King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba whatever she asked for, besides all the customary gifts he had so generously given. Then she and all her attendants returned to their own land.
1 Kings 10:13
When we toured the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa, the tour guide talked about the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon with great pride. That’s really not a surprise, though. He talked about most of Ethiopia’s story with great pride – especially when it came to being the home of ‘Lucy’ and also when he argued that the Garden of Eden was probably located in Northern Ethiopia.
But the Garden of Eden’s location has nothing to do with this passage from 1 Kings. ‘Lucy’ doesn’t, either.
My memory is a little bit fuzzy, but I remember our guide telling us a story about the Queen of Sheba staying in Solomon’s palace for some time during her visit that’s mentioned in this passage. It had something to do with the Queen agreeing not to take anything from the palace while she stayed there or she’d have to give Solomon something in return (or whatever he wanted….or something like that). One night (possibly the last night she was staying there), she was treated to a lavish dinner that was full of spice and was extremely hot. Having eaten Ethiopian food myself, I’d have to imagine this would have to register pretty high on the Scoville scale in order for Ethiopians to call it spicy.
Anyway, she went to bed that night with her mouth still on fire from the spicy dinner. Solomon had ordered his servants to place a large pitcher of water in her quarters. Naturally, she took a drink. Solomon then caught her, saying she had taken something from his palace and now needed to give him something in return.
She gave birth to a son nine months later.
Of course, one is supposed to assume that this son is the offspring of Solomon and the Queen. Or something like that. Does anyone else know this story? Am I way off in what I remember? I know Ethiopians take great pride in their connection to historic Judaism as well as the Christian story.
I’d love to have someone help fill in whatever blanks I may have in this story. And feel free to tell me if what I remember is completely wrong, too. I won’t be offended.