Queen of Sheba
The Queen Who Sought Wisdom
Sheba was the name of a great South Arabian kingdom whose name meant “Host of Heaven and peace”. Located in southwest Arabia on the eastern tip of the Red Sea , Sheba occupied 483,000 square miles and many historians believe that it included the land of Ethiopia , on the western end of the Red Sea . Sheba was a wealthy country rich in gold and other precious stones as well as incense and spices that were much sought after by neighboring countries. She also had an advanced irrigation procedures and hydraulic power. It’s peoples built dams and large earthen wells that also contributed to their thriving agriculture and exotic gardens. Trade caravans frequently traveled to Sheba to trade for her goods.
The Sabaean people were Semitic in origin and believed to have been the descendents of Cush in the Bible. They have been described as a tall and impressive people. Because of isolation, Sheba was unable to be invaded and was independent and at peace with neighboring kingdoms for nearly 500 years during the 11th and 10th centuries B.C.
The Queen of Sheba no doubt thought it wise to keep on good terms with Israel , which was rapidly rising in power. She was also undoubtedly curious regarding the stories told of the wisdom and regal splendor of Israel ’s king, Solomon. She prepared her royal caravan and started on her thousand-mile journey. Solomon was accustomed to royal gifts from surrounding nations but the camels laden with the choicest of spices from the land of spices surprised even the king. The Bible states that “There came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon” (1 Kings 10:10 ), and the hundred and twenty talents of gold, over fifteen million dollars, was a gift that even the wealthiest of kings could not ignore.
We may presume that Solomon and his people had not held the people of Arabia in high esteem. They had neither the history nor the deeds of Egypt and the Far East to boast of, but they had gold mines, which made that metal an abundant commodity. The coming of that caravan to Jerusalem changed the opinion of the Israelites regarding that great south land.
The Queen of Sheba, who brought surprises, found more surprises herself. Day after day she listened to Solomon’s words, putting to him hard questions in philosophy and religion, especially seeking information concerning his God. She gazed on the splendid architecture of palace and temple, and at last was led to exclaim, “It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit, I believed not the words until I came and mine eyes had seen it; and behold the half was not told me!” (King, Woman, p. 60).
Legend has it that King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba fell in love and were married. Together they had one son who became emperor of Ethiopia and started the Solomonic Jewish dynasty in that country.