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Amongst other distinguished characters who were attracted by the fame of the Israelitish monarch, was the queen of Sheba, who came from the uttermost parts of the earth,* to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and brought with her a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and the holocausts, or burnt offeringst which he offered in the house of Jehovah, there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land, of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit, I believed not the words until I came, and mine eyes had seen it : and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be Jehovah, thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel : because Jehovah loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice. And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones : there came no more such abundance of spices as those which
of Sheba gave to king Solomon. And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which he gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants. I
Matt. xii. 42. 1 Kings, x. I. 2 Chron. ix. I.
+ A. Clarke, and Luther.
And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees and precious stones. And the king made of the almug* trees, pillars for the house of Jehovah, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.
Neither did this monarch neglect to regulate the public worship of God, for three times in a year he offered burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto Jehovah; and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before Jehovah.t
But, unhappily, with all his wisdom, Solomon was not able to preserve the integrity of his religious character amidst all this grandeur and magnificence; for at the close of his life, when it might have been expected he would have more especially devoted himself to the service and worship of God, he fell into gross debauchery and idolatry. He cohabited with no less than seven hundred wives, and three hundred concubines, strange women of the nations, concerning which Jehovah had said, # Ye shall not go in unto them, neither shall they come in unto you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods. And so it proved to be the case, for his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with Jehovah, his God, as was the heart of David, his father; for with his Zidonian wives he went after Ashtoreth, the goddesá of the Zidonians; with his Ammonitish wives he worshipped Milcom and Moloch, the abominations of the Ammonites; and to please his Moabitish wives, he built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab; and likewise he did for all his strange wives, who burnt incense,
* Or algum, 2 Chron. ix. 10, 11. Probably rosewood, or other coloured wood. A. CLARKE. Thyine wood. Burder, O. L. 515.
† 1 Kings, ix. 25.
and sacrificed unto their gods; and thus did evil in the sight of Jehovah; and went not fully after Jehovah, as did David, his father. *
The anger of Jehovah was, therefore, excited against this highly favoured servant, as well indeed it might, wherefore he said unto him, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding, in thy days I will not do it, for David thy father's sake; but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit, I will not rend away all the kingdom : but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake,t and for Jerusalem's sake, which I have chosen ;# thus, however, in judgment remembering mercy, and his loving kindness to David.
In execution of this solemn sentence, several of the neighbouring princes were allowed to barass Solomon during the remainder of his days, and to destroy the tranquillity of his latter end; viz: Hadad, the Edomite,
* 1 Kings, xi. 148. See a curious plate of all these idols, in Ful.
ler's Pisgah Sight of Canaan, p. 123. + The prevailing lion must come out of the tribe of Judah: not only the tribe must be preserved, but the regal line, and the regal right. All this must be done for the true David's sake: and this was undoubtedly what God bad in view, by thus miraculously preserving the tribe of Judah, and the royal line, in the midst of so general a defection. A. Clarke.
# 1 Kings, xi. 11-13. It came to pass when David was in Edom, and Joab, the captain of the host, was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom, (for six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, after he bad cut off every male in Edom.) that Hadad fled, he, and certain Edomites of his father's servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child. And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran; and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh, king of Egypt; who gave him an
with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets. And all Judah rejoiced at the oath : for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them : and Jehovah gave them rest round about,* and there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.t
In the following year, however, Baasha, king of Israel, came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa, king of Judah. Then Asa brought silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of Jehovah, and of the king's house, and sent to Benhadad, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father ; behold I have sent thee silver and gold, go, break thy league with Baasha, king of Israel, that he may depart from me. And Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelmaim, and all the store cities of Naphtali. And it came to pass when Baasha heard it, that he left off building of Kamah, and let his work cease. Then A sa, the king, took all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha was building; and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah. #
At that time Hanani, the seer, came to Asa, king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on Jehovah, thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand. Were not the Ethiopians and Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen ? yet because thou didst rely on Jehovah, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes
• 2 Chron. xv. 1-15. + 2 Chron. xv. 19.
| 2 Chron. xvi. 146. 1 Kings, xv. 16–22.