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1THE queen of Sheba heard of Solomon's fame and came to test him with enigmatic questions.

2She arrived in Jerusalem with a very large retinue, camels laden with spices, gold in vast quantity, and precious stones. When she came to Solomon, she talked to him about everything she had on her mind.

3Solomon answered all her questions; not one of them was too hard for the king to answer.

4When the queen of Sheba observed all the wisdom of Solomon, the palace he had built,

5the food on his table, the courtiers sitting around him, and his attendants standing behind in their livery, his cupbearers, and the whole-offerings which he used to offer in the house of the LORD, she was overcome with amazement.

6She said to the king, “The account which I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom was true,

7but I did not believe what they told me until I came and saw for myself. Indeed I was not told half of it; your wisdom and your prosperity far surpass all I had heard of them.

8Happy are your wives, happy these courtiers of yours who are in attendance on you every day and hear your wisdom!

9Blessed be the LORD your God who has delighted in you and has set you on the throne of Israel; because he loves Israel unendingly, he has made you king to maintain law and justice.”

10She presented the king with a hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great abundance, and precious stones. Never again did such a quantity of spices come as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

11Besides all this, Hiram's fleet of ships, which had brought gold from Ophir, brought also from Ophir huge cargoes of almug wood and precious stones.

12The king used the wood to make stools for the house of the LORD and for the palace, as well as lyres and lutes for the singers. No such quantities of almug wood have ever been imported or even seen since that time.

13King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba whatever she desired and asked for, in addition to all that he gave her of his royal bounty. Then she departed with her retinue and went back to her own land.

14The weight of gold which Solomon received in any one year was six hundred and sixty-six talents,

15in addition to the tolls levied by the customs officers, the profits on foreign trade, and the tribute of the kings of Arabia and the regional governors.

16King Solomon made two hundred shields of beaten gold, and six hundred shekels of gold went to the making of each one;

17he also made three hundred bucklers of beaten gold, and three minas of gold went to the making of each buckler. The king put these into the House of the Forest of Lebanon.

18The king also made a great throne inlaid with ivory and overlaid with fine gold.

19Six steps led up to the throne; at the back of the throne there was the head of a calf. There were armrests on each side of the seat, with a lion standing beside each of them,

20while twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any monarch.

21All Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the plate in the House of the Forest of Lebanon was of red gold; no silver was used, for it was reckoned of no value in the days of Solomon.

22The king had a fleet of merchantmen at sea with Hiram's fleet; once every three years this fleet of merchantmen came home, bringing gold and silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys.

23Thus King Solomon outdid all the kings of the earth in wealth and wisdom,

24and the whole world courted him to hear the wisdom with which God had endowed his mind.

25Each one brought his gift with him, vessels of silver and gold, garments, perfumes and spices, horses and mules in annual tribute.

26Solomon amassed chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses; he stationed some in the chariot-towns, while others he kept at hand in Jerusalem.

27He made silver as common in Jerusalem as stone, and cedar as plentiful as the sycomore-fig is in the Shephelah.

28Horses were imported from Egypt and Kue for Solomon; the merchants of the king obtained them from Kue by purchase.

29Chariots were imported from Egypt for six hundred silver shekels each, and horses for a hundred and fifty; in the same way the merchants obtained them for export from all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.

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