So, how much did Solomon’s temple cost? The amount of gold, silver and bronze, along with other precious metals are recorded in various places in the Bible.
- 1 Chronicles 22:14- 100,000 talents of gold, 1 million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighted.
- 1 Chronicles 29:3- 3,000 talents of gold, 7,000 talents of silver from David’s personal treasures.
- 1 Chronicles 29:7- 5,002.5 talents of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze, 100,000 talents of iron from the leaders of Israel.
- 1 Kings 5:10- King Hiram of Tyre gave Solomon many cedar trees for the temple.
In total, over 108,002.5 talents of gold, 1,017,000 talents of silver, and quantities of bronze much greater than that. A great quantity of cedar trees were used- so many, in fact, that Solomon had to pay King Hiram with 20 towns in Galilee! (1 Kings 9:11)
108,002.5 talents of gold would beg an incredible amount of gold. One talent was approximately 75 pounds, so 108,002.5 talents would be a mind-boggling 8,100,187.5 pounds of gold. 1,017,000 talents of silver would be an equally mind-boggling 76,275,000 pounds of silver! Excluding the bronze, and using the average current price of gold, the gold alone of Solomon’s temple would have been an astonishing $194,404,500,000. The silver would have been $22,199,076,000. Added together, the gold and silver used along in Solomon’s Temple was worth $216,603,576,000. This does not include all the precious metals, bronze, iron, ivory, or cedar wood used in the temple. Extrapolating from the number, the total cost of Solomon’s temple including the labor costs (153,000 forced laborers) would have been well over half a billion, a cost simply unimaginable in today’s world for one building. Building the temple took over seven years.
Conclusion: Solomon’s Temple was worth an extraordinary amount of money, according to the Hebrew Bible. However, no extra-biblical sources give evidence for or against such a temple, although the many biblical sources from many different authors and time periods make a temple such as this probable. It is possible, however, that the amount of gold, silver, and other materials was exaggerated.