Solomon’s 1,001st Wife


With his 1,000 wives–well, 700 wives and 300 concubines (I Kings 11:3)–King Solomon was, without a doubt, the Bible’s most famous ladies’ man.

The Bible reveals almost no details of any of these thousand women. Strangely, the one woman whose relationship with Solomon is developed in the Bible isn’t one of those wives at all–it’s the Queen of Sheba. She travels to Solomon’s kingdom, says that she wants to find out if the legends surrounding his wisdom are true, and engages him in a battle of questions (I Kings 10).

How does it end? The Queen returns to her kingdom, and he to his. Scholars have debated the significance of this story for centuries. Was their relationship a rivalry? An intellectual flirtation? We’ll never know for sure what went on behind those royal closed doors. But today, scholars interpret the story as a contest, no more and no less–a simple conversation, a philosophical meeting of the minds. Which just goes to show that even the wisest person in the world can have some friendly competition.

Recommended from JTA