The meeting between the King of Israel and the Queen of Sheba, two powerful and wealthy heads of state, must have been quite a spectacle. Sheba was a kingdom located in modern day Ethiopia or Yemen, and the Queen’s visit was more than a foreign relations or trade agreement mission — she was curious. Solomon’s God-given wisdom had made him famous, and the Queen wanted to see if there was any truth behind the legend.
As she posed “hard questions” to Solomon (v.1) — perhaps questions of philosophy, judgment, the meaning of life, and even some personal counseling (v.2, “she told him all that was on her mind”) — he answered them all (v.1, 3). While Solomon was certainly a very intelligent person, his answers to the Queen did not originate in his own mind, but were “put into his mind” by God (v.24). This godly wisdom, combined with the wealth God had given the king (see 3:13), left her breathless (v.5). The evidence of the love and grace of the one true God in Solomon’s life caused her to praise the Lord. Your testimony can have a similar effect on those around you who do not know the Lord. As they observe the evidence of God’s grace in your life they may be open to hearing what you have to say.
The remainder of this chapter documents the astounding wealth that God granted to Solomon. Especially noteworthy was the solid gold armament he provided for his personal security force (v.16-17); his ivory-and-gold throne which featured lions, the symbol of his tribe (see Genesis 49:8-9); the devaluation of silver in the gold-rich economy of Israel (v.21, 27); and his fleet of armored personnel carriers (v.26). Solomon was an amazingly blessed man. Every time he took a drink from one of his solid gold goblets he must have been reminded of how richly God had poured out His favor on him. Surely someone who was so blessed would never be ungrateful to the God who had been so gracious to him…right? We will read the answer to that question tomorrow.