1 Kings 10:1
Now when the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with difficult questions.
A Royal Seeker After WisdomAlexander Maclaren1 Kings 10:1
The Queen of the SouthJ. Waite 1 Kings 10:1-3
A Queen's ExampleMarianne Farningham.1 Kings 10:1-13
Beauty AttractingHelps to Speakers.1 Kings 10:1-13
Christ the Revealer of TruthCynddylon Jones.1 Kings 10:1-13
Consulting with Jesus1 Kings 10:1-13
How to Act When PerplexedHomiletic Review1 Kings 10:1-13
Questions AnsweredE. J. Hardy, M. A.1 Kings 10:1-13
The Queen of ShebaJ. Macaulay, M. A.1 Kings 10:1-13
The Queen of ShebaJ. Parker, D. D.1 Kings 10:1-13
The Queen of ShebaR. Young, M. A.1 Kings 10:1-13
The Queen of ShebaG. M. Grant, B. D.1 Kings 10:1-13
The Queen of Sheba's VisitC. S. Robinson, D. D.1 Kings 10:1-13
The Wisdom of SolomonMonday Club Sermons1 Kings 10:1-13
The Queen of ShebaA. Rowland 1 Kings 10:1-18
This incident is remarkable as the only one in the reign of Solomon to which reference is made in the New Testament. Solomon is twice spoken of by our Lord in His recorded discourses. In one case his royal magnificence is declared inferior to the beauty with which God has clothed the "lilies of the field." "Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these" (Matthew 6:29). Art can never vie with nature. What loveliness of form or hue that human skill can produce is comparable with that of the petals of a flower? What is all the glory with which man may robe himself to that which is the product of the creative finger of God? In the other case, it is the wisdom of Solomon that our Lord refers to, as having its widespread fame illustrated by the visit of the Queen of Sheba, and as being surpassed by the higher revelation of truth in Himself. "The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment," etc. (Matthew 12:42). The interest and importance of this incident is greatly heightened by its thus finding a place in the discourses of Christ. In itself there is no very deep meaning in it. It supplies few materials for high moral or spiritual teaching. The interchange of civilities between two Oriental monarchs is related by the historian with innocent pride, as setting forth the surpassing grandeur of the king whose reign was to him the golden age of his own nation's life. There is something of a romantic charm in it, too, that naturally gave rise to fanciful traditions being added to the biblical story. But beyond this it is an event of no great moment. This use of it, however, by our Lord lifts it out of the region of the commonplace, gives it other than a mere secular meaning, makes it an important channel of Divine instruction. Every name is honoured by association with His. Every incident becomes clothed with sacred interest when made to illustrate the relation of human souls to Him. Let us look at these two persons, then, in the light of the New Testament reference to their interview.

I. SOLOMON, IN HIS WISDOM, A TYPE OF THE "GREATER" CHRIST. The distinctive personal characteristic of Solomon was his "wisdom." The fame of it is regarded by some as marking the uprising of a new and hitherto unknown power in Israel. Whence came this new phenomenon? We trace it to a Divine source. "The Lord gave unto David this wise son" (1 Kings 5:7). "God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much" (1 Kings 4:29). No doubt the extended intercourse with surrounding nations that he established was the beginning of a new life to Israel, bringing in a flood of new ideas and interests. This supplied materials for his wisdom but did not create it. It was not learnt from Egypt, or the "children of the East." It was a Divine gift, that came in response to his own prayer (1 Kings 3:9).

1. One broad feature that strikes us in Solomon's wisdom is its remarkable versatility, the variety of its phases, the way in which its light played freely on all sorts of subjects. It dealt with the objects and processes of nature. It was a kind of natural science. He has been called "the founder of Hebrew science," the "first of the world's great naturalists." "He spake of trees, from the cedar tree," etc. (1 Kings 4:33). One would like to know what the range and quality of his science really was; but the Bible, existing as it does for far other than scientific purposes, does not satisfy our curiosity in this respect. It dealt with moral facts and problems - a true practical philosophy of life; its proper ends and aims, its governing principles, the meaning of its experiences, its besetting dangers and possible rewards. It dealt with the administration of national affairs. This is seen in his assertion of the principle of eternal righteousness as the law by which the ruler of men must himself be ruled. His wisdom lay in the gift of "an understanding heart to judge the people and discern between good and evil," and the people "feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment" (1 Kings 4:29). We are thus reminded of the unity of nature and of human life. Truth is one, whether in thought, feeling, or conduct, in things private or public, secular or spiritual. Wisdom is the power that discerns and utilizes the innermost truth of all things, finds out and practically applies whatever is essentially Divine.

