Rabbi P. Feldman and Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
The Margaliot Pearl
Etymology of the Margaliot by A. Margolis in France
Pearl, Queen of Gems
by Virtual Sri Lanka
Faceted and Engraved
Gemstones in the Ancient World
of the High Priest by the Temple Institute
The History of Gemstones
in the ancient world by the American Museum of Natural History
"Ratnapariksa" by Buddha Bhatta
sixth century BCE description of faceted
Ancient History of Diamonds and Gems by the American Museum of Natural History
Legend of the stone eating worm,
the Shamir by Jewish Heritage Online
Gems and Stone in Hebrew
Legends by Jewish Heritage Online
Solomon and the gold of
Sheba, and the land of India
Reserves by ICPD
King Solomon’s Navy by
and Ships of Ancient Egypt by Artsales
Sheba’s Temple Restored by BBC News
scans the world for information that has relevance on the time of the
end. It is our prayer that this will allow the believers in the Almighty
One of Israel to “watch and be ready”. Our readiness has nothing to do
trying to halt the progression of evil on our planet earth. In our
readiness, we seek to be prepared for the coming of the Messiah of Israel so
that goodness and evil will be manifested in its fullest. Our preparation
is a pathway of spiritual readiness for a world of peace. Our defender is
the Lord of hosts. The time of the end suggests that the Eternal One of
Israel’s intent is to close out this chapter of earth’s history so that the
perpetrators of evil, those that seek power, greed and control, will be
eliminated from this planet earth. The wars of the heavens are being
played out on this planet earth and humans will live through it to testify of
the might, power, justice and the love of the God of Israel. In a world
of corruption and disinformation, we cannot always know what the historical
truth is and who is promoting evil or mis-information. We cannot
guarantee our sources but we will always seek to portray trends that can be
validated in the Torah and the testimony of the prophets of the Old and the New
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