Visit of the Queen of Sheba
1When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions. She arrived with a large group of attendants and a great caravan of camels loaded with spices, large quantities of gold, and precious jewels. When she met with Solomon, she talked with him about everything she had on her mind. 2Solomon had answers for all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. 3When the queen of Sheba realized how wise Solomon was, and when she saw the palace he had built, 4she was overwhelmed. She was also amazed at the food on his tables, the organization of his officials and their splendid clothing, the cup-bearers and their robes, and the burnt offerings#9:4 As in Greek and Syriac versions (see also 1 Kgs 10:5); Hebrew reads and the ascent. Solomon made at the Temple of the Lord.
5She exclaimed to the king, “Everything I heard in my country about your achievements#9:5 Hebrew your words. and wisdom is true! 6I didn’t believe what was said until I arrived here and saw it with my own eyes. In fact, I had not heard the half of your great wisdom! It is far beyond what I was told. 7How happy your people must be! What a privilege for your officials to stand here day after day, listening to your wisdom! 8Praise the Lord your God, who delights in you and has placed you on the throne as king to rule for him. Because God loves Israel and desires this kingdom to last forever, he has made you king over them so you can rule with justice and righteousness.”
9Then she gave the king a gift of 9,000 pounds#9:9 Hebrew 120 talents [4,000 kilograms]. of gold, great quantities of spices, and precious jewels. Never before had there been spices as fine as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
10(In addition, the crews of Hiram and Solomon brought gold from Ophir, and they also brought red sandalwood#9:10 Hebrew algum wood (also in 9:11); perhaps a variant spelling of almug. Compare parallel text at 1 Kgs 10:11-12. and precious jewels. 11The king used the sandalwood to make steps#9:11 Or gateways. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. for the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and to construct lyres and harps for the musicians. Never before had such beautiful things been seen in Judah.)
12King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba whatever she asked for—gifts of greater value than the gifts she had given him. Then she and all her attendants returned to their own land.
Solomon’s Wealth and Splendor
13Each year Solomon received about 25 tons#9:13 Hebrew 666 talents [23 metric tons]. of gold. 14This did not include the additional revenue he received from merchants and traders. All the kings of Arabia and the governors of the provinces also brought gold and silver to Solomon.
15King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold, each weighing more than 15 pounds.#9:15 Hebrew 600 [shekels] of hammered gold [6.8 kilograms]. 16He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold, each weighing more than 71/2 pounds.#9:16 Hebrew 300 [shekels] of gold [3.4 kilograms]. The king placed these shields in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.
17Then the king made a huge throne, decorated with ivory and overlaid with pure gold. 18The throne had six steps, with a footstool of gold. There were armrests on both sides of the seat, and the figure of a lion stood on each side of the throne. 19There were also twelve other lions, one standing on each end of the six steps. No other throne in all the world could be compared with it!
20All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon’s day!
21The king had a fleet of trading ships of Tarshish manned by the sailors sent by Hiram.#9:21a Hebrew Huram, a variant spelling of Hiram. Once every three years the ships returned, loaded with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.#9:21b Or and baboons.
22So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king on earth. 23Kings from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him. 24Year after year everyone who visited brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.
25Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his horses and chariots, and he had 12,000 horses.#9:25 Or 12,000 charioteers. He stationed some of them in the chariot cities, and some near him in Jerusalem. 26He ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates River#9:26 Hebrew the river. in the north to the land of the Philistines and the border of Egypt in the south. 27The king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah.#9:27 Hebrew the Shephelah. 28Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt#9:28 Possibly Muzur, a district near Cilicia. and many other countries.
Summary of Solomon’s Reign
29The rest of the events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Record of Nathan the Prophet, and The Prophecy of Ahijah from Shiloh, and also in The Visions of Iddo the Seer, concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat. 30Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. 31When he died, he was buried in the City of David, named for his father. Then his son Rehoboam became the next king.