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Superpower: The Glory of Solomon’s Kingdom
Unlike our usual custom, we are going to skip lightly over a portion of Scripture. I will call your attention to just one or two things in I Kings 3. Verses 1 – 19 give a list of some of the chief officials in Solomon’s administration. The whole chapter paints a picture of the peacefulness and happiness of the kingdom. It also portrays the immense scope and the glory and honor of Solomon’s administration and his court. Verse 21 tells us that the borders extended all the way from the river, referring to the Euphrates, down to the border of Egypt.
Looking on a modern map, you will see that this encompasses all of modern Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. As some readers know, the goal of modern Zionism is to incorporate all of that land into the present Israeli state. Verse 26 indicates that Solomon created a standing army and he also incorporated cavalry into his military arsenal, which was contrary to Yahweh’s law. Even in this disobedience, the nation was growing greater and greater. Look with me now at just the food necessary for one day in Solomon’s court.
1 Kings 4:22 And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,
23 Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallow deer, and fatted fowl.
Scholars have done the calculations and have concluded that these amounts would feed from 12,000 to 15,000 people per day. I am sure there were some occasional parties thrown by the king, but I think this more likely indicates that the business of the kingdom had become so large that it involved 15,000 people for its central administration, not to mention all those governors and other officials in the tribal territories and in the annexed territories and those “on the road” on behalf of the king. What I am suggesting is that Israel under King Solomon had become the superpower of the day, just as the United States has today. Most of us who have had the traditional American or European education really have no conception to what great degree that was true; i.e., that Israel under Solomon was the world’s superpower. But you will shortly.
As we recall that Solomon had married the daughter of the pharaoh of Egypt, we should also realize how utterly unlikely that was until now. For it had been about 480 years since these very Israelites had been oppressed as slaves in Egypt. Now here was the king of Israel marrying the princess of Egypt. In fact,Egypt had been in decline for centuries and Israel was now the superpower in the world. So the marriage was really more the desire of Egypt to cement good relations with Solomon than the other way around. We will come back to the superpower idea shortly.
First, I want to discuss Solomon’s relations with the neighboring state of Phoenicia because this is the key to understanding the truth about Israel’s power at the time of Solomon.Phoenicia was the Greek name for the city-state of Tyre and its area of influence. Tyre was actually a twin city, with part of it on an island a short distance offshore and a mainland city. Under Hiram, the two were connected by a causeway.
Tyre’s actual territory included the neighboring city of Sidon and the immediate vicinity of the two cities. They also held sway over some small portion of modern Lebanon with its then-abundant and enormous cedar trees. However, the total territory was so relatively tiny, plus Tyre essentially had no army, so that it posed no danger at all to Israel.
David had negotiated an agreement with Hiram, the king of Tyre, whereby Phoenicia was allowed its independence. It was a mutually beneficial agreement because although the Phoenicians had no army, they were a sea-faring people. Thus, they possessed commercial interests and small colonies in many places in the world.
This access to many products and raw materials from around the globe was what made it beneficial to King David. And yes, I said globe, because I think these ancient mariners knew the earth was a globe. Part of the deal, if not under David, then certainly under Solomon, was that from now on, the maritime endeavors of Tyre would be a joint-venture with Israel. The ships would be manned by Israelites as well as by Tyrian sailors. For his part, Hiram and his people in the tiny, little territories of Tyre and Sidon were provided the protection of the world’s superpower.
Remember, this was in the era of about 1,000 B.C., long before the rise of the Greek and Roman Empires. The city of Rome would not even be founded for another 200+ years. What we have been taught in our western, Greco-Roman-centered history about the ancient “great empire of Phoenicia” was actually the empire of Israel with the Phoenicians riding along as the junior partner. Just as our identity as modern Israel has been hidden, it would only make sense that so also has much of our true history. But the time has come for these things to be revealed. Shortly after Solomon’s accession to the throne, his weaker neighbor in the city-state of Tyre sent ambassadors to Solomon seeking continued good relations.
1 Kings 5:1 And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David.
And no, this does not mean that David and Hiram were homosexual lovers. The word in Hebrew also means very close friends. Anyhow, Solomon thinks: “Hmm, I’ve got an idea how you can prove your loyalty, my friend. Let’s make a deal.”
Solomon explains to Hiram his plan to build a magnificent temple to Yahweh and he enlists Hiram to provide manpower as well as raw materials.
1 Kings 5:12 And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him: and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together.
