“When the Queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship
with God, she compiled her questions and set out to find him.”
(1 Kings 10:1)
In every town, no matter how disadvantaged, there is almost always a neighborhood or section where the
wealthiest of its citizens live. The same is also true regionally - the privileged flock to certain areas. It isn’t
often that a lower middle class person resides on prime real estate strategically located with an ocean view.
And people generally associate with others on an equal social level; that level being established by money.
In the US the mega rich, perhaps 500 families of multi-millionaires, bond among themselves with no one
being the wiser.
It has always been this way and therefore the connection between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon
comes as no surprise. They were both mega rich. Aside from this one recorded encounter there isn’t a lot
known about Sheba herself, but there is just enough to make it interesting. By his own admission Solomon
was a black man (“Do not stare at me because I am so dark” - Song of Songs 1:6) and it is believed that the
royal city of Sheba (aka Saba) was located in Ethiopia; therefore she was most likely black too.
There are archaeological studies which have unearthed proof of the existence of the city of Sheba. It was
well fortified by massive walls and protected by three major rivers: the Nile, the Astapus, and the Astaboras.
Apparently the queen had her act together as did Solomon. A commonality. Her territory at large was
considered Semitic which means that their language and culture were compatible with Solomon’s domain.
Semitic people were thought to be descendents of Shem, one of Noah’s sons, and there is the possibility that
the citizens of Sheba shared that ancestry.
So, the Queen of Sheba decided to travel to Jerusalem to visit King Solomon. Did he know she was coming?
Well, how could a royal caravan travelling with probably hundreds of servants and countless numbers of
camels, oxen, and in this case maybe elephants loaded down with truckloads of camping equipment and
extravagant gifts get very far without anyone noticing? The paparazzi reports were probably pouring in by
the hour. Solomon could only hope this was a friendly visit because no one had phoned ahead. The
caravan was transporting huge amounts of spices, valuable stones and jewelry, gold, choice wood, and
goodness knows whatever other freebies she had with her. She might have been almost as rich as he. Four
and a half tons of gold, by the way.
He may have been guarded, may have had legions of fighting men waiting in the shadows, may have had
plan B in case something went awry, but nevertheless in all likelihood there was an unprecedented royal
welcome waiting to greet her and her party upon arrival. It was no small event in either of the monarch’s
lives. The bond, the “surely we must have a lot in common because we’re mega rich” was definitely a
She felt she needed to find out all about Solomon. Sure, maybe he could give her hints on tightening up
loose ends within her domain, maybe their conversations leaned political, and maybe they talked affairs of
state, or climate, or family. Maybe all of it. To this day the imperial family of Ethiopia lays claim that Sheba
and Solomon were their ancestral beginnings, so who knows, maybe they did a little fooling around.
(Personally, I don’t think so.) Maybe he asked her to marry him, but with all those concubines she wouldn’t
exactly feel like she was number one in his life, so she would have turned that down in a heartbeat.
They exchanged presents, lots and lots of them. Like either of them needed one more thing. And in time
she went on her merry way and he, well, he didn’t go anywhere. Didn’t have to. He just got a whole lot richer
and it literally landed on his doorstep.
When it comes down to it, it wasn’t the wealth factor at all. The real reason she held out the olive branch was
because she had heard that Solomon revered the name of the Lord. That fascinated her, intrigued her, and
Scripture tells us she had some pretty difficult questions for him. See, even the mega rich are in need of a
Savior. All the “stuff’ we accumulate doesn’t cut it. The void never goes away if God isn’t in your life.
“The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom.”
(I Kings 3:10)