The Queen a Sheba: A True Seeker

Posted on April 25, 2018

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By David Ettinger

A Seeking Heart
The Queen of Sheba, of whom we read in 1 Kings Chapter 10 and 2 Chronicles Chapter 9, is one of the more mysterious personalities of the Bible. But there is at least one admirable trait we can associate with her: She had a seeking heart.

queen of shebaWe read: “When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of [Israeli King] Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions” (1 Kings 10:1). The phrase which jumps out is “his relationship with the Lord.” It appears that unlike other monarchs and diplomats who were drawn to Solomon’s wealth and wisdom only, the Queen of Sheba had an extra dimension which distinguished her from the rest: She was drawn to Yahweh, the God of the Hebrew people.

The Queen’s Land
Though Bible scholars differ, the majority consensus is that ancient Sheba is modern-day Yemen. Located 1,400 miles east of Jerusalem, Sheba, archaeology reveals, was a wealthy nation, well advanced in irrigation techniques and the development of hydraulic power. The people of Sheba, referred to in the Bible as Sabeans, built dams reaching 60 feet high and wells, which contributed to their thriving agriculture and spectacular gardens.

Sheba was blessed with extensive quantities of gold, precious stones, incense, and exotic spices. Its riches made Sheba a popular trading partner and hence the nation engaged in a lucrative caravan trade. In 965 B.C. – about the time of the Queen’s visit to Solomon – the camels of Sheba were frequent travelers upon the “Incense Road” – the thoroughfare which connected Arabia with Egypt and the Indies – along the Red Sea to Israel.

A Trading Partner
sheba solomonDespite her riches, the Queen of Sheba knew there was someone whose wealth exceeded even hers. Amazing things were happening in Israel, and the Queen not only wanted to witness it for herself, but to get in on the action. Middle Eastern trading partners were lining up right and left to get a piece of Israel’s action, the Queen among them.

As she set out for Jerusalem, we can picture a desert mob scene. We read that the Queen traveled with “a very great caravan – with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones” (v. 2). The Queen was visiting the most renowned man on the planet and brought her very best with her.

No doubt the “very great” procession which accompanied her was beyond comprehension. Not only did the gold and precious stones require many servants to oversee them, but consider the security required. Envision a small army – literally – which protected both Queen and riches, and you have a formidable force with which no one in his right mind would attack.

A Seeker of Wisdom
We noted above how the Queen of Sheba had a seeking heart spiritually; it appears she also sought wisdom. Verse 2 tells us that “she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind.”

Her seeking would be rewarded as “Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her” (v. 3). The portrait of the Queen of Sheba is one of a woman with wisdom, character, and the desire to grow both spiritually and intellectually. She was humble enough to recognize Solomon’s God-given gifts, and was willing to learn from him. She appears to be a monarch her subjects were proud to call “Queen.”

Praising God
ancient israelThe Queen of Sheba knew what opulence looked like, but she never saw anything even remotely resembling Solomon’s Jerusalem. We read: “When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 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 the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed” (vv. 4-5).

She could not contain herself as proclaimed: “How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!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.”

It is fascinating how the Queen of Sheba praised the God of Israel for all He has done, not what Solomon had accomplished. This woman who was a seeker of the truth found it in Jerusalem and was spiritually-sensitive enough to recognize that true glory is not the product of man’s toiling, but the natural outflow of the Sovereign of the Universe.