1 Kings 10: 1-10
The queen of Sheba, having heard of Solomon’s fame, came to test him with subtle questions. She arrived in Jerusalem with a very numerous retinue, and with camels bearing spices, a large amount of gold, and precious stones. She came to Solomon and questioned him on every subject in which she was interested. King Solomon explained everything she asked about, and there remained nothing hidden from him that he could not explain to her.
When the queen of Sheba witnessed Solomon’s great wisdom, the palace he had built, the food at his table, the seating of his ministers, the attendance and garb of his waiters, his banquet service, and the burnt offerings he offered in the temple of the LORD, she was breathless.
“The report I heard in my country about your deeds and your wisdom is true,” she told the king. “Though I did not believe the report until I came and saw with my own eyes, I have discovered that they were not telling me the half. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report I heard. Blessed are your men, blessed these servants of yours, who stand before you always and listen to your wisdom. Blessed be the LORD, your God, whom it has pleased to place you on the throne of Israel. In his enduring love for Israel, the LORD has made you king to carry out judgment and justice.”
Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty gold talents, a very large quantity of spices, and precious stones. Never again did anyone bring such an abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The Wisdom of Solomon
I’m from Missouri, you’ll have to show me. I won’t believe it until I see it. Now, I don’t think Sheba is in Missouri, but that is the skepticism with which the queen of Sheba went to Jerusalem. She had heard of Solomon’s wisdom, but would not believe until she saw it herself. She ends up not only believing, but extolling Solomon’s wisdom and the Lord who made him King.
It is worth remembering that Solomon’s wisdom is literally a gift from God. Solomon requested it when God promised to give him whatever he asked for. But, what is wisdom? We might learn by going back several chapters and listening to the conversation after God made the promise. Solomon takes God up on his offer by saying, “I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act…give me a listening heart to judge your people and to distinguish between good and evil. God replies, “You asked for discernment to know what is right… I give you a heart so wise and discerning that there has never been anyone like you until now.” Wisdom is in the heart, not simply in the head. It is listening, discerning and seeking what is right. Wisdom is a gift from God for the good of all his people.
Holy Spirit, throughout this day, allow me to see, to hear and to think with your wisdom. Allow me to speak, to act and to will with your love.
—David McNulty is the Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will. All I have and call my own, You have given me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace. That is enough for me.
—St. Ignatius Loyola