1 When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon's reputation, which brought honor to the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions.
2 She arrived in Jerusalem with a large group of attendants and a great caravan of camels loaded with spices, huge quantities of gold, and precious jewels. When she met with Solomon, they talked about everything she had on her mind.
3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her.
4 When the queen of Sheba realized how wise Solomon was, and when she saw the palace he had built,
5 she was breathless. She was also amazed at the food on his tables, the organization of his officials and their splendid clothing, the cup-bearers and their robes, and the burnt offerings Solomon made at the Temple of the LORD.
6 She exclaimed to the king, "Everything I heard in my country about your achievements and wisdom is true!
7 I didn't believe it until I arrived here and saw it with my own eyes. Truly I had not heard the half of it! Your wisdom and prosperity are far greater than what I was told.
8 How happy these people must be! What a privilege for your officials to stand here day after day, listening to your wisdom!
9 The LORD your God is great indeed! He delights in you and has placed you on the throne of Israel. Because the LORD loves Israel with an eternal love, he has made you king so you can rule with justice and righteousness."
10 Then she gave the king a gift of nine thousand pounds* of gold, and great quantities of spices and precious jewels. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to Solomon.1
11 (When Hiram's ships brought gold from Ophir, they also brought rich cargoes of almug wood and precious jewels.
12 The king used the almug wood to make railings for the Temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and to construct harps and lyres for the musicians. Never before or since has there been such a supply of beautiful almug wood.)
13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba whatever she asked for, besides all the other customary gifts he had so generously given. Then she and all her attendants left and returned to their own land.
14 Each year Solomon received about twenty-five tons* of gold.2
15 This did not include the additional revenue he received from merchants and traders, all the kings of Arabia, and the governors of the land.
16 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold, each containing over fifteen pounds* of gold.3
17 He also made three hundred smaller shields of hammered gold, each containing nearly four pounds* of gold. The king placed these shields in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.4
18 Then the king made a huge ivory throne and overlaid it with pure gold.
19 The throne had six steps and a rounded back. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with the figure of a lion standing on each side of the throne.
20 Solomon made twelve other lion figures, one standing on each end of each of the six steps. No other throne in all the world could be compared with it!
21 All of King Solomon's drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver because silver was considered of little value in Solomon's day!
22 The king had a fleet of trading ships* that sailed with Hiram's fleet. Once every three years the ships returned, loaded down with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.*5
23 So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king in all the earth.
24 People from every nation came to visit him and to hear the wisdom God had given him.
25 Year after year, everyone who came to visit brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.
26 Solomon built up a huge force of chariots and horses. He had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses.* He stationed many of them in the chariot cities, and some near him in Jerusalem.6
27 The king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones. And valuable cedarwood was as common as the sycamore wood that grows in the foothills of Judah.*7