957 BC

Palestine (as erroneously named by the Romans) around the first and second millennia BC was fertile and well wooded. Yet, with a supposed Israelite population by now of about half a million, one might reasonably suspect an element of exaggeration in the accounts of the dedication of the Temple to which large numbers of the populace were witness. It was reported that a sacrifice of 22,000 head of cattle and 120,000 sheep took place (25).

It is perhaps interesting to note that appreciable deforestation occurred at the time of the Roman occupation. This was further exacerbated by the utterly indiscriminate and total destruction of the forests during the period that the Levant was within the Ottoman Empire (c. AD1300-1700). The result was that the whole area was reduced to a bare and arid land from which progressive recovery has only been achieved over the last half of the 20th. century.

956 BC

Solomon now continued with the construction of his own palace and the associated quarters for those responsible for the government of the kingdom. This, together with citadel walls and defences, took another 13 years, i.e. until 943 BC.

Disbelieving the reports she had received about Solomon's splendour, the Queen of Sheba travelled 1700 miles  (2740 km) from southern Yemen (Aden) on a state visit to see things for herself. It seems she came away greatly impressed (26).