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by Wayne Blank
"And King Solomon made a navy of ships"
The vessels of Solomon's navy were built by Hiram the king of Tyre who also provided the training for Solomon's sailors.
"And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the House of The Lord [i.e. The Temple, see Temples], and the king's house, Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire, that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee."
King Hiram actively sought the alliance with Solomon because Hiram knew that God was with Israel.
"And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones. And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of The Lord [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD], and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day." (1 Kings 10:11-12 KJV)
Solomon's navy was not military/imperialistic; it was used to transport a vast wealth of goods.
"And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks."
Fact Finder: How did the territorial extent of Israel in the time of King Solomon and King David differ from today?