Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 10:1

Now when the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord , she came to test him with difficult questions.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Queen;   Sheba;   Solomon;   Women;   Thompson Chain Reference - Fame;   Honour-Dishonour;   Queen of Sheba;   Queens;   Sheba, Queen of;   Solomon;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Precious Stones;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Arabia Felix;   Sabeans;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Arabia;   Proverbs;   Sheba;   Solomon;   Wisdom literature;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Israel;   Temptation, Test;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Gold;   Sheba;   Solomon;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Arabia;   Matthew, the Gospel According to;   Proverbs, the Book of;   Queen;   Sheba (2);   Solomon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Book(s);   Queen;   Riddle;   Sabean;   Seba, Sabeans;   Solomon;   Wheel;   Wisdom and Wise Men;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Games;   Israel;   Sheba, Queen of;   Solomon;   Temptation;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Queen (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Sheba ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Sabeans;   Sheba;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Queen;   Sheba;   Solomon;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Gold;   Riddle,;   She'ba;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Questions;   Sabeans;   Sheba;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Fame;   Games;   Hard;   Proverbs, Book of;   Queen;   Queen of Sheba;   Question;   Sheba (1);   Solomon;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Allegory in the Old Testament;   Games and Sports;   Solomon;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

When the queen of Sheba heard - As our Lord calls her queen of the south, ( Matthew 12:42;), it is likely the name should be written Saba, Azab, or Azaba, all of which signify the south. She is called Balkis by the Arabians, but by the Abyssinians Maqueda. See the account at the end of this chapter, 1 Kings 10:29; (note).

With hard questions - בחידות bechidoth ; Septuagint, εν αινιγμασι, riddles. With parables and riddles, says the Arabic.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-10.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Doubt has arisen whether the “queen of Sheba” was an Ethiopian or an Arabian princess. Both countries profess to have traditions on the subject connecting the queen of Sheba with their history; and in both countries, curiously enough, government by queens was common. But the claims of Arabia decidedly preponderate. The Arabian Sheba was the great spice country of the ancient world; whereas Ethiopia furnished no spices. The Arabian Sheba was an important kingdom. Sheba in Ethiopia was a mere town, subject to Meroe. And it may be doubted whether the Cushite Sheba of Scripture Genesis 10:7 is not rather to be sought on the shores of the Persian Gulf (Genesis 10:7 note), from where no one supposes “the queen of Sheba” to have come. If Ophir be placed in Arabia, there will be an additional reason for regarding Sheba as in the same quarter, because then Solomon‘s trade with that place will account for his fame having reached the Sabaean princess.

“The fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord,” has been variously explained, and is confessedly very obscure. May it not mean what we should call “his religious fame,” as distinct from his artistic, literary, military, or political fame - “his fame with respect to God and the things of God” - or, in other words, “his moral and religious wisdom?” (compare 1 Kings 10:6).

Hard questions - Or “riddles” Judges 14:12, though not exactly riddles in our sense. The Orientals have always been fond of playing with words and testing each other‘s wit and intelligence by verbal puzzles of various kinds. This spirit seems to have been particularly rife in Solomon‘s time, for Josephus records other encounters with Hiram of Tyre and another Tyrian called Abdemonus.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-10.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE GLORY OF SOLOMON

This chapter appears to have been intended by the narrator to enhance in the fullest degree possible the glory and splendor of the reign of king Solomon. From an earthly viewpoint only did he succeed. Solomon's reign was a climax of sensuality and materialism. The gaudy ostentation of Solomon's court exhibits a false glitter, and, "One finds it easy to understand the judgment of Jesus Christ,"[1] who singled out the humble flowers of the meadow and declared that, "Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these" (Matthew 6:28-29).

THE VISIT OF THE QUEEN OF SHEBA

"And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of Jehovah, she came to prove him with hard questions. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold and precious stones; and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king that he told her not. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of Jehovah; there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me; thy wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, that stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be Jehovah thy God, who delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because Jehovah loved Israel forever, therefore made he thee king, to do justice and righteousness. And she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon."

