The Message of the Covenant

King Solomon's Symbols

Chapter 7

The Message of the Covenant

Universal Symbolism

There are many languages on earth and this has been the case since the Tower of Babel project caused G-d to confuse the languages of the earth's inhabitants. While spoken language was confused, another form of communication remained untouched and this is the language of symbols. There are many symbols that have been passed down to the present from very ancient times and one will frequently find that the meanings of these images are remarkably similar in diverse cultures. It is odd that the meanings of many symbols are universal in cultures that are not known to have shared any contact with one another.

One example of this phenomenon can be found in the pyramid. Pyramids appeared in Egypt and also in the pre-Columbian Americas. While there are distinctions between the pyramids of different areas, there are also remarkable similarities. These similarities are both visual and functional and pyramids became icons of those cultures that built them.

Likewise, there are many universal examples of iconography that have been preserved by various occult disciplines such as alchemy that made extensive use of symbols. These types of symbols also sometimes occur in disparate places and times with no known human or physical mode of conveyance.

The Symbolism of King Solomon

Solomon's kingdom was the greatest kingdom ever known and its influence was very broad. While there have been kingdoms that were much larger and more powerful in subsequent times, it seems that none have matched the splendor of Solomon's kingdom. His kingdom had the most far-flung influence of any kingdom of ancient times and may have even rivaled the great empires that appeared thousands of years later. In contrast, Solomon did not conquer through military strength, but by his great wisdom. Through the wisdom that G-d put into his heart, Solomon ruled over all of the kingdoms in a large area although they had their own vassal kings. Because of this greatness, subsequent royals strove to project the appearance of the same splendor.

2 Chronicles 1:11 And God said to Solomon: 'Because this was in thy heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of them that hate thee, neither yet hast asked long life, but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge My people, over whom I have made thee king; 12 wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee, and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 3:13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honour--so that there hath not been any among the kings like unto thee--all thy days. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

As part of the magnificent royal spender of Solomon's kingdom, certain visual symbols were developed that served a variety of functions and were derived from multiple sources. Some of these were for the purpose of conducting the royal affairs through subordinates. Some were used for purposes such as a royal seal. Solomon was not the first to use such devices and examples of visual signification denoting various kings and kingdoms far predate him. Nevertheless, Solomon developed a highly refined iconography that became synonymous with regal splendor that survived Solomon by millennia. Solomon's symbolism survived in part due to the magnificence of his kingdom and it was widely emulated.

As other kingdoms attempted to project the appearance of Solomon's splendor, they copied Solomon's visual devices. The visual influence of Solomon's kingdom can still be observed in contemporary societies. This far-flung and lasting imitation of Solomon is partly due to G-d giving honor and riches to Solomon that far exceeded any other kingdom. This made the visual splendor of Solomon's realm highly attractive, and therefore, copied. Part of the spread of Solomon's visual devices may have accompanied his far reaching trade and might have occurred while he was yet king. Beyond that, it seems that the spread of this imagery was also partly due to the Diaspora where the Jews were uprooted from their homeland and relocated into all nations carrying this visual vocabulary with them. Expatriated Jews frequently found sustenance serving in influential positions of the courts of the kingdoms to which they relocated.

Heraldry

One of the more apparent manifestations of regal iconography worldwide is evident in heraldry. Heraldry is probably familiar to most readers as the coat of arms. Coats of arms are normally associated with family lines on the basis of heredity. While these can be purchased from a plethora of sources in the Americas, these types of images are probably actually worthless and far from being real coats of arms. A real coat of arms is far from a haphazard image and in many countries they are controlled fairly closely and are only granted to individuals whose ancestry supports the grating of arms. A person cannot necessarily bear whatever arms are desired, but they must be granted by a College of Arms staffed by heralds. The College of Arms prepares the image of the coat of arms according to predetermined criteria. Ordinarily, this involves a great deal of historical research into the images of one's ancestors. In addition, persons entitled to possess a coat of arms are said to bear arms.

While many are familiar with the concept of heraldry from medieval Europe, it is actually far older than that and was probably invented by G-d.

Numbers 2:1 And the Lord spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying: 2 'The children of Israel shall pitch by their fathers' houses; every man with his own standard, according to the ensigns; a good way off shall they pitch round about the tent of meeting. (JPS)

In the above case, the standards were probably based on the heraldry of the twelve tribes. One of these is quite important. Oddly enough, similar icons are found throughout the world. This image is the lion of Judah and there has always been a conspicuous question as to how the lion became associated with the heraldry of countries where lions did not exist.

