Queen of Sheba
|kwen uhv she'-ba (captivity, old man, repose, oath)
RELATED: Queen, Sheba, Solomon
Easton's Bible Dictionary
(4) Hebrew id. A kingdom in Arabia Felix. Sheba, in fact,
was Saba in Southern Arabia, the Sabaeans of classical geography, who carried
on the trade in spices with the other peoples of the ancient world. They were
Semites, speaking one of the two main dialects of Himyaritic or South Arabic.
Sheba had become a monarchy before the days of Solomon. Its queen brought him
gold, spices, and precious stones ( 1
Kings 10:1 - 13
). She is called by our Lord the "queen of the south" ( Matthew
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(4) A son of Jokshan son of Keturah. ( Genesis
25:3 ; 1
Chronicles 1:32 ) We shall consider, first, the history of the Joktanite Sheba;
and secondly, the Cushite Sheba and the Keturahite Sheba together.
|I. The Joktanites were among the early colonists of southern
Arabia, and the kingdom which they there founded was for many centuries called
the kingdom of Sheba, after one of the sons of Joktan. The visit of the queen
of Sheba to King Solomon. ( 1
Kings 10:1 ) is one of the familiar Bible incidents. The kingdom of Sheba
embraced the greater part of the Yemen, or Arabia Felix. It bordered on the Red
Sea, and was one of the most fertile districts of Arabia. Its chief cities, and
probably successive capitals, were Seba, Sana (Uzal), and Zafar (Sephar). Seba
was probably the name of the city, and generally of the country and nation.
II. Sheba, son of Raamah son of Cush settled somewhere on the shores of the Persian
Gulf. It was this Sheba that carried on the great Indian traffic with Palestine,
in conjunction with, as we hold, the other Sheba, son of Jokshan son of Keturah,
who like Dedan appears to have formed, with the Cushite of the same name, one
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Kings 10:1 - 13
Chronicles 9:1 - 12,
called in Matthew
12:42 ; Luke
11:31, "the queen of the south" (basilissa notou)):
1. Old Testament Accounts:
The two Old Testament accounts of the coming of the queen of Sheba (see SHEBA)
to Solomon differ slightly from one another, and, of the two, that in 1 Kings
is the older.
|(1) The words "concerning the name of Yahweh" (1
Kings 10:1) are lacking in 2 Chronicles; while the Septuagint in 1 Kings has
"and the name of Yahweh," apparently a correction of the Massoretic Text.
(2) For 1
Kings 10:9, "because Yahweh loved Israel for ever," 2
Chronicles 9:8 has "because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever";
the Septuagint in 1 Kings has "because Yahweh loved Israel, to establish it forever."
(3) In the last verse of each account we find another difference: 2
Chronicles 9:12 says that Solomon gave to the queen all her desire, "besides
that which she had brought unto the king." i.e. according to some, besides the
equivalent of what she had brought to him; 1
Kings 10:13 margin has" besides that which he gave her according to the hand
of king Solomon," i.e. besides gifts commensurate with his own wealth and power
(SBOT), or be sides gifts which he gave her qua king.
2. The Narrative:
The narrative tells of the queen of Sheba, on hearing of Solomon's great wisdom,
coming to test him with perplexing questions or riddles (compare Judges
14:12). She brought presents to the king, and interviewed him: "And when the
queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built"
(i.e. the palace, not the temple) as well as its arrangements, "and his burnt-offering
which he offered in the house of Yahweh (so read and translate with the Revised
Version margin in 1
Kings 10:5, and also in 2
Chronicles 9:4); there was no more spirit in her": the half of Solomon's wisdom
had not been told her. "Happy," she said to him, "are thy wives (so read with
Septuagint, Syriac and Old Latin versions), happy are these thy servants." She
then exchanged gifts with him and returned to her own land.
The narrative is a complement of that in 1
Kings 3:16 - 28,
where the king's justice is exemplified; here his wisdom.
3. Employed by Jesus:
The narrative is referred to by Jesus in Matthew
12:42 ; Luke
11:31, where He refuses to accede to the request of the scribes and Pharisees
for a sign from Him. He tells them that no sign will be given them except that
of Jonah, whose sign was his preaching, one that proved sufficient to the Ninevites;
and 'behold something greater than Jonah is here.' The men of Nineveh will be
a living condemnation of them "in the judgment" (compare Luke
16:31); and so will the "queen of the south" who came from the ends of the
earth after hearing of Solomon's wisdom, 'and behold something greater than Solomon
is here.' The only sign to be given is that of the wisdom of Jesus, a wisdom far
greater than that of Solomon (see D. Smith, Days of His Flesh, 176).
4. Eastern Literature:
Eastern literature has much to say about the queen of Sheba. The Arabs called
her Bilqis. Abyssinian legend declares that she came from Ethiopia, her name being
Maqeda, and that she had a son by Solomon. See Delitzsch, Iris, 116-27; ZDMG,
X, 19; J Pr T, VI, 524 (1880). Gressmann (in Schriften des Altes Testament, II,
1,203) has further references to Wilhelm Hertz, Gesammelte Abhandlungen, 1905,
413; Bezold, Kebra Nagast, 1905, and also ZDMG, 60, 666. For the Mohammedan story,
see Koran xxvii, with notes in Sale's translation.
David Francis Roberts
bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, bilqis, maqeda, queen of sheba, queen of the south, questions, riddles, solomon, test, wisdom