1 Kings 10:10
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Kings 10:10. She gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, &c. — These magnificent presents show that this queen was exceeding rich: her country, without doubt, abounded in gold at that time, as well as in cinnamon, myrrh, and frankincense, in vast plenty. There came no more such abundance of spices, &c. — For, it seems, the Jews maintained no trade with this country.

10:1-13 The queen of Sheba came to Solomon to hear his wisdom, thereby to improve her own. Our Saviour mentions her inquiries after God, by Solomon, as showing the stupidity of those who inquire not after God, by our Lord Jesus Christ. By waiting and prayer, by diligently searching the Scriptures, by consulting wise and experienced Christians, and by practising what we have learned, we shall be delivered from difficulties. Solomon's wisdom made more impression upon the queen of Sheba than all his prosperity and grandeur. There is a spiritual excellence in heavenly things, and in consistent Christians, to which no reports can do justice. Here the truth exceeded; and all who, through grace, are brought to commune with God, will say the one half was not told them of the pleasures and the advantages of wisdom's ways. Glorified saints, much more, will say of heaven, that the thousandth part was not told them, 1Co 2:9. She pronounced them happy that constantly attended Solomon. With much more reason may we say of Christ's servants, Blessed are they that dwell in his house; they will be still praising him. She made a noble present to Solomon. What we present to Christ, he needs not, but will have us do so to express our gratitude. The believer who has been with Jesus, will return to his station, discharge his duties with readiness, and from better motives; looking forward to the day when, being absent from the body, he shall be present with the Lord.Strabo relates that the Sabaeans were enormously wealthy, and used gold and silver in a most lavish manner in their furniture, their utensils, and even on the walls, doors, and roofs of their houses. That the gold of Sheba should be given to Solomon was prophesied by the writer of Psalm 72 (see the marginal reference). The immense abundance of spices in Arabia, and especially in the Yemen or Sabaean country, is noted by many writers. According to Strabo, the spice-trade of Arabia was in the hands of two nations, the Sabaeans and the Gerrhaeans. The spices in which they dealt seem to have been only in part the produce of Arabia itself; some of the most important kinds, as the cinnamon and the cassia, must have been imported from India, since Arabia does not yield them. The chief precious stones which Arabia now yields are the onyx and the emerald. Anciently she is said to have produced other gems. Pearls, too, were readily procurable in Arabia from the Persian Gulf fishery. 10. she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold—£720,00. No text from Poole on this verse.

And she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold,.... The same sum that Hiram sent him; see Gill on 1 Kings 9:14 this fulfilled the prophecy, so far as it respected Solomon, Psalm 72:15.

and of spices very great store, and precious stones; see 1 Kings 10:2 there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon; that is, into Judea. Josephus reports (t), that some say that the balsamic plant, which Judea was afterwards so famous for, was brought by this queen, and a gift of hers to Solomon; and Diodorus Siculus (u) speaks of it as in Arabia, and not to be found in any other part of the world.

(t) Ut supra, (Antiqu. l. 8. c. 6.) sect. 6. (u) Bibliotec. l. 2. p. 132.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold] Large presents of this nature are still the rule among Oriental princes when they visit one another. Josephus however, contrary to his wont, has a less sum here, making the gift only ‘twenty talents’ (Ant. viii. 6, 6). According to our text, the queen’s present was the same as that which Hiram gave (see above 1 Kings 9:14).

there came no more such abundance of spices] Josephus adds to this statement ‘and they say that the root of the opobalsamum (i.e. the balsam tree), which our land still produces, came to us among her gifts.’

