1 Kings 10
10 When the queen of Sheba heard how wonderfully the Lord had blessed Solomon with wisdom,[a] she decided to test him with some hard questions. 2 She arrived in Jerusalem with a long train of camels carrying spices, gold, and jewels; and she told him all her problems. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too difficult for him, for the Lord gave him the right answers every time.[b] 4 She soon realized that everything she had ever heard about his great wisdom was true. She also saw the beautiful palace he had built, 5 and when she saw the wonderful foods on his table, the great number of servants and aides who stood around in splendid uniforms, his cupbearers, and the many offerings he sacrificed by fire to the Lord—well, there was no more spirit in her!
6 She exclaimed to him, “Everything I heard in my own country about your wisdom and about the wonderful things going on here is all true. 7 I didn’t believe it until I came, but now I have seen it for myself! And really! The half had not been told me! Your wisdom and prosperity are far greater than anything I’ve ever heard of! 8 Your people are happy and your palace aides are content—but how could it be otherwise, for they stand here day after day listening to your wisdom! 9 Blessed be the Lord your God who chose you and set you on the throne of Israel. How the Lord must love Israel—for he gave you to them as their king! And you give your people a just, good government!”
10 Then she gave the king a gift of $3,500,000 in gold, along with a huge quantity of spices and precious gems; in fact, it was the largest single gift of spices King Solomon had ever received.
11 (And when King Hiram’s ships brought gold to Solomon from Ophir, they also brought along a great supply of algum trees and gems. 12 Solomon used the algum wood to make pillars for the Temple and the palace, and for harps and harpsichords for his choirs. Never before or since has there been such a supply of beautiful wood.)
13 In exchange for the gifts from the queen of Sheba, King Solomon gave her everything she asked him for, besides the presents he had already planned. Then she and her servants returned to their own land.
14 Each year Solomon received gold worth a quarter of a billion dollars, 15 besides sales taxes and profits from trade with the kings of Arabia and the other surrounding territories. 16-17 Solomon had some of the gold beaten into two hundred pieces of armor (gold worth $6,000 went into each piece) and three hundred shields ($1,800 worth of gold in each). And he kept them in his palace in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon.
18 He also made a huge ivory throne and overlaid it with pure gold. 19 It had six steps and a rounded back, with arm rests; and a lion standing on each side. 20 And there were two lions on each step—twelve in all. There was no other throne in all the world so splendid as that one.
21 All of King Solomon’s cups were of solid gold, and in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon his entire dining service was made of solid gold. (Silver wasn’t used because it wasn’t considered to be of much value!)
22 King Solomon’s merchant fleet was in partnership with King Hiram’s, and once every three years a great load of gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks arrived at the Israeli ports.
23 So King Solomon was richer and wiser than all the kings of the earth. 24 Great men from many lands came to interview him and listen to his God-given wisdom. 25 They brought him annual tribute of silver and gold dishes, beautiful cloth, myrrh, spices, horses, and mules.
26 Solomon built up a great stable of horses with a vast number of chariots and cavalry—1,400 chariots in all and 12,000 cavalrymen, who lived in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem. 27 Silver was as common as stones in Jerusalem in those days, and cedar was of no greater value than the common sycamore! 28 Solomon’s horses were brought to him from Egypt and southern Turkey, where his agents purchased them at wholesale prices. 29 An Egyptian chariot delivered to Jerusalem cost $400, and the horses were valued at $150 each. Many of these were then resold to the Hittite and Syrian kings.