“King Solomon’s Mines”: Independent Online ‘debunks’ Bible with a parade of its own ignorance

The 1885 novel 'King Solomon's Mines' in a hardback compendium
The 1885 novel ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ in a hardback compendium

The Independent Online has ‘debunked’ the biblical myth of King Solomon’s Mines, in an article apparently designed to demonstrate its own total ignorance of the contents of the Bible.

On Friday at 1 o’clock in the morning the Independent Online re-posted on Facebook (why?) an article from 19 July 2017 claiming that

King Solomon’s legendary fabulous wealth in hidden gold mines never existed, says historian

‘There comes a point when we either have to accept that the Biblical account is entirely fictional, or that we may be looking in the wrong location and for the wrong things’

The article goes on to claim that, although the Israelite dynasty of King Solomon did exist, it was not centred on the city of Jerusalem at all and that Solomon himself was an Egyptian Pharaoh.

“Once again the Independent Online has demonstrated its own utter ignorance of the Bible.”

I’m afraid, however, that this piece of ‘news’ from the Independent Online is a very poor piece of reporting indeed — and frankly not even newsworthy.

Once again (as in previous instances I have covered here and here), the Independent Online has demonstrated its own utter ignorance of the Bible.

Here are four things that are wrong with the article.

(1.) It’s an article devoid of references or authorities

“The article does not contain a single reference for anything it says.”

Careful readers — that is, if anybody who’s a careful reader ever reads the Independent Online — will have noticed that the article does not contain a single reference for anything it says.

Not one Bible reference — we will see why this is shortly — not one reference to a respectable work of biblical archaeology or biblical research. Nothing.

On this basis alone any careful readers out there should already be smelling the unmistakable odour of fake news…

(2.) It’s an article devoid of analysis

Reading the article one is struck by how tersely and abruptly it ends. Just when it seems to be getting going, the reader is suddenly left to scroll through a load of adverts looking in vain for any further content.

“This [Independent Online] article is entirely based on what appears to be a single press statement put out by ‘British historian and author’ and ‘expert’ Ralph Ellis — without, apparently, the writer having done the remotest bit of fact-checking.”

And there’s a reason for this (besides the writer’s own laziness).

When reading newspaper articles one tends to skim the details and hence to miss the sources of statements made. If an article contains quotations from three or four different sources, one often has to re-read up to remind oneself where a quotation is coming from.

This article, however, is entirely based on what appears to be a single press statement put out by “British historian and author” and “expert” Ralph Ellis — without, apparently, the writer Lucy Pasha-Robinson having done the remotest bit of fact-checking, as we shall see. No wonder then the article is so brief.

I have not come across this story in any other media outlet. Is that a coincidence? Or could it be that Ralph Ellis’ press statement is actually not at all newsworthy, and therefore only fit for the Independent Online?

(3.) The Bible never mentions King Solomon’s mines

Yes, that’s right.

When the Independent Online article claims,

King Solomon’s gold mines, which the Bible says helped him store wealth amounting to more than £2.3 trillion, are a complete myth, historians believe;

— guess what? The Bible never once mentions any mines of King Solomon’s.

“The Bible never once mentions any mines of King Solomon’s!”

What the Bible does say, is that most of Solomon’s colossal hoard of gold was gathered by trading ships from Ophir:

King Solomon built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, which is near Eloth on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent with the fleet his servants, seamen who were familiar with the sea, together with the servants of Solomon. And they went to Ophir and brought from there gold, 420 talents, and they brought it to King Solomon.
1 Kings 9:26-28[1]

… and, in a parallel account:

Then Solomon went to Ezion-geber and Eloth on the shore of the sea, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent to him by the hand of his servants ships and servants familiar with the sea, and they went to Ophir together with the servants of Solomon and brought from there 450 talents of gold and brought it to King Solomon.
2 Chronicles 8:17-18[2]

It also says that he got much of his gold from trade (overland?), and from gifts from various vassal and/or allied kings:

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, besides that which came from the explorers and from the business of the merchants, and from all the kings of the west and from the governors of the land.
1 Kings 10:14-15[3]

… and, in a parallel account:

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, besides that which the explorers and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the land brought gold and silver to Solomon.
2 Chronicles 9:13-14[4]

We are also told that Solomon’s ally King Hiram of Tyre on one occasion gave 120 talents of gold to Solomon,[5] and that on another occasion the Queen of Sheba brought 120 talents as a gift to him.[6]

No mention of any mines — a fact either deviously or ignorantly overlooked in the Independent’s article.

(4.) King Solomon’s Mines was a 19th-century novel!

“The ‘legendary’ King Solomon’s Mines was in fact a nineteenth-century novel by Sir H. Rider Haggard.”

Yes, that’s right. The ‘legendary’ King Solomon’s Mines was in fact a nineteenth-century novel by Sir H. Rider Haggard, since made into several films including the 1985 edition starring Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone.

I read the novel when I was around nineteen years old, along with two others by the same author. It’s a rip-roaring tale of adventure — but it has very little to do with the Bible!

*               *               *

Indeed the Independent Online’s article itself has very little to do with the Bible — in spite of its spectacular headline claims that “that the Biblical account is entirely fictional,” and so on.

And as mentioned earlier, one has to question why the Independent Online — if it wishes to make any claims to being a serious news outlet — re-posted this old story from June 2017 on Facebook at 1 o’clock last Friday morning.

Herein lies the real motivation for these news ‘stories’: lucre, filthy lucre. The Independent Online knows full well that these stories slating the Bible generate lots of interest on Facebook and increase their advertising revenues. Especially if you write a piece so short that the reader goes looking through a load of ads for the rest of the article. And what does it matter whether the story’s true?

“When I read these Bible-busting articles which the Independent Online pushes out, does it cause me to doubt the truth of the gospel? On the contrary!”

Personally I would hate to be in Lucy Pasha-Robinson’s position — in a job where I’m required to churn out this fallacious, literally soul-destroying rubbish.

However, when I read these Bible-busting articles which the Independent Online pushes out, does it cause me to doubt the truth of the gospel?

On the contrary. When I see media outlets attacking Christianity — and this not on the basis of truth, but out of sheer ignorance — it simply strengthens my conviction that the gospel is true.

After all, the Bible itself teaches us to expect this kind of hostility. It tells us plainly,

the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
1 John 5:19[7]

So if you’re a Christian, don’t be perturbed by these kind of articles: rather rejoice that they demonstrate the truth of Christianity, and that all this is evidence that Jesus will return.

 

 

Note
etimasthe.com is something I do outside of full-time employment. Consequently I generally only post new material on here once or twice a week.

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Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 


[1] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+9%3A26-28&version=ESVUK

[2] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Chronicles+8%3A17-18&version=ESVUK

[3] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+10%3A14-15&version=ESVUK

[4] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Chronicles+9%3A13-14&version=ESVUK

[5] 2 Kings 9:14 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+9%3A14&version=ESVUK)

[6] 1 Kings 10:10; 2 Chron. 9:9 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+10%3A10%3B+2+Chronicles+9%3A9&version=ESVUK)

[7] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+John+5%3A19&version=ESVUK

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