“Who do you think you are?  The Queen of Sheba??”

I’ve heard this question asked this way lots of times in my life.  I’m not exactly sure what it means, but I think it’s meant to imply that the one being asked is thinking too highly of him/herself.

Maybe the Queen of Sheba did see herself as a very important person… until she met someone more important than herself.


When the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon, it was evidently to test him.  To pass this “test”, Solomon would need his wisdom, as well as diplomatic and political skills.

The Bible does not tell us who this queen was… not even her name.  According to one tradition, she was from Ethiopia; but recent archaeological digs point to the Arabian Peninsula as a more likely option.  And this location would certainly fit the Bible account.

The ancient people of Arabia had accumulated much wealth by importing goods from Asia & Africa and exporting them to their neighbors in the Middle East.  Their trade consisted mainly of expensive spices, gold, and precious stones – in other words, the very items the queen gave to Solomon.

Under Solomon, Israel had become a regional power – his kingdom controlled some of the key trade routes that Sheba depended on for prosperity.  In all likelihood, this may have been what the queen had on her mind when she tested Solomon’s wisdom.  Between Solomon’s impressive showing – his skills at discernment and negotiation were legendary; see 1Ki. 3:16-28 – and his overwhelming wealth, the queen was awestruck.  She honored Israel’s king with high praise and a lavish gift of gold… about 4-and-a-half tons worth!  Solomon reciprocated by giving the queen “all she desired” (1Ki. 10:13).  The Queen of Sheba returned to Arabia, her diplomatic visit a success.


In the New Testament, Jesus Himself taught about the Queen of Sheba (to whom He referred to as the “Queen of the South” in Matt. 12:42; Luke 11:31).  He said she was more righteous than the religious leaders who opposed Him because she – even though a foreigner – was, at least, willing to listen to Solomon’s wisdom.


Jesus’ words are a reminder that devotion to God has no value unless it is accompanied by a humble, teachable heart.

Be careful you don’t think too highly of yourself.  Anyone can learn from anyone else.


You can read the story of the Queen of Sheba in 1Kings 10.


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