2. Solomon's wisdom assumed various forms of expression: the Proverbial form, as in the "Book of Proverbs;" the Poetic form, as in his "Songs" and "Psalms;" the Socratic form, by question and answer, riddles - "dark sayings" - and the interpretation thereof. It is in this latter form that his wisdom here appears. Tradition says that Hiram engaged with him in this "cross questioning," and was worsted in the encounter; so here the queen of Sheba came "to prove him with hard questions," and "communing with him of all that was in her heart she found that he could tell her all her questions," etc. By all this we are led to think of "One greater than Solomon."

(1) "Greater," inasmuch as He leads men to wisdom of a higher order. Solomon is the most secular of the inspired writers of the Old Testament. Divine things are approached by him, as it were, on the lower, earthly side. A prudential tone is given to the counsels of religion, and vice is set forth not so much as wickedness but as "folly." Think of the marked difference between the utterances of Solomon's wisdom and the sublime spiritual elevation of David's psalms. And when we come to Christ's teaching, what immeasurably loftier heights and deeper depths of Divine truth are here! Redemption, holiness, immortality, are His themes - the deeper "mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; .... in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:8).

(2) "Greater," inasmuch as the Divine fount of wisdom must needs be infinitely superior to any mere human channel through which it flows. Solomon was after all but a learner, not a master. His were but guesses at truth. Christ's were the authoritative utterances of the incarnate "Word." Solomon spoke according to the limited measure of the spirit of truth in him. Christ spoke out of His own infinite fulness. "God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him" (John 3:34). Whence, indeed, did Solomon's wisdom come but from Him, the true fontal "Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world"? The words that the wise in every age have spoken were but dim, dawning rays of the light that broke in a glorious day upon the world when He, the Sun of Righteousness, arose.

II. THE QUEEN OF SHEBA, IN HER SEARCH AFTER WISDOM, AS AN EXAMPLE FOR OURSELVES. All the motives that actuated herin this long pilgrimage from the far off corner of Arabia we know not. Mere curiosity, commercial interest, personal vanity may have had something to do with it. But the words of the narrative suggest that it was mainly an honest thirst for knowledge, and specially for clearer light on highest matters of human interest. Learn

(1) The nobility of a simple, earnest, restless search after truth.

(2) The grateful respect which a teachable spirit will feel towards one who can unveil the truth to it.

(3) The joyous satisfaction of soul that springs from the discovery of the highest truth. How much does such an example as this in the realms of heathen darkness rebuke the spiritual dulness and indifference of those who with the Light of Life shining gloriously upon them in the person of Christ refuse to welcome it, and walk in it! "Many shall come from the east and the west," etc. (Matthew 8:11, 12). - W.

When the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon.
In this history, there are various points of view wherein the Queen of Sheba appears as a type and representation of the Church, as we know that Solomon is in many respects a striking type of Christ. We have illustrations of God's dealings with His people, and of the workings of Divine grace, in the following particulars relating to the Queen of Sheba.

I. THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD'S ELECTION, AND THE FREENESS OF HIS COVENANT MERCY AND GRACE, are set forth in her being brought to the knowledge of the truth and being taught and led by the Spirit of God. The calling of God is not confined to any time or place or people. Rahab of Jericho, Ruth the Moabitess, Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, the King of Nineveh, and other interesting characters may be cited, along with this Queen of Sheba, to whom God came in the sovereignty and freeness of His grace.

II. WE SEE IN THIS HISTORY HOW THE PURPOSES OF GOD ARE SURE TO BE ACCOMPLISHED AND FULFILLED. In the lives of saints and holy men of old, whether in the Scriptures or in private biographies, many such wonderful leadings of Providence can be admired. Every child of God can tell of such in his own experience.

III. WE OBSERVE IN THE EXPERIENCE OF THE QUEEN OF SHEBA THE ORDINARY WORKINGS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD IN THE HEART. Hard questions arise when the mind thinks at all about spiritual things, and recur all through the Christian's experience.



(J. Macaulay, M. A.)

