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The Queen of Sheba

10 Now when the queen of [a]Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with riddles. So she came to Jerusalem with a very large caravan (entourage), with camels carrying spices, a great quantity of gold, and precious stones. When she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about everything that was on her mind [to discover the extent of his wisdom]. Solomon [b]answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king which he did not explain to her. When the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house (palace) which he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his servants (court officials), the attendance of his waiters and their attire, his cupbearers, his [c]stairway by which he went up to the house (temple) of the Lord, she was breathless and awed [by the wonder of it all]. Then she told the king, “The report which I heard in my own land about your words and wisdom is true! I did not believe the report until I came and saw it with my own eyes. Behold, the half of it was not told to me. You exceed in wisdom and prosperity the report which I heard. How blessed (fortunate, happy) are your men! How blessed are these your servants who stand continually before you, hearing your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God who delighted in you to set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, He made you king to execute justice and righteousness.” 10 She gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold and a very great quantity of spices and precious stones. Never again did such an abundance of spices come in [to Israel] as that which the queen of Sheba gave King Solomon.

11 Also the ships of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir a great quantity of almug wood (sandalwood) and precious stones. 12 From the almug wood (sandalwood) the king made pillars for the house of the Lord and for the king’s palace, and also lyres and harps for the singers. Such almug wood did not come in [to Israel] again, nor has it been seen to this day.

13 King Solomon [in turn] gave to the queen of Sheba everything that she wanted, whatever she asked, besides what he gave to her [d]from his royal bounty. So she returned to her own country, she and her servants.

Wealth, Splendor and Wisdom

14 Now the weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one [particular] year was six hundred and sixty-six [e]talents of gold, 15 besides the taxes from the traders and from the wares of the merchants, and [the tribute money] from all the kings of the Arabs (Bedouins) and the governors of the country. 16 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of beaten (hammered) gold; [f]six hundred shekels of gold went into each shield. 17 He made three hundred smaller shields of beaten gold; [g]three minas of gold went into each shield. The king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon [the king’s armory]. 18 Also the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with the finest gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and a round [h]top was attached to the throne from the back. On either side of the seat were armrests, and two lions stood beside the armrests. 20 Twelve lions stood there, one on either end of each of the six steps; there was nothing like it made for any other kingdom. 21 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. None were of silver; it was not considered valuable in the days of Solomon. 22 For the king had at sea the [large cargo] ships of Tarshish with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years the ships of Tarshish came bringing gold, silver, ivory, monkeys, and peacocks.

23 So King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in wealth and in wisdom. 24 All the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his mind. 25 Every man brought a gift [of tribute]: articles of silver and gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year.

26 Now Solomon collected chariots and horsemen; he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, which he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars as plentiful as the [i]sycamore trees that are in the lowland. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from [j]Kue, and the king’s merchants acquired them from Kue, for a price.(A) 29 A chariot could be imported from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty; and in the same way they exported them, by the king’s merchants, to all the kings of the Hittites and to the kings of Aram (Syria).

Solomon Turns from God

11 Now king Solomon [defiantly] loved [k]many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the very nations of whom the Lord said to the Israelites, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for the result will be that they will turn away your hearts to follow their gods.” Yet Solomon clung to these in love.(B) He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred [l]concubines, and his wives turned his heart away [from God]. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not completely devoted to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth, the [fertility] goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the horror (detestable idol) of the Ammonites.(C) Solomon did evil [things] in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as his father David had done. Then Solomon built a [m]high place for [worshiping] Chemosh the horror (detestable idol) of Moab, on the hill which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the horror (detestable idol) of the sons of Ammon. And he did the same for all of his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

So the Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not follow other gods; but he did not observe (remember, obey) what the Lord had commanded. 11 Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12 However, I will not do it in your [n]lifetime, for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son (Rehoboam). 13 However, I will not tear away all the kingdom; I will give one tribe (Judah) to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”

God Raises Adversaries

14 Then the Lord stirred up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of royal descent in Edom. 15 For it came about, when David was in Edom, and Joab the commander of the army had gone up to bury those killed [in battle] and had struck down every male in Edom 16 (for Joab and all [the army of] Israel stayed there six months, until he had killed every male in Edom), 17 that Hadad escaped to Egypt, he and some Edomites from his father’s servants with him, while Hadad was [still] a little boy. 18 They set out from Midian [south of Edom] and came to Paran, and took men with them from Paran and came to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave [young] Hadad a house and ordered food and provisions for him and gave him land. 19 Hadad found great favor with Pharaoh, so that he gave Hadad in marriage the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. 20 The sister of Tahpenes gave birth to Genubath, Hadad’s son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house; and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh. 21 But when Hadad heard in Egypt that David [o]had died and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me leave, so that I may go to my own country.” 22 Then Pharaoh said to him, “But what have you lacked with me that now you ask to go to your own country?” He replied, “Nothing; nevertheless you must let me go.”