"The queen of Sheba" (1 Kings 10:1). All of the scholars we have consulted identify the realm over which this queen ruled as being in southwestern Arabia. "We are to understand Sheba as being the southern kingdom of Arabia (Yemen)."[2] Despite the unanimous voice among present-day scholars who support this viewpoint, it seems to this writer that some doubt should rest upon that conclusion.

Josephus flatly declared that the "Queen of Sheba was a princess who ruled over Ethiopia and Egypt."[3] How do we know that Josephus was wrong about this? His statement is strongly supported by the very titles claimed by the present-day rulers of Ethiopia. Halle Selassie I became Emperor of Ethiopia Nov. 7,1928, with the title: "King of the Kings of Ethiopia, Lion of Judah, Elect of God."[4] The explanation that Haile Selassie himself gave regarding that title, "Lion of Judah," when he was in Washington during this century was that his ancestors were descended from Solomon via the Queen of Sheba. What other explanation could possibly justify such a title? Furthermore, the Jewish historians, as quoted by Montgomery, "Interpreted this visit of the Queen of Sheba as a desire upon her part to have offspring by Solomon."[5]

Whiston disagreed with Josephus on the basis that Jesus' statement that, "She (the queen of the south) came from the ends of the earth," (Matthew 12:42) "Agrees better with Arabia than with Egypt and Ethiopia."[6] However, a glance at a map of Africa reveals that Halle Selassie's Ethiopia is very near the same location as southwestern Arabia, the two places being separated only by the very narrow strait of Perim that connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden. Thus, Jesus' words apply just as well to Ethiopia as they do to the portion of Arabia just across the strait of Perim.

Another factor that strongly supports the Ethiopian claim of descending from Solomon and the Queen of Sheba is the character of Solomon himself, who apparently never met any woman with whom he was not willing to cohabit!

Many have commented upon the feminine viewpoint that is discernible in the queen's remarks. Such things as the food on the table, the sitting of the servants, and even the apparel of Solomon's retainers are the things to which women would have paid strict attention.

Before going on from this account of the visit of the queen of Sheba, we should remember that the critical denial of the story as "merely a legend"[7] is now completely discredited. "Scholars now agree that the account of the visit is probably historical."[8] This writer goes far beyond the notion of the probable historicity of this event. Christ himself said that, "The queen of the south ... came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon" (Matthew 12:42), and one statement from Our Lord on a question of this nature is worth more than a ship load of contrary opinions.

"Happy are thy men" (1 Kings 10:8). Martin noted that the RSV, the The New International Version, and the Jerusalem Bible follow the Septuagint (LXX) here and read "Happy are thy wives."[9] We cannot see that it makes any difference.

"Blessed be Jehovah thy God" (1 Kings 10:9). This does not imply that the queen accepted Jehovah as the supreme and only God. It is merely an indication that she recognized him as the God of Israel, on a parity with the gods of other lands.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-kings-10.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon,.... JosephusF21Antiqu. l. 8. c. 6. sect. 2, 5. calls her a queen of Egypt and Ethiopia; but Sheba was in the southern part of Arabia Felix; her name with the Ethiopians is MaquedaF23Ludolf. Ethiop. Hist. l. 2. c. 3. , and with the Arabic geographerF24Clim 1. par. 6. Belequis. SomeF25Vid. Coryli Disser. de Reg. Austral. c. l. sect. 1, 2. think that Sheba, or Saba, is not the name of a country, but of the queen herself; and that she is the same with Sabbe the sibyl mentioned by PausaniasF26Phocica, sive, l. 10. p. 631. ; but no doubt Sheba or Saba, the metropolis of Arabia Felix, as PhilostorgiusF1Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 4. calls it, is here meant; which Benjamin of Tudela saysF2Itinerar. p. 82. is called the country of Al Yeman, or the south; and the name of Queen Teiman, given to this queen by an Arabic writerF3Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. Dyn. 3. p. 54. , seems to be the same as the queen of the south; see Gill on Matthew 12:42. The fame of Solomon's greatness and goodness, of his wealth and riches, and especially of his wisdom, had reached her ears; perhaps by means of the ambassadors of princes that had been at Solomon's court, and attended her's. According to an Ethiopic writerF4Tellezius apud Ludolf. Ethiop. Hist. l. 2. c. 3. it was by Tamerinus, a merchant of her's, she came to hear of him: particularly she heard of his fame