The Queen of Sheba was an earnest inquirer. She was not content with the reports which she had heard in her own land. She thought she knew something which even he could not answer. She would have her own questions put in her own way. That is what every earnest inquirer must insist upon. No man can ask another man's questions. The inquiry is never the same; in substance it may be identical, but in spirit, in tone, in quality, there is always a critical point and measure of difference, which every man realises for himself, and must insist upon making clear to the person to whom his inquiries are addressed. The Queen of Sheba was herein a model inquirer. She came a long way to see Solomon. She travelled northward, mile by mile, day by day; and the miles seemed nothing, and the days flew away, because her heart was full of a great hope that at last she would receive solutions to problems which had filled her with the spirit of unrest. She put herself to trouble on her own spiritual account. Therefore she became a prepared listener. Persons who do not put themselves to trouble in order to have their case stated and considered are not in a fit position to receive communications from heaven. We must not be mere receivers; we must be suppliants intensely interested in our own prayers, and so enriched with patience and with the grace of rational expectation, that God may see us in a waiting posture, and know that we are tarrying until the door open, or the answer in some way come. The Queen of Sheba represented the common desire of the world. The interview with the king was long-continued and marked by supreme confidence. — "She communed with him of all that was in her heart" (ver. 2). We nowadays cannot get at people's hearts. Civilisation has lent new resources to hypocrisy. We now put questions merely for the sake of putting them, and to such questions kind heaven is dumb. Jesus Christ answered some people "never a word." He looked dumb. They were not speaking of what was in their hearts. Given a hearer who will tell the speaker all that is in his heart, and behold Jesus Himself will draw nigh, and, beginning at Moses, He will pursue His way through prophets and minstrels and all writers, until the listening heart glows with a warmth hitherto unknown. The great questions are in the heart. Let the heart speak its doubts and fears, tell its tale of perverseness, selfishness, littleness, relate all that is in its secret places, and force itself to put into words things that shame the heavens; then we shall see whether the gospel leaves unanswered the great questions of the soul. The Queen of Sheba saw with a trained eye that the accessories were in keeping with the central dignity: "And when the Queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, etc." (vers. 4, 5). This was fair reasoning. We may reason from within. Some cannot begin from the point that is within: for they have no experience that would warrant their assuming the right to reason from such an origin; but the open Bible is accessible to all men — namely, the open Bible of nature, life, and the whole scheme of providence. Jesus Christ often trained His disciples to reason Item the point that was external. The reasoning remains the same to-day in all its broadest effects. How very vividly the Queen of Sheba represented faith as overtaxed — "Howbeit I believed not the words" (ver. 7). No wonder. And herein we should be gentle to those who on hearing the gospel, say, "How can these things be? Whence hath this man this wisdom? Never man spake like this Man!" But the Queen of Sheba also showed that imagination was overborne by fact: "Behold," said she, "the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard" (ver. 7). Here is truth again. This woman is true from the beginning of the interview unto the end. And all that Christ asks of us is to be true, and in our own way to say what we have seen Him do, and especially what we have seen Him do for ourselves. Nor could the Queen of Sheba limit her commendation and ecstasy to the king himself. Said she, "Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom" (ver. 8). And is the servant of Christ unblessed? Are they who are humblest and lowliest in all the Church without benefaction? Nay, do they not all live in the sunshine and eat at the hospitable table of God's own summer? Is there a servant of Christ who has not a heaven of his own? We should be happier if we knew our privileges more. It is an awful thing to have outlived Christian privilege. What use did Jesus Christ make of this incident of the visit of the Queen of Sheba? We find an answer in 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." "A greater than Solomon'" He answers greater questions, He distributes greater blessings, He reigns in more glorious state.

(J. Parker, D. D.)



III. THAT AS WE SHOULD DILIGENTLY, AND IN SPITE OF ALL DIFFICULTIES, SEEK DIVINE TRUTH, SO SHOULD WE ADMIRE IT WHEN WE HAVE FOUND IT. The Queen of Sheba does not attempt enviously to find fault with or to depreciate any of the endowments of King Solomon. She admires heartily his wisdom, his knowledge, his power, his riches, his grandeur. A useful example for the present age — an age especially given to criticise, rather than to admire; an age that laughs at romance, ignores mystery, and ridicules the idea of the supernatural. We know that romance and reality ,are one, that life is itself a mystery, and that without the supernatural there could not be any natural. The credulity of early ages may have been excessive; but it was likely to be productive of more noble deeds than the scepticism and indifference of to-day.

IV. THAT IN MATTERS THAT CONCERN OUR ETERNAL WELFARE IT BEHOVES US TO ACT ON EVIDENCE A LITTLE LESS THAN CERTAINTY. It has sometimes been objected to the Christian creed, that if God had sent it as revelation of His will to man, it ought to have been universally diffused and supported by irrefragable evidence. This argument, however, if carried out to its logical consequence, would go to prove that God ought to have dispensed with the necessity of a revelation to man at all, either by keeping him free from sin, or by supplying him with such an additional faculty as would have enabled him to intuitively grasp spiritual truths. All these suggestions, however, are the presumptions of ignorance. God chose to act in His dealings with men in a certain way; and what is man, that he should question the ways of God?

V. THAT THOSE WHO ARE IN THE PRESENCE OF PERFECT WISDOM MUST BE HAPPY. "Happy," says the Queen of Sheba, "are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom." With God is wisdom; and those therefore who, whether on earth or in heaven, feel themselves to be perpetually in His presence or watched over by His care, are indeed truly happy.

