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Passage: 1 Kings 10:1-13

1 Kings 10:1-13 – The Queen of Sheba


By coming to Solomon's court, the Queen of Sheba testifies to Solomon's wealth and wisdom.


Sheba, present-day Yemen in southwest Arabia, was an important commercial center in this period controlling most of the trade routes in Arabia and eastern Africa. The queen was probably more interested in determining the extent of this new threat to her commercial enterprises than testing Solomon's wisdom with "hard questions," the usual Hebrew word for "riddles" (Judges 14:12; Ezekiel 17:2). Since understanding "the words of the wise and their riddles" is one of the goals of true wisdom (Proverbs 1:6, emphasis added), Solomon's answers displayed his capable leadership. A short notice in the text, "there was nothing hidden from the king" (1 Kings 10:3b), shows the divine source of Solomon's sagacious responses, and the queen's breathless reaction to his mental proficiency resulted in praise of God (v. 9), trade agreements between the queen and Solomon as implied in her parting gifts, and yet more wealth for Solomon (v. 10).