concerning the name of the Lord; his knowledge of the true God, the favour he was in with him, the excellent wisdom he had received from him, and what he had done for his honour and glory:

she came to prove him with hard questions; in things natural, civil, and divine; to try whether he had such a share of knowledge and wisdom it was said he had, she posed him with enigmas, riddles, dark and intricate sayings, to unravel and tell the meaning of. She might be an emblem of the Gentiles, seeking unto Christ, having heard of him, Isaiah 11:10. In Matthew 12:42 she is said to come from the "uttermost parts of the earth"; wherefore some fetch her from Sumatra in the East Indies, where in an old map no other name is put but ShebaF5Dampier's Voyages, vol. 2. p. 139. .

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-10.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And when the queen of a Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.

(a) Josephus says that she was Queen of Ethiopia, and that Sheba was the name of the chief city of Meroe, which is an island of the Nile.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-kings-10.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

1 Kings 10:1-13. The Queen of Sheba admires the wisdom of Solomon.

the queen of Sheba — Some think her country was the Sabean kingdom of Yemen, of which the capital was Saba, in Arabia-Felix; others, that it was in African Ethiopia, that is, Abyssinia, towards the south of the Red Sea. The opinions preponderate in favor of the former. This view harmonizes with the language of our Lord, as Yemen means “South”; and this country, extending to the shores of the Indian ocean, might in ancient times be considered “the uttermost parts of the earth.”

heard of the fame of Solomon — doubtless by the Ophir fleet.

concerning the name of the Lord — meaning either his great knowledge of God, or the extraordinary things which God had done for him.

hard questions — enigmas or riddles. The Orientals delight in this species of intellectual exercise and test wisdom by the power and readiness to solve them.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-kings-10.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

An interesting relation is given, in the opening of this chapter, of a visit made to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba, drawn by the report of his great wisdom. Solomon's riches are again noticed in this chapter.

1 Kings 10:1

(1) ¶ And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.

As Sheba lay to the south of Canaan, and, probably was on the sea coast, where the ships of Hiram, or Solomon, might have touched for provisions or water; there is no great difficulty in conceiving how the report of Solomon's greatness and wisdom gained knowledge in the court of Sheba. Our dear Lord hath conferred the highest honour on this woman, in noticing her on this account in the gospel. Luke 11:31. But I beg the Reader to remark with me, that the expression in this verse of the occasion of this Queen of the South's visit seems to have been not so much to discover the natural wisdom of Solomon, as his gracious knowledge in divine things concerning the name of the Lord. Is it not more than probable that her visit was on a religious account, and that she was anxious for her soul?

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-kings-10.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.

Sheba — Of that part of Arabia, called Shabaea, which was at great distance from Jerusalem, bordering upon the Southern Sea; for there, much more than in Ethiopia, were the commodities which she brought, verse2,10.

Name of the Lord — That is, concerning God; the name of God being often put for God; concerning his deep knowledge in the things of God. For it is very probable she had, as had divers other Heathens, some knowledge of the true God, and an earnest desire to know more concerning him.

Questions — Concerning natural, and civil, and especially, Divine things.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-10.html. 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

A SEEKER AFTER WISDOM

‘And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions.’