Genesis 49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said: 'Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the end of days. (JPS)
Genesis 49:8 Judah, thee shall thy brethren praise; thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; thy father's sons shall bow down before thee. 9 Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up. He stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as a lioness; who shall rouse him up? 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, as long as men come to Shiloh; and unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be. 11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washeth his garments in wine, and his vesture in the blood of grapes; 12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. (JPS)

The Lion of Judah

The heraldic lion of Judah is represented in graphic form and employed in a variety of applications. It should be noted that none of this has anything to do with Rastafarianism. The lion of Judah seems to have been transplanted worldwide and very similar figures are found throughout Europe in the coats of arms of most royals. It is probable that Solomon's Tarshish fleet transported the image to Europe from ancient Israel because it seems to have appeared in Spain several centuries before heraldry formally emerged in Europe. It is believed that Jews founded Toledo and apparently some of Solomon's staff are buried there.

The lion of Judah consists of a lion rampant.

The Rampant Lion of Judah
The Rampant Lion of Judah
Image: Indiana T. Zones

The lion as represented is more of a characterization than an accurate representation. In fact, the creature tends to only have the face of a lion with a body more like a leopard and feet more similar to those of a bear.

There is another position of the lion that frequently appears in European heraldry and this is a lion rampant passant.

Rampant Passant Lion
Rampant Passant Lion
Image: Indiana T. Zones

Sometimes, a coat of arms is created by placing two opposing lions supporting the tables of the law. For those unfamiliar with the typical Jewish depiction of the tables of the law, the Decalogue as the Ten Commandments are called is frequently reduced to an abbreviated representation consisting of the first ten letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Since Hebrew is written from right to left, the first letter of the alphabet is featured at the top of the right table.

Arms
Coat of Arms
Image: Indiana T. Zones
Excerpts from the Jewish Encyclopedia
The lion is the emblem of strength, courage, and majesty (Prov. xxii. 13, xxvi. 13, xxx. 30). Judah is compared to a lion (Gen. xlix. 9); so also are Gad and Dan (Deut. xxxiii. 20, 23), Saul and Jonathan (II Sam. i. 23), Israel (Num. xxiii. 24, xxiv. 9), and even God Himself (Isa. xxxi. 4; Hos. v. 14, xi. 10). Similes are derived from its terrific visage (I Chron. xii. 9), and especially from its terror-inspiring roar. The latter is ascribed to enemies (Isa. v. 29; Zeph. iii. 3; Ps. xxii. 13; Prov. xxviii. 15); to false prophets (Ezek. xxii. 25); to the wrath of a king (Prov. xix. 12, xx. 2); to God (Jer. xxv. 30; Joel iv. 16; Amos i. 2, iii. 8). In the Psalter the lion is often the symbol of the cruel and oppressive, the mighty and rich (e.g., Ps. x. 9, xxxiv. 11, xxxv. 17).
As an element of decorative art the figure of the lion entered into the design of the brazen Laver in the Temple of Solomon and of Solomon's throne (I Kings vii. 29, x. 20, and parallels).
In Rabbinical Literature:
The Talmud states six names of the lion, namely: "aryeh," "kefir," "labi'," "layish," "shahal," and "shahaf" (Sanh. 95a; Ab. R. N. xxxix., end). The most general terms, however, are "are," "arya'" (B. K. 4a), and "aryeh"; for the lioness, "lebiyah" (B. ?. 16b), "guryata" (Shab. 67a), and "kalba" (Yalk. ii. 721); and for the young lion, "gurya"(Sanh. 64a). In Hul. 59b an animal called "tigris" is defined as "the lion of Be-'Ilai" (). By "Be-'Ilai" is probably meant a mountain height or mountain forest, perhaps specially the Lebanon (comp. "bala," ib. 80a, and see Goat); and if by "tigris" the tiger is meant, it would appear that the Talmudical writers did not know this animal from personal observation, and it was therefore endowed by them with fabulous proportions and qualities. Thus it is said in the same passages that the distance between the lobes of its lungs was nine cubits, and that its roar at a distance of 400 parasangs brought down the walls of Rome. Kohut ("Ueber die Judische Angelologie und Damonologie," etc., p. 103; comp. also idem, "Aruch Completum," iv. 15) surmises that "tigris" is the Persian "thrigat," i.e., the mythical three-legged animal (comp. also Schorr in "He-Haluz," vii. 32).
The Talmud makes about the same figurative use of the lion as does the Old Testament. The lion is the king of animals (Hag. 13b) and the symbol of true mental greatness; and in this regard it is contrasted with the fox (Shab. 111b; Ab. iv. 15; Git. 83b); it is the type of strength and awe (Pes. 112a; Shebu. 22b; B. K. 85a). The sound of God's voice is likened to the roaring of the lion (Ber. 3a, b). The name of the lion is applied to God, Israel, and the Temple (comp. Isa. xxix. 1: "ariel"; Pesik. R. 28 [ed. Friedmann, p. 133] and parallels). The lion also symbolizes the mighty spirit of temptation and seduction to idolatry (Sanh. 64a; comp. I Peter v. 8). The Temple of Ezekiel is compared to the lion in its structure, both being broad in front and narrow behind (Mid. iv. 7). (Jewish Encyclopedia)

The lion was frequently an emblem of G-d.

