Solomon and the Queen of Sheba
1. Sheba] the Sheba of Genesis 10:28 (in Arabia), not of Genesis 10:7 (in Africa). Arabia seems frequently to have been ruled by queens; more than one is mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions. If Ophir was in Arabia (see on 1 Kings 9:28), it may have been through the traders at that port that the queen here alluded to had heard of Solomon.
Hard questions] These were probably of the nature of puzzles or riddles, the same word being used of Samson's riddle (Judges 14:12). Legend relates that one of the puzzles that Solomon was set to solve was how to distinguish between a bunch of natural and a bunch of artificial flowers without leaving his seat to examine them. The king ordered the windows of the room to be opened, and the bees, coming in, alighted on the former and ignored the latter.
5. His ascent, etc.] perhaps better, 'his burnt offering which he offered in.'
9. Blessed be the Lord] cp. the language of the Phoenician Hiram (1 Kings 5:7).
11. Almug trees] conjectured to be sandal wood. 2 Chronicles 9:10 has 'algum trees.'
12. Pillars] RM 'a railing,' or balustrade for the staircase: cp. 2 Chronicles 9:11. Harps.. psalteries] The former probably had a square frame, with the soundbox at the base; the latter may have been triangular in shape, with the sound-box forming one of the sides.
15. The kings of Arabia] RV 'kings of the mingled people,' i.e. the population of mixed descent which lived on the confines of the kingdom. The same word is used of the 'mixed multitude' that came up with Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 12:38).
16. Targets] large shields. Shekels'] a shekel was 224 grains. The shields were probably overlaid with the gold, not made of it.
17. Pound] Heb. maneh. This contained 50 shekels. The house.. Lebanon] see on 1 Kings 7:2. The shields here described were taken away by Shishak in the reign of Rehoboam(1 Kings 14:26).
19. The top of the throne] perhaps a canopy over the throne, of which the stays were the arms.
22. A navy of Tharshish] better, 'Tharshish ship,' i.e. a stoutly-built vessel, such as was accustomed to voyage to Tartessus in Spain, or perhaps Tarsus in Cilicia, but which Solomon probably sent to Ophir (see 1 Kings 9:26-28; 1 Kings 10:11), since Ezion-geber was his port.
27. Sycomore trees] not the English sycamore, but a kind of fig-tree. In the vale] RV 'in the lowland,' i.e. the downs between the hills of Judah and the coast.
28. Horses.. Egypt] The Jews depended upon Egypt for horses not only at this time, but also in the reign of Hezekiah (Isaiah 31:1; Isaiah 36:9), and at a still later date (Ezekiel 17:15). Linen yarn] This should probably be rendered 'droves,' and connected with the following clause—'and in droves the king's merchants received them, each drove at a price.' But for 'in droves' the LXX has 'from Tekoa,' where there may have been a horse fair, whilst the Latin has 'from Coa' (i.e. Cilicia).
29. The Hittites] This people were probably of Mongolian race, and drew their origin from Cappadocia. They came in contact with Israel chiefly on its northern border (Judges 1:26).
By their means] Heb. 'in their hand,' i.e. with them. Solomon's merchants conducted the profitable traffic in horses between Egypt and the various states on the N. and NE. of Palestine.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Lent