Does newly-translated Hebrew text reveal insights into King Solomon’s treasures?
A newly translated ancient Hebrew text claims to know where the treasures from King Solomon’s temple were hidden. However, the exact location is not revealed and, according to the text, “shall not be revealed until the day of the coming of the Messiah son of David”.
According to the Bible, Solomon was the third king of Israel. The son of King David, he was renowned for his wisdom, the size of his harem and the splendour of his kingdom. During his reign, he is said to have accumulated a huge fortune from mining and trading. Archaeologists and treasure-hunters have searched for the treasures of King Solomon for more than a century.
The old text, known as the Massekhet Kelim (“Treatise of the Vessels”) comes from a Hebrew book, Emek Halchah, written in 1648 and published in Amsterdam, and has just been translated by James Davila, a professor at the University of St Andrews.
According to the text, 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”.
Davila believes that the original author has drawn upon different legends and traditional methods of scriptural interpretation to deduce where the treasures might have been hidden, and while he dismisses it as “a piece of entertaining fiction”, he also acknowledges that there are remarkable similarities between what is written in the text, and what was revealed in the ancient metallic “Copper Scroll”, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls found near the site of Qumran in the West Bank. The Copper Scroll also discusses the location of hidden treasure, although it is not known what treasure it is referring to.
The Copper Scroll, which dates back around 1,900 years, and is made of copper, shows several "striking parallels" with the newly translated treatise, Davila said. For example, the Treatise of the Vessels says that the treasures from Solomon’s Temple were recorded on “a tablet of bronze”, a metal like the Copper Scroll, and both the Treatise of the Vessels and the Copper Scroll both refer to “vessels” or “implements”, including examples made of gold and silver.
The Treatise of the Vessels reveals that the hidden treasure includes: "seventy-seven tables of gold, and their gold was from the walls of the Garden of Eden that was revealed to Solomon, and they radiated like the radiance of the sun and moon, which radiate at the height of the world."
Is the Treatise referring to the same treasure as that recorded on the Copper Scroll? Are these true and accurate records or just a work of ‘entertaining fiction’ as the translator supposes? If real, the next question of course is – where is it?