Solomon's Sigils

Pentagram

There are several symbols that seem to be heavily associated with Solomon that are also generally recognized as being occult symbols. This as well as many other legends such as Solomon's Table lend great support to the conclusion that he was highly active in occult practices since most of these signs are associated with his name. The first of these is the five-pointed star inscribed in a circle and it is known by the name of Solomon's Seal as is the six-pointed star inscribed in a circle.

Deuteronomy 18:9 When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, a soothsayer, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, 11 or a charmer, or one that consulteth a ghost or a familiar spirit, or a necromancer. 12 For whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto the Lord; and because of these abominations the Lord thy God is driving them out from before thee. 13 Thou shalt be whole-hearted with the Lord thy God. 14 For these nations, that thou art to dispossess, hearken unto soothsayers, and unto diviners; but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)

The five-pointed star is also known by the names pentagram, pentacle or pentangle. It is unclear whether the pentagram can correctly be called Solomon's Seal because there is great variance among sources on that issue. Nevertheless, the pentagram is widely called that today and while it is unclear that the sigil is named after him, there does seem to be fairly uniform consensus that he used this symbol. The character is thought to embody magical powers and finds use as a talisman. Frankly, there is a great deal of historical legend that Solomon was an accomplished sorcerer, but this was another great taboo for the children of Israel. The pentagram is known to have predated Solomon and it was widely used in religions that would have been considered ancient in his days. Naturally these would be pagan religions and it is still used by them.

Today, the pentagram is associated with those that practice witchcraft and Satanists use this character in its inverted form. In this use, it frequently incorporates the likeness of the head of a goat inscribed within the pentagram. Because of these applications, some feel these sigils represent or are evil.

Pentagram
Pentagrams
Image: Indiana T. Zones

Hexagram

One symbol that is undeniably closely associated with King Solomon is the six-pointed star inscribed in a circle or hexagram and this symbol is fairly uniformly known as Solomon's Seal. There are several variations of this symbol. It is also known as the Magen Dawid or David and apart from its association with Judaism it is used as a magical symbol or talisman. Some purport that it is the most evil symbol and finds use among occultists for placing curses, thus the phrase putting a hex on, or hexing someone.

It is believed that Arabs after Solomon's days coined the term Solomon's Seal for this sigil engraved on the bottoms of their drinking cups. Perhaps the cups were plundered from Solomon's palace. In some accounts, the image is referred to as Solomon's Table. There seems to be little evidence that this symbol was used much before Solomon's time despite the fact that it is widely known in Western societies by the name Magen David. It has become the symbol of the State of Israel over time, but this seems to have only occurred in the past few hundred years. It was widely used in Nazi Germany to identify the regime's favorite prey. It is possible that this caused the symbol to be more widely embraced by Jews despite the fact that oppressors imposed its use. In a similar manner, it is believed that Nazi oppression was the driving force behind the incorporation of the pink triangle as a symbol of gay lifestyles.

The Arabs afterward gave the name of "Solomon's seal" to the six-pointed star-like figure (see Magen, Dawid) engraved on the bottom of their drinking-cups. It is related in the "Arabian Nights" (ch. xx.) that Sindbad, in his seventh voyage, presented Harun al-Rashid a cup on which the "table of Solomon" was represented; and Lane thinks that this was the figure of "Solomon's seal" (note 93 to ch. xx. of his translation of the "Arabian Nights"). In Western legends, however, it is the pentacle, or "druid's foot," that represents the seal. This figure, called by Bishop Kennet the "pentangle" of Solomon, was supposed to have the power of driving away demons. Mephistopheles says to Faust that he is prevented from entering the house by the druid's foot ("Drudenfuss"), or pentagram, which guards the threshold ("Faust," in Otto Devrient's edition, part i., scene 6). The work entitled "Claviculæ Salomonis" contains treatises on all kinds of pentacles. The tradition of Solomon's seal was the basis of Büschenthal's tragedy "Der Siegelring Salomonis," specimens of which are given in "Bikkure ha-'Ittim," v. 3 et seq. (German part). A work regarding a magic signet-ring is ascribed to Solomon. (By: Joseph Jacobs and M. Seligsohn; Jewish Encyclopedia)
Hexagram
Hexagram
Image: Indiana T. Zones

