Bible Commentaries

Wells of Living Water CommentaryWells of Living Water

1 Kings 10

Verses 1-13

The Queen of the South

1 Kings 10:1-13


A greater than Solomon is here. In Matthew 11:1-30 Christ is upbraiding the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done. Under His ban were Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. This upbraiding is concluded in chapter 12, where Christ condemns the whole generation of Jews telling them that Nineveh believed Jonah, and that a greater than Jonah was there. Then He says (Matthew 12:42 ): "The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here."

The Lord reminds the Children of Israel of how the queen of Sheba came to Solomon. We are all willing to grant that Solomon was less in glory and in power, and in all things, than Christ. However, we wish to select a few things in which this contrast is very definite.

1. Christ was greater than Solomon in birth. Solomon was the son of David, and Jesus Christ, as concerning the flesh, was of the line of David. However, Solomon came by natural generation, and Christ came by supernatural generation. Christ was of the Davidic line, but He was greater than David inasmuch as He was the Son of God. When the Jews said unto Jesus that the Messiah should be David's son, Jesus immediately questioned how was it, then, that David, in speaking of the Messiah, said: "The. Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool"? "If David then call Him Lord, how is He his Son?"

2. Jesus was greater than Solomon because the substance is greater than the shadow. Solomon was a type of Christ, and a type is only a shadow. Solomon was that shadow; Christ was the substance. Solomon was great in glory; Christ was greater in glory. Solomon had a glory that only lasted a few short years. Solomon's glory centered in an earthly kingdom; Christ's glory is forever and ever. It has to do with an earthly kingdom, but it sweeps on into the new Jerusalem, that comes down from God out of Heaven.

3. Again, Christ was greater than Solomon, in His character. Solomon worshiped God, but he fell by the way. He was a sinner as other men are sinners. We know much of Solomon's shame. Jesus Christ, however, knew no sin, and He did no sin. In character He was unimpeachable, the Holy One of God.

4. Jesus Christ was greater in His Kingdom. Solomon had a kingdom that included one nationality. Jesus Christ shall be King of kings, and Lord of lords. Solomon had a kingdom that was circumscribed to one country, Palestine. Jesus Christ has a Kingdom whose geographical bounds will cover the whole earth. Solomon had a kingdom which dissolved. First, it was divided at his death between Jeroboam and Rehoboam. And then it went into decay after a few years. Jesus Christ has a Kingdom which will extend through one thousand years, and then it will pass into the great eternal Kingdom upon whose throne the Father and the Son will jointly sit.

5. Jesus Christ was greater than Solomon in His works. We would not belittle the mighty deeds of Solomon; they were the marvels of the world; but Jesus Christ has done a work that no other ever did. The sphere of His work touches every human life, and reaches from time to eternity.

6. Jesus Christ was greater than Solomon in His claims. Solomon was admired and honored as few kings were ever honored. Jesus Christ has been worshiped from Adam down to this hour by multitudes, not only by multitudes of men, but by innumerable hosts of angels.

If the Queen of Sheba came to see Solomon, how much more should Jewry have come to see and to glorify the Son of God!


There is something very significant about the expression, "And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the Name of the Lord."

1. She heard through his servants. We must remember that in those days communications were not so easily carried on among the nations and the peoples of the earth. Long distances were very long and difficult to travel. The Queen of Sheba had heard of Solomon, no doubt, through the traders of his realm who went everywhere. They must have carried a good report. We fear that the traders from our own country, or the sight-seers, the tourists, do not always carry a good report of our fair land. Those who carry on trades, not only deal in many things which are hurtful and harmful, but sometimes they drive very hard bargains.

The traders from Solomon's realm dealt honorably, and everywhere they went they must have talked of Solomon.

We wonder if we, as Christian people, go hither and thither throughout many lands carrying a good report of our Lord.

2. She heard of his glory. Certainly Christians have plenty to talk about concerning the greater than Solomon. His glory surpasses all that has ever been known or heard. Each one of us is sent forth to tell that glory, not that we may magnify our own name, but His. We are His witnesses.

3. She heard of his riches. And how rich is our God! The cattle on a thousand hills are His. The silver and the gold are His; the world is His, and the fullness thereof. The Heavenly orbs were all created by Him, and for Him.

4. Perhaps, the most significant thing is the statement that the queen of Sheba heard the fame of Solomon concerning his Lord. He was not separated from his God whom he loved and served. Neither are we separated from our God. If people hear of us, we trust that they always hear of us in our relationship to our Master.

II. THE QUEEN OF SHEBA CAME (1 Kings 10:1 , l.c.-2)

Our Scripture reads: "She came to prove him with hard questions. And she came to Jerusalem."

