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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Queen of Sheba
1. Old Testament Accounts:
The two Old Testament accounts of the coming of the queen of Sheba (see
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 ff).
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
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Queen of Sheba'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/q/queen-of-sheba.html. 1915.