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The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon

9 The Queen of Sheba heard about Solomon’s fame. She came to Jerusalem to test Solomon with hard questions. The Queen of Sheba had a very large group with her. She had camels that carried spices, much gold, and valuable stones. She came to Solomon and talked with him. She had many questions to ask Solomon. 2Solomon gave answers to all her questions. There was nothing too hard for Solomon to explain or answer. 3The Queen of Sheba saw Solomon’s wisdom, and the house he built. 4She saw the food on Solomon’s table, and his many important officials. She saw the way his servants worked and the clothes they wore. She saw Solomon’s wine servers and the clothes they wore. She saw the burnt offerings* Solomon made in the temple* of the Lord. When the Queen of Sheba saw all these things she was amazed! 5Then she said to King Solomon, “The stories I heard in my country about your great works and your wisdom are true. 6I didn’t believe those stories until I came here and saw with my own eyes. Oh, not even half of your great wisdom has been told me! You are greater than the stories I heard! 7Your wives* and officers are very fortunate! They can hear your wisdom while they are serving you! 8Praise be to the Lord your God! He is happy with you and has put you on his throne to be king for the Lord your God. Your God loves Israel, and supports Israel forever. This is why the Lord has made you king of Israel to do what is fair and what is right.” 9Then the Queen of Sheba gave King Solomon 4 1/2 tons* of gold, a great many spices, and valuable stones. No person gave such fine spices to King Solomon as the Queen of Sheba did. 10Hiram’s servants and Solomon’s servants brought in gold from Ophir.* They also brought in algum wood and valuable stones. 11King Solomon used the algum wood to make steps for the Lord’s temple,* and for the king’s house. Solomon also used the algum wood to make lyres* and harps for the singers. No person ever saw such beautiful things like those things made from the algum wood in the country of Judah. 12King Solomon gave the Queen of Sheba everything she wanted and asked for. He gave her more than she brought to give him. Then the Queen of Sheba and her servants left and went back to their own country.

Solomon’s Great Wealth

13The amount of gold that Solomon got in one year weighed 25 tons.* 14The traveling merchants* and traders brought more gold to Solomon. All the kings of Arabia and the rulers of the land also brought gold and silver to Solomon. 15King Solomon made 200 large shields from hammered gold. About 7 1/2 pounds* of hammered gold was used to make each shield. 16Solomon also made 300 small shields of hammered gold. About 3 3/4 pounds* of gold was used to make each shield. King Solomon put the gold shields in the Forest Palace of Lebanon. 17King Solomon used ivory to make a large throne. He covered the throne with pure gold. 18The throne had six steps on it. And it had a footstool* that was made of gold. There were armrests on both sides of the throne’s seat. A statue of a lion stood next to each armrest. 19There were statues of 12 lions that stood by the six steps. One lion on each side of each step. There was no throne like this made in any other kingdom. 20All King Solomon’s drinking cups were made of gold. All the household things in the House of the Forest of Lebanon were made of pure gold. {There was so much wealth} in Solomon's time that silver was not thought valuable {enough}. 21Why? Because King Solomon had ships that Hiram's men sailed to Tarshish.* And every three years the ships would return from Tarshish loaded with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. 22King Solomon became greater in riches and wisdom than any other king on earth. 23All the kings of the earth came to visit Solomon to hear his wise decisions. They came to hear the wisdom that God gave to Solomon. 24Every year those kings brought gifts to Solomon. They brought things made of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules. 25Solomon had 4,000 stalls to keep horses and chariots. He had 12,000 chariot drivers. Solomon kept them in the special cities for the chariots and in Jerusalem with him. 26Solomon was the king over all the kings from the Euphrates River all the way to the land of the Philistine people, and to the border of Egypt. 27King Solomon had so much silver that it was as common as rocks in Jerusalem. And he had so much cedar wood that it was as common as sycamore trees in the hill country. 28The people brought horses to Solomon from Egypt and from all the other countries.

Solomon’s Death

29The other things Solomon did, from the beginning to the end, are written in the writings of Nathan the Prophet, in The Prophecy of Ahijah from Shiloh and in The Visions of Iddo the Seer. Iddo was a seer* who wrote about Jeroboam son of Nebat. 30Solomon was king in Jerusalem over all Israel for 40 years. 31Then Solomon rested with his ancestors.* The people buried him in the City of David his father. Solomon’s son Rehoboam became the new king in Solomon’s place.

burnt offerings Gifts to God. Usually these were animals that were killed and completely burned on the altar.  temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. wives Or, “men.” See 1 Kings 10:8. 4 1/2 tons Or, “4,080kg.” Literally, “120 talents.” Ophir A place where there was much gold. Today no person knows where Ophir really was. lyre(s) An instrument with several strings, like a harp. 25 tons Or, “22,644kg.” Literally, “666 talents.” traveling merchants A person who earns his living by buying and selling things. 7 1/2 pounds Or, “3.3kg.” Literally, “600 bekas.” 3 3/4 pounds Or, “1.65kg.” Literally, “300 bekas.” footstool A little stool that a king could use to rest his feet when sitting on his throne. Tarshish A city far away from Israel, probably in Spain. Tarshish was famous for its large ships that sailed the Mediterranean Sea. seer This is another name for a prophet. See 1 Sam. 9:9–11. ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from.

