Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 10:2

So she came to Jerusalem with a very large retinue, with camels carrying spices and very much gold and precious stones. When she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Camel;   Gold;   King;   Queen;   Solomon;   Spices;   Stones;   Women;   Thompson Chain Reference - Caravans;   Jerusalem;   Precious Stones;   Spices;   Stones, Precious;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Camel, the;   Kings;   Precious Stones;   Presents;   Travellers;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Camel;   Sabeans;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Arabia;   Sheba;   Solomon;   Spices;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Israel;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Camel;   Sheba;   Solomon;   Stones, Precious;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ecclesiastes, the Book of;   Magi;   Metals;   Sheba (2);   Solomon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Book(s);   Caravan;   Glory;   Ointment;   Queen;   Retinue;   Riddle;   Seba, Sabeans;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Sheba, Queen of;   Solomon;   Trade and Commerce;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Queen (2);   King James Dictionary - Amber;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Gifts;   Sheba ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Sabeans;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Sheba;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Sabeans;   Sheba;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Balsam;   Gold;   Queen;   Queen of Sheba;   Temple;   Train;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Games and Sports;   Gems;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

She came to Jerusalem with - spices, etc. - Those who contend that she was queen of the Sabaeans, a people of Arabia Felix, towards the southern extremity of the Red Sea, find several proofs of their opinion:

  1. That the Sabaeans abounded in riches and spices.
India mittit ebur, molles sua thura Sabaei

"India furnishes ivory, and the effeminate Sabaeans their frankincense."

Virg. Geor. i., ver. 57.

And again: -

Divisae arboribus patriae: sola India nigrum

Fert ebenum; solis est thurea virga Sabaeis.

Geor. ii., ver. 116.

All sorts of trees their several countries know:

Black ebon only will in India grow;

And odorous frankincense on the Sabaean bough.

Dryden.

- Ubi templum illi centumque Sabaeo Thure calent arae.

Where to her fame a hundred altars rise,

And pour Sabaean odours to the skies.

Pliny (Hist. Nat. lib. xii., c. 17) observes,

Non alia ligni genera in usu sunt quam odorata;

cibosque Sabaei coquunt thuris ligno; alii myrrhae.

"The Sabaeans use odorous wood only, and even use the incense tree and myrrh to cook their victuals."

  1. All ancient authors speak, not only of their odoriferous woods, but of their rich gold and silver mines, and of their precious stones. See Pliny, Hist. Nat. lib. xxxvii., c. 6, etc.
  • It is also well known that the Sabaeans had queens for their sovereigns, and not kings. So Claudian, in Eutrop. lib. i.
  • - Medis levibusque Sabaeis Imperat hic sexus,

    reginarumque sub armis Barbariae pars magna jacet.

    By this is meant, says Mr. Bruce, the country between the tropic and mountains of Abyssinia, the country of shepherds, from berber, a shepherd. And he contends that these Sabaeans were a distinct people from the Ethiopians and the Arabs, and that Saba was a distinct state.

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    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-10.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    See 1 Kings 10:10 note.

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-10.html. 1870.

    The Biblical Illustrator

    1 Kings 10:2

    She came to Jerusalem with . . . camels that bare spices.

    A gospel of sweet spices

    1. All theologians agree in making Solomon a type of Christ, and in making the Queen of Sheba a type of every truth-seeker; and I will take the responsibility of saying that all the spikenard, and cassia, and frankincense which the Queen of Sheba brought to King Solomon is mightily suggestive of the sweet spices of our holy religion. Christianity is not a collection of sharp technicalities, and angular facts, and chronological tables, and.dry statistics. Our religion is compared to frankincense and to cassia, but never to nightshade. It is a bundle of myrrh. It is a dash of holy light. It is a sparkle of cool fountains. It is an opening of opaline gates. It is a collection of spices. Would God that we were as wise in taking spices to our Divine King as Queen Balkis was wise in taking the spices to the earthly Solomon.

