From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths & Legends

By Avigdor Shinan; Yair Zakovitch et al. | Go to book overview

30
Not Just Riddles
Solomon and the Queen of Sheba

The episode about the queen of Sheba’s visit to Solomon’s palace in 1 Kings 10:1–13 illuminates and substantiates what is told elsewhere in the book of Kings about Solomon’s wisdom and wealth. The stories on either side of the episode report Solomon’s economic relationships with other kingdoms and the sources of his wealth. The gifts brought by the queen of Sheba — “She presented the king with one hundred and twenty talents of gold, and a large quantity of spices, and precious stones. Never again did such a vast quantity of spices arrive as that which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon” (v. 10) — increase the king’s fortune.

With regard to the king’s wisdom, the book of Kings contains divergent views about its nature: vast knowledge of the universe, on the one hand, and a thorough command of the law and the wisdom to execute justice, on the other. In accordance with the first notion, the king’s wisdom is manifested in his vast literary output and encyclopedic knowledge of the world, its flora and fauna:

Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the Ke-
demites and than all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He was the
wisest of all men: [wiser] than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman,
Chalkol, and Darda the sons of Mahol. His fame spread among all
the surrounding nations. He composed three thousand proverbs,
and his songs numbered one thousand and five. He discoursed

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