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The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon

10 The queen of Sheba heard about Solomon. So she came to test him with hard questions. 2She traveled to Jerusalem with a very large group of servants. There were many camels carrying spices, jewels, and much gold. She met Solomon and asked him all the questions that she could think of. 3Solomon answered all the questions. None of her questions were too hard for him to explain. 4The queen of Sheba saw that Solomon was very wise. She also saw the beautiful palace* he had built. 5The queen saw the food at the king’s table. She saw his officials meeting together. She saw the servants in the palace and the good clothes that they wore. She saw his parties and the sacrifices that he offered in the temple. All these things really amazed her—they just ‘took her breath away’! 6So the queen said to the king, “I heard many things in my own country about your wisdom and all the things you have done. And everything is true! 7I did not believe it until I came and saw it with my own eyes. Now I see that it is even greater than what I heard. Your wealth and wisdom is much greater than people told me. 8Your wives* and officers are very fortunate! They can serve you and hear your wisdom every day! 9Praise the Lord your God! He was pleased to make you king of Israel. The Lord God loves Israel. So he made you the king. You follow the law and treat people fairly.” 10Then the queen of Sheba gave the king about 9,000 pounds* of gold. She also gave him many spices and jewels. The queen of Sheba gave to Solomon more spices than anyone has ever brought into Israel. 11Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir. Those ships also brought very much wood* and jewels. 12Solomon used the wood to build supports in the temple and the palace. He also used the wood to make harps* and lyres* for the singers. No other person has ever brought that kind of wood {to Israel} and no person has seen that kind of wood since that time. 13Then King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba gifts that a king usually gives to a ruler from another country. Then he gave her anything else she asked for. After this, the queen and her servants went back to her own country. 14Every year King Solomon got about 79,920 pounds* of gold. 15Besides the gold from the cargo ships,* he also got gold from the traders and merchants,* and from the kings of Arabia and governors of the land. 16King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold. Each shield contained about 15 pounds* of gold. 17He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold. Each shield contained about 4 pounds* of gold. The king put them in the building called the “Forest of Lebanon.” 18King Solomon also built a large ivory throne. He covered it with pure gold. 19There were six steps leading up to the throne. The back of the throne was round at the top. There were armrests on both sides of the chair. And in the sides of the chair under the two armrests there were pictures of lions. 20There were also two lions on each of the six steps. There was one lion at each end. There was nothing like this in any other kingdom. 21All of Solomon’s cups and glasses were made of gold. And all of the dishes* in the building called the “Forest of Lebanon” were made from pure gold. Nothing in the palace was made from silver. {There was so much gold that} in Solomon’s time people did not think silver was important! 22The king also had many cargo ships* that he sent out to trade things with other countries. These were Hiram’s ships. Every three years the ships would come back with a new load of gold, silver, ivory, and animals. 23Solomon was the greatest king on earth. He had the most riches and wisdom of all kings. 24People everywhere wanted to see King Solomon. They wanted to hear the great wisdom that God had given him. 25Every year people came to see the king. And every person brought a gift. They brought things made from gold and silver, clothes, weapons, spices, horses, and mules. 26So Solomon had many, many chariots and horses. He had 1,400 chariots* and 12,000 horses. Solomon built special cities for these chariots. So the chariots were kept in those cities. King Solomon also kept some of the chariots with him in Jerusalem. 27The king made Israel very rich. In the city of Jerusalem, silver was as common as rocks and cedar wood was as common as the many, many fig trees growing on the hills. 28Solomon brought horses from Egypt and Kue. His traders bought them in Kue and brought them to Israel. 29A chariot from Egypt cost about 15 pounds* of silver, and a horse cost about 3 3/4 pounds* of silver. Solomon sold horses and chariots to the kings of the Hittites and the Arameans.

palace A large house for the king and his family. wives This comes from the ancient Greek translation. The Hebrew has “men.” 9,000 pounds Or, “4,080kg” Literally, “120 talents.” wood This is a special kind of wood called “Almug.” No one knows exactly what type of wood this was. harps Musical instruments with several strings. lyres Musical instruments that are like small harps. 79,920 pounds Literally, “666 talents” (22,644kg). cargo ships Literally, “ships of Tarshish.” traders and merchants Businessmen who make their living buying and selling things. 15 pounds Literally, “600 shekels” (6.9kg). 4 pounds Literally, “3 minas” (1.8kg). dishes The Hebrew word can mean, “dishes, tools, or weapons.” chariot(s) Small wagons used in war. 3 3/4 pounds Literally, “150 shekels” (1.725kg).

Solomon and His Many Wives

11 King Solomon loved women! He loved many women that were not from the nation of Israel. These included the daughter of Pharaoh, Hittite women and women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Sidon. 2In the past, the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You must not marry people from other nations. If you do, then those people will cause you to follow their gods.” But Solomon fell in love with these women. 3Solomon had 700 wives. (These women were all daughters of leaders from other nations.) He also had 300 slave women that were like wives to him. His wives caused him to turn away from God. 4When Solomon was old, his wives caused him to follow other gods. Solomon did not follow the Lord completely the way that his father David had done. 5Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth.* This was the god of the people of Sidon. And Solomon worshiped Milcom.* This was that horrible idol of the Ammonite people. 6So Solomon did wrong before the Lord. Solomon did not follow the Lord completely the way his father David had done. 7Solomon built a place for worshiping Chemosh. Chemosh was that horrible idol of the Moabite people. Solomon built that worship place on a hill next to Jerusalem. On that same hill, Solomon built a worship place for Molech. Molech was that horrible idol of the Ammonite people. 8Then Solomon did the same thing for all of his wives from other countries. His wives burned incense* and gave sacrifices to their gods. 9Solomon turned away from following the Lord, the God of Israel. So the Lord became angry at Solomon. The Lord had come to Solomon twice. 10The Lord told Solomon that he must not follow other gods. But Solomon did not obey the Lord’s command. 11So the Lord said to Solomon, “You have chosen to break your agreement with me. You have not obeyed my commands. So I promise that I will tear your kingdom away from you. I will give it to one of your servants. 12But I loved your father David. So I will not take your kingdom away from you while you are living. I will wait until your son becomes king. Then I will take it from him. 13Still, I will not tear away all of the kingdom from your son. I will leave him one family group to rule. I will do this for David—He was a good servant. And I will do this for Jerusalem—That is the city I chose.”