13 And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men.
14 And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy.
These last two verses are very important for several reasons. This represents the first time since becoming a nation that the central government has instituted a program of conscripted or forced labor upon its own people. Of course, it was done for a good cause. What better reason than for the glory of God and His temple. The people began to lose their liberties under the guise of a high national purpose. Just as today, we are continuing to lose our liberties under the guise of the high national purpose of national security and the fight against terrorism. There is nothing new under the sun. Even though Solomon and Adoniram’s 30,000 conscripts constituted a very small portion of the total population, it became the seeds of resentment which would later sprout into open rebellion against Solomon’s son Rehoboam. But in addition to these Israelite citizens it says…
15 And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains;
That is a total of 150,000 men who were forced into permanent tribute-service. Elsewhere we learn that these were of the remnants of the various Canaanite tribes who were still in the land.
16 Beside the chief of Solomon’s officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work.
17 And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house.
18 And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house.
We will stop with our study of the text here because I want to incorporate the introduction from the book Israel’s Lost Empires. It ties in perfectly here and I know you will find it exciting. I surely did.
The previous volume in this series on Israelite history, The Origins and Empire of Ancient Israel, concluded with the tribes of Israel united and leading the ancient Phoenician Alliance. King David of Israel allied Israel to the Phoenicians of Tyre and Sidon, and his conquests of Assyria and other nations catapulted Israel onto the world stage as a great power. The Israelite role in the greatness of the Phoenician Empire from 1000-700 B.C. is confirmed by the ancient Greeks who gave the “Phoenicians” their name and included Israel in Phoenicia’s territory.
Under King Solomon of Israel, Phoenicia’s sailors, miners and traders explored both the Old and New Worlds. Israel, Tyre and Sidon merged their nations, their navies and their destinies. Phoenicia’s naval might allowed it to exploit the mineral wealth of Europe and the ancient Americas even as it also barred the Greeks from the world’s oceans. Because the modern world’s concepts of the ancient world are based on Greek sources, today’s educational system is based on the ignorance of the ancient Greeks about the world’s oceans and continents rather than on the Israelite-Phoenician awareness of world geography.
King Solomon’s reign of global power and greatness began to fade and decay during his waning years. Solomon abandoned biblical laws, and served pagan gods. Because Israel’s greatness was built on the favor of God’s direct actions, Solomon’s idolatries began to remove God’s favor from the tribes of Israel.
This second book in the series on Israelite history contains many historical surprises. It documents, via biblical and secular evidence, what happened to the tribes of Israel after Solomon’s death. The tribes of Israel divided into two separate nations of “Israel” and “Judah,” and their great civil war devastated the power of the Phoenician alliance led by Israel. Freed from Israelite dominance, Assyria recovered and began a long series of wars against Israel. Both Israel and Judah experienced periods of renewed power, but they entered irreversible slides toward national destruction as their sins worsened. The ten tribes of Israel remained in the Phoenician alliance, but the Jews of Judah were no longer a part of that alliance. The ten tribes of Israel and Jews of Judah became rival nations that charted separate courses.
This book will answer one of the great mysteries of ancient history: What happened to the “lost ten tribes of Israel?” While the history of the Jews, who take their name from the old kingdom of Judah, is well-documented, efforts to locate the ten tribes have generally failed to trace their migrations and whereabouts. This book solves that mystery, and the Biblical evidence is entirely consistent with the records of ancient secular historians.
One clue for locating the “lost” ten tribes of Israel is the realization that Israel’s tribes had access to Phoenicia’s fleets and overseas colonies. Many Israelites evaded captivity by simply sailing to new homelands in the Phoenician colonial system. This book reveals where they went! However, Israel’s population was far too large to relocate the entire nation via the Phoenician fleets. Many Israelites did go into captivity and were forcibly resettled eastward into the Assyrian Empire. Forgotten and overlooked historical accounts record that a large body of escaping Israelites voluntarily fled Palestine and migrated overland to a new area.
There are two major reasons why efforts to locate the mysterious ten tribes of Israel have failed. The first reason is that such efforts look for small bands of people with Jewish customs. This approach is doomed to failure. Because the ten tribes of Israel were not “Jewish” to begin with, their descendants will not be found by looking for overtly-Jewish bands in ancient history. However, the Israelites were “Hebrews” and they took their Semitic language and culture with them when they migrated elsewhere. The second reason for failure to locate the ten tribes of Israel is the pathetically “minimalist” approach of these efforts.
