Chapter 9

1And the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon's fame, and she came to test Solomon with riddles in Jerusalem with an exceedingly large retinue, with camels bearing spices and gold in abundance and precious stones; and she came to Solomon and spoke with him all that was in her heart.   אוּמַֽלְכַּת־שְׁבָ֗א שָֽׁמְעָה֘ אֶת־שֵׁ֣מַע שְׁלֹמֹה֒ וַתָּב֣וֹא לְנַסּוֹת֩ אֶת־שְׁלֹמֹ֨ה בְחִיד֜וֹת בִּירֽוּשָׁלִַ֗ם בְּחַ֣יִל כָּבֵ֣ד מְאֹ֡ד וּ֠גְמַלִּים נֹֽשְׂאִ֨ים בְּשָׂמִ֧ים וְזָהָ֛ב לָרֹ֖ב וְאֶ֣בֶן יְקָרָ֑ה וַתָּבוֹא֙ אֶל־שְׁלֹמֹ֔ה וַתְּדַבֵּ֣ר עִמּ֔וֹ אֵ֛ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר הָיָ֖ה עִם־לְבָבָֽהּ:
to test Solomon: whether that which she had heard about his wisdom was true, and she came to test him.  
with riddles: like (Jud. 14:12): “Let me ask you a riddle [in the story] of Samson.  
2And Solomon answered all her questions, and nothing was hidden from Solomon that he did not tell her.   בוַיַּגֶּד־לָ֥הּ שְׁלֹמֹ֖ה אֶת־כָּל־דְּבָרֶ֑יהָ וְלֹֽא־נֶעְלַ֚ם דָּבָר֙ מִשְּׁלֹמֹ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֧ר לֹ֥֥א הִגִּ֖יד לָֽהּ:
and nothing was hidden: Since she saw that he told her everything, and nothing that she asked him was hidden, she admitted that the report she had heard was true. In the Targum (Sheni) of Megillath Esther (1:2), some of the riddles that she asked him are written.  
3And the queen of Sheba saw Solomon's wisdom and the House that he had built.   גוַתֵּ֙רֶא֙ מַלְכַּת־שְׁבָ֔א אֵ֖ת חָכְמַ֣ת שְׁלֹמֹ֑ה וְהַבַּ֖יִת אֲשֶׁ֥ר בָּנָֽה:
4And the food of his table and the seating of his servants and the station of his attendants and their attire and his cupbearers and their attire, and his ascent by which he would go up to the Temple of the Lord, and she was breathless.   דוּמַֽאֲכַ֣ל שֻׁלְחָנ֡וֹ וּמוֹשַׁ֣ב עֲבָדָיו֩ וּמַֽעֲמַ֨ד מְשָֽׁרְתָ֜יו וּמַלְבּֽוּשֵׁיהֶ֗ם וּמַשְׁקָיו֙ וּמַלְבּ֣וּשֵׁיהֶ֔ם וַֽעֲלִיָּת֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר יַֽעֲלֶ֖ה בֵּ֣ית יְהֹוָ֑ה וְלֹא־הָ֥יָה ע֛וֹד בָּ֖הּ רֽוּחַ:
And the food of his table: fowl (I Kings 5:3) and kinds of delicacies that were served on his table in abundance.  
and the seating of his servants: That each one recognized his place when they were seated at the table, and of those who constantly saw the king’s face, no one was allowed to sit in his neighbor’s place all the days of his life.  
and the seating of his servants: Each one would retain his station and his position, and he would not change it the next day.  
and their attire: The attire that they would wear tomorrow was not the same as, the attire that they wore today.  
and his cupbearers: most of his cupbearers.  
and his ascent: the stairway by which he ascended from his palace to the Temple.  
and she was breathless: because she thought that there was no wisdom in any of the kingdoms but in her own country and like that of her wise men, because her country was in the east; they were wise because they were stargazers, as is stated in the first chapter of Tractate Rosh Hashanah, for Eretz Israel is west of Babylon, and that is what is written (I Kings 5:10): “And Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the children of the east,” for they were in the east, as it is written (Gen. 11:2): “And it came to pass as they migrated from the east.” (I Kings 5:10) “And all the wisdom of Egypt,” for they were sorcerers, necromancers, and astrologers, and he was wise in divination (tayer). So it is written in Pesikta (d’Rav Kahana p. 33b). The word (tayer) is Arabic, and in Leviticus Rabbah (32:2), in the chapter dealing with the son of the Egyptian (24:10): (Eccl. 10: 20): “for a bird of the air shall carry the voice.” This is the raven and refers to the art of bird divination.  
