Omar had already compelled them to furnish an account of their riches, and, when he found that they had abused their trust, to relinquish half to the state.
Tradition depicts him as a worthy successor to his father, and represents a state of luxury and riches impressive to all who were familiar with the great Oriental courts.
Motives of self-interest may have lurked in them - otherworldly motives of buying salvation for a little price, or worldly motives of achieving riches and acquiring lands.
A more plausible theory is that the author is an honest thinker, a keen observer and critic of life, who sees that the world is full of miseries and unsolved problems, regards as futile the attempts of his time to demonstrate an ethically active future life, and, recognizing a divine author of all, holds that the only wise course for men is to abandon the attempt to get full satisfaction out of the struggle for pleasure, riches and wisdom, and to content themselves with making the best of what they have.
Trade with Persia and India, as also with the Khazars and the Russians, and undoubtedly with Biarmia (Urals), was, however, their chief occupation, their main riches being furs, leather, wool, nuts, wax and so on.