Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 10:10

She gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and a very great amount of spices and precious stones. Never again did such abundance of spices come in as that which the queen of Sheba gave King Solomon.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Gold;   King;   Liberality;   Queen;   Solomon;   Spices;   Stones;   Talent;   Women;   Thompson Chain Reference - Giving;   Liberality-Parsimony;   Munificence;   Presents;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Kings;   Precious Stones;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Sabeans;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Arabia;   Sheba;   Solomon;   Talent;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Israel;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Balm;   Sheba;   Solomon;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Arabia;   Magi;   Metals;   Sheba (2);   Solomon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Book(s);   Jewels, Jewelry;   Plants in the Bible;   Queen;   Riddle;   Seba, Sabeans;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Sheba, Queen of;   Solomon;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Queen (2);   King James Dictionary - Amber;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Sheba ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Sheba;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Loins;   Thick;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Balsam;   Gold;   Queen;   Queen of Sheba;   Trade;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Arabia;   Balsam-tree;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Taxation;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

A hundred and twenty talents of gold - The worth of these one hundred and twenty talents of gold, according to Mr. Reynolds, is equal to £843,905. 10s. 4 3/4d. of our British sterling. But the spices and precious stones might have been yet of more value. After this verse the 13th should be read, which is here most evidently misplaced; and then the account of the queen of Sheba will be concluded, and that of Solomon's revenue will stand without interruption.

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

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Strabo relates that the Sabaeans were enormously wealthy, and used gold and silver in a most lavish manner in their furniture, their utensils, and even on the walls, doors, and roofs of their houses. That the gold of Sheba should be given to Solomon was prophesied by the writer of Psalm 72 (see the marginal reference). The immense abundance of spices in Arabia, and especially in the Yemen or Sabaean country, is noted by many writers. According to Strabo, the spice-trade of Arabia was in the hands of two nations, the Sabaeans and the Gerrhaeans. The spices in which they dealt seem to have been only in part the produce of Arabia itself; some of the most important kinds, as the cinnamon and the cassia, must have been imported from India, since Arabia does not yield them. The chief precious stones which Arabia now yields are the onyx and the emerald. Anciently she is said to have produced other gems. Pearls, too, were readily procurable in Arabia from the Persian Gulf fishery.

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

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Kings 10:10

Behold, the half was not told me.

The religious function of language

This incident brings before us the penalties of a great reputation. When once a man rouses popular expectation, he is its slave. Every one of his acts must henceforth be titanic, every casual word must flash and smite like one of the bolts of Jupiter. Obscurity has this advantage, that it gives us a chance of being appraised at our worth, and even of occasionally surpassing our fame. Those who aspire to notoriety should be sure of their resources, otherwise they will rise only to fall, and their end will be worse than their beginning. For it is not given to many to surpass a great reputation, as Solomon did in his contest of wit with the Queen of Sheba. It is to the credit of this queenly woman, however, that her admiration outgrew her envy; and her grateful homage took the shape of warm praise and costly gifts. It is no often, as I have said, that language fails to do justice to human greatness; but there are certain great, ultimate realities in the universe of God of which it is true that the half of their glory hath never been told.

