Was King Solomon Also a Master of the Sea?
New evidence shows that he engaged in trade with Spain.
Every student of the Bible knows that King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. He was also the ruler of the greatest Jewish Kingdom in history which stretched south to Africa and north to Syria. What is more, Solomon was also a great builder who built the first temple in Jerusalem almost three thousand years ago.
But now there is new research which suggests that King Solomon may have also been something else: the world’s first master of sea trade. British marine archaeologist Dr. Sean Kingsley is saying just that. He has collected a wealth of archeological evidence which shows that King Solomon was a shipping magnate who worked closely with the Phoenicians.
Dr. Kingsley explained in an interview with The Guardian that Solomon’s sea trade was necessitated by all of his building projects. The raw materials required could not all be found in the areas around Israel. “Building cities, palaces and a flagship temple didn’t come cheap. Long-distance voyages to the lands of Ophir and Tarshish brought a river of gold, silver, precious stones and marble to the royal court,” said Kingsley.
“Neither Israel nor Lebanon could tap into local gold and silver resources. The biblical entrepreneurs were forced to look to the horizon. The land of Tarshish was a vital source for Solomon’s silver. As the Book of Ezekiel recorded: ‘Tarshish did business with you because of your great wealth of goods.”
So where id Solomon’s ships go to in order to get the supplies that they needed? Well according to the newly uncovered archeological evidence they went as far away as Spain. That is where Dr. Kingsley was excavating when he made his discovery.
“What turned up in southern Spain is undeniable. Phoenician signature finds, richly strewn from Rio Tinto to Málaga, leave no doubt that Near Eastern ships voyaged to what must have seemed the far side of the moon by 900BC,” he said.
“When I spotted in ancient accounts the name of the hill where silver was mined at Rio Tinto – Solomon’s Hill – I was stunned. Biblical history, archaeology and myth merged to reveal the long-sought land of Tarshish celebrated in the Old Testament. It looks like Solomon was wise in his maritime planning. He bankrolled the voyages from Jerusalem and let salty Phoenician sailors take all the risks at sea.”
This news should not come as a surprise. It has always been known that the ancient Philistines were seafarers who engaged in trade with Europe long before the time of Solomon. There has also been a wealth of evidence uncovered by archeologists along Israel’s coastal plain which shows that the ancient Israelites engaged in trade with the Greeks. So it may not be such a fantastic idea that some ships went as far away as the western Mediterranean.