Study Notes

1Kings 10:1-29


Let's backtrack a little to be reminded of some important things.

After Solomon had become king, God appeared to him in a dream. The Lord said, "Ask what you wish me to give you." Solomon's reply was that his father David had walked in truth, righteousness, and uprightness of heart, which had made him a great king. But Solomon felt ill-equipped for the job. Being the king of such a great nation was such a huge responsibility, he could think of only one thing to ask:

1Kgs. 3:9 "...Give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Thine?"

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked this. He said,

1Kgs. 3:11-13 And God said to him, "Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days.

So we read in chapter four,

1Kgs. 4:29-34 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. And Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men, than Ay-THAWN the EZ-raw-hite, Hay-MAWN, Kal-KOLE and Dar-DAH, the sons of Maw-KHOLE.; and his fame was {known} in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. And he spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish. And men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

This gets us up to speed for chapter ten.

10:1 The Queen Of Sheba

People were amazed at how wise Solomon was. His wisdom was the topic of conversations all over the world. Even the Queen of Sheba had heard of Solomon's wisdom.

The location of the place that was named Sheba back then is now up for debate. Some insist that it was in southern Arabia, others claim that it was the capital of Ethiopia. Either way, it was a very long way from Jerusalem. The shorter of the two would be approximately 75 days' journey to Jerusalem. But she made the trip, coming to test him.

Difficult Questions

She came to test him with what the NAS Bible says were "difficult questions." The NIV and King James render it "hard questions." In Hebrew, it is actually one word, "khee-DAW." It is most often rendered "riddles" in the Bible, but sometimes as "dark sayings." The word means riddles, puzzles, or trick questions. She came to Solomon to see if he was truly as wise as everyone was saying.

10:2-3 All That Was In Her Heart

The Queen of Sheba had come to see if Solomon was as wise as people were saying. And when she spoke with him, she ended up talking to him about all that was in her heart. Saints, people will open up their hearts to you if they perceive that you are wise.

All their friends are giving them advice, but the human heart recognizes real wisdom. People come to my office every week, not seeking the advice of Ron, but the wisdom of God. People who are complete strangers will pour their hearts out to me, simply because they know in their spirit that I will give them the wisdom of God.

Now, is this something that only a select few people can have? Do I belong to a super-spiritual club that is very exclusive? No. Solomon freely gave away his secret of wisdom many times. As he wrote in the proverbs,

Prov. 2:6 ...The LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth {come} knowledge and understanding.

What comes from God's mouth? The Word of God. Where will you find wisdom? In the Word of God. What is the filter through which you should take in the Word of God? The fear of God. Thus,

Prov. 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom...

If you respect God as He deserves, and take in His Word as He desires, you will be wise beyond your years.

And when you are filled with wisdom, you will become known as someone who doesn't give advice, but gives the wisdom of God. And as a result, people will open their hearts up to you. And that leads to a lot of opportunities to share Christ with people. Solomon also said,

Prov. 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls.

People have heard enough from Oprah, their mom, their co-worker, and their best friend. What their hearts are searching for, to open up to, is real wisdom.

10:4-5 When She Perceived

The Queen of Sheba realized and recognized that Solomon was indeed wise and prosperous.

She saw his house, and the sheer numbers of people that came for dinner, the quantity of food served, the number of servants and the way they were dressed. It was all too much to even comprehend.

I should let you know that there is a textual debate about a word in verse five - whether this is referring to the stairway (or ascent) that connected Solomon's house to the temple, or the burnt offerings that he offered. But it really is a minor detail. The fact is, she was so amazed and impressed by what she saw, that the Scriptures say "there was no more spirit in her." The word "spirit" in Hebrew is "ROO-akh," and it means "spirit, breath, or wind."

So, this could mean one of several things: she was so impressed that her breath was taken away; it knocked the wind out of her; she fainted; or that she was simply overwhelmed with it all.

10:6-9 The Queen's Reaction

She hadn't believed half of what she'd been told about Solomon's wisdom and prosperity, but now that she had seen it for herself, she said, "It turns out that I wasn't even told half of the truth!"

Jesus' Example

The story of the Queen of Sheba doesn't end with 1Kings 10. Jesus Himself made a comment about this visit she paid to Solomon.

We read in Matthew 12,

Matt. 12:38-42 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and {yet} no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall stand up with this generation at the judgment, and shall condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The} Queen of the South shall rise up with this generation at the judgment and shall condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here."

This clearly illustrates the difference between lack of faith and active disbelief. The disbelievers were saying, "Do something to impress us. You show us a sign. You cater to our demands." But Jesus said that the Queen of the South will be able to condemn them because when she did not have faith in what she heard, she went to investigate it herself. She did not send a message to Solomon saying, "Hey, I've heard about all this wisdom you have, but I don't believe half of it. If you want to convince me, travel on down here and impress me." No, she came from the ends of the earth to hear Solomon's wisdom.

She will be able to condemn those who actively disbelieved Jesus because she searched for the truth, while they said, "if it's the truth, it'll search us out."

10:10-12 Gifts To Solomon

The Queen gave gifts to Solomon, increasing his wealth even more. Meanwhile, Solomon's treasuries were getting even more full with the naval adventures he was involved in with Khee-RAWM, the king of Tyre.

The almug trees which were brought in and used for musical instruments and other things are thought by many to be sandalwood trees, but there are about 15 different trees that others speculate could be the almugs referred to here.

10:13 Gifts To The Queen Of Sheba

The Queen of Sheba returned home with gifts from Solomon.

10:14-29 The Riches Of Solomon

The rest of this chapter discusses Solomon's increasing wealth. One topic of discussion that arises out of these verses is the fact that verse 14 says that the weight of gold that Solomon received in one year was 666 talents. A big deal is sometimes made of the fact that it was 666.

You may recall that the book of Revelation talks about the mark of the beast. It is something that proves that you worshiped the antichrist, and allows you to buy or sell. The mark goes on your right hand or forehead, and is either the name of the antichrist or the number of his name.

Now here's where the 666 comes in: Revelation 13 says,

Rev. 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.

The problem is, nobody has gained that understanding yet. I believe it will be a common calculation in the Great Tribulation, but now we don't really have a clue what that means.

Is it somehow tied into the fact that Solomon received 666 talents of gold one year? I doubt it. In Ezra, we find out that thousands of people returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel, and among them were 666 sons of Ad-o-nee-KAWM (Ezra 2:3). Does that tie into the number of the beast? Again, I doubt it.

But there are some interesting things to tie together if you really want to. The number of the beast will be instituted after the antichrist resurrects from the dead by the power of satan. The name "Ad-o-nee-KAWM" means "my Lord arose." Solomon received this gold during the time that he was building himself a magnificent throne next door to the temple of God. Similarly, at this time, the antichrist will set up his own throne in the temple of God, as Paul says, he...

2Ths. 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

So do with that what you want. I find that reading too much into the Bible text is often fruitless, when what the Bible says plainly is so much more beneficial.

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