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Ancient History of Israel #3

The Expanse of the Fame of Solomon!

            ANCIENT HISTORY OF ISRAEL YOU WERE NEVER TAUGHT #3


Continued from previous page:


     That also explains why the term "Phoenician" is absent from
the Bible. Unlike modern history texts which preserve a Greek
perspective, the Bible was written from a Hebrew perspective, and
it records the names by which the "Phoenicians" referred to
themselves. Such names included "Israel," "Sidonians,"
"inhabitants of Tyre," and even the specific names of Israel's
large tribal units.
     When Israel fell, the term "Phoenicia" was applied to a more
limited area around the city-states of Tyre, Sidon, etc., the
nonIsraelite remnant of the alliance begun in the reigns of Kings
David and Solomon. The term "Phoenicia" remained on them, and was
used by the Greeks and Romans to designate the people of those
city-states for many centuries. The modern world has used the
term "Phoenicia" to describe the original Israelite alliance with
Tyre, Sidon, etc. because our historical perspective is based on
Greco-Roman perceptions.
     However, during the period of 1000-800 B.C., the term
"Phoenicia" was applied to the alliance of Israel with the
city-states of Tyre, Sidon, etc. During that time, it is not
technically correct to say the Israelites were merely "allied to
the Phoenicians" because Israel itself was the dominant member of
the alliance of Semitic peoples living on the eastern shores of
the Mediterranean Sea who were called "Phoenicians" by the
Greeks. That explains why international power and influence
characterized the "Phoenicians" from approximately 1000-700 B.C.
(the time of its alliance with the kingdom of Israel), and why
the term "Phoenician" describes a people with severely reduced
numbers and influence after 700 B.C. (the time when the
Israelites left the area and the city-states were left alone.)

(In other words, as I have pointed out, the people in the so-
called "Phonician [I deliberately leave out the 'e' - the word is
pronounced the same anyway] world after the days of Joshua up to
the deportation of Israel and Judah were Israeites, as they
inherited the land of Canaan which included the land of the
ancient Phonicians - Keith Hunt)

     To prevent confusion, this book will continue to refer to
the inhabitants of the city-states as Phoenicians, and to the
inhabitants of Israel as Israelites. The reader should realize,
however, that in its original Greek usage, the term Phoenicia
meant both groups of people.

     According to secular history, "around 1100 B.C., Egyptian
wisdom writing reached its highest ethical point ...[as
it]...counsels against arrogance, snobbery, ill-temper, and
oppressing the poor. [It] ...stresses courtesy, deference,
contentment, tolerance and kindness ... it served as a source for
certain Hebrew Proverbs."
     The proverbs referred to are, of course, those attributed to
Solomon at the beginning of the first millennium B.C., and found
in the book of Proverbs in the Bible. Whether Solomon borrowed
these from the Egyptians or whether it was in fact the other way
around is a valid question. The time dating of "around 1100 B.C."
is so close to the reign of Solomon that the case can easily be
made that the unusual "wisdom" of the Egyptians was learned from
Solomon. The above virtues are all regularly found in the Bible
as elements of how God expects us to deal with other people. It
is significant that Egyptian wisdom "reached its highest ethical
point" at the general time that Egypt was allied to King Solomon,
the wisest king who ever lived! The fact that Egypt's Pharaoh
became Solomon's father-in-law (I Kings 9:16) also offered an
easy pathway for Solomon's wisdom to flow to Egypt's elites.
From the above accounts we find international power attributed to
the Phoenicians and wisdom characterizing the Egyptians at a time
the Bible states both had allied themselves with King Solomon of
Israel, who was exceedingly powerful and wise.
     Other remarkable developments occurred in the Eastern
Mediterranean "around 1000 B.C." The Encyclopedia Americana notes
the following:

"about 1000 B.c....coastal Lebanon ["Phoenicia"] suddenly
developed new types of pottery--bichrome, trichrome and red
polished ware that had no prototypes in the Late Bronze Age.
Clearly, about the beginning of the first millennium, the culture
of the area underwent a change and acceleration..."

