The Queen of Sheba: She Wanted to See for Herself
I've read the Queen of Sheba story many times, and I have read it through the eyes of Solomon — that this woman comes, and it's his duty to uphold the gift of wisdom that God had blessed him with.
But how different is this story if I read it through the eyes of a woman who was so intrigued and astounded by the gift of wisdom, by God’s hand, that she had to come and see it for herself?
Imagine this foreign, “pagan” queen hearing tales of this king who rose quickly and successfully, who had an incredibly prosperous kingdom. Imagine someone coming to her court to tell her of how Solomon had solved the dispute between the two mothers, and imagine this older, more experienced queen being completely floored by the wisdom that this young king had shown.
Keep in mind that there is no mention of age in the story, but I’m imagining a well-respected and experienced Queen of Sheba, a woman who has seen the world and has lived a thousand lives.
And yet, she still had to see it for herself.
She had to know what Solomon had that was missing in her kingdom.
Imagine this experienced queen who travels only for the highest of reasons — important trade agreements, monarchical duties — to just meet this rising king. It was probably unheard of; he probably should have gone to see her.
But here is a woman who longs for knowledge, who longs to see things for herself.
Here is a woman who says, “I want this, and I am going to and get it.” And I love that.
She arrives, with all of the showmanship of a foreign queen visiting a smaller kingdom. The Queen heads directly to meet Solomon, a younger man with quite a reputation and immediately begins pounding him with question after question. (I like to imagine that she was thinking of questions to ask on the way there.)
Solomon answers every question; he shows her everything that he knows and explains everything that he can.
They finish speaking, and she looks around, seeing the success of his court, the happiness of his people, the abundance of his food, the wealth of his nation and the world stops for her.
There’s more here than she thought; she’s glad she came because the truth of the goodness of God that she sees is so much more than what she was told.
Before she leaves, she admits to God’s hand, that He has been good to Israel and to Solomon, that He loves them more than anything she has ever seen.
The Queen leaves, gifting him with everything she came with, and Solomon giving her anything that she wanted from his storehouses.
This is the story of each one of us, whether or not we choose to admit it. We came to see something. Maybe we heard something, maybe we didn’t. But we came because we knew that something needed to change. Each one of us was looking for something, so we came and we saw.
We saw God’s goodness manifested inside a church building.
We saw God’s grace in every testimony, every hand that reached for the bread on the communion plate.
We saw what the Queen saw; we saw that God loves us, that He is good and that He gives us grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon grace.
She knew in that moment that God was real and that He was good, and she walked away with a blessing.
Her story applies to new churchgoers as much as it does to older ones, every Sunday, every Wednesday, every Saturday activity … shouldn’t we be coming to see? Shouldn’t we also be coming to change something?
Maybe we already come with a knowledge of God’s goodness, but isn’t it so important to see that goodness in someone else’s life?
When I finished reading these verses, I realized that the queen is someone to be admired. She wanted something, so she went to see it for herself. As a woman, I admire her tenacity and willingness to go into the unknown.
As someone who is a constant beneficiary of God’s grace, I realize that I am the Queen — yes, you read that right, I am the Queen — I am constantly coming to see God’s goodness. I am constantly asking question after question.
And I am constantly answered by blessing upon blessing upon blessing, and I hope that you are too.
Read the Queen's story in 1 Kings 10:1-13.
Image credit: "Solomon and the Queen of Sheba," painting by Giovanni Demin (1789-1859)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.