Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 9:28

They went to Ophir and took four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there, and brought it to King Solomon.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Commerce;   Gold;   Hiram;   Ophir;   Solomon;   Talent;   Tyre;   Thompson Chain Reference - Gold;   Ophir;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Gold;   Holy Land;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Egypt;   Ophir;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Edom;   Ezion-geber;   Hiram;   Palestine;   Phoenicia;   Ship;   Solomon;   Treaty;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Obadiah, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Gold;   Ophir;   Ships;   Solomon;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Hiram;   Metals;   Ophir;   Phoenice;   Taxes;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ezion-Geber;   King, Kingship;   Merchant;   Ophir;   Solomon;   Transportation and Travel;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Alliance;   Hiram;   Israel;   Mining and Metals;   Nations;   Ophir;   Ships and Boats;   Solomon;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Ship ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ophir ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Ophir;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Hiram;   Solomon;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Gold;   O'phir;   Sol'omon;   Taxes;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Gold;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Gold;   Ophir;   Red Sea;   Ships and Boats;   Tyre;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Alliances;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And they came to Ophir - No man knows certainly, to this day, where this Ophir was situated. There were two places of this name; one somewhere in India, beyond the Ganges, and another in Arabia, near the country of the Sabaeans, mentioned by Job, Job 22:24; : Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust; and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. And Job 28:16; : It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. Calmet places this country at the sources of the Euphrates and Tigris.

But there are several reasons to prove that this was not the Ophir of the Bible, which it seems was so situated as to require a voyage of three years long to go out, load, and return. Mr. Bruce has discussed this subject at great length; see his Travels, vol. ii., chap. iv., p. 354, etc. He endeavors to prove

  1. That Ezion-geber is situated on the Elanitic branch of the Arabian Gulf or Red Sea.
  • That Tharshish is Moka, near to Melinda, in the Indian Ocean, in about three degrees south latitude.
  • That Ophir lies somewhere in the land of Sofala, or in the vicinity of the Zimbeze river, opposite the island of Madagascar, where there have been gold and silver mines in great abundance from the remotest antiquity. And he proves,
  • That no vessel could perform this voyage in less than Three years, because of the monsoons; that more time need not be employed, and that this is the precise time mentioned in 1 Kings 10:22.
  • That this is the country of the queen of Sheba, or Sabia, or Azeba, who on her visit to Solomon, brought him one hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices and precious stones great store, 1 Kings 10:10. And that gold, ivory, silver, etc., are the natural productions of this country.
  • To illustrate and prove his positions he has given a map on a large scale, "showing the track of Solomon's fleet in their three years' voyage from the Elanitic Gulf to Ophir and Tharshish;" to which, and his description, I must refer the reader.

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    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-9.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    On Ophir, see the marginal reference note. Among the various opinions three predominate; all moderns, except a very few, being in favor of Arabia, India, or Eastern Africa. Arabia‘s claims are supported by the greatest number.

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-9.html. 1870.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And they came to Ophir,.... About which place there are various opinions; some take it to be the little island of Zocatora, on the eastern coast of Africa, at a small distance from the straits of Babelmandel; others the island of Ceylon; others Sofala in Africa; someF11Erasm. Schmid. de America, orat. ad Cale. Pindar. p. 261. So some Jewish writers say it is the new world, Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 10. 1. Peru in America; Vatablus the island of Hispaniola in the West Indies, discovered by Columbus, and who thoughtF12P. Martyr Decad. 1. l. 1. himself that he had found the land of Ophir, because of the quantity of gold in it; others the southern part of Arabia; but the most reasonable opinion is, says my authorF13Harris's Voyages, ut supra. (vol. 1. B. 1. ch. 2. sect. 3. p. 377.) , that it is a rich country in Malacca, which is a peninsula in the true Red sea (that part of the ocean which divides Asia from Africa), known by the name of the "golden Chersonese", and which agrees with JosephusF14Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 8. c. 6. sect. 4.) ; and at twelve leagues from Malacca there is a very high mountain, which by the natives is called Ophir, and is reported to be, or to have been, very rich in gold, though at present only some tin mines are worked there; and KircherF15China Illustrat. cum Monument. p. 58. & Prodrom. Copt. c. 4. p. 119. says the word Ophir is a Coptic or Egyptian word, by which the ancient Egyptians used to call that India which contains the kingdoms of Malabar, Zeilan, the golden Chersonese, and, the islands belonging to it, Sumatra, Molucca, Java, and other neighbouring golden islands. So VarreriusF16Comment. de Ophyra. thinks that all that coast in which are contained Pegu, Malaca, and Somatra, is Ophir; which places, besides gold, abound with elephants, apes, and parrots. In the island of Sumatra gold is now found, especially in Achin, in great plenty; in which is a mountain, called the "golden mountain", near the minesF17Dampier's Voyages, vol. 2. ch. 7. RelandF18Dissert. de Ophir, sect. 6, 7. takes Ophir to be the country round about a city called Oupara or Suphara, in the East Indies, where now stands Goa, the most famous mart in all India at this day for many of those things Solomon traded thither for. Though after all perhaps there was no such place originally as Ophir in India; only the gold brought from thence was like that of Ophir in Arabia, and therefore they called the place so from whence it was had; see Job 22:24.

