Glimpses of Israel - King Solomon's Mines

by Joseph Hunting

Three thousand years ago, when the great powers that dominate the world scene of 1975 were but primitive and unknown tribes, Israel was a highly developed and civilized nation. King Solomon's grandeur in the capital city of Jerusalem excelled in splendour any of the great civilizations of that time.

His ships roamed the oceans, 2,500 years before Sir Francis Drake, Magellan or Columbus opened up the world's trade routes as we know them today. But today almost nothing remains of the greatness of Solomon's kingdom.

Archaeologists probing deep under Mount Moriah believe that the massive stones forming the lower courses of the Western Wall may well have been part of his great Temple complex. And deep in the Negev there is evidence of great mining activity at Timna where Solomon mined copper which he exported from nearby Eilat. This evidence is the massive slag heap which reveals the extent of his mining operations at Timna.

Modern Israelis using all the techniques of present day mining expertise and again extracting the valuable copper ore from King Solomon's mines, and by an interesting coincidence the ore is again being exported from the old-new port of Eilat.

Apart from the copper mined at Timna the area also abounds in low-grade iron ore, thus fulfilling the Lord's promise to the Children of Israel: "For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land ... A land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig copper." (Deuteronomy 8:7-9)