Apart from those considerations, however, the hexagram has a great deal more significance for Israel. The interlocking triangles of the hexagram are thought to represent masculine and feminine as the blade and chalice in fertility religions throughout the region of Canaan in antiquity. These triangles are also thought to represent fire and water in similar concepts expressed differently and they also are purported to parallel the far-Eastern yin-yang.

Rabbinical tradition from the time of Solomon's Temple maintains that the ark of the covenant there not only contained the stone tables, but also, a hexagram representing a man and a women interlocked in intimacy. This is a most peculiar bit of information considering that we know - or should know - that this was not the real ark. Certainly, one should know that there was never any star lodged in the ark until after the time of King David because its contents were clearly inventoried in the Torah. These consisted of the stone tables placed there by Moses, the pot of manna and Aaron's staff that budded. Suddenly, at Solomon's Temple we find this star in the ark. This star is really not just any star either, but is actually Remphan, the star of the god, the idol that provokes to jealousy - that is to say - the abomination of desolation. That god was exactly where this image first popped up, the counterfeit ark of the covenant. Of course, we know that these were not the real stone tables either.

Isaiah 57:8 And behind the doors and the posts hast thou set up thy symbol; for thou hast uncovered, and art gone up from Me, thou hast enlarged thy bed, and chosen thee of them whose bed thou lovedst, whose hand thou sawest. 9 And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thine ambassadors far off, even down to the nether-world. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 17:1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond; it is graven upon the tablet of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars. 2 Like the symbols of their sons are their altars, and their Asherim are by the leafy trees, upon the high hills. 3 O thou that sittest upon the mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures for a spoil, and thy high places, because of sin, throughout all thy borders. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 2:11 Hath a nation changed its gods, which yet are no gods? But My people hath changed its glory for that which doth not profit. (JPS)
Amos 5:25 Did ye bring unto Me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? 26 So shall ye take up Siccuth your king and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. (JPS)
Amos 5:26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god [3] - which you made for yourselves. 27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus," says the LORD, whose name is God Almighty. (NIV)
(Footnotes: 5:26 Or lifted up Sakkuth your king / and Kaiwan your idols, / your star-gods; Septuagint lifted up the shrine of Molech / and the star of your god Rephan, / their idols)

Referencing Strong's Concordance about Remphan, we see:

4481 Rhemphan [hrem-fan'] by incorrect transliteration for a word of Hebrew origin 3594; n pr m AV - Remphan 1; 1 Remphan = "the shrunken (as lifeless)" 1) the name of an idol worshipped secretly by the Israelites in the wilderness." (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance) (Emphasis added)
3594 Kiyuwn [kee-yoon'] from 3559; n pr dei AV - Chiun 1; 1 Chiun = "an image" or "pillar" 1) probably a statue of the Assyrian-Babylonian god of the planet Saturn and used to symbolise Israelite apostasy. (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 7:8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. 9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and offer unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye have not known, 10 and come and stand before Me in this house, whereupon My name is called, and say: 'We are delivered', that ye may do all these abominations? 11 Is this house, whereupon My name is called, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it, saith the Lord. (JPS)
Isaiah 28:14 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scoffers, the ballad-mongers of this people which is in Jerusalem: 15 Because ye have said: 'We have made a covenant with death, and with the nether-world are we at agreement; when the scouring scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood have we hid ourselves'; (JPS)
Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh a graven or molten image, an abomination unto HaShem, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and setteth it up in secret. And all the people shall answer and say: Amen. (JPS)

Solomon's Signet Ring

According to a wide variety of historical sources, G-d apparently gave Solomon a signet ring to avert a problem with demons during the construction of the temple. Generally, it is believed that the symbol on the ring was the Seal of Solomon or the Magen David, however, there is some variance about this among sources. Nevertheless, this ring evidently gave Solomon power over demons and spirits. It seems that he actually commanded all of them. This information is recorded in a variety of Rabbinical and Jewish sources and by other contemporaries of the period such as the Arabs. Some accounts can be found in The Jewish Encyclopedia. It appears that Solomon's control of demons was widely known in that day.

