Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
The queen of Sheba visits Solomon, and is sumptuously entertained by him, Ch2 9:1-12. His great riches, Ch2 9:13, Ch2 9:14. He makes targets and shields of beaten gold, and a magnificent ivory throne, and various utensils of gold, Ch2 9:15-20. His navigation to Tarshish, and the commodities brought thence, Ch2 9:21. His magnificence and political connections, Ch2 9:22-28. The writers of his life, Ch2 9:29. He reigns forty years, and is succeeded by his son Rehoboam, Ch2 9:30, Ch2 9:31.
2 Chronicles 9:1
The queen of Sheba - See all the particulars of this royal visit distinctly marked and explained in the notes on Kg1 10:1-10 (note). The Targum calls her queen of Zemargad.
2 Chronicles 9:12
Beside that which she had brought unto the king - In Kg1 10:13 it is stated that Solomon gave her all she asked, besides that which he gave her of his royal bounty. It is not at all likely that he gave her back the presents which she brought to him, and which he had accepted. She had, no doubt, asked for several things which were peculiar to the land of Judea, and would be curiosities in her own kingdom; and besides these, he gave her other valuable presents.
2 Chronicles 9:14
The kings of Arabia - "The kings of Sistevantha." - Targum.
2 Chronicles 9:15
And King Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold - For a more correct valuation of these targets and shields than that in Kg1 10:17 (note), see at the end of the chapter.
2 Chronicles 9:17
Made a great throne of ivory - For a very curious description of the throne of Solomon, see at the end of the chapter, Ch2 9:29 (note).
2 Chronicles 9:21
The king's ships went to Tarshish - "Went to Africa." - Targum.
2 Chronicles 9:25
Four thousand stalls for horses - See the note on Kg1 4:26, where the different numbers in these two books are considered. The Targum, instead of four thousand, has ארבע מאה arba meah, four hundred.
2 Chronicles 9:29
Nathan the prophet - These books are all lost. See the account of Solomon, his character, and a review of his works, at the end of Kg1 11:43 (note).
I. By the kindness of a learned friend, who has made this kind of subjects his particular study, I am able to give a more correct view of the value of the talent of gold and the talent of silver than that which I have quoted Kg1 10:17, from Mr. Reynold's State of the Greatest King.
1. To find the equivalent in British standard to an ounce troy of pure gold, valued at eighty shillings, and to a talent of the same which weighs one thousand eight hundred ounces troy.
The ounce contains four hundred and eighty grains, and the guinea weighs one hundred and twenty-nine grains, or five pennyweights and nine grains.
(1) As 129 grains: 21 shillings:: 480, the number of grains in an ounce: 78.1395348s. or 3l. 18s. 1d. 2.69767q.; the equivalent in our silver coin to one ounce of standard gold.
(2) As 78.1395348 shillings, the value of an ounce of standard gold,: 80 shillings, the value of an ounce troy of pure gold,:: 80 shillings: 81.9047619 shillings, the equivalent in British standard to one ounce of pure gold.
Instead of the preceding, the following proportions may be used: -
(1) As 21.5 shillings: 21 shillings:: 80 shillings: 78.1395348 shillings. This multiplied by 1800, the number of troy ounces in a Hebrew talent, gives 140651.16264s. or 7032l. 11s. 1d. 3.8q., the equivalent to one talent of standard gold.
(2) As 21 standard: 21.5 pure:: 80 pure: 81.9047619 standard. This multiplied by 1800 gives 147428.67142s. or 7371l. 8s. 6d. 3.4q., the equivalent to one talent of pure gold.
2. To find the equivalent in British standard to a talent of pure silver, which is valued at four hundred and fifty pounds sterling, or five shillings the ounce troy.
The pound troy is 240 pennyweights; and our silver coin has 18 pennyweights of alloy in the pound. From 240 pennyweights take 18, and there will remain 222 pennyweights, the pure silver in the pound.
Now as 240 pennyweights: 222 pennyweights:: 20 pennyweights, the weight of a crown piece,: 18 1/2 pennyweights, the weight of the pure silver in the crown.
Then, as 18.5 pennyweights: 6 shillings:: 36000, the number of dwts. in a talent,: 9729.729729729729 shillings, or 486 9s. 8 3/4d., the equivalent in our coin to a talent of pure silver.
Example 1. To find the equivalent in British standard to the one hundred and twenty talents of gold which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon, Ch2 9:9.
