‘When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions. Arriving with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, the cupbearers in their robes and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed. She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the LORD your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness.” Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. There had never been such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. (The servants of Hiram and the servants of Solomon brought gold from Ophir; they also brought algumwood and precious stones. The king used the algumwood to make steps for the temple of the LORD and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. Nothing like them had ever been seen in Judah.) King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for; he gave her more than she had brought to him. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.’ 2 Chronicles 9:1-12
The Queen Of Sheba Visits Solomon
Solomon’s fame is now beginning to spread, not only his fame but his relationship with the Lord. He was famous because of his great wealth and the wisdom he got from the Lord, 1 Kings 3:7-12.
His fame reached the ears of the Queen of Sheba, who was possibly from southern Arabia, Egypt or Ethiopia, 1 Kings 10:1-25 / 1 Kings 11:41-43 / Matthew 12:42. She wanted to visit Solomon and see him and hear him for herself.
After answering all of the queen’s questions, and seeing Solomon’s great wealth, she says that ‘not even half was told me in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard’. In other words, she now knows that Solomon’s reputation wasn’t exaggerated and as a result, she was overwhelmed.
Solomon never asked God for wealth or fame but because he only asked God for wisdom, God blessed him with wisdom, wealth and fame, and rightly so, God was given the credit for blessing Solomon with these, 1 Kings 3:10-13.
The queen was well aware that it was God who had given Solomon everything he has and so, she gives praise to God for everything He has done for Solomon, including making him king of Israel. She blessed Solomon and gives him gifts of gold, precious stones and many spices.
‘The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents, not including the revenues brought in by merchants and traders. Also all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the territories brought gold and silver to Solomon. King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of hammered gold went into each shield. He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three hundred shekels of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. Then the king made a great throne covered with ivory and overlaid with pure gold. The throne had six steps, and a footstool of gold was attached to it. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom. All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s day. The king had a fleet of trading ships manned by Hiram’s servants. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons. King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, and robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules. Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. He ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and all other countries.’ 2 Chronicles 9:13-28
It appears that Solomon’s taxation brought him even more gold, and wealth, and make no mistake about it, this is a huge sum of money, 2 Chronicles 1:14-17 / 1 Kings10:14-29.
The gold shields the bodyguards used came in two sizes, 1 Kings 14:27-28 / 2 Chronicles 12:10, the larger ones which were used for full-body protection cost 600 shekels of gold and the smaller ones, which were used for close-up combat, cost three minas of gold.
Solomon places them in the ‘Palace of the Forest of Lebanon,’ which is possibly a reference to the temple, 1 Kings 5:6-8. Because Solomon had a great throne made which was covered in ivory, this tells us that he was trading with those in Africa who were slaughtering elephants for their ivory tusks.
Notice also that this great throne he made for himself was made of gold and ivory but it was also decorated with lions figures. The images of the lions that decorated Solomon’s throne were made in violation of God’s commands, Exodus 20:4.
Solomon’s wealth is seen in these verses, and it appears that because there was so much gold, the price of silver must have been very cheap and of little value. Although silver was worth very little at this time, it was still being used widely, especially in Jerusalem.
The king had a fleet of ‘trading ships’, but some translations use the words ‘ships of Tarshish’, the actual Hebrew word for Tarshish means refinery.
This means that Tarshish isn’t the location but the process of refining metals, 1 Kings 9:26-28. In other words, these trading ships carried refined metals, which are precious metals.
As Solomon’s reputation for wisdom grows throughout the land, so does his wealth. Solomon not only acquired a lot of gold but he also acquired a great number of horses and chariots, 1 Kings 4:16 / 1 Kings 9:19.
Through the king’s traders, the horses were exported to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria. It appears that once again that Solomon forgot about God and His commandments because this accumulation of gold, horses and chariots was a complete violation of God’s commands, Deuteronomy 17:16-17.
Solomon had become so wealthy, he had more wealth than any other king who was living at the time.
‘As for the other events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat? Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. Then he rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.’ 2 Chronicles 9:29-31
These verses don’t tell us anything about how Solomon actually died, but they do tell us he died and he had reigned for forty years, 1 Kings 11:41-43.
There’s a lot of debate as to whether or not Solomon actually repented of all his idolatrous actions before he died, some suggest the Bible doesn’t tell us and others look at the Book of Proverbs and the book of Ecclesiastes and suggest that he did.
Solomon’s son, Rehoboam took over as ruler of the United Kingdom of Israel, sadly his reign really didn’t last very long. He followed his father’s example which ended up being one of the reasons the United Kingdom of Israel became the Divided Kingdom.
Go To 2 Chronicles 10