The queen of Sheba
By Martin K.M.
Sitting on her throne one day, the queen of Sheba must have overheard one of her subjects talking about Solomon. “Tell me more about this man of great wisdom”, she could have said, in her native language. As the servant spoke, she eagerly listened but doubted many things he described. In ancient times there was no media or press whatsoever, news travelled by word of mouth. It was not uncommon for journeymen to exaggerate so as to hold captive their audience. So you can’t fault the queen for doubting her subjects.
The queen was a descendant of Cush, founder of ancient Ethiopia (Genesis 10:7). I believe she had already been in the habit of listening to all sorts of wise men and had a knack for asking the most profound questions about life. This queen was seeking the truth: trying to find the meaning of existence. She could not settle as she thought about what she would ask Solomon if she met him. Eventually she decided to make the long and dangerous journey to Israel with a huge entourage to accompany her. Her questions were prepared beforehand probably on papyrus sheet. She also put together a great consignment of the finest of spices alongside gifts of gold and precious stones. All leaders who visited Solomon took gifts.
When she reached the palace she wasted no time in removing her armory of the most difficult questions and putting them to the king. Solomon answered one by one, most likely explaining to her more than she could ever expect. The king’s knowledge was vast. He spoke 3000 proverbs and wrote over 1000 songs (1 Kings 4:32). He even knew about trees, plants, wild animals, birds, reptiles and fish. Aside from his wisdom about God and his ways, Solomon was a breathing encyclopedia (1 Kings 4:33).
The queen of Sheba for once in her life was satisfied with answers and could not help but consider all Solomon’s subjects as blessed. She said, “Happy are these your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on his throne as king for the Lord your God!” (2 Chronicles 9:7-8). Solomon, by the way, made her a believer (Mathew 12:42). She returned to her kingdom in great spirits ready to teach her people about the one true God.