The queen of the South (Lk 11:31-11:31)

“The queen of the South

Will rise

At the judgment

Against the people

Of this generation.

She will condemn them.

Because she came

From the ends of the earth

To listen to

The wisdom of Solomon.

See!

Someone greater

Than Solomon

Is here.”

 

βασίλισσα νότου ἐγερθήσεται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῶν ἀνδρῶν τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης καὶ κατακρινεῖ αὐτούς· ὅτι ἦλθεν ἐκ τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς ἀκοῦσαι τὴν σοφίαν Σολομῶνος, καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Σολομῶνος ὧδε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that the queen of the South (βασίλισσα νότου) would rise (ἐγερθήσεται) at the judgment time (ἐν τῇ κρίσει) against the men or people of this generation.  She will condemn them (καὶ κατακρινεῖ αὐτούς), because she came from the ends of the earth (ὅτι ἦλθεν ἐκ τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς) to listen to the wisdom of Solomon (ἀκοῦσαι τὴν σοφίαν Σολομῶνος).  However, someone greater than Solomon is here (καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Σολομῶνος ὧδε).  This saying about the Queen of Sheba can also be found in Matthew, chapter 12:42, so that perhaps this is a Q source.  However, in Luke here, it preceded the comments about the men of Nineveh, while it was the reverse in Matthew.  Why was this unnamed Queen of Sheba able to give a judgment on this generation?  She was not even Jewish.  However, she visited King Solomon in 1 Kings, chapter 10:1-13, with the same story repeated in 2 Chronicles, chapter 9:1-12.  This mythical mysterious woman came from Sheba, but no one knows exactly where that was or her specific name.  She might have been from around the gold mines at Ophir, wherever that might be.  This might explain her wealth in spices, gold, and precious stones.  Anyway, King Solomon answered all her questions with great wisdom.  She observed all his wisdom, plus his house, his food, his clothing, and his servants.  She praised King Solomon, the son of King David, because his wisdom exceeded what she had anticipated and his prosperity exceeded her expectations.  Matthew and Luke both called her the Queen of the South (βασίλισσα νότου).  Matthew also said that she would rise up at the judgment time against this generation and condemn them.  She had come from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon.  Now, Matthew reminded them that someone greater than King Solomon was there among them, Jesus himself.  Do you recognize greatness when you see it?

The spoils of plunder (Ezek 38:13-38:13)

“Sheba,

Dedan,

The merchants of Tarshish,

With all its young warriors,

Will say to you.

‘Have you come

To seize spoil?

Have you assembled

Your troops

To carry off plunder?

Do you want

To carry away

Silver,

Gold,

Cattle,

With other goods?

Do you want

To seize

Great spoil?’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, now suddenly has the trading partners of Tyre from Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish, as found in chapter 27, show up in here. They realized that there would be a lot of things to plunder in Israel and Jerusalem. Tarshish had both merchants and warriors to gather up things. They wanted to know if Gog was there to plunder Israel? Would he take away its silver, gold, cattle, and other precious items? Would there be a great amount of stuff to take?

Sheba (Ezek 27:22-27:22)

“The merchants

Of Sheba,

With Raamah,

Traded with you.

They exchanged

For your wares

The best

Of all kinds

Of spices,

Precious stones,

As well as gold.”

Sheba and Raamah, on the other hand, were in the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula. They traded with Tyre also since they things like very good spices, precious stones, and gold. How they had these things was not clear.

The useless sacrifices (Jer 6:20-6:21)

“‘Of what use to me

Is frankincense

That comes from Sheba?

Of what use to me

Is sweet cane

From a distant land?

Your burnt offerings are not acceptable.

Your sacrifices are not pleasing to me.’

Therefore thus says Yahweh.

‘See!

I am laying before this people

Stumbling blocks

Against which they shall stumble.

Parents shall perish.

Children with them shall perish.

Neighbors shall perish.

Friends shall perish.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, rejects their sacrificial offerings. What good is that precious frankincense from Sheba or the sweet cane from other far away countries? These rich burnt offerings are still unacceptable and not pleasing to Yahweh since they were no substitute for faithfulness. Yahweh was going to be a stumbling block for all of them. Parents, children, neighbors, and friends will all perish, nice and simple, no questions asked.

Caravans from the east (Isa 60:6-60:7)

“A multitude of camels

Shall cover you.

The young camels of Midian

With the camels of Ephah

Shall cover you.

All those from Sheba

Shall come.

They shall bring gold.

They shall bring frankincense.

They shall proclaim the praise of Yahweh.

All the flocks of Kedar

Shall be gathered to you.

The rams of Nebaioth

Shall minister to you.

They shall be acceptable on my altar.

I will glorify my glorious house.”

The caravan trade had been very lucrative. Thus the camels with all their goodies would travel to Jerusalem from eastern Midian and Ephah that were in Arabia. Sheba was in southern Arabia, prominent in the stories of King Solomon. They were bringing the traditional gifts of gold and frankincense, which was an expensive spice. They were going to proclaim the praises of Yahweh. So too, the flocks from the eastern desert area from the Arab tribes of Kedar, as well as the rams of the Nebaioth tribe, would be gifts for Jerusalem. These would be acceptable at the altar of Yahweh in his house.