1 Kings 10:1

The world and the Church together are foreshown by this queen; all to whom ever the word, sight, name of Christ come within ken are warned by her example; while the king, whose wisdom awoke such a rapturous feeling, is the pale shadow of the wisdom which Christ among us is ever uttering.

I. The principle which makes this Oriental visit of barbaric splendour worth a Christian study is this, that the queen recognised the existence of a higher wisdom than filled as yet her daily life, and that she was laborious. With her, wealth given and received was but a background, only a means of obtaining higher things. She owned and she sought out wisdom, knowledge, learning, thought, as something of a different order, and infinitely more precious—plants, proverbs, music, songs, simple names, indeed, yet standing at the beginning of lines of knowledge which are dignified by greater names, and opening out before the eyes which were first lifted to them dreams and possibilities which were yet in the far distance.

II. We do not always understand what a distinction there is between the progressive and thoughtful and the careless, whose days, from sunrise to sunset, add nothing of wisdom to their hearts or of knowledge to their minds. Christ draws the greatest distinction between the one class and the other, between the inattentive listener to His words and the attentive one with infinitely less advantages.

III. Christians in the world, and thoughtful Christians among nominal ones, are like those very men whom the queen so envied. We stand about the throne of Christ. Happy are we if we know and realise our privileges.

—Archbishop Benson.

Illustrations

(1) ‘This story brings out the true ideal of Israel’s relation to the nations. Solomon is the embodiment of his nation. His reign is marked by largely increased and amicable relations with his neighbours. These were not all wholesome, and ultimately led to much mischief. But, while the purely commercial connection with Tyre was defective, in that there was no attempt to bring Hiram and the men who worked for the Temple to any knowledge of the God of the Temple, and the relation with Egypt was more unsatisfactory still, in that it meant only the importation of corrupting luxuries and the marriage with an Egyptian princess, an idolatress, this relation with the Queen of Sheba was the true one. Solomon did in it what Israel was meant to do for the world. He attracted a seeker from afar, and imparted to her the wisdom that God had given him.’

(2) ‘When the Queen of Sheba met King Solomon, tradition tells us she began with riddles. She asked him, for instance, to tell the boys and girls in a company who were all dressed alike. And Solomon, calling for water, bade them wash their hands, whereupon the girls turned up their sleeves. She brought two bouquets to him—one real, one artificial—and she bade him tell which of the two was real. Whereupon Solomon, flinging the casement wide, let the bees come in and settle on the real one. There is nothing the least unlikely in this legend. It was a thoroughly Oriental introduction. It was like the fence and parry of sharp wits that with us goes often before deeper intercourse. And then, having met her match in Solomon, she deserted the puny combat of the wits, and began to commune with him (as we read) of all that was in her heart. Then Solomon showed her all that he had built, and displayed to her the splendours of his household, till overwhelmed with it all, “there was no more spirit in her”—as we should say, she was struck dumb. And the interview closed, not with a marriage (as the Abyssinians believe), but with the interchange of costly gifts.’

(3) ‘How dazzling the description of Solomon’s glory! And yet it is excelled by a single lily made by our Father’s hands. Fair indeed must Jesus be, the Son of His Love, in Whom all that is beautiful and strong and glorious is combined.’

(4) ‘A greater than Solomon invites us, saying, “Come and see.” But we must come before we can see. In the presence of Jesus the mists are dispelled.

But when we come to Jesus we feel that the half was never told us. His wisdom and goodness far surpass the power of the tongue of men and angels to utter. The soul basks in a golden radiance of Love and Grace which are unspeakable and full of glory. And it need not go out again from his presence-chambers. It may know the happiness of standing continually before Him, hearing His words. It may feast in His presence. It may live on His royal bounty. No good thing will He withhold. He will give grace and glory, exceeding abundantly above all you ask or think; all your desire, whatsoever you ask.’

(5) ‘The sacrifices which men can make for lower objects are the most powerful rebukes of their unwillingness to make sacrifices for the highest, just as their capacity of love and trust is of their not loving and trusting Him. The same energy and effort which this queen put forth to reach Solomon, and which we should put forth for some temporal good, would suffice to bring men to the feet of the great Teacher.