     Interesting! At the approximate time of King Solomon's
reign, the technical skills of the "Phoenicians" took a great
leap forward. Who was it that caused this "sudden" advance in
technical skills? The Bible tells us that God gave Solomon a gift
of unprecedented wisdom and understanding (I Kings 3:12)! I Kings
10:24 adds "all the earth consulted Solomon to hear his wisdom,
which God had put in his heart." It is apparent that Solomon's
wisdom was not limited to ethical and sociological applications.
Remember the Israelite invention of the Bessemer process in a
large blast furnace complex (discussed earlier) which also
"suddenly developed" during the time of Israel's Golden Age? God
apparently made him a genius in all fields, and his inventions
and insights not only caused him to be held in awe by other
nations, but also revolutionized the culture and commerce of the
day! That the above technologies "suddenly developed" within
Israel and Phoenicia" around 1000 B.C." indicates the presence of
a genius who "accelerated" their culture. The Bible openly tells
us the genius was Solomon.

     We are not yet finished examining Solomon's impact on the
ancient world. Another likely achievement of his is still
affecting us today. That is the invention, by the "Phoenicians,"
of the alphabet used by most languages of the western world from
then until now. Consider the following observation of George
Rawlinson:


"the enterprise of the Phoenicians in the early ages ... carried
with them everywhere civilizing influences. Letters, if not their
actual invention, received at their hands modifications and
improvements... and are traceable in the alphabets of all
civilized nations at the present day. They carried with them over
the Mediterranean, wherever they went, their idea of alphabetic
writing, and their peculiar alphabetic forms. In Cyprus and in
Lycia they were met by conflicting systems; but these systems
gave way to theirs. Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, accepted their
analysis of human speech, and the signs by which they expressed
its final elements. An enormous advance must everywhere have
followed the introduction of writing, and this advance was due to
the Phoenicians."

     Before the invention of a phonetic alphabet by someone in
the Phoenician Empire, mankind used a variety of symbols to
express concepts in written form. The adoption of the Phoenician
symbols by much of the known world illustrates two points: (A)
that the new phonetic alphabet was more efficient and easier to
use, and (B) that the Phoenician dominance of the known world was
so great that it had the power to enforce its invention as the
"lingua franca" of the ancient world. As the reader now knows,
the real power behind the Phoenician golden age was Israel's
strength under Kings David and Solomon. Consider also the
following comment from the Encyclopaedia Britannica:

"The history of our own alphabet, which has survived as an
alphabet with... surprisingly little change for nearly 3000 years
... demonstrates its suitability to the needs of the many
languages it has served .... Two questions have hitherto remained
unanswered. How did the Greeks obtain it from the Semites? And
what was its pre-Semite history? ... The most important fact
ignored by any theory that would derive the Greek and Phoenician
alphabets independently ... is that the names of the letters, as
far as they have a known etymology or meaning, are Semitic.
Hebrew 'aleph, beth, gimel, daleth, etc.' correspond unmistakably
with Greek 'alpha, beta, gamma, delta'."  

     The Greek alphabet is derived from the alphabet of the
Hebrew/Phoenicians, a Semitic language. That it originated
"nearly 3,000 years" ago dates the origin of this alphabet to
"around 1000 B.C.," the time of King Solomon's reign. The
Encyclopaedia Britannica adds:

"the Phoenicians rendered one great service to literature; they
took a large share in the development and diffusion of the
alphabet which forms the foundation of Greek ... and of all
European writing. The Phoenician letters in their earlier forms
are practically identical with those used by the Hebrews, the
Moabites, and the Aramaeans of North Syria..." 

     It is most significant that "in their earlier forms," the
Phoenician, Hebrew, Moabite, and North Aramaean [Syrian]
alphabets are "practically identical." When the phonetic alphabet
was invented in this region around 1000 B.C., King Solomon
directly ruled the Hebrews, Moabites and North Aramaeans, and
King Hiram of Tyre was his loyal vassal. It would be logical that
at the time of its implementation, the alphabet would be
virtually identical in the territories directly ruled by the
Israelite kings. The phonetic alphabet "was developed and
diffused" by the Phoenicians (the Israelite alliance with Tyre,
Sidon, etc.) due to their dominant military, economic and
political position in the world at that time. After the
Israelites divided and dissipated their strength in civil wars
and national sins, other nations (such as the Greeks) were no
longer under Israelite dominance, and adapted the original
Semitic alphabet into their own national styles.

     Collier's Encyclopedia states, concerning the alphabet's
invention:

"Whereas ... other systems of writing are supposed to have sprung
from several centers in different parts of the world, the
alphabet seems to have originated in a single region and to have
spread from there. It appears in perfect form in inscriptions
from Phoenicia of the end of the second or the beginning of the
first millennium B.C., and therefore, the alphabet is usually
regarded as a Phoenician invention." 

