Eccl. 2: 7-9.
7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:
8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.
9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.
Solomon had everything anyone could desire. He surrounded himself with beauty–lots of gold, lots of “peculiar treasures of kings,” lots of everything. Other rulers, like the Queen of Sheba pictured here, came to see him just to observe his riches and hear his wisdom, and to pay homage to one so great.
I mean, the man had his own choir, and he had his own orchestra to accompany the choir! He says he owned more cattle than anyone before him had owned. His servants were countless. It took a lot of work to keep everything spotless. Think of the dusting that was required to keep all those golden lions shiny 🙂
I was curious about those “peculiar treasures of kings,” so I did some searching. The following is taken from John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible:
I gathered me also silver and gold
In great quantities: the weight of gold which came to him in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents; see ( 1 Kings 9:14 1 Kings 9:28 ) ( 1 Kings 10:14 1 Kings 10:22 1 Kings 10:27 ) ; and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces;
whatsoever was valuable and precious, such as is laid up in the cabinets of kings, as jewels and precious stones; and everything rare and curious, to be found in all provinces of the earth, or which were brought from thence as presents to him; the Targum is,
“and the treasures of kings and provinces, given to me for tribute:”
wherefore, if any pleasure arises from these things, as do to the virtuosi, Solomon enjoyed it. Moreover, among the treasures of kings were precious garments of various sorts, as were in the treasury of Ahasuerus F12; and when Alexander took Shushan, he found in the king’s treasures, of Hermionic purple, to the value of five thousand talents, which had been laid up there almost two hundred years F13; and to such treasure Christ alludes, ( Matthew 6:19 ) ; I got me men singers and women singers;
the harmony and music of whose voices greatly delight; see ( 2 Samuel 19:35 ) ; the Targum interprets it both of instruments of music for the Levites to use in the temple, and of singing men and women at a feast: and such persons were employed among other nations F14, on such occasions, to entertain their guests; and are called the ornaments of feasts F15; as were also “choraules”, or pipers F16; and the delights of the sons of men; [as] musical instruments, and
that of all sorts; “
(The word peculiar, by the way, does not mean strange, odd, weird. In this passage, it refers to things that only a king could afford to have, or had the power to possess. )
In other words, there was nothing he didn’t have. A lot of it was given to him as homage to his greatness. Even his 1000 women were part of his treasure. Think of that. He housed them all in his harem, which from all accounts was luxurious. A luxurious prison, if he followed the practice of other rulers who had harems. Once you went in, you stayed. It wasn’t exactly my idea of a wonderful way to live out their lives. Think of it: He had enough women to take a different one every single day for over three years! Good grief!
In verse 9, he states that with all his riches and all his women, his wisdom stayed with him.
But even with all his wisdom, wealth, and “peculiar treasures,” he found that life was empty. There was something missing.