When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, which brought honor to the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions.
She arrived in Jerusalem with a large group of attendants and a great caravan of camels loaded with spices, large quantities of gold, and precious jewels. When she met with Solomon, she talked with him about everything she had on her mind.
Solomon had answers for all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her.
When the queen of Sheba realized how very wise Solomon was, and when she saw the palace he had built,
she was overwhelmed. She was also amazed at the food on his tables, the organization of his officials and their splendid clothing, the cup-bearers, and the burnt offerings Solomon made at the Temple of the LORD .
She exclaimed to the king, “Everything I heard in my country about your achievements and wisdom is true!
I didn’t believe what was said until I arrived here and saw it with my own eyes. In fact, I had not heard the half of it! Your wisdom and prosperity are far beyond what I was told.
How happy your people must be! What a privilege for your officials to stand here day after day, listening to your wisdom!
Praise the LORD your God, who delights in you and has placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD ’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king so you can rule with justice and righteousness.”
Then she gave the king a gift of 9,000 pounds of gold, great quantities of spices, and precious jewels. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
(In addition, Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir, and they also brought rich cargoes of red sandalwood and precious jewels.
The king used the sandalwood to make railings for the Temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and to construct lyres and harps for the musicians. Never before or since has there been such a supply of sandalwood.)
King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba whatever she asked for, besides all the customary gifts he had so generously given. Then she and all her attendants returned to their own land.
Each year Solomon received about 25 tons of gold.
This did not include the additional revenue he received from merchants and traders, all the kings of Arabia, and the governors of the land.
King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold, each weighing more than fifteen pounds.
He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold, each weighing nearly four pounds. The king placed these shields in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.
Then the king made a huge throne, decorated with ivory and overlaid with fine gold.
The throne had six steps and a rounded back. There were armrests on both sides of the seat, and the figure of a lion stood on each side of the throne.
There were also twelve other lions, one standing on each end of the six steps. No other throne in all the world could be compared with it!
All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon’s day!
The king had a fleet of trading ships of Tarshish that sailed with Hiram’s fleet. Once every three years the ships returned, loaded with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.
So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king on earth.
People from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him.
Year after year everyone who visited brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.
Solomon built up a huge force of chariots and horses. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He stationed some of them in the chariot cities and some near him in Jerusalem.
The king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah.
Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Cilicia ; the king’s traders acquired them from Cilicia at the standard price.
At that time chariots from Egypt could be purchased for 600 pieces of silver, and horses for 150 pieces of silver. They were then exported to the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.