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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:
After yesterday's jaunt into history, today, I thought it would be fun to do a bit more, along with some biblical archaeology. In our day's reading from Job, we find a reference to the gold of Ophir
Job 22:23-25 "If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver."
Have you ever wondered about the gold of Ophir? It's mentioned 11 times in Scripture. Plainly from the context, the Gold of Ophir was exceedingly special, plenteous, and rich. It was believed to be the best gold in all the world, in the time of Solomon. But, as I research Ophir a bit more, I found that actually it was renowned as the biblical El Dorado! Some have gone so far as to speculate that the land of Ophir may well have been the basis for the legend of Atlantis!
Ophir in Genesis 10 (the Table of Nations) is said to be the name of one of the sons of Joktan.[Note 1] The Books of Kings and Chronicles tell of a joint expedition to Ophir by King Solomon and the Tyrian king Hiram I from Ezion-Geber, a port on the Red Sea, that brought back large amounts of gold, precious stones and 'algum wood' and of a later failed expedition by king Jehoshaphat of Judah.[Note 2] The famous 'gold of Ophir' is referenced in several other books of the Hebrew Bible.[Note 3] In Jewish tradition, Ophir is often associated with a place in India, named for one of the sons of Joktan. The 10th-century lexicographer, David ben Abraham al-Fasi, identified Ophir with Serendip, the old Persian name for Sri Lanka (aka Ceylon).
Details about the three of Joktan's sons, Sheba, Ophir and Havilah, were preserved in a tradition known in divergent forms from three early Christian (pre-Islamic) sources: the Arabic Kitab al-Magall (part of Clementine literature), the Syriac Cave of Treasures, and the Ethiopic Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan.
The Kitab al-Magall states that in the days of Reu, a king of Saba (Sheba) named "Pharaoh" annexed Ophir and Havilah to his kingdom, and "built Ophir with stones of gold, for the stones of its mountains are pure gold."
In the Cave of Treasures, this appears as: "And the children of Ophir, that is, Send, appointed to be their king Lophoron, who built Ophir with stones of gold; now, all the stones that are in Ophir are of gold."
The version in the Conflict of Adam and Eve says: "Phar’an reigned over the children of Saphir [Ophir], and built the city of Saphir with stones of gold; and that is the land of Sarania, and because of these stones of gold, they say that the mountains of that country and the stones thereof are all of gold."
No one knows the exact location of Ophir anymore. It is lost in the dusty pages of history. Some speculate that Ophir was located north-west of Sri Lanka and the that it now lies beneath the Indian Ocean, having been flooded in ages past.
Solomon certainly knew where Ophir was located. In fact, his gold was known to have come from Ophir.
As Bible History Online reported:
This fragment of an ancient pottery jar was discovered at Tel Qasile near Jaffa in Israel. It contains an inscription which mentions "Ophir gold" and the temple of Horon, a Canaanite deity. The Gold of Ophir Inscription is important in the study of Biblical archaeology. It corresponds with what the Bible says about the gold at Solomon's Temple.
"Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal." - I Chronicles 29:3-4
The gold of Ophir was mentioned in the Bible in connection to Solomon's Temple. Ophir was a region probably located on the southwestern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is quite possible that Ophir was on the opposite of the Red Sea, on the eastern coast of Africa. According to the Bible it could be reached by ship from Ezion-geber (I Kings 9:28). King Solomon joined with the Phoenician king Hiram and uniting a fleet of ships to bring out the gold of Ophir.
Ophir was a port or region mentioned in the Bible, famous for its wealth. King Solomon is supposed to have received a cargo of gold, silver, sandalwood, precious stones, ivory, apes and peacocks from Ophir, every three years. [Wikipedia]
Solomon's great wealth was largely attributed to his gold mines located in Ophir. As Historic Mysteries reported:
Having ruled on or around 970BC, the legendary King Solomon is arguably one of the most recognizable characters within the pages of the Old Testament. The third King of Israel, Solomon was a renowned ruler that oversaw a growth from a single state into a venerable superpower of the Middle East in biblical times. During his near four decade regency, the King had a reputation not too dissimilar to that of a certain James Bond. King Solomon had another aspect to his legend. That was his immense wealth from gold that historians say came from the lost mine of Ophir somewhere in the Middle East.
By today’s standards, Solomon was reputed to have a personal fortune in excess of $60 trillion. Much of this came in the form of pure gold. By the end of his sovereignty, estimations indicated that he owned 500 tons of gold. Modern gold usually comes in the form of bullion. But King Solomon used a portion of his gold to fashion items such as shields, cups and plates. King Solomon’s temple, built in the mid 10th century BC, was bedecked in gold.
At his palace, builders constructed his throne from a combination of gold and another precious material, ivory. A gold footstool rested at its base. Leading up to his golden throne, a dozen life size replicas of lions formed a guard of honor on six steps.
But there is more to our study of Ophir's gold than just a treasure hunt, or the legend of lost Atlantis. The gold of Ophir bears spiritual meaning as well. And it is in the spiritual meaning that we may find the true treasure of this gold, even today.
Kethem is the Hebrew word which has been translated into the English word gold, in reference to the gold of Ophir. Kethem is a word which references the following:
1) The gold of Ophir represents wisdom and understanding.
2) The Bride of Christ, His queen, is decked with kethem.
4) God's Word fitly spoken is said to be "an ornament of "fine gold [kethem] in the mouth of a wise reprover."
5) Only God Himself can make "light be darkness" and "change and dim fine gold" [kethem].
6) Christ's Word and His Truth "gird our loins in fine gold [kethem]."
7) In judgment "in the day of the Lord" that man is to be made "more precious than the golden wedge [kethem] of Ophir."
And it is in these seven spiritual references to the deeper significance of the gold of Ophir that we find our real treasure hunt. This is the gold that we must daily seek from our Heavenly King:
Revelation 3:18 "I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."