VI. THAT AS THE POSSESSION OF THE WISDOM THAT IS FROM ABOVE CAN ALONE MAKE US TRULY HAPPY, WE OUGHT TO BE PREPARED FOR IT TO OFFER THE BEST GIFTS THAT WE HAVE. The Queen of Sheba pours forth before Solomon her most valuable presents. The best of our life, of our labour, of our talents, of our riches, should we give to God, for from Him we obtained all that we have, and all our blessings we hold at His will.

VII. THAT THE POSSESSION OF HEAVENLY WISDOM, WHICH IS THE TRUE RICHES, MORE THAN COMPENSATES FOR THE LOSS OF ANY UNRIGHTEOUS MAMMON. Not merely is the man who has reached to the appreciation and enjoyment of Divine truth happy, he is also rich — rich in treasures that moth and rust cannot corrupt and that thieves cannot break through to steal.

(R. Young, M. A.)

Mudie has no more interesting story with which to beguile the waiting hours of tired and lonesome women than this old tale of a woman's perplexities and how she solved them. She lived in "the uttermost parts of the earth," and in a far-away time, but we recognise our sister all the same. She had her difficulties and her dreams as we have to-day. She had all a woman's longings to do the right, and to become strong and wise, and able efficiently to discharge her important duties. She was a queen, and had therefore an earnest desire to be the mother of her people. She was, we think, anxious to secure their love, which was, perhaps, not very difficult; and she longed to possess their reverence, which was, possibly, almost more than she could achieve. She had an intuitive comprehension of what real greatness was. And there is no doubt that she felt the need of some one wiser, stronger, better than herself, who should gently, firmly, and unhesitatingly tell her what to do and how to do it. She had, too, the woman's wish to know, which is generally described by the word "curiosity," but to which might often be applied the nobler term "aspiration." She did not like secrets, probably could not keep her own, and took a little trouble to fathom those of other people. But the world was full of secrets which she could not understand. She wanted to know the meaning of everything; but all earth's books were written in strange characters which she could not decipher. It was God whom she wished to hear of — God whom she wished to know — God whom she longed to worship and obey. The queen was much more earnest than curious. Of course she was wearied with her journey. Equally of course there were many enticing things to see in this great, grand place at which she had arrived. But she had come to Jerusalem with one dominant, overpowering intention, and nothing might put her aside from it. First of all, before she looked about her, or even took rest, she must have a long, close talk with the king. "And when she was come to Solomon she communed with him of all that was in her heart." But what if she should be disappointed? She was not the first woman, and she most certainly was not the last, who has come to a king among men, with trembling hopefulness that her ignorance might be instructed, and her doubts set at rest. What if he should prove but little better than other men, and she should discover that the greatness of his wisdom was only pretence, and that his superiority lay only upon the surface? Alas for the queen if this should be! for then she would wearily return to her own country, and there hopelessly search in the darkness for that which she could never find. But we, who sympathise with her, are glad to know that it was not so. For "Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king." Happy woman! She had leisure now for other things. There was, however, a good deal of honesty and candour in her even yet. She remembered her distrust of the tidings which she had heard, and could not be quite happy until she had made some honourable amends for her incredulity. There is not a woman among us but would like to have had the queen's opportunity; for we, too, are trying, amid the darkness of doubt and uncertainty, to feel our way to the light. We, too, are longing to become wise by contact with wisdom, and strong by leaning upon strength. We, too, have our longings to know more, and to do better; and I think we would gladly take a journey as formidable as that of the queen to get what we want. But "behold, a greater than Solomon is here." We have our Lord's authority for using this narrative as an illustration of spiritual truth; and it is remarkable in how many points the Queen of Sheba resembles what we are and ought to be, and how truly Solomon is a faint image of Christ.

1. But our duty is plainly taught us by this queen's example. We shall never know more of Him unless we go and see; and, if we are sensible women, that is exactly what we shall do. We need have no more fear than had this queen as to the reception that awaits us. Indeed, we know beforehand. We are not told that an invitation was sent from Judaea to Sheba, but Christ has most distinctly and pressingly invited us. "Come unto Me, and I will give you rest," is the message which He has forwarded to us. Nay, He has done more, much more than this. He has not waited for us to go to Him, but He has come to us. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." This is our opportunity. Shall we let it go, or shall we thankfully avail ourselves of it? Oh, my sisters, do not let this Queen of the South rise up in judgment against you and condemn you, but be equally resolute in mind and prompt in action, and at once come to Jesus.

2. When we have taken this first decided step we may follow the queen's example in another particular. "When she was come to Solomon she communed with him of all that was in her heart." And we may do the same when we have come to our King. Let us make the most of our privileges. Why are any of us weak and miserable, and full of sin, seeing that Jesus is able to make us — even us — great and good, useful and happy?

3. But when we have proved Him to, be all that we have heard, let us be honest and say so.

4. But neither He nor ourselves need be satisfied with words. There must be a mutual exchange of gifts. Who can describe the greatness of His royal bounty?

