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The queen of Sheba admireth Solomon's wisdom. 1 And when the queen of Sheba 8 Happy are thy men, happy heard of the fame of Solomon, are these thy servants, which concerning the name of the LORD, stand continually before thee, she came to prove him with hard and that hear thy wisdom. questions.

9 Blessed be the LORD thy God, 2 And she came to Jerusalem which delighted in thee, to set with a very great train, with thee on the throne of Israel: becamels that bare spices, and very cause the Lord loved Israel for much gold, and precious stones: ever, therefore made he thee and when she was come to So- king, to do judgment and justice. lomon, she communed with him 10 And she gave the king an of all that was in her heart. hundred and twenty talents of

3 And Solomon told her all her gold, and of spices very great questions: there was not any store, and precious stones: there thing hid from the king, which came no more such abundance he told her not.

of spices as these which the 4 And when the queen of Sheba queen of Sheba gave to king had seen all Solomon's wisdom, Solomon. and the house that he had built, 11 And the navy also of Hiram, 5 And the meat of his table, and that brought gold from Ophir

, the sitting of his servants, and brought in from Ophir great the attendance of his ministers, plenty of almug trees,

and preand their apparel, and his cup- cious stones. bearers, and his ascent by which 12 And the king made of the he went up unto the house of the almug trees pillars for the house Lord; there was no more spirit of the Lord, and for the king's in her.

house, harps also and psalteries 6 And she said to the king, It for singers: there came no such was a true report that I heard in almug trees, nor were seen unto mine own land of thy acts and this day. of thy wisdom.

13 And king Solomon gave 7 Howbeit I believed not the unto the queen of Sheba all her words, until I came, and mine desire, whatsoever she asked, beeyes had seen it: and, behold, side that which Solomon gave her the half was not told me: thy of his royal bounty. So she turnwisdom and prosperity exceedeth ed and went to her own country, the fame which I heard.

she and her servants.

LECTURE 568.

Against neglecting our opportunities of saving knowledge. It is a remarkable expression, that “the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord.” And it may probably mean, that his renown was connected with Jehovah's name, as being known to be the consequence of God's special favour. We may suppose therefore, that amongst the hard questions which the queen of Sheba put to Solomon, were many

relating to the true God, and to the manner of the worship ordained in the Law, and to the revelation which He had given of his will; things of the deepest interest to a person of reflexion; such as a queen who came from far in search of wisdom was sure to be. And it is probably in connexion with this subject, that mention is made of “ the ascent” by which Solomon “went up unto the house of the Lord.” For whether this be the true meaning of the Hebrew words, or whether they mean, as others have translated them, “the sacrifices he offered ;" in either case they point to God's service, and shew that the queen of Sheba admired Solomon's wisdom, with some reference to the God to whom he was beholden, for all he had, and did, and was.

And in like manner when the queen expressed her admiration at Solomon's prosperity, and declared how happy she esteemed the servants of the king, and all who heard his words, she fell into a strain of thanksgiving to God, not unworthy of the lips of a believer: “ blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel : because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.” Surely the queen of Sheba here well teaches us, to interpret all the glory of this highly favoured king, as a token of the faithfulness and loving kindness of the Lord. When therefore we meet with proofs of his wisdom and magnificence, when we have set before us the state of his court, and the riches of his treasury, let us say within ourselves, How true is God to his promise, how gracious is God to his people !

But we must not fail to remember also the use which our blessed Lord has made of this remarkable event in history. “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.” Matt. 12. 42. Such was the mournful language of remonstrance, addressed to the Jews of our Saviour's time, by Hiin who spake as never man spake. Are not his words applicable to many even now? Are there not many who have now abundant opportunities to hear the wisdom which Christ vouchsafes to teach, and who have these opportunities in vain ? Let them learn from the queen of Sheba, that no journey is too long or too laborious to take, no gifts too large or too costly to bestow, for the sake of adding to our knowledge in the things of God. Whether this were the kind of wisdom sought by her or not, it is the kind which we are bound to seek above all others. And it is only in proportion as we know God, by learning in humility of Christ, that we need not fear lest the queen of the

south should rise up with us in the judgment to condemn us.

God grant that we may ever earnestly desire to know all his will, and ever heartily endeavour to do all we know; through Jesus Christ our Lord !

Solomon gathereth together riches and chariots and horses, 14 Now the weight of gold that navy of Tharshish with the navy came to Solomon in one year of Hiram : once in three

years was six hundred threescore and came the navy of Tharshish, six talents of gold,

bringing gold, and silver, ivory, 15 Beside that he had of the and apes, and peacocks. merchantmen, and of the traffick 23 So king Solomon exceeded of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of the earth for all the kings of Arabia, and of riches and for wisdom. the governors of the country. 24 And all the earth sought to

16 And king Solomon made two Solomon, to hear his wisdom, hundred targets of beaten gold: which God had put in his heart

. six hundred

shekels of gold went 25 And they brought every man to one target.

his present, vessels of silver, and 17 And he made three hundred vessels of gold, and garments

, shields of beaten gold; three and armour, and spices, horses, pound of gold went to one shield: and mules, a rate year by year. and the king put them in the 26 And Solomon gathered tohouse of the forest of Lebanon. gether chariots and horsemen:

18 Moreover the king made a and he had a thousand and four great throne of ivory, and over- hundred chariots, and twelve laid it with the best gold. thousand horsemen, whom he be

19 The throne had six steps, stowed in the cities for chariots, and the top of the throne was and with the king at Jerusalem, round behind: and there were 27 And the king made silver stays on either side on the place to be in Jerusalem as stones, and of the seat, and two lions stood cedars made he to be as the sycobeside the stays.

more trees that are in the vale, 20 And twelve lions stood there for abundance. on the one side and on the other 28 And Solomon had horses upon the six steps: there was brought out of Egypt, and linen not the like made in any king- yarn: the king's merchants redom.

ceived the linen yarn at a price, 21 And all king Solomon's 29 And a chariot came up and drinking vessels were of gold, and went out of Egypt for six hunall the vessels of the house of the dred shekels of silver, and an forest of Lebanon were of pure horse for an hundred and fifty: gold; none were of silver: it was and so for all the kings of the nothing accounted of in the days Hittites, and for the kings of of Solomon.