    2. We need to put more spice and enlivenment in our religious teaching; whether it be in the prayer-meeting, or in the Sunday school, or in the church. We ministers need more fresh air and sunshine in our lungs, and our heart, and our head. Do you wonder that the world is so far from being converted when you find so little vivacity in the pulpit.and in the pew? We want, like the Lord, to plant in our sermons and exhortations more lilies of the field. In other words, we want more cinnamon and less gristle. Let this be so in all the different departments of work to which the Lord tails us. Let us be plain. Let us be earnest. When we talk to the people in a vernacular they can understand, they will be very glad to come and receive the truth we present. Would to God that Queen Balkis would drive her spice-laden dromedaries into all our sermons and prayer-meeting exhortations.

    3. More than that, we want more life and spice in our Christian work. The poor do not want so much to be groaned over as sung to. With the bread and medicines and garments you give them, let there be an accompaniment of smiles and brisk encouragement.

    4. Religion is sweetness and perfume, and spikenard, and saffron, and cinnamon, and cassia, and frankincense, and all sweet spices together. Just put it on the stand beside the pillow of sickness. It catches in the curtains and perfumes the stifling air. It sweetens the cup of bitter medicine, and throws a glow on the gloom of the turned lattice. It is a balm for the aching side, and soft bandage for the temple stung with pain. It lifted Samuel Rutherford into a revelry of spiritual delight, while he was in physical agonies. It helped Richard Baxter until, in the midst of such a complication of diseases as perhaps no other man ever suffered, he wrote The Saints Everlasting Rest. And it poured light upon John Bunyan’s dungeon,--the light of the shining gate of the shining city. And it is good for rheumatism, and for neuralgia, and for low spirits, and for consumption; it is the catholicon for all disorders. Yes, it will heal all your sorrows. Some one could not understand why an old German Christian scholar used to be always so calm, and happy, and hopeful, when he had so many trials, and sicknesses, and ailments. A man secreted himself in the house. He said, “I mean to watch this old scholar and Christian”; and he saw the old Christian man go to his room and sit down on the chair beside the stand, and open the Bible and begin to read. He read on and on, chapter after chapter, hour after hour, until his face was all aglow with the tidings from Heaven, and when the clock struck twelve, he arose, and Shut his Bible, and said, “Blessed Lord, we are on the same old terms yet. Good-night. Good-night.” (T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

    She communed with him of all that was in her heart.--

    Heart-communing

    I. We ought to commune with Jesus of all that is in our heart.

    1. Tell Jesus all that is in your heart, for neglect of intercourse with Christ, of the most intimate kind, is ungenerous towards him.

    2. And we must tell him all that is in our heart, because to conceal anything from so true a friend betrays the sad fact that there is something wrong to be concealed.

    3. If we cannot tell Jesus all that is in our heart, it shows a want of confidence in His love, or His sympathy, or His wisdom, or His power.

    4. I am quite certain that if you will carry out the plan I am commending to you, it will bring you great ease of mind; whereas, if you do not, you will continue to have much uneasiness.

    5. If you do not come to Jesus and commune with Him of all that is in your heart, you will lose His counsel and help, and the comfort that comes from them.

    6. Sometimes our habit of reticence towards Jesus is aggravated by our eagerness to tell our troubles to others. In the time of trial we often imitate King Asa, who, when he was sick, “sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians.”

    II. We need not cease communing with Christ for want of topics.

    1. There are, first, your sorrows.

    2. Then, also, tell him your joys, for He can have aa much true fellowship with the joyous as with the sad.

    3. You may also go to Jesus and tell Him all about your service.

    4. Then, next, go and tell Jesus all your plans

    5. When you have any successes, go and tell Him. The seventy disciples returned to Jesus with joy, saying, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name.”

    6. And when you have any failures,--when your hopes are disappointed,--go and tell it all to Jesus.

    7. Tell Him all your desires. If thou desirest anything that thou oughtest to desire, and mayest desire, let Him know it. Tell Him also all your fears. Tell Him that you are afraid of falling.

