The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon
1When the queen of Sheba heard about Solomon, she came to test him with hard questions. 2She traveled to Jerusalem with a large group of servants and camels carrying spices, jewels, and much gold. When she came to Solomon, she talked with him about all she had in mind, 3and Solomon answered all her questions. Nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. 4The queen of Sheba learned that Solomon was very wise. She saw the palace he had built, 5the food on his table, his many officers, the palace servants, and their good clothes. She saw the servants who served him at feasts and the whole burnt offerings he made in the Temple of the Lord. All these things amazed her.
6So she said to King Solomon, “What I heard in my own country about your achievements and wisdom is true. 7I could not believe it then, but now I have come and seen it with my own eyes. I was not told even half of it! Your wisdom and wealth are much greater than I had heard. 8Your men and officers are very lucky, because in always serving you, they are able to hear your wisdom. 9Praise the Lord your God, who was pleased to make you king of Israel. The Lord has constant love for Israel, so he made you king to keep justice and to rule fairly.”
10Then she gave the king about nine thousand pounds of gold and many spices and jewels. No one since that time has brought more spices than the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
11(Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir, as well as much juniper wood and jewels. 12Solomon used the juniper wood to build supports for the Temple of the Lord and the palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. Such fine juniper wood has not been brought in or been seen since that time.)
13King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba everything she wanted and asked for, in addition to what he had already given her of his wealth. Then she and her servants returned to her own country.
14Every year King Solomon received about fifty thousand pounds of gold. 15Besides that, he also received gold from the traders and merchants, as well as from the kings of Arabia and governors of the land.
16King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold, each of which contained about seven and one-half pounds of gold. 17He also made three hundred smaller shields of hammered gold, each of which contained about four pounds of gold. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.
18The king built a large throne of ivory and covered it with fine gold. 19The throne had six steps on it, and its back was round at the top. There were armrests on both sides of the chair, and each armrest had a lion beside it. 20Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one lion at each end of each step. Nothing like this had ever been made for any other kingdom. 21All of Solomon’s drinking cups, as well as the dishes in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon, were made of pure gold. Nothing was made from silver, because silver was not valuable in Solomon’s time.
22King Solomon also had many trading ships at sea, along with Hiram’s ships. Every three years the ships returned, bringing back gold, silver, ivory, apes, and baboons.
23So Solomon had more riches and wisdom than all the other kings on earth. 24People everywhere wanted to see King Solomon and listen to the wisdom God had given him. 25Every year those who came brought gifts of silver and gold, clothes, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.
26Solomon had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses. He kept some in special cities for the chariots, and others he kept with him in Jerusalem. 27In Jerusalem Solomon made silver as common as stones and cedar trees as common as the fig trees on the western hills. 28He imported horses from Egypt and Kue. His traders bought them in Kue. 29A chariot from Egypt cost about fifteen pounds of silver, and a horse cost nearly four pounds of silver. Solomon’s traders also sold horses and chariots to all the kings of the Hittites and the Arameans.