Many people in the world today are unaware of the splendor and wealth of ancient Israel. In fact, since the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Israel has been scattered among the nations in lowliness and obscurity. Only in our own generation (since 1948) has this ancient people been re-established as a modest nation occupying her ancestral lands. Renewed and expanded archaeological studies in the holy land are, however, calling attention to the dramatic history of these, Abraham's descendants through his son Isaac, today as never before.
The purpose of this article is to describe briefly the wealth of ancient Israel associated with the mystery of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the temples built in Jerusalem. Because the Temple Mount in Jerusalem contains many subterranean chambers now filled with debris, archaeologists and Bible students have asked if it is possible that temple treasures may have been hidden beneath the rock prior to the times of invasion and destruction of Jerusalem by foreign invaders. The principle reference on this subject is the Bible since few other historical records or trustworthy traditional accounts remain.
The books of Exodus and Numbers indicate that approximately 600,000 able-bodied men over age 20 (plus women and children) made the 40-year journey from the Nile Delta, then finally up the East side of the Jordan. During their wilderness wanderings the people of Israel received the Ten Commandments and detailed laws, regulations and instructions delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Moses was also instructed to construct a large portable tabernacle,
or tent, entrusted to the care of the priests of Aaron. A detailed description
of this tabernacle is given in Exodus 25-30. The Tabernacle was built by
free-will offerings donated by the people in such generous amounts that
more than enough materials were available. See: The Exodus Papers.
The materials assembled for the tabernacle are described in detail in Exodus 35-38 and summarized in Exodus 38:21-30. The total quantity of gold collected was approximately one ton; of silver, 3-3/4 tons; and of bronze, 2-1/2 tons. At today's prices (November 2022) gold is approximately $1738 per troy ounce, or $25,375 per pound, or $50.75 million per ton. Silver currently is priced around $21 per troy ounce, or $668 per kilogram, which is $613,200 per ton. Hence, the gold and silver used in the Tabernacle of Moses would be worth about $51.36 million today. Exodus 12:35 states that the Jews were given gold, silver, and ornaments by the Egyptians at the time of the departure from Egypt. The golden lampstand in the tabernacle weighed a talent and would today be worth 1, 903,125 dollars for its gold alone.
A gold replica of this menorah is now on display
at the Temple Institute in Jerusalem along with other sacred vessels intended for use in the coming Third Temple.
The Old Testament gives some details about the movement of the tabernacle, Ark, and holy vessels after the conquest. The Ark of Covenant was located at Shiloh for many years presumably in a house, tent, or temple constructed for it there (Judges 18:31, I Samuel 1:39, 3:3; Judges 21:19). At some later period the Ark was moved to Bethel on the Benjaminite border during the war with Gibeah (Judges 20:26-27). The Ark was then held by the Philistines for seven months. After being recaptured it was located for 20 years at Kiriath-jearim. King Saul generally neglected the Ark (I Chronicles 13:3) but David brought it to Jerusalem about 1003 BC (II Samuel 6; I Chronicles 13:15). The Ark was given temporary shelter in Jerusalem before being installed in the first temple built by King David's son, the illustrious Solomon. Despite a temporary removal by apostate king Manasseh, (II Chronicles 33:7; 35:3), the Ark is thought by many to have remained in the holy of holies of the first temple until the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar. The post-exilic temple apparently contained no Ark, according to Josephus (The Wars of the Jews, Book Five).
The apocryphal book of II Maccabees (2:1-8) says that the prophet Jeremiah hid the Ark and the golden altar of incense in a cave on Mt. Nebo before the Babylonian exile. Jeremiah was taken to Tahpanhes in Egypt by a remnant of the Jews after the fall of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 42:1-43:7) , so it is conceivable that he secured the Ark in a cave on the way. Others say it is more likely that the Ark would be hidden under the Temple Mount or elsewhere in Jerusalem rather than on Mt. Nebo, which is about 40 miles East of Jerusalem. Perhaps the Ark perished in the flames when the temple was sacked and burned? Controversy over the fate of the Ark has been renewed in our time. Some call attention to a sealed room under the Temple Mount which is believed to contain the Ark of the Covenant and temple treasures. Temple treasures taken by the Romans in AD 70 are thought by some to be in the Vatican library in Rome.