Solomon’s Enemies

14At that time, the Lord caused Hadad the Edomite to become Solomon’s enemy. Hadad was from the family of the king of Edom. 15This is how it happened: Earlier David defeated Edom. Joab was the commander of David’s army. Joab went into Edom to bury dead people. Joab killed all the men still living there. 16Joab and all Israel stayed in Edom for six months. During that time they killed all of the men of Edom. 17But at that time Hadad was only a young boy. So Hadad ran away to Egypt. Some of his father’s servants went with him. 18They left Midian and went to Paran. In Paran some other people joined them. Then the whole group went to Egypt. They went to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and asked for help. Pharaoh gave Hadad a house and some land. Pharaoh also supported him and gave him food to eat. 19Pharaoh liked Hadad very much. Pharaoh gave Hadad a wife. The woman was Pharaoh’s sister-in-law. (Pharaoh’s wife was Queen Tahpenes.) 20So the sister of Tahpenes married Hadad. They had a son named Genubath. Queen Tahpenes allowed Genubath to grow up in Pharaoh’s house with his children. 21In Egypt, Hadad heard that David had died. He also heard that Joab, the commander of the army was dead. So Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me go home to my own country.” 22But Pharaoh answered, “I have given you everything you need here! Why do you want to go back to your own country?” Hadad answered, “Please, just let me go home.” 23God also caused another man to be an enemy against Solomon. This man was Rezon, son of Eliada. Rezon ran away from his master. His master was Hadadezer, king of Zobah. 24After David defeated the army of Zobah, Rezon gathered some men and became the leader of a small army. Rezon went to Damascus and stayed there. Rezon became king of Damascus. 25Rezon ruled Aram. Rezon hated Israel, so he continued to be an enemy of Israel all of the time that Solomon lived. Rezon and Hadad caused much trouble for Israel. 26Jeroboam son of Nebat was one of Solomon’s servants. Jeroboam was from the family group of Ephraim. He was from the town of Zeredah. Jeroboam’s mother was named Zeruah. His father was dead. He turned against the king. 27This is the story of why Jeroboam turned against the king. Solomon was building the Millo* and fixing the wall of the city of David his father. 28Jeroboam was a strong man. Solomon saw that this young man was a good worker. So Solomon made him the boss over all of the workers from the family group of Joseph.* 29One day Jeroboam was traveling out of Jerusalem. Ahijah the prophet from Shiloh met him on the road. Ahijah was wearing a new coat. These two men were alone in the country. 30Ahijah took his new coat and tore it into twelve pieces. 31Then Ahijah said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces of this coat for yourself. The Lord the God of Israel says: ‘I will tear the kingdom away from Solomon, and I will give you ten of the family groups. 32And I will allow David’s family to control only one family group. I will let them keep this group. I will do this for my servant David and for Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the city which I chose from all the family groups of Israel. 33I will take the kingdom from Solomon because he stopped following me. He worships Ashtoreth, the false goddess of Sidon. He worships Chemosh, the false god of Moab. And he worships Milcom, the false god of the Ammonites. Solomon stopped doing the things that are right and good. He does not obey my laws and my commands. He is not living the way that his father David lived. 34So I will take the kingdom away from Solomon’s family. But I will let Solomon be their ruler for the rest of his life. I will do this for my servant David. I chose David because he obeyed all my commands and laws. 35But I will take the kingdom away from his son. And Jeroboam, I will allow you to rule over the ten family groups. 36I will allow Solomon’s son to continue to rule over one family group. I will do this so that my servant David will always have a descendant to rule before me in Jerusalem, the city that I chose to be my own. 37But I will make you rule over everything you want. You will rule over all of Israel. 38I will do these things for you if you will live right and obey all my commands. If you obey the laws and commands like David, then I will be with you. I will make your family a family of kings, like I did for David. I will give Israel to you. 39I will punish David’s children because of {the things Solomon did}. But I will not punish them forever.’”

Solomon’s Death

40Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam ran away to Egypt. He went to Shishak the king of Egypt. Jeroboam stayed there until Solomon died. 41Solomon did many great and wise things while he ruled. All of these things are written in the book The History of Solomon. 42Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for 40 years. 43Then Solomon died and was buried with his ancestors.* He was buried in the city of David, his father. Then Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, became the next king after him.

Ashtoreth The Canaanite people thought that this false goddess could make people able to have babies. She was their goddess of love and war. Milcom The god of the Ammonite people. incense Special dried tree sap. Burned to make a sweet-smelling smoke, it was offered as a gift to God. Millo The Millo was probably a raised platform of land southeast of the temple area in Jerusalem. family group of Joseph The people from the family groups of Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph’s sons. died and was buried with his ancestors Literally, “slept with his ancestors.”

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