1. A long and arduous journey. We have spoken of the difficulty of travel in those days. The queen of Sheba had no swiftly flying train or automobile, or airship. She, doubtless, traveled by camel. It is not always easy to get to our God. There is so much that we must wade through before we can possibly reach His presence. Yes, God is near, yet the unbeliever feels that He is a long way off, so far as his approach to God is concerned. He feels that he has many sins and, perhaps, many misunderstandings, many doubts and fears, through which he must travel to get to the Saviour.

The Queen of Sheba did not count the long journey too much, and we trust that no unbeliever will think his difficulties too great for him to journey through to God.

2. She came filled with questions. She was not a doubter so far as Solomon was concerned, but she had heard of his wisdom as well as of his glory; and there were many things in her mind which she wished him to settle. Her questions, no doubt, had to do with the affairs of state, with philosophical matters, or with questions of astrology. Whatever they were, she found him able to answer.

We have a perfect right to come to God with our questions. There are too many who think they know it all, and if they have a question, they would prefer to go to some philosopher or scholar. Such men certainly could not help them in any question relative to things Divine. There are questions of life and death, of Heaven and of hell, of Christ's Virgin Birth, His Deity, His vicarious Death, of Salvation and Sanctification. All of these we must bring to Him, and His Word.

3. She came with anticipation. If we do come to Christ, let us not come as a matter of form, cold-hearted, with sinister spirit. If we come to Him, let us come expecting, believing, anticipating; let us come as though we were glad to come. God help us to throw to the winds the thought of going to church on Sunday as a duty. Let us not sit in the pews as if it were a bore to be there. Let us give our preacher a countenance illumined with expectant joy.

III. THE QUEEN OF SHEBA SAW (1 Kings 10:4-5 )

1. She saw all of Solomon's wisdom. Beloved, we never will weary of talking of the wisdom of our God. The wisdom of this world with its scholars is foolishness when compared with the wisdom Divine. Our Lord Jesus Christ is omniscient. There is not a word in our tongue but what God knows it altogether. He knows the way we take; He knows the end from the beginning; the future is open to His sight. He knows all about history because He was there. He knows all about prophecy because there is no future to Him. He sees everything as though it had already happened.

2. She saw the house which Solomon had built. We also may see the house which our Lord has built. What a wonderful house it is! We are not speaking of the Heavenly City, with its many mansions. That will be marvelous to behold; we are speaking just now of that house made, not with hands, nor material. It is an house, even the Church of our God. Ephesians tells us that we are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit. God's House is a wonderful house.

3. She saw Solomon's servants. Those who waited upon him, his ministers. We read that she saw their apparel; she saw their ministry; she saw them standing before him; she saw them do his bidding; she saw them arrayed in the garments of his righteousness, made beautiful because of the kingliness which he put upon them.

4. She saw Solomon's ascent. Perhaps, the most striking statement of all is that she saw his ascent to the house of the Lord. How many have ever viewed the ascent of our Lord as He went into glory? He was accompanied by seraphim and cherubim, with innumerable hosts of angelic beings, by saints whom He led with Him. One day we will ascend into the House of our Lord.

IV. THE QUEEN OF SHEBA SAID (1 Kings 10:6-9 )

The last statement of 1 Kings 10:5 is, perhaps, unsurpassed in our lesson. It was spoken just after the Queen of Sheba had seen all of Solomon's wisdom, his house, his servants, his ascent to the House of the Lord. Here are the words: "There was no spirit in her."

Have you ever beheld the glory of your God until you felt that there was no spirit left in you? You were overwhelmed, amazed, filled with praise?

1. She said, "It was * * true." "Thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard." "Behold, the half was not told me." Such matchless statements! She was willing, yea anxious, to come. It did not seem that what she heard could be true, but she was determined to find out.

I love that expression in the Book of Acts: "Many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds." He who will dare to come to the Lord will find Him true, and will find everything true that was heard about Him. When the Children of Israel came into the land they said that there had not failed one good thing of all that was promised them.

Oh, that the unsaved would be willing to put God to the test. Oh, that they would come and try Him, and see whether it is all true.

2, She said, "the half was not told me." Not only did the Queen of Sheba find everything they had told, true; but she found that the servants could not tell the half of the wisdom, prosperity, and fame of Solomon concerning the Lord.

Beloved, we have never been able to overpreach and overlive the glory of our God. Everything we say of His Cross, of His Resurrection, of His Ascension, of His Second Coming, falls far short of their reality.

3. She said, "Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee." Here was a concession on the part of the Queen of Sheba that is true of us who stand before our Lord and serve Him. We, too, are called "Happy" or "Blessed."

V. THE QUEEN OF SHEBA GAVE (1 Kings 10:10 )

When she left home, she left with a very great train of camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. Now that she had seen the king, his wisdom, his house, his glory, she delivered unto him her gifts. They are specified in 1 Kings 10:10 . There were "an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones."