I. The function of language. And first let me try to make clear what language is, and its function in relation to thought. Language is a distinctively human endowment, and its place is to form a bridge between one mind and another, so that the ideas, emotions, and intentions of one man may become known to his fellows, and that all may share the mind of each. Now, thoughts are, primarily, the reproductions of things; and since, in the far-off ages when language was first evolved, men’s thoughts were almost exclusively of their physical surroundings and needs, we find that the fundamental words of every language are names of material objects or of the impressions made by them on the primitive, childlike mind. And when man’s mental horizon widened, and his grasp of abstract ideas strengthened, instead of inventing new names for these higher operations of his mind he linked each abstract thought to a physical symbol, and used for the purpose the words already in vogue. It would surprise some of us, if we studied the matter, to find what a large proportion of our intellectual, moral, and religious vocabulary has physical roots. Right means straight; spirit means wind; transgression, the crossing of a line; supercilious, the lifting of an eyebrow. We still use the word heart to denote not only the physical organ, but the abstract emotions of love; and the word head, not only for that part of the body, but for the intellectual processes which are supposed to go on within it. And here we have the first suggestion of both the beauty and the imperfection of language as a vehicle of mind. It is beautiful because, by the use of natural imagery we employ nature as a symbol of the spiritual world of which she is the antechamber, or as an index finger, pointing away from herself into the deeper mysteries of the spiritual world. Language helps us to realise that these mountains and clouds, these trees and flowers, this earth, sky, sea, still have more to say when they have told us all about their physical properties. Words are the symbol of spirit, and every natural object they connote is a letter of some Divine word. Thus the more clearly we have it proved to us that language is sense-born, the more spiritual are its uses seen to be; for leaf, bud, fruit, horizon-line, mountain-masses, the foam of ocean waves, the eternal stars that blossom nightly in the skies, are one vast illuminated scroll on which, in letters of crimson and gold, green and midnight blackness, is spread the message of the Eternal. But now, if the physical basis of language is a part of its beauty and its power, it is also a source of its weakness. There is no philosopher who does not acknowledge that matter and mind are the most widely sundered realities in the universe. The spiritual and the material are at opposite poles of our experience. Yet we have to use the one not only to illustrate but to express the other. The spiritual has to clothe itself in a material image in order to be communicable at all. Our souls are like prisoners in the cell of sense, able to communicate with each other only through narrow loopholes of eye and ear. And so in dealing with the deep realities of the spirit we are never able to express exactly what we think and feel. Every great sentence is an unsuccessful effort to body forth an elusive thought in words too clumsy to hold it. Always more is meant than meets the ear. We feel like Titans who have strength and passion enough to sport with the hills and to fling mountains at one another, but who can lay their hands on nothing better than a handful of pebbles on which to exercise their muscle. So much greater is sense than body, so much finer is spirit than matter! Human language can no more compass the spiritual riches and vastness of life than a narrow inlet can contain the ocean. And so I might go on to show, by one line of example after another, how it is that in spiritual matters--where the mysteries of the soul, and God, and the life eternal brood darkly within and around us--when we have done what we can to compass them in thought and describe them in words, “the half hath not been told.” Far beyond our reach still stretch the heaving waters, still breaks the eastern dawn, still rise the everlasting snows. If this is fairly clear, some important conclusions follow.

II. The mystery of religion. The first conclusion we are led to is this--we can understand the great difference between the clear results of scientific thought and the uncertain and debatable questions that still try us in our theologies. The plain man--he who is now usually called the “man in the street”--and the scientific thinker are constantly throwing it up to us theologians and preachers, that while they see their way so clearly in practical things, and in dealing with the laws of matter, we never seem to quite agree for long about anything. That is quite true, but the inference which they draw is wrong. If religious thought dealt with material realities, our conclusions about it would be as clear, I suppose, as the rule of three or the theorems of Euclid. But it deals not with matter, which provides the basis of language, but with spirit, which can only use the clumsy instrument lent to it as best it may. This being so, it is unreasonable to expect the same exactitude of thought in theology as in science. We are battling with realities too big for us, and with weapons forged in a furnace too cold for the work. Man, it is true, is made for science, for he is the creature of time and space; and we know something of his surroundings, and it is well. But still more, man is made for religion, for he is the child of eternity, and in the mighty things of the spirit we find our truest and highest life; and so, even at the cost of being condemned to an endless quest, we must battle with the mystery which is also the glamour of religion. And we cannot leave spiritual realities alone for another reason. For in this higher quest and battle there is a supreme reward. Here are the supreme problems and hopes and aspirations of our soul. In this dim, tremendous region we find our truest selves, we find each other, we find God, our Maker and Redeemer. And in wrestling with the realities of religion, the soul grows, realises its true self, comes to its own, makes progress in all that is holy and good, as in no other way.

