- The queen of Sheba's interview with Solomon, verse 1-10.
- His riches, verse 11-15.
- Targets, ivory throne, vessels, ver, 16-23. Presents, chariots and horses, tribute, verse 24-29.
Sheba - Of that part of Arabia, called Shabaea, which was at great distance from Jerusalem, bordering upon the Southern Sea; for there, much more than in Ethiopia, were the commodities which she brought, verse 2,10. Name of the Lord - That is, concerning God; the name of God being often put for God; concerning his deep knowledge in the things of God. For it is very probable she had, as had divers other Heathens, some knowledge of the true God, and an earnest desire to know more concerning him. Questions - Concerning natural, and civil, and especially, Divine things.
All her heart - Of all the doubts and difficulties wherewith her mind was perplexed.
House - Or, the houses, the temple and the king's house, in both which there were evidences of singular wisdom.
Sitting - The order and manner in which his courtiers, or other subjects (who all were his servants in a general sense) sat down at meals, at several tables in his court. Attendance - Upon the king, both at his table, and in his court; and when he went abroad to the temple or other places. Apparel - Both the costliness of it, and especially the agreeableness of it to their several places and offices. Went up - From his own palace. See 2 Kings 16:18, but the ancients, and some others, translate the words thus, and the burnt-offerings which he offered up in the house of the Lord; under which, is the chief, all other sacrifices are understood: when she saw the manner of his offering sacrifices to the Lord; which doubtless she would not neglect to see; and in the ordering of which she might discern many characters of excellent wisdom, especially when she had so excellent an interpreter as Solomon was, to inform her of the reasons of all the circumstances of that service. No spirit - She was astonished, and could scarcely determine whether she really saw these things, or whether it was only a pleasant dream.
Happy, &c. - With much more reason may we say this of Christ's servants: Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be always praising thee.
Six hundred, &c. - Which amounts to about three millions of our money. And this gold did not come from Ophir in India, or Tharshish; but from Arabia and Ethiopia, which then were replenished with gold, though exhausted by the insatiable avarice of succeeding Ages.
Merchant-men - Heb. of the searchers; either merchants, who use to search out commodities: or, the gatherers of the king's revenues, who used to search narrowly into all wares, that the king might not be defrauded of his rights. Spice-merchants - Or rather, of the merchants in general, as the word is often used. So this and the former particular contain both the branches of the king's revenue, what he had from the land, and what he had from the merchants and traders. Kings - Of those parts of Arabia which were next to Canaan, which were either conquered by David, or submitted to pay tribute to Solomon. But we must not think all these to be kings of large dominions; many of them were only governors of cities, and the territories belonging to them, such as were formerly in Canaan, and were anciently called kings. The country - Or, of the land; the land of Arabia: whereof some parts were so far conquered, that he had governors of his own over them, who were each of them to take care of the king's revenue in his jurisdiction; and part only so far, that they still had kings of their own, but such as were tributaries to him.
Targets - For pomp and magnificence, and to be carried before him, by his guard, when he went abroad. The Roman magistrates had rods and axes carried before them, in token of their power to correct the bad: but Solomon shields and targets, to shew he took more pleasure in his power to defend and protect the good.
Shields - Smaller than targets.
Round - Made like the half of a circle.
Nothing - Comparatively. Such hyperbolical expressions are frequent both in scripture and other authors. But if gold in abundance, would make silver seem so despicable, shall not wisdom and grace, and the foretastes of heaven, make gold seem much more so?
Tharshish - Ships that went to Tharshish. For Tharshish was the name of a place upon the sea, famous for its traffick with merchants, and it was a place very remote from Judea, as appears from the three years usually spent in that voyage. But whether it was Spain, where in those times there was abundance of gold and silver, as Strabo and others affirm; or, some place in the Indies, it is needless to determine.
All the earth - That is, all the kings of the earth, (as it is expressed 2 Chronicles 9:23,) namely of those parts of the earth.
Horses, &c. - The two chief commodities of Egypt. Price - Solomon received them from Pharaoh at a price agreed between them, and gave this privilege to his merchants, for a tribute to be paid out of it.
Chariot - This is not to be understood of the chariots and horses themselves, but for the lading of chariots and horses, which consisting of fine linen and silk, were of great value: and the king's custom, together with the charges of the journey, amounted to these sums. Hittites - A people dwelling principally in the northern and eastern parts of Canaan, Joshua 1:4, whom the Israelites, contrary to their duty, suffered to live amongst them, Judges 3:5, who afterwards grew numerous and potent, and, it may be, sent out colonies (after the manner of the ancient times) into some parts of Syria and Arabia. And possibly, these kings of the Hittites may be some of those kings of Arabia, verse 15.