Solomon's Signet Ring
The legend that Solomon possessed a seal ring on which the name of God was engraved and by means of which he controlled the demons is related at length in Git. 68a, b. This legend is especially developed by Arabic writers, who declare that the ring, on which was engraved "the Most Great Name of God," and which was given to Solomon from heaven, was partly brass and partly iron. With the brass part of the ring Solomon signed his written commands to the good genii, and with the iron part he signed his commands to the evil genii, or devils. The Arabic writers declare also that Solomon received four jewels from four different angels, and that he set them in one ring, so that he could control the four elements. The legend that Asmodeus once obtained possession of the ring and threw it into the sea, and that Solomon was thus deprived of his power until he discovered the ring inside a fish (Jellinek, "B. H." ii. 86-87), also has an Arabic source (comp. D'Herbelot, "Bibliothèque Orientale," s.v. "Soliman ben Daoud"; Fabricius, "Codex Pseudepigraphicus," i. 1054; and see Solomon in Arabic Literature). The legend of a magic ring by means of which the possessor could exorcise demons was current in the first century, as is shown by Josephus' statement ("Ant." viii. 2, § 5) that one Eleazar exorcised demons in the presence of Vespasian by means of a ring, using incantations composed by Solomon Fabricius (l.c.) thinks that the legend of the ring of Solomon thrown into the sea and found afterward inside a fish is derived from the story of the ring of Polycrates, a story which is related by Herodotus (iii. 41 et seq.), Strabo (xiv. 638), and others, and which was the basis of Schiller's poem "Der Ring des Polykrates." (Jewish encyclopedia)

While this legend of Solomon's ring occurs in widespread ancient sources, reliable pictorial representations from ancient sources are lacking. Purported examples of the signet sigil can be located, but since there is great variation, its is impossible to present any image as a reliable representation. The ring did greatly interest the likes of Alister Crowley and Arthur Edward Waite, for examples. There is an example of the image of dubious nature from Alister Crowley, but in this case its likeness was probably ascertained through divination or something of that nature. It is widely believed that part of the signet included the image of Solomon's Seal. Nevertheless, there are some conspicuous aspects of the legend of this ring that are most interesting. Most of the legends of these events maintain that Solomon lost the ring because it was thrown into the ocean and swallowed by a fish. During this time, Solomon allegedly wondered about as an unknown vagrant and after three days recovered the ring from the belly of a fish. During this time it is alleged that Asmodeus, the prince of the demons, acted in Solomon's stead. Suffice it to say that there are some interesting parallels to this in scripture even besides the one included below.

Jonah 2:1 And the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (JPS)
(NOTE: This appears in Jonah 1:17 in other English translations)

The Secret Table of Solomon

Ancient legends also record a secret table of Solomon which was reputedly made from one enormous emerald, perhaps with some sort of crystal placed atop. Apparently the crystal was to be four inches in diameter. The tale is widely regarded as fantasy, but the lore contends that it was used for divination. Occult legends contend that the table did exist and apparently, many of the practices used for divination are attributed to Solomon. The various incantations and information about the spirits, paraphernalia and incantations are contained in another ancient book called the Art Theurgia Goetia of Solomon the King.

Solomon's Throne

Solomon had a great throne made for himself that was quite remarkable and one will note that "there was not the like made in any kingdom." The description of Solomon's throne in the Bible is extraordinary for several reasons, perhaps none more significant than the simple fact that there is such an extensive portrayal of such a temporal thing.

1 Kings 10:18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the finest gold. 19 There were six steps to the throne, and the top of the throne was round behind; and there were arms on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the arms. 20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps; there was not the like made in any kingdom. (JPS)
2 Chronicles 9:17 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. 18 And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and arms on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the arms. 19 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps; there was not the like made in any kingdom. (JPS)

First, note that Solomon "made a great throne of ivory." New ivory is nearly white, so in all reality, Solomon made a great white throne. Secondly, one will also notice in 2 Chronicles 9:17 that this throne had a "footstool of gold." Recall that the Ark of the Covenant is made of gold and is sometimes called G-d's footstool.

In 1 Kings 10:18, the narrative states that the throne was overlaid with the finest gold. This does not really tell one much in English because English only has one word for gold; however, in Hebrew there are six terms for gold all meaning slightly different things.

The Hebrew word used for the gold covering Solomon's throne only appears in the Bible here. This is a very unusual term for gold in any language and must indicate very unusual gold. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, there are six words for gold in Hebrew and two of those are only used in connection with Solomon. The basic word for gold in Hebrew is "zahab" and it means to shimmer or shine. This word usually needs another word to specify exactly what type of gold is being referred to. In the case of the gold that covered Solomon's throne the full term in Hebrew is "zahab mufaz."