And the navy also of Hiram] This verse and the next are a parenthetic insertion, brought in by the mention of the spices in the previous verse. Hiram’s fleet went to distant parts, and in the direction of Sheba, but for all that it brought back no such spicery among its imports. This navy is no doubt the same which was spoken of in the previous chapter (1 Kings 9:26-28). It is called Hiram’s because he supplied the wood for building it, and the sailors for its manning.

great plenty of almug trees] The name is spelt in the text of Chronicles ‘algum’ (2 Chronicles 2:8; 2 Chronicles 9:10-11), and is probably a word adopted from the language of the country where the wood was produced, and about the spelling of which Hebrew writers were not very sure, as Englishmen were not in former days about tea, which may be found spelt ‘tcha.’ What the wood was is a question of some difficulty. It was clearly an imported article, for what is said 2 Chronicles 2:8, ‘Send me algum trees out of Lebanon,’ must be understood not of trees growing there, but of wood which the Tyrians procured in their trade, and would send along with the timber which grew on Lebanon. The Rabbinical writers use almug for coral, and if this be an old Hebrew word, it may have been applied to these trees, because of the colour of their wood. But about the antiquity of the word we have no evidence. Most moderns incline to the opinion that sandal-wood is intended, though some, considering the words of 2 Chronicles 2:8 to imply a tree grown on Lebanon, prefer to regard it as a kind of cedar or cypress. Evidently the LXX. had no light on the subject, the renderings there given being πελεκητὰ (or ἀπελέκητα) and πεύκινα. The Vulgate renders it thyina, the wood of the θυία, which is akin to the Arbor vitœ. Some of the uses to which it was put, as mentioned in the next verse, seem to require a stouter material than sandal-wood.

Josephus (Ant. viii. 7, i) calls the trees ξύλα πεύκινα, but says it was unlike the wood which went by the name of pine in his day. ‘Let no one suppose,’ he says, ‘that this wood was like that called pine wood now, and which sellers call so for the bewilderment of buyers. The wood spoken of here resembles the wood of the fig tree, but is whiter and glitters more.’

Verse 10. - And she gave the king an hundred and twenty [Josephus says twenty] talents of gold [Psalm 72:15. "The rivers still run into the sea; to him that hath shall be given" (Bp. Hall). As to the talent, see on 1 Kings 9:14], and of spices very great store [Heb. much exceedingly (Ewald, 287 c.) "The immense abundance of spices in Arabia.. is noted by many writers. Herodotus says that the whole tract exhaled an odour marvellously sweet (3:113). Diodorus relates that the odour was carried out to sea to a considerable distance from the shore (3:46). According to Strabo the spice trade of Arabia was in the hands of two nations, the Sabeans and Gerrhaeans, whose profits from it were so enormous that in his time they were the two wealthiest nations on the face of the earth (16. 4. 19)," Rawlinson], and precious stones; there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. [Josephus states (Ant. 8.6.6) that the cultivation of the balsam in Palestine dates from this visit; the plant having been one of the queen's gifts. The two following verses form a sort of parenthesis. In speaking of the gold and gems brought by the Arabian queen, it occurs to the historian to state that both of these commodities were also brought in by the fleet. Possibly, too, the mention of the spices reminded him of the fragrant almug trees brought from Ophir (Bahr). But it would rather seem that they are included as one of the chief products of the voyage. 1 Kings 10:10She thereupon presented to Solomon a hundred and twenty talents of gold (more than three million thalers nearly half a million sterling - Tr.]), and a very large quantity of spices and precious stones. The בּשׂמים probably included the genuine balsam of Arabia, even if בּשׂם was not the specific name of the genuine balsam. "There never more came so much of such spices of Jerusalem." Instead of לרב עוד...בּא לא we find in the Chronicles, 1 Kings 10:9, simply היה לא, "there was nothing like this balsam," which conveys the same meaning though expressed more indefinitely, since ההוּא ecni כּבּשׂם points back to the preceding words, "balsam (spices) in great quantity."

(Note: It was this which gave rise to the legend in Josephus (Ant. viii. 6, 6), that it was through this queen that the root of the true balsam (Opobalsamum), which was afterwards cultivated in gardens at Jericho and Engedi, was first of all brought to Palestine (cf. Movers, Phnizier, ii. 3, p. 226ff.).

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