5And she said to the king, "It was a true report that I heard in my country of your deeds and of your wisdom.   הוַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֶל־הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ אֱמֶת֙ הַדָּבָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר שָׁמַ֖עְתִּי בְּאַרְצִ֑י עַל־דְּבָרֶ֖יךָ וְעַל־חָכְמָתֶֽךָ:
6But I did not believe their words until I came and saw with my own eyes, and behold, not half of your abundant wisdom was told me; you have [wisdom] in excess of the report that I heard.   ווְלֹֽא־הֶֽאֱמַ֣נְתִּי לְדִבְרֵיהֶ֗ם עַ֚ד אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֙אתִי֙ וַתִּרְאֶ֣ינָה עֵינַ֔י וְהִנֵּה֙ לֹ֣א הֻגַּד־לִ֔י חֲצִ֖י מַרְבִּ֣ית חָכְמָתֶ֑ךָ יָסַ֕פְתָּ עַל־הַשְּׁמוּעָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר שָׁמָֽעְתִּי:
half of your abundant [wisdom]: The many wisdoms  
7Fortunate are your men, and fortunate are these your servants who always stand before you and listen to your wisdom.   זאַשְׁרֵ֣י אֲנָשֶׁ֔יךָ וְאַשְׁרֵ֖י עֲבָדֶ֣יךָ אֵ֑לֶּה הָעֹֽמְדִ֚ים לְפָנֶ֙יךָ֙ תָּמִ֔יד וְשֹֽׁמְעִ֖ים אֶת־חָכְמָתֶֽךָ:
8Blessed be the Lord your God, Who desired you, to place you on His throne to be king for the Lord your God because of your God's love for Israel to establish them forever, and He appointed you as king over them to do justice and righteousness."   חיְהִ֨י יְהֹוָ֚ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ בָּר֔וּךְ אֲשֶׁ֣ר| חָפֵ֣ץ בְּךָ֗ לְתִתְּךָ֚ עַל־כִּסְאוֹ֙ לְמֶ֔לֶךְ לַֽיהֹוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ בְּאַֽהֲבַ֨ת אֱלֹהֶ֚יךָ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ לְהַֽעֲמִיד֣וֹ לְעוֹלָ֔ם וַיִּתֶּנְךָ֚ עֲלֵיהֶם֙ לְמֶ֔לֶךְ לַֽעֲשׂ֖וֹת מִשְׁפָּ֥ט וּצְדָקָֽה:
9And she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold and very abundant spices and precious stones; there were never such spices as those that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.   טוַתִּתֵּ֨ן לַמֶּ֜לֶךְ מֵאָ֥ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֣ים| כִּכַּ֣ר זָהָ֗ב וּבְשָׂמִ֛ים לָרֹ֥ב מְאֹ֖ד וְאֶ֣בֶן יְקָרָ֑ה וְלֹ֚א הָיָה֙ כַּבֹּ֣שֶׂם הַה֔וּא אֲשֶׁר־נָֽתְנָ֥ה מַלְכַּת־שְׁבָ֖א לַמֶּ֥לֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹֽה:
10And also, Huram's servants and Solomon's servants, who brought gold from Ophir, brought algom wood and precious stones.   יוְגַם־עַבְדֵ֚י חוּרָם֙ (כתיב חיּרָם֙) וְעַבְדֵ֣י שְׁלֹמֹ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־הֵבִ֥יאוּ זָהָ֖ב מֵֽאוֹפִ֑יר הֵבִ֛יאוּ עֲצֵ֥י אַלְגּוּמִּ֖ים וְאֶ֥בֶן יְקָרָֽה:
algom wood : In Pesikta it is explained: One verse (I Kings 10:11) says אלמוגים, and one verse says אלגומים . The truth is that its name is אלגומים, but it is called אלמוגים because it melted and bent because of its softness, (like cups, which bend because of their value.)  
11And Solomon made of the algom wood a path to the House of the Lord and to the king's palace, and harps and psalteries for the singers; none like them had been seen before in the land of Judah.   יאוַיַּ֣עַשׂ הַ֠מֶּלֶךְ אֶת־עֲצֵ֨י הָֽאַלְגּוּמִּ֜ים מְסִלּ֚וֹת לְבֵֽית־יְהֹוָה֙ וּלְבֵ֣ית הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ וְכִנֹּר֥וֹת וּנְבָלִ֖ים לַשָּׁרִ֑ים וְלֹֽא־נִרְא֥וּ כָהֵ֛ם לְפָנִ֖ים בְּאֶ֥רֶץ יְהוּדָֽה:
stairs : In I Kings (10:12) it is written מסעד, [a support] after the manner that they make for those who ascend by way of elevated places and stairs. Some say that מסעד and ומסילה are one and the same.  
and harps and psalteries for the singers : Some say (Jonathan and Rashi to Kings) for the Levites who sing with musical instruments, and Rabbi Eliezer explained it to mean: for the singers who stroll before the king. A similar case is (I Kings 5:12): “and his songs were a thousand and five.” These were secular songs that he composed to sing before him, and that is what is meant (below 35: 25): “And Jeremiah lamented over Josiah, and all the male singers and the female singers recited in their lamentations, etc.”  