They who find their way to Him, and tell Him all that is in their hearts, will have all their questions solved. We have not far to go, for “a greater than Solomon is here.”’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/1-kings-10.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 10:1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.

Ver. 1. And when the queen of Sheba.] Nicaula, Josephus (a) calleth her; the Rabbis, (b) Nicolas; others, (c) Maqueda. Her country some make to be Arabia Felix, others Ethiopia Southward it lay, and far from Jerusalem. [Matthew 12:42] A sibyl some make her to be.

Concerning the name of the Lord.] What great things God had done for Solomon, and what he had done by way of thankful retribution to God, in building him a house, and setting up his sincere service there. The Rabbis think that by this expression is imported, that she took Solomon for the promised Messiah. (d)

She came to prove him with hard questions.] Such as elsewhere she could not get a satisfying solution to. With these problems or riddles, of great importance, doubtless, she both proved and profited by his wisdom.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-10.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Kings 10:1. And when the queen of Sheba heard, &c.— The queen of Sheba having heard the fame of Solomon, and the name of the Lord, came, &c. Houbigant. Concerning the custom of putting forth enigmas and dark questions, see the note on Judges 14:12. Who this queen of Sheba was, or whence she came, is not agreed by interpreters. The most probable opinion seems to be, that she came from Arabia; as for many other reasons, so particularly because she is called in the Gospel, the queen of the south, and is said to have come from the uttermost parts of the earth: Matthew 12:42 which answers exactly to Arabia Felix, for it lies south of Judea, and is limited by the ocean. Add to this, that it abounded in gold, precious stones, and fine perfumes, more than any country thereabouts. If she came from Arabia, there is reason to believe that she originally descended from Abraham by his wife Keturah, one of whose sons begat Sheba, (Genesis 1:3.) who was the first planter of this country; and consequently that she might have some knowledge of revealed religion, by tradition at least from her pious ancestors. And, indeed, this verse seems more than to intimate, that the design of her visit to Solomon was not so much to gratify her curiosity, as to inform her understanding in matters relating to piety and divine worship, concerning the name of the Lord. And what our Saviour speaks respecting her rising in judgment against the men of that generation, seems plainly to intimate, that the wisdom which she came to hear was of a much more important kind than that of merely enigmatical questions. See Calmet.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-kings-10.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

1 KINGS CHAPTER 10

The queen of Sheba cometh to Jerusalem; admireth Solomon’s wisdom and glory; giveth God thanks, and Solomon presents, 1 Kings 10:1-10. His riches, 1 Kings 10:11-15; targets, ivory throne, vessels, 1 Kings 10:16-23; presents, chariots and horses, tribute, 1 Kings 10:24-29.

The queen of Sheba; either, first, Of Ethiopia, as that people by constant tradition from their ancestors affirm, which also was truly in the ends of the earth, whence she came, Matthew 12:42. Or rather, secondly, Of that part of Arabia called Sabaea, which was at a great distance from Jerusalem, and really in the ends of the earth, and bordering upon the southern sea; for there, much more than in Ethiopia, were the commodities which she brought, 1 Kings 10:2,10. Howsoever, this is there said for her commendation, that being a woman, and a queen, and living at great ease, and in such remote parts, she was willing to take so long and chargeable a journey to improve herself in knowledge, and that of Divine things, as is here implied.