23 God also stirred up another adversary for Solomon, Rezon the son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah. 24 Rezon gathered men to himself and became leader of a marauding band, after David killed those in Zobah. They went to Damascus and stayed there and they reigned in Damascus.(D) 25 So Rezon was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, along with the evil that Hadad inflicted. Rezon hated Israel and reigned over Aram (Syria).

26 Jeroboam, Solomon’s servant, the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zeredah whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, also rebelled against the king. 27 Now this is the reason why he rebelled against the king: Solomon built the Millo (fortification) and he repaired and closed the breach of the city of his father David. 28 The man Jeroboam was a brave warrior and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious, he put him in charge of all the forced labor of the house of Joseph. 29 It came about at that time, when Jeroboam left Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the road. Now Ahijah had covered himself with a new cloak; and the two of them were alone in the field. 30 Then Ahijah took hold of the new cloak which he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 He said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself; for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am going to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and give you ten tribes— 32 but he [and his descendants] shall have [p]one tribe (Benjamin was annexed to Judah), for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel— 33 because [q]they have abandoned Me and have worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the sons of Ammon; and they have not walked in My ways and followed My commandments, doing what is right in My sight and keeping My statutes and My ordinances as did his father David. 34 However, I will not take the entire kingdom out of his hand; but I will make him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes. 35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and give it to you: ten tribes. 36 Yet to his son I will give [r]one tribe, so that My servant David may have a [s]lamp always before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put My Name and Presence. 37 I will take you [Jeroboam], and you shall reign over whatever your soul desires; and you shall be king over Israel (the ten northern tribes). 38 Then it shall be, that if you listen to all that I command you and walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, keeping and observing My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build you an enduring house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you. 39 And in this way I will afflict the descendants of David for this (their sin), but not forever.’” 40 So Solomon attempted to kill Jeroboam; but Jeroboam set out and escaped to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, and stayed in Egypt until Solomon died.

The Death of Solomon

41 The rest of the acts of Solomon—and all that he did, and his wisdom—are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? 42 The time Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. 43 And Solomon slept [in death] with his fathers and was buried in the city of his father David. Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Kings 10:1 The location of this ancient kingdom is uncertain, but may have included portions of modern Yemen and Ethiopia. The imperial family of Ethiopia claimed descent from a son supposedly born to Solomon and the queen of Sheba; however, there is no biblical evidence to support this claim. Ongoing archeological discoveries in Mareb, Yemen (Awam Temple) may support the area’s connection to the reign of the queen of Sheba. It has been suggested that she ruled southern Arabia and that the area being excavated was the capital of the Kingdom of Sheba.
  2. 1 Kings 10:3 Lit told her all her words.
  3. 1 Kings 10:5 Lit going up; or his burnt offering which he offered at.
  4. 1 Kings 10:13 Lit according to the hand of King Solomon. Following ancient custom for nobility and royalty, the king was obligated to give a visitor (especially a visiting dignitary) a greater gift than he received from the visitor. Solomon went far beyond custom in lavishing gifts on the queen.
  5. 1 Kings 10:14 It is impossible to determine the exact weight of a talent, in part because the Israelites had more than one measurement of a talent. Estimates range from 58-80 lbs. or higher, and the weight may have had to do with the amount an able-bodied man could carry of a given precious metal. Six hundred and sixty-six talents would have weighed at least 38,628 lbs.
  6. 1 Kings 10:16 Perhaps about twelve pounds. These shields were designed to cover a man. The gold probably overlaid wood or some other lighter material.
  7. 1 Kings 10:17 About three pounds.
  8. 1 Kings 10:19 Or canopy.
  9. 1 Kings 10:27 This tree, ficus sycomorus, is native to Egypt and Asia Minor and produces an edible fruit similar but inferior to the common fig.
  10. 1 Kings 10:28 This was an area which, in NT times, was called Cilicia, the home province of the apostle Paul.
  11. 1 Kings 11:1 It was a common practice among pagan rulers in the Near East to ratify treaties with other kingdoms by marriage to foreign wives. In Deut 17:17 the kings of Israel were strictly forbidden from participating in such alliances. Solomon’s defiance of God’s command led him into sin and the loss of his kingdom.
  12. 1 Kings 11:3 See note Gen 22:24.
  13. 1 Kings 11:7 I.e. an altar on the top of a hill, which was customary for pagan worship. The only proper place for worship was the temple.
  14. 1 Kings 11:12 Lit days.
  15. 1 Kings 11:21 Lit slept with his fathers and so throughout.
  16. 1 Kings 11:32 It is evident from v 30 and later from 12:21 that two tribes are in view here: Judah and Benjamin. The Greek OT (the LXX) actually reads “two” here and in v 36, indicating that its translators rejected the Hebrew reading in both verses as an error. Other explanations are possible, however. Some have suggested that the tribe of Benjamin was often regarded as one with Judah. Another possibility is that Benjamin is not counted or mentioned because of the despicable sin committed by certain men of Gibeah (Judg 19:21 ff; Gibeah was a city in Benjamin), and the refusal by the tribe of Benjamin to turn the offenders over to justice (Judg 20:13). In fact, the tribe almost faced extinction as a result of their refusal and the war that followed between Israel and Benjamin (Judg 20:14-21:24).
  17. 1 Kings 11:33 I.e. the people of Israel under the leadership of Solomon.
  18. 1 Kings 11:36 See note v 32.
  19. 1 Kings 11:36 I.e. a descendant on the throne.

