The queen of Sheba heard about the great wisdom of King Solomon. She couldn’t believe it was true. So she decided to go and test him with a list of hard questions. She organized a large band of servants to travel with her and selected presents to present to the king. She arrived in Jerusalem with a great caravan of camels loaded with gold, jewels, and spices.
She met with the king and asked him her list of questions. He was able to answer every single question. None of them was too difficult for him to explain to her. She was amazed to see the palace he had built, the variety of food at every meal, the way his servants were dressed, and the burnt offerings he made at the Temple. She said, “Everything I heard about you is true, but I couldn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. Now I find that I wasn’t told half of what is true about you. May your God continue to bless you as you carry out justice and righteousness.”
She gave him a half a ton of gold, and more spices than had ever come to Jerusalem. Solomon also gave her many gifts before she and her servants returned home.
Every year, Solomon received 25 tons of gold in addition to normal trade. Because of this, he covered many things with gold—ornaments, drinking cups, dishes, and his throne. He didn’t use silver because he didn’t think it was valuable.
Solomon crafted 200 large shields, each made with 15 pounds of hammered gold. He also made 300 smaller shields with 4 pounds of gold in each one. No other king in the world was as rich and wise as Solomon.
He accumulated a large herd of horses for his military. These were imported from many countries around that part of the world.
Unfortunately, Solomon also accumulated many women, which was a direct violation of God’s law. He had 700 wives, all daughters of kings. Each one worshiped the gods of her country. He also had 300 concubines.
When Solomon got old, these women convinced him to build a shrine for each of their gods. Eventually, every hill around Jerusalem had a shrine on it, honoring their many gods. Solomon started burning incense at these places and offering sacrifices. Finally, he departed from worshiping the Lord and joined his wives in worshiping their gods. Wickedness filled his heart.
God was angry with Solomon because he departed from following the ways of David. The Lord said, “I’m going to tear your kingdom in two, and give one part to a servant of yours. But I won’t do this in your lifetime because of my promise to David. Your son will lose most of your kingdom.”
Then God allowed the enemies of Solomon to organize against him, so there was no longer peace in the land. Finally, Solomon died. He had been king of Israel for forty years.