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|This is the New King James text of the passages.|
I Kings 10-11; II Chronicles 9 Listen
Inquiring minds want to know (I Kings 10:1-13; II Chronicles 9:1-12)
I Kings 10
II Chronicles 9
|1 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.
2 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.
3 So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her.
4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built,
5 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.
6 Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom.
7 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.
8 Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom!
9 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.”
10 ¶ 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.
11 Also, the ships of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought great quantities of almug wood and precious stones from Ophir.
12 And the king made steps of the almug wood for the house of the LORD and for the king’s house, also harps and stringed instruments for singers. There never again came such almug wood, nor has the like been seen to this day.
13 ¶ Now King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired, whatever she asked, besides what Solomon had given her according to the royal generosity. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.
|1 Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to Jerusalem to test Solomon with hard questions, having a very great retinue, camels that bore spices, gold in abundance, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart.
2 So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for Solomon that he could not explain it to her.
3 And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built,
4 the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers and their apparel, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her.
5 ¶ Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom.
6 However I did not believe their words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me. You exceed the fame of which I heard.
7 Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom!
8 Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, setting you on His throne to be king for the LORD your God! Because your God has loved Israel, to establish them forever, therefore He made you king over them, to do justice and righteousness.”
9 ¶ And she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great abundance, and precious stones; there never were any spices such as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
10 ¶ Also, the servants of Hiram and the servants of Solomon, who brought gold from Ophir, brought algum wood and precious stones.
11 And the king made walkways of the algum wood for the house of the LORD and for the king’s house, also harps and stringed instruments for singers; and there were none such as these seen before in the land of Judah.
12 ¶ Now King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all she desired, whatever she asked, much more than she had brought to the king. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.
The Queen of Sheba, having heard about the fame of Solomon, pays him a surprise visit. While there are differing theories regarding where her homeland was, there is no dispute that she traveled a great distance to Jerusalem. According to the Expositor's Bible Commentary, "Sheba was in southwest Arabia, present-day Yemen." Whoa...that's 1,500 miles from Jerusalem! She takes the tour and asks Solomon some very difficult questions - all of which he was more than capable of answering because of the extra dose of wisdom (see notes on I Kings 3:5-15; II Chronicles 1:7-17) given him by God. I Kings 10:1 says, "she came to test him with hard questions." The Hebrew word for "hard questions" (khee-daw´) is interesting. It is used seventeen times. The NKJV translates it eleven times as "riddle(s)," two times as "questions," three times as "saying(s)," and once as "schemes." What an interesting conversation between a King and a Queen. At the conclusion of their meetings she admitted, "Yup, you're wise all right!" The whole trip just left her breathless - that said according to II Chronicles 9: 4, "there was no more spirit in her." The Hebrew word for spirit is "ruwach," meaning breath - same as the New Testament Greek word for "spirit" is "pneuma," which also means "breath" or "wind." Add the word "holy" as a modifier to either of these words and you get the supernatural power of God (holy spirit). But here, with the Queen of Sheba, this verse indicates that she was just left breathless. And then she went back home to tell her buddy Kings and Queens about her findings.
There is considerable extra-biblical speculation regarding this Queen of Sheba. Islamic tradition claims that she had a son by Solomon who became a king. Ethiopian tradition claims her as an Ethiopian queen who married and bore a child from Solomon. Further development of that position attributes the adoption of Judaism in Ethiopia to the Queen's conversion after her visit with Solomon. In 1999, a British team from Bournemouth University, working with archaeologist Dr. Patrick Darling became convinced that they had discovered her burial place in Nigeria, but Dr. Darling admits that his is just a theory - one of many.
The rich just get richer (I Kings 10:14-29; II Chronicles 9:13-29)
I Kings 10
II Chronicles 9
|14 ¶ The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,
15 besides that from the traveling merchants, from the income of traders, from all the kings of Arabia, and from the governors of the country.
16 ¶ And King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of gold went into each shield.
17 He also made three hundred shields of hammered gold; three minas of gold went into each shield. The king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon.
18 ¶ Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold.
19 The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round at the back; there were armrests on either side of the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the armrests.
20 Twelve lions stood there, one on each side of the six steps; nothing like this had been made for any other kingdom.
21 ¶ All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Not one was silver, for this was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon.
22 For the king had merchant ships at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the merchant ships came bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys.
23 So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.
24 ¶ Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.
25 Each man brought his present: articles of silver and gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules, at a set rate year by year.
26 ¶ And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; he had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem.
27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar trees as abundant as the sycamores which are in the lowland.
28 ¶ Also Solomon had horses imported from Egypt and Keveh; the king’s merchants bought them in Keveh at the current price.
