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The mysterious whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant has long captured the attention of archaeologists and treasure-seekers alike.

The Lost and Coveted Treasures of King Solomon

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In the Hebrew Bible, the third king of Israel, Solomon, is depicted as a wise, powerful, and immensely wealthy king, who ruled between 965 BC and 925 BC.  It is written that he reigned over a prosperous empire and commissioned magnificent palaces and fortresses in Jerusalem, also building the first temple to store the legendary Ark of the Covenant, a gilded case believed to hold the original Ten Commandments as handed down to Moses by God. But when his Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 597 and 586 BC, it is said that the Ark and his other treasures disappeared, never to be seen of again.

The Treasures of King Solomon

In historical records, Solomon is portrayed as a king with an extreme amount of wealth. For example, in the Book of Kings I (one of the two biblical books from which most of our knowledge of Solomon is derived, the other being Chronicles II ), it is written that,

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, / Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country.

Additionally, it has also been recorded that,

King Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target. / And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. / Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.… / And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon…. / So King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.

The great wealth of Solomon has led many to believe that there is a great treasure hidden somewhere, awaiting its discovery. Yet, the exact contents of this ‘treasure’ are rather uncertain, and may range from gold and silver objects to the long coveted Ark of the Covenant.

The rich and powerful King Solomon with the Queen of Sheba, oil on canvas painting by Edward Poynter, 1890

The rich and powerful King Solomon with the Queen of Sheba, oil on canvas painting by Edward Poynter, 1890 ( public domain )

The Treatise of the Vessels

In a Hebrew text called the ‘Treatise of the Vessels’, which was translated into English around two years ago, Solomon’s ‘treasure’ includes the coveted Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle, gold musical instruments, and the vestment of the high priest.

Other possible objects from the ‘Treasure of Solomon’ can be found in the numerous legends surrounding this king. One such legend speaks of Solomon being in possession of a seal ring on which the name of God was engraved. With this magical ring, Solomon was able to command demons to do his bidding.

King Solomon's Ring - Designed be the Artist David Weitzman

Solomon’s Golden Table

Another artifact belonging to Solomon is his table, which appears in a story surrounding the Islamic conquest of Iberia. In this story, the governor of Morocco, Musa Ibn Nasyr, was in command of the invading force, and ordered Tariq Ibn Ziyad, one of his Berber vassals, to lead the vanguard. Tariq’s landing place, incidentally, is what is now known as Gibraltar (this name is said to be the Spanish derivative of Jabal Tariq , meaning ‘Mountain of Tariq’.) Before his overlord had even crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, Tariq had already defeated Roderick, the king of the Visigoths, and captured his capital, Toledo. It was in this city that Tariq is said to have found a golden table rumoured to have been from the Temple of Solomon, and claimed it as his war booty.

When Ibn Nasyr arrived in Toledo, he heard of the golden table, and desired it himself, so that he could present it as a gift to the Caliph in Damascus. As a result, the table was seized from Tariq. The vassal, obviously angered by Ibn Nasyr’s action, broke one of the table’s legs, and replaced it with an inferior one. Tariq knew that he overlord was uncultured, and would not know the difference, whilst the Caliph would notice it in an instant. This came true when Ibn Nasyr presented the table to the Caliph. When he was asked to explain, Ibn Nasyr could only reply that he found it that way. Tariq, who was also present at Damascus, then took the actual leg, as proof that the table was seized from him. Tariq was rewarded, Ibn Nasyr was punished, and the table, which was kept by the Caliph, eventually disappeared from history.  

One last story pertaining a possible object in the ‘Treasure of Solomon’ can be found in a colourful tale called the ‘Legend of Prince Ahmed Al Kamel, or the Pilgrim of Love’, which can be found in Washington Irving’s Tales of Alhambra , a collection of stories picked up whilst he was staying in the grand Moorish palace in Granada. Solomon is referred to a few times in this story. For instance, the prince is said to have learned the language of the birds, rumoured to have been taught to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba. Solomon is mentioned again, as the owner of a silken carpet kept in a sandalwood box in the treasury of Toledo. This carpet (said to have been brought to Toledo by the Jews who took refuge there after the fall of Jerusalem) had magical properties, and was used by the prince to fly back to Granada with his Christian princess.

‘Pilgrim of Love’ stained glass window at Sunnyside Memorial Gardens, Long Beach, California

‘Pilgrim of Love’ stained glass window at Sunnyside Memorial Gardens, Long Beach, California ( thinduck42 / flickr )

The Disappearance of Solomon’s Treasures

In 589 BC, the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II laid siege to Jerusalem, culminating in the destruction of the city and Solomon’s Temple in the summer of 587 BC. It is said that at this point in time, Solomon’s treasures disappeared, never to be seen of again.

According to the Treatise of the Vessels, the treasures were hidden by a number of Levites and prophets and “hidden in various locations in the Land of Israel and in Babylonia, while others were delivered into the hands of the angels Shamshiel, Michael, Gabriel and perhaps Sariel”.

Archaeologists and historians are not sure whether the Ark of the Covenant was stolen, destroyed, or hidden, and many continue to search for this long lost treasure.

Featured image: The mysterious whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant has long captured the attention of archaeologists and treasure-seekers alike. Creative Commons

By Ḏḥwty

References

American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2015. King Solomon. [Online]
Available at: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Solomon.html

The Bible : Standard King James Version , 2014. [Online]
Available at: http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/

Irving, W., 1832. Tales of the Alhambra. Paris: Baudry's European Library.

