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THE VISIT OF THE QUEEN OF SHEBA
The report of the visit of the Queen of Sheba with Solomon differs only in few details from the report in 1 Kings 10:1-29. But her visit is a lovely picture of the great interest in the Lord Jesus that will be awakened among the Gentiles when He takes His kingdom, and the glad response when they witness His wisdom and his glory.
She came to test him with hard questions. Whatever hard questions we have, the Lord Jesus can be depended on to answer anything that is worth answering in such a way as to bring us fullest satisfaction. She spoke to him of all that was in her heart. Do we fully lay bare our hearts to the Lord Jesus with willingness to accept whatever answer He gives? If we have confidence in Him. this should not be difficult, whether or not the answer is as pleasant as we desire.
The Queen of Sheba came with a great retinue, bringing spices, gold and precious stones (v.1). Solomon answered all her questions. How much more capable the Lord Jesus is than Solomon to answer whatever questions we may have! 1 Kings 4:32-33 tells us that Solomon wrote 3,000 proverbs and composed 1,005 songs; and that he spoke of trees, from the cedar to the hyssop, of animals, birds, creeping things and fish. But he could not speak of the heavenly things to which the Lord Jesus referred in John 3:12, for he could not know these, since at that time they were not revealed by God. Today it is heavenly things that should have the more absorbing interest for us, and the Lord Jesus can answer these for us.
But the Queen saw the wisdom of Solomon in the house he had built and the striking order of his house, all of which, though literal, was a picture of the more beautiful order of the house of God, the Church, today. "The food of his table" reminds us that the Lord Jesus has made wonderful provision for the nourishment and blessing of His saints in connection with His house, which is the Church (all believers of the present dispensation). The Lord tells us, "My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed" (John 6:55). Having Him as the One who gave Himself in sacrifice for us is wonderful food and drink.
"The seating of his servants" speaks of the placing of each believer in his proper place, seated to hear the wisdom of their Lord, for there must be quiet attention to the Lord's instructions before there can be proper service. But service does follow, for "the service of his waiters" as added here. Orderly service in the Church of God should certainly be no less observed than in Solomon's house, and if we are subject to God's Word, our service will be good and acceptable. Their apparel too is mentioned here, which was no doubt very attractive, for it speaks of Christ's righteousness, since we are seen by God as "in Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:30).
"His cupbearers and their apparel" speaks of believers who give into the hand of the Lord that which refreshes and delights His heart. Does this not remind us of the Lord's supper and the privilege of giving the Lord Jesus pleasure and honour by the praise and adoration of our hearts? Their clothing too was appropriate, not the "filthy rags" of their own self-righteousness, but the "garments of salvation" provided by the King.
Also, the Queen of Sheba observed "the ascent" or causeway by which Solomon went from his own house up to the house of the Lord (v.4). Apparently no scripture describes this ascent, which must have been noteworthy, but the spiritual significance of it is the most important fact. Since Solomon's house pictures the Church on earth and the temple speaks of the Father's house in glory, then the ascent surely symbolises the Rapture, when believers will be caught up to be forever with the Lord.
If the wonderful facts of Solomon's wisdom and glory seen in all these things caused the Queen of Sheba to have "no more spirit in her," what of the more wonderful facts of the wisdom and glory of the Lord Jesus manifested in the order that He has established in the Church of God, culminating in the promise of His coming to rapture all believers Home to the presence of His glory?
Anyone who has witnessed the truth of scripture as regards the wisdom of the Lord Jesus in the order of His house (the Church) must surely echo the Queen of Sheba's words, "It was a true report which 1 heard" (v.5). Usually it is a report that first awakens people's interest in the truth of God, though at first we may be like the Queen of Sheba, who said, "I did not believe their words until I came and saw with my own eyes" (v.6). Is it not true also that we have proven the fact that "the half of the greatness of your wisdom (that of the Lord Jesus) was not told me"?
She showed no jealousy of Solomon, but rather genuine delight in recognising God's goodness to Solomon's servants and to all Israel in giving them such a king (vv.7-8) through whose wisdom they could be so blessed. This looks forward to the day when the Lord Jesus is manifested in His glory and beauty to the nation Israel and before all the world. God will so work in the hearts of redeemed Gentiles then that they will have no more attitude of enmity toward Israel, but genuine delight in her exaltation!