147428.57142 s. equivalent to one talent of pure gold, 120 number of talents [as found above]. 17691428.5704 = 884,571 8 s. 6 3/4 d., the equivalent to 120 talents. Example 2. To find the equivalent in British standard to Solomon's two hundred targets of beaten gold, each six hundred shekels; and to his three hundred shields, each three hundred shekels, Ch2 9:15, Ch2 9:16.
A talent is three thousand shekels; therefore six hundred shekels are one-fifth, and three hundred are one-tenth of a talent. -
5)147428.57142s. equivalent to one talent. 29485.71428 equivalent to one target. 200 the number of targets. 2
One-tenth of a talent is
14742.857142 = one shield. 300 number of shields. 2
147428.57142 s. = one talent. 666 number of talents. 88457142852 88457142852 88457142852 2
The Gold 147428.57142 s. = one talent. 100000 number of talents 2
The Silver 9729.729729729 s. = one talent. 1000000 number of talents. 2
II. I have referred, in the note on Ch2 9:17, to a curious account of Solomon's throne, taken from a Persian MS. entitled beet al mukuddus, the Holy House, or Jerusalem. It has already been remarked, in the account of Solomon at the end of Kg1 11:43, article 12, that among the oriental writers Solomon is considered, not only as the wisest of all men, but as having supreme command over demons and genii of all kinds; and that he knew the language of beasts and birds, etc.; and therefore the reader need not be surprised if he find, in the following account, Solomon employing preternatural agency in the construction of this celebrated throne.
"This famous throne was the work of the Deev Sukhur; it was called Koukab al Jinna. The beauty of this throne has never been sufficiently described; the following are the particulars: - "The sides of it were pure gold; the feet, of emeralds and pearls, intermixed with other pearls, each of which was as large as the egg of an ostrich.
"The throne had Seven steps; on each side were delineated orchards full of trees, the branches of which were composed of precious stones, representing ripe and unripe fruits.
"On the tops of the trees were to be seen fowls of the most beautiful plumage; particularly the peacock, the etaub, and the kurgus; all these birds were artificially hollowed within, so as occasionally to utter a thousand melodious notes, such as the ears of mortals had never before heard.
"On the First step were delineated vine-branches, having bunches of grapes, composed of various sorts of precious stones; fashioned in such a manner as to represent the different colors of purple, violet, green, and red, so as to exhibit the appearance of real fruit.
"On the Second step, on each side of the throne, were two lions, of massive gold, of terrible aspect, and as large as life.
"The property of this throne was such, that when the prophet Solomon placed his foot upon the First step, all the birds spread their wings, and made a fluttering noise in the air.
"On his touching the Second step, the two lions expanded their claws.
"On his reaching the Third step, the whole assembly of deevs, peris, and men, repeated the praises of the Deity.
"When he arrived at the Fourth step, voices were heard addressing him in the following manner: Son of David be grateful for the blessings which the Almighty has bestowed upon thee.
"The same was repeated on his reaching the Fifth step.
"On his touching the Sixth step, all the children sang praises.
"On his arrival at the Seventh step, the whole throne, with all the birds and other animals, became in motion, and ceased not till he had placed himself in the royal seat; and then the birds, lions, and other animals, by secret springs, discharged a shower of the most precious musk upon the prophet; after which two of the kurguses, descending placed a golden crown upon his head.
"Before the throne was a column of burnished gold; on the top of which was placed a golden dove, which had in its beak a roll bound in silver. In this roll were written the Psalms of the prophet David, and the dove having presented the roll to King Solomon, he read a portion of it to the children of Israel.
"It is farther related that, on the approach of wicked persons to this throne for judgment, the lions were wont to set up a terrible roaring, and to lash their tails about with violence; the birds also began to erect their feathers; and the whole assembly of deeves and genii uttered such loud cries, that for fear of them no person would dare to be guilty of falsehood, but instantly confess his crimes.
"Such was the throne of Solomon, the son of David." Supposing even this splendid description to be literally true, there is nothing here that could not have been performed by ingenuity and art; nothing that needed the aid of supernatural influence."
In another MS., on which I cannot now lay my hand, the whole value of this throne, and its ornaments, is computed in lacs of rupees! The above description is founded in the main on the account given here, Ch2 9:17-19. The Six steps, and the footstool of the sacred writer, make the Seven steps, in the above description. The twelve lions are not distinguished by the Mohammedan writer. Other matters are added from tradition.
This profusion of gold and precious stones was not beyond the reach of Solomon, when we consider the many millions left by his father; no less a sum than one thousand two hundred and twenty-three millions, six hundred and twenty-nine thousand, three hundred and forty-three pounds, eleven shillings, and eight pence halfpenny, besides what Solomon himself furnished.