It is known that most or all of the holy vessels of gold and silver from the tabernacle were with the Ark when it was brought from the city of David to the first temple by Solomon (I Kings 8:4). Although David desired to build a permanent house of God in Jerusalem, his son Solomon built the first temple. The plans were those of David, and David amassed the materials (I Chronicles 28:1-19; II Chronicles 2-4; I Kings 6-7). These materials included 100,000 talents (Ref. 3) of gold and 1,000,000 talents of silver, (I Chronicles 29). From his own private fortune David also gave 3,000 talents of gold and 7,000 talents of high grade silver. This is an enormous quantity of gold and silver by any standard: 100,000 talents of gold = 3750 tons, value today = $190 billion; 1,000,000 talents of silver = 37,500 tons, value today = $23 billion. In round numbers, the wealth of the First Temple would be today worth about $56 billion. (The Hebrew talent is assumed to be 75 pounds.)
In addition to all the gold and silver, great quantities of bronze, cedar, iron, and precious stones were contributed. The most holy place of Solomon's temple was lined with cedar from Lebanon and covered with 600 talents of gold. This gold plating alone, about 540,000 troy ounces, would be worth about $939 million today. The doors of the temple were also covered with gold plates. During this period of Israel's history, Solomon's income was 666 talents of gold per annum or about 600,000 troy ounces, worth $1.043 billion today. During the reign of Solomon "silver was as common as stone" in Jerusalem, (I Kings 10:27). Solomon made 200 massive shields each 300 shekels in weight to hang on the walls of his palace. His ivory throne was overlaid with gold. "So King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom" (II Kings 10:23). The splendor of Solomon's kingdom brought him recognition and fame that attracted much foreign attention. For example, during her visit "to test Solomon with hard questions" the Queen of Sheba brought Solomon 120 talents of gold, (228 million dollars), "and a very great store of spices and precious stones," (I Kings 10; II Chronicles 9).
In their commentary on the Old Testament Keil and Delitzsch call attention to the large quantities of gold and silver taken in Asia by Alexander the Great: 2,600 talents of gold and 600 talents of silver from Damascus, 50,000 talents of gold and 40,000 talents of uncoined gold and silver from Susa and from Persepolis 120,000 talents of gold. (The ruins of Persepolis are located just north of Shiraz in Iran). Thus, though the quantities are very high they are not unreasonable compared to the wealth of other surrounding ancient kingdoms.
A cube of gold weighing 3750 tons would measure about 6 meters (19.68 ft) on a side, and 37,500 tons of silver in a single cube would be about 16 meters (52.48 ft) on a side. The total amount of gold mined and stockpiled in the entire world up to the present time totals about 88,000 tons (Ref. 4). If this gold were collected together its volume would be that of a cube 16.5 m (54 feet) on a side. It is estimated that only about 40,000 tons of gold remains in the earth yet to be mined. South Africa's gold production today is about 950 tons per annum. The Soviet Union produces about 550 tons, Canada 70 tons, and the United States about 40 tons. The total world production of gold is about 1,850 metric tons annually.
The temple of Solomon required 7-1/2 years to construct and the efforts of about 180,000 laborers, (I Kings 7:13, 5:6, 13, 14; II Chronicles 2:17-18). Great quantities of local stone and imported cedar wood were used. The wealth of the first temple was immediately plundered after the death of Solomon. During the reign of Solomon's son Rehoboam, Shishak (Sheshonk), King of Egypt, raided Jerusalem about 925 BC and "took away treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king's house; he took away everything. He also took away the shields of gold (500 in number, worth about $36 million) which Solomon had made..." (II Chronicles 12:1-12). According to Second Chronicles 12, Shishak's army numbered 60,000 horsemen and 1200 chariots. If each man carried back 100 pounds of booty, this is only 3000 tons total of gold and silver. However, the people that were with him were "without number," the "Lubim, the Sukkim, and the Ethiopians." These people may also have carried off much gold and silver. It seems reasonable that some gold and silver remained in the temple after Shishak's raids. Probably gold would have been taken in preference to silver.