2. And here I would point out an obvious but perpetual snare that lies in the path of all religious thinkers. That is the danger of thinking that any one can reach finality in theologic thought. How often has this warning been forgotten, or not even recognised? It is the besetting sin of theologians, and of Church councils, and of all system-mongers, to imagine that they have reached the ultimate goal of religious certainty. Too often, in their hurry to reach religious rest, they have treated the high subject-matter of theology--God, the soul, personality, atonement--as if it could be tabulated like the contents of a museum. But museums are for dead things, not for living souls. Let creeds have their place. Let them rise as spontaneous utterances of the common faith of Christian communities--as the changing forms the ever living and growing tree of truth. But directly they claim to be more; directly, to change the figure, they profess to be other than the high-water marks of devout thought, and to be binding on the mind and heart of living men, they become dams, keeping back the swelling tide; they are prison walls that exclude the light and air. The only worthy attitude towards the great mysteries of the spiritual life, then, is one of humility.

3. A word in conclusion to the plain man. Where does he come in in this big, wide, mysterious world of religious thought? He has had no training in exact thinking; he is no logician; he has no time, and less inclination, to dive into the perplexing problems of theology. Yet he has his place and function in religion. For it is his business to live great truths even though he may not be able to understand them. He may have a reasonable faith, even though he may not be able to give full reasons for his faith. And we must always remember that but for the plain, ordinary, devout, and more or less unthinking Christian man or woman the theologian’s occupation would be gone. For it is the common everyday religious experience and consciousness that provides the theologian with his material., Therefore, let us all live the life. Let us put religion to the test. Let us “follow the gleam.” Let us pray and wrestle and fight with temptation Let us in the strength of God and by His redeeming grace follow Jesus, and put His promises to the proof. (E. Griffith-Jones, B. A.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Kings 10:10". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-kings-10.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold,.... The same sum that Hiram sent him; see Gill on 1 Kings 9:14 this fulfilled the prophecy, so far as it respected Solomon, Psalm 72:15.

and of spices very great store, and precious stones; see 1 Kings 10:2 there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon; that is, into Judea. Josephus reportsF20Ut supra, (Antiqu. l. 8. c. 6.) sect. 6. , that some say that the balsamic plant, which Judea was afterwards so famous for, was brought by this queen, and a gift of hers to Solomon; and Diodorus SiculusF21Bibliotec. l. 2. p. 132. speaks of it as in Arabia, and not to be found in any other part of the world.

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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 10:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-10.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold — about $3,500,000.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-kings-10.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 10:10 And she gave the king an 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.

Ver. 10. And she gave the king, &c.] See on 1 Kings 10:2, Psalms 72:10, where it was foretold.

And of spices very great store.] These were of old highly accounted of. [2 Kings 20:13] Galen (a) writeth that in his time cinnamon was very rare and hard to be found, except in the storehouses of great princes.

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

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Kings 10:10. She gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, &c. — These magnificent presents show that this queen was exceeding rich: her country, without doubt, abounded in gold at that time, as well as in cinnamon, myrrh, and frankincense, in vast plenty. There came no more such abundance of spices, &c. — For, it seems, the Jews maintained no trade with this country.

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

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And she gave the king an 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.

She gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold - 720,000 pounds sterling. These and other presents she brought were not as tribute, but tokens of amity (cf. 2 Chronicles 9:23-24).

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-10.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And she gave the king an 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.
she gave
2; 9:14; Psalms 72:10,15; Matthew 2:11
an hundred
According to Mr. Reynolds, equal to 843,905£ 10s. 4d. sterling.
spices
Genesis 43:11; Exodus 30:34
and precious
Proverbs 3:13-15; 20:15; Revelation 21:11
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 10:25 - every man;  2 Kings 20:13 - precious things;  2 Chronicles 9:9 - she gave;  2 Chronicles 9:24 - every man;  2 Chronicles 32:23 - presents;  Psalm 68:29 - shall;  Ecclesiastes 2:8 - silver;  Song of Solomon 4:14 - the chief;  Isaiah 39:2 - precious things;  Jeremiah 6:20 - Sheba;  Revelation 18:13 - cinnamon

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-10.html.