June 21, 1 Kings 10-11, 2 Chronicles 9

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The Queen of Sheba

10 The queen of Sheba heard about Solomon’s fame connected with the name of the Lord and came to test him with difficult questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very large entourage, with camels bearing spices, gold in great abundance, and precious stones. She came to Solomon and spoke to him about everything that was on her mind. So Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too difficult for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba observed all of Solomon’s wisdom, the palace he had built, the food at his table, his servants’ residence, his attendants’ service and their attire, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he offered at the Lord’s temple, it took her breath away.

She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your words and about your wisdom is true. But I didn’t believe the reports until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, I was not even told half. Your wisdom and prosperity far exceed the report I heard. How happy are your men.[a] How happy are these servants of yours, who always stand in your presence hearing your wisdom. Blessed be the Lord your God! He delighted in you and put you on the throne of Israel, because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel. He has made you king to carry out justice and righteousness.”

10 Then she gave the king four and a half tons[b] of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones. Never again did such a quantity of spices arrive as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

11 In addition, Hiram’s fleet that carried gold from Ophir brought from Ophir a large quantity of almug[c] wood and precious stones. 12 The king made the almug wood into steps for the Lord’s temple and the king’s palace and into lyres and harps for the singers. Never before did such almug wood arrive, and the like has not been seen again.

13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba her every desire—whatever she asked—besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she, along with her servants, returned to her own country.

Solomon’s Wealth

14 The weight of gold that came to Solomon annually was twenty-five tons,[d] 15 besides what came from merchants, traders’ merchandise, and all the Arabian kings and governors of the land.

16 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; fifteen pounds[e] of gold went into each shield. 17 He made three hundred small shields of hammered gold; nearly four pounds[f] of gold went into each shield. The king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon.

18 The king also made a large ivory throne and overlaid it with fine gold. 19 The throne had six steps; there was a rounded top at the back of the throne, armrests on either side of the seat, and two lions standing beside the armrests. 20 Twelve lions were standing there on the six steps, one at each end. Nothing like it had ever been made in any other kingdom.

21 All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were gold, and all the utensils of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. There was no silver, since it was considered as nothing in Solomon’s time, 22 for the king had ships of Tarshish at sea with Hiram’s fleet, and once every three years the ships of Tarshish would arrive bearing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.[g]

23 King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the world in riches and in wisdom. 24 The whole world wanted an audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom that God had put in his heart. 25 Every man would bring his annual tribute: items[h] of silver and gold, clothing, weapons,[i] spices, and horses and mules.

26 Solomon accumulated 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen and stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar as abundant as sycamore in the Judean foothills. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and Kue.[j] The king’s traders bought them from Kue at the going price. 29 A chariot was imported from Egypt for fifteen pounds[k] of silver, and a horse for four pounds.[l] In the same way, they exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and to the kings of Aram through their agents.

Solomon’s Unfaithfulness to God

11 King Solomon loved many foreign women in addition to Pharaoh’s daughter: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women from the nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, and they must not intermarry with you, because they will turn your heart away to follow their gods.” To these women Solomon was deeply attached[m] in love. He had seven hundred wives who were princesses and three hundred who were concubines, and they turned his heart away.

When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away to follow other gods. He was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been. Solomon followed Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom, the abhorrent idol of the Ammonites. Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, and unlike his father David, he did not remain loyal to the Lord.

At that time, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the abhorrent idol of Moab, and for Milcom,[n] the abhorrent idol of the Ammonites, on the hill across from Jerusalem. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who were burning incense and offering sacrifices to their gods.

The Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 He had commanded him about this, so that he would not follow other gods, but Solomon did not do what the Lord had commanded.

11 Then the Lord said to Solomon, “Since you have done this[o] and did not keep my covenant and my statutes, which I commanded you, I will tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12 However, I will not do it during your lifetime for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of your son’s hand. 13 Yet I will not tear the entire kingdom away from him. I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem that I chose.”

Solomon’s Enemies

14 So the Lord raised up Hadad the Edomite as an enemy against Solomon. He was of the royal family in Edom. 15 Earlier, when David was in Edom, Joab, the commander of the army, had gone to bury the dead and had struck down every male in Edom. 16 For Joab and all Israel had remained there six months, until he had killed every male in Edom. 17 Hadad fled to Egypt, along with some Edomites from his father’s servants. At the time Hadad was a small boy. 18 Hadad and his men set out from Midian and went to Paran. They took men with them from Paran and went to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave Hadad a house, ordered that he be given food, and gave him land. 19 Pharaoh liked Hadad so much[p] that he gave him a wife, the sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes. 20 Tahpenes’s sister gave birth to Hadad’s son Genubath. Tahpenes herself weaned him in Pharaoh’s palace, and Genubath lived there along with Pharaoh’s sons.

21 When Hadad heard in Egypt that David rested with his ancestors and that Joab, the commander of the army, was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me leave, so I may go to my own country.”

22 But Pharaoh asked him, “What do you lack here with me for you to want to go back to your own country?”

“Nothing,” he replied, “but please let me leave.”

23 God raised up Rezon son of Eliada as an enemy against Solomon. Rezon had fled from his master King Hadadezer of Zobah 24 and gathered men to himself. He became leader of a raiding party when David killed the Zobaites. He[q] went to Damascus, lived there, and became king in Damascus. 25 Rezon was Israel’s enemy throughout Solomon’s reign, adding to the trouble Hadad had caused. He reigned over Aram[r] and loathed Israel.