    and fetched from thence gold four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to King Solomon; which according to BrerewoodF19De Ponder. & Pret. c. 5. amounted to 1,890,000 pounds of our money; and according to another writerF20Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 3. p. 572. 5,132,400 ducats of gold. Abarbinel says a talent of gold was equal to 12,300 Venetian ducats; in 2 Chronicles 8:18 it is said, that four hundred and fifty talents of gold were brought to Solomon; perhaps thirty might be expended in the voyage, or paid to Hiram's servants for their wages, as some Jewish writers observe; or in the bulk or ore it might be four hundred and fifty talents, but when purified only four hundred and twenty, as Grotius remarks; either way removes the difficulty; though some think different voyages are respected here and there; of the gold of Ophir frequent mention is made in Scripture.

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    Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-9.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, k four hundred and twenty talents, and brought [it] to king Solomon.

    (k) In (2 Chronicles 8:18), 30 more are mentioned who seem to have been employed for their wages.
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    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-kings-9.html. 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    Ophir — a general name, like the East or West Indies with us, for all the southern regions lying on the African, Arabian, or Indian seas, in so far as at that time known [Heeren].

    gold, four hundred and twenty talents — (See on 2 Chronicles 8:18). At 125 pounds Troy, or 1500 ounces to the talent, and about 4 to the ounce, this would make 2,604,000 or about $12,350,000.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-kings-9.html. 1871-8.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    REFLECTIONS

    CHIEFLY, and above everything related in this chapter, let my soul ponder over the wondrous condescension of God to Solomon, in what is here said of this second manifestation to him of his grace and love. And while I mark the tender mercy so shown, let me not forget that such honour have all his saints. Yes! blessed Jesus, though not equally splendid, yet equally certain, equally gracious, are thy visits. For thou hast left it upon record as if to silence all doubts and unbelief, that he that loveth thee shall be loved of thy Father, and thou hast added in that assurance, I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Oh! wondrous love! oh! matchless grace! Lord how is it that thou dost manifest thyself unto thy people, and not unto the World!

    We are not astonished, O ye carnal men, that you should gaze with such amazement as ye sometimes do at the followers of our Jesus! that we are (as David said) a wonder, to many is not so strange, since we are a wonder to ourselves. That we are born from above; that God condescends to acknowledge us for his children by adoption and by grace; that Jesus is not ashamed to call us his brethren; and the Holy Ghost makes our bodies his temple; when we think of these things, and consider our high calling; when we look within our hearts, and behold such coldness, deadness, and the want of affection to him, who hath so loved us as to beget us by his glorious redemption and his Father's grace to such an inheritance, oh! how passing in wonder must be the love of God which passeth knowledge!

    My brother in Jesus! you I address, who profess to live in the hope and faith of these precious, these distinguished privileges! think, I charge you, (and while I charge you I desire to feel the full force of it upon my own heart) think, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness! Was the Lord thus gracious to Solomon? Did he appear to him twice? Did he solemnly charge him to flee from idolatry, and a breach of his holy covenant? Oh! then, let us consider the infinite importance of living to him who hath purchased our redemption with his blood; whose we are, and to whom we belong. If under the Old Testament dispensation of types and shadows, God was so jealous of his honour; can you suppose that now the whole is confirmed and sealed to us, as it is in the New Testament revelation of his blood, that he is less jealous of his honour, or that he will give his glory to graven images? Oh! my brother! if the Lord hath manifested himself to our hearts, and the grace of God hath appeared unto us, let us never forget what that grace teacheth, and what high claims are upon us; namely, that denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

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    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-kings-9.html. 1828.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.

    Ophir — A place famous for the plenty and fineness of the gold there. It is agreed, that it was a part of the East-Indies, probably Ceylon, which though very remote from us, yet was far nearer the Red-sea, from whence they might easily sail to it in those ancient times, because they might (according to the manner of those first ages) sail all along near the coast, though the voyage was thereby more tedious, which was the reason why three years were spent in it. And here, and here only were to be had all the commodities which Solomon fetched from Ophir, chap10:22.

    Fetched — In all there came to the king four hundred and fifty talents, whereof it seems thirty talents were allowed to Hiram and his men, and so there were only four hundred and twenty that came clear into the king's treasury.

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    Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-9.html. 1765.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    1 Kings 9:28 And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought [it] to king Solomon.