The love of Jesus, what it is

None but His loved ones know.

Nor can any one beside tell the precious things which He gives to His beloved.

5. There is yet one other particular in which we are like the Queen of Sheba. "She turned, and went to her own country;" and we have to go back to the world after seeing our King, and to dwell among our own people. But we ought to be very much better than when we first came to Him.

(Marianne Farningham.)

Monday Club Sermons.
In considering the interview between these two royal personages, we note —

I. THE VISITED KING. On every side were untold accumulations of wealth. The country was at peace, with a dominion extending from Thapsacus, on the Euphrates, to Gaza, on the Mediterranean. The king's popularity was unbounded. He listened equally to the meanest of his subjects and those of courtly bearing, and gave judgment to each in accordance with that skill which was his without measure.

II. THE VISITING QUEEN. Her lineage is not certain, nor the exact place of her sway. Probably she was a descendant from Abraham by Keturah, with a kingdom occupying the greater part of Arabia Felix, between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. This Sabean kingdom, whose capital was Sheba, was the richest among the Arabians, and would naturally be visited by the fleets of Solomon.


1. Its motive. It is not difficult to find reasons prompting the Sabean queen with desire to stand in such a presence. It were easy to imagine her as urged by curiosity or by thoughts of rivalry. Hers was an empire of exceeding richness. Did the king's really surpass it? She could bear presents to him indicating resources vast and varied. Could he lay at her feet those denoting wider imports or an ampler revenue? Doubtless, however, worthier reasons moved her. Could he solve the deep, perplexing problems of her soul? Hers was a deeper want, a profounder longing. Like the patriarch Job, her soul was stirred with profoundest questions of life, death, and immortality.


III. THE VISIT'S RESULT. Among the lessons suggested by the passage, note —

1. Wealth and piety are not necessarily opposed. The time of this visit marks the climax of Israel's strength and prosperity. Never before and never after did the kingdom take its place among the great monarchies of the East, able to cope with Egypt and Assyria. To-day as never before the duty of the Church is to make wealth the handmaid of religion.

2. Nothing but God satisfies. Neither the wealth of her own realm nor the glory of Solomon's could satisfy the queen. In her heart was a void which nothing but the knowledge of God could fill. 's words are ever true, "Thou, O Lord, madest us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they repose on Thee."

3. There is no safety but in a right heart. It is sad that to one like Solomon a decline should come. This favoured ruler fell because he was unfaithful to Him who had made him both wise and prosperous. His life departed from what his lips proclaimed. There is always danger when obedience to God keeps not pace with knowledge of God; when the head has more understanding than the heart has love. "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life."

(Monday Club Sermons.)

I. THE TIME OF THE TALE. The time is that of Israel's grandeur. Politically, his star is at its zenith; his rose is full blown. In Saul's days a department for foreign affairs would have been a sinecure. Israel was not recognised as having any place in the comity of the great powers of the time. What Italy was in Europe previous to 1859, that — less than that — was Israel in the then Mediterranean world, under the Judges and even under Saul. But all this is now changed. Solomon takes his place among the potentates of the time. The extension of his empire towards the east brings him into touch with the nascent nations of the Euphrates Valley; towards the north magnificent Tyre — at once the London and the Paris of the age — is his ally, and her king is his friend; towards the south the old national oppressor Egypt is reconciled into a fatal friendship, and the royal houses have met in an ill-omened alliance.

II. THE HERO OF THE TALE. It is somewhat curious that, although we have a fuller account of Solomon's reign than of that of any other monarch mentioned in Scripture, we know comparatively little about himself. His personality stands by no means clearly out in relief against his time. The very blaze of his magnificence dazzles the eye and obscures the vision. His reign has been called the "Augustan Age of the Jewish nation." Dean Stanley, with characteristic felicity, calls attention to the fact, that "Solomon was not only its Augustus but its Aristotle." Might he not have added, "and its Alexander and its Timon, too!" But as he is at the point of time of which we now treat, he is in the full sheen of his noonday glory, with no forecast of the clouds of the sunset. To him thus, and to his capital which his genius and his wealth have made to be "the joy of the whole earth," a visitor comes. And so we reach —

