Golden QuillThe Queen of Sheba

Andrew Wommack goes a lot easier on the tithing doctrine than most preachers. He also gives away his teaching materials to people who either can't afford to pay for them, or who simply refuse to pay for them. He feels it is worth it to take the chance that, after they hear his teaching, they will change their minds about its worth and support his ministry.

Most of the time, Andrew is pretty level–headed in what he teaches about giving, but sometimes I think financial pressures get to him and he goes off on a bit of a rant. He has said that if people think that he is trying to shake money out of them, to give to some other ministry, so that they can get blessed by giving offerings to the Lord. Still, even if he says that, the vehemence of how he preached this message in 2003 indicated to me that he was blowing off some steam. In his irration with reluctant givers, he doesn't always think everything all the way through.

In the case of using the Queen of Sheba as an illustration, he also lacks some background information about her. He uses the occasion of her bringing gifts to Solomon to draw a parallel about how we should bring an offering to get God's attention.

First of all, there are a lot of things that Andrew doesn't seem to understand about rulers bringing gifts to other rulers, and he doesn't understand the Queen of Sheba's mindset, as he doesn't realize who the Queen of Sheba was. In his book Ages in Chaos, Immanuel Velikovsky makes a good case that the Queen of Sheba was Hatchepsut, the Queen of Egypt. She also ruled Ethiopia. According to the historian Flavius Josephus, Sheba was one of Ethiopia's royal cities. The Queen of Sheba was one of Hatchepsut's many titles.

I surmise that the recorder referred to her by this title to avoid giving offence to Egypt's rulers, as Hatchepsut's successor hated her. He removed all reference to her from the records and defaced her monuments. Recall that in Rehoboam's time, Judah was placed under tribute to the king of Egypt. Hatchepsut's report of her visit to Solomon's court inspired her successor to invade Israel to take spoil.

Yes, I know that the Ethiopians have their legends that it was their queen who visited Solomon and that their Emperor Menelek was a son of Solomon. That may be, but their queen would have been a vassal queen of Egypt. It would not be the first time that a title was claimed by more than one person. It might also be that the Ethiopians worked some of the Bible into their legends like the Muslims, who claim that Ishmael was the son whom Abraham offered to God, rather than Isaac.

Let's just say for argument that Velikovsky was correct that Hatchepsut was the Queen of Sheba that the Bible refers to. Egypt had been decimated by the plagues of Egypt, and in its weakness, it was overrun by the Amalekites, also known as the Hyksos and the Amu, who oppressed Egypt for 430 years. Velikovsky explains about this in his book. The Amalekite Empire in its day was equivalent to the Roman Empire; their Agag (king) was like Caesar. King Saul of Israel broke up the Amalekite Empire and delivered Egypt from the Amu.

I surmise that Egypt had mixed feelings about this. They were grateful, but they still stung from having suffered the plagues because of the Israelites. Hatchepsut was a proud woman, bent on exalting her glory. She likely considered it beneath her to visit other sovereigns, and certainly would not ordinarily consider visiting the king of Israel who did not have the type of pedigree that she esteemed. I feel sure that when Yehoshua said that the Queen of the South came from the ends of the Earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, He was speaking idiomatically, meaning that she was the last person on Earth who would pay a visit to an Israelite king. She considered it beneath her to do so.

Hatchepsut, however, kept hearing reports about how wise this king was, and how rich, and of the splendour of his court. She finally realized that, if she was going to find out the truth about these reports, she would have to go to Israel.

She didn't load up with presents to try to buy her way into an audience with Solomon. She brought her gifts to show off. She wanted to demonstrate to Solomon that she was a queen of great consequence, to intimidate him, and to impress other kings and queens who were visiting him, or would hear reports of her gifts. Hatchepsut had no doubt that Solomon would receive her, as a matter of courtesy. It would be an insult for him not to, and then there would have been war.

Andrew went way off when he tried to compare the Queen of Sheba's gifts to giving in offerings to the Lord. He went on about how beggars probably pleaded with the Queen for alms, raising the issue of it being unfair to give gifts to someone like Solomon, who was already immensely wealthy. Get real. Her guards wouldn't have let them get anywhere near the Queen, if any beggar would be so stupid as to approach a royal retinue that was heavily guarded.

The Queen of Sheba brought gifts to Solomon, and she received rich gifts in return, even greater than what she gave him. Here again, one cannot use this as an illustration of giving an offering to the Lord and receiving more in return. It is the custom even today in some cultures to bring a gift to a host, and expect a better gift in return, or at least one of equivalent value. Giving gifts back and forth can be a burden, if a gift in return is expected, and the second party can't afford to reciprocate and has to borrow money to keep up with expectations. Hey, that sounds like our culture at Christmas time.

If the host wants to impress the guest that he is their superior, he gives them a better gift than what they gave. The Queen wasn't going to complain about that, if Solomon sent her home richer than what she was when she left Egypt. Sure, in that case, he could be her superior. He had already demonstrated it with his wisdom and his pomp. My impression, though, isn't that Solomon multiplied her "offering." Though he gave her more than what she gave him, it was probably no more than just half as much again.

The Queen of Sheba was impressed with Solomon's wisdom, but she was not converted to the God of Israel. When she returned home, she had Deir el-Bahari built, a temple that was inspired by Solomon's Temple, with engravings on its walls of the wonders she saw in "God's Land," or "the land of Punt," famed for its exotic riches and fauna. Historians ruled out Israel as the land of Punt because the plants and animals of Punt were not native to Israel. Their timeline was out, so they did not realize that these plants and animals were imports that were brought to Solomon, who loved to collect such things.

The depiction of the Israelites' wealth on Deir el-Bahari's walls drew the Egyptians back to Israel after Solomon's demise, to exploit the weakness of his son and take plunder from him. The king who succeeded Hatchepsut hated her and tried to blot out her memory by defacing her statues after her death. He conquered Judah and demanded tribute from its king, so the scribe who recorded Hatchepsut's visit to Solomon deemed it prudent to refer to her by a lesser title, the Queen of Sheba, rather than the Queen of Egypt, to avoid giving offense to their Egyptian masters. The whole Queen of Sheba thing was a really bad illustration for the purposes that Andrew was trying to use it for.

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Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on September 8, 2012

Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.