Jacobs, J. & Seligsohn, M., 2011. Solomon, Seal of. [Online]
Available at: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13843-solomon-seal-of

yamatosaxon, 2013. Treasures of the Temple of Solomon. [Online]
Available at: http://thedailybeagle.net/2013/02/14/treasures-of-the-temple-of-solomon/

Zolfagharifarid, E., 2014. King Solomon's treasures revealed: Newly translated Hebrew text lists legendary riches - including the Ark of the Covenant. [Online]
Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2536549/King-Solomons-treasures-revealed-Newly-translated-Hebrew-text-lists-legendary-riches-including-Ark-Covenant.html

Comments

Anyone familiar with the ark, or the lamp of the tabernacle already knows they were found in Tut's tomb. Photos available, and images on temple walls also illustrate the Tabernacle lamp.
He was a "Kheperuu" which is the way they spelt "Khaberu" which are the people from the Khaber River, the princesses of "Mitannu" that inter-married with the 18th dynasty.

Further, the land called "Israel" never existed, and there is no way that "Solomon" isn't Amenhotep III, it is his treasure found in Tut's tomb, hidden there by Hezekiya, the "Jewish king" known as Hezekiah. This land was Egypt during the years cited in article, ONLY. Amenhotep III was "Shalmanu" the "god of the city" of Urusalim. He is documented for receiving "Shalmani gifts" from vassals and worshupers while seated on his Urusalim/Jerusalem throne. Go to "lexiline" website for actual photos of the Ark, the Lamp of the Tabernacle (I saw it in Seattle in 2012 at Tut exhibit) and other utlems listed in the OT for confirmation.

The "Hebrews" were the Khaburs of Mitanni, who spoke Luwian, which is Levite. That is why the OT states the Levi is a tribe of the Hebrews. But it is a nice story for children to listen to, I suppose, if you like your children's head filled with fake history.

The Merneptah stele says JEZREEL, it does NOT say "Israel." How can I PROVE IT? Because Merneptah IS JEHOSEPHAT! WRITTEN AND DOCUMENTED ROYAL TITULARY, And Jehosephat/Merneptah laid waste to JEZREEL.

I can't help but enjoy the effort to get to the bottom of the mystery at Oak Island. It would take huge resources to build the mysterious pits, traps and flood tunnels that have been found there... resources that could only be available to the very wealthy or the very connected. Seems like just the type of project those trying to protect Solomon's treasures would invest in. Even if it's just some good ol' pirate booty, it's a fun mystery to track.

Why (how!) can you be differing with Nancy? She indeed made it simple for you. Yet you reply, “Nancy I beg to differ. I do not see the correlation in 1 Kings 9:26 with the Exodus narrative.” Ahem:

“Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea [Yam Suph].” Ex. 15:4

“And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea [Yam Suph], in the land of Edom.” 1 Ki 9:26

Nancy made her point successfully. The Red sea includes the Gulf of Aqaba! As Wikipedia points out, “Ezion-Geber was a city of Idumea, a biblical seaport on the northern extremity of the Gulf of Aqaba.”

The biblical “Red sea” indisputably includes the Gulf of Aqaba—precisely where the late archeologist Ron Wyatt hypothesized, and in 1978 found physical evidence for, the miraculous Red sea crossing of the Israelites under Moses.

Later, in 2001, physician and molecular biologist Professor Lennart Möller of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (one of Europe's most prestigious medical universities) carried out his own expedition, which corroborated the discoveries of Wyatt. His team later released a documentary entitled "The Exodus Revealed: Search for the Red Sea Crossing" (Questar, Discovery Media, 2002). Möller also published the book, The Exodus Case, in 2003.

These works show physical evidence of the Red sea crossing at the Gulf of Aqaba. The book includes photographs of bones of men and horses recovered from the waters of the Gulf of Aqaba near Nuweiba beach, Egypt. It also includes photos of several objects on the seafloor claimed to be chariot wheels, one of which appears to be plated in gold.

Dr. Möller's work built on the the discoveries of Ron Wyatt of Tennessee, particularly regarding Wyatt's discovery of chariot parts in the gulf of Aqaba; his book also discusses Wyatt's discovery of the actual Mt. Sinai, Jabal al Lawz in Saudi Arabia. 

Exactly why are you looking for a rational, NATURAL explanation for a rational, supernatural event?

Nancy I beg to differ. I do not see the correlation in 1 Kings 9:26 with the Exodus narrative. A rational, non-miraculous explanation for the parting of the sea (in this case Yam Suph/pa-Tjuf/Sea Of Reeds/the Balla Lakes east of Goshen) is that the Israelites witnessed a pushing back of the shallow (around ten feet) waters by a strong easterly wind of the Balla lakes from their eastern section westwards towards the deeper parts of the lake. Ground penetrating radar equipment will find the remains of an Egyptian army here. Very little of this original reed swamp/wetland exists today, principally due to construction of the Suez Canal and resultant drainage, as well as other extensive desert reclamation projects in the region of Tell Abu Sefeh.

. I’ll try to make this simple. The translation Sea of Reeds is given as an alternate to Red Sea in many Study Bible foot notes for the Hebrew Yam Suph. Since reeds only grow in fresh water, scholars have looked for centuries for a fresh water lake the Israelites could have crossed and of course none exists.

But a more accurate translation of the Hebrew word would be seaweed and of course this grows in salt water. So the Hebrew phrase Yam Suph really doesn’t mean Red Sea or Reed Sea. It means Sea of Seaweed. The name Red Sea probably stems from its proximity to Edom, the land occupied by the descendants of Esau, whose name in Hebrew means Red.

In 1 Kings 9:26 we have a location that can be identified today to make it simple for us to tell where the Red Sea is located. It was a port where King Solomon built and maintained a fleet of merchant ships. It was called Ezion Geber and you can still see its remains today near the resort city of Elat at the Northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red sea.

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