The Queen of Sheba, according  to the biblical narrative, was a woman of great wealth, beauty and power. Sheba,  believed to be either in Ethiopia or Yemen by most biblical scholars, was a  well-established city, and although there is little evidence outside the Bible  as to the nature of the monarchy and how it was established, it is clear that  the Queen of Sheba ruled alone and was not enamored with the religions in her  own land.

The Queen of Sheba traveled to Jerusalem as she had “heard  about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the LORD, [and] came to test  Solomon with hard questions” (1 Kings  10:1). As God had granted Solomon the gift of wisdom (1 Kings 3:5-12), “nothing  was too hard for the king to explain to her” (1 Kings  10:3). After a meal together, the Queen of Sheba declares how impressed she  is with Solomon’s answers, hospitality, and the reputation that preceded him.  The story ends with an exchange of resources and Queen Sheba returning “with her  retinue to her own country” (1 Kings  10:13).

Sources outside the Bible suggest that the Queen of Sheba  conceived a child in secret with King Solomon, while some Bible commentators  have suggested that the nameless woman in the Song of Solomon is the Queen of  Sheba (with the man being King Solomon). Both are speculative and while  interesting, cannot be declared factual. Whether she has any relation to the  “Sheba” mentioned in Genesis  10:7 and 28, or if  she was the ancestor of “Candace, queen of the Ethiopians” (Acts 8:27), is again, open to speculation.

The  Queen of Sheba is mentioned again in the New Testament, by an alternative title,  the Queen of the South (Matthew  12:42; Luke 11:31).  Jesus refers to her, reaffirming her historical personage, as a means to  illustrate the point that, despite being originally pagan in belief and Gentile  in race, the Queen of Sheba recognized the truth and reality of God, unlike the  religious leaders who opposed Jesus. As such, they would be condemned for their  ignorant and defiant nature.

Two lessons can be learned from the story  of the Queen of Sheba. First, like King Solomon, believers are to show evidence  of God’s favour in their lives, whatever their role, profession or environment.  Second, the reputation of believers should precede them by their godly words and  actions, for we are “Christ’s ambassadors” (2  Corinthians 5:20).