    8. Tell Him all your loves.

    III. We shall never cease communing with Christ for want of reasons.

    1. For, first, it is most ennobling to have fellowship with the Son of God; “and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

    2. It is also highly beneficial to commune with Christ.

    3. How consoling it is to do this! You forget your griefs while you commune with Him. How sanctifying it is! A man cannot take delight in sin while he walks with Christ. How delightful it is, too, to commune with Jesus! There is no other joy that is at all comparable with it, and it prepares us for the higher joys above. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

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    Bibliographical Information
    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Kings 10:2". 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 came to Jerusalem with a very great train,.... With many of her courtiers and principal men, as well as with a large retinue of servants:

    with camels that bare spices; her country abounded both with camels and spices; See Gill on Isaiah 60:6; see Gill on Jeremiah 6:20, and as PlinyF6Nat. Hist. l. 12. c. 14. observes, who says their spices used to be carried on camels, particularly frankincense, for which Sheba was famous, and is therefore called by him "regio thurifera", the frankincense countryF7Ibid. "----Molles sua thura Sabaei", Virg. Georg l. 1. v. 57. & l. 2. v. 117. Thurilegos Arabes, Ovid. Fast. l. 4. Vid. Plant. Trinum. Act. 4. Sc. 2. v. 89. , being to be had nowhere else; and StraboF8Geograph. l. 16. p. 535. speaks of "cinamon, cassia", and other spices here in such plenty, that the inhabitants burnt the wood of them for fuel; and Diodorus SiculusF9Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 132. represents this country as exceeding odoriferous, and as having besides the above spices, balsam, myrrh, calamus, costus, and others, in such abundance that they heated their ovens with them:

    and very much gold; see 1 Kings 10:10, the gold of Sheba is spoken of in Psalm 72:15 and PlinyF11Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 28. observes, that the Sabeans are exceeding rich, as in other things, so in gold; and Diodorus SiculusF12Ut supra, (Bibliothec. l. 2.) p. 133. l. 3. p. 181. and StraboF13Ut supra. (Geograph. l. 16. p. 535.) speak of gold found here in large lumps, very pure, and of a fine colour:

    and precious stones; as crystals, emeralds, beryls, and chrysolites, mentioned by DiodorusF14Ut supra, (Bibliothec. l. 2.) p. 134. & l. 3. p. 181. as in those parts; and a late traveller saysF15Ovington's Voyage to Surat, p. 421. , that Arabia Felix abounds with balsam, myrrh, cassia, manna, dates, gold, frankincense, and pearl:

    and when she was come to Solomon; unto his palace, and admitted into his presence:

    she communed with him of all that was in her heart; which she had in her mind to discourse with him about, and which she had laid up in her memory for that purpose; and some things which she had kept to herself, and had never imparted to any before, as some think; all which she had full liberty from Solomon to propound unto him.

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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.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:2". "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 came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels — A long train of those beasts of burden forms the common way of travelling in Arabia; and the presents specified consist of the native produce of that country. Of course, a royal equipage would be larger and more imposing than an ordinary caravan.

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    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 10:2". "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

    (2) 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.

    The state in which she came, if we consider the subject in a religious point of view, becomes no unapt representation of the soul's first approach to Jesus, before that God the Holy Ghost hath brought the sinner into a real acquaintance with his own heart. Oh! how apt are we to come to Jesus in our best things. And what a beautiful representation of an awakened sinner's mind is here given, in that all the heart is laid open before Jesus. That this woman was led by the Lord to this enquiry is, I think, plain from what our blessed Lord saith concerning her, that she shall rise up in judgment, and condemn the men of that generation in which Jesus came; for she came so far to hear of the Lord from the mouth of Solomon, when they neglected to ask of Jesus when he was present with them. Luke 11:31.

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    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-kings-10.html. 1828.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    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.

