Regular nibbles from the Bible. . .come for a bite, leave with an appetite

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. (Psalm 19:14, MSG)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

QUEEN OF SHEBA (1 Kings 10)

Today I am visiting, not what we find in 1 Kings, but what isn't written.

The tradition of the Queen of Sheba (Queen Makeda) has been handed down in Ethiopia since the time of King Solomon to the present. I worked briefly with an Ethiopian immigrant who made me realize how strongly they believe the Ethiopian monarchs descended from the child born to Makeda and Solomon.

So, Ethiopians believe the two had an affair (married or not, I'm not sure). The Koran speaks of it as well. Even the Jewish historian Josephus tells the story.

What we know of Solomon makes the affair completely believable. As the author of 1 Kings says in 11:1, Solomon was obsessed with women. He had 300 wives and 700 concubines--he could sleep with a different woman every night for almost three years.

Their son Menelik became the first emperor of Ethiopia. Their rule extended until 1974, when Haile Selassie left the throne. (and died in 1975)

Makeda appears to worship Solomon's God. Centuries later, Philip the evangelist witnessed to an Ethiopian eunuch who brought the gospel to his people. Ethiopia was the only country in sub-Sahara Africa, I believe, to remain primarily Christian during the onslaught of Islam in the 7th century.

So the question is, does the Bible's silence about a sexual relationship between Makeda and Solomon mean that it didn't happen?

This is what I believe: the Bible speaks truth where it speaks.  But not all truth is in the Bible.

The Bible doesn't say they didn't engage in intercourse. To me, that leaves the door wide open.

From the mutual respect, admiration, love between two admirable monarchs came (may have come) the
history of an entire nation and a heritage of faith more ancient than that of believers of European descent.

So please forgive me for any details I have wrong.

What do you think? Was the Queen of Sheba Solomon's mistress/wife?

How far does our culture influence the details of our faith?

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