    Ver. 28. And they came to Ophir,] i.e., To golden Chersonesus, saith Josephus; to Peru, or Hispaniola, say others, who hold that the newly found world, as we call America, was known to Solomon and the ancients; like as the Chinese say that they had the art of printing among them many hundreds of years before we had. The gold of this land is called gold of Parvaim, [2 Chronicles 3:6] that is, of the two Perus, say they; the greater and the lesser.

    Four hundred and twenty talents.] At one time: as at another, four hundred and fifty, [2 Chronicles 8:18] for every three years they made a voyage thither, [1 Kings 10:22] it being distant from Jerusalem four thousand eight hundred miles, as some have computed it.

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-9.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    1 Kings 9:28. And they came to Ophir Infinite are the conjectures of different writers concerning this land of Ophir. The authors of the Universal History have taken great pains to confute those opinions which appear less probable; and upon the whole their conclusion is, "that Ophir appears most likely to have been in some of those remote rich countries of India beyond Ganges, and perhaps as far as China or Japan; which last still abounds with the finest gold, and several other commodities in which Solomon's fleet dealt, as silver, precious stones, ebony, and other valuable sorts of wood; to say nothing of spices, peacocks, parrots, apes, and other such creatures; and by its distance best answers to the length of the voyage."

    Note; Even the gold of Ophir perishes in the using; but the treasures of grace never wax old, or decay. He that is possessed of these, hath that fine gold which constitutes the truest riches, Revelation 3:18.

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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-kings-9.html. 1801-1803.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Ophir; a place famous for the plenty and fineness of the gold there; of which see Genesis 2:11,12 Job 22:24 28:16 Psalms 45:9 Isaiah 13:12. It is manifest and agreed that it was a part of the East Indies, which though very remote from us, yet was far nearer to the Red Sea, from whence they might easily sail to it in these ancient times, because they needed not to go far from the coast to come to it, because they might (according to the manner of these first ages) sail all along near the coast, though the voyage was thereby more tedious, which was the reason why three years were spent in it. And here, and here only, were to bc had all the commodities which Solomon fetched from Ophir, 1 Kings 10:22.

    Four hundred and twenty talents: in all there came to the king four hundred and fifty talents, whereof it seems thirty talents were allowed by Solomon to Hiram and his men for the voyage, and so there were only four hundred and twenty that came clearly into the king’s treasury.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-9.html. 1685.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    28.Ophir — Endless have been the conjectures as to the locality of Ophir; but there are no sufficient data to bring the question to a positive decision. India, Africa, and Arabia have each been urged with much plausibility. But the assumption made by many critics, that this navy fitted out by Solomon from Ezion-geber to bring gold from Ophir is identical with the “navy of Tarshish,” (1 Kings 10:22,) that returned only once in three years, and that Jehoshaphat’s “ships of Tarshish,” built and broken at Ezion-geber, which were designed to go to Ophir for gold, (1 Kings 22:48,) and also to go to Tarshish, (2 Chronicles 20:36-37,) necessarily involve the conclusion that Ophir and Tarshish were contiguous, or on the same route, is at best only a supposition. To us it seems most probable that Ophir was a region somewhere in Arabia. For, 1.) It must have been easily accessible from Ezion-geber. 2.) Several ancient authorities affirm that gold was formerly abundant in Arabia. 3.) The region probably took its name from Ophir, the son of Joktan, (Genesis 10:29,) and it is quite generally agreed that the Joktanites peopled Southern Arabia. Sheba, the region in Southern Arabia ruled by the celebrated queen who visited Solomon, (1 Kings 10:1,) probably received its name from Sheba, another son of Joktan, who is mentioned Genesis 10:28, in immediate connexion with Ophir, and probably settled in a district adjoining him. So a navy that carried on a regular traffic with Ophir would be likely to spread the fame of Solomon to the neighbouring province, and at this time the queen of Sheba might have ruled the districts both of Sheba and Ophir.

    Four hundred and twenty — In 2 Chronicles 8:18 the reading is four hundred and fifty, which is probably the error of some early transcriber, who mistook כ, twenty, for נ, fifty.

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-9.html. 1874-1909.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    1 Kings 9:28. They came to Ophir — A place famous for gold, which was found there in great plenty, and peculiarly fine. It is highly probable that this place was in India, but in what part of it is not easy to determine. Bochart thinks it was Taprobana, now called Ceylon, and shows that the account which the ancients give of the former, answers to that which the moderns give of the latter. It is certain that this island affords gold, ivory, and precious stones. The authors of the Universal History after confuting at large those opinions which seemed to them less probable, observe as follows: “Ophir appears most likely to have been in some of those remote, rich countries of India beyond the Ganges, and perhaps as far as China or Japan; which last still abounds with the finest gold, and several other commodities in which Solomon’s fleet dealt, as silver, precious stones, ebony, and other valuable sorts of wood, to say nothing of spices, peacocks, parrots, apes, and other such creatures; and by its distance best answers to the length of the voyage.” Gold, four hundred and twenty talents — It is said (2 Chronicles 8:18) that they brought four hundred and fifty; but we may well suppose that thirty talents might be partly spent in the charges of the voyage to and fro, and partly allowed to Hiram and his men; so that only four hundred and twenty came clear into the king’s treasury. This, however, was a prodigious sum, being calculated to be above three millions two hundred thousand pounds sterling. How they obtained this vast quantity of gold, whether by exchanging various merchandises for it, or by finding out mines, or procuring it from the natives, does not appear.

