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life and warfaring vicissitudes of Saul and of David,* and the pompous state, and voluptuous repose of him, who legislated from a " throne of ivory, overlaid with pure gold,” amidst provincial satraps and tributary princes~ what a contrast !
Imagination can lend no link to unite such eras in social progress, so near, and yet so remote. In the scriptural details (admirable and curious) of the building of the Temple of Jerusalem (which occupied seven years), of “the king's house of Millo, and of the house of Pharaoh's daughter," of the ivory palace, and the house of the forest of Lebanon, the persection of modern art appears anticipated, and the resources of modern treasuries surpassed ! The most cunning artists of Tyre and Egypt were invited and munificently rewarded, to perfect the great works of Jerusalem, public and domestic, which soon surpassed those of the ancient and polished cities, whence Israel borrowed her sudden influx of civilisation. An army of thirty thousand men was sent to cut down cedar trees in the woods of Lebanon, and fleets were manned with foreign pilots, and sent to India to be freighted with " “ gold from Ophir.
Gems and jewels, ivory and precious perfumes, were supplied by the w. merchant-men, and the traffic of the spice-merchants,” and by “ all the kings of Arabia,” and by the “ governors of the country,” until the very
shields and targets of the royal armoury were of beaten gold,” and all the “utensils of the temple," the “ king's drinking vessels,” and “the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon, were of pure gold”—“ for silver was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.” Nay, it came to be in Jerusalem as stones, and even cedar wood became as sycamore trees (that are in the valley) for abundance.”+
Besides the fleet which brought “ gold from Ophir,” and almug trees (for the construction of musical instruments, harps, and psalters for singers,'') the king kept at sea the
*“And Solomon spoke to Hiram, saying: Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the Lord his God, for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet.” 1 Kings, chap. v. verse 2 and 3.
+ 1 Kings, chap. x.
navy of Tharshish (that of Hiram), which, once in three years, brought gold and silver, and ivory, and apes, and peacocks, (the true appendages of a royal menagerie); while fourteen hundred chariots, forty thousand horses, and twelve thousand horsemen, completed the household troops, which remained “ with the king in Jerusalem.”
Solomon's dominions rapidly increased by alliances, by treaties, and by conquest ; and extended from the “ lands of the Philistines to the borders of Egypt,” and from the Euphrates to the Syrians."
“And so Solomon reigned over all kingdoms, from the river, unto the land of the Philistines,” and “ from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side of the
From other states, also, “ Solomon did levy a tribute of bond service,” the Israelites being “men of war,” the master caste, who disdained to work; they were the king's servants, “ of whom he made no bondsmen;" for “ they were his princes and his captains, the rulers of his chariots and his horsemen.” Besides his works in Jerusalem, and throughout Palestine, Solomon raised also cities in the desert, and “ built Baleth and Tadmor in the wilder.
The priesthood now saw the aspirations of their ancient prophets and great lawgiver accomplished, and witnessed the temporal as well as the spiritual triumph of that sub. lime religion, of which they had been the vigilant and hereditary guardians. When they beheld that grand ceremonial, the feast of the dedication, “ when Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord, in the presence of all the congregation of Israel," surrounded by the elders of Israel, by the chief of the fathers, and by the children of Israel," when he stood in the front of that glorious temple, where he had first enshrined the arkt and turned his face, and blessed all the congregation, and exhorted the people, and made a sacrifice of two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep—then the hierarchy must have believed that the most powerful king of the earth was the most devoted servant of the Lord, and the most strenuous supporter of its own power.*
* 1 Kings, chap. iv. Josephus.
+ It is remarkable that this sacred object contained nothing, save two tables of stone, which Moses had put there at Horeb.
Solomon thus gave to a pure and simple dogma an external pomp and circumstance, which enlisted every. human art in its service. The poetry of religion could go no further, and its solemnity has never since been more imposingly or more majestically represented.
The wisdom of Solomon, like his piety and his riches, were now said to surpass that of all the kings of the earth; and many of the kings of the most ancient states sent their sages and wise men to hear his proverbs and his enigmas. One, however, of his royal contemporaries, not trusting to delegated sagacity, came in person, to “prove him with hard questions." This enterprising and learned one, was a woman !-according to Josephus, Nicaulis, queen of Egypt and Ethiopia ;t but better known, as the Queen Sheba of scriptural writ.
