1 Kings 10

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon

1 When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the LORD, she came to test Solomon with hard questions.
2 Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind.
3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her.
4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built,
5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at[a] the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed.
6 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true.
7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.
8 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!
9 Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”
10 And she gave the king 120 talents[b] of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
11 (Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood[c] and precious stones.
12 The king used the almugwood to make supports[d] for the temple of the LORD and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)
13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.

Solomon’s Splendor

14 The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents,[e]
15 not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the territories.
16 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels[f] of gold went into each shield.
17 He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three minas[g] of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.
18 Then the king made a great throne covered with ivory and overlaid with fine gold.
19 The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them.
20 Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom.
21 All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days.
22 The king had a fleet of trading ships[h] at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.
23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.
24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.
25 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.
26 Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses,[i] which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem.
27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills.
28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue[j] —the royal merchants purchased them from Kue at the current price.
29 They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty.[k] They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.

1 Kings 10 Commentary

Chapter 10

The queen of Sheba's visit to Solomon. (1-13) Solomon's wealth. (14-29)

Verses 1-13 The queen of Sheba came to Solomon to hear his wisdom, thereby to improve her own. Our Saviour mentions her inquiries after God, by Solomon, as showing the stupidity of those who inquire not after God, by our Lord Jesus Christ. By waiting and prayer, by diligently searching the Scriptures, by consulting wise and experienced Christians, and by practising what we have learned, we shall be delivered from difficulties. Solomon's wisdom made more impression upon the queen of Sheba than all his prosperity and grandeur. There is a spiritual excellence in heavenly things, and in consistent Christians, to which no reports can do justice. Here the truth exceeded; and all who, through grace, are brought to commune with God, will say the one half was not told them of the pleasures and the advantages of wisdom's ways. Glorified saints, much more, will say of heaven, ( 1 Corinthians. 2:9 ) pronounced them happy that constantly attended Solomon. With much more reason may we say of Christ's servants, Blessed are they that dwell in his house; they will be still praising him. She made a noble present to Solomon. What we present to Christ, he needs not, but will have us do so to express our gratitude. The believer who has been with Jesus, will return to his station, discharge his duties with readiness, and from better motives; looking forward to the day when, being absent from the body, he shall be present with the Lord.

Verses 14-29 Solomon increased his wealth. Silver was nothing accounted of. Such is the nature of worldly wealth, plenty of it makes it the less valuable; much more should the enjoyment of spiritual riches lessen our esteem of all earthly possessions. If gold in abundance makes silver to be despised, shall not wisdom, and grace, and the foretastes of heaven, which are far better than gold, make gold to be lightly esteemed? See in Solomon's greatness the performance of God's promise, and let it encourage us to seek first the righteousness of God's kingdom. This was he, who, having tasted all earthly enjoyments, wrote a book, to show the vanity of all worldly things, the vexation of spirit that attends them, and the folly of setting our hearts upon them: and to recommend serious godliness, as that which will do unspeakably more to make us happy, that all the wealth and power he was master of; and, through the grace of God, it is within our reach.

Cross References 28

  • 1. S Genesis 10:7,28; S Genesis 25:3; Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31
  • 2. Ezekiel 16:14
  • 3. S Numbers 12:8; S Judges 14:12
  • 4. S Genesis 24:10
  • 5. 1 Kings 4:22; 1 Chronicles 26:16
  • 6. S Genesis 45:26
  • 7. 1 Chronicles 29:25
  • 8. Proverbs 8:34
  • 9. S 1 Kings 5:7; S Isaiah 42:10
  • 10. S Deuteronomy 7:8
  • 11. 2 Samuel 8:15; Psalms 11:7; Psalms 33:5; Psalms 72:2; Psalms 99:4; Psalms 103:6
  • 12. ver 2; S 1 Kings 9:28; Isaiah 60:6
  • 13. S Genesis 10:29; 1 Kings 9:27-28
  • 14. S 1 Kings 9:28
  • 15. S 2 Samuel 8:7; 1 Kings 14:26-28
  • 16. S 1 Kings 7:2
  • 17. Isaiah 60:17
  • 18. S 1 Kings 9:26
  • 19. 1 Kings 9:27; Psalms 48:7; Isaiah 2:16; Isaiah 23:1,14; Isaiah 60:6,9
  • 20. 1 Kings 3:13; Matthew 6:29
  • 21. S 1 Kings 3:12; Matthew 12:42; 1 Kings 4:30
  • 22. S 2 Samuel 14:20; 1Ki 3:9,12,28
  • 23. S 1 Samuel 10:27
  • 24. S Deuteronomy 17:16; 1 Kings 4:26; 1 Kings 9:19; 2 Chronicles 1:14; 2 Chronicles 9:25
  • 25. Deuteronomy 17:17
  • 26. Job 27:16; Isaiah 60:17
  • 27. 1 Chronicles 27:28; Amos 7:14
  • 28. S Numbers 13:29; 2 Kings 7:6-7

Footnotes 11

  • [a]. Or "the ascent by which he went up to"
  • [b]. That is, about 4 1/2 tons or about 4 metric tons
  • [c]. Probably a variant of "algumwood" ; also in verse 12
  • [d]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  • [e]. That is, about 25 tons or about 23 metric tons
  • [f]. That is, about 15 pounds or about 6.9 kilograms; also in verse 29
  • [g]. That is, about 3 3/4 pounds or about 1.7 kilograms; or perhaps reference is to double minas, that is, about 7 1/2 pounds or about 3.5 kilograms.
  • [h]. Hebrew "of ships of Tarshish"
  • [i]. Or "charioteers"
  • [j]. Probably "Cilicia"
  • [k]. That is, about 3 3/4 pounds or about 1.7 kilograms

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO 1 KINGS 10

This chapter contains an account of the queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon to her great satisfaction, 1Ki 10:1-13, of Solomon's merchandise and riches, and the magnificence of his court, 1Ki 10:14-23, of the rich presents sent to him, and of the purchase of chariots and horses, and other things, he made, 1Ki 10:24-29.

1 Kings 10 Commentaries