"Zahab mufaz, which, according to one explanation, looks like burning brimstone, and according to another and probably more correct explanation is so called from the place in which it was found."
(Solomon's throne was covered with this kind of gold; see I Kings 10:18.)
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Gold)

There are two explanations for zahab mufaz in the encyclopedia and both are quite interesting. In the first case, the Jewish Encyclopedia notes that zahab mufaz - that is to say the gold on Solomon's throne - had the appearance of burning brimstone. Today, English speakers normally call brimstone sulfur. When burned, it has vivid blue flame - one might even say it is a royal blue color. Sulfur melts before it burns and melted sulfur has a deep red color similar to oxblood but the bright blue is about all that ones sees during combustion. This blue might be considered similar to the color of deep sapphire. It seems that all of these details actually relate a series of clear indications that Solomon attempted to exalt his throne above G-d's in that most aspects of it are imitations of G-d's throne.

Lamentations 4:1 How is the gold become dim! How is the most fine gold changed! The hallowed stones are poured out at the head of every street. (JPS)
Ezekiel 1:26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man upon it above. (JPS)
Ezekiel 10:1 Then I looked, and, behold, upon the firmament that was over the head of the cherubim, there appeared above them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne. (JPS)

The second explanation in the Jewish Encyclopedia notes that the term zahab mufaz might have been a reference to the place where this gold was obtained. If one could think of a place that is especially noted for burning brimstone, it is conceivable that this material was obtained there. It is probable that this gold was actually obtained from Parvaim or Zarethan.

It is an unlikely coincidence that the Bible makes mention of a place where burning brimstone is plentiful and that material could even be considered its symbol. Burning brimstone is often found in conjunction with Sheol, Hades, destruction and judgment. Therefore, it is likely that there is great symbolic and literal meaning to zahab mufaz appearing on King Solomon's throne.

Psalms 11:6 Upon the wicked He will cause to rain coals; fire and brimstone and burning wind shall be the portion of their cup. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:21 They have roused Me to jealousy with a no-god; they have provoked Me with their vanities; and I will rouse them to jealousy with a no-people; I will provoke them with a vile nation. 22 For a fire is kindled in My nostril, and burneth unto the depths of the nether-world, and devoureth the earth with her produce, and setteth ablaze the foundations of the mountains. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 29:21 And the generation to come, your children that shall rise up after you, and the foreigner that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses wherewith the Lord hath made it sick; 22 and that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and a burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger, and in His wrath; 23 even all the nations shall say 'Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?' 24 then men shall say: 'Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt; (JPS)

While it is possible that the many retellings of this legend have produced a great deal of embellishment as evidenced in the following article, it leaves little doubt that Solomon's throne was extremely elaborate.