     Again, it is confirmed that the alphabet was invented by
someone in the "Phoenician" empire about the time of King
Solomon's reign. Who was the most inventive person of that era?
Solomon! His invention of an easy-to-use, phonetically-based
alphabet would have spread the use of this alphabet wherever the
"Phoenician" fleets sailed and traded. The Bible does not address
whether Solomon invented the Phonetic alphabet which became the
lingua franca of the ancient world. However, the Biblical claim
that Solomon was internationally famous for his unprecedented
wisdom (I Kings 4:29-31) and that "all the earth" sought to
benefit from Solomon's wisdom (I Kings 10:24) would seem to
eliminate the possibility that anyone else but Solomon could have
been the inventor of this alphabet. Indeed, it could have been
his invention of a utilitarian alphabet which caused much of his
international fame.

     Collier's Encyclopedia also adds that:

"the oldest of the well-known texts in the Phoenician alphabet,
dating probably from the early tenth century, is the funerary
inscription of King Ahiram."

     King "Ahiram" was a Phoenician King: could he be the very
King "Hiram" who is mentioned prominently in the Bible? A date of
"the early tenth century," dates this inscription to the time of
Kings Solomon and Hiram. Collier's account states that this
inscription was found in Byblos (not Tyre, where Hiram was king);
however, since the biblical records show that King Hiram could
bind the activities of other city-states (such as Sidon, I Kings
5:1-6), he was likely dominant over them all at that time. Since
he was a dominant king from the most prominent Phoenician
city-state of the time, his death could have been commemorated in
all the city-states. The Encyclopedia Americana also records that
Phoenician alphabetic writing dates to "about 1000 B.C."
     Collier's Encyclopedia states that: "In the West, the Greeks
received the alphabetical signs directly from the Phoenicians,
and, e.g., 'Herodotus' mention of.. ('Phoenician letters')
indicates that they were aware of their indebtedness."

     This further confirms that other alphabets owed their origin
to the Israelite-led alliance which was called "Phoenicia" by the
Greeks. One historian, Stuart Piggott, notes that "writing, in
the form of the adaptation of the Phoenician alphabet into a
Greek script, may go back to the 9th or even 10th century (B.C.)"

     Another historian, Donald Harden, states concerning the
Phoenicians:

"their highest and most enduring memorial, [was] the alphabet.
This is where they impinge most strongly on all subsequent
civilizations of Old World origin. All Indo European and Semitic
tongues - indeed all subsequent alphabetic scripts - have
employed the medium invented by the Phoenicians and rapidly
adapted by many other nations ... including the Greeks."

     The Bible records God's promise to Abraham that "in thee
shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:3).
During the reign of Solomon all nations were, literally, blessed
through Abraham's seed (Solomon and the Israelites) by receiving
a time of world peace, the development of scientific knowledge,
the expansion of international commerce, and the invention of the
alphabet! God kept his promise. Many races and nations have been
blessed throughout history by the greatly facilitated
communication system which was likely invented by Solomon, king
over Israel and its vassal nations at the beginning of the first
millennium B.C. 

     The above comment that "Indo-European" alphabets have
descended from the Phoenician needs elaboration. The term
"Indo-European" includes Latin and such modern European languages
as English, German, French, etc. All those who speak these
languages owe a debt to King Solomon, who invented the alphabetic
system on which their languages are based. The Encyclopaedia
Britannica includes a chart showing that the modern European
alphabets are descended from the early Phoenician alphabet.
     Apparently, not all of Solomon's inventions were intended
for civilian use. It appears at least one invention was for
military purposes (which preserved the peace via greater
deterrence). Martland A Edey, in his book, "The Sea Traders,"
states:

"some authorities give credit to the Phoenicians for developing
the ram, which apparently; was invented around 1000 B.C., just
about the time the eastern ports [of the Mediterranean] were
emerging as trading powers in their own right and building up
their war fleets." 

     For those not familiar with military history, the "ram"
refers to a "battering ram" which extended from the prow of a
warship for purposes of causing damage to opposing ships when
one's own ship was propelled into an enemy. (Readers who have
seen the movie "Ben Hur" saw how this invention was still being
utilized by ancient navies at the time of Christ.)