Of the spices it is recorded there came no such abundance to King Solomon as those which were brought by the Queen of Sheba.

Beloved, is it not meet that when we come into the presence of our God we should come with gifts worthy, at least, of our love? To be sure, we cannot enrich Him, but we can, at least, acknowledge His riches and His glory.

1. She gave the praise of her lips. This is a gift which is acceptable unto our Lord. Praise is comely. Praise pleaseth the Lord, and magnifies Him. It will be a wonderful sight when the heavens reverberate with praise at the Second Coming of Christ. Every Lord's Day as praise ascends from thousands of churches, and from multiplied thousands of hearts, we know that Heaven bends to hear.

2. She gave gifts of gold, precious stones, and spices. When we give back to God tokens of our appreciation and love, let us not give so miserly and grudgingly. Let us never give of necessity. God loves a cheerful giver. The queen certainly was that. Solomon rejoiced in her gifts, and God will rejoice in ours.

Many of us should be ashamed of the way we put our gifts into the treasury of our God. Some people sit in church as though they had done something, yet what they have done has been done without any hilariousness, without any thrill of pleasure, or genuine love to God. Would the governor receive a gift given in such a spirit? Would your wife? Offer her a gift in that spirit and see how she would feel about it.


The queen was not the only one who gave. 1 Kings 10:10 says, "And she gave the king"; 1 Kings 10:13 says, "And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba." Of one thing we may be sure: God will not let us do all of the giving. Have we not read, "Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over"? The promise of Malachi 3:10 says that if we bring unto God our tithes He will open the windows of Heaven and pour us out a blessing such as there shall not be room to receive. Who is he, and where is he who can count God's goodness to him? The truth is what have we that He has not given unto us?

There are three statements about the gifts of Solomon.

1. He gave her all her desire. Sometimes I think God has put into our hands the measuring line of faith, and He says, "Place your measuring line on the goods, and just as far as it reaches, I will cut it off for you." We have not, because we ask not. The Lord plainly told His disciples to ask and they would receive. He said, "Unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that ye ask or think."

2. He gave her out of his bounty. The rich feel that in giving meager gifts they place shame upon their own wealth. The poor can give but little. The rich can give much. It is said that Alexander found a soldier asleep in his tent, his head in his arms, and a paper on which he had been writing was covered with tears. The emperor took the paper, and on it he saw a list of debts. It was a tremendous amount. The man had written at the bottom of the paper, "Who can pay it?" Alexander the Great wrote one word: "Alexander." Then he left it for the young man to behold.

It matters not how great our debt of sin was. His bounty paid it. It matters not how much of love, or joy, or peace, or patience we owe to our fellow men, His bounty will pay it.

VII. THE QUEEN OF SHEBA RETURNED (1 Kings 10:13 , l.c.)

"So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants."

1. Mark the expression she "went to her own country." Where should we go? Where should we take the message of God's greatness, His glory, and His saving power?

(1) We should go to our own home. That is where the queen went. Every one of us should tell those of our own immediate circle of the glorious Saviour we have found. Piety begins at home.

(2) We should go out into the byways and hedges. We should not be content to have those only in our homes hear the Word; those in the city, in the country, in the town- to all we must tell the message of life and light.

(3) To the ends of the earth. The last command of our Lord was "Go ye into all the world." Not only that, but unto "every creature."

2. She went to her own country with a new vision, a new knowledge, and a new confession. She had come to Solomon with questions. She went back with her questions answered. She had come to Solomon not believing all she had heard. She returned saying, "The half was not told me."

Beloved, our experience of meeting the Lord should not only give us a new testimony as we return to our own country, but it should give us a new life in their midst. The queen went back a different woman. For our part we are glad she went back to her country. Her country needed the message and the light she had to give. We believe that everyone who has come to the Lord Jesus, and has met Him, has seen Him, and heard Him, should take the new faith, the new joy, the new peace and the new life, and put it back in the old place.


The Queen of Sheba sought and found.

"A strange sight was seen on the Mystic River, Massachusetts. Some boys who were constructing a shanty on the flats dug up a pot containing about $300 in old silver coins. The dates on the coins found by the boys ranged between 1717 and 1838. There were coins of England, France, Greece, Spain, all of the South American countries and also American pieces. Most of the American money was minted between 1828 and 1838. The place where the money was found is within a stone's throw of the historic Craddock House of Revolutionary fame and on the site of one of the shipyards which, fifty years ago, fronted both sides of the Mystic. The discovery brought out an army of men who dug up the whole river bank for lost treasures, and were rewarded by an additional find of $35 in coin. If men were only as deeply concerned in looking for the hidden treasures of the Kingdom of Heaven, they would surely find."

Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on 1 Kings 10". "Living Water".