III. THE HEROINE OF THE TALE. Like her royal host, she, too, can be but vaguely seen. Her very name is unknown. She has a title given but no name; she is a queen, and as a queen rather than as a woman can she be known by us. And yet the motive of her visit is essentially feminine. It is curiosity, alike of the higher and the lower kind combined. And not only was the motive thoroughly feminine; it was also characteristically national. For, though tradition assigns her a different origin, there can be little doubt she was an Arab, and the Arabs are, of all peoples, notoriously the most addicted to gossip and curiosity. The tradition to which I have referred represents her as queen of that city, on an island in the Nile, which, for so many centuries, either as tributary to Egypt or as independent, was one of the mighty cities of the ancient world, Meroe. Thus influenced in her mind — excited on the lower side by the lower curiosity and on the higher side by the higher, uniting and elevating the natural curiosity with the spiritual aspiration — the plan of a personal visit and the establishment of a personal friendship and communion takes shape and grows within her, till it becomes an imperative and mastering demand. It is a meeting most picturesque and full of interest — the heathen queen in the presence of Jehovah's anointed king; natural piety seeking revelation's light. As the motives which brought her to Jerusalem were of two orders, of a higher and a lower level, so would be the subjects on which they "communed" when they met. The Arab traditions, preserving the materials that were akin to Arab tastes, are full of stories of quaint enigmas and riddles propounded and of ingenious answers given, such as those in which the sportive fancy of the East has always delighted, and by which Solomon and Hiram had long corresponded, had stimulated their intellectual activities and relieved their cares of state. The queen, according to these traditions, tested the royal wit and ingenuity by such devices as the following: artificial and natural flowers to be recognised and marked by the use of sight alone; boys and girls, dressed alike, to be detected and distinguished; and a cup to be filled with water from neither earth nor cloud. Solomon read the first riddle by letting bees loose upon the flowers; the second, by setting the young people to wash their hands; and the third, by causing a slave to gallop furiously upon a wild horse and filling the cup from the flowing perspiration! In such playful manoeuvres the wit of the one was exercised and the curiosity of the other was satisfied. But we cannot doubt but that these were the relaxations not the substance. of their communion, the relief not the satisfaction of the spirit of the Sabsean queen. But all the same we must conclude that the higher subjects that were, in measure, congenial to the better nature of both obtained a place in their fellowship, and that in the queen the king secured not only an ardent admirer of himself but a devout worshipper of his God, a reverent pupil in religion as well as a fascinated partaker in trifling. And so she passes off the Jerusalem stage, out of sight, and we see her no more. The traditions which tell of her marriage with Solomon, and of the three months which he spent with her every year at Saba, and of her burial at Tadmor, are utterly worthless. She lingers and figures in these legends, but they are void of credit and value.

(G. M. Grant, B. D.)

I. CHRISTIANITY CHALLENGES THE GREATEST OF THE WORLD TO INVESTIGATE ITS BOLD CLAIMS FOR SUPREMACY AS THE ONE RELIGION FOR THE HUMAN SOUL. It was not mere curiosity which brought this Queen of the South to see Solomon. A question was raised; it could be settled by nothing except rigid experiment. Christ has represented Himself in Christianity; He is to be tested in the system of faith He came to proclaim. And what we insist upon is, that every thinking soul is bound to seek, search, sift, and examine what this Son of God, who was the Son of Man, has to say. This revelation from heaven for men's salvation is either everything or nothing to each immortal being going to God's judgment. For it claims to be all that any one needs for the final redemption of his soul.

II. SCEPTICS MIGHT AS WELL PAUSE IN UTTERING THEIR DECISIONS OF PERSONAL REJECTION OF CHRIST TILL THEY HAVE FULLY UNDERSTOOD HIM. It is not every one that is competent even to disbelieve. It requires much thought to dispose of Christianity thoroughly. It is a system that stands very determinately upon conduct; and it insists that, before any intelligent investigator shall come to a fixed conclusion, he shall follow up what he already knows by working it into his life. And then he will, quite possibly, be surprised by further disclosures which he did not previously suspect. There is a great pertinence just here in the splendid figure of the traveller Humboldt; he says: "At the limits of exact knowledge, as from a lofty island shore, one's eye loves to glance towards the distant regions. The images that it sees may be illusive; but, like the illusive images that people imagined they had seen from the Canaries, or the Azores, long before the time of Columbus, these may also lead to the discovery of a new world." There is no field of study of which this remark is truer than that which religious investigation offers.

III. RELIGIOUS INQUIRERS SHOULD NOT HESITATE IN COMING TO JESUS CHRIST FOR A SATISFYING ANSWER TO ALL THE SOUL PERPLEXITIES WHICH BESET THEM. If there were only the revelations of God in nature for a direction and a comfort, there would be no small gain over what the heathen have in their poems and dreams; for what would come to us would be at least trustworthy, because it would be true. The best minds have often found solace in the mute world around them. Chaucer used to say that walking in the meadows, at dawn of day, to see the blossoms spread against the sun, was a blissful sight which softened all his sorrows. Henry Martyn, lonely and sad, in his far-away mission-field, exclaimed, "Even a leaf is good company." And Ruskin writes in his essay: "What a fine thought that was, when God Almighty earliest thought of a tree!" Even with this for our Bible, our Lord would excel Ecclesiastes: "Consider the lilies," etc. But the living Word and the written Word are better for a man, immortal and sensitively intelligent, than all this friendly communing with nature only, for he is pondering questions in his heart.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

A scientific writer of wide experience and observation declares that all nectar-gathering insects, such as the common honey-bee, manifest a strong preference for the finest flowers. The more perfect in form, colour, and fragrance, the more are they attracted to it, as they seem to know by instinct that there they will find the richest supply of honey. It is from the characters and lives of those who are most like Him who is the altogether lovely that the souls of others can gather the most sweetness of God's love and grace. To be Christlike is to be winsome; to grow in grace, to grow in divine attractiveness.

