Did Solomon and Sheba have an Ethiopian son?

Rulers’ 10th Century B.C. meeting still offers questions

This is English artist Edward John Poynter’s depiction of the Queen of Sheba’s first appearance in the court of King Solomon. Poynter lived from 1836-1919. (Courtesy Photo)

It is much more than a legend in Ethiopia. It’s accepted as a historical fact that when the Queen of Sheba traveled to Jerusalem to meet King Solomon and give him gifts, she became pregnant and had a son by him who became King Menilek I and established the Royal Solomonic Dynasty of Ethiopia, which lasted till the advent of King Haile Selassie I in 1974.

Ministers Albert Flores and Leslie Boone say the 10th Century B.C. meeting of the two rulers who lived 1,500 miles apart is described in First Kings 10:1-12 and Second Chronicles 9:1-13, which say the Queen of Ethiopia and Egypt had heard of Solomon’s wisdom and wanted to question him.

In tribute she brought him 4 1/2 tons of gold and large quantities of spices and precious stones and when she left six months later the king gave her “all she desired and asked for beside what he had given her out of his royal bounty.”

The Rev. Flores, pastor of Victory Life Church, said the Queen of Sheba “wanted to learn more about God and she came to see Solomon to seek his wisdom.

“You can have all the material in the world, but without God’s presence there is still a void,” the Rev. Flores said. “We learn from this story that we should seek the wisdom of God because we can’t go wrong if we learn more about him and get to know him better.”

Flores said God “has placed a hunger for him within us and a hunger for the living water of the Holy Spirit.

“Solomon was a man of God who had the wisdom of God,” he said. “The scripture says to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and he will bless us according to our needs.”

Asked if the two had a child, Flores said, “I believe the Queen of Sheba wanted a son by Solomon because he was a blessed man of wisdom and knowledge.

“She was really wealthy and she gave him a lot of things. I think she had a boy, Menelik I.”

Boone, minister of Andrews Church of Christ, said the scriptures suggest that the two “spent time together, had conversations and exchanged gifts, but I don’t know if we can say that because we’re not really given much to go on.

“It’s within the realm of possibility, but I don’t put a lot of weight on all the conjecture.”

Boone said Sheba apparently traveled north by the Euphrates River and cross country in a camel caravan to reach Jerusalem.

“You realize how many people she must have brought along with her,” he said. “They could have come up the river and then across land by one of the routes that the caravans took.

“She wanted to go see Solomon for herself and he answered all her questions. It was very grandiose.”

Boone said Solomon might have become infatuated with the Queen of Sheba because he had 300 wives and 700 concubines, many of whom were foreign and eventually corrupted his religion and offended God.

“Women were his one weakness,” he said. “He thought he could handle all these relationships and it just shows that wisdom has its limitations.”

Referring to Solomon’s writings in the Book of Ecclesiastes, Boone said, “He had learned toward the end of his life that nothing held water except living as God intended.”