26 Now Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam son of Nebat, was an Ephraimite from Zeredah. His widowed mother’s name was Zeruah. Jeroboam rebelled against Solomon, 27 and this is the reason he rebelled against the king: Solomon had built the supporting terraces and repaired the opening in the wall of the city of his father David. 28 Now the man Jeroboam was capable, and Solomon noticed the young man because he was getting things done. So he appointed him over the entire labor force of the house of Joseph.

29 During that time, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met Jeroboam on the road as Jeroboam came out of Jerusalem. Now Ahijah had wrapped himself with a new cloak, and the two of them were alone in the open field. 30 Then Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he had on, tore it into twelve pieces, 31 and said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I am about to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand. I will give you ten tribes, 32 but one tribe will remain his for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I chose out of all the tribes of Israel. 33 For they have abandoned me; they have bowed down to Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, to Chemosh, the god of Moab, and to Milcom, the god of the Ammonites. They have not walked in my ways to do what is right in my sight and to carry out my statutes and my judgments as his father David did.

34 “‘However, I will not take the whole kingdom from him but will let him be ruler all the days of his life for the sake of my servant David, whom I chose and who kept my commands and my statutes. 35 I will take ten tribes of the kingdom from his son and give them to you. 36 I will give one tribe to his son, so that my servant David will always have a lamp[s] before me in Jerusalem, the city I chose for myself to put my name there. 37 I will appoint you, and you will reign as king over all you want, and you will be king over Israel.

38 “‘After that, if you obey all I command you, walk in my ways, and do what is right in my sight in order to keep my statutes and my commands as my servant David did, I will be with you. I will build you a lasting dynasty just as I built for David, and I will give you Israel. 39 I will humble David’s descendants, because of their unfaithfulness, but not forever.’”[t]

40 Therefore, Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but he fled to Egypt, to King Shishak of Egypt, where he remained until Solomon’s death.

Solomon’s Death

41 The rest of the events of Solomon’s reign, along with all his accomplishments and his wisdom, are written in the Book of Solomon’s Events. 42 The length of Solomon’s reign in Jerusalem over all Israel totaled forty years. 43 Solomon rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of his father David. His son Rehoboam became king in his place.

The Queen of Sheba

The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, so she came to test Solomon with difficult questions at Jerusalem with a very large entourage, with camels bearing spices, gold in abundance, and precious stones. She came to Solomon and spoke with him about everything that was on her mind. So Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too difficult for Solomon to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba observed Solomon’s wisdom, the palace he had built, the food at his table, his servants’ residence, his attendants’ service and their attire, his cupbearers and their attire, and the burnt offerings he offered at the Lord’s temple, it took her breath away.

She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your words and about your wisdom is true. But I didn’t believe their reports until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, I was not even told half of your great wisdom! You far exceed the report I heard. How happy are your men.[a] How happy are these servants of yours, who always stand in your presence hearing your wisdom. Blessed be the Lord your God! He delighted in you and put you on his throne as king for the Lord your God. Because your God loved Israel enough to establish them forever, he has set you over them as king to carry out justice and righteousness.”

Then she gave the king four and a half tons[b] of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones. There never were such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. 10 In addition, Hiram’s servants and Solomon’s servants who brought gold from Ophir also brought algum wood and precious stones. 11 The king made the algum wood into walkways for the Lord’s temple and for the king’s palace and into lyres and harps for the singers. Never before had anything like them been seen in the land of Judah.

12 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba her every desire, whatever she asked—far more than she had brought the king. Then she, along with her servants, returned to her own country.

Solomon’s Wealth

13 The weight of gold that came to Solomon annually was twenty-five tons,[c] 14 besides what was brought by the merchants and traders. All the Arabian kings and governors of the land also brought gold and silver to Solomon.

15 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; 15 pounds[d] of hammered gold went into each shield. 16 He made three hundred small shields of hammered gold; 7½ pounds[e] of gold went into each shield. The king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon.

17 The king also made a large ivory throne and overlaid it with pure gold. 18 The throne had six steps; there was a footstool covered in gold for the throne, armrests on either side of the seat, and two lions standing beside the armrests. 19 Twelve lions were standing there on the six steps, one at each end. Nothing like it had ever been made in any other kingdom.

20 All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were gold, and all the utensils of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. There was no silver, since it was considered as nothing in Solomon’s time, 21 for the king’s ships kept going to Tarshish with Hiram’s servants, and once every three years the ships of Tarshish would arrive bearing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.[f]

22 King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the world in riches and wisdom. 23 All the kings of the world wanted an audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 24 Each of them would bring his own gift—items[g] of silver and gold, clothing, weapons,[h][i] spices, and horses and mules—as an annual tribute.

25 Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. He stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 26 He ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines and as far as the border of Egypt. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar as abundant as sycamore in the Judean foothills. 28 They were bringing horses for Solomon from Egypt and from all the countries.

Solomon’s Death

29 The remaining events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the Events of the Prophet Nathan, the Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and the Visions of the Seer Iddo concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat. 30 Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. 31 Solomon rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of his father David. His son Rehoboam became king in his place.

So much emphasis in Christian circles today is placed on how you started with Christianity. And although it is important for us to share how we were saved, it is just as important for us to finish the race well. Solomon did not follow in the steps of his dad and he did not finish the race well. We find out in today’s reading he allowed his wives to turn his heart away from God. This is interesting to me because he is called to be the leader of his family, and yet he is influenced by his wives to turn his heart away from God. Pray today and ask God to give you the strength to finish the race well.

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