1 Kings 10-11
The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon
10 The queen of Sheba heard about Solomon, so she came to test him with hard questions. 2 She traveled to Jerusalem with a very large group of servants. There were many camels carrying spices, jewels, and a lot of gold. She met Solomon and asked him all the questions that she could think of. 3 Solomon answered all the questions. None of her questions was too hard for him to explain. 4 The queen of Sheba saw that Solomon was very wise. She also saw the beautiful palace he had built. 5 She saw the food at the king’s table. She saw his officials meeting together. She saw the servants in the palace and the good clothes they wore. She saw his parties and the sacrifices that he offered in the Lord’s Temple. She was so amazed, she could hardly breathe!
6 Then she said to King Solomon, “The stories I heard in my country about your great works and your wisdom are true. 7 I did not believe it until I came and saw it with my own eyes. Now I see that it is even greater than what I heard. Your wealth and wisdom are much greater than people told me. 8 Your wives[a] and officers are very fortunate, because they serve you and hear your wisdom every day. 9 Praise the Lord your God! He was pleased to make you king of Israel. Because of the Lord’s unending love for Israel, he has made you king to rule with justice and fairness.”
10 Then the queen of Sheba gave King Solomon 4 1/2 tons[b] of gold, a huge amount of spices, and precious stones. She gave him more spices than anyone has ever brought into Israel.
11 Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir. They also brought jewels and a special kind of wood.[c] 12 Solomon used this special wood to build supports in the Temple and the palace as well as harps and lyres for the singers. That was the last time such a large shipment of that kind of wood was brought to Israel. There hasn’t been any seen around here since then.[d]
13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba everything she asked for. He gave her more than she brought to give him. Then the queen of Sheba and her servants left and went back to their own country.
Solomon’s Great Wealth
14 Every year King Solomon received almost 25 tons[e] of gold. 15 In addition to the gold brought in by the traveling merchants and traders, all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the land also brought gold and silver to Solomon.
16 King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold. He used about 15 pounds[f] of gold for each shield. 17 He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold. He used almost 4 pounds[g] of gold for each shield. The king put them in the Forest-of-Lebanon House.[h]
18 King Solomon also built a large throne with ivory decorations. It was covered with pure gold. 19 There were six steps leading up to the throne. The back of the throne was round at the top. There were armrests on both sides of the throne, and there were lions in the sides of the throne under the armrests. 20 There were also two lions on each of the six steps, one at each end. There was nothing like it in any other kingdom.
21 All of Solomon’s cups and glasses were made of gold, and all the dishes[i] in the building called the Forest of Lebanon were made from pure gold. Nothing in the palace was made from silver. There was so much gold that in Solomon’s time people did not think silver was important.
22 The king also had many cargo ships[j] that he sent out to trade things with other countries. These were Hiram’s ships. Every three years the ships would come back with a new load of gold, silver, ivory, and apes and baboons.
23 King Solomon became greater in riches and wisdom than any other king on earth. 24 People everywhere wanted to see King Solomon and listen to the great wisdom that God had given him. 25 Every year people came to see the king and brought gifts made from gold and silver, clothes, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.
26 Solomon had a great number of chariots and horses. He had 1400 chariots and 12,000 horse soldiers. He built special cities for these chariots. So the chariots were kept in these cities. King Solomon also kept some of the chariots with him in Jerusalem. 27 The king made Israel very rich. In the city of Jerusalem, silver was as common as rocks and cedar wood was as common as the many fig trees growing on the hills. 28 Solomon brought horses from Egypt and Kue. His traders bought them in Kue and brought them to Israel. 29 A chariot from Egypt cost about 15 pounds of silver, and a horse cost almost 4 pounds[k] of silver. Solomon sold horses and chariots to the kings of the Hittites and the Arameans.
Solomon and His Many Wives
11 King Solomon loved many foreign women, including the daughter of Pharaoh and women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and the Hittites. 2 In the past the Lord had said to the Israelites, “You must not marry people from other nations. If you do, they will cause you to follow their gods.” But Solomon fell in love with these women. 3 He had 700 wives who were the daughters of leaders from other nations. He also had 300 slave women who were like wives to him. His wives caused him to turn away from God. 4 When Solomon was old, his wives caused him to follow other gods, so he did not follow the Lord completely as his father David did. 5 Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of Sidon, and Milcom, the horrible god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did what the Lord said was wrong. He did not follow the Lord completely as his father David did.
7 On the mountain next to Jerusalem, Solomon built a place for worshiping Chemosh, that horrible idol of the Moabites. On the same mountain, Solomon built a place for worshiping Molech, that horrible idol of the Ammonites. 8 Solomon did the same thing for all of his other foreign wives who burned incense and gave sacrifices to their gods.
9 So Solomon did not remain faithful to the Lord, the God of Israel, even though God had appeared to him twice. The Lord became angry with him. 10 He had told Solomon that he must not follow other gods, but Solomon did not obey the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “You have chosen to break your agreement with me. You have not obeyed my commands. So I promise that I will tear your kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. 12 But I loved your father David, so I will not take your kingdom away from you while you are alive. I will wait until your son becomes king. Then I will take it from him. 13 Still, I will not tear away all the kingdom from your son. I will leave him one tribe to rule. I will do this for my servant David and for Jerusalem, the city I chose.”
