Today: [1 Kings Chapter Ten]: Moving from David’s Table to Solomon’s Table. In this chapter we see the Queen of Sheba as a type of the Bride of Christ coming to sit at Solomon’s table. Sheba traveled a great distance to sit at Solomon’s feet as Mary did at Jesus’ feet. Ancient sources maintain that Sheba bore a child to Solomon and that child was purported to have taken custody of the ark of the Covenant for safekeeping from the Babylonians. In David’s day Mephibosheth the crippled son of Saul’s house was carried daily to the king’s table. In Solomon’s day Sheba sat at the king’s table not as a crippled pauper but as a yielded bride. This represents the maturing of the believer from a sinner saved by grace to a mature son and daughter betrothed to the king.
[1Ki 10:1-29 KJV] 1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions. 2 And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. 3 And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not [any] thing hid from the king, which he told her not. 4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house that he had built, 5 And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her. 6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. 7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen [it]: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. 8 Happy [are] thy men, happy [are] these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, [and] that hear thy wisdom. 9 Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice. 10 And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.
In this chapter the queen of Sheba (modern day Yemen) visits Israel to witness the greatness and wisdom of Solomon. Scholars debate whether Sheba was in fact the Shulamite woman in the Song of Solomon thus making her a type of the bride of Christ. The second century theologian Origen identifies the female protagonist in Song of Solomon as the “Queen of the South” thus connecting her with Sheba. Other writers identify Pharoah’s daughter as the bride in Song of Solomon and also Abishag – David’s concubine in his old age is also thought to have been the Shulamite.
Historically Sheba is widely considered to have been the ancient kingdom of Saba. Sheba was quite well known in ancient times and was known also as Arabia Felix. Her visit is remarkable due to the ostentatiousness of her arrival and the great distance she traveled to see Solomon – over 1500 miles. It is understood she came on a trade mission due to the large caravan of gifts and trade goods she brought with her. Tradition holds that the gifts she brought to Solomon are the same gifts that the Magi presented the Christ child in Bethlehem centuries later. Later scholars suggest that Sheba was the queen of Ethiopia and other legends indicate that she conceived a child with Solomon who ruled Ethiopia and took custody of the Ark of the Covenant to safe guard it from capture by the Babylonians. The ark is thought by many to rest in Ethiopia to this day guarded in a windowless shrine by machine gun wielding zealots.
11 And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones. 12 And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the LORD, and for the king’s house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day. 13 And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside [that] which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants. 14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, 15 Beside [that he had] of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country. 16 And king Solomon made two hundred targets [of] beaten gold: six hundred [shekels] of gold went to one target. 17 And [he made] three hundred shields [of] beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. 18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne [was] round behind: and [there were] stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. 20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.
Regardless of the varied legends and viewpoints regarding Sheba we see that she is entertained at the king’s table and overcome by the experience. Solomon answers all of her questions and she is undone by his wisdom and overwhelmed by his wealth and majesty. There is a contrast to be seen her in the two tables of David and Solomon. You will remember in 2 Samuel 9 that David sought out survivors of Saul’s house and found a son of Jonathan lame in his feet. He restored Mephibosheth’s fortunes and directed that his servants would bring Mephibosheth daily to be fed at his table. This is a type of the repentant believer, unable to walk the spiritual walk who is nonetheless carried daily to the king’s table. In this we see the unconditional love and favor of God even though we are crippled in our character to fulfill the dictates of God’s holy law – yet nonetheless Jesus has made it possible to be carried daily to the table of the king and be satisfied and supported as honored sons and daughters.
As a type of the Shulamite and therefore the bride of Christ we see Sheba as the convert who has received the witness of God and gone to great lengths to experience first hand the testimony of Christ. In the opening verse of the Song of Solomon the bride declares “let Him kiss me with the kisses of His lips for thy love is better than wine …” This is the bride of Christ who wants more than the report of God’s wisdom, she wants intimacy with the lips that spoke those words. As such she comes with all of her pomp and wealth to join herself to the economy of Solomon, ostensibly the economy of God and gain testimony of the majesty of the kingdom and return having conceived seed and take custody of the ark of the Covenant of God’s presence.
Thus in the metaphor you are invited to graduate from the table of David to the table of Solomon. You need not be a spiritual cripple all your life. Though it is wonderful and pleasant to be carried to the king’s table daily there is a point where you grow up into Christ and travel the great distance between your experience and His reality. The born again experience is a Mephibosheth enfranchisement. We are going to heaven and have accepted the kindness of God in Christ and know Him as our savior. However if we study the life of Mephibosheth you will find he is still quite the son of Saul’s house even though he is living under the protection of David. The queen of Sheba on the other hand comes with all that she has to offer and is undone in herself before Solomon and completely yielded to His wisdom as we are when we grow and mature into a conversion experience in Christ.
21 And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels [were of] gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon [were of] pure gold; none [were of] silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. 22 For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. 23 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom. 24 And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 25 And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year. 26 And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem. 27 And the king made silver [to be] in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he [to be] as the sycomore trees that [are] in the vale, for abundance. 28 And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price. 29 And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred [shekels] of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring [them] out by their means.
The king’s cup at David’s table was of silver and silver represents forgiveness and redemption. The king’s cup at Solomon’s table was of gold only. Gold represents the divine nature of God. There comes a point in your Christian walk where you appropriate forgiveness and experience transformation. You are not always a mere sinner saved by grace. There is a point in your experience that you partake of the divine nature and are forever changed. This is what Peter wrote of in his second letter:
[2Pe 1:3-4 KJV] 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
The new birth is not merely a surrender in mind and emotion to the claims of Christ. There is a forensic change that takes place and you become another person altogether. You are translated out of the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s dear son. You are now a member to the bridal company and a participator in the broader purposes of God. You are a recipient of Christ as your wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30) and are afforded full access to the full inventory of God’s glory and power and majesty.
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