After Solomon's death the kingdom of Israel continued to deteriorate in strength except for occasional revivals, until the time of the Babylonian captivity in 586 BC During the revivals of Joash, (II Chronicles 24), and Josiah, (II Kings 22), generous contributions were made by the citizenry for repairs and refurbishing of the temple. Except for these revivals much of the wealth of the temple appears to have been confiscated to pay national expenses and tributes to threatening foreign powers. Asa depleted the temple treasures by sending "all" that was left of the silver and gold to Ben-hadad, king of Syria, to buy his help against Baasha, king of Israel (I Kings 15:18, 19).
A new plundering took place during the reign of Ahaziah when Jehoash, king of Israel carried off to Samaria "all" the gold and silver in the temple and the palace, (II Kings 14:14). Ahaz went even further than any of his predecessors in sacrilege, for, besides robbing the temple and palace of their treasures to secure the aid of the king of Assyria, he removed the brazen altar from its time-honored site, and also the bases and ornaments of the lavers, and the oxen from under the bronze sea (II Kings 16:10-17).
Hezekiah paid tribute to Sennacherib, king of Assyria, 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold, "and Hezekiah gave him 'all' the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasures of the king's house. At that time Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord and from the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria," (II Kings 18:13-16). Later Hezekiah foolishly received the emissaries of the king of Babylon and showed them his remaining state treasures: "Hezekiah...showed them all the house of the precious things, the silver and the gold and the spices, and the precious ointment and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his domain that Hezekiah did not show them," (II Kings 20:12-13). The wealth of the temple at the time of Hezekiah was evidently more than enough to incite the covetousness of the king of Babylon so that he hastened to capture Jerusalem after his emissaries brought him the news of the great wealth there.
The fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC was accompanied by terrible destruction and much loss of life. "And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king and of his friends, all these he (Nebuchadnezzar) brought to Babylon. And they burned the house of God, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem, and burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its precious vessels," (II Chronicles 36:18,19). A parallel account in II Kings 25 describes the seized vessels of the house of the Lord as including pots, snuffers, dishes for incense, firepans, bowls, etc. It is possible that some of the wealth of the temple and some of the treasures of the king's house was hidden under the temple mount though this is mostly speculation. If anything was hidden it would most likely have been the Ark of the Covenant which was of great sacred importance. The Scripture suggests that everything of value was carried off to Babylon. During the captivity some of the stolen sacred gold and silver vessels from Jerusalem's temple were used by Belshazzar on the night of his infamous feast when handwriting appeared on the wall of his palace indicating that judgment from God had fallen upon him, (Daniel 5). At the end of the 70-year captivity in Babylon the returning Jews were allowed to carry back at least some of these gold and silver sacred objects to Jerusalem, (Ezra 1:5-10). The list of returned items included 1000 basins of gold, 1000 basins of silver, 29 censers, 30 bowls of gold, 2410 bowls of silver, and other vessels of gold and silver totaling 5,469 in number.
The total number of Jews returning from this captivity was 42,360, plus 7,337 servants and 200 singers. There were 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels and 6720 asses in their convoy, (Ezra 2:64-67). The returning exiles set about rebuilding the temple and the walls. The second temple was modest compared to that of Solomon and was completed in 515 BC Details are given in the Books of Nehemiah and Ezra. Nevertheless, the second temple contained significant quantities of gold and silver which appears to have generally increased during the life of the temple.
Historically, the next records come to us from the time of the Maccabees. An account of the plundering of the temple by Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 170 BC, is given in 1 Maccabees 1:20ff and also was described by Josephus. At that time the temple contained at least an altar of incense made of gold, the table of shewbread, the lampstands, many cups, bowls, and incense holders, crowns and gold plating at the wall where the cherubim had been in days of old. Antiochus also took the "hidden treasures" of the temple site. In three days' time he murdered 40,000 Jews and led an equal number as captives. He then desecrated the temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar.