The king and prosperity (Ps 72:15-72:17)

“Long may he live!

May gold of Sheba be given to him!

May prayer be made for him continually!

May blessings be invoked for him all day long!

May there be abundance of grain in the land!

May grain wave on the tops of the mountains!

May its fruit be like Lebanon!

May people blossom in the cities

Like the grass of the field!

May his name endure forever!

May his fame continue as long as the sun!

May all nations be blessed in him!

May they pronounce him happy!”

These are a series of wishes for the king. First, there is the one that he might have a long life. Thus the famous saying, “Long live the King.” Then the wish was for gold from Sheba, where of course, the famous Queen of Sheba had visited King Solomon. Every day in the great Temple prayers should be offered to the king who built the Temple. They also wished for an abundance of grain on the land and in the mountains. They wanted it to be like Lebanon to the north. The cities should also prosper like grass in the field. They wanted his name and his fame to endure as long as there was a sun in the sky. All nations were to be blessed by him in his happiness. Thus the king was like a mini-god in his great power.

The powerful successful king (Ps 72:8-72:11)

“May he have dominion

From sea to sea!

May he have dominion

From the river to the ends of the earth!

May his foes

Bow down before him!

May his enemies

Lick the dust!

May the kings of Tarshish

Render him tribute!

May the kings of the isles

Render him tribute!

May the kings of Sheba and Seba

Bring gifts!

May all kings

Fall down before him!

All nations

Give him service!”

Now we have the practical empire of the king. He will be king from sea to shining sea even to the ends of the earth. His foes will bow down before him, while his enemies will lick dust. What a nice thought! The kings of Tarshish and various islands will render him tribute. The kings of Sheba and Seba will also bring gifts and tribute. The river mentioned here is the Euphrates River, since that was a border area easily recognized. Tarshish maybe Spain and the other Mediterranean islands. Sheba and Seba are probably Arabian countries. There is no mention of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, and other common enemies, suggesting maybe a post-exilic writing. King Solomon had been an idealist wise king that everyone respected. Thus all the kings and all the nations would bring gifts and give service to him.

Job is not happy with his companions (Job 6:14-6:20)

“Those who withhold kindness from a friend

Reject the fear of the Almighty Shaddai.

My companions are as treacherous as a flood.

My companions are like streams of water that pass away.

They are like dark spots on ice.

They are like murky spots on melting snow.

In time of heat they disappear.

When it is hot,

They vanish from their place.

The caravans turn aside from their course.

They go up into the waste.

They perish.

The caravans of Tema look.

The travelers of Sheba hope.

They are disappointed

Because they were confident.

They come there

But they are confused.”

Job then turned on his 3 companions. He said that they were not so friendly. However, they did come to spend some time with him. He, however, called them treacherous. He compared them to a flood of water, an uncontrolled stream of water. He also compared them to a flash flood. In other words, they were like quick and destructive flows of water. He also compared them to dark ice and murky snow in that when it got hot, they would disappear. Then he compared them to caravans from Tema, an Arab tribe descendent from Ishmael, and Sheba that got lost in the desert. Both these caravans in ancient times were very confident but in the end they were confused. Job was comparing his 3 friends to these lost confusing caravans. They were not helping him with their torrent of confusing words.

The seven clans of Gad (1 Chr 5:13-5:13)

“Their seven Gad kindred according to their clans were Michael, Meshullam, Sheba, Jorai, Jacan, Zia, and Eber.”

There seems to be 7 clans of Gad. There are 11 biblical people with the name of Michael, including an angel. Surprisingly enough, there are 21 biblical people with the name of Meshullam. Sheba is the name of a place and a number of people. This is the only mention of Jorai, Jacan, and Zia. There were at least 5 people with the name of Eber.

 

The descendents of Joktan (1 Chr 1:19-1:23)

“The name of Peleg’s brother was Joktan. Joktan became the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Ebal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All these were the descendents of Joktan.”

Joktan seems important as he apparently had an Arab connection. The 13 sons of Joktan are mentioned here. 7 of them, (1) Almodad, (2) Sheleph, (3) Hazarmaveth, (4) Jerah, (5) Diklah, (6) Obal, and (7) Abimael are only mentioned here and in Genesis, chapter 10. They may be the founders of Arabian tribes or southern Arab towns. However, the other 6 names are mentioned elsewhere in the biblical literature. (8) Hadoram is the name of 2 other biblical persons. (9) Uzal is clearly in Yemen. (10) Sheba and (11) Havilah are the same names as descendents of Cush. (12) Ophir was a place of gold mines at the time of Solomon. (13) Jobab was the name of 3 other people. All these groups probably lived in the land near the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Somehow the biblical authors of 2500-3000 years ago felt that this explained the world in which they lived, their world of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. They had no idea about people in eastern Asia, India, Southern Africa, and Northern Europe or of course the Americas.