12And King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all her wish that she requested, aside from that which she brought to the king, and she turned and went to her land, she and her servants.   יבוְהַמֶּ֨לֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹ֜ה נָתַ֣ן לְמַֽלְכַּת־שְׁבָ֗א אֶת־כָּל־חֶפְצָהּ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר שָׁאָ֔לָה מִלְּבַ֖ד אֲשֶׁר־הֵבִ֣יאָה אֶל־הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ וַתַּֽהֲפֹ֛ךְ וַתֵּ֥לֶךְ לְאַרְצָ֖הּ הִ֥יא וַֽעֲבָדֶֽיהָ:
aside from that which she brought: This is written here in deference to the honor of the kings of Judah; it means that she gave him more than he gave her, and in I Kings (10:13) it is written: “aside from that which he gave her according to King [Solomon’s] ability.” [He gave her] things that were common in the land of Israel, but were not common in her country.  
13And the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred sixty-six talents of gold.   יגוַיְהִי֙ מִשְׁקַ֣ל הַזָּהָ֔ב אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֥א לִשְׁלֹמֹ֖ה בְּשָׁנָ֣ה אֶחָ֑ת שֵׁ֥שׁ מֵא֛וֹת וְשִׁשִּׁ֥ים וָשֵׁ֖שׁ כִּכְּרֵ֥י זָהָֽב:
14Aside from that which the guides and the merchants would bring, and all the kings of Arabia and the regents of the land brought gold and silver to Solomon.   ידלְבַ֞ד מֵֽאַנְשֵׁ֧י הַתָּרִ֛ים וְהַסֹּֽחֲרִ֖ים מְבִיאִ֑ים וְכָל־מַלְכֵ֚י עֲרָב֙ וּפַח֣וֹת הָאָ֔רֶץ מְבִיאִ֛ים זָהָ֥ב וָכֶ֖סֶף לִשְׁלֹמֹֽה:
Aside from that which the guides: They were afraid to pass from province to province or from kingdom to kingdom without a guide, and they would give him the guide’s fee.  
and the merchants would bring: They would bring him [gold] on a pretext in order to see his wisdom.  
and all the kings of Arabia: the kings of the Arabians.  
and the regents of the land: They would all bring [gold and silver] in order to see his wisdom.  
15And King Solomon made two hundred shields of malleable gold; six hundred malleable gold pieces would go into one shield.   טווַיַּ֨עַשׂ הַמֶּ֧לֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹ֛ה מָאתַ֥יִם צִנָּ֖ה זָהָ֣ב שָׁח֑וּט שֵׁ֚שׁ מֵאוֹת֙ זָהָ֣ב שָׁח֔וּט יַֽעֲלֶ֖ה עַל־הַצִּנָּ֥ה הָֽאֶחָֽת:
Aside from that which the guides: which encompasses the person from his three sides, as is written (Ps. 5:13): “As a shield You encompass him with favor”.  
malleable gold: They would bring him [gold] on a pretext in order to see his wisdom.  
a gold that is soft and easily flattened out.: six hundred zehubim, the equivalent of six manehs, for the zahab is the dinar.  
16And three hundred shields of malleable gold; three hundred gold pieces would go into one shield, and Solomon placed them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.   טזוּשְׁלֹֽשׁ־מֵא֚וֹת מָֽגִנִּים֙ זָהָ֣ב שָׁח֔וּט שְׁלֹ֚שׁ מֵאוֹת֙ זָהָ֔ב יַֽעֲלֶ֖ה עַל הַמָּגֵ֣ן הָֽאֶחָ֑ת וַיִּתְּנֵ֣ם הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ בְּבֵ֖ית יַ֥עַר הַלְּבָנֽוֹן:
the forest of Lebanon : Solomon built a huge house in Jerusalem, as is proven further, and Shishak took all those shields (below 12:9), and he made them (sic) from an abundance of the large trees of Lebanon, as it is written in I Kings (7: 2): “And he built the house of the forest of Lebanon, etc. on four rows, etc.,” and there he deposited those shields, and that is what is written (Isa. 22:8): “and you looked on that day to the weapons of the house of the forest.”  
