1 Kings 10:2
And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.
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(2) Spices.—The “spices” of Arabia were famous in all ages. Sheba is mentioned in Ezekiel 27:22 as trafficking with Tyre “in chief of all spices, and precious stones, and gold.” The spices of “the incensebearing sands” of Arabia are constantly dwelt upon both in Greek and Roman literature. Frankincense especially was imported from Arabia into Palestine (see Isaiah 60:6; Jeremiah 6:20), although now it comes chiefly from India. Myrrh also was in ancient times drawn chiefly from Arabia. Cassia is a product of Arabia and India. Of all spices, the frankincense for sacrifice and the myrrh for embalming the dead would be most in request.

Gold, and precious stones.—These may have been native products of Sheba, or have been brought from the farther East. Gold is not now known to exist in Arabia, nor any precious stones except the onyx and the emerald. But in ancient times it was commonly believed to produce both gold and precious stones largely.

1 Kings 10:2-3. She communed with him of all that was in her heart — Of all the doubts and difficulties wherewith her mind was perplexed. She had liberty to propound whatsoever she desired to be resolved about. Solomon told her all her questions — Answered them to her satisfaction. There was not any thing — which he told her not — There was nothing concerning which she inquired, however difficult, which be did not reveal to her.

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.See 1 Kings 10:10 note. 2. she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels—A long train of those beasts of burden forms the common way of travelling in Arabia; and the presents specified consist of the native produce of that country. Of course, a royal equipage would be larger and more imposing than an ordinary caravan. i.e. Of all the doubts and difficulties wherewith her mind was perplexed.

And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train,.... With many of her courtiers and principal men, as well as with a large retinue of servants:

with camels that bare spices; her country abounded both with camels and spices; See Gill on Isaiah 60:6; see Gill on Jeremiah 6:20, and as Pliny (f) observes, who says their spices used to be carried on camels, particularly frankincense, for which Sheba was famous, and is therefore called by him "regio thurifera", the frankincense country (g), being to be had nowhere else; and Strabo (h) speaks of "cinamon, cassia", and other spices here in such plenty, that the inhabitants burnt the wood of them for fuel; and Diodorus Siculus (i) represents this country as exceeding odoriferous, and as having besides the above spices, balsam, myrrh, calamus, costus, and others, in such abundance that they heated their ovens with them:

and very much gold; see 1 Kings 10:10, the gold of Sheba is spoken of in Psalm 72:15 and Pliny (k) observes, that the Sabeans are exceeding rich, as in other things, so in gold; and Diodorus Siculus (l) and Strabo (m) speak of gold found here in large lumps, very pure, and of a fine colour:

and precious stones; as crystals, emeralds, beryls, and chrysolites, mentioned by Diodorus (n) as in those parts; and a late traveller says (o), that Arabia Felix abounds with balsam, myrrh, cassia, manna, dates, gold, frankincense, and pearl:

and when she was come to Solomon; unto his palace, and admitted into his presence:

she communed with him of all that was in her heart; which she had in her mind to discourse with him about, and which she had laid up in her memory for that purpose; and some things which she had kept to herself, and had never imparted to any before, as some think; all which she had full liberty from Solomon to propound unto him.

(f) Nat. Hist. l. 12. c. 14. (g) Ibid. "----Molles sua thura Sabaei", Virg. Georg l. 1. v. 57. & l. 2. v. 117. Thurilegos Arabes, Ovid. Fast. l. 4. Vid. Plant. Trinum. Acts 4. Sc. 2. v. 89. (h) Geograph. l. 16. p. 535. (i) Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 132. (k) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 28. (l) Ut supra, (Bibliothec. l. 2.) p. 133. l. 3. p. 181. (m) Ut supra. (Geograph. l. 16. p. 535.) (n) Ut supra, (Bibliothec. l. 2.) p. 134. & l. 3. p. 181. (o) Ovington's Voyage to Surat, p. 421.

And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.
2. spices] For which Arabia has always been famous.

Verse 2. - And she came to Jerusalem [a great undertaking in those days. Our Lord lays stress on this long journey, ἐκ τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς, Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31] with a very great train [Heb. with a very heavy force or host (חַיִל). Thenius understands the words of an armed escort, which may well have been necessary considering the countries through which she passed, and the treasures she carried. It would also be quite in the spirit of the age that the queen should be escorted by a band of her soldiers. But it is not so certain that this idea was in the historian's mind], with [not in Hebrews] camels [2 Chronicles 9:1 has "and camels." But the word is here explicative of the חַיִל preceding (Keil). It does not, however, decide against an armed force, as camels would be in any case required. The camel was a familiar object to the Jews (Exodus 9:3; Leviticus 11:4; Deuteronomy 14:7, etc.); but such a procession as this would create great astonishment in Jerusalem, and we may imagine how the people would line the bazaars as she passed, and the acclamations with which they would greet the queen (cf. 1:40; Matthew 21:9) and her swart attendants] that bare spices [Heb. balsams; hence spices generally; LXX. ἡδύσματα. Exodus 25:6; Exodus 35:28; Ezekiel 27:22. The perfumes of Arabia are proverbial (see Herod. 3:107-113), and Yemen is the chief spice country (Dict. Bib. 1. p. 91], and very much gold [Psalm 72:15. Gold is not now found in Arabia, nor are there any traces of gold mines; but Strabo and Diodorus both state that it was found there, and, according to the latter, in nuggets of considerable size (Dict. Bib. 1. p. 707). It is quite possible, however, that much of the "gold of Arabia" came to its emporiums from other lands. This particular present was doubtless brought by the queen because she had heard of the extensive use made of it by Solomon, and of the enormous quantities he required. "Strabo relates that the Sabeans 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" (Rawlinson)] and precious stones [the onyx, emerald, and turquoise are still found in Arabia, and in former times the variety was apparently much greater (Plin., Nat. Hist. 37.)]; and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of [Heb. spake to him] all that was in her heart. [The words are not to be restricted, as by Keil, to riddles. There may well have been, as the earlier interpreters supposed, religious discourse - gravissimas et sacras quaestiones. 1 Kings 10:2As the queen of a wealthy country, she came with a very large retinue. חיל does not mean a military force or an armed escort (Thenius), but riches, property; namely, her numerous retinue of men (עבדים, 1 Kings 10:13), and camels laden with valuable treasures. The words יקרה...גּמלּים are an explanatory circumstantial clause, both here and also in the Chronicles, where the cop. Vav stands before גּמלּים (cf. Ewald, 341, a., b.). "And spake to Solomon all that she had upon her heart," i.e., in this connection, whatever riddles she had it in her mind to lay before him; "and Solomon told her all her sayings," i.e., was able to solve all her riddles. There is no ground for thinking of sayings of a religious nature, as the earlier commentators supposed, but simply of sayings the meaning of which was concealed, and the understanding of which indicated very deep wisdom.
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