The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon
1The queen of Sheba heard about Solomon, so she came to test him with hard questions. She had a very large group with her. She had camels that carried spices, much gold, and valuable stones. 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. 2Solomon answered all the questions. None of her questions was too hard for him to explain. 3The queen of Sheba saw that Solomon was very wise. She also saw the beautiful palace he had built. 4She 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!
5Then she said to King Solomon, “The stories I heard in my country about your great works and your wisdom are true. 6I 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 is much greater than people told me. 7Your wives#9:7 wives This is from the ancient Greek version. The standard Hebrew text has “men.” and officers are very fortunate! They can serve you and hear your wisdom every day. 8Praise the Lord your God! He was pleased to make you king of Israel. The Lord God loves Israel, so he made you the king. You follow the law and treat people fairly.”
9Then the queen of Sheba gave King Solomon 4 1/2 tons#9:9 4 1/2 tons Literally, “120 talents” (4140 kg). of gold, a huge amount of spices, and precious stones. She gave Solomon more spices than anyone has ever brought into Israel.
10Hiram’s servants brought gold from Ophir. They also brought in jewels and a special kind of wood.#9:10 special … wood Literally, “algum” or “Almug,” as in 1 Kings. No one knows exactly what type of wood this was, but it might have been sandalwood. 11King Solomon used this special wood to make steps for the Lord’s Temple and the king’s palace. Solomon also used the algum wood to make lyres and harps for the singers. No one ever saw such beautiful things like those made from the algum wood in the country of Judah.
12King 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
13Every year Solomon got almost 25 tons#9:13 25 tons Literally, “666 talents” (22,977 kg). of gold. 14In 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.
15King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold. He used about 15 pounds#9:15 about 15 pounds Literally, “600 shekels” (6.9 kg). of gold for each shield. 16He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold. He used about 7 1/2 pounds#9:16 about 7 1/2 pounds Literally, “300 shekels” (3.45 kg). of gold for each shield. The king put them in the Forest-of-Lebanon House.#9:16 Forest-of-Lebanon House The largest of king Solomon’s palace buildings. See 1 Kings 7:2-5.
17King Solomon also built a large throne with ivory decorations. It was covered with pure gold. 18There 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. 19There were also two lions on each of the six steps, one at each end. There was nothing like it in any other kingdom.
20All of Solomon’s cups and glasses were made of gold. And all the dishes#9:20 dishes The Hebrew word can mean “dishes,” “tools,” or “weapons.” 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!
21The king also had cargo ships that went to Tarshish to trade things with other countries. Hiram’s men were on these ships. Every three years the ships would come back with a new load of gold, silver, ivory, and apes and baboons.
22King Solomon became greater in riches and wisdom than any other king on earth. 23People everywhere wanted to see King Solomon. They wanted to hear the great wisdom that God had given him. 24Every year people came to see the king, and everyone brought a gift. They brought things made from gold and silver, clothes, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.
25Solomon had 4000 stalls to keep horses and chariots. He had 12,000 horse soldiers. Solomon 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. 26Solomon was the king over all the kings from the Euphrates River all the way to the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt. 27King Solomon had so much silver that it was as common as rocks in Jerusalem. And he had so much cedar wood that it was as common as sycamore trees in the hill country. 28The people brought horses to Solomon from Egypt and from all the other countries.
29Everything else Solomon did, from the beginning to the end, is written in the writings of Nathan the Prophet, in The Prophecy of Ahijah from Shiloh, and in The Visions of Iddo the Seer. Iddo was a seer who wrote about Jeroboam son of Nebat. 30Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for 40 years. 31Then he died#9:31 died Literally, “slept with his ancestors.” and was buried in the city of David, his father. Then Solomon’s son Rehoboam became the next king.