The history and destinies of the ten tribes of Israel were determined by the conditions and blessings of the Covenant made between Abraham and the God of the Bible. These blessings included large population growth, national wealth and greatness, and possession of strategic geopolitical “gates.” While the Mosaic Covenant made at Mt. Sinai was conditional on Israel’s obedience, the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant were unconditional. God had bound Himself to implement the blessings of that Covenant with Abraham’s descendants. This book will confirm that God kept those promises!
When one searches for the Israelites via the “maximalist” approach of determining which nations inherited the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant, the descendants of the ten tribes can easily be found in the many new locations to which they migrated after the ancient kingdom of Israel fell. In fact, the search is so easy that you may wonder why modern history texts take such pains to ignore the nations and empires with obvious Israelite roots.
While many mysteries will be revealed in this book, two historical clues about the Israelites will be offered here. Some readers have heard of ancient Carthage, the great enemy of early Rome. Carthage was its Greco-Roman name. The great city of Carthage, one of the wealthiest and most powerful in ancient history, continued the Phoenician tradition of naval power and its war-fleets prevented the Greeks and Romans from leaving the Mediterranean region for many centuries. This fact has had a profound impact on our mistaken views of the ancient world, as this book will reveal. Much evidence will be offered that the Phoenician/Carthaginian fleets of the ancient Israelites explored and settled parts of the New World. Their artifacts, inscriptions and ruins in the New World still exist today. You will not learn about them in the establishment history books that omit these facts. However, you will find the evidence in this book.
Carthage actually called itself by a Hebrew name, and its heritage and language had obvious Hebrew origins. Historians of Carthage acknowledge these facts, but your history texts didn’t tell you this important truth! Carthage inherited the wealth and power of the Abrahamic blessings, and it controlled Gibraltar, one of the most strategic “gates” on the globe. This book will give you the real history of Carthage, the maritime empire which almost destroyed Rome.
This book will also give you considerable historical evidence about the Israelite origins of the Scythians of the ancient Russian steppes. The evidence of their Israelite origins is voluminous, and they destroyed the Assyrian Empire and twice crushed the mighty Persian Empire in warfare. Yet your history books and encyclopedias offer many pages about Assyria and Persia while ignoring the history of the more powerful Scythian Empire which defeated both Assyria and Persia! The Greeks preserved much of Scythia’s history, but this information has been almost totally censored out of the history books. Why has this happened? Many Scythian tribes were named after the Israelite patriarch, Isaac. When you see the extensive evidence of the Israelite origins of the “Sacae” Scythians, it will become obvious that the ten tribes’ were never “lost” at all. Secular histories, which bow down at the altar of the theory of evolution, have ignored the history of Scythia because it offers evidence that the Bible’s prophecies about the ten tribes of Israel came to pass.
Those of you who read this book (and the following two volumes in this series on Israelite history) will learn the truth: some of the greatest empires in world history have been ignored or deemphasized in historical accounts of the ancient world. Interestingly, it is the ancient nations and empires with Israelite origins that have been de-emphasized.
This book challenges the politically-correct version of ancient history now being taught. It also challenges and exposes the shameless Greco-Roman ethnocentricity of our current versions of ancient history. While Greece and Rome truly were great empires, other empires were more powerful and scientifically advanced than either Greece or Rome. This book has no political or ethnic agendas and it is non-denominational in content approach. It simply “tells the truth” about the ancient world. Readers of this book will enjoy a feast of new information about the true history of the ancient world. [end of introduction]
Was ancient Israel a land-locked nation or a seacoast trading empire? In this fascinating study, historian Steven M. Collins details the little-known story of Israel’s ancient empires. Not only did King David’s land empire stretch clear across the Mideast to Mesopotamia, but Israel boasted a navy rivaling the famed Phoenicians, and in fact dominated them. Hebrew ships plied the Mediterranean, establishing colonies along the European and North African coasts. Israel’s influence in the ancient city-state of Carthage has never before been so thoroughly documented, nor her definite presence in early Britain. New evidence is presented also suggesting that her ships visited the North American continent as well. This is an exciting read!
Over 100 maps and illustrations complement this unique study! Soft cover, 6x9 inches, 296 pages. Beautiful, original, full-color cover art of the ancient city of Carthage at the height of its glory. Very well researched with 27 pages of indexes included (Scripture, Persons, Places, Subjects).To order Israel’s Lost Empires (B-145) by Steven M. Collins, send $20 + $4 shipping, with your name and address, to the address below.