The free will offerings for the construction of the temple (1 Chr 29:6-29:9)

“Then the heads of the ancestral houses made their free will offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work. They gave for the service of the house of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze, and a hundred thousand talents of iron. Whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of Yahweh, in the care of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced because these things they had given willingly. With a single mind, they had offered freely to Yahweh. King David also rejoiced greatly.”

King David’s answer came quickly, as others contributed to the new temple project. The heads of the ancestral houses, the leaders of the tribes, the leaders of the army, and the house officials all contributed. Their total commitment was 5,000 talents of gold, about 5 billion dollars ($5,000,000,000). This must have been a very rich society. This author says that they also gave 10,000 darics of gold. Darics were gold coins that were minted in the Persian Empire by King Darius (521-486 BCE) as he named it after himself. Quite obviously they did not exist at the time of King David, nearly 500 years prior to their coming into existence. However, the biblical writer would have known about these coins because the Persians of his time might have used these darics. These daric gold coins still exist today and sell for about $4,000 each. Thus 10,000 daric gold coins would be worth approximately $40,000,000. There were 10,000 talents of silver contributed to this project, about another $100,000,000. Just between the gold and silver contributed by King David and his leaders there would have been somewhere between 8 and 9 billion dollars in contributions, quite an enormous amount by any standards. This did not include the bronze, iron or wood since there were 18,000 talents of bronze and 100,000 talents of iron. There were also precious stones under the care of Jehiel the Gershonite, who is only mentioned here. There could be no complaint about lack of resources. Everyone rejoiced at this outpouring of generosity.

 

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