The Queen of Sheba
10 Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. And Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the LORD, there was no more breath in her.
And she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard. Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness.” Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, and a very great quantity of spices and precious stones. Never again came such an abundance of spices as these that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
Moreover, the fleet of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought from Ophir a very great amount of almug wood and precious stones. And the king made of the almug wood supports for the house of the LORD and for the king’s house, also lyres and harps for the singers. No such almug wood has come or been seen to this day.
And King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked besides what was given her by the bounty of King Solomon. So she turned and went back to her own land with her servants.
Solomon’s Great Wealth
Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, besides that which came from the explorers and from the business of the merchants, and from all the kings of the west and from the governors of the land. King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold; 600 shekels of gold went into each shield. And he made 300 shields of beaten gold; three minas of gold went into each shield. And the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. The king also made a great ivory throne and overlaid it with the finest gold. The throne had six steps, and the throne had a round top, and on each side of the seat were armrests and two lions standing beside the armrests, while twelve lions stood there, one on each end of a step on the six steps. The like of it was never made in any kingdom. All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. None were of silver; silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon. For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarshish at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the fleet of ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.
Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. Every one of them brought his present, articles of silver and gold, garments, myrrh, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year.
And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. And the king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stone, and he made cedar as plentiful as the sycamore of the Shephelah. And Solomon’s import of horses was from Egypt and Kue, and the king’s traders received them from Kue at a price. A chariot could be imported from Egypt for 600 shekels of silver and a horse for 150, and so through the king’s traders they were exported to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria.
1 Kings 10 Commentary
by Hank Workman
It’s a written showcase of Solomon’s success. From the Queen of Sheba visiting and declaring for herself the grandeur of his palace to the wisdom he had from the questions posed, she left believing it all to be true. In fact, she praised his God, the Lord of all, who delighted in Him and had given beyond anything she had witnessed before. This account is followed by the extreme splendor and wealth he had acquired. The list is somewhat insane of the amount of gold and items he had in his possession.
In the scheme of the world, this was something that raised Israel from being a second rate nation to a forefront contender on its stage. His wealth and wisdom were legendary.
However, in Solomon’s accumulation of such wealth, splendor and a massive harem, in time, he would be violating God’s commands for a king based on Deuteronomy 17. When speaking of a king who would rule them in the land it states:
“Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’ He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.”Deuteronomy 17:16-17
These things were warned of and prohibited because God knew the heart of man and how easily swayed it could be. Such things would hurt a nation politically and spiritually. As records show, the more luxurious Solomon’s courts became, the more the people were taxed. This taxation eventually stirred unrest and the climate turned toward revolution.
Sadly, with everything going so great for Solomon he did one crucial thing: he forgot God. He allowed pagan influences to enter his life through the many marriages he had. This ultimately put the spiritual corruption of the nation on a fast track.
Are there great blessings we too have experienced from God’s hand that have turned our hearts away from Him? Are we too following in the footsteps of Solomon, although maybe not in wealth but in thought that have sidelined the thing of importance – which is God Himself being at the center of all we do and say?
1 Kings 10 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
What was the point of the Queen of Sheba coming to visit Solomon? Jesus actually makes a reference to her in the New Testament.
The queen of the south will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and look—something greater than Solomon is here!Matthew 12:42 HCSB
A simple way to sum up this statement is, greater revelation requires greater condemnation. The queen made a statement of faith about the Lord, but we have no idea if this was a casual observation or a proclamation of faith. We do know, however, that she traveled about 1200 miles to seek Solomon and observe his way of life. Solomon answered all her questions. She admitted she was surprised at what she found. We can give her credit for seeking, trusting, offering gifts, and her willingness to learn.
Jesus is responding to the Pharisees in Matthew 12, and His message is very bold. If the pagan queen would travel that far to seek a wise man of God, then how much more judgment will come upon the representatives of God who do not seek after the actual Son of God? The Pharisees not only refused to seek Him, but they also plotted to murder Him!
This theme goes right along with James’ warning to those who wish to become teachers.
My friends, not many of you should become teachers. As you know, we teachers will be judged with greater strictness than others.James 3:1 GNB
Jesus also spoke along these same lines in Luke 12.
But the one who did not know and did things deserving of blows will be beaten lightly. Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more.Luke 12:48 HCSB
The moral of the story is that if God has revealed truth to us, we are expected to obey to the best of our ability. If we know God’s will (and we do when we read His Word), then we are responsible to live accordingly.