Concerning the name of the Lord, i.e. concerning the great work which he had done for the name, i.e. the honour, and service, and worship, of the Lord, as it is expressed 1 Kings 8:17, and elsewhere. Or, concerning God; the name of God being oft put for God, as hath been noted before; concerning his deep knowledge in the things of God. For it is very probable that she had, as also had divers other heathens, some knowledge of the true God, and an earnest desire to know more of the being, and nature, and worship of God, wherein the heathens were generally at a great loss, and which many of them desired and endeavoured to understand. Or, concerning the great things which God had done for him, especially in giving him such incomparable wisdom, and that in an extraordinary manner. With hard questions; concerning natural, and civil, and especially concerning Divine things, about which there are, and ever where, the hardest questions.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-10.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1.Sheba — Not the Cushite kingdom of this name in Ethiopia, as Josephus and others hold, but the region in Southern Arabia originally settled by Sheba the son of Joktan, (Genesis 10:28,) and comprising what is now known as Yemen, or Arabia-Felix. Hence our Lord called the queen of this region “the queen of the south,” and spoke of her as coming from the ends (των περατων ) of the earth, that is, the uttermost part of the land to the south. The Arabs call the name of this queen Balkis.

Concerning the name of the Lord לשׁם יהוה, to the name, that is, in relation to the name of Jehovah. Solomon’s fame was great because of its most intimate relation to, and association with, the name of Jehovah. From him had he received the gift of superior wisdom; and the distant lands that brought their sons from far, and their silver and gold to Solomon, brought them at the same time to the name of the Lord his God, because he had thus signally glorified him. Compare Isaiah 60:9.

To prove him with hard questions — Such as riddles. A common custom among the Arabs of ancient and modern times, to test the sagacity and wisdom of distinguished persons. Josephus relates that Hiram, king of Tyre, and Solomon also, tried to puzzle each other with riddles and enigmatical sayings. “The spirit of this asking of questions and solving of dark riddles is of the very nature of the Socratic wisdom itself. ‘To ask questions rightly,’ says Lord Bacon, ‘is the half of knowledge.’ ‘Life without cross-examination is no life at all,’ said Socrates. And of this stimulating process, of this eager inquiry, of this cross-examining of our thoughts, bringing new meanings out of old words, Solomon is the first example. When we inquire, when we question, when we are restless in our search after truth, when we seek it from unexpected quarters, we are but following in the steps of the wise king of Judah and the wise queen of Sheba.” — Stanley.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-10.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Kings 10:1. The queen of Sheba — Probably of that part of Arabia called Sabæa, which bordered upon the Red sea, Hence our Lord terms her the queen of the south, and says she came from the uttermost parts of the earth, (Matthew 12:42,) which answers exactly to Arabia Felix, for it lies south of Judea, is at a great distance from it, and is limited by the ocean. Add to this, that it abounded in all the commodities which she brought, gold, precious stones, and all kinds of spices and fine perfumes, more than Ethiopia, (from whence some have thought she came,) or any country thereabouts. Heard of the fame of Solomon — Probably she heard of his fame by the ships that went to Ophir, for they sailed by her coast, and, in all likelihood, spread his fame there and in all other places where they touched, proclaiming his magnificence, and especially his wisdom, and the glorious temple which he had built, or was building, for the worship of his God, whose praise they set forth as far above all gods. Concerning the name of the Lord — That is, concerning God, the name of God being often put for God; concerning Solomon’s deep knowledge in the things of God. For it is very probable she had, as had divers other heathen, some knowledge of the true God, and an earnest desire to know more concerning him. Indeed, if she came from Arabia, as we see there is reason to think she did, it is not improbable but she was a descendant of Abraham by his wife Keturah, one of whose sons begat Sheba, who seems to have been the first planter of this country. If so, “she might,” as Dr. Dodd observes, “have some knowledge of revealed religion, by tradition at least, from her pious ancestors. And this verse seems more than to intimate that the design of her visit to Solomon was not so much to gratify her curiosity, as to inform her understanding in matters relating to piety and divine worship. And what our Saviour speaks respecting her rising in judgment against the men of that generation, seems plainly to intimate that the wisdom she came to hear was of a much more important kind than that of merely enigmatical questions.” See Calmet’s Comment. and Dict. on the word Sheba, and Saurin’s Discourses, vol. 5. p. 261. She came to prove him with hard questions — Concerning natural, and civil, and especially divine things, that she might not only try whether he was as wise as report made him, but might receive instruction from him.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-kings-10.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Saba is written with sh, to denote a part of Arabia, and with s, when Ethiopia is meant, Psalm lxxi. 10. The former is here designated, (Menochius) being "the ends of the earth, east" of Judea, (Tacitus, Hist. v.) and lying also to the south of that country, Matthew xii. 42. This region was famous for gold, &c., and acknowledged the dominion of women: Medis levibusque Sabæis

Imperat hic sexus. (Claud. Eutrop. i.)