The total wealth of the Second Temple was always small compared to the greatness of the First Temple though there were many changes made during the 400 years following the closing of the canon of the Old Testament. The Roman ruler Herod decided to completely rebuild and enlarge the Second Temple beginning in his 18th year of reign (c20 BC). Herod employed 10,000 workmen and 1,000 wagons. The size of the temple area was increased from 17 to 34 acres by excavations in the north and by the building of great retaining walls rising 450 ft from the Kidron Valley in the southeast. Within this area, now measuring 351 yards on the north side, 512 on the east, 536 on the west, and 309 on the south, rose the temple with its Corinthian columns of bronze, its different courts and gates and gleaming, spacious cloisters. The buildings and walls we built were extensive and massive. It was in this enlarged Second Temple built by Herod that Jesus was dedicated, and where he later taught and cast out the money-changers on two separate occasions.
The second temple treasury did benefit from a great influx of gold and silver from all lands contributed by worshipers. Cicero wrote of great influxes of gold to Jerusalem during his lifetime. Gifts other than gold or silver coins were sold and their value given to the treasury. Another large source of revenue was profit made from the sale of the meat offerings which were prepared by the Levites and sold every day to the offerers. By far the largest sum was probably derived from the half-shekel of temple tribute which was required of every male Israelite of age, including proselytes and slaves. The total sum of gold and silver contributed annually at the time of Jesus has been estimated to have been of the order of $500,000 per year. A large fraction of this wealth no doubt accumulated year after year over the lifetime of the second temple, (515 B. C. to 70 A. D.). There were numerous temple expenses but the evidence suggests that the bulk of the income was stored up year after year.
Thus, the Roman plunder could well have been worth tens of millions of dollars. The pillaging of the temple, its total destruction and the burning of Jerusalem with terrible suffering and loss of life occurred in 70 AD under the Roman General Titus (Josephus, Wars of the Jews). Tradition has it that the intense flames of the temple fire melted the gold and silver of the temple so that it ran between the cracks of the rocks. Roman soldiers then totally dismantled the temple stone by stone to extract the gold, (see Matthew 24:1-2). No one seems to know with certainty if any of the vessels or sacred objects from Herod's temple were hidden in subterranean passageways during the long siege of Titus. Most everything of value was most likely carried off to Rome.
The overall impression from all the biblical accounts and from tradition is that the various plunderings of Jerusalem's temples were always thorough and total. While no gold or silver may be buried underneath the temple mount, objects of priceless archaeological, historical, and religious significance may lie there. Jeremiah the prophet may have suggested that the Ark, however, has been permanently lost, (Jeremiah 3:16), or at least that it will cease to be of great significance when Messiah comes.
The Old Testament tells of the yet future restoration of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem when Messiah comes, and a still greater future glory for Israel than that attained during the times of David and Solomon, (Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8; Zephaniah 3:14-20). The tombs of some of the major kings of Israel may yet be found in the City of David adjacent to the temple mount now being excavated by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. An interesting reference to these royal tombs is found in Ezekiel, Chapter 43. Of course, the historical, cultural, and religious significance of any new archaeological finds in and around Jerusalem cannot be measured in terms of gold or silver.
Thanks to Vance Owens for the math. Let us know if you find errors.
- Bill Perkins - www.compass.org
".... 'Have you (Gog/Russia) come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?'" Ezekiel 38:13
How much gold and silver would it take for Russia to be enticed to invade Israel to steal it all? A bunch. It would have to be a tantalizing amount, probably in the mega billions, if not trillions, of dollars. But even if Israel were to discover a mega hoard of gold and silver, enough to entice the Russians, the timing of such an invasion (basically starting World War III), would have to be seen as the "perfect window of opportunity." Well, the Bible says Russia WILL invade Israel to steal her gold and silver and this future invasion is described in Ezekiel 38 and 39... a fascinating read. And a great "opportunity window" will open for the Russians to make their move during the 50 chaotic days between Rapture and the signing of the 10-Nation Peace Treaty. (1) Think about it-the United States is Israel's only true ally, and the U.S. will be decimated from the effects of losing key people in the sudden Rapture. So Israel will be alone in the world to fend for herself. At least that's what the Russians will think. They will conclude they can invade and capture the vast treasure for themselves. But God comes to Israel's help in a mighty way to supernaturally protect Israel. And Russia goes down in an embarrassing defeat. (2)
Are the riches future oil discoveries? Nope! So, if we're as close as I think we are to the Rapture, where is this great treasure that Russia will be trying to capture? For years I must admit I thought the treasure would be Israel striking huge amounts of oil. And indeed they have struck a great quantity of oil and gas. But thinking about that reasoning, Saudi Arabia has a lot more oil with far fewer national defenses and I don't see Russia going after Saudi's oil.
