1 Kings 10

The Queen of Sheba

1 The Queen of Sheba heard news that Solomon was a great king who served the Lord. So she came to ask Solomon some difficult questions to see how wise he was. 2 She arrived at Jerusalem with a big group of servants. She had many camels that carried spices. They also carried a lot of gold and valuable jewels. When she came to Solomon, she talked to him about everything that was in her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions. There was nothing that was too difficult for the king to explain to her. 4 The Queen of Sheba saw that Solomon was very wise. She saw the palace that he had built. 5 She saw all the food that he ate in his palace. She saw all his servants and officers and their beautiful clothes. She saw the servants who prepared his food and wine. She saw the burnt offerings that he offered in the Lord's temple. All these things caused her to hold her breath in surprise. 6 She said to the king, ‘In my own country I heard news about your wisdom and about all the things that you had done. Everything that I heard was true! 7 But I did not believe those things until I came here. Now I have seen everything with my own eyes, and it is true! Really, they told me less than half of what was true! You are even wiser and richer than the report that people told me. 8 God has blessed your people and your officers! They are always with you, and they can listen to your wise words. 9 So we praise the Lord your God! He is happy with you and he has chosen you to rule Israel. The Lord's love for Israel will continue for ever. So he has made you king to rule in a fair and honest way.’

10:1Sheba may be in Africa. Bible students are not sure where it was.
10:4See 1 Kings 3:9.

10 The Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon more than 4,000 kilograms of gold, a lot of spices and many valuable jewels. Nobody has ever brought such a big number of spices as she gave to the king.

11 Hiram's ships had brought gold from Ophir. They also brought from there large loads of good wood, and valuable jewels. 12 The king used the wood to make steps for the Lord's temple and for the king's palace. He also used it to make harps and lyres for the musicians. Nobody has ever seen such valuable wood, even until today.

13 So King Solomon gave the Queen of Sheba all the gifts that he chose for her. He gave her everything that she wanted. Then she left Solomon and she returned to her own country with her servants.

Solomon's riches

14 Solomon received 25 tons of gold each year.

15 He also received money from traders, from the kings of Arabia and from the rulers of each region in Israel.

16 King Solomon's workers used gold to make 200 large shields. They hit the gold with hammers to make it flat. They used about four kilograms of gold to cover each shield. 17 They also made 300 small shields in the same way. They used about 2 kilograms of gold to cover each shield. He put these shields in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.

10:17See 1 Kings 7:2-5.

18 The king used ivory to make a large throne. He covered it with gold. 19 There were six steps up to the throne. The back of the throne was a round shape at the top. On both sides of the seat there were places for the king to put his arms. An image of a lion stood on each side of the throne. 20 There were 12 more images of lions on the six steps. There was one lion at each end of every step. There was no throne like it in any other kingdom. 21 They used gold to make all King Solomon's cups that he drank from. In the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon, all the dishes and other things were made with gold. They used pure gold. They did not make anything with silver. In Solomon's time, people did not think that silver was very valuable.

22 The king had many large ships that could sail across the seas. They sailed with King Hiram's ships. Every three years they returned to Solomon with their loads. They brought to him gold, silver and ivory. They also brought apes and monkeys.

10:22There was no sea at Jerusalem, so Solomon kept his ships with King Hiram. Hiram lived in Tyre, on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
10:22‘monkeys’ or ‘peacocks’. ‘Apes’ are animals like big monkeys. Peacocks are beautiful birds.

23 King Solomon was richer and wiser than any other king in the world. 24 People from every nation in the world wanted to talk to Solomon. They wanted to listen to the wisdom that God had given to him. 25 Every year, people who came to visit Solomon brought him gifts. They brought things that were made from silver and gold, as well as clothes, weapons, spices, horses and mules.

26 Solomon brought together many chariots and horses for his soldiers to ride. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He kept some of them in Jerusalem where he lived as king. He put the others in cities that he had chosen for this.

27 While Solomon ruled as king, there was as much silver in Jerusalem as stones! There was as much wood from cedar trees as there were fig trees that grew in the low hills in the west. 28 Solomon brought his horses from Egypt and from Kue. He sent traders to Kue to buy them for him. 29 Each chariot that they bought in Egypt cost 600 pieces of silver. Each horse cost 150 pieces of silver. They also sold chariots and horses to all the kings of the Hittites and to the kings of Syria.