If you read the Bible, you may come across an algum wood type. Algum wood is a wood that most people are not familiar with.
Algum wood was referred to in the Bible as a wood that King Solomon used to build his temple. We know that King Solomon would have used the finest materials to build this temple, so Algum wood was likely a very special and expensive wood.
Algum Wood and The Biblical King Solomon’s Temple
Algum wood is referred to as being used to build King Solomon’s Temple in the Bible. According to the Hebrew Bible, Solomon’s temple was the first Temple built in Jerusalem. The temple was built during the reign of King Solomon and completed construction by 957 BCE.
In the Bible in the First Book of Kings and Second Book of Chronicle, Algum wood was used together with cedar and pine wood. Most people believe that the wood was used for the actual pillars of the temple, along with some musical instruments for the temple.
Other scholars said the algum wood was used for the temple’s steps. But whatever it was used for with King Solomon’s temple, we know that the wood would have been a hardwood to have been used for either the structural pillars or the temple steps.
Here is the thing that we do know about the Algum Wood and King Solomon’s Temple:
- Extreme Hardwood – Algum wood would have been considered ta very hardwood. The wood was used for structures such as the temple pillars or the temple steps. Either one of the applications would have required they used hardwood. There is a good chance that any steps would have also had banisters, so the wood could have been used for both pillars, steps, and banisters.
- Precious Wood – As the Algum wood was used for King Solomon’s temple, they would have only used the best wood they could find for the temple. Algum wood would have been a precious wood.
- Probably Brought In For The Temple – It is believed that the algum wood would have been brought to the area to build King Solomon’s temple. It is believed it was brought from Tazashish, an area mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. Or it could have traveled from Tazashish from the port of Ezion- Giber (also a city from the Hebrew Bible) in the Red Sea.
- Used For Musical Instruments – We also learn from the Bible that the Algum wood was also used for musical instruments for King Solomon’s temple.
- Algum Wood Goes By Various Names – We know that Algum wood is often referred to in the Hebrew Bible by several different names, including Algum, Almug, or the plural form of Almuggim.
The King Solomon’s City Of Ophir And Algum Wood
One of the most significant issues in understanding what kind of wood Algum wood is to understand where King Solomon brought the wood from. Many cities and areas are mentioned in the Bible for which we have no definitive modern reference.
One of those areas we know about but are not sure where it is located in the City of Ophir. Here are a few things that we do know about the City of Ophir from the Bible:
- Orphir Was A Port – We know from the Bible that Orphir was a port region as the Bible talks of it being a port.
- Orphir Was Wealthy – The area of Orphir was known to be wealthy.
- King Solomon Got Shipments From Orphir – We know that every three years, King Solomon would get a shipment from Orphir.
- Shipment Contained Many Products – We know that these shipments would contain many different products such as gold, silver, wood, pearls, ivory, and even animals such as apes and peacocks.
It is believed that Orphir is on one of the 1st Century trade routes. Historians are not sure where Orphir is located as it could have been on an ancient trade route from as far away as the Philippines, Africa, India, and Sri Lanka.
The location of Orphir matters as it can help us identify what kind of wood algum wood was; the wood was likely brought in by one of these ancient trade routes.
Algum Wood And Today’s Type of Wood
Algum wood is not a wood that we know of or is used today. Algum wood is probably still around, but we are not 100% sure what kind of wood Algum wood was referring to in the Hebrew Bible for King Solomon’s Temple.
Here are some wood types that may be Algum wood and why it is thought they are algum wood:
Algum Wood And Juniper Wood Species
Some scholars believe that the Algum wood was a type of Juniper (Juniperus) tree. There are several kinds of Juniper trees that grow in the Middle East, which include Juniperus excelsa (Greek Juniper), Juniperus Foetidissima (Stinking Juniper), Juniper Phoenician (Phoenician Juniper), and Juniperus Drupacea (Syrian Juniper).
All of these types of Juniper trees come from the Middle East Area. If Algum wood were a wood that was found locally in the Middle East, it would have more than likely been made out of a Juniper tree. The Juniper tree is a conifer tree that is found all over the world.
Algum Wood And Red Sandalwood
If the port city of Ophir was in India, there is a good chance that the algum wood would have been Red Sandalwood. Red Sandalwood is a heavy, yellow wood with a fine grain.
Sandalwood is prized as it also has a pleasant aromatic smell to the wood. The aroma of the wood is so powerful that the wood can retain its fragrance for decades.
Sandalwood is also used to produce fragrant oils. The sandalwood oil is extracted from the wood.
Because Sandalwood and Sandalwood oil has such a distinctive fragrance, it is a wood that has been prized. Red Sandalwood is considered one of the most expensive woods in the world.
We do not know what kind of wood Algum wood is, but many believe that Ophir was located in India, and King Solomon would have spared no cost to build his Temple; King Solomon would have used the best materials he could find. If King Solomon had access to wood-like Red Sandalwood, he probably would have used that wood.
Red Sandalwood would have had some advantages in that it was very hard wood and had a pleasant aroma. Algum wood is a biblical and historical mystery that we have not yet been able to solve.
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