A Greater King
“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.” Matthew 12:42 (KJV).
We have already gave mention to this verse in the commentary on the preceding verses. It is the third mention of a “greater than”. Jesus is the One who is greater than the temple (v. 6) = the greatest Priest. He is the One who is greater than Jonah (v. 41) = the greatest Prophet. Now we see that He is the One who is greater than Solomon.
What is the significance of Solomon? He was the third king of the nation of Israel. He was the wisest man who ever lived other than the One of whom we speak in this study. He was the wealthiest of all the kings of Israel, and was a king of peace. Under Solomon’s reign was Israel’s greatest days. There was peace all around. When Jesus reigns from His throne in Jerusalem He will then be, and already is, the wisest of all men. His kingdom will be wealthier than it has ever been, He is already the wealthiest of all kings. It will be Israel’s greatest days. There will be peace in every nation. He is in fact the King of kings.
The Queen of Sheba had heard many things concerning Solomon, was on her own search for wisdom so went to Solomon to find out for herself. Here is what the Word of God tells us; “The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, so she came to test Solomon with difficult questions at Jerusalem with a very large retinue, with camels bearing spices, gold in abundance, and precious stones. She came to Solomon and spoke with him about everything that was on her mind. So Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too difficult for Solomon to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba observed Solomon’s wisdom, the palace he had built, the food at his table, his servants’ residence, his attendants’ service and their attire, his cupbearers and their attire, and the burnt offerings he offered at the Lord’s temple, it took her breath away. She said to the king, ‘The report I heard in my own country about your words and about your wisdom is true. But I didn’t believe their reports until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, I was not even told half of your great wisdom! You far exceed the report I heard. How happy are your men. How happy are these servants of yours, who always stand in your presence hearing your wisdom. May the Lord your God be praised! He delighted in you and put you on his throne as king for the Lord your God. Because Your God loved Israel enough to establish them forever, He has set you over them as king to carry out justice and righteousness.’ Then she gave the king four and a half tons of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones. There never were such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. In addition, Hiram’s servants and Solomon’s servants who brought gold from Ophir also brought algum wood and precious stones. The king made the algum wood into walkways for the Lord’s temple and for the king’s palace and into harps and lyres for the singers. Never before had anything like them been seen in the land of Judah. King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba her every desire, whatever she asked—far more than she had brought the king. Then she, along with her servants, returned to her own country.” 2 Chronicles 9:1-12 (HCSB) This is the testimony of one who witnessed the greatness and wisdom of Solomon. There are millions more who have experienced and will experience the greatness and wisdom of Jesus Christ.
Wisdom and understanding for ruling the people was what Solomon petitioned the Lord for in his prayer, and because to this the Lord granted to Him not only the greatest wisdom and understanding, but also power and wealth. There are many scholars and others who seem to think that the queen of Sheba and Solomon had sexual relations. There is really no evidence of such from Scripture, or that she took YaHWeH as her personal God. She only recognized God as the national God of Israel (1 Kings 10:1-10)
The scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus is addressing certainly have none of Solomon’s wisdom and understanding. It is almost certain that had the Lord Jesus been appearing before Solomon he would have known who stood there in his presence. Though the queen of Sheba may not have truly believed in God, her belief was that Solomon’s God had given him great wisdom and riches, and by what she had seen and witnessed stands as a judgment against the generation which condemned and rejected and continues to reject Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ the greatest Priest; the greatest Prophet; and the greatest King. He is the fulfillment of all Scripture – Prophet, Priest, and King.
God had used Solomon to get the attention of a foreign queen and she saw the greatness of God. The generation to whom Jesus spoke had One greater than Solomon, and they were rejecting Him. In our generation of 2008 Jesus Christ still lives, His message of grace through faith is still proclaimed; and there are those on the foolish side who desire to change it; keep out the cross, to never discuss the sinfulness of mankind; but instead make claims of the greatness of mankind, and our achievements, our technology, our wisdom. The people of Nineveh to who Noah preached, and the queen of Sheba still speak against the wisdom of this age, and declare to us Jesus Christ is Lord. Hear Him.
-Tim A. Blankenship