Massive amounts of gold and silver? Yes! And now, as I've reread the text of Ezekiel 38:13, I realize I was wrong. It's not oil. The Bible specifically says Russia comes after "silver and gold." I'm quite humbled that I missed that. However, there's a problem. At the moment Israel doesn't have vast amounts of gold and silver. They do have a great diamond-cutting business, world renown. But they just cut other people's diamonds. So how in the world could Israel end up with enough gold and silver to entice Russia to invade? Well, as it turns out, the Bible says that amount of gold and silver treasure is already in Israel, they just need to find it-quite interesting, huh!
Hang with me as I back up a bit... Solomon was the richest man in the world, literally. His treasures were unfathomable. God gave him his wealth because he wisely asked for wisdom, not riches, but God rewarded him for his humble answer and gave him both wisdom AND wealth...great wealth (1Kings 3:9-13). The Bible, and even 1st century Jewish historian Josephus, mentions that Solomon had a fleet of ships that did business all over the Mediterranean. And each time the fleet returned to Israel they brought the trip's profit in gold to King Solomon.
Just how rich WAS Solomon? Solomon had dominion over everything from west of the Jordan River to the Egyptian border in the south and north into present-day Syria. And God allowed him to be at peace with the surrounding nations (1Kings 4:24). He was in the perfect place to make tons of money. In 1Kings 9:26-28, it records that a fleet of his ships returned to Israel with a profit of 31,500 pounds of gold! That's over $750 million in today's value. And that was from just one sea-faring business trip abroad. In 1Kings 10 it says the Queen of Sheba came to Israel to pay Solomon a visit to hear his wisdom and see his wealth. She was stunned-so impressed that she was moved to give Solomon over $200 million in gold plus untold numbers of precious stones. The amount of gold and silver that Solomon acquired during his kingship was beyond imagination, as you will soon see.
Solomon builds the 1st Jewish Temple In 970 BC, Solomon built the first Jewish Temple to be a permanent replacement for the Tabernacle that had been carted around the Middle East for hundreds of years. The building of the Temple makes a good outline for a business plan, in writing, dealing with planning, labor, and materials management (1Chron. 28; 1Kings 5,6). Solomon was so rich when he built the Temple that, rather than putting in just one solid gold menorah, he decided to multiply the contents on the inside of the Temple by 10. So Solomon made nine more solid gold menorahs and lined up the ten in two rows of five each (2Chron. 4:7,8). This means there were ten 6- foot high solid gold menorahs in the 1st Jewish Temple. (See drawing of the inside of the 1st Temple made by the Temple Institute in Jerusalem). Each of those solid gold menorahs was so heavy that the Temple priests estimated their value at $360 billion each, $2.5 trillion value for all 10! Solomon also increased from one solid gold Table of Showbread to 10. Each of these solid gold tables held twelve loaves of bread. The Temple Institute says they would have been about five feet high, four feet wide and four feet long. That's a lot of gold. And a lot of bread to bake daily. We don't know how much the Tables of Showbread weighed-they only had to each hold 12 loaves of bread-but they still were solid gold. See pic of man carrying the bread. However, if they weighed 1/4 of the menorahs, that's another $500 billion in value for the 10 tables. And this doesn't include all the golden bowls, plates and such that numbered in the thousands. Again, Solomon could afford to make all this because he had unfathomable riches. His wealth of gold, silver, precious stones and other things became legendary. So much so that ultimately Israel became a target for conquering by surrounding nations. With all that success, Israel got her eyes off the Lord. Even Solomon brought in hundreds of foreign wives and concubines to pleasure himself. And 40 years later, 930 BC, Israel split into North and South. The North, Israel, set up its own sacrifice system. But sacrifices could only be made on Mt. Moriah, and breaking that rule didn't last long. Three years later, the Assyrians conquered Israel's Northern 10 