Al tempo di Salomone le notizie sui Fenici si fanno ancora più precise e più ricche: a Tiro regna ancora Hiram (969 - ca. 936) che ingrandisce la città e l'abbellisce con nuovi templi e opere pubbliche.
In questo periodo i rapporti tra i Fenici di Tiro e gli Israeliti sono molto buoni e improntati al riconoscimento della rispettiva autonomia; un particolare curioso, che rivela bene lo spirito d'amicizia che unì i due re, è quello che ci mostra Salomone e Hiram in gare di sapienza, intenti a risolvere gli indovinelli che a vicenda si pongono.
Al di là di questi episodi aneddotici, sta il fatto piuttosto rilevante di una spedizione marittima nel paese di Ofir (Mar Rosso) intrapresa in comune dai due re: Salomone costruì le navi, dice la Bibbia, ma Hiram fornì i marinai, «navigatori esperti del mare».
Ofir es un puerto o región mencionada en la Biblia que fue famosa por su riqueza. Se cree que el rey Salomón recibía cada tres años un cargamento de oro, plata, sándalo, piedras preciosas, marfil, monos y pavos reales de Ofir. Estudiosos de la Biblia, arqueólogos y otras muchas personas han intentado determinar la localización exacta de Ofir. Muchos estudiosos modernos sostienen que podía haber estado en el suroeste de Arabia, en la región del actual Yemen. Ésta es también la posible localización de Sheba. Otra posibilidad es la costa africana del Mar Rojo, ya que el nombre puede ser derivado de la etnia Afar de Etiopía.
Otros posibles localizaciones varían enormemente. El Easton’s Bible Dictionary (1897) menciona la conexión a “Sofir”, el nombre copto para la India, y también una posible conexión a Abhira, en la desembocadura del río Indo. Flavio Josefo lo conectó con Cophen, un río indio, a veces asociado a una parte de Afganistán.
Algunos estudiosos, que proponen conexiones entre Eurasia y América antes de la llegada de Colón, también han hecho sus propias hipótesis, incluyendo lugares como Perú.
Referencias bíblicas a Ofir: 1Reyes 9:28, 1Reyes 10:11, 1Reyes 22:48, 1Cronicas 29:4, 2Cronicas 8:18, Job 22:24, Job 28:16, Salmos 45:9, Isaías 13:12.
Gold of Ophir
by Wayne Blank
Ophir, from the Hebrew word (pronounced) oh-feer, was the name of a son of Joktan, a descendant of Noah through the line of Noah's son Shem (Genesis 10:21-25). Ophir was also the name given to a place (see also Bible Places) that became famous in early Bible History for the gold found there. The Bible does not state that Ophir, the place, was named after Ophir, the man (or vice-versa), however the possibility does exist because others born at that time shared names of places that soon thereafter entered the Biblical record. Two of Ophir's brothers, Havilah and Sheba, also had names that became identified with places i.e. Sheba was where the famous Queen of Sheba came from (see The Queen of the South), and Havilah, although known as a place before The Flood, was also an existing place after the Flood, and like Ophir, Havilah was known for its gold. The Bible does state that Ophir and his brothers lived to "the east" (Genesis 10:30 KJV), which, considering that Sheba is known to have been located in southern Arabia, was the most likely area of their habitation. There is no mention of them farther north, among the Canaanites.
"And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold"
Ophir is always mentioned regarding the gold found there; another clue as to the location of Ophir is that Solomon's ships departed from the Red Sea ports to obtain gold from Ophir, thereby indicating a southern destination (rather from the Mediterranean Sea ports which traded to the north).
"And King Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon." (1 Kings 9:26-28 KJV)
Later kings of Israel (actually, kings of Judah, in this example using Jehoshaphat, who was a king of Judah - see Kings of Israel and Judah) also sought gold from Ophir (although their ships didn't always make it):
made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold"
(1 Kings 22:48 KJV)
King David obtained gold from Ophir before his son and successor Solomon continued to get gold there. David's gold from Ophir was used in the later construction of the Temple (see Temples):
"Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for The Lord God. Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance."
"Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house [see also "My Father's House"], Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal" (1 Chronicles 29:1-4 KJV)
Israelite royalty (see also Israelite Dynasties) wore gold from Ophir:
"Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever [see also The Throne Of God, From Heaven To Earth]: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad. Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir." (Psalm 45:6-9 KJV)
Gold of Ophir was also used in a Prophecy about The Lord's wrath that is coming upon the evil; the prophecy plainly described things that have not yet happened, but which are also described in other prophecies (see also Never Before, Never Again) that deal with the time just prior to The Return Of Jesus Christ:
"Behold, the day of The Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine [see Signs In The Heavens]. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir" (Isaiah 13:9-12 KJV)