View from the top...EJ Peak


Solomon is enjoying a mountaintop experience, with fame and fortune surrounding him.  His fame draws attention from far away rulers, and one comes to investigate the stories of Israel’s glory.

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.  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.  And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not.  And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house that he had built,  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.  1 Kings 10:1-5

Where was the kingdom of Sheba?  Somewhere near Yemen or Ethiopia perhaps.  Their queen is impressed with Solomon and his wisdom.  Solomon lets all be known, and entertains over food and drink.  The queen is impressed out of her spirit it seems. 

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.  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.  Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.  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.  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.  1 Kings 10:6-10

The queen has confirmed the rumors, but gives glory to God for these blessings.  She shares her own blessings with Solomon too.

And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.  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.  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.  Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold,  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.  1 Kings 10:11-15

Solomon returned some blessings for those the queen brought, so some bartering was accomplished.  Perhaps Solomon came out ahead in the exchange, and he put the building materials to good use. 

And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target.  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.  Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.  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.  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.  1 Kings 10:16-20

Wonderful stuff, all this gold.  Later kings Ahaz and Hezekiah will have their troubles with all of this treasure though.  They may not have all the wisdom their forerunner may have had here.  For now Solomon was free to show off all this, possibly with a bit of pride. 

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.  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.  So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.  And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.  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.  1 Kings 10:21-25

If that navy is in modern Tarsus, it will be the home of Saul/Paul and is now in Turkey.  It was on the job hauling treasure in any case.  Military spending went on, as did arts and commerce.

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.  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.  And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price.  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.  1 Kings 10:26-29

The mountaintop experience seems like a good time, but Solomon will recall all of this later in his life as vanity.  Being on top makes one a target and it is easy to slip from a high place.  The trail to EJ Peak features a lot of fine gravel that slips under street shoes, making the ascent a bit risky.  David had a problem when he was prospering in the safety of home, and Solomon is the son of that union.  I am learning that hindrances give us time to consider better solutions, often making our way better that total freedom.  Solomon will make his way to fulfilled wisdom in time, but time takes a toll.  We can learn from his experience and take the best path.

Watch your footing on the high trails