tribes in 927 BC. But Assyria was unable to capture the real prize-Jerusalem/Judah in the South with all her riches. The South, Judah, held on for over a hundred years, but finally Jerusalem was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar's armies in 586 BC. History tells us that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, plundered the Temple and deported Jerusalem's wealthy and educated inhabitants to Babylon. They looted what they found in the Temple. But apparently Israel had thrown a bone, leaving what seemed like a great treasure to find and seize, but it was actually only a fraction of the whole treasure, only about 2% of the total massive treasure. The 5400 items that were captured were eventually returned by Cyrus, King of Persia, when he authorized their rebuilding of the Temple after Israel's 70 years of Babylonian Captivity. The Bible is clear that Cyrus returned all that had been stolen, even listing out the items. But none of the 10 solid gold menorahs were mentioned, or any tables of showbread on Cyrus' list (Ezra 1:9-11). Nor was there any mention of the other tens of thousands of gold and silver Temple implements, or gold and silver bars from the treasury. Now, since only a small fraction of all that gold and silver went to Babylon, what happened to the other 98%? Basically we're missing the entire fortune that Israel had accumulated under Solomon.
Where did the Temple treasures go? In the Jewish Talmud, tradition says that King Josiah and the Temple priests hid the vast treasure, including the Ark of the Covenant, in secret winding passages under the Temple Mount 10 years before the 1st Temple's destruction. Well, the Jews are a smart people, and Israel did have 140+ years to think about what to do if Jerusalem was ever conquered like their brothers in the north. And Zechariah, God's prophet of the day, was continually hammering the Israelites to wake up and clean up their sins or the Lord would allow them to be conquered like their Northern brothers. Zechariah, unlike most other prophets, was also a Priest. He knew it was possible that Israel was going to be conquered. And he would have had first-hand knowledge of the vast riches stored in the Temple treasuries. He was in the unique position to approve plans to hide the treasure if it looked imminent that Israel would be conquered, his own predictions. Zachariah would certainly want to protect as much of Israel's riches he could, including those 10 golden menorahs and 10 golden Tables of Showbread. Not to mention the hugely important Holy Ark of the Covenant that contained Moses'/Aaron's staff and the two stone tablets with the 10 commandments. So apparently Zachariah approved the hiding/burying of the Temple treasures. And Israel was smart enough to throw the Babylonians a bone. They left in the Temple several thousand gold and silver utensils, which would normally be significant spoils of war. The ruse worked. History tells us that Nebuchadnezzar plundered what they found in the Temple and deported Jerusalem's upper-class citizens, like Daniel, to Babylon. However, Zachariah hid the rest of the treasure so well it's never been found to this day. Qumran and the Copper Scroll Since 1947, in and around Qumran down by the Dead Sea, thousands of pieces of parchment were found buried in caves in the cliffs surrounding the area. Collectively called the Dead Sea Scrolls, their discovery came within months of Israel becoming a fledgling nation again, and Jews today readily admit the discovery helped awaken Jews around the world to their Biblical roots. But in 1952 another scroll was found, one made not of parchment but of copper mixed with a tiny bit of tin. This copper scroll wasn't found near any of the parchment scrolls, but rather by itself, on a carved out shelf in the back of a cave in the area of Qumran. Since it was written on copper, whoever wrote it thought the contents so valuable they had to make permanent indentations in metal to stand the test of time. All the other Dead Sea Scrolls contained Old Testament books, scripture commentaries, and general Jewish life observations. But the Copper Scroll was simply a list of instructions of where tons of gold, silver and precious stones were buried. But, as Frank Peretti said in his classic THE CHAIR presentation, you have to have a "fixed point of reference" to know where