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The Queen of Sheba is one of the people that stands out in scripture, even though there isn’t a lot that is said about her. According to the Bible, she made a special trip from Ethiopia to Israel just to meet Solomon, based only on hearing rumors of his wisdom. To understand the significance of this meeting, we must understand how political ties were made in the ancient world. In order to form alliances, royalty would often marry each other or have their children marry each other. We’ll come back to this meeting further down, but first, let’s look at the Queen’s Hamite connection:
“And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.” – Genesis 10:7
To break it down, Sheba was the grandson of Cush and the great grandson of Ham. When the descendants of Ham began to settle Africa, Seba (son of Cush) settled the portion of Africa now known as Ethiopia. When Sheba settled, he settled in what is currently Yemen, but at the time was part of the Eastern territory controlled by Ethiopia. Sheba was essentially a city within the Ethiopian state.
Who Was The Queen of Sheba?
Her name is not given in scripture, but to the Ethiopians she was known as Queen Makeda. What we do know from scripture is that she had heard the fame of Solomon, and wanted to test his wisdom with “hard questions”.
“And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.” – 1 Kings 10:1
This is also reflected in the New Testament, where she is referred to as “The Queen of The South”. If we look at the map above, we see that both Yemen and Ethiopia are to the south of Israel.
“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.” – Matthew 12:42
Queen Makeda arrived with a massive caravan full of gifts for Solomon, even though he is already rich beyond belief. After she is satisfied with his answers, The Queen of Sheba gives Solomon unmatched riches from her kingdom.
“And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.” – 1 King 10:10
What Did The Queen of Sheba Give Solomon?
- 120 Talents of Gold
- Almug Trees
- Precious Stones
What Did Solomon Give The Queen of Sheba?
This is where the story suddenly drops the details. After the Queen of Sheba gives Solomon his gifts, we’re told the Solomon gave her all of her hearts desire, in addition to what he gave her from his royal bounty.
“And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.” – 1 Kings 10:13
Many speculate that there is a lot more to the story, and that one of her requests was a son. Solomon was rich, powerful, wise, and the queen was impressed with him. It’s not out of the question that she and Solomon may have had a sexual relationship while she was there.
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Solomon’s Secret Son
While it doesn’t appear in the Bible, there is a huge part of Ethiopian culture that does believe Solomon had a son with the Queen of Sheba, by the name of Menelik I. This goes back to what was mentioned in the beginning about alliances. Having a child with a neighboring king or queen often ensured generations of peace between the nations involved, so this story is not farfetched or even out of the ordinary. The Bible also makes a strange reference, but contains no explanation as to why it was made:
“Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?” – Amos 9:7
Again, scripture doesn’t outright say that Solomon fathered a son with the Queen of Sheba. According to part of the legend, after Menelik came to meet Solomon, he was sent home along with 1,000 people from each tribe (12,000 Hebrews), and The Ark of The Covenant. After returning home, Menelik became the 1st leader of the Solomonic Dynasty. The story of the origins of Menelik I explains why Judaism and Christianity are deeply rooted in Ethiopian culture.
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