     This book concludes that the inventor of the Phoenician
phonetic alphabet was King Solomon, who ruled the Phoenician
alliance of Israel and the city-states of Tyre, Sidon, etc.
around 1000 B.C. Solomon's unprecedented wisdom resulted in not
only a new alphabet, but also new advances in pottery, the
Bessemer blast furnace method of smelting ores, the naval ram and
many proverbs concerning wise living. He was wealthy and powerful
beyond imagination, possessing the means to implement his ideas
and inventions. The tremendous convergence of new inventions in
the "Phoenician" alliance around the time of King Solomon attests
that it was Solomon who was the source of these inventions. The
peaceful adoption by other nations of the alphabet invented
within the Phoenician alliance is a testimony to Israel's
strength and Solomon's force of personality. Solomon was likely
so skilled in so many fields that the nations stood in awe of him
during his lifetime. No wonder the Bible states that all nations
sought his counsel.

     Having established the credibility of biblical accounts of
an Israelite-Phoenician-Egyptian alliance during Solomon's reign
and that the fleets of that alliance were actively involved in
exploring, mining and colonizing the world during and after the
reign of Solomon, let us examine the biblical accounts of
Solomon's reign in light of their greatly heightened credibility.
We will discover that King Solomon ruled over an empire which was
international in scope!

     It is clear that worldwide maritime contacts were common
during his reign. Since the major international fleets of the
time belonged to the tripartite alliance of Israel, Phoenicia,
and Egypt, it is easy to see how word of Solomon's projects and
Israel's opulence spread around the world. There was probably no
small amount of braggadocio on the part of the Phoenician,
Israelite, and Egyptian sailors about the accomplishments, wisdom
and wealth of King Solomon, who headed "their alliance." As word
of the scope of Solomon's projects, the unprecedented elegance of
his Temple of God in Jerusalem, and Israel's greatness spread,
the leaders of the earth wanted to see for themselves whether
these incredible reports were actually true. Some came out of
skepticism, certain the reports could not be true. The Queen of
Sheba was one such visitor. Her visit is recorded in II
Chronicles 9:1-12.
     She came to test Solomon's wisdom with "hard questions," and
brought gifts including 120 talents of gold, spices and precious
stones. While biblical commentaries vary on the estimated weight
of a biblical talent, one conservative estimate is that a talent
could equal about 75 pounds. Such an estimate would mean the
queen of Sheba gave Solomon a gift of "about 9,000 pounds" of
gold (worth about 57 million dollars at a modern price of $400
per ounce of gold)! Since the queen of Sheba was giving this
amount of gold as a gift, it is clear the gold reserves of Sheba
were quite large. When Sheba's queen had seen Solomon's palace,
the Temple for God, and the superlative quality and opulence of
Israel, she was overwhelmed! She went so far as to say that the
reports about Israel's glory (which she had thought too
incredible to believe) were actually understatements of the real
grandeur of Israel at the time of Solomon (verses 5-6). When she
returned to her native land, she undoubtedly spread the news of
Solomon's reign to all the nations with whom she had contacts.
     The biblical account of the queen of Sheba's visit is
offered as one specific example of a visit by foreign royalty to
King Solomon. II Chronicles 9:23 states that such royal visits
were common events. As Solomon's fame spread throughout the
maritime routes of the alliance's fleets, and as foreign royalty
made their way to Jerusalem, they brought a steady stream of gold
to Jerusalem for King Solomon (either as tribute money or gifts).
So much gold flowed into Jerusalem that II Chronicles 9:13 states
666 talents of gold were brought to Solomon in one year! This
does not even include the amount of gold which traders and
merchants brought (see verse 14). One can only imagine the
quantities of silver, rare goods, precious stones and other
commodities which were brought to Israel either as gifts or as
part of trading contracts. II Chronicles 9:20 states that silver
was so commonplace and abundant that it essentially lost its
value during Solomon's reign.
     II Chronicles 9:23-24 states that "all the kings of the
earth sought the presence of Solomon," and that each of them
brought varied gifts from their respective nations "year by
year!" Undoubtedly, biblical skeptics have thought that such
statements were sheer fantasies on the part of some ancient
Hebrew writer. However, now that we have evidence that the entire
ancient world was tied together in maritime trade routes, and
that Solomon was closely allied to the Phoenician and Egyptian
fleets who developed those trade routes, this statement no longer
sounds far-fetched. Indeed, the only reason why such biblical
statements ever sounded far-fetched was because of modern man's
abysmal ignorance concerning the ancient world's true state of
development!