Visit of the Queen of Sheba

When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to Jerusalem to test Solomon with riddles. She was accompanied by a very large number of attendants, with camels bearing spices (balsam oil) and a large amount of gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she talked with him about all that was on her mind. Solomon [a]answered all her questions; nothing was hidden from him which he did not make clear to her. So when the queen of Sheba saw the [depth of] Solomon’s wisdom, and the house which he had built, and the food of his table, the [vast] seating order of his officials, the attendance and service of his ministers and their attire, his cupbearers and their attire, and his [b]stairway by which he went up to the house of the Lord, she was breathless. She said to the king, “The report which I heard in my own land regarding your [accomplishments and your] words and your wisdom was true, but I did not believe the reports until I came and saw it with my own eyes. Behold, the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told to me; you have surpassed the report that I heard. Blessed and fortunate are your people, how blessed and fortunate are these servants of yours who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on His throne as king for the Lord your God; because your God loved Israel, establishing them forever, therefore He made you king over them, to do justice and righteousness.” Then she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, a very large amount of spices (balsam oil) and precious stones; there was no such spice [anywhere] like that which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

10 The servants of Huram and those of Solomon, who brought gold from Ophir, also brought almug trees and precious stones. 11 From the almug timber the king made [c]stairways for the house of the Lord and for the king’s palace, and lyres and harps for the singers; none like that was seen before in the land of Judah.

12 King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all [the things] she desired, whatever she asked, [d]besides a return for what she had brought to the king. So she returned to her own land with her servants.

Solomon’s Wealth and Power

13 Now the weight of gold which came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents, 14 besides what the traders and merchants brought; and all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon. 15 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of beaten gold, using six hundred shekels of beaten gold on each large shield. 16 And he made three hundred [smaller] shields of beaten gold, using three hundred shekels of gold on each shield; and the king put them in the [e]house of the Forest of Lebanon.

17 Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with pure gold. 18 There were six steps to the throne and a golden footstool attached to the throne, and arms on each side of the seat, with two lions standing beside the arms. 19 Also, twelve lions were standing there, one on each side of the six steps. Nothing like it had ever been made for any [other] kingdom. 20 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; silver was not considered valuable in the days of Solomon. 21 For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram; once every three years the ships of Tarshish came bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks.

22 So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in wealth and wisdom. 23 And all the kings of the earth were seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put into his heart. 24 Each man brought his gift, articles of silver and gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses and mules, so much year by year.

25 Now Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots, and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities or with the king at Jerusalem.(A) 26 He ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, and as far as the border of Egypt. 27 The king made silver in Jerusalem as common as stones, and cedar wood as plentiful as the [f]sycamore-fig trees that are in the [g]lowland. 28 And they were importing horses for Solomon from Egypt and from all [the other] countries.

29 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, from the first to the last, are they not written in the records of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat? 30 Solomon reigned forty years in Jerusalem over all Israel.

Death of Solomon

31 And Solomon slept with his fathers [in death]; he was buried in the city of his father David. Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Chronicles 9:2 Lit told...her words.
  2. 2 Chronicles 9:4 Or burnt offerings which he offered at.
  3. 2 Chronicles 9:11 Or terraces.
  4. 2 Chronicles 9:12 Following tradition, Solomon wanted his royal visitor to leave with a greater gift than she had given him.
  5. 2 Chronicles 9:16 A building in Jerusalem whose purpose is not mentioned. Since it had utensils for dining (v 20), however, it may have been a separate banquet hall. It is described in 1 Kin 7:2-5 and was larger than the temple.
  6. 2 Chronicles 9:27 This tree, ficus sycomorus, is native to Egypt and Asia Minor and produces an edible fruit similar but inferior to the common fig.
  7. 2 Chronicles 9:27 Heb shephelah.

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