King Solomon’s Mines Discovered: Kings and Pharaohs - Part I
Have King Solomon's Mines really been discovered? Yes, indeed. In fact, they have been known about for centuries, and modern archaeological work on them started way back in the early 19th century. But the site’s true significance has never been realized before, and so their role in biblical and popular history has never been fully understood. And that lacuna in our understanding has stemmed from one fundamental problem—we still do not know who King David and King Solomon really were, nor where their capital city was. And so before we can find the legendary gold mines of these famous monarchs, we need to find their true identity.
Mystery Men: King David and King Solomon
How can this be, readers may well ask—how can the identities of King David and King Solomon be 'unknown'?
Well, one of the primary problems for Judaeo-Christian theologians is the disturbing reality that the most celebrated kings of Judaic history, cannot be found in the historical record. While that may sound unlikely, recent archaeology in this region by professors Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman has demonstrated that Judaea was very sparsely populated during the United Monarchy era, while Jerusalem itself was ‘little more than a village’.
So the central problem that bedevils all historical research into the United Monarchy is obvious: the Tanakh (the Old Testament) describes an influential nation and a wealthy society that simply could not have existed in this early era. Kings David and Solomon were supposed to have been the most influential and wealthiest monarchs in the entire region, who had subordinate monarchs paying them tribute in gold and spices, and yet the archaeology says this is impossible. So how did the Jewish people manage to 'mislay' the region's most famous monarchs? The only conclusion that archaeologists can logically come to, is that the Tanakh is a complete fiction and kings David and Solomon did not exist.
Painting illustrating David, King of Israel. ( Public Domain )
The cultural and religious solution to this controversial problem is to tiptoe around these troublesome archaeological findings, and pretend that they do not exist. However, a logical alternative is that we are either looking in the wrong era or the wrong location for the United Monarchy, and so the solution to this perennial problem actually lies in Egypt. And while this may sound like a bizarre suggestion, it does actually make a great deal of sense.
- The Ethiopian Gold Mine that may have supplied the Queen of Sheba with her riches
- The Legendary Queen of Sheba and Her Iconic Visit with King Solomon
- Does newly-translated Hebrew text reveal insights into King Solomon’s treasures?
Josephus Flavius, the first century Jewish historian, said that the ancient Israelites were the Hyksos pharaohs of Egypt, a story that I cover in some detail in my book Tempest & Exodus . So, originally the Israelites were an almost fully Egyptianized people, which is why they were joined on the Exodus by Apis-bull worshippers.
But what if some of these Hyksos-Israelite refugees did not go all the way to Jerusalem, or came back to Egypt in later generations? They would then be almost indistinguishable from the Egyptian 21st dynasty, which was likewise founded by immigrants.
The Third Intermediate Period of the 21st and 22nd dynasties is said to have been ruled by Meshwesh immigrants from Libya. And yet these immigrant Meshwesh were remarkably Egyptianized in both culture and religion, almost as if they had previously been exiled from Egypt. And so the possibility exists that there has been a slight confusion here. The Meshwesh and the Israelites are the same people—previous exiles from Egypt—and they did not establish their primary capital city at Zion (Jerusalem), but instead they built it at Zoan (Tanis) in the Nile Delta.
Fig 1. One of the temples at Tanis, in the Nile Delta. Was this the original Temple of Solomon? (Photo R Ellis.)
Biblical Kings and Historical Pharaohs
But if the Israelites were the Meshwesh, then the biblical history of the United Monarchy should be directly comparable to the equivalent history of the 21st and 22nd dynasties of Egypt, whose pharaohs ruled at the same time as the biblical kings. This has been deemed impossible and unthinkable, which is why it has been dismissed out of hand and never investigated. However, since I don't mind going out on a limb, I compared these 'two' royal dynasties, and was surprised to find a great number of similarities between them. For instance, the following table compares the pharaohs of the twenty-first dynasty with the equivalent ancestors of King David: