Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart. So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her. Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.” Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great quantity, and precious stones. There never again came such abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. (1 Kings 10:1-10)
The Queen Of The South
Solomon was the richest man in all the world and his riches exceeded the imagination of every man. Israel was in the golden age of her existence. Prosperity reigned. Peace filled the cities. People lived in luxury. The wisdom of Solomon was almost omniscient. Blessed by the Lord the king was filled with understanding that has been unmatched among men. Far away in the land of Sheba the Queen heard of this follower of Jehovah and desired to see for herself this splendor. Arriving with her entourage of opulence she grilled the king in every corner of knowledge she could find. Undaunted Solomon answered every question with amazing mental dexterity. It took her breath away. She had never seen anything like this before.
The Queen honored Solomon by acknowledging the blessings of his land was given by the hand of the “Lord your God.” Everything she had witnessed was tempered by the presence of the Lord. The wisdom of Solomon was not based upon earthly wisdom but heavenly. All the physical blessings enjoyed by the nation came from the hand of God. Peace and prosperity reigned because the nation followed the one true God. It was clear to the visiting head of State the nation of Israel was a blessed nation because of one thing – Jehovah God.
Her impression of Solomon was not judged solely upon the man but rather the man who honored God. The king could not have attained all that he had without the power of God. Israel was the apple of God’s eye and through the promise in the Law that if the nation obeyed the Lord He would bless them immeasurably. Solomon’s wisdom came as a gift from God. The Queen of the South saw majesty. This majesty was God.
Sadly many years later if the Queen visited Israel she would have found a very different picture. Solomon was not as wise as he once was and the land was torn by strife. Eventually the kingdom would be torn in two and conquered by Assyria and Babylon. A much different picture. What happened? Exactly what the Queen of Sheba predicted. When a nation, a people and a leadership abandon God there is nothing to hope for. No more happiness. No more peace. No more wisdom beyond the ages. No more joy. The Queen could see the reason for all the blessings of Israel was not Solomon but the “Lord your God.” Israel imploded when they stopped trusting in God.
The Queen of the South saw some pretty amazing things. Jesus would later refer to the Queen admonishing Israel to see that a greater than Solomon was before them. When a nation turns away from Jesus Christ a woman from Sheba will rise up in judgment and declare, “What happened to the Lord your God?”
“Every philosopher and statesman who has discussed the subject of human governments, has acknowledged that there can be no stable society without justice, no justice without morality, no morality without religion, no religion without God. (James Gibbons, Our Christian Heritage, 1889)