WARNING: Before I start my first article in this series, I’d like to emphatically state, that by no means do I want to induce greed and lust by this writing. A lot of Christians are prejudiced against wealth. This topic has already been covered here.
The essence of this series therefore is to carefully study wealthy men in the bible, how they made it, and what they did with the wealth God gave them. God blesses everyone he chooses, we however become sinful when wealth becomes our only pursuit and nothing else matters.
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9
With that in mind, I’d like to begin with my favorite 2 of the top 10 richest biblical figures.
I estimated the value of Job’s worth by looking at the present day value of the livestock listed here in Job 1:3
and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
- 7,000 sheep. The average price for a sheep is around $150, multiply this by 7,000 = $1,050,000 worth of sheep.
- 3,000 camels. The price of camels depends on the sex, whether it is trained or not and the breed. I have information that trained racing camels can cost up to 1,000,000 dollars. To simplify things however, I’ve taken the average price of a camel, which is roughly $5000. Multiply this by 3,000 and you get $15,000,000 worth of camels.
- 500 yokes of oxen would be at least 1,000 oxen, because it takes at least 2 oxen (plural of ox) to form a yoke. One ox may cost around $4,000, multiplied by 1,000 =$4,000,000 worth of oxen.
- 500 female donkeys. One donkey costs about $1,500, multiplied by 500 = $750,000; Job may have probably owned male donkeys too, but little information is provided on this.
Combining all this, (1,050,000+15,000,000+4,000,000+750,000)=20,800,000
Considering the fact that Job received a double portion of all his inheritance after God restored him from his affliction, we need to multiply his net worth at the beginning of the chapter by 2. That brings Job’s total worth at 41,600,000! Note, this is just his liquid assets. If factors such as his house and lands are also taken into consideration you will realise that Job was probably worth more than half a billion dollars! One thing that really inspires me about the man called Job is how he placed and valued God above all things!
In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. Job 1:1
He loved God so much that though God allowed him to be smitten he always gave him praise. Listen to what Job said in the face of troubles:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.[c]
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21
Wow! How many of us would stand so strong for God in the face of persecution? In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:22)
Number 2: Abraham (Estimated worth: Unknown)
Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. Genesis 13:2
The bible is not exactly clear on how much Abraham was worth. What I do know however is that his source of wealth was flocks, livestock, silver, gold and servants (Genesis 30:43). We all know the story of Abraham, how he forsook his family and home for the sake of the cause of God. The result was great wealth as Jesus said:
“Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time–houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions–and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:28-31:
I’m amazed by these two biblical characters: Job and Abraham! Rich, yet considering their wealth as excrement compared to God. That’s what God expects us to be. It is my prayer that you will place God above all things, your money, power and fame, amen! There are more rich biblical figures to explore, I’ll write more on them in my next post in this series.