Starting 2nd Chronicles…

Grand Canyon From a Distance

I read through the Song of Solomon this past week, but that’s going to have to be another discussion for another time. It’s only eight chapters, and it’s all about romance – a man’s pursuit of a woman. I plan to write about it – perhaps a devotional for singles on the Song of Songs, but a week was too short to put even one lesson together. Not while the school where I work is gearing up for finals and preparing for summer. This book is still relevant to unmarried women. Even if you’re not being pursued (never have been, between relationships or you face a challenge like a serious medical condition) or you don’t want to be in a relationship (possibly because of work and lack of time).

The book I’m reading now is super interesting – Word Nerd: More Than 17000 Facts About Words by Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph. D. I always did enjoy dictionaries and etymology. It’s helpful for any language really. Knowing big words and complex phrases in conjunction with how to use them properly is an important step in language learning, whether it’s your second language or your seventh. Or even sign language.

Today, I just started 2nd Chronicles (the NASB version is quoted below). Second Chronicles begins with how the Lord blessed King Solomon. Chapter 1 features King Solomon’s commendable request for wisdom – something we could all use more of, brain injury or not.

Verses 1-6 describe how the Lord was with Solomon and blessed him. In previous books, Solomon was described as being blessed on behalf of his father, David, the shepherd. First Kings 1: 38-40 says, “So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon. And Zadok the priest then took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!” And all the people went up after him, and the people were playing on flutes and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth shook at their noise.”

In verses 7-10, Solomon asks for wisdom, and in verse

In that night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said to God, “You have dealt with my father David with great faithfulness, and have made me king in his place.Now, Lord God, Your promise to my father David is fulfilled, for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. Now give me wisdom and knowledge, so that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?”

As a result, God promises blessing beyond expectation in verses 11-12. “Then God said to Solomon, “Because this was in your heart, and you did not ask for riches, wealth, or honor, or the life of those who hate you, nor did you even ask for long life, but you asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge so that you may rule My people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge have been granted to you. I will also give you riches, wealth, and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed, nor will those who will come after you.” Pretty incredible.

The passage finishes out with a description of Solomon’s wealth in verses 14-17. “Solomon amassed chariots and horsemen. He had 1,400 chariots and twelve thousand horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedars as plentiful as sycamores in the lowland. Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue; the king’s traders acquired them from Kue for a price. They imported chariots from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver apiece, horses for 150 apiece, and by the same means they exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.”

According to the CNN Currency Exchange, that’s $185.38 per chariot, meaning that 1400 chariots would be worth $189,532. That’s just the chariots, not even including the horses. The number of horses is unclear. Chariot horses would not necessarily have been rideable. 2 horses per chariot would mean 2800 horses, but verse 26 mentions 40,000 stalls and verse 14 states that there were 12000 horsemen. It simply isn’t clear exactly how many horses he owned, but at any rate, King Solomon owned a plethora.

BibleHub gives an estimate. Note though, that this estimate reflects the date when this article was written, and it likely does not include the inflation we have experienced since COVID began. God did promise that King Solomon would have wealth like any man before or after him.

According to BibleAsk, “The sum given [in 2 Chronicles 9:13-29] as Solomon’s annual income, 666 talents of gold, is a massive figure. This is more than the reported income of Persia at that time from its 20 satrapies, which amounted to 14,560 silver talents a year.

Today’s standard

A talent weighs around 75 U.S. pounds (34.3 kilograms), which is equivalent to 1,094 ounces. A talent of gold in today’s value is worth $1,641,000 based on $1,500/ounce. This means that the value of the gold Solomon received yearly equals the sum of $1,092,906,000.

And since King Solomon reigned for 40 years. This means his accumulated worth from that collection alone was $43,716,240,000. It should be noted, however, that these figures do not represent the actual buying power of this income in the ancient times.”

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Have a wonderful week!

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