14 Then the Lord raised up Hadad the Edomite to become Solomon’s enemy. Hadad was from the royal family of Edom. 15 This is how it happened. In the past David fought against Edom. Joab was the commander of David’s army. Joab went to Edom to bury his dead soldiers. While there Joab killed all the Edomite men who were still alive. 16 Joab and the men of Israel stayed in Edom for six months until they killed all the men of Edom. 17 At the time Hadad was only a young boy. He and some of his father’s servants ran away to Egypt. 18 They left Midian and went to Paran. In Paran some other people joined them and the whole group went to Egypt. They went to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and asked for help. Pharaoh gave Hadad a house, some land, and food to eat.
19 Pharaoh liked Hadad so much that he gave Hadad a wife. She was Pharaoh’s sister-in-law. (Pharaoh’s wife was Queen Tahpenes.) 20 Hadad and the sister of Tahpenes had a son named Genubath. Queen Tahpenes let Genubath grow up in Pharaoh’s house with his children.
21 In Egypt Hadad heard that David had died and that Joab, the commander of the army, was dead. So Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me go home to my own country.”
22 But Pharaoh answered, “I have given you everything you need here. Why do you want to go back to your own country?”
Hadad answered, “Please, just let me go home.”
23 God also raised up another man to become one of Solomon’s enemies. This man was Rezon, son of Eliada. Rezon ran away from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah. 24 After David defeated the army of Zobah, Rezon gathered some men and became the leader of a small army. He went to Damascus and stayed there to rule from Damascus. 25 Rezon became the king of Aram. He was an enemy of Israel throughout Solomon’s life and added to the trouble that Hadad created for Israel.
26 There was also another person who became an enemy of Solomon. He was Jeroboam son of Nebat. He was an Ephraimite from the town of Zeredah. His mother was a widow named Zeruah. He was one of Solomon’s servants, but he rebelled against the king.
27 This is the story about how Jeroboam turned against the king. Solomon was building the Millo and repairing the wall around the city of David, his father. 28 Jeroboam was a free man.[l] Solomon saw that this young man was a skilled worker, so he made him the supervisor over all the workers from the tribes that descended from Joseph. 29 One day as Jeroboam was leaving Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh met him on the road. They were alone out in the country, and Ahijah was wearing a new coat.
30 Ahijah took his new coat and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces of this coat for yourself because the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will tear the kingdom away from Solomon, and I will give you ten of the tribes. 32 I will let David’s family keep only one tribe. I will do this because of my servant David and because of Jerusalem, the city that I chose from among all the tribes of Israel. 33 I will take the kingdom from Solomon because he stopped following me and began worshiping Ashtoreth, the goddess of Sidon; Chemosh, the god of Moab; and Milcom, the god of the Ammonites. Solomon stopped following my ways and doing what I say is right. He does not obey my laws and commands as his father David did. 34 So I will take the kingdom away from Solomon’s family. I chose David because he obeyed all my laws and commands. So for my servant David, I will let Solomon be the king for the rest of his life. 35 But Jeroboam, I will take the ten tribes away from his son and give them to you. 36 I will let Solomon’s son keep one tribe to rule over. I will do this for my servant David, so he will always have someone to rule near me in Jerusalem, the city that I chose to be my own. 37 But I will make you king of Israel.[m] You will rule over everything you want. 38 If you live right and obey all my commands as David did, I will be with you and make your family a family of kings, just as I did for David. And you will have Israel as your kingdom. 39 I will punish David’s descendants because of what Solomon did, but not forever.’”
40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam ran away to Egypt. He went to King Shishak of Egypt and stayed there until Solomon died.
41 Everything else Solomon did, from the beginning to the end, is written in the book, The History of Solomon. 42 Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for 40 years. 43 Then he died[n] and was buried in the city of David, his father. Then Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, became the next king after him.
- 1 Kings 10:8 wives This is from the ancient Greek version. The Hebrew text has “men.”
- 1 Kings 10:10 4 1/2 tons Literally, “120 talents” (4140 kg).
- 1 Kings 10:11 special … wood Literally, “almug.” No one knows exactly what type of wood this was, but it might have been sandalwood.
- 1 Kings 10:12 since then Literally, “to this day,” that is, when the book of Kings was written.
- 1 Kings 10:14 almost 25 tons Literally, “666 talents” (22,977 kg).
- 1 Kings 10:16 about 15 pounds Literally, “600 shekels” (6.9 kg). Also in verse 29.
- 1 Kings 10:17 almost 4 pounds Literally, “3 minas” (1.7kg).
- 1 Kings 10:17 Forest-of-Lebanon House The largest of king Solomon’s palace buildings. See 1 Kings 7:2-5.
- 1 Kings 10:21 dishes The Hebrew word can mean “dishes,” “tools,” or “weapons.”
- 1 Kings 10:22 cargo ships Literally, “ships of Tarshish.”
- 1 Kings 10:29 almost 4 pounds Literally, “150 shekels” (1.725 kg).
- 1 Kings 11:28 free man Or “a nobleman,” someone who could be called to war to protect his people.
- 1 Kings 11:37 Israel That is, the northern ten tribes.
- 1 Kings 11:43 died Literally, “slept with his ancestors.”