"Ivory, And Apes, And Peacocks"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 190

Context: God asks the youthful King Solomon in the beginning of his reign what he wants most, and Solomon requests wisdom. God, pleased with this answer, promises him wealth and honor, in addition to wisdom. Since his father, David, has completed the conquest of the territory of Canaan, Solomon's reign is a peaceful one. In seven years he builds an extremely elaborate temple and in thirteen years a palace so splendid that it has an ivory throne overlaid with gold and embellished with magnificent carvings; in fact, gold is used throughout the palace, even the drinking and serving vessels are of pure gold. The brilliance of his court and the fame of his wisdom attract rulers, including the Queen of Sheba, and diplomats from all the leading nations. Solomon receives vast quantities of gold every year, in addition to taxes from traders and tribute from many Eastern kings. Solomon's opulence is well illustrated by the items of trade he receives from the fleet of ships he commissions from King Hiram of Tyre:

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. . . Once in three years came the navy of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

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