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1 Kings 10 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 10

Solomon’s Listening Heart: The Queen of Sheba.[a] The queen of Sheba,[b] having heard a report of Solomon’s fame, came to test him with subtle questions. She arrived in Jerusalem with a very numerous retinue, and with camels bearing spices, a large amount of gold, and precious stones. She came to Solomon and spoke to him about everything that she had on her mind. King Solomon explained everything she asked about, and there was nothing so obscure that the king could not explain it to her. When the queen of Sheba witnessed Solomon’s great wisdom, the house he had built, the food at his table, the seating of his ministers, the attendance and dress of his waiters, his servers, and the burnt offerings he offered in the house of the Lord, it took her breath away. “The report I heard in my country about your deeds and your wisdom is true,” she told the king. “I did not believe the report until I came and saw with my own eyes that not even the half had been told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report I heard. Happy are your servants, happy these ministers of yours, who stand before you always and listen to your wisdom. Blessed be the Lord, your God, who has been pleased to place you on the throne of Israel. In his enduring love for Israel, the Lord has made you king to carry out judgment and justice.” 10 Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty gold talents, a very large quantity of spices, and precious stones. Never again did anyone bring such an abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

11 Hiram’s fleet, which used to bring gold from Ophir, also brought from there a very large quantity of almug[c] wood and precious stones. 12 With this wood the king made supports for the house of the Lord and for the house of the king, and harps and lyres for the singers. Never again was any such almug wood brought or seen to the present day.

13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba everything she desired and asked for, besides what King Solomon gave her from Solomon’s royal bounty. Then she returned with her servants to her own country.

Solomon’s Riches: Domestic Affairs.[d] 14 The gold that came to Solomon in one year weighed six hundred and sixty-six gold talents, 15 in addition to what came from the tolls on travelers, from the traffic of merchants, and from all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the country. 16 King Solomon made two hundred shields of beaten gold (six hundred shekels of gold went into each shield) 17 and three hundred bucklers of beaten gold (three minas of gold went into each buckler); and the king put them in the house of the Forest of Lebanon. 18 The king made a large ivory throne, and overlaid it with refined gold. 19 The throne had six steps, a back with a round top, and an arm on each side of the seat, with two lions standing next to the arms, 20 and twelve other lions standing there on the steps, two to a step, one on either side of each step. Nothing like this was made in any other kingdom. 21 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were gold, and all the utensils in the house of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. There was no silver, for in Solomon’s time silver was reckoned as nothing. 22 For the king had a fleet of Tarshish ships[e] at sea with Hiram’s fleet. Once every three years the fleet of Tarshish ships would come with a cargo of gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.

Solomon’s Renown. 23 Thus King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. 24 And the whole world sought audience with Solomon, to hear the wisdom God had put into his heart. 25 They all brought their yearly tribute: vessels of silver and gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses and mules—what was due each year.

Solomon’s Riches: Chariots and Horses. 26 Solomon amassed chariots and horses; he had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses; these he allocated among the chariot cities and to the king’s service in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars as numerous as the sycamores of the Shephelah. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Cilicia, where the king’s merchants purchased them. 29 A chariot imported from Egypt cost six hundred shekels of silver, a horse one hundred and fifty shekels; they were exported at these rates to all the Hittite and Aramean kings.

Footnotes:

  1. 10:1–13 The sub-unit on Solomon’s wisdom contrasts with 3:16–28. There Solomon’s gifts led him to listen to the humblest of his subjects; he accomplished justice and was revered by all his people. Here the emphasis is on his clever speech to a foreign monarch. She is duly impressed by the glory of his court, but it is she, not Solomon, who recalls the monarch’s duty of establishing justice (v. 9). The unit is interrupted briefly by a remark about Solomon’s maritime commerce (10:11–12).
  2. 10:1 Queen of Sheba: women rulers among the Arabs are recorded in eighth-century B.C. Assyrian inscriptions. Sheba was for centuries the leading principality in what is now Yemen.
  3. 10:11–12 Almug: the identification of this wood is unknown.
  4. 10:14–29 The material on Solomon’s riches, like that in 4:1–5:8, is organized around domestic affairs, international affairs, and chariots and horses (see note on 4:1–5:8), but contrasts with that earlier passage. There, Solomon’s domestic administration produced prosperity for all Judah and Israel (4:20); here the focus is on the wealth and luxury of Solomon’s own palace (10:14–21). There his international hegemony assured peace for all Judah and Israel (5:5); here his maritime ventures simply bring him more and more wealth (9:26–28; 10:11–12, 22). There even his livestock benefited from his prudent administration; here chariotry and horses are just another commodity to be traded (10:26–29).
  5. 10:22 Tarshish ships: large, strong vessels for long voyages. Tarshish was probably the ancient Tartessus, a Phoenician colony in southern Spain. Ivory, apes, and peacocks: the Hebrew words are obscure and the translations conjectural; however, the reference is certainly to exotic luxury items.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

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1 Kings 10 New International Version (NIV)

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon

10 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. 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. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. 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[a] the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.

She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 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. 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.”

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.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Kings 10:5 Or the ascent by which he went up to
  2. 1 Kings 10:10 That is, about 4 1/2 tons or about 4 metric tons
  3. 1 Kings 10:11 Probably a variant of algumwood; also in verse 12
  4. 1 Kings 10:12 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  5. 1 Kings 10:14 That is, about 25 tons or about 23 metric tons
  6. 1 Kings 10:16 That is, about 15 pounds or about 6.9 kilograms; also in verse 29
  7. 1 Kings 10:17 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.
  8. 1 Kings 10:22 Hebrew of ships of Tarshish
  9. 1 Kings 10:26 Or charioteers
  10. 1 Kings 10:28 Probably Cilicia
  11. 1 Kings 10:29 That is, about 3 3/4 pounds or about 1.7 kilograms
New International Version (NIV)

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