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Visit of the Queen of Sheba
v. 1. And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, since the caravans from Canaan penetrated into the most remote corners of Arabia and spread the accounts of his great wisdom everywhere, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions, with epigrammatic riddles and conundrums, such as were much used in the Orient, at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones, with all the pomp and splendor so dear to the heart of the Oriental monarch; and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart, all the difficult questions which she had prepared beforehand.
v. 2. And Solomon told her all her questions, solving all her riddles; and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not.
v. 3. And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, as shown in his conversation, and the house that he had built,
v. 4. and the meat of his table, the amount and the costliness of the food served in the royal palace, and the sitting of his servants, where and how they lived, and the attendance of his ministers and their apparel, his cupbearers also and their apparel, and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the Lord, the magnificent arched viaduct by which he crossed to the Temple hill, one of the marvels of ancient architecture, with its stairway leading to the higher level, there was no more spirit in her, she was altogether overwhelmed.
v. 5. And she said to the king, It was a true report which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, his various enterprises, and of thy wisdom;
v. 6. howbeit, I believed not their words, namely, the words of those who brought such glowing reports, until I came and mine eyes had seen it; and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me, for thou exceedest the fame that I heard, it possessed a fulness which she had not considered possible.
v. 7. Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants which stand continually before thee and hear thy wisdom.
v. 8. Blessed be the Lord, thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on His throne, Jehovah being the real sovereign of the children of Israel, to be king for the Lord, thy God; because thy God loved Israel, to establish them forever, therefore made He thee king over them to do judgment and justice, to adjust cases brought before him, and to dispense justice in accordance with his findings.
v. 9. And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold (almost $2,500,000 worth), and of spices, of which great amounts were produced in Arabia, great abundance, and precious stones; neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave King Solomon, both the quality and the quantity were unheard of in those days. V . 10. And the servants also of Huram and the servants of Solomon which brought gold from Ophir, 2 Chronicles 8:18, brought algum-trees, sandalwood, and precious stones.
v. 11. And the king made of the algum-trees terraces to the house of the Lord and to the king's palace, raised pavements in beautiful designs, and harps and psalteries for singers, for the wood was especially adapted for that purpose; and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.
v. 12. And King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which she had brought unto the king, that is, in addition to the equivalent in gifts in return for those she presented. So she turned and went away to her own land, she and her servants. Note: Solomon was wiser than all men, and his wisdom deserved to be praised. But immeasurably greater is the eternal wisdom of the Son of God in the word of the Gospel, a wisdom which teaches the mystery of eternal salvation.
The Immense Wealth of Solomon and his Death
v. 13. Now, the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and threescore and six talents of gold (almost $20,000,000),
v. 14. beside that which chapmen, traders, especially such as establish commercial connections with new territories, and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia, the mighty and wealthy sheikhs of the various tribes of the peninsula, and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon, as presents showing their good will.
v. 15. And King Solomon made two hundred targets, a special kind of shield, of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of beaten gold went to one target (approximately $2,000 worth).
v. 16. And three hundred shields, of a smaller size, made he of beaten gold; three hundred shekels of gold, or three full pounds, 1 Kings 10:17, went to one shield. And the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon, the great armory just before his palace.
v. 17. Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with pure gold.
v. 18. And there were six steps to the throne, leading up to the seat itself, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays, arm-rests, on each side of the sitting place, and two lions standing by the stays;
v. 19. and twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps. There was not the like, for uniqueness and costliness, made in any kingdom.
v. 20. And all the drinking vessels of King Solomon were of gold, and an the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver; it was not anything accounted of in the days of Solomon, being so plentiful and so common that it lost its value as a precious metal.
v. 21. For the king's ships, the navy on the Mediterranean Sea, went to Tarshish, the rich mining region of Spain, with the servants of Huram; every three years once came the ships of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, in the form of elephants' tusks, and apes, and peacocks. The words may also be construed as referring to Tarshish-ships, large vessels built for ocean trade, such as were sent out from Ezion-gaber and Elath.
v. 22. And King Solomon passed all the kings of the earth, of all the countries known at that time, in riches and wisdom.
v. 23. And all the kings of the earth, those in the world as known then, sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom that God had put in his heart.
v. 24. And they brought every man his present, showing their good will and regard, vessels of silver and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses and mules, a rate year by year, the bringing of these gifts being made an annual affair.
v. 25. And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, for a total of forty thousand horses, 1 Kings 4:26, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem.
v. 26. And he reigned over all the kings from the river, that is, from the Euphrates, even unto the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt, all the kingdoms and tribes in that entire region being tributary to his kingdom at that time.
v. 27. And the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, so common and therefore comparatively low in value, and cedar-trees made he as the sycomore-trees that are in the low plains in abundance, 2 Chronicles 1:15; 1 Kings 10:27.
v. 28. And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt and out of all lands, 1 Kings 10:28. So Solomon undoubtedly carried the Hebrew kingdom to its highest pinnacle of worldly glory and power, and his centralizing of the worship served to unify the nation as never before or after. At the same time, however, the luxury introduced by him served to enervate the people and to have a bad influence on the character of the entire nation.
v. 29. Now, the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the Book of Nathan, the prophet, and in the Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the Visions of Iddo, the seer, against Jeroboam, the son of Nebat? It seems that the inspired writer drew from these accounts for his information, being guided herein by the Holy Spirit, the real Author of the Bible.
v. 30. And Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years.
v. 31. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the City of David, his father, in the place afterward known as the sepulchers of the kings; and Rehoboam, his son, reigned in his stead. All the wealth, honor, and wisdom of this world is vain and vanishing. The safest thing is to place one's trust in the Word and promises of God, faith in which will carry each believer through death into eternal life beyond.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 9". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17