One Greater Than Solomon

Solomon sacrificed offerings to the LORD because he loved Him. Solomon built the house of the Lord and the wall around Jerusalem following the death of his father David. However, in the days prior to completion of the Temple he would sacrifice on the high places.

At one time Solomon journeyed to Gibeon to sacrifice a thousand burnt offerings. While he was sleeping God appeared to him in a dream and said, "Ask! What shall I give you!" Solomon asked, and God gave. "And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding . . ." (1 Kings 4:29)

King Solomon prospered greatly. He accumulated wealth and merchandise from the various nations where ever he traded. However, material wealth was not the only thing that proved commercially attractive; the exchange of knowledge and achievements were also readily sought after.

The exchange of information regarding King Solomon had so permeated the trade and commercial routes that the wisdom of Solomon had reached the ends of the earth. He had become famous among the Gentiles. "So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart." (1 Kings 10:23-24)

Hiram was the king of Lebanon and a close friend of King Solomon. In a joint venture the two sought to extend their power and grow their kingdoms through trade. "Then Hiram sent his servants with the fleet, seamen who knew the sea, to work with the servants of Solomon. And they went to Ophir, and acquired four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there, and brought it to King Solomon." (1 Kings 9:27,28)

It was through this venture that the queen of Sheba came to hear reports of Solomon's wisdom. Sheba, or Saba, is located in SW Arabia, and modern-day Yemen. The queen was herself well known in the region and very wealthy as is indicated by the large company and expensive gifts that accompanied her to visit King Solomon.

"Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to Jerusalem to test Solomon with hard questions, having a very great retinue, camels that bore spices, gold in abundance, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in his heart." (2 Chronicles 9:1)

Solomon passed the test with high distinction. "Then she said to the king: 'It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe their words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed, the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me. You exceed the fame of which I heard.'" (2 Chronicles 9:5,6)

The queen's actions are typical of how nations (Gentiles) will behave toward the Messiah when He is King in Jerusalem. Indeed, while the queen of Sheba is representative of the Gentiles, Solomon is a foreshadower of the Messiah. The prophets declared that the Gentiles would enthusiastically visit Jerusalem, not as tourists, but like the queen of the South they will enquire and learn the ways of the LORD.

"And it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and the peoples shall flow to it.

"Many nations shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; he will teach of his ways, and we shall walk in his paths.' For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Micah 4:1-3)

The queen of the South was astounded and amazed at the wisdom and understanding of Solomon. Yes, he was extremely wealthy and very prosperous, but his wisdom and understanding were more priceless and immeasurable. "Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom!" (1 Kings 10:8)

Moreover, the queen of the South gave glory to God by testifying that Solomon had been appointed not for personal gain but for righteousness and justice. "Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD has loved Israel for ever, therefore he made you king to do justice and righteousness." (1 Kings 10:9)

This is a significant parallel to the time and reign of the Messiah, because justice and righteousness are two key elements that will spread throughout the world during His government, as promised through the prophet Isaiah: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

"Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgement and justice from that time forward, even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." (9:6,7)

The important benefit for the nations during this time will be that they will live in peace and prosper abundantly. The Messiah's government will legislate righteousness and uphold justice, elements which have eluded previous empires and present regimes bent by corruption and ambition.

The people of Israel especially are promised security and peace. "'Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgement and righteousness in the earth. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is his name by which he will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.'" (Jeremiah 23:5-7)

The people of Israel will benefit particularly as they rise from the dust of the earth to become the head of the nations, and the people through whom the nations are blessed. "And it shall come to pass that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear let your hands be strong." (Zechariah 8:13)

Just as Solomon was made king to do righteousness and justice, so too the Messiah will establish His future Kingdom with righteousness and justice.

God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding, and it was these which attracted the queen of the South, especially because she had difficult questions for which she could not find an answer. Wisdom and understanding are from God, and these are most significant attributes of the Messiah.

Similarly it is wisdom and understanding which have attracted both Jew and Gentile to Yeshua of Nazareth. To the Jew he is the Hope of Israel; for the Gentile He is the Light which has dawned upon their darkness. Those who have questions and who seek the Lord find in Yeshua of Nazareth the fulness of God.

When the Messiah was asked to give a sign to prove that He was indeed the Promised One, He challenged His hearers that they should learn from the account of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Just as the Queen of the South came to Solomon seeking answers and marvelling at his wisdom, so too the Gentiles would come to the Messiah, and repent and believe in Him for salvation.

The Messiah therefore warned His listeners that if they did not consider the account as a sign then they would not escape the judgement. "The Queen of the South will rise up in judgement with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here." (Matthew 12:42)

Yeshua declared Himself greater than Solomon and urged His hearers that they should believe in Him so as to avoid the judgement. "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe in the Son shall not have life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36)

While countless thousands of Jewish people have believed in Yeshua and have found Him to be the Hope of Israel, many more Gentiles have believed, thus giving testimony to Messiah Yeshua's greatness. Indeed "a greater than Solomon" has come. And all who believe in Him shall have everlasting life.