Previous post took a guess at quantifying the value of King Solomon’s chariots and warhorses. Earlier post estimated the number of warhorses King Solomon owned along with the number of chariots in his kingdom.
Here is another text that allows us to make estimates of some portions of his vast wealth.
1 Kings 10: 14-29 (emphasis added to highlight specific valuations):
Previous post estimated the number of warhorses King Solomon owned along with citing the number of chariots in his kingdom.
Here are two of the texts used to make an estimate of some portions of his vast wealth:
2 Chronicles 1:14-17 (emphasis added for attention on specific valuations):
“Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. The king made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue—the royal merchants purchased them from Kue at the current price. They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans. (NIV)
King Solomon, ruler from about 970 B.C. through 931 B.C., had both wealth and wisdom beyond compare.
One source (didn’t make note of it at the time and won’t bother looking for it again) suggested his wealth was in the range of $2.2 trillion dollars in current measurement. Yes, trillion, as in 1,000 billion.
His wisdom is described in 1 Kings 4:30-31:
“Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else… (NIV)
Since this blog ponders ancient finances, the next few posts will lightly touch on some indications of Solomon’s wealth. First Kings and Second Chronicles contain some indications of his wealth than can be quantified.
Number of horses and chariots
The texts contain references to the number of chariots and horses owned by King Solomon. First issue to ponder is a supposed conflict in text.
The probate document for my paternal grandfather listed the assets in his estate. What is the total value of his estate? Let’s ponder that question.
Values for some items are listed in the probate document. Prices of asset purchases and sales during the time between his death and filing of probate document can be used to estimate other values. For example, I estimated values for livestock at this earlier post.
Here is a summary of the assets:
oats and corn
tractor drawn equipment
horse drawn equipment
total assets, without $400 liability
My estimate for the value of the individual items in his estate as listed in the probate filing are accumulated below. I’ll update this analysis later if I can get better definition for value of some assets.
Previous post listed the cash transactions in the estate of my paternal grandfather from the day he passed away until a probate filing was prepared for the court.
The probate filing provides a glimpse into farm life in the mid-1940s.
As you read the summarized income statement and cash transactions below, keep in mind this is the cash activity to feed and cloth a family consisting of one mom and four children still living at home. Notice was one purchase of groceries for $9.60 and only two purchases of clothing. There is no indication of any purchases in November or December which could be considered Christmas presents.
To say finances were tight would be an understatement.
The cash transactions can be summarized into a cash-based income statement as follows:
The estate of my paternal grandfather went through probate in 1946 after he died in 1945. The probate filing listed the cash received and paid from the time of his death until the document was filed with the court.
The filing provides a view of farm life in the mid-1940s. This series of posts uses the filing to take a glimpse into life back then.
Here are the cash transactions listed in the court filing:
The probate filing for the estate of my grandfather, Daniel Ulvog, provides a lot of information about the farm. Let’s look at indicators of the price of farm animals. The filling provides a number of data points.
Here is the listed information sorted by animal with a mean (weighted average), mode (price with largest number of animals), and my point estimate of the price of different animals.
My paternal grandfather passed away on June 1, 1945, near the end of World War 2.
Disposition of his estate was officially approved by a court, which provides us a glimpse into the economics of farm life in the 1940s.
He died intestate, meaning he did not have a will, so the estate was distributed in accordance with South Dakota state law. His estate went through probate, which means a court had to approve the distribution.
The northern economy was quite strong during the Civil War, with demand for skilled and unskilled workers in industry creating more lucrative job opportunities in the civilian world than being in the army.
While the pay for a soldier was $13 a month, the author says a man could make four times that much money merely by working as “a sign maker or a clerk in a dry goods store” (location 26210). That stat is credited to American Annual Cyclopedia, 1863, p. 413. A 30 second search on the ol’ internet suggests the book can be had for between $60 and $100.
The ratio of 4x suggests a dry good store clerk could make somewhere around $50 a month.