By Joel Savage
Who was really the Queen of Sheba? Where did she come from? Did she really meet King Solomon? There are certain stories in the Holy Bible which aren’t only inspiring but intriguing, demanding a lot of questions.
The Jews and Christians called her the Queen of Sheba, while the Ethiopians called her Macheda and finally, the Arabs called her Queen Bilquis. After discovering the fame and wisdom of King Solomon, with her entourage and camels loaded with spices, the queen set off on a journey to meet Solomon.
What makes Queen Sheba’s story more interesting is that history had her origins as Jewish, but at the same time it has the Persian version, while it is also found in the Koran.
From the visit to Jerusalem, which took place between 1000 and 950 BC, it is mentioned in the Jewish Talmud, in the Bible, the Old Testament, the Koran and obviously in the Kebra Nagast, Glory of kings, which is the fundamental book for the history of the empire of the highlands, developed in Ethiopia in the 14th century.
From the union of King Solomon with the queen, Menelik was conceived, whose intrinsic meaning is ‘Son of the wise man,’ who carried in his blood the traces of divine ancestry and who would have been the forefather of a Solomon lineage.
Hence, the fact that the Ethiopians are chosen people, Menelik, who grew up and became king, made the symbol of the lion of Judah that he raised to symbolize his kingdom. When he became an adult, he wanted to visit the presumed father Solomon and when he returned to Axum, he stole or was given the Ark of the Covenant.
However, from my point of view, this story is a bit complicated because the Ark of Covenant wasn’t a common object anyone could easily touch or steal. How can the Ark of the Covenant be stolen or given if there is an account that “when they came to the threshing floor of Nachon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen had stumbled.”
The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God. It’s really hard to understand certain stories.
According to history, the queen lived about 120 km from Sana, the capital of Yemen. East of Sana in Marib which was the capital of ancient Saba. Marib was situated at the point where caravans that carried incense in the direction of the Red Sea crossed and the whole region, with the passing of the years.
In May 2008, a group of German archaeologists announced that they had found in Axum, Ethiopia, not only the remains of the palace of the legendary Queen of Sheba but also the place where the Ark of the Covenant was kept which contained the Tablets of the Law, received by Moses on Sinai.
The remains of the palace of the queen of Sheba, dating back to the 10th century BC were discovered under the ruins of another building built by a later Christian king. Probably the queen was originally from Marib, a settlement east of Sana, in present-day Yemen, which was the capital of ancient Saba.
Thus, if she really existed, she might be born and lived in Marib, in the middle of the desert. Legend has it that she was extraordinarily beautiful and fascinating and that she was very rich. His mythical presence was surrounded by the splendor of great temples and palaces.
The archeological excavations of the modern era, however, have discovered a magnificent irrigation system that transformed the desert into a cultivable garden full of pastures.
The water came from the grandiose Marib dam, 640 meters long and 11 meters high located in the middle of the desert at the bottom of Wadi Adhana. The ruins of this dam are still evident that it constitutes one of the engineering marvels of the ancient world.
The dominion of the Sabeans also extended over the African continent, including the current one, Eritrea, Somalia and above all Ethiopia, wherein the Axum seat of the sovereigns of the Axumite empire was established and whose current site has been discovered by the German archaeologists.
However, who was the Queen of Sheba, on which kingdom was sovereign and why did she create a legend? What has been said so far about the Queen of Sheba and her extraordinary story is derived from the information contained in the Sacred Book of Rastafarians, who present themselves as heirs of Christianity from Haile Selassié, RasTafari, to Rastafarians and reggae music.
However, we can’t ignore the references in the Bible about the journey of the Queen of Sheba to know Solomon at 1Kings 10:4, and also the gospel of Matthew 12.42, “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.”
The writer Joel Savage is a Ghanaian-Belgian journalist and author. The accredited press-card holder of the Flemish Journalists Association once contributed regularly to the features column of the Daily Graphic, The Mirror, Ghanaian Times and the Weekly Spectator. He currently lives in Belgium.