to begin any journey. And there are no reference points in the Copper Scroll instructions. Though many have tried, no one yet has been able to figure out the right place to dig. Probably they were written vaguely on purpose because once they find just one of the 64 locations, they can find the rest of the massive treasure. Biblical archaeologists who've analyzed the Copper Scroll believe it to be written by five different people who apparently were in a hurry to complete the scroll. Hebrew priests normally take great care in making each line perfect, but the Copper Scroll looks as if time was of the essence to complete it. Lines are not uniform, some letters are hard to read, there are misspellings, etc. The Copper Scroll is most fascinating because 63 of the 64 locations described listed staggering quantities of gold and silver. There are even some large unnamed items that very well could be the 10 missing 1st Temple menorahs and Tables of Showbread. In total, there was over 345,000 pounds of gold and silver listed, not counting the 10 menorahs and 10 Tables of Showbread. That's over $5 trillion! Certainly enough to entice the Russians to "devise an evil plan." (Ezekiel 38:10) But, as the commercials always say, "That's not all!" More to the story... 2Maccabees 2:1 (granted it's not part of inspired Hebrew scripture, but heavily relied on and quoted by Jewish historians) mentions that Jeremiah, another of God's prophets at the same time of Zechariah, made records of the Temple inventory. He even warned those helping him make the records not to be "led astray in their thoughts upon seeing all the gold and silver." The Maccabean text continues to say that Jeremiah then found a cave to store the treasure, including the Ark of the Covenant, and covered up the entrance saying the treasure would not be found until "God gathers His people together and shows His mercy." Over the last 75 years, several Americans have raised and spent small fortunes looking for the Temple treasures in Israel. Most notably, John Allegro, Vendyl Jones, Oren Gutfield and Jim Barfield. Others, like Randall Price, go on yearly digs to find anything they can. So the area will eventually yield its fruit. In the meantime, with each failure of discovery the chorus of naysayers who don't believe the treasure is real grows louder and louder. But all that gold and silver is hiding somewhere and will one day be found.
A Most Intriguing List Several hundred years ago, some Hebrew scholars decided to try to locate these "other records" that Jeremiah mentioned. They found what they were looking for in the Emeq HaMelekh, which means "Valley of the Kings." In 1648, a Rabbi translated Emeq HaMelekh and his translations were discovered in 1992. Emeq HaMelekh is a Hebrew account of five Temple guardians who hid the Ark, the Sanctuary and the Treasures of Solomon's Temple. Could those five be the same five guys on the Copper Scroll? Very plausible, to say the least. Most importantly to this article, the Emeq HaMelekh has a lot in common with the Copper Scroll list of Temple treasures, but it lists about 100 times more pieces of gold and silver. Now we're easily into the mega trillions of dollars worth of gold and silver to be found. To save space I have made an edited (but numerically accurate) recap of the Emeq HaMelekh. I have added calculated amounts in parentheses in today's dollars on some of the items to give you a feel for what it is saying. [Note: A talent was approximately 75 lbs.]
Emeq HaMelekh These are the vessels dedicated and concealed when the Temple was destroyed:
Mishnah 1 The Tabernacle and the Curtain The Holy Menorah The Ark of the Testimony The golden forehead Nameplate The golden crown of Aharon the Cohen The Breastplate of Judgement The liver Trumpets The Cherubim The Altar of burnt offerings The curtain of the Communion Tent The forks and the bread molds The Table of Showbread (The list continues with several pages of priestly garments)
Mishnah 2 These are the holy vessels and the vessels of the Temple that were in Jerusalem and in every place. They were inscribed by shimmer Halevi and his companions on a Lunch Nehoshef Copper Plate with all the Vessels of the Holy of Holies that Shalom son of David made. And together with Shimus were Hizkiyahu, Zidkiyah, Haggai the Prophet, and Zechariah, son of Berechiah, son of Iddo the Prophet.