(Helps to Speakers.)

She came to prove him with hard questions
I. ADMIRE THIS QUEEN'S MODE OF PROCEDURE WHEN SHE CAME TO SOLOMON. We are told, in the text, that "she came to prove him with hard questions."

1. She wanted to prove whether he was as wise as she had been led to believe, and her mode of proving it was by endeavouring to learn from him; and if you want to ascertain what the wisdom of Christ is, the way to know it is to come and sit at His feet, and learn of Him. He has Himself said, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

2. The Queen of Sheba is also to be admired in that, wishing to learn from Solomon, she asked him many questions; — not simply one or two, but many. If you want to know the wisdom of Christ, you must ask Him many questions.

3. The Queen of Sheba proved Solomon "with hard questions."


1. Here is the first hard question. How can a man be just with God?

2. Here is another hard question: How can God be just, and yet the Justifier of the ungodly?

3. The next question is one which has puzzled many: How can a man be saved by faith alone without works, and yet no man can be saved by a faith that is without works?

4. Here is another hard question: How can a man be born when he is old? At first sight, it seems as if that were unanswerable; but Jesus Christ has said, "Behold, I make all things new."

5. Here is another hard question: How can God, who sees all things, no longer see any sin in believers? That is a puzzle which many cannot understand.

6. Here is another hard question: How can a man see the invisible God? Yet Christ said, "Blessed are the pure in heart" for they shall see God; "and the angel said to John:" His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face."

7. Moving upward in Christian experience, here is another hard question: How can it be true that "whosoever is born of God sinneth not," yet men who are born of God do sin?

8. This helps also to answer another hard question: How can a man be a new man, and yet be constantly sighing because he finds in himself so much of the old man?

9. Here is one more of these hard questions: How can a man be sorrowful, yet always rejoicing?

10. I have one more hard question: How can a man's life be in heaven while he still lives on earth?


1. Answer first, this question — How can we come to Christ?

2. "Well," says one, "supposing that is done, how can we ask Christ hard questions?" You may ask anything of Him just the same as if you could see Him.

3. "But," you say, "if I ask of Him, how will He answer me?" Do not expect that He will answer you in a dream, or by any vocal sound. He has spoken all you need to know in this Book.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