Grotius follows the opinion of Josephus ([Antiquities?] viii. 6.) and Origen, (hom. 2. in Canticle of Canticles.) who place the seat of this queen's empire at Meroe. The Abyssinians also pretend that their kings are descendants of Solomon, by the queen of Saba; and that Azarias, the son of Sadoc, stole the tables of the law, when he brought back his pupil from Jerusalem. (Sanctius) --- This shews their vanity and ignorance. (Calmet) --- Still many suppose that this queen came from their country. (Worthington, &c.) --- Lord, who had raised Solomon to so great splendour, while, on the other hand, the king endeavoured to enhance his glory. (Haydock) --- If we place the stop after Solomon, we may say that the queen was moved by divine grace, and attracted, like the Gabaonites, (Josue ix. 9.) to embrace the true religion; (Calmet) though she seems to have professed it already, as many others did among the Gentiles. (Haydock) --- The Fathers look upon her as a figure of the Christian Church. (St. Hilary, Psalm cxxi.; St. Irenæus iv. 45., &c.) Barbara natione, non animo. (St. Paulin, ep. 1.) --- Questions. Thus the ancients tried each others skill, Judges xiv. 12. See chap. iv. 30. The questions might regard natural history or religion. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-10.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

queen of Sheba. Compare 2 Chronicles 9:1.

Sheba, a grandson of Cush, settled in Ethiopia (Genesis 10:7): i.e. Nubia and North Abyssinia, where female sovereigns were not unusual. Compare Acts 8:27.

heard = kept hearing. By the commercial intercourse of 1 Kings 9:26-28. Compare 2 Chronicles 8:17; 2 Chronicles 9:1. Note her seven steps: heard (1 Kings 10:1); came (1 Kings 10:2); communed (1 Kings 10:2); saw (1 Kings 10:4); said (1 Kings 10:6); gave (1 Kings 10:10); returned (1 Kings 10:13).

fame = report.

hard = abstruse, or difficult.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-10.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.

The queen of Sheba. As to where her country was, some think it was the Sabean kingdom of Yemen, of which the capital was Saba (Mariaba, according to Eratosthenes; Sabatha according to Ptolemy; Mareb and Saba, or Azab, according to the natives), in Arabia Felix; others, that it was in African Ethiopia - i:e. Abyssinia-toward the south of the Red Sea. The opinions preponderate in favour of the former. This view harmonies with the language of our Lord, as Yemen means 'south;' and this country, extending to the shores of the Indian, Ocean, might in ancient times - i:e., in our Lord's age, when the boundaries of the known land southward were Raptam, or Prassum-be considered "the uttermost parts of the earth. [The principal reasons for concluding that the queen came from this district of Arabia may be summarized as follows:-First, the presents she brought to Solomon were products of that country, as stated by Strabo, Pliny, and others; secondly, the expression, basilissa (Greek #938) notou (Greek #3558), "queen of the south" (Matthew 12:42) corresponds with the Hebrew Teman, the Arabic Yemen; thirdly, the phrase, ek toon peratoon tees gees, in the same passage of Matthew, corroborates this view; fourth, the traditions of the Jewish as well as Christian Church, together with the opinions of Arabian writers, tend unitedly in the same direction. (See, the subject discussed at large in Forster's 'Arabia' and in Bruce's 'Travels in Abyssinia.')]

