Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 9

Gold from Ophir for Solomon

1 Kings 9:28

Solomon’s plan to build boats so that he could trade from a port on the Red Sea, was a very bold plan. He could not be sure that his plan would be successful. However, in the end, it was a complete success. The boats went to Ophir, and from there they brought back a vast quantity of gold.

Long before this, a man called Ophir and his brother Havilah (Genesis 2:11) each chose to live in regions that supplied gold (Genesis 10:29). The gold from these places became famous in the ancient world (Job 28:16).

In particular, gold from Ophir was famous for its high quality (Psalm 45:9). Until the time of Solomon, this gold was especially rare and difficult to obtain in Israel. That was because the route from Ophir to Israel by land was extremely difficult and dangerous. Possibly, Ophir was somewhere near modern Saudi Arabia. Any trader who went to Ophir by land would have to go through a vast desert – and there were many robbers there.

Solomon’s new boats made this journey much safer and easier. Gold was plentiful in Ophir, so it was much less expensive there. Solomon’s traders paid for it, not with money, but with fine and beautiful products from Israel and Tyre. These products probably included beautiful cloths, the best agricultural products and the work of skilled artists. The people in Ophir were very eager to obtain such things.

So, Solomon’s large boats returned with as much gold as they could carry. The profits from this voyage were immense.

Next part: The queen of Sheba comes to visit Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-2)


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