This daughter of a land, where the idea of supreme wisdom was worshipped in a female form, this royal and philosophical pilgrim, who came “to prove the wisest of men and greatest of sovereigns “ with hard questions,” came not in the guise of a frugal pedant, nor simply as “a wise woman,” but, like the Semiramis of her time, she entered Jerusalem « in an equipage worthy so great a queen."$ Camels were laden with tributes of utility and value, ingots of gold and silver, precious stones, curious perfumes, plants of the most healing and odorous qualities, unknown even to that great naturalist,“ who could speak and write of all things” in the book of nature, “from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that springeth out of the wall." Beyond all her other offerings, was her present which first introduced the balm plant into the country: “ for, till the queen of Ethiopia arrived at Jerusalem," there was
no balm in Gilead.” 6 We owe to the libe. rality of that great queen” (says Josephus) “ the introduc
* 1 Kings, chap. x. † Much doubt subsists among the learned, concerning the place whence this personage came. | See 1 Kings, chap. x.
tion of the single plant of balm, from which the herb is now so multiplied, and has become so abundant throughout Judea.”
It appears that the wise and magnificent Micaulis inspired scarcely less admiration, than she herself felt for Solomon; for “ she communed with him of all that was in her heart,” and he not only answered all her ques. tions, “ but there was not any thing hid from the king which he told her not."*
The grandeur and luxury of Solomon's court and capi. tal seem to have struck even her, who had the revenues of a province for the maintenance of her sandals, with as much wonder as his wisdom ; and the representativet of Pharaoh may have borrowed, from the descendant of her ancestors' bondsrnen, ideas of sumptuous prodigality and magnificence, of which Minos and Sesostris never dreamed. “She admired,” say the Rabbins, “the service of his table, the order of his household, the attendance of his menials, and their apparel, and his cup-bearers ;" and Josephus relates that, above all, she admired that beautiful and superb hall, called the forest of Lebanon, in which the most sumptuous of the royal feasts were celebrated. “ It was a true report,” she said, “ that I heard in mine own land of thy wisdom.” “ Howbeit I believed not the words until I came, and my own eyes had seen it, and behold the half was not told me : thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the accounts which I have heard.”
In return for homage so flattering and so just, “ King Solomon gave unto the Queen of Sheba” “all her desire, 6 whatsoever she asked,” “ besides that which he gave her of his royal bounty.' .66 So she turned and went to her own country, with her servants.”
* 1 Kings, chap. x.
+ Pharaoh was a regal title in Egypt, and borne by each monarch in succession, like that of Ptolemy, or of Cæsar among the Romans. Josephus presumes that Herodotus did not separately name each of the three hundred kings who followed after Minos, because they were all known by this common appellative; and that, when he spoke of a female who reigned after them, he failed not to say that she was named Nicaulis, because the men alone were called Pharaoh. “I find also (he adds) in our chronicles that no king of Egypt, after Solomon's father-in-law, was called Pharaoh, and this Princess Nicaulis is the same who visited the Jewish king, as I shall presently relate.”—Josephus, book vii. chap. ii.
This visit of the Queen of Egypt to Jerusalem is a memorable fact in the history of a sex, taunted with its feebleness and intellectual incapacity. The equal terms on which the wisest of men communed with and confided in this woman of another land and another faith, is a corollary to his own adage ; for here was a woman “ who opened her mouth with wisdom, and on whose tongue was the law of kindness."
The Women of the Hebrews under the Monarchy. The Egyptian Prin
cesses. The Women of Strange Gods in Israel.
All the earth (says the scripture) now sought Solomon, to hear the wisdom which “ God had put into his heart ;" “ for he had wisdom, and understanding, and largeness of heart, even as the sands on the sea-shore, excelling all the children of the East country, and all the wisdom of Egypt." He composed a thousand and five hymns, or songs, and spoke three thousand proverbs; and those who came “ to hear the wisdom of Solomon from all parts of the earth,” purchased the privilege by “ bringing every man his presents, vessels of gold, and garments, and spice, horses, and mules, a rate year by year." Yet this more than human wisdom and mortal power, this high supremacy in all things, this mastery over the minds, the opinions, the lives, the fortunes, and the liberty of millions, this highest monopoly of human prosperity and glory, ever cited in the records of six thousand years, suddenly passed away like the dream of a vision! Faith abandoned the most zealous worshipper of Jehovah, even while his votive hecatombs yet flooded the streets of Jerusalem with blood, and while the air was filled with the odours of his incense, “ which smelt to Heaven.” Power melted from the hands of the mightiest, wisdom from the mind of the wisest, and the world's consideration was suddenly turned into its pity