All the prophets were rich men. This we infer from the account of Moses, Samuel, Amos, and Jonah. Of Moses, as it is written (Num. xvi. 15), "I have not taken one ass from them." Of Samuel, as it is written (1 Sam. xii. 3), "Behold, here I am; witness against me before the Lord, and before His anointed, whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken?" Of Amos, as it is written (Amos vii. 14), "I was an herdsman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit,"
i. e., I am proprietor of my herds and own sycamores in the valley. Of Jonah, as it is written (Jonah i. 3), "So he paid the fare thereof and went down into it." Rabbi Yochanan says he hired the whole ship. Rabbi Rumanus says the hire of the ship amounted to four thousand golden denarii.
Nedarim, fol. 38, col. 1.
Four thousand two hundred and thirty-one years after the creation of the world, if any one offers thee for one single denarius a field worth a thousand denarii, do not buy it.
Avodah Zarah, fol. 9, col. 2.
Rashi gives this as the reason of the prohibition: For then the restoration of the Jews to their own land will take place, so that the denarius paid for a field in a foreign land would be money thrown away.
Four thousand two hundred and ninety-one years after the creation of the world the wars of the dragons and the wars of Gog and Magog will cease, and the rest of the time will be the days of the Messiah; and the Holy One--blessed be He!--will not renew His world till after seven thousand years. . . . Rabbi Jonathan said, "May the bones of those who compute the latter days (when the Messiah shall appear) be blown; for some say, "Because the time (of Messiah) has come and Himself has not, therefore He will never come!" But wait thou for Him, as it is said (Hab. ii. 3), 'Though He tarry, wait for Him.' Perhaps you will say, 'We wait, but He does not wait;' learn rather to say (Isa. xxx. 18), 'And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you; and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you.'"
Sanhedrin, fol. 97, col. 2.
It is related of Rabbi Tarphon (probably the Tryphon of polemic fame) that he was very rich, but gave nothing to the poor. Once Rabbi Akiva met him and said, "Rabbi, dost thou wish me to purchase for thee a town or two?" "I do," said he, and at once gave him four thousand gold denarii. Rabbi Akiva took this sum and distributed it among the poor. Some time after Rabbi Tarphon met Rabbi Akiva and said, "Where are the towns thou purchasedst for me?" The latter seized hold of him by the
arm and led him to the Beth Hamedrash, where, taking up a psalter, they read together till they came to this verse, "He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor, his righteousness endureth forever" (Ps. cxii. 9). Here Rabbi Akiva paused and said, "This is the place I purchased for thee," and Rabbi Tarphon saluted him with a kiss.