29 Now a chariot that was imported from Egypt cost six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse one hundred and fifty; and thus, through their agents, they exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria.
|13 ¶ The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,
14 besides what the traveling merchants and traders brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.
15 And King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of hammered gold went into each shield.
16 He also made three hundred shields of hammered gold; three hundred shekels of gold went into each shield. The king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon.
17 ¶ Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold.
18 The throne had six steps, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne; there were armrests on either side of the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the armrests.
19 Twelve lions stood there, one on each side of the six steps; nothing like this had been made for any other kingdom.
20 ¶ All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Not one was silver, for this was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon.
21 For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Hiram. Once every three years the merchant ships came, bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys.
22 ¶ So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.
23 And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.
24 Each man brought his present: articles of silver and gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules, at a set rate year by year.
25 ¶ Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem.
26 ¶ So he reigned over all the kings from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt.
27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar trees as abundant as the sycamores which are in the lowland.
28 And they brought horses to Solomon from Egypt and from all lands.
29 ¶ Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat?
Solomon's kingdom stretched to the boundaries promised to Abraham back in Genesis 15 (see notes). To see a map of this territory, click here. Solomon was rich - really, really rich. How rich was he? He was soooo rich, he made 200 large shields out of gold worth about $100,000 (2006 standards) each. He made another 300 shields of gold (smaller) worth about $24,000 each. He put these on display. He was soooo rich, his throne was made out of ivory and gold. He was soooo rich, silver plates were like our disposable plastic plates (I Kings 10:21). He was soooo rich, he collected peacocks (now that's rich). Cedar, horses, chariots - he had it all. And his wisdom was world renown - everybody came to ask him questions...and they brought him gifts when they came. Here's what is said of Solomon in II Chronicles 9:22, "And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom." That's right; Solomon was the richest man in the world.
Solomon's weakness - women! (I Kings 11:1-8)
1 But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites—
2 from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love.
3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.
4 For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.
5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6 Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David.
7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.
8 And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
After talking about all of King Solomon's successes in chapter 10, chapter 11 begins with "But..." Yes, I'm afraid that, with everything else Solomon collected in abundance, wives were also in the list. If you had 700 wives and 300 concubines (second-class wives), would you even remember all of their names? If a child calls you "father," wouldn't you just assume it was so? His collection of honeymoon photo albums must have been housed in a large museum. But, here's the big problem; he was not particular about their religious affiliations. He married women who worshipped gods forbidden to Israelites, and they didn't convert to Judaism; they stayed with their heathen gods and worshipped them. Remember the people back in Leviticus who sacrificed their own children to Molech (Leviticus 18:21, see notes; Leviticus 20:2-3, see notes)? Well, Solomon even built an altar to this god for one or more of his wives. He built altars to other pagan gods as well - just 'cause he was in love. Verse 6 sums it up when it says, "Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David."
We see a condemnation by Nehemiah of Solomon's marrying practices in Nehemiah 13:26 (see notes), "Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved of his God; and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin." Interestingly enough, we don't have a record of Solomon ever marrying a Hebrew woman. However, out of 1,000 wives and concubines, surely he did at some point. Although, his successor to the throne was Rehoboam; his mother was an Ammonite...from the forbidden list of candidates. As a matter of fact, Solomon married Rehoboam's mother while King David was still on the throne of Israel. Rehoboam was 41 when he began to reign, according to I Kings 14:21 (see notes). Yet, we are told in II Chronicles 9:30 (see below) that Solomon reigned over Israel for 40 years. So, Solomon's marriage violations began before he actually became King of Israel.
Let's not sugar coat this aspect of Solomon's life. His marrying practices did, in part, include a great many diplomatic marriages. In other words, kings often married the daughters of foreign kings in order to form a treaty with them and maintain diplomatic relations with those countries. However, there is no question that Solomon violated Deuteronomy 17:17 (see notes), a passage that specifically directs that future kings of Israel MUST NOT multiply wives. Moreover, God specifically directed Israel not to intermarry with those pagan cultures surrounding them in Canaan back in Deuteronomy 7:1-7 (see notes). The reason: So as to not bring false religions into Israel. And...as it turns out, that's exactly the result of Solomon's marrying practices.
God raises up adversaries to Solomon (I Kings 11:9-25)
9 ¶ So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice,
10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the LORD had commanded.
11 Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.
12 Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son.
13 However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”
14 ¶ Now the LORD raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was a descendant of the king in Edom.
15 For it happened, when David was in Edom, and Joab the commander of the army had gone up to bury the slain, after he had killed every male in Edom
16 (because for six months Joab remained there with all Israel, until he had cut down every male in Edom),
17 that Hadad fled to go to Egypt, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him. Hadad was still a little child.