Rehoboam Acts Foolishly

10 Rehoboam went to the town of Shechem because all the people of Israel went there to make him king. 2Jeroboam was in Egypt because he ran away from King Solomon. Jeroboam was Nebat’s son. Jeroboam heard that Rehoboam was going to be the new king. So Jeroboam came back from Egypt. 3The people of Israel called Jeroboam to come with them. Then Jeroboam and all the people of Israel went to Rehoboam. They said to him, “Rehoboam, 4your father made life hard for us. It was like carrying a heavy weight. Make that weight lighter, then we will serve you.” 5Rehoboam said to them, “Come back to me after three days.” So the people went away. 6Then King Rehoboam talked with the older men who had served his father Solomon in the past. Rehoboam said to them, “What do you advise me to say to those people?” 7The older men said to Rehoboam, “If you are kind to those people and please them and say good words to them, then they will serve you forever.” 8But Rehoboam did not accept the advice the older men gave him. Rehoboam talked with the young men that had grown up with him and were serving him. 9Rehoboam said to them, “What advice do you give me? How should we answer those people? They asked me to make their work easier. And they want me to make the weight lighter that my father put on them.” 10Then the young men that grew up with Rehoboam said to him, “This is what you should say to the people who talked with you. The people said to you, ‘Your father made life hard for us. It was like carrying a heavy weight. But we want you to make that weight lighter.’ But Rehoboam, this is what you should say to those people: Say to them, ‘My little finger will be thicker than my father’s waist! 11My father loaded you with a heavy burden. But I will make that burden heavier. My father punished you with whips. But I will punish you with whips that have sharp metal tips.’” 12Three days later, Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam. That is what King Rehoboam told them to do when he said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13Then King Rehoboam talked to them in a mean way. King Rehoboam did not accept the advice of the older men. 14King Rehoboam talked to the people the way the young men advised him. He said, “My father made your burden heavy, but I will make it heavier. My father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with whips that have sharp metal tips.” 15So King Rehoboam did not listen to the people. He did not listen to the people because this change of things came from God. God caused this to happen. This happened so that the Lord could make his word come true that he spoke through Ahijah to Jeroboam. Ahijah was from the Shilonite people, and Jeroboam was Nebat’s son. 16The people of Israel saw that King Rehoboam did not listen to them. Then they said to the king, “Are we part of David’s family? No! Do we get any of Jesse’s land? No! So Israel, let’s go to our own homes. Let David’s son rule his own people!” Then all the people of Israel went to their homes. 17But there were some of the people of Israel who were living in the towns of Judah. And Rehoboam was king over those people. 18Adoniram was in charge of the people who were forced to work. Rehoboam sent him to the people of Israel. But the people of Israel threw rocks at Adoniram and killed him. Then Rehoboam ran and jumped into his chariot* and escaped. He ran away to Jerusalem. 19Since that time and up until now Israel has turned against David’s family.*

chariot(s) A small wagon used in war. David’s family This probably means the family group of Judah. David’s family was in the family group of Judah.

11 When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he gathered 180,000 of the best soldiers. He gathered these soldiers from the family groups of Judah and Benjamin. He gathered them to fight against Israel so he could bring the kingdom back to Rehoboam. 2But the message from the Lord came to Shemaiah. Shemaiah was a man of God. The Lord said, 3“Shemaiah, talk to Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, and the king of Judah. And talk to all the people of Israel living in Judah and Benjamin. Tell them: 4This is what the Lord says: ‘You must not fight against your brothers! Let every man go back home. I have caused this thing to happen.’” So King Rehoboam and his army obeyed the Lord’s message and turned back. They did not attack Jeroboam.

Rehoboam Makes Judah Strong

5Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem. He built strong cities in Judah to defend against attacks. 6He repaired the cities of Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7Beth Zur, Soco, Adullam, 8Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. These cities in Judah and Benjamin were made strong. 11When Rehoboam made those cities strong, he put commanders in them. He also put supplies of food, oil, and wine in those cities. 12Also, Rehoboam put shields and spears in every city and made the cities very strong. Rehoboam kept the peoples and cities of Judah and Benjamin under his control. 13The priests and the Levites from all over Israel agreed with Rehoboam and joined him. 14The Levites left their grasslands and their own fields and came to Judah and Jerusalem. The Levites did this because Jeroboam and his sons refused to let them serve as priests to the Lord. 15Jeroboam chose his own priests to serve in the high places,* where he set up the goat and calf idols he had made. 16When the Levites left Israel, those people in all the family groups of Israel who were faithful to the Lord God of Israel came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers. 17Those people made the kingdom of Judah strong. And they supported Solomon’s son Rehoboam for three years. They did this because during that time they lived the way David and Solomon had lived.

Rehoboam’s Family

18Rehoboam married Mahalath. Her father was Jerimoth. Her mother was Abihail. Jerimoth was David’s son. Abihail was Eliab’s daughter, and Eliab was Jesse’s son. 19Mahalath gave Rehoboam these sons: Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham. 20Then Rehoboam married Maacah. Maacah was Absalom’s granddaughter.* And Maacah gave Rehoboam these children: Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21Rehoboam loved Maacah more that he loved all his other wives and women servants.* Maacah was Absalom’s granddaughter. Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 woman servants. Rehoboam was the father of 28 sons and 60 daughters. 22Rehoboam chose Abijah to be the leader among his own brothers. Rehoboam did this because he planned to make Abijah king. 23Rehoboam acted wisely and spread all his sons through all the areas of Judah and Benjamin to every strong city. And Rehoboam gave plenty of supplies to his sons. He also looked for wives for his sons.

high places Places of worship. granddaughter Literally, “daughter.” women servants Or, “concubines,” slave women who were like wives to a man.

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