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pageId="iii"Oxford Bible Atlas Contextualizes the stories and lands of the Bible through user-friendly maps and illustrations.

Solomon

It is in the portrayal of Solomon that commercial activity plays an important part. His trade in horses and chariots has already been mentioned. His dealings with Hiram, king of Tyre, involved the latter's provision of cedars and cypresses for Solomon's building activities in Jerusalem, in return for which Solomon gave him wheat (1 Kgs. 5: 8–11 ) and also territory, twenty cities in the Galilee region (1 Kgs. 9: 10–13 ). Particularly important was his establishment of a fleet of ships at Ezion‐geber at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba, with access to the Red Sea. This was achieved in partnership with Hiram of Tyre (1 Kgs. 9: 26–8 ). The significance of this must be seen in conjunction with the much misrepresented story of the visit of the Queen of Sheba from south Arabia. For all her apparent interest in Solomon's wisdom, it is perhaps his commercial wisdom which was particularly attractive and the primary purpose of the relationship was probably trade. She came bearing gold and spices, the two great exports of Arabia to the Mediterranean world, along with precious stones (1 Kgs. 10: 2, 10 ), and took back unspecified products (‘every desire that she expressed’; 1 Kgs. 10: 13 ). With a fleet based in Eziongeber, and friendly relations with the Queen of Sheba who controlled the ports of origin in the southern Red Sea, goods could be shipped directly by Solomon's and Hiram's fleets to territory under Solomon's control. This would avoid the necessity (and cost) of transportation overland through Arabia. Every three years the fleets would set out, returning with ‘gold, silver, ivory, apes and peacocks’ (1 Kgs. 10: 22 ).

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