18 Then they arose from Midian and came to Paran; and they took men with them from Paran and came to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave him a house, apportioned food for him, and gave him land.
19 And Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him as wife the sister of his own wife, that is, the sister of Queen Tahpenes.
20 Then the sister of Tahpenes bore him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house. And Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh.
21 ¶ So when Hadad heard in Egypt that David rested with his fathers, and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me depart, that I may go to my own country.”
22 ¶ Then Pharaoh said to him, “But what have you lacked with me, that suddenly you seek to go to your own country?” ¶ So he answered, “Nothing, but do let me go anyway.”
23 ¶ And God raised up another adversary against him, Rezon the son of Eliadah, who had fled from his lord, Hadadezer king of Zobah.
24 So he gathered men to him and became captain over a band of raiders, when David killed those of Zobah. And they went to Damascus and dwelt there, and reigned in Damascus.
25 He was an adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon (besides the trouble that Hadad caused); and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.
As we have read through the Old Testament, one thing should be abundantly clear - God hates pagan worship. This case is no different. Notice verse 9 "So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice." Those two appearance were I Kings 3:5 (see notes) and I Kings 9:2 (see notes). Because of this tolerance for pagan worship on Solomon's part, God raised up enemies against Solomon, one being Hadad the Edomite (verse 14). Here's a decree from God to Solomon in verse 11, "Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant." That's right, God even speaks to Solomon and tells him that after his reign, his kingdom will be split - and all because of Solomon's tolerance for paganism. That split of the Kingdom of Israel into two takes place in I Kings 12 (see notes).
Hadad's story is given in verses 14-22. Joab's execution of the Edomite men must have taken place during the period mentioned in II Samuel 8:14 (see notes). We aren't specifically told of any battles between this Hadad and Israel, but the mention of it in this passage, and specifically verse 25, would indicate that there were some. Then there's the specific mention in verse 23 of "Rezon the son of Eliadah, who had fled from his lord, Hadadezer king of Zobah." This enemy rose up against Solomon as a result of David's battles in II Samuel 8:14 (see notes) as well.
Then, there's Jeroboam (I Kings 11:26-40)
26 ¶ Then Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite from Zereda, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, also rebelled against the king.
27 ¶ And this is what caused him to rebel against the king: Solomon had built the Millo and repaired the damages to the City of David his father.
28 The man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor; and Solomon, seeing that the young man was industrious, made him the officer over all the labor force of the house of Joseph.
29 ¶ Now it happened at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the way; and he had clothed himself with a new garment, and the two were alone in the field.
30 Then Ahijah took hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces.
31 And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you
32 (but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel),
33 because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David.
34 However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes.
35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and give it to you—ten tribes.
36 And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.
37 So I will take you, and you shall reign over all your heart desires, and you shall be king over Israel.
38 Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you.
39 And I will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever.’ ”
40 ¶ Solomon therefore sought to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam arose and fled to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.
Jeroboam had a nice job with Solomon's government, but he was God's instrument for the punishment of Solomon. When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam took over the family business (business of being king, that is). However, God had told Jeroboam through the prophet Ahijah (verse 29) that he would get 10 of the 11 tribes. You thought there were 12 tribes, didn't you? Remember Simeon? They had no distinct territory of their own, but rather received certain cities within the territory of Judah. Simeon kind of blended in with Judah after a few centuries, basically leaving 11 tribes, though often still referred to as 12. Anyway, Solomon tried to have him killed after this prophecy, but Jeroboam escaped to Egypt. After Solomon's death, Rehoboam becomes king over the Southern Kingdom (Judah) and Jeroboam becomes king over the Northern Kingdom - Israel (I Kings 12, see notes). I call them the "Boam boys." They weren't related; it just makes it easier for me to remember them.
Jeroboam inherits from God his kingdom with some conditional promises attached to the deal in verse 38, "Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you." For the record, Jeroboam did not fulfill any of these conditions - not even from the very beginning of his reign. As a result, this same prophet (Ahijah) two decades later decrees that Jeroboam's dynasty will come to an end in I Kings 14 (see notes). As a matter of fact, neither did any of Jeroboam's successors serve the God of Israel. All the kings of Israel (Northern Kingdom) were evil and refused to seek after God.
Everybody dies - at least back then they did (I Kings 11:41-43; II Chronicles 9:30-31)
I Kings 11
II Chronicles 9
|41 ¶ Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?
42 And the period that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years.
43 Then Solomon rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David his father. And Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.
30 Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years.
He's immortal in our minds, but Solomon died after a 40-year rule. He accomplished much, and he left it all to his son Rehoboam. Rehoboam's mother was an Ammonite according to I Kings 14:21 (see notes). The question is: can Rehoboam hang on to it? Well...no he can't - all because his father, Solomon, had sinned before God.