The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon
1 The queen of Sheba heard about Solomon, so she came to test him with hard questions. 2 She traveled to Jerusalem with a very large group of servants. There were many camels carrying spices, jewels, and a lot of gold. She met Solomon and asked him all the questions that she could think of. 3 Solomon answered all the questions. None of her questions was too hard for him to explain. 4 The queen of Sheba saw that Solomon was very wise. She also saw the beautiful palace he had built. 5 She saw the food at the king’s table. She saw his officials meeting together. She saw the servants in the palace and the good clothes they wore. She saw his parties and the sacrifices that he offered in the LORD’S Temple. She was so amazed, she could hardly breathe!
Then she said to King Solomon, “The stories I heard in my country about your great works and your wisdom are true. 7
I did not believe it until I came and saw it with my own eyes. Now I see that it is even greater than what I heard. Your wealth and wisdom are much greater than people told me. 8
and officers are very fortunate, because they serve you and hear your wisdom every day. 9
Praise the LORD your God! He was pleased to make you king of Israel. Because of the LORD’S unending love for Israel, he has made you king to rule with justice and fairness.”
Then the Queen of Sheba gave King Solomon 4 1/2 tons†
of gold, a huge amount of spices, and precious stones. She gave him more spices than anyone has ever brought into Israel.
Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir. They also brought jewels and a special kind of wood.‡ 12
Solomon used this special wood to build supports in the Temple and the palace as well as harps and lyres for the singers. That was the last time such a large shipment of that kind of wood was brought to Israel. There hasn’t been any seen around here since then.§
13 King Solomon gave the Queen of Sheba everything she asked for. He gave her more than she brought to give him. Then the Queen of Sheba and her servants left and went back to their own country.
Solomon’s Great Wealth
Every year King Solomon received almost 25 tons*
of gold. 15
In addition to the gold brought in by the traveling merchants and traders, all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the land also brought gold and silver to Solomon.
King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold. He used about 15 pounds†
of gold for each shield. 17
He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold. He used almost 4 pounds‡
of gold for each shield. The king put them in the Forest-of-Lebanon House.§
18 King Solomon also built a large throne with ivory decorations. It was covered with pure gold. 19 There were six steps leading up to the throne. The back of the throne was round at the top. There were armrests on both sides of the throne, and there were lions in the sides of the throne under the armrests. 20 There were also two lions on each of the six steps, one at each end. There was nothing like it in any other kingdom.
All of Solomon’s cups and glasses were made of gold, and all the dishes*
in the building called the Forest of Lebanon were made from pure gold. Nothing in the palace was made from silver. There was so much gold that in Solomon’s time people did not think silver was important.
The king also had many cargo ships†
that he sent out to trade things with other countries. These were Hiram’s ships. Every three years the ships would come back with a new load of gold, silver, ivory, and apes and baboons.
23 King Solomon became greater in riches and wisdom than any other king on earth. 24 People everywhere wanted to see King Solomon and listen to the great wisdom that God had given him. 25 Every year people came to see the king and brought gifts made from gold and silver, clothes, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.
Solomon had a great number of chariots and horses. He had 1400 chariots and 12,000 horse soldiers. He built special cities for these chariots. So the chariots were kept in these cities. King Solomon also kept some of the chariots with him in Jerusalem. 27
The king made Israel very rich. In the city of Jerusalem, silver was as common as rocks and cedar wood was as common as the many fig trees growing on the hills. 28
Solomon brought horses from Egypt and Kue. His traders bought them in Kue and brought them to Israel. 29
A chariot from Egypt cost about 15 pounds of silver, and a horse cost almost 4 pounds‡
of silver. Solomon sold horses and chariots to the kings of the Hittites and the Arameans.