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    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-kings-9.html. 1857.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    Ophir, in the East Indies; (Menochius) an island called Taprobana, or Sumatra; (Salien) or a country near the heads of the Euphrates and Tigris. (Calmet, Dissert.) --- The variety of opinions is astonishing. Huet fixes upon Sophola, on the eastern coast of Africa; and supposes that the fleet of Hiram might proceed down a canal, which seems to have been formerly opened for a communication between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. (Strabo i. 17., and ii.) (Du Hamel) --- The various commodities might be procured either in Africa, or, on the voyage, in other countries. (Haydock) --- Twenty. Paralipomenon reads fifty. The letter c (20) and n (50) may easily have been mistaken. (Huet) --- The thirty talents might be the value of other parts of the cargo, or might be spent in repairs and wages. (Calmet) --- The sum here mentioned might be also refined gold. (Menochius)

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-9.html. 1859.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.

    Ophir - a general name, like the East or West Indies with us, for all the southern regions lying on the African, Arabian, or Indian seas, so far as at that time known. Some consider the name as particularly applicable to Ceylon.

    Gold, four hundred and twenty talents - (see the notes at 2 Chronicles 8:18.) At 125 lbs. Troy, or 1,500 ounces to the talent, and 4 British pounds to the ounce, this would make 2,604,000 pound sterling.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-9.html. 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (28) Ophir.—All that can be certainly gathered from the mention of Ophir in the Old Testament is, first; that it was situated to the east of Palestine and approached by the Red Sea (as is clear from this passage, from 1 Kings 22:48, and from 2 Chronicles 8:18; 2 Chronicles 9:10), and next, that so famous was the gold imported from it, that the “gold of Ophir” became proverbial (Job 22:24; Job_28:16; Psalms 45:10; Isaiah 13:12; 1 Chronicles 4). All else is matter of speculation and tradition. Setting aside merely fanciful conjectures, substantial reasons have been given for fixing it geographically in Africa, Arabia, and India; and of these three positions, evidence strongly preponderates for the second or third. Tradition is in favour of India; the LXX. renders the name as Soufir, or Sofir, which is the Coptic word for “India; the Arabic versions actually render it “India;” and Josephus (Ant. viii. 6, 4) srates unhesitatingly that Ophir was in his day called “The Golden Chersonesus,” which is the Malay peninsula. On the other hand, it is urged that “Ophir,” in the ethnological list of Genesis 10:29, is placed among the sons of Joktan, clearly indicating an Arabian position; and that the mention of Ophir (here and in 1 Kings 10:11), stands in close connection with the visit of the Queen of Sheba and the gold brought from Arabia. But neither of these considerations is conclusive. Looking to the products described as brought from Ophir, the “gold and precious stones” would suit either. but India better than Arabia (although, indeed, so far as gold is concerned, Western Africa would have better claim than either); while the “almug,” or “algum” wood is certainly the “sandal wood” found almost exclusively on the Malabar coast, and the very word “algum” appears to be a corruption of its Sanscrit name valguka. If the other imports mentioned in 1 Kings 10:22 were also from Ophir, this latter argument would be greatly strengthened. (See Note there.) But putting this aside as doubtful, the preponderance of evidence still appears to be in favour of India. The Tyrians, it may be added, are known to have had trading settlements on the Persian Gulf, and to have rivalled in the trade of the East the Egyptians, to whom it would more naturally have belonged. Various places have been named conjecturally as identical with Ophir: as in Arabia, Zaphar or Saphar, Doffir, and Zafari; in Africa, Sofala; and in India, Abhira, at the mouth of the Indus, and a Soupara mentioned by ancient Greek geographers, not far from Goa.

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-9.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.
    Ophir
    10:11; Genesis 10:29; 1 Chronicles 29:4; 2 Chronicles 8:18; 9:10; Job 22:24; 28:16; Psalms 45:9; Isaiah 13:12
    four hundred
    2 Chronicles 8:18 Reciprocal: 1 Kings 9:14 - General1 Kings 10:14 - was six hundred;  1 Kings 22:48 - to Ophir;  1 Chronicles 1:23 - Ophir;  Ecclesiastes 2:8 - silver

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 9:28". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-9.html.