One Kings Ten

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

1 Kings 10:1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.

queen of Sheba. Sheba was the country of the Sabaeans, a prosperous nation in southern Arabia. Modern scholars have supposed that this long journey of its queen was made for commercial purposes, but there is no reason to question the Biblical testimony that she came to learn more about the true God (see 1 Kings 10:9) who had given Solomon such unique wisdom and resulting riches.

1 Kings 10:2 And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.

1 Kings 10:3 And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not.

1 Kings 10:4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built,

1 Kings 10:5 And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.

1 Kings 10:6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom.

1 Kings 10:7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.

1 Kings 10:8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.

1 Kings 10:9 Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.

1 Kings 10:10 And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.

an hundred and twenty talents. The kingdom of Sheba was evidently quite wealthy, as this was a lavish gift. However, this also is the amount of gold given to Solomon by King Hiram of Phoenicia (1 Kings 9:14). No wonder King Solomon could be so prodigal with his building projects (note 1 Kings 9:27, 28; 10:23-29).

1 Kings 10:11 And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.

Hiram. Hiram was king of Tyre, the great capital of the Phoenicians, whose seafaring and exploring exploits were legendary. Despite the pagan religion of the Phoenicians, Hiram was on very friendly terms with both David and Solomon, even providing an abundance of cedar trees from Lebanon, along with skilled workmen, for construction of the temple and other building projects. See 1 Kings 5:1-10, 18; 9:11-14.

Ophir. Ophir's location is uncertain, though it had to be reached by ships from Ezion-Geber, on the Red Sea (1 Kings 9:26-28). The city was known even in Job's day, probably before the time of Abraham (Job 22:24). In view of its exotic trade, many believe it was as far away as India.

1 Kings 10:12 And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the LORD, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.

1 Kings 10:13 And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.

1 Kings 10:14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold,

1 Kings 10:15 Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffic of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country.

1 Kings 10:16 And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target.

1 Kings 10:17 And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.

1 Kings 10:18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.

1 Kings 10:19 The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays.

1 Kings 10:20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.

1 Kings 10:21 And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.

1 Kings 10:22 For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

Tharshish. Although Tharsish (Tarshish) is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, its location is uncertain. It may refer simply to ore-carrying vessels, since the word is similar to that for “smeltry.” However, Tarshish was the name of a son of Javan (Genesis 10:4), the ancestor of the Greeks, and most of the references seem clearly to mean a specific city or country (e.g., Jonah 1:3; Isaiah 23:6). There are at least eight references to “the ships of Tarshish” (e.g., 2 Chronicles 9:21), so Tarshish seems to have been a sea-faring people, like the Phoenicians with whom they are often connected, as here. Possibly it refers to Carthage, a colony of Phoenicia, or possibly to Tartessos in Spain. Some have suggested a reference to the British Isles, because of the ancient smelters there, and a few believe that the ships of Tarshish even sailed to America, as well as India.

1 Kings 10:23 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.

Solomon exceeded all. During this period—around 1000 years b.c.—the greatest nations of the earth included Assyria and Egypt, but not even these compared to Israel under Solomon. For example, Egypt's Pharaoh made a treaty with Solomon and gave him his daughter for wife (1 Kings 3:1).

1 Kings 10:24 And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.

1 Kings 10:25 And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.

1 Kings 10:26 And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem.

chariots and horsemen. The stone stables of Solomon at Megiddo have been excavated by University of Chicago archaeologists. One such stable has been estimated as capable of housing from three hundred to five hundred horses.

1 Kings 10:27 And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are in the vale, for abundance.

1 Kings 10:28 And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price.

1 Kings 10:29 And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means.