The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon
(2 Chronicles 9.1–12)
1 # Matt 12.42; Luke 11.31. The Queen of Sheba heard how famous Solomon was, so she went to Jerusalem to test him with difficult questions. 2She took along several of her officials, and she loaded her camels with gifts of spices, jewels, and gold. When she arrived, she and Solomon talked about everything she could think of. 3He answered every question, no matter how difficult it was.
4-5The Queen was amazed at Solomon's wisdom. She was breathless when she saw his palace, the food on his table, his officials, his servants in their uniforms, the people who served his food, and the sacrifices he offered at the LORD's temple. 6She said:
Solomon, in my own country I had heard about your wisdom and all you've done. 7But I didn't believe it until I saw it with my own eyes! And there's so much I didn't hear about. You are wiser and richer than I was told. 8Your wives#10.8 wives: Two ancient translations; Hebrew “men”. and officials are lucky to be here where they can listen to the wise things you say.
9I praise the LORD your God. He is pleased with you and has made you king of Israel. The LORD loves Israel, so he has given them a king who will rule fairly and honestly.
10The Queen of Sheba gave Solomon more than four thousand kilogrammes of gold, many jewels, and more spices than anyone had ever brought into Israel.
11-13In return, Solomon gave her the gifts he would have given any other ruler, but he also gave her everything else she wanted. Then she and her officials went back to their own country.
(2 Chronicles 9.13–28)
King Hiram's ships brought gold, juniper wood, and jewels from the country of Ophir. Solomon used the wood to make steps#10.11–13 steps: Or “stools” or “railings”. for the temple and palace, and harps and other stringed instruments for the musicians. It was the best juniper wood anyone in Israel had ever seen.
14Solomon received almost twenty-three thousand kilogrammes of gold a year. 15The merchants and traders, as well as the kings of Arabia and rulers from Israel, also gave him gold.
16Solomon made two hundred gold shields and used almost seven kilogrammes of gold for each one. 17He also made three hundred smaller gold shields, using almost two kilogrammes for each one, and he put the shields in his palace in Forest Hall.
18His throne was made of ivory and covered with pure gold. 19-20The back of the throne was rounded at the top, and it had arm rests on each side. There was a statue of a lion on both sides of the throne, and there was a statue of a lion at both ends of each of the six steps leading up to the throne. No other throne in the world was like Solomon's.
21Since silver was almost worthless in those days, everything was made of gold, even the cups and dishes used in Forest Hall.
22Solomon had a lot of seagoing ships.#10.22 seagoing ships: The Hebrew text has “ships of Tarshish”, which may have been a Phoenician city in Spain. “Ships of Tarshish” probably means large, seagoing ships. Every three years he sent them out with Hiram's ships to bring back gold, silver, and ivory, as well as monkeys and peacocks.#10.22 peacocks: Or “baboons”.
23He was the richest and wisest king in the world. 24People from every nation wanted to hear the wisdom God had given him. 25Year after year people came and brought gifts of silver and gold, as well as clothes, weapons, spices, horses, or mules.
26 # 1 King 4.26. Solomon had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses that he kept in Jerusalem and other towns.
27 # Deut 17.17. While he was king, there was silver everywhere in Jerusalem, and cedar was as common as ordinary sycamore trees in the foothills.
28-29 # Deut 17.16. Solomon's merchants bought his horses and chariots in the regions of Musri and Kue.#10.28,29 Musri and Kue: Hebrew “Egypt and Kue”. Musri and Kue were regions in what is today south-east Turkey. They paid about six hundred pieces of silver for a chariot and a hundred and fifty pieces of silver for a horse. They also sold horses and chariots to the Hittite and Syrian kings.