Syria, did they bring them out 22 For the king had at sea a by their means.

LECTURE 569. The supreme advantage of being wise unto salvation. Solomon could not now have borne in mind as he ought the express law on the duties of a king of Israel: “he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply borses : forasmuch as the Lord bath said unto you, Ye shall lienceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.” Deut. 17. 16, 17. At first the riches of Solomon had been multiplied unto him by God, through the treasures of his father and the gifts of his friend. And he had spent them at first chiefly in building and adorning the house of the Lord. But now he put his three hundred golden shields, not into God's temple, but into the house of the forest of Lebanon. It was for his own throne, and not for God's service, that he now constructed a piece of work of ivory and gold, of which “there was not the like made in any kingdom.” And it was in the house of the forest of Lebanon that “all the vessels of the house” were of pure gold, as well as “all king Solomon's drinking vessels.” The house of God is indeed nowhere mentioned in this passage; which looks as if the king had now begun to disregard it. All his study was to gain for his own wealth. Even the wisdom “which God had put into his heart," was turned to a service of profit, by presents taken from those who came to hear him. And it was perhaps by a perverted application of his superior understanding, that he succeeded in obtaining horses so abundantly from Egypt; against the obvious interest of the Egyptians, and in manifest violation of the law of the Lord.

The wisdom then which Solomon obtained from God, or at least that into which his gift had now degenerated, was no more than quickness and depth of understanding; it was not akin to the being wise unto salvation. It was the intelligence to know every thing that man could understand. But it proved compatible with the foolishness of doing many things, which he knew that he ought not to have done. It was skill to govern others, without the wit to subdue himself. It was applicable to the art of gathering treasure ; but it was not applied in heaping up the riches of eternity. And whilst it helped the king to supply his army with chariots and horses, it at the same time allowed him to forget, that his best way of strength and safety was to trust in the Lord. Let this better wisdom be the object of our search; the skill to serve God, and to save our souls alive. And though we may no longer safely follow Solomon's example, let it be for this that we resort to Solomon's teaching. For whatever might henceforth be his practice, we shall not easily find the wisdom which is from above more forcibly described, or more impressively recommended than in these inspired words of the son of David : “ Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies : and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand : and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness: and all her paths are peace.” Prov. 3. 13–17.

Solomon's many wives draw him to idolatry. i Butking Solomon loved many concerning this thing, that he strange women, together with the should not go after other gods : daughter of Pharaoh, women of but he kept not that which the the Moabites, Ammonites, Edo- Lord commanded. mites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 11 Wherefore the LORD said

2. Of the nations concerning unto Solomon, forasmuch as this which the Lord said unto the is done of thee, and thou hast children of Israel, Ye shall not not kept my covenant and my go in to them, neither shall they statutes, which I have commandcome in unto you: for surely ed thee, I will surely rend the they will turn away your heart kingdom from thee, and will give after their gods : Solomon clave it to thy servant. unto these in love.

12 Notwithstanding in thy days 3 And he had seven hundred I will not do it for David thy wives, princesses, and three hun- father's sake: but I will rend dred concubines : and his wives it out of the hand of thy son. turned away his heart.

13 Howbeit I will not rend 4 For it came to pass, when away all the kingdom; but will Solomon was old, that his wives give one tribe to thy son for David turned away his heart after other my servant's sake, and for Jerugods : and his heart was not per- salem's sake which I have chosen. fect with the Lord his God, as 14 And the Lord stirred up an was the heart of David his father. adversary unto Solomon, Hadad

5 For Solomon went after Ash- the Edomite: hewas of the king's toreth the goddess of the Zido- seed in Edom. nians, and after Milcom the abo- 15 For it came to when mination of the Ammonites. David was in Edom, and Joab

6 And Solomon did evil in the the captain of the host was gone sight of the Lord, and went not up to bury the slain, after he had fully after the Lord, as did David smitten every male in Edom; his father.

16 (For six months did Joab re7 Then did Solomon build an main there with all Israel, until he high place for Chemosh, the had cut off every male in Edom:) abomination of Moab, in the hill 17 That Hadad fed, he and certhat is before Jerusalem, and for tain Edomites of his father's serMolech, the abomination of the vants with him, to go into Egypt; children of Ammon.

Hadad being yet a little child. 8 And likewise did he for all his 18 And they arose out of Mistrange wives, which burnt in- dian, and came to Paran: and cense and sacrificed unto their they took men with them out of gods.

Paran, and they came to Egypt, 9 And the Lord was angry unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; with Solomon, becanse his heart which gave him an house, and was turned from the Lord God appointed him victuals, and gave of Israel which had appeared unto him land. him twice,

19 And Hadad found great 10 And had commanded him favour in the sight of Pharaoh,

pass,

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