Solomon's Throne
Solomon's throne is described at length in Targum Sheni (l.c.) and in two later midrashim published by Jellinek ("B. H." ii. 83-85, v. 33-39), the second also by J. Perles (in "Monatsschrift," xxi. 122 et seq.). According to Targum Sheni, which is compiled from three different sources, there were on the steps of the throne twelve golden lions (comp. Solomon, Biblical, Data) and twelve golden eagles so placed that each lion faced an eagle. Another account says that there were seventy-two lions and the same number of eagles. Further it is stated that there were six steps to the throne (comp. ib.), on which animals, all of gold, were arranged in the following order: on the first step a lion opposite an ox; on the second, a wolf opposite a sheep; on the third, a tiger opposite a camel; on the fourth, an eagle opposite a peacock, on the fifth, a cat opposite a cock; on the sixth, a sparrow-hawk opposite a dove. On the top of the throne was a dove holding a sparrow-hawk in its claws, symbolizing the dominion of Israel over the Gentiles. There was also on the top of the throne a golden candlestick, on the seven branches of the one side of which were engraved the names of the seven patriarchs Adam, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Job, and on the seven of the other the names of Levi, Kohath, Amram, Moses, Aaron, Eldad, Medad, and, in addition, Hur (another version has Haggai). Above the candlesticks was a golden jar filled with olive-oiland beneath it a golden basin which supplied the jar with oil and on which the names of Nadab, Abihu, and Eli and his two sons were engraved. Over the throne, twenty-four vines were fixed to cast a shadow on the king's head. By a mechanical contrivance the throne followed Solomon wherever he wished to go.
The description given in the two midrashim mentioned above differs somewhat from the foregoing. Referring to the words "Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord" (I Chron. xxix. 23), the second midrash remarks that Solomon's throne, like that of God, was furnished with the four figures representing a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle, with cherubim and wheels (comp. Ezek. i. 5 et seq.). While the first midrash agrees to a greater extent with Targum Sheni, the second one substitutes for the order in which the pairs of animals were arranged the following: a sheep and a wolf; a deer and a bear; a roebuck and an elephant; a buffalo and a griffin; a man and a demon; a mountain-cock and an eagle; a dove and a sparrow-hawk-the clean beasts and fowls being to the right and the unclean ones to the left of the throne.
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Solomon; By: Emil G. Hirsch Ira Maurice Price Wilhelm Bacher M. Seligsohn Mary W. Montgomery Crawford Howell Toy)
(Emphasis added)
Mechanism of the Throne
Solomon's progress to his throne is similarly described in Targum Sheni and in the two midrashim. According to the former work, when the king reached the first step, the ox, by means of some sort of mechanism, stretched forth its leg, on which Solomon leaned, a similar action taking place in the case of the animals on each of the six steps. From the sixth step the eagles raised the king and placed him in his seat, near which a golden serpent lay coiled. When the king was seated the large eagle placed the crown on his head, the serpent uncoiled itself, and the lions and eagles moved upward to form a shade over him. The dove then descended, took the scroll of the Law from the Ark, and placed it on Solomon's knees. When the king sat, surrounded by the Sanhedrin, to judge the people, the wheels began to turn, and the beasts and fowls began to utter their respective cries, which frightened those who had intended to bear false testimony. Moreover, while Solomon was ascending the throne, the lions scattered all kinds of fragrant spices. In the second midrash it is said: "When Solomon wished to sit on his throne, the ox took him gently on its horns and handed him over to the lion, which in turn delivered him to the sheep, and so on until the seat was reached. Then the demon placed him on the seat, which was of gold studded with precious stones, and put under his feet a foot-stool of sapphire which he had brought from heaven [comp. Ex. xxiv. 10]. The six steps also were studded with precious stones and with crystal; and there were besides arches from which palm-trees arose high over the throne to make a shadow for the king's head." Both midrashim state that when Solomon was seated a silver serpent turned a wheel which caused the eagles to spread their wings over the king's head. Then one lion placed the crown on his head, while another placed the golden scepter in his hand. It is explained in the first midrash that six steps were constructed because Solomon foresaw that six kings would sit on the throne, namely, Solomon, Rehoboam, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, and Josiah. After Solomon's death King Shishak, when taking away the treasures of the Temple (comp. I Kings xiv. 26), carried off the throne, which remained in Egypt till Sennacherib conquered that country. After Sennacherib's fall Hezekiah gained possession of it. When Josiah was slain by Pharaoh Necho the latter took it away; but, not knowing the proper use of it, he was struck by one of the lions and became lame. Nebuchadnezzar, into whose possession the throne subsequently came, shared a similar fate. The throne then passed to the Persians, with whom it remained till it came into the possession of Ahasuerus, who, however, could not sit upon it (see also Num. R. xii. 21; Midr. Abba Gorion to Esth. i. 2).
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Solomon; By: Emil G. Hirsch Ira Maurice Price Wilhelm Bacher M. Seligsohn Mary W. Montgomery Crawford Howell Toy)

"There was not the like made in any kingdom," as 1 Kings 10:20 clearly states. In other legends from his time, observers mention that Solomon had as flooring a sea of glass. This is another feature mimicking the facilities of the Most High.

Solomon and the Queen of Sheba
The meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba is narrated in Targum Sheni as follows: "Solomon, when merry from wine, used to assemble before him all the kings, his vassals, and at the same time ordered all the other living creatures of the world to dance before them. One day, the king, observing that the mountain-cock or hoopoe was absent, ordered that the bird be summoned forthwith. When it arrived it declared that it had for three months been flying hither and thither seeking to discover some country not yet subjected to Solomon, and had at length found a land in the East, exceedingly rich in gold, silver, and plants, whose capital was called "Kitor" and whose ruler was a woman, known as 'the Queen of Saba [Sheba].' The bird suggested that it should fly to the queen and bring her to Solomon. The king approved this proposal; and Solomon, accordingly, caused a letter to be tied to the hoopoe's wing, which the bird delivered to the queen toward the evening as she was going out to make her devotions to the sun. Having read the letter, which was couched in somewhat severe terms, she immediately convoked a council of her ministers. Then she freighted several vessels with all kinds of treasures, and selected 6,000 boys and girls, all of the same age, stature, and dress, and sent them with a letter to Solomon, acknowledging her submission to him and promising to appear before him within three years from that date. . . . On being informed of her arrival, Solomon sent his chief minister, Benaiah, to meet her, and then seated himself in a glass pavillon. The queen, thinking that the king was sitting in water, lifted her dress, which caused Solomon to smile."
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Solomon; By: Emil G. Hirsch, Ira Maurice Price, Wilhelm Bacher, M. Seligsohn, Mary W. Montgomery, Crawford Howell Toy)
(Emphasis added)
Exodus 24:9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; 10 and they saw the God of Israel; and there was under His feet the like of a paved work of sapphire stone, and the like of the very heaven for clearness. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

When carefully considering Solomon's throne, what emerges is another clear set of counterfeits of the true G-d.

