First, please recall that Israel is not Judea, which was a nation that did not exist until after the death of Solomon when the kingdom split into north and south. The nation of Judea continued after Israel was exiled, and eventually eradicated the Phoenician bloodline from the nation’s kings with the death of Athaliah, Jezebel’s daughter. Israel did not reject the Phoenicians among their leadership. Rather Israel adopted Phoenicia’s gods so thoroughly that it was the sole stated cause of their exile. The most stated reason for their exile is listed as the “groves” or Asherah, large shade trees with prayer-streamers hung from their lower branches where the people went to pray to the wife of the god El. The God of gods, the god of Israel, grew so jealous that he cast them out of his sight, even though he knew where they were, he would no longer listen to their prayers.
The Creator God has a policy to treat the entire nation as one entity, not as individual persons. Notice that even the prophets suffered the afflictions of the nations along with the common people. This is still true today. When the majority of the people disobey the laws set down for them, the entire nation suffers together, both the good and the bad. The only recourse the good have is to move on, move out, and get away from the area to other countries and lands. This is where the Phoenician connection became very useful. They had the ships, the camels and donkeys, and the knowledge of other lands for the Israelites to target as landing places, and they did, beginning in the days before the Exodus from Egypt, when the tribe of Dan took to their ships and sailed to Ireland where they settled as sea-trading people, a colony on the model of the Phoenicians. The stone circled crosses that were erected to mark the graves of the Phoenician sea captains and navigators are still thickly scattered all over that land despite the efforts of early Christian teachers to destroy them. The crosses as much as 30 feet high that the Phoenicians used to mark safe harbors are also prevalent there, in addition to all the other many places on earth where they still survive.
Byblos was established long before Israel, and was the major trading partner with Egypt in the days of Jacob and Joseph. It founded Tyre to serve that trade with Egypt because of its abundance of local cedar trees for building ships and structures, and the convenient pass across the mountains into Syria and then on to the ancient Silk Road to China, making Phoenicia the merchants of the entire known world of that time.
The people of Israel and the Phoenicians were well known to each other since before the days of Joseph. Then, during the entry of Israel into the land of Israel, we see Balaam being called upon by the local king to curse Israel. What is less clear is that Balaam was not only a sorcerer, but also the king of Tyre at that time. When he gave the local king the advice to send local women in to corrupt the Israelite men, the curse rebounded back onto himself (“the curse causeless shall not come”), and Tyre was attacked and captured shortly afterwards. Balaam died in the battle.
The trading relationship continued through the days of the judges, so that when Saul was made king, the history of the relationship was already in place.
David tells us in the Psalms, the songs he wrote to perform in the temple while he was stockpiling supplies to build it, that Saul clothed the daughters of Jerusalem with silk. The only way that could be done was through extensive trade with the Phoenicians. They had the monopoly on international trade through their knowledge of navigation on both land and sea by the stars, and they had the calendar that told them when to pull into port for the winter, as the apostle Paul, a ship’s captain in the Phoenician fleets, so clearly states.
Pottery and other items from the islands out in the Mediterranean have been found by archeologists all over Israel. There was even a report that a “buffalo hide” of copper was found that was traced through its metallic components to the Black Hills in the mid-west of the United States. That makes sense, because there was not enough copper anywhere in the ancient world to supply all the copper doors, carts, basins, sea of brass and other items in the temple, and which would have been the objective of the invasion and capture of the temple. All of the copper was taken by the captors for use in their own lands.It was considered worth the cost of war to obtain that quantity.
There have also been maps circulated that show the Andes Mountains of South America as Ophir, the land of abundant gold that was used to line the interior of the temple. Other sources say Ophir was the land of the two rivers in the southern tip of Arabia, but their queen was also the queen of Ethiopia, the land that received the population when the snow caps that provided the rivers with their water ceased to receive snow and an earthquake destroyed the dam that contained the reservoir that fed the two rivers. Was the gold from southern Africa? Or was it from the Andes? The argument for the origin as the Andes is the Solomon Islands. The traditions say that these were the re-supply point for Solomon’s ships before they sailed eastward to the South American coast. The answer in in the “fingerprints” of the silver items from Solomon’s temple currently located on the isle of the priests in Ethiopia.
Whether the gold, silver and copper were from Africa or America, they had to be transported from there to Jerusalem, a city in the middle of nowhere with no claim to any natural resources. It’s not even near the Jordan River. The spring that once flowed from under the steps dried up shortly after the days of Solomon, so the only water supply was from the Gehon Springs and from the “dew-catchers” that Solomon built into the walls of the stone lean-to storage facilities surrounding the temple building. How did that quantity of weight get to Jerusalem?
We see the line of succession of trade from the time of Israel in Egypt, on to the times of the Judges, to Saul, then David, and to Solomon, who married the daughter of Hiram, king of Tyre and introduced their gods (small “g”) into the culture of Israel. Those “gods” included several families of giants that lived in the land – remember Og? – who demanded that the people of the land turn over a number of their children for food. We read in the annals of Ireland that the demand of the giants for the people to turn over a given number of their children to be eaten was the reason they invited the tribes of the Tuatha du Danaan to come help them fight. But the Phoenicians were sacrificing their babies and burying their bodies in jars in dedicated cemeteries long before the Israelites got there, and continued the practice long after the northern Israelites were gone from the area. It was distinctly a Phoenician practice.
When Solomon married Hiram’s daughter and brought the little gods into Israel, they remained there as long as there were kings in the land. Their list of the prohibitions of Moses that they broke was so long that not all of them are listed in any one place. The laws of Moses were also being scoffed at by the people in Judea and Simeon, the two tribes that were left to David’s descendants, so there was no place on earth that the people could migrate to in order to observe the laws of Moses. The result is that they migrated to every place on earth where the Phoenicians traded, even high into the Himalaya Mountains along the Indus up into Kashmir, where the beauty of Sarah has been inherited by the women as the most beautiful in the world.