What were these questions? They may have been riddles like the one which the story of Samson recalls. Asking riddles was a common pastime amongst the ancients, especially the Arabs. Still, it is hardly likely that a sensible queen would have journeyed all the way from Arabia to Judaea merely to have a game of conundrums. More probably she did so in order to get a solution of mental and moral difficulties of what we call the enigmas of life. A thoughtful, earnest woman she was, no doubt; perplexed by the problems of her day, as some of us are with those of ours, and she felt that it would be a relief to talk them over with one wiser than herself. There is a greater than Solomon, whom we can prove with hard questions, with whom we can commune of all that is in our hearts. Have we done so? If not, we cannot say that our doubts are unanswerable. A correspondent wrote to Canon Liddon: "The only thing that now attaches me at all to Christianity is that it alone of the systems of thought with which I come into contact seems to give a working answer to two questions: 'Whence am I?' and 'Whither am I going?' All else is dark, all else at least uncertain." Many of us are attached to Christianity for the same reason. We have proved its Founder with hard questions, and our creed has simplified itself into some such form as this: "About God, the soul, a future life, the sin and sorrow of the world — about such matters as these I know little, but Christ knows much, and any conclusion that was good enough for Him in reference to them is good enough for me." The German philosopher, Kant, tells us that there are three questions which mankind has always been asking: "What can I know?" "What shall I do?" and "For what may I hope?" What answer does He who called Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life give to these questions? Some persons, says Bishop Butler, "upon pretence of the light of nature, avowedly reject all revelation as in its very nature incredible." Things have changed since Butler's day. Few now think that the light of nature is sufficient; with most of us it is Christ or nothing. We have come to see that the objections made to Christianity may be urged with equal force against natural religion — that the difficulty, for instance, of accounting on the supposition of a good Creator for the origin and continuance of evil in the world ought to be felt by the Deist far more than by the Christian because the latter has a theory of redemption to offer which at any rate professes to reconcile God's preknowledge of evil with His wisdom, power, and goodness. This, together with the history and present condition of the Church of Christ, .makes it easier to be a Christian than a Deist or Theist. But here comes the Agnostic, and he says to humanity, with its recurring questions, "Do not ask yourself or any one else what you can know about God, the soul, and a future state. These matters are unknowable, and you had better be humble, as I am, and acknowledge the fact." In reference to this state of mind it may be remarked that we can only assert the unknown to be unknowable on the assumption — surely, anything but an humble one — that we know all that can be known. If it be true that God cannot be known by man, it will be the last truth which man will ever learn. I heard lately an intelligent, sympathetic woman remark that there is no being in the Universe she so much pities as God, for if He has a heart, she said, He must feel terribly the responsibility of creating such a world as this. That God does feel for the sorrows of the world and does admit responsibility In the matter He proved when He gave His Son to die for it. What more could He have done for His vineyard? There is the pathos of a beautiful simplicity in those words in Genesis, "It repented the Lord God, and grieved Him at the heart." May there not have been some contrariness in the nature of things which it was as impossible for even Him to prevent, as it would be to make two and two five instead of four? May it not be said, for instance, in all reverence, that even God could not create a virtuous being without the discipline of trial — the very idea involving a contradiction? Plutarch tells us that Alexander, King of Macedon, used to say that he loved and revered his teacher Aristotle, as much as if he had been his own father, because if to the one he owed his life. to the other he owed his power of living well. What is it that we do not owe in this second respect to our Saviour? No Solomon has answered as He has the hard question, "What shall we do?" This is admitted even by those who do not accept the full measure of Christ's teaching. John Stuart Mill, for instance, has observed that it would not be easy, even for an unbeliever, to find a better translation of virtue from the abstract to the concrete than to endeavour so to live that Christ would approve our life. In any moral difficulty we can and we should ask ourselves, "What would Christ have me to do in this matter?" But Christ does more than enable us to per-calve and know what things we ought to do. He gives us grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same. In this He differs from merely earthly teachers. They are like a man standing on the shore showing a drowning man how the arms should be moved in swimming. Jesus Christ rescues the drowning person, or at least gives him a helping hand, as He did to Peter when that apostle began to sink. Lord Tennyson, in the biography of his father, tells us that the late Poet Laureate had a measureless admiration for the Sermon on the Mount, and for the parables; "perfection beyond compare," he called them. At the same time he used to express his conviction that "Christianity with its Divine morality, but without the central figure of Christ, the Son of Man, would become cold, and that it is fatal for religion to lose its warmth." The question for what may we hope when the few years of life's fitful fever here on earth are over is answered by Christ as no mere man, though as wise as Solomon, could answer it. Apart from Christ we could not know whether death were a door or a wall; a spreading of wings to soar or the folding of pinions for ever. Before Christ's coming the human body was thought of as a mere instrument made use of by the soul, and no part of man's true self. The soul was considered to be free only when at death it was disunited from it, and became the "shade" of ancient classical poetry. This was a very shadowy belief, and one that physical research entirely contradicts. The fuller discoveries in modern days of the action and reaction of body and soul, of the need of physical machinery, not only for act and word, but even for thought, have shown that the body is a part of man's true self. In this matter Christianity agrees with science. It teaches the resurrection of the body, or that there will be a continued existence of soul and organism, that in the next world the soul will not be unclothed, but clothed upon. Jesus Christ is the Head and Representative of our race, and by rising from the dead Himself He brought life and incorruption out of the haze of speculation into the calm, clear light of fact.

(E. J. Hardy, M. A.)

Homiletic Review.
We very often puzzle ourselves, and tug and strain. Dr. Arnold, of Rugby, used to say that his mind could lie as quietly before a confessed mystery as in the presence of a discovered truth. It would be better for us if we cultivated more such serene trust as Dr. Arnold's In the nature of things there must be mystery. Certainly there is such a thing as limit to our capacity. Certainly, therefore, the action and the knowledge of a limitless God must wear frequently a misty look to us. Certainly the conjoining of revealed truth into an exact and harmonious system may be a piece of work quite beyond our simply finite powers. The truths do conjoin, but at a point so far beyond the range of our finite vision that we cannot see their marriage. What, then, are we to do? Grasp firmly both of the revealed truths, and where the point of their conjoining runs up beyond the region of our finite capacity, wait lowlily and trust steadily.

(Homiletic Review.)

The greatness of the ancient world culminated in Socrates and Plato, and the greatness of Socrates and Plato culminated in their power to ask questions, and not in their power to answer them. The ancient world started problems; it remained for the new world to solve them. Herein lies one of the vital differences between the wise men of the East, and the West and the founder of Christianity; they wore mere seekers after truth — He was its revealer.

(Cynddylon Jones.)

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