Read 1 Kings 10
The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon
10 When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. 2 Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. 4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.
6 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. 8 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”
10 And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
11 (Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones. 12 The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the Lord and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)
13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.
14 The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents, 15 not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the territories.
16 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of gold went into each shield. 17 He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three minas of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.
18 Then the king made a great throne covered with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. 20 Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom. 21 All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days. 22 The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.
23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 25 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.
26 Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue—the royal merchants purchased them from Kue at the current price. 29 They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.
The story of the Queen of Sheba illustrates King Solomon’s vast renown. The Queen had heard of his wisdom and prosperity so much that she traveled a great distance to see it for herself. One of the best depictions of the awe associated with King Solomon is in verse 5. When the queen had seen everything and asked all of her hard questions, the scriptures tell us that “there was no more breath in her” (ESV). Isn’t that just like the Lord? When His favor so clearly rests on someone or something, we are left breathless, speechless, and in awe.
A lesson we can learn from the Queen of Sheba’s visit is that whatever our role, profession or environment, believers are to show the evidence of the Lord’s favor in our lives. After experiencing King Solomon’s great wisdom and wealth–given to him by the Lord–the Queen proclaims, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel!” (v. 9). She witnessed the Lord through the way King Solomon interacted with her and used his God-given gifts. How exciting that we have the opportunity to be faithful with what God has set before us today. In doing all things with our own unique giftings and resources someone we interact with may glimpse God because of how we showcase His favor.
The second half of the chapter, starting in verse 14, lists Solomon’s great wealth and everything that he has acquired. Fascinatingly, the writer makes it a point to say that King Solomon surpassed all other kings when it came to wisdom and riches (verse 23). The beautiful thing about this is that Solomon does not even come close in comparison to Christ the King. Solomon was a son of David, but Jesus is the Son of David, the long-awaited Messiah. Solomon was rich, but Jesus is the Creator of all riches and everything we see. Solomon possessed the gift of wisdom, but Jesus is wisdom personified, and His ways are higher than our own.
As we continue to study King Solomon’s life and stand in awe of his wisdom and abundance, let us be reminded that we serve a king who is far greater than Solomon. The King of Kings!
- How can you showcase the Lord’s favor in your life to others today?
- The Queen of Sheba traveled far to seek out King Solomon. Similarly, the Lord promises that “those who seek me will find me when they seek me with all of their heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). What hindrances or distractions are keeping you from seeking the Lord with all of your heart?
- Do you think about the fact that Jesus is King of Kings? How does that reminder affect your daily life?
Did you Know?
The Queen of Sheba is only mentioned twice in Scripture—1 Kings 10 and Matthew 12. Otherwise known as the Queen of the South, Jesus makes a reference to her in context of Israel’s rejection of the one True King. The Queen was a Gentile who traveled a long distance to hear King Solomon and pay her respects. In stark contrast, the Jews of his time were unwilling to travel any distance to hear the King of Kings. Jesus used her example to challenge Israel to listen to God’s wisdom through someone greater than Solomon, namely, Himself (Matthew 12:42). David Guzik of the Enduring Word commentary said this: “If the Queen of Sheba sought Solomon and the splendor of his kingdom so diligently, how much more should people today seek Jesus and the glory of His Kingdom?”
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