Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.Ch. 2 Chronicles 9:1-12 (= 1 Kings 10:1-13). The Visit of the Queen of Sheba
1. Sheba] An important district in Arabia Felix, the seat of a kingdom. Psalm 72:10.
hard questions] Heb. ḥidoth, “dark sayings” (Proverbs 1:6); the sing. is translated “riddle” (Jdg 14:12-18).
a very great company] R.V. a very great train (as 1 Kin.).
And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not.2. nothing] R.V. not any thing (as 1 Kin.).
And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,
And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.4. and their apparel] The phrase is repeated probably through an error of transcription; it occurs once only in the parallel place in 1 Kin.
his ascent by which he went up] Render (if the text be sound), his manner of going up, i.e. the pomp with which he went up (so Targ.); but LXX. and Pesh. give, the burnt-offerings which he used to offer, a rendering which is right in 1 Kings 10:5 (cp. R.V. mg.). The difference of reading between Chron. and 1 Kin. in the Heb. is slight.
And she said to the king, It was a true report which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom:5. of thine acts] Lit. of thy matters; the reference is quite general.
Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame that I heard.6. the greatness of thy wisdom] Cp. 1 Kings 10:7, “thy wisdom and prosperity.”
Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom.
Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the LORD thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment and justice.8. on his throne] The Israelite throne is God’s; the visible king occupies it only as a deputy. Cp. 1 Chronicles 28:5 (“the throne of the kingdom of the Lord”); ibid. 1 Chronicles 29:23 (“Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord”).
And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave king Solomon.9. an hundred and twenty talents of gold] A sum so large must be regarded rather as tribute than as a complimentary gift.
any such spice] i.e. as in 1 Kin. “such abundance of spices.”
And the servants also of Huram, and the servants of Solomon, which brought gold from Ophir, brought algum trees and precious stones.10. algum trees] in 1 Kin. “almug trees.” Cp. 2 Chronicles 2:8 (note).
10, 11. These vv. interrupt the connexion. 2 Chronicles 9:12 concludes the account of the visit of the Queen of Sheba.
And the king made of the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king's palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.11. terraces] Perhaps “raised paths.” In 1 Kings 10:12 a different Heb. word is used, which means probably “railings” (“pillars,” A.V.).
psalteries] Cp. 1 Chronicles 13:8 (note).
in the land of Judah] Here the Chronicler speaks as a man of his own age. We should expect, land of Israel.
And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which she had brought unto the king. So she turned, and went away to her own land, she and her servants.12. besides that which she had brought unto the king] This means that the king beside returning the queen the value of her presents to him, also gave her additional gifts; cp. 1 Kings 10:13.
Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and threescore and six talents of gold;13–28 (= 1 Kings 10:14-28). Solomon’s Greatness
13. six hundred and threescore and six] This may be called a “round” number, for a system of counting based on the number six was known in ancient times, e.g. among the Assyrians.
Beside that which chapmen and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.14. chapmen] R.V. the chapmen. The English word means “merchant”; cp. the verb, “to chaffer” and the German “Kaufmann.” The Heb. word means “those who go about” as merchants.
governors] Heb. Paḥoth, a word applied specially to governors of provinces of the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian empires. Probably here governors outside the land of Israel are meant.
And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of beaten gold went to one target.15. targets] Heb. çinnâh, a word meaning a large shield; cp. 1 Samuel 17:7. On the other hand in 2 Chronicles 9:16 (Heb. mâgçn) small shields are meant. The English renderings should be transposed so as to be “shields” in 2 Chronicles 9:15 and “targets” in 2 Chronicles 9:16.
went to one target] Render (also in 2 Chronicles 9:16) were spread upon one target.
And three hundred shields made he of beaten gold: three hundred shekels of gold went to one shield. And the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.16. shields] See note on 2 Chronicles 9:15.
the house of the forest of Lebanon] So called probably because it was built of cedar of Lebanon (1 Kings 7:2). It was in Jerusalem and seems to have existed as late as the time of Isaiah (Isaiah 22:8) as an armoury.
Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold.
And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays on each side of the sitting place, and two lions standing by the stays:18. with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne] A quite different detail takes the place of this in 1 Kings 10:19, and the top of the throne was round behind. Perhaps both details were found in the original text of Kings.
and stays on each side of the sitting place] R.V. and stays (mg. “arms”) on either side by the place of the seat.
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.
And all the drinking vessels of king Solomon 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 not any thing accounted of in the days of Solomon.20. none were of silver; it was not any thing accounted of] R.V. silver was nothing accounted of.
For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.21. For the king’s ships went to Tarshish] R.V. For the king had ships that went to Tarshish. Here the Chronicler misunderstands the parallel passage (1 Kings 10:22, “For the king had at sea a navy of Tarshish”). “Navy (or ‘ships’) of Tarshish” is a phrase meaning large ships fit for long voyages; cp. Psalm 48:7. The merchandise mentioned in this verse doubtless came from the East and not from Tarshish (= Tartessus in Spain).
every three years once] R.V. once every three years.
apes] These animals were much sought after; they appear e.g. pictured in relief on the Black Obelisk (in the British Museum) among the tribute received by Shalmaneser II. of Assyria.
And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.22. And king Solomon passed] R.V. So king Solomon exceeded (so 1 Kings 10:13).
And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.23. all the kings of the earth] In 1 Kings, all the earth.
And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.24. his present] i.e. his tribute.
harness] R.V. armour (so Pesh. of 1 Kin. and Targ. of 2 Chr. and 1 Kin.). A less probable rendering is στακτὴ (“oil of myrrh”) LXX. (in both places), “myrrh,” Pesh. of 2 Chr.
And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.25. four thousand stalls for horses and chariots] In the parallel passage (1 Kings 4:26 = 2 Chronicles 5:6 Heb.), forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots. The meaning of the word rendered “stalls” is quite uncertain. The rendering of the LXX. suggests “brood-mares” as the meaning.
twelve thousand horsemen] So 1 Kings 4:26 (2 Chronicles 5:6 Heb.); and 2 Chronicles 1:14 (= 1 Kings 10:26).
chariot cities] See note on 2 Chronicles 1:14.
And he reigned over all the kings from the river even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt.26. from the river] R.V. from the River, i.e. the Euphrates.
even unto the land of the Philistines] The Philistines seem to have been able to keep their independence.
And the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the low plains in abundance.27. cedar trees] Rather, cedar wood.
sycomore] i.e. the fig-mulberry, not now a common tree in Palestine; cp. 1 Chronicles 27:28, note.
the low plains] R.V. the lowland (Heb. “Shephelah”). See G. A. Smith, Hist. Geography, Chap. 10. “The Shephelah.”
And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt, and out of all lands.28. And they brought etc.] Cp. 2 Chronicles 1:16-17.
Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?29. the book of Nathan] Cp. 1 Chronicles 29:29.
Ahijah the Shilonite] 1 Kings 11:29; 1 Kings 14:2 ff.
Iddo] Heb. Jedai or Jedo (probably a mis-spelling); cp. 2 Chronicles 12:15; 2 Chronicles 13:22.
29–31 (= 1 Kings 11:41-43). The Epilogue
An important section of 1 Kin. (2 Chronicles 11:1-23) giving an account of Solomon’s patronage of idolatry and of the troubles of his reign is unnoticed by the Chronicler.
And Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years.30. forty years] The number is perhaps a round number; cp. Jdg 3:30; Jdg 5:31; Jdg 8:28; Jdg 13:1.
And Solomon slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.31. slept with his fathers] This is not said of David (1 Chronicles 29:28), perhaps because David’s father was not a king.
in the city of David] 1 Chronicles 11:7.