17And the king made an immense ivory throne and overlaid it with pure gold.   יזוַיַּ֧עַשׂ הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ כִּסֵּא־שֵׁ֖ן גָּד֑וֹל וַיְצַפֵּ֖הוּ זָהָ֥ב טָהֽוֹר:
ivory throne: the ivory of elephants.  
18And there were six steps to the throne, and the throne had a ramp of gold attached to the throne, with armrests on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the armrests.   יחוְשֵׁ֣שׁ מַֽעֲל֣וֹת לַ֠כִּסֵּא וְכֶ֨בֶשׁ בַּזָּהָ֚ב לַכִּסֵּא֙ מָֽאֳחָזִ֔ים וְיָד֛וֹת מִזֶּ֥ה וּמִזֶּ֖ה עַל־מְק֣וֹם הַשָּׁ֑בֶת וּשְׁנַ֣יִם אֲרָי֔וֹת עֹֽמְדִ֖ים אֵ֥צֶל הַיָּדֽוֹת:
And there were six steps to the throne: steps by which to ascend.  
with armrests on either side by the place of the seat : like rods from corner to corner, from the right and from the left, upon which to support his arms.  
and two lions were standing beside the armrests : [The lions were made] of gold, and the entire form of the throne and the forms of the beasts that were in the throne are depicted in the Targum of the Scroll of Esther (1:2).  
19And twelve lions were standing there on the six steps on either side; the like was not made for any kingdom.   יטוּשְׁנֵ֧ים עָשָׂ֣ר אֲרָי֗וֹת עֹֽמְדִ֥ים שָׁ֛ם עַל־שֵׁ֥שׁ הַמַּֽעֲל֖וֹת מִזֶּ֣ה וּמִזֶּ֑ה לֹא־נַֽעֲשָׂ֥ה כֵ֖ן לְכָל־מַמְלָכָֽה:
20And all King Solomon's drinking vessels were gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of superior gold; silver was not reckoned as anything in Solomon's time.   כוְ֠כֹל כְּלֵ֞י מַשְׁקֵ֨ה הַמֶּ֚לֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה֙ זָהָ֔ב וְכֹ֗ל כְּלֵ֛י בֵּֽית־יַ֥עַר הַלְּבָנ֖וֹן זָהָ֣ב סָג֑וּר אֵ֣ין כֶּ֗סֶף נֶחְשָׁ֛ב בִּימֵ֥י שְׁלֹמֹ֖ה לִמְאֽוּמָה:
21For the king had ships going to Tarshish with Huram's servants; once in three years ships of Tarshish would come, bearing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks.   כאכִּֽי־אֳנִיּ֚וֹת לַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ הֹֽלְכ֣וֹת תַּרְשִׁ֔ישׁ עִ֖ם עַבְדֵ֣י חוּרָ֑ם אַחַת֩ לְשָׁל֨וֹשׁ שָׁנִ֜ים תָּב֣וֹאנָה| אֳנִיּ֣וֹת תַּרְשִׁ֗ישׁ נֹֽשְׂאוֹת֙ זָהָ֣ב וָכֶ֔סֶף שֶׁנְהַבִּ֥ים וְקוֹפִ֖ים וְתֽוּכִּיִּֽים:
ivory: the tusks of elephants and the elephants themselves.  
and apes: In German, meerkats, long-tailed monkeys.  
and peackocks: Heb. tavsin  
22Now King Solomon transcended all the kings of the earth in affluence and in wisdom.   כבוַיִּגְדַּל֙ הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹ֔ה מִכֹּ֖ל מַלְכֵ֣י הָאָ֑רֶץ לְעֹ֖שֶׁר וְחָכְמָֽה:
Now King Solomon transcended etc.: To fulfill that which He said to him, (I Kings 3:13): “And I have also given you that which you have not asked, etc. and honor.”  
23And all the kings of the earth sought Solomon's presence to hear the wisdom with which God had endowed him.   כגוְכֹל֙ מַלְכֵ֣י הָאָ֔רֶץ מְבַקְשִׁ֖ים אֶת־פְּנֵ֣י שְׁלֹמֹ֑ה לִשְׁמֹ֙עַ֙ אֶת־חָכְמָת֔וֹ אֲשֶׁר־נָתַ֥ן הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים בְּלִבּֽוֹ:
And all the kings of the earth, etc. : To fulfill that which He said to him, (ibid. verse 12): “Behold I have given you a wise and understanding heart; so that there was none like you before you.”  
