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When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fabled wisdom, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions. A very great retinue of aides and servants accompanied her, including camel loads of spices, gold, and jewels. And Solomon answered all her problems. Nothing was hidden from him; he could explain everything to her. When she discovered how wise he really was, and how breathtaking the beauty of his palace, and how wonderful the food at his tables, and how many servants and aides he had, and when she saw their spectacular uniforms and his stewards in full regalia, and saw the size of the men in his bodyguard, she could scarcely believe it!

Finally she exclaimed to the king, “Everything I heard about you in my own country is true! I didn’t believe it until I got here and saw it with my own eyes. Your wisdom is far greater than I could ever have imagined. What a privilege for these men of yours to stand here and listen to you talk! Blessed be the Lord your God! How he must love Israel to give them a just king like you! He wants them to be a great, strong nation forever.”

She gave the king a gift of over a million dollars in gold, and great quantities of spices of incomparable quality, and many, many jewels.

10 King Hiram’s and King Solomon’s crews brought gold from Ophir, also sandalwood and jewels. 11 The king used the sandalwood to make terraced steps for the Temple and the palace and to construct harps and lyres for the choir. Never before had there been such beautiful instruments in all the land of Judah.

12 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba gifts of the same value as she had brought to him, plus everything else she asked for! Then she and her retinue returned to their own land.

13-14 Solomon received a quarter of a billion dollars worth of gold each year from the kings of Arabia and many other lands that paid annual tribute to him. In addition, there was a trade balance from the exports of his merchants. 15 He used some of the gold to make 200 large shields, each worth $100,000, 16 and 300 smaller shields, each worth $50,000. The king placed these in the Forest of Lebanon Room in his palace. 17 He also made a huge ivory throne overlaid with pure gold. 18 It had six gold steps and a footstool of gold; also gold armrests, each flanked by a gold lion. 19 Gold lions also stood at each side of each step. No other throne in all the world could be compared with it! 20 All of King Solomon’s cups were solid gold, as were all the furnishings in the Forest of Lebanon Room. Silver was too cheap to count for much in those days!

21 Every three years the king sent his ships to Tarshish, using sailors supplied by King Hiram, to bring back gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.

22 So King Solomon was richer and wiser than any other king in all the earth. 23 Kings from every nation came to visit him and to hear the wisdom God had put into his heart. 24 Each brought him annual tribute of silver and gold bowls, clothing, armor, spices, horses, and mules.

25 In addition, Solomon had 4,000 stalls of horses and chariots, and 12,000 cavalrymen stationed in the chariot cities as well as in Jerusalem to protect the king. 26 He ruled over all kings and kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines and as far away as the border of Egypt. 27 He made silver become as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones in the road! And cedar was used as though it were common sycamore. 28 Horses were brought to him from Egypt and other countries.

29 The rest of Solomon’s biography is written in the history of Nathan the prophet and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and also in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

30 So Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all of Israel for forty years. 31 Then he died and was buried in Jerusalem, and his son Rehoboam became the new king.

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