Heard of the fame of Solomon - doubtless by the Ophir fleet.

Concerning the name of the Lord - meaning either his great knowledge of God, or the extraordinary things which God had done for him.

Hard questions - enigmas, or riddles. The Orientals delight in this species of intellectual exercise, and test wisdom by the power and readiness to solve them.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-10.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) The queen of Sheba.—The name “Sheba” must be distinguished from Seba, or Saba (which begins with a different Hebrew letter), (a) The name Seba denotes a Cushite race (Genesis 10:7), connected, in Isaiah 43:3; Isaiah 45:14, with Egypt and Cush, and named with Sheba (“the kings of Sheba and Seba”)in the Psalm of Solomon (Psalms 72:10). Seba is, indeed, with great probability identified (see Jos. Ant. ii. 10, 2) with the Ethiopian city and island of Meroë. It is probably from confusion between Sheba and Saba that Josephus (Ant. viii. 6, 5) represents the queen of Sheba as a “queen of Egypt and Ethiopia.” (b) The name “Sheba” is found in the ethnological lists of Genesis 10:7, among the descendants of Cush of the Hamite race, in Genesis 10:28, among the Semitic Joktanites, and in Genesis 25:3, among the Abrahamic children of Keturah. The kingdom of Sheba referred to in this passage must certainly be placed in Arabia Felix, the habitation of the Joktanite race (in which the Keturahites appear to have been merged), for the Cushite Sheba is probably to be found elsewhere on the Persian Gulf. The queen of Sheba would therefore be of Semitic race, not wholly an alien from the stock of Abraham.

The fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord.—If the reading of the text be correct, the phrase “concerning: the name of the Lord” (to which there is nothing to correspond in 2 Chronicles 9:1) must refer to the constant connection of the fame of Solomon—especially in relation to his wisdom, which is here mainly referred to—with the name of Jehovah, as the God to whom, in the erection of the Temple, he devoted both his treasure and himself.

Hard questions—or, riddles. The Arabian legends preserved in the Koran enumerate a list of questions and puzzles, propounded by the queen and answered by Solomon, too puerile to be worth mention. The “hard questions” (in which Solomon is said by Josephus to have had a contest with Hiram also) must surely have been rather those enigmatic and metaphorical sayings, so familiar to Eastern philosophy, in which the results of speculation, metaphysical or religious, are tersely embodied. The writings representing the age of Solomon—Job, Proverbs, and (whatever be its actual date) Ecclesiastes—are all concerned with these great problems, moral and speculative, which belong to humanity as such, especially in its relation to God. In solving these problems, rather than the merely fantastic ingenuity of what we call riddles, the wisdom of Solomon would be worthily employed.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-10.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.
A. M. 3014. B.C. 990. And when
2 Chronicles 9:1-12; Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31
Sheba
Genesis 10:7,28; 25:3; Job 6:19; Psalms 72:10,15; Isaiah 60:6; Jeremiah 6:20; Ezekiel 27:22,23; 38:13
heard
4:31,34
concerning
Job 28:28; Proverbs 2:3-6; John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 1:20,21
prove him
Judges 14:12-14; Psalms 49:4; Proverbs 1:5,6; Matthew 13:11,35; Mark 4:34
Reciprocal: Exodus 18:26 - the hard causes;  1 Kings 8:41 - a stranger;  1 Kings 10:3 - hid from the king;  1 Chronicles 1:32 - Sheba;  1 Chronicles 5:13 - Sheba;  2 Chronicles 6:32 - the stranger;  Psalm 87:4 - Ethiopia;  Proverbs 3:13 - is the;  Isaiah 60:9 - unto;  Ezekiel 16:14 - thy renown;  Daniel 1:20 - in all;  Daniel 5:12 - doubts;  Matthew 4:24 - his fame;  Luke 12:27 - that;  Acts 8:27 - queen;  Hebrews 5:11 - we;  2 Peter 3:16 - hard

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-10.html.