If one looks into this throne even deeper, the scant physical details as related in scripture produce a great deal more fascinating information. It is noted that this throne was round behind and this tends to infer that it was formed somewhat like a semicircle in plan view as featured below.

Characterized Plan View of Solomon’s Throne
Characterized Plan View of Solomon's Throne
Image: Indiana T. Zones
1 Kings 10:18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the finest gold. 19 There were six steps to the throne, and the top of the throne was round behind; and there were arms on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the arms. 20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps; there was not the like made in any kingdom. (JPS)
2 Chronicles 9:17 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. 18 And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and arms on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the arms. 19 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps; there was not the like made in any kingdom. (JPS)

When considering the plan view of Solomon's throne, the astute observer might realize certain similarities to a graphic image that is widely circulated in contemporary times. If for example, one substituted one of Solomon's other symbols for the lions - that is to say these beasts - then an image something like the following example would be the result.

Modified Plan View of Solomon’s Throne
Modified Plan View of Solomon's Throne
Image: Indiana T. Zones

Pushing this a slight bit further, an image like the following could result. The characterized diagram of the throne rotated 90° counterclockwise on the left shares certain remarkable features with the image to the right.

Comparison of Images
Comparison of Images
Image: Indiana T. Zones

Some might reflect on the fact that if this image is considered from the perspective of grouped items, there are 6 stars, 6 lines and 6 more stars. This then, is a representation of 6-6-6 with the stars representing lions. The stars represent beasts today since the actual symbols of the nations of Europe are more accurately lions than stars.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, 'See this is new?' It has already been in ancient times before us. (JPS)
Ecclesiastes 3:18 I said in my heart: 'It is because of the sons of men, that God may sift them, and that they may see that they themselves are but as beasts.' 19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that man hath no pre-eminence above a beast; for all is vanity. (JPS)

In light of all of this visual information, one might quip that all of the signs are here.

Other Considerations of King Solomon's Throne

Apart from the construction, Solomon's throne is part of a promise by G-d that his throne will be established forever. This promise is an unconditional promise and this has been used by some to point out flaws in the Bible.

The nature of the discrepancy seized upon by skeptics is that G-d promises Solomon that his throne will be established forever and the throne of David also has this promise. While Solomon certainly could have continued David's throne, it is apparent in subsequent scripture that Solomon's throne was cut off is not referred to as the throne of righteousness. This continues into the New Testament and Solomon's throne is not the throne that real Messiah will use when His reign begins; therefore, some have concluded that this is an error in scripture.

So what about Solomon's throne? Is it possible that maybe G-d made a mistake or was a little confused or just kidding the day He said that Solomon's throne would be established forever? While these explanations would account for this discrepancy, none of these are plausible because they presume error in the Bible. Therefore, one is confronted with the problem of finding an explanation for this that averts the inclusion of the premise of Biblical error as an element of the hypothesis.

How can both Solomon and David have their thrones established forever? This obviously would have been easy had things gone well with Solomon, but obviously that was not the case. The only possible explanation is that one throne could be established in one way while the other is distinguished in some other way.

Since the Bible generally has a theme of good and evil running through it, perhaps it would be possible to attach that sort of a theme to the throne question. Then, one could formulate a theory that possibly one throne could be established in righteousness while the other could be established in evil. At that point, one would be confronted with the problem of determining which throne was which, but just to be cavalier about it, one could theorize that the true Messiah and David will not be using the evil throne.

In that case, David's throne will be established in righteousness while Solomon's throne will be distinguished by evil forever. As an additional observation, it is an interesting point that there is seemingly no description of David's throne while there is an extensive description of Solomon's.

Psalm 94:20 Shall the throne of wickedness be united to thee, which frameth mischief into a law? 21 They band together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn innocent blood. (Darby)
It's cohesive!
The reader's appropriate response to this material:
Acts 17:11 And these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, receiving the word with all readiness of mind, daily searching the scriptures if these things were so. (Darby) (Emphasis added)