The Queen of Sheba; What Did She Desire Of King Solomon
The Story: 1st Kings 10: 1-13 (KJV)
1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.
2 And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.
3 And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not [any] thing hid from the king, which he told her not.
4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built,
5 And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.
6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom.
7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen [it]: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.
8 Happy [are] thy men, happy [are] these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, [and] that hear thy wisdom.
9 Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.
10 And she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.
11 And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.
12 And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the LORD, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.
13 And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside [that] which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.
A Closer Look
The Queen was a very wealthy woman. She was smart and well versed. She was the ruler of a Pagan nation near the African Horn. Most likely, she was a pagan herself.
Although presenting gifts was a very common custom, she went through a self imposed ordeal to deliver gifts of excessive value. She had messengers and diplomats who could have gone in her behalf. She must have wanted more than a political ally or trade agreements.
Her journey was approximately 1500 miles. She brought 4 1/2 tons of gold. A camel can carry 200-300 lbs and travel roughly 25-30 miles daily. She needed 30 - 45 camels for the gold alone. (This is millions of dollars.)... .She would have traveled 50- 60 days, a very difficult journey.
She also brought spices and jewels in quantities that would never be seen again. It is possible that she brought ivory as well. The Queen would not have traveled alone. She would have had servants, dressing girls, maids, cooks, men to tend the camels. They would have carried provisions; clothing, food, medicines, lots of water , this was a very large convoy crossing the desert.
Surely, the wealthy Queen did not ride upon a camel. She would have the best available comforts. She most likely rode upon a palanquin. Nor, did she make a frivolous and spur of the moment trip. Extensive planning and attention to details was required for a trip of this proportion. It is probable the travelers followed the trade route known as the " Incense Road", even if they had traveled by sea, it was still a major undertaking.
What could she possibly want to ask King Solomon, that could not be asked of someone in her own pagan country? She would have had , " seers", "astronomers", "clairvoyants", "magicians", at her service. It must have been of the utmost importance to warrant a trip of this magnitude.
The King and Queen Get Close
Ancient newpaper headlines might have read:
Royalty Welcomes Royalty , The King Greets The Queen. God's King, Embraces Pagan Queen.
We can be confident that Solomon put on a grand welcome. She would be met with great opulence , wealth ,and hospitality. The King of Israel would be a fine host. He would spare no expense in making her welcome and in providing for her and her servants.
They talked together, ate together, and the Queen told him all that was in her heart. That reads like a powerful statement. Do you tell anyone all that is in your heart? ( Maybe, I am the oddball, but I have unrevealed thoughts and uncertainties.) He was open and forthcoming with her as well, there was nothing that he told her not. She was on a mission, she wanted something from the King. But first she had to prove him with hard questions. The King must prove himself worthy of her confidence.
The Hard Questions
This is an intriguing idea for me to wonder about. We have no way of knowing what she asked, the Bible does not tell us. But she was testing him, she had to know the answers. She had to be his equal in this contest. Perhaps she asked him some ancient riddles:
Q. What, when alive, does not move, yet when its head is cut off, moves?
Timber used to build a ship.
Q. It is many headed, in a storm at sea, it goes above us all, it raises a loud and bitter wailing and moaning; it bends its head like a reed, is the glory of the rich and the shame of the poor; it honors the dead and dishonors the living; it is a delight to the birds, but a sorrow to the fishes. What is it?
Flax- it makes sails for ships, fine linen for the rich, rags for the poor; a burial shroud for the dead, a rope for hanging the living. As a seed, it nourishes the birds and as a net, traps the fish.
Q. Seven leave, nine enter, two pour out the draught and only one drinks?
The seven days of menstruation, nine months of pregnancy, two breast to nourish and one child to drink.
She was the ruler of a pagan nation, most probably a pagan herself, visiting an Israelite King. Perhaps she had a theological question.
Q. What is the ugliest thing in the world, and what is the most beautiful, what is the most certain thing in the world and the most uncertain?
The ugliest thing is the faithful turning to unfaith, the most beautiful is the repentant sinner; the most certain thing in the world is death and the most uncertain thing, is one's share in the world to come.
What Do Women Desire?
Haven't the men been asking this through the ages? Haven't the answers always included: a means of financial support , a home, someone to love them, to protect them, clothes, pretty things, jewelry and children?
The Queen of Sheba had money, clothes, pretty things, a home, protection, she left Solomon, so apparently she did not want marriage. Did she desire a child?
Legend and folklore abound, Solomon finally outsmarted her, and then seduced her.
It is told in the Ethiopian book Kebra Nagast that Solomon did father her child, a son. Menelik, known as , " the son of the wise", made his own trip to Jerusalem. Refusing Solomon's offer of the Kingdom, to stay, he stole the Ark of the Covenant instead , taking it to Ethiopia.
Why doesn't the Bible tell us that? Why don't the scriptures just say, " and she bore a son?"
God did not hide Adam's sin, He did not hide Cain's, He did not hide the sins of King David. He does not hide mine or yours, it makes no sense that He would hide Solomon's.
And King Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever, she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.
The Bible does not speak of these things, it does not even tell us the Queen's name. Why then is she important, and is it important what she desired?
Bringing the Old and the New Together
And the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions.
He tells her all, she sees his Blessings, his wisdom, his provisions and there is no more spirit in her.
How be it, I believed not the words until I came and mine eyes had seen?
Blessed be the Lord, thy God, and King Solomon gave unto the Queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked.
The Queen of Sheba and her visit to King Solomon, will be remembered through the ages. We know her story, and so did Jesus.
In Matthew (chapter 12), the Pharisees are asking Jesus to prove Himself, and convince them to believe by performing on demand miracles. In versus 41 and 42, we read:( Jesus speaking)
"The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgement with this generation and shall condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and behold, a greater One than Jonas is here.
The Queen of the South shall rise up in the judgement with this generation, and shall condemn it, for she came from the uttermost part of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, a greater One than Solomon is here."
What did the Queen of Sheba desire,.. laid heavily upon me for a long time, readers. At one point; thinking as a mother; I entertained that she desired a child......but it just would not lay still. So, I asked God. And I studied on the possibilities.
The Queen wanted to know about God, she sought out the one man she trusted to bring her to God, and Solomon gave her, her desire. The Queen of Sheba, desired, faith. Just as the men of Nineveh found faith, so did the Queen. She and the men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgement because they have faith.
To Assist Your Understanding
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What Others Had to Say........
panguerita 7 weeks ago
Hello, I found your hub very interesting to read and study on. I was impressed by your eye for detail and for opening up our minds and challenging us to look deeper into scripture. I do find the question of "What did she ask?" interesting.I believe her questions had to do with verifying rumors which were circulating throughout the land because of the great wealth and power God had granted to this King. The blessing God spoke over him and his kingdom is found in 2 Chronicles 1. He was granted wealth and power as no other king of his time had seen. This temple he built was built with great amounts of gold, and much of the luxury of the interior, cedars of Lebanon for example,were freely provided by kings from other nations. I wonder if it wasn't much like it is today, when a great man of God demonstrates great wealth and blessing many decide there must be something suspicious here, God surely does not give his people access to such wealth! Is this truly a man of God?
Also,it is so interesting the rumor and speculation about her which has surfaced over the centuries. Although it is proven by scripture that Solomon did marry a wife who was idolatrous and alien to Israel, It's hard to find facts which support that his wife was actually this Queen of Sheba. I do believe the rumor that he had a child by her is extra-biblical.
It certainly is a well written and interesting hub, and I am glad you have received so many comments on it and interest in it!
Blessings to you!