     In light of the Bible's accounts of the prodigious amount of
gold that was flowing into King Solomon's coffers, it is no
wonder that the Egyptian fleets were searching all over the
Indian and Pacific Oceans for gold "about 1000 B.C." (as noted
earlier in the chapter). Even as copper ores from ancient America
were imported during the reign of King David to stockpile items
for the Temple, gold from all over the world was flowing into
Israel during the reign of King Solomon.
     Alan Millard, in an article for "Biblical Archaeology
Review," makes the case that the biblical amounts of/uses for
Solomon's gold are credible in light of other ancient records
about how ancient royalty accumulated and displayed gold. He
points out that the gift of 120 talents of gold by the queen of
Sheba was exceeded by three other royal gifts of gold recorded in
the ancient world: (A) a tribute of 150 talents of gold received
from Tyre by Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria in 730 B.C (B) a gift
of 154 talents of gold by Assyrian King Sargon II to the
Babylonian gods, and (C) a massive gift of 13.5 tons of gold by
Thutmosis III of Egypt to the temple of an Egyptian god. He also
cites ancient records of non-Israelite kings using gold to make
thrones, shrines, shields, goblets, etc. The information
contained in Millard's article confirms that it was the custom of
ancient kings to display their gold on objects as a means of
displaying the wealth of their kingdoms. The biblical accounts of
Solomon's use of his gold are consistent with what other ancient
kings did with their gold.

     Earlier we noted that Solomon had an intense scientific
interest in studying the flora and fauna of the world (I Kings
4:29-33). With the world in a state of relative peace, Solomon
had the opportunity to devote much attention to this interest.
The kings of other nations were only too happy to accommodate
Solomon's peaceable, scientific interests. Since the other
nations knew that the massive military resources of Israel, Egypt
and Phoenicia were all at the disposal of Solomon, they were
likely very relieved that Solomon's passion was not "conquering
the world," but rather "learning all there was to know." While
Solomon had the opportunity to be an Alexander the Great, his
heart was more in harmony with those of Da Vinci, Marco Polo, and
Audubon.

     The Bible states that "all the kings of the earth" brought
annual presents to King Solomon. While gold was the primary gift,
these kings also brought samples of their national wildlife as a
gift for Solomon. I Kings 10:22 mentions "apes and peacocks" as
samples of exotic species that were shipped to King Solomon's
capital, and verse 25 adds that horses and mules were also
brought to him. I Kings 4:33 tells us, concerning his interest in
flora, that Solomon was interested in studying everything from a
huge "cedar tree" to "the hyssop that springeth out of the wall."
It is logical that his passion for fauna would be equally
expansive. As nations learned of Solomon's interests in all types
of flora and fauna, samples of each nation's flora and fauna were
shipped to Jerusalem to accommodate Solomon's scientific
interests. That common animals (horses and mules) were included
along with exotic ones such as apes and peacocks indicates that
Solomon was interested in studying both new species and
variations within a species.
     Solomon's insatiable scientific curiosity must have resulted
in extraordinary zoological and botanical gardens being present
in Jerusalem. Ecclesiastes 2:4-5 records that Solomon constructed
"great works," including orchards and gardens with many trees,
vineyards and fruits. When Solomon did something, he did it on a
grand scale!

                        ..........................


To be continued

Ah, yes indeed, we are seeing how GREAT was the Empire and
knowledge and wisdom of Solomon. The few verses in the Bible are
only the icing on the cake. World history does record the great
sea-travels of the Phonician/Israelites of Solomon's day. The
world was explored during this peace-time for most of the world.
It has been pushed under the rug by evolutionist historians and
secular teachers of our modern world, who do not want the truths
of the Bible and truths of ancient history to be taught in our
schools, for then they would have to admit there is a God, and
admitting that would mean He has the power to preserve His Word,
and admitting that would mean we should be living by it. And that
is the main reason people do not want to admit God does exist,
for then they would know that He tells us how to live through His
inspired word. So much truth has been and is still, rejected by
the carnal mind that wants to do its own thing, and does not want
the Eternal God ruling its mind. But if you love truth, if you
desire to hunger and thirst after righteousness, then you will
find the restitution of all things on this Website.

Keith Hunt


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