    All her heart — Of all the doubts and difficulties wherewith her mind was perplexed.

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    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
    Bibliographical Information
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-10.html. 1765.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    1 Kings 10:2 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.

    Ver. 2. That bare spices, and very much gold and precious stones.] These were the commodities of her country; with all which, together with the pleasures of her court, she freely parted, for the love of divine learning. Yea, she could have been content to change her throne for Solomon’s footstool. Josephus telleth us, that besides what is here mentioned, she gave Solomon the root of precious balsam, which the wicked queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, afterwards took away.

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-10.html. 1865-1868.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    i.e. Of all the doubts and difficulties wherewith her mind was perplexed.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:2". 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

    2.With a very great train — Such as corresponded with her position and power.

    Spices’ gold’ precious stones — The products of her land.

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-10.html. 1874-1909.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    she came. Note the use of this made by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 12:42. Luke 11:31.

    Solomon. Some codices, with four early printed editions, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "King Solomon".

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:2". "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 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.

    A very great train, with camels. These animals could not have come from the shores of the Indian Ocean, both on account of the immense deserts that intervened and the hostile opposition of countless tribes. A long train of those beasts of burden forms the common way of traveling in Arabia; and the presents specified consist of the native produce of that country. Of course, a royal entourage would be larger and more imposing than an ordinary caravan.

    Spices. Arabia surpassed every other country in the world for the richness of its spices. Milton, in alluding to these fragrant products, speaks of the breezes which waft far out to sea

    `Sabaean odours from the spicy shore Of Araby the blest.'

    Among these spices would be myrrh, a product of Arabia Felix, no less than of Abyssinia, being the resinous gum of an odoriferous shrub, valued as a favourite perfume, and frequently given in ancient times as a present on account of its rarity and usefulness; spikenard, an unguent extracted from a species of valerian, which grows on the high and arid pastures of India; the sweet cane, the aromatic calamus of India; cinnamon, procured from Ceylon; and cassia, another species of cinnamon, from the Malabar coast. All these highly-prized spices, which were either the native produce of Arabia, or, being brought to the ports of that country by the Ophir merchantmen, were carried into every part of the land by the trading caravans, were brought to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba, as presents, which she knew would be acceptable to that prince.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:2". "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

    (2) Spices.—The “spices” of Arabia were famous in all ages. Sheba is mentioned in Ezekiel 27:22 as trafficking with Tyre “in chief of all spices, and precious stones, and gold.” The spices of “the incensebearing sands” of Arabia are constantly dwelt upon both in Greek and Roman literature. Frankincense especially was imported from Arabia into Palestine (see Isaiah 60:6; Jeremiah 6:20), although now it comes chiefly from India. Myrrh also was in ancient times drawn chiefly from Arabia. Cassia is a product of Arabia and India. Of all spices, the frankincense for sacrifice and the myrrh for embalming the dead would be most in request.

    Gold, and precious stones.—These may have been native products of Sheba, or have been brought from the farther East. Gold is not now known to exist in Arabia, nor any precious stones except the onyx and the emerald. But in ancient times it was commonly believed to produce both gold and precious stones largely.

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-10.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    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.
    a very great train
    2 Kings 5:5,9; Isaiah 60:6-9; Acts 25:23
    spices
    Exodus 25:6; 2 Kings 20:13
    communed
    Genesis 18:33; Job 4:2; Psalms 4:4; Luke 24:15
    Reciprocal: 1 Kings 8:41 - a stranger;  1 Kings 10:10 - she gave;  1 Kings 10:13 - all her desire;  1 Chronicles 18:2 - brought gifts;  2 Chronicles 6:32 - the stranger;  2 Chronicles 9:1 - And when;  Isaiah 30:6 - beasts;  Isaiah 39:2 - precious things;  Jeremiah 6:20 - Sheba;  Matthew 2:11 - presented;  Luke 11:31 - queen

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    Bibliographical Information
    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-10.html.