The Queen of Sheba's gifts to Solomon were rather amazing, for the 120 talents of gold is equal to $855,000 in 1998! The gold speaks of the glory of God, while that great amount of spices speaks of the fragrant virtues of the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, and the quantity of precious stones speak of the fruit of the Spirit of God. This pictures what true worship is at the present time, that is, the response of the heart to the work of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. There is no work of the flesh in this, but that which is produced by the sovereign power and grace of God.
Personal faith and affection are emphasised in the gifts of the Queen of Sheba, while in, verses 10 and 11 we see the provision made by Hiram, a Gentile king and some servants of Solomon for walkways and instruments of music. The Queen of Sheba's gifts speak of worship to the Lord, but the others are secondary to worship, yet precious nonetheless, for they speak of walking in God's ways and rejoicing in that which pleases God.
But the Queen of Sheba was not impoverished by her giving to Solomon, just as believers today do not suffer lack because they give to the Lord. In fact, Solomon gave to the Queen all that she desired and much more, and this is no less true of the gracious giving of the Lord Jesus, as Psalms 27:4 assures us, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." Thus indeed the Lord will always give us much more than we give to Him.
THE WEALTH OF SOLOMON
It was very clearly the Lord who endowed Solomon with wealth far greater than any kingdom has ever had, for in this He furnished some little picture of the wealth of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus when He takes His throne. The weight of only the gold that came to Solomon in a year was 666 talents (v.13). At present day value (1998) this would amount to over four million, 700 thousand dollars. But added to this was what merchants, traders and the kings of Arabia and governors brought in the way of gold and silver.
Some gold was used for making 200 large shields (of 300 shekels) and 300 shields of half the weight. These were put in the House of the Forest of Lebanon (v.16). This house was not a dwelling, but held the offices of administration for the kingdom, so that the shields speak of defence in the place where the interests of the kingdom were maintained ,
Solomon also had a great throne of ivory overlaid with gold (v.17). This was in the House of the Forest of Lebanon, placed in a special Hall made for it, called the Hall of Judgment (1 Kings 7:7). Six steps ascended to the throne. A footstool of gold was fastened to the throne, and beside the arm rests were two gold lions, one on each side. Oil each side of the six steps a lion stood (v.19), thus 12 lions were on the steps, no doubt representing the 12 tribes of Israel.
In Solomon's house all the drinking vessels were gold, and the vessels in the House of the Forest of Lebanon were gold. None were silver, for silver was accounted as nothing in Solomon's kingdom (v.20). Gold symbolises the glory of God, which will be predominant in the Millennial kingdom of the Lord Jesus.
Every three years Solomon sent ships to Tarshish, enlisting the help of Huram's servants, to bring to Israel gold, silver, ivory, apes and peacocks (v.21). Thus he had Gentile co-operation in such endeavours, as will be true in the future kingdom of Israel. So Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom, though he furnishes only a faint picture of the greater glory of "the world kingdom" of the Lord Jesus.
The glory of Solomon prompted other kings to bring presents to him, articles of silver and gold, garments, armour, spices, horses and mules, at a set rate every year, which indicates that it was intended as tribute (v.24). This compares with Zechariah 14:16, speaking of the recognition of the authority of the King of kings in the millennium, with all nations called upon to give Him honour every year.
Though Solomon had no wars, he was fully prepared in case war should rise against him. He had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots, stationed in stated chariot cities and in Jerusalem. In this we are reminded that the Lord Jesus will provide complete protection for Israel in the millennium.
Verse 26 speaks of Solomon reigning over all the kings from the River (the Euphrates) to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. This was not all the land promised by God to Abraham (Genesis 15:18-21), for only the kingdom of the Lord Jesus will accomplish this. Verses 27-28 picture the abundance with which Israel will be blessed when the Lord Jesus reigns.
Additional information concerning Solomon's reign was recorded by three prophets (v.29), but these records are not scripture and have not been preserved. Solomon reigned for 40 years, as did David his father, and was buried in Jerusalem. His son Rehoboam took the throne.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 9". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29