The Bible records that “The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold, besides that from the traveling merchants, from the income of traders, from all the kings of Arabia, and from the governors of the country” (1 Kings 10:14-15).
This is also reported in 2 Chronicles 9:13-29, for we read that “Every year King Solomon received over twenty-five tons of gold, in addition to the taxes paid by the traders and merchants. The kings of Arabia and the governors of the Israelite districts also brought him silver and gold.”
The sum given 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.
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.
This income did not include all the other resources taken from business transactions and trade (1 Kings 9:26 – 28; 1 Kings 10:22 – 23), nor, the taxation (1 Kings 12:4), the annual tribute paid by all of the neighboring kings (1 Kings 4:24), and the gifts (2 Chronicles 9: 9; 1 Kings 10:25).
King Solomon was so very rich that silver coins were as common as stones in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 1:15 also 1 Kings 10:27). Therefore, it is safe to say that King Solomon was not only rich but the wealthiest man that ever lived.
But what was the secret behind Solomon’s greatness?
When Solomon was appointed king. He prayed that the Lord may grant him wisdom to be a righteous king. God was so pleased with his selfless request that He made him the wisest human who would ever live (1 Kings 3:1-15).
But the good news is that Solomon shared his wisdom with the world. For he wrote down what he knew for the benefit of humanity. These sayings are recorded in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. And he declared, “Happy is the man who finds wisdom . . . For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold” (Proverbs 3:13 – 14).
In His service,