Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 10

Solomon’s gold shields

1 Kings 10:16-17

A shield was the board that a soldier held up to protect his body during a battle. Usually, the soldier would make its basic structure out of wood; then he would stretch leather (animal skins) across it. The result was a shield that was strong, but light in weight.

Solomon ordered his skilled workmen to make 500 gold shields. They were for display; they were not for use in war. Instead of leather, thin sheets of gold covered the basic structure. The largest ones contained more than 7 pounds (3 kilograms) of gold, and were perhaps about the size of a man. The smaller ones were about half of this size.

David had kept his army’s shields on display in a public place (Song of Solomon 4:4). Solomon used these gold shields to make a display like that in one of the greatest halls of his palace (7:2-4). He wanted it to be both impressive for his many guests (10:24-25), and very beautiful.

It seems likely that Solomon’s soldiers carried these gold shields in their processions for Solomon’s royal carriage. The people in Israel loved processions (Song of Solomon 3:6-11). That passage refers to a procession of 60 soldiers, perhaps when Solomon was a young king. His brothers Absalom and Adonijah had thought that a procession of 50 men was an impressive royal procession (2 Samuel 15:1; 1 Kings 1:5). Now, in the later part of his rule, Solomon could organise a procession of 500 men – and all of them had gold shields. The people in Israel would see at once that they truly had a great king.

Next part: Solomon's throne and its meaning (1 Kings 10:18-20)


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