Mishnah 3 These are the vessels of the Temple that were taken and buried in the ground: The locking rods The pegs The boards The rings The standing pillars of the courtyard These are the Vessels: 1,200,000 silver Mizrakot (sacrificial basins) 50,000 fine gold Mizrakot (sacrificial basins) 600,000 bowls of fine gold 1,200,000 bowls of silver
Mishnah 4 500,000 trays of fine gold 1,200,000 trays of silver 500,000 bread mold of fine gold 1,200,000 bread molds of silver On each of the molds there were 5 Margaliot/pearls and 2 precious gem stones. The value of each precious stone was 100 talents of gold ($180 million). The total value of all the Margaliot was 200,000 talents of gold ($360 billion). 36 golden trumpets 7 branched menorah of fine gold worth 100,000 talents ($360 billion)
Mishnah 5 77 tables of gold 7,000 talents of gold (Over $10 trillion) 3 rows of priceless stones, 7 cubits by 5 cubits
Mishnah 7 The counting of precious stones, Margallot gems, silver, and gold that King David dedicated to the great Temple was: 1,000,000 talents of silver ($18 billion) 100,000 talents of gold ($180 million) 600,000 talents of fine gold ($1.08 trillion) All these were concealed, hidden and safeguarded from the army of the Chaldeans in a place called Borseef.
Mishnah 8 7 golden curtains with 12,000 talents of gold ($20 billion) 12,000 Levitical garments with belts 70,000 Levitical garments with belts, turbans and pants All of these service clothes were concealed until the future to atone for Israel in the end of days.
Mishnah 9 David also made: 1,000 copper lyres overlaid with fine gold and 8 stones 7,000 harps All these were hidden and concealed in Ein Zidkiyah that the fittest men of Israel knew in secret, lest they fall, G-d forbid, into the hands of the enemy who hated Israel. These vessels are not to be used except to atone for Israel, thus concealed to prevent the Chaldeans from using them, G-d forbid. They hid them until the day when Israel will return to their former stature and reclaim eternal honor and worldly glory, and they find a man named David, son of David. The silver and gold shall then be unearthed to him, when all Israel shall gather and make a complete Aliyah ascent to Jerusalem. Amen.
Mishnah 10 These are the weights of silver concealed at Ein Kahal by Baruch and Zidkiyah: 1,200,000 talents of silver 1,600,000 of fine silver 2,000,000 pots of fine copper 1,100,000 pots of iron 3,000 frying pans of fine gold Countless copper sinks and lavers 70 tables of fine gold All those were concealed by Zidkiyah.
Mishnah 11 Treasures of gold and silver stored away from the days of David until Sidkiyah and until Israel was exiled to Babylon. Hundreds of thousands of golden shields Countless silver shields 353,000 precious stones 1,900,000 Korin of gold [no clue what that weighs] All the prophets, wise men, and scribes in the world could not calculate the wealth and the glory that was in Jerusalem.
Mishnah 12 Twelve precious stones with the names of the Tribes engraved on them. No king, prophet, or anyone else knew where they were hidden, excepting Hiluk, son of Shimus Halevi. All Israel concealed the Vessels until a righteous king arises over Israel. What's more, they all share a solemn vow never to reveal the whereabouts of these vessels until David, son of David, arises. All silver, gold, and Margaliot precious stones which were ever hidden away will be handed over to him when the exiles of Israel will be gathered from the four ends of the earth, and they ascend with greatness and exaltation to the land of Israel. At that time a great river will issue forth from the Holy of Holies of the Temple. Its name is Gihon and it will flow to the great and dreadful desert and become mixed with the Euphrates River. End of Emeq HaMelekh -------- Well, there you have it. Trillions of dollars of gold and silver are still hidden somewhere in Israel. Not to mention those 3,000 gold frying pans! :-) And when they do find that incredible treasure, look up! Luke 21:28 "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
Update for 2022: At a price of US$1763 per troy ounce, reached on 16 August 2017, one ton of gold has a value of approximately US$50.5 million. The best estimates currently available suggest that around 190,040 tonnes of gold has been mined throughout history, of which around two-thirds has been mined since 1950. And since gold is virtually indestructible, this means that almost all of this metal is still around in one form or another. If every single ounce of this gold were placed next to each other, the resulting cube of pure gold would only measure around 21 metres on each side.
Gold: For the Ordinary Person
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by Lambert Dolphin
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem: Templemount.org
July 1981, revised November 1992. June 5, 2019, December 12, 2019. July 16, 2021. November 22, 2022.