Tuesday, December 16, 1997
A 3,000-Year-Old Investment
by Bob White (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba, was an enterprising ruler who had a summer palace in Salalah in Oman and operated the frankincense and myrrh cartel from her Sabaean capital in North Yemen about 3000 years ago. Her products were shipped North up the "incense road" to North Africa, the Middle East and Southern Europe. The Magi triad gifts to the Christ child of "gold, frankincense and myrrh" placed her products on a gold standard. Of course that was before gold fell below $300.
We are all familiar with her travels. She visited Shlomo, Sulayman or Solomon, which ever you prefer, on one of her marketing trips and marveled at the splendor of his palaces, his wealth and his wisdom. I've read that Solomon had a way with the ladies. Besides his Foolish investments, he kept a large harem.
Solomon mined gold in Ophir, wherever that was. Other men became rich by writing and filming stories about "King Solomon's Mines." Even Congo by Michael Crichton was nothing more than a high-tech version on the same theme.
Although Solomon was considered to be one of the wisest men who ever lived, he really was a Fool at heart. He gave Foolish advice such as:
"Cast your bread upon the waters," or take a risk and after a period of time reap rewards for your efforts. No quick return or greed here. No fear of loss.
"Give portions to seven, yea to eight," or don't be stupid, but diversify your investments "because you do not know what disaster may come."
"Sow your seed in the morning and at evening let not your hands be idle," or work at your place of employment and develop other skills in case your employer goes out of business. Don't just depend on your investments but develop life-long skills that you can fall back on in a time of crisis.
Not bad for an old Fool. Solomon also said "There is nothing new under the sun." There were Wisemen then, as well as now, who lived off the court and for a shekel would give the king advice, usually what he wanted to hear and not the truth.
No wonder Bilqis dropped in for tea, but not to become part of the harem.