I am a sceptic and always have been. If I can’t prove it, I don’t believe it.
So, I hear about a king, north of here. (I live in Yemen.) They say he is the greatest on earth. He has the most powerful army, the best-dressed courtiers, and is the richest, wisest…. They say he’s the greatest ever.
How can anyone be all that?
The reports keep coming. His throne room is like no other. His houses … they drink from gold vessels….
In order to disprove the rumors and satisfy my curiosity, I prepare to go and meet this great so-and-so. It’s an official visit, since I am queen.
I take spices, gold, and precious stones. After all, what do you give to someone who has everything?
As I’ve heard he is wise, I take with me a list of hard questions, to test him. What does this king know and believe?
After many long hot days, we arrive with our caravan of camels and find him welcoming and amicable. I feel that I can talk with him about anything. I’m almost embarrassed, as I realize I have told him all that is in my heart.
I ask my questions—my long list—and he answers every single one. To my satisfaction. With wisdom. I’m in awe.
His house, the gourmet food, the manner of the servants and their attendance to details, his ministers, the sparkling robes on everyone, his cupbearers, and the reverence with which he procedes to the house of his God leave me speechless—a rarity for me.
When I find my tongue, I say to him: 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.
I give the king 120 talents of gold, many pounds of spices, including frankincense from my country, and precious stones. In fact, I heard he had never received so many spices ever before as he did from me.
What the king do, then? He asked me what I wanted. I could choose anything. Believe me, I took advantage of his generosity. I chose silk, gold-studded robes for me and my household, some golden chalices, and a large box of silver. He wasn’t satisfied. He gave me more as a present. I am overwhelmed.
When my servants and I turn towards home, I am a different person. I have put my faith in the God of Israel. I am a believer in two senses: I now believe what I was told—and they hadn’t described even the half of what I saw with my own eyes. And, more importantly, I found the most powerful, awesome God.
Who am I?
Who is the great king?
For extra credit, how far did I travel from Sana’a, Yemen to the king’s palace in Jerusalem?