24And each one would bring his gift, vessels of silver and vessels of gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses, and mules, the tribute due each year in its year.   כדוְהֵ֣ם מְבִיאִ֣ים אִ֣ישׁ מִנְחָת֡וֹ כְּלֵ֣י כֶסֶף֩ וּכְלֵ֨י זָהָ֚ב וּשְׂלָמוֹת֙ נֶ֣שֶׁק וּבְשָׂמִ֔ים סוּסִ֖ים וּפְרָדִ֑ים דְּבַר־שָׁנָ֖ה בְּשָׁנָֽה:
And each one would bring his gift : as a pretext because they were [really] coming to hear [his wisdom], since it is disrespectful to come before a king empty-handed, similar to (Deut. 16:16): “and he shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.”  
weapons : armaments  
25And Solomon had four thousand stables of horses and chariots and twelve thousand horsemen, and he placed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.   כהוַיְהִ֨י לִשְׁלֹמֹ֜ה אַרְבַּעַת֩ אֲלָפִ֨ים אֻרְי֚וֹת סוּסִים֙ וּמַרְכָּב֔וֹת וּשְׁנֵֽים־עָשָׂ֥ר אֶ֖לֶף פָּֽרָשִׁ֑ים וַיַּנִּיחֵם֙ בְּעָרֵ֣י הָרֶ֔כֶב וְעִם־הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ בִּירֽוּשָׁלִָֽם:
and he placed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.: some of them. He transgressed [the negative commandment of] (Deut. 17:17): “Only he shall not multiply horses to himself.”  
26And he ruled over all the kings, from the River until the land of the Philistines and until the border of Egypt.   כווַיְהִ֥י מוֹשֵׁ֖ל בְּכָל־הַמְּלָכִ֑ים מִן־הַנָּהָר֙ וְעַד־אֶ֣רֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים וְעַ֖ד גְּב֥וּל מִצְרָֽיִם:
27And the king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars he made as common as sycamores that are in the lowlands in abundance.   כזוַיִּתֵּ֨ן הַמֶּ֧לֶךְ אֶת־הַכֶּ֛סֶף בִּירֽוּשָׁלִַ֖ם כָּֽאֲבָנִ֑ים וְאֵ֣ת הָֽאֲרָזִ֗ים נָתַ֛ן כַּשִּׁקְמִ֥ים אֲשֶׁר־בַּשְּׁפֵלָ֖ה לָרֹֽב:
28And they brought horses for Solomon from Egypt and from all the lands.   כחוּמֽוֹצִיאִ֨ים סוּסִ֧ים מִמִּצְרַ֛יִם לִשְׁלֹמֹ֖ה וּמִכָּל־הָֽאֲרָצֽוֹת:
29And the rest of Solomon's deeds, the first and the last, are they not written in the words of Nathan the prophet and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Jedo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat.   כטוּשְׁאָר֙ דִּבְרֵ֣י שְׁלֹמֹ֔ה הָרִֽאשֹׁנִ֖ים וְהָאַֽחֲרוֹנִ֑ים הֲלֹא־הֵ֣ם כְּתוּבִ֗ים עַל־דִּבְרֵי֙ נָתָ֣ן הַנָּבִ֔יא וְעַל־נְבוּאַ֞ת אֲחִיָּ֣ה הַשִּֽׁילוֹנִ֗י וּבַֽחֲזוֹת֙ יֶעְדּ֣וֹ (כתיב יֶעְדֹּ֣י) הַחֹזֶ֔ה עַל־יָֽרָבְעָ֖ם בֶּן־נְבָֽט:
in the words of Nathan the prophet : (II Sam. 12:25): “And He sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet, and he called his name Jedidiah for the Lord’s sake.”  
and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite (I Kings 11:31) : who rent the kingdom from him and gave it to Jeroboam.  
30And Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years.   לוַיִּמְלֹ֨ךְ שְׁלֹמֹ֧ה בִירֽוּשָׁלִַ֛ם עַל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אַרְבָּעִ֥ים שָׁנָֽה:
over all Israel forty years : unlike David, who reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.  
31And Solomon slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the City of David his father, and Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.   לאוַיִּשְׁכַּ֚ב שְׁלֹמֹה֙ עִם־אֲבֹתָ֔יו וַיִּקְבְּרֻ֕הוּ בְּעִ֖יר דָּוִ֣יד אָבִ֑יו וַיִּמְלֹ֛ךְ רְחַבְעָ֥ם בְּנ֖וֹ תַּחְתָּֽיו: