This week we are going to skip ahead a few books so we can talk about one of my all-time favorite biblical queens—the Queen of Sheba. The story of the Queen, found in 1 Kings 10: 1-13 and 2 Chronicles 9:1-13, has fascinated me since I was a child. She has become an iconic character in Middle Eastern legend and folklore, and since little is known of her true origins, several ancient cultures claim her as theirs. Sheba is often depicted as a fearsome warrior, a cunning diplomat, and an incredibly intelligent woman. As someone who loves learning, Sheba’s story has always resonated with me. So, for a few brief moments today, I’d like to get to know the bible’s true account of the scholarly Queen.
“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,” 1 Kings 10:1. So, right off the bat we know Sheba is an intelligent woman. She hears of a king in Israel who is very wise, and immediately sets off on an expedition to test his knowledge. You would have to be fairly confident in your own intelligence to seek out a man, famed for his wisdom, just to test him. So, this foreign Queen comes to Solomon to see if the rumors of his wealth and his wisdom are true, and what does she find? The Queen finds everything she was expecting, and much more. Sheba is believed, by most biblical scholars, to have come from what we know of today as Ethiopia. So, she has travelled hundreds, possibly thousands of miles to meet Solomon. She has travelled all this way for the sake of wisdom, and has finally found its source. She sees everything Solomon has, and sees how wise and just he is, and realizes that it is truly the work of God. This is what she says to Solomon when she has finished testing him:
“Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard. Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness.” 1 Kings 10:7-9
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” This is what I believe the Queen of Sheba really learned from her visit with King Solomon. The Lord is the beginning and source of all knowledge and wisdom. I find this to be a very comforting thought. I don’t have all the answers to life, but the God I serve does. I don’t have to know all the answers to every question, in order to believe in and follow His word. Sheba did not have the wisdom of God as Solomon did, but I like to think that her visit with him changed her. I believe that she went home to her kingdom and began seeking the wisdom and truth of the Lord. Psalms 105:4 says, “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek his presence continually!” If we seek him, his wisdom, and his guidance, as the Queen of Sheba did so many years ago, we can find the wisdom and comfort we seek.
Verse of the Week: “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10