Solomon gave Commandments to the Queen
by E.A. Wallis Budge, 
The King held converse with the Queen
The Queen MÂKĔDÂ spake unto King Solomon, saying, “Blessed art thou, my lord, in that such wisdom and understanding have been given unto thee. For myself, I only wish that I could be as one of the least of thine handmaidens so that I could wash thy feet, and hearken to thy wisdom, and apprehend thy understanding, and serve thy majesty, and enjoy thy wisdom. O how greatly have pleased me thy answering, and the sweetness of thy voice and the beauty of thy going, and the graciousness of thy words, and the readiness thereof. The sweetness of thy voice maketh the heart to rejoice, and maketh the bones fat, and giveth courage to hearts, and goodwill and grace to the lips, and strength to the gait. I look upon thee and I see that thy wisdom is immeasurable and thine understanding inexhaustible and that it is like unto a lamp in the darkness, and like unto a pomegranate in the garden, and like unto a pearl in the sea, and like unto the Morning Star among the stars, and like unto the light of the moon in the mist, and like unto a glorious dawn and sunrise in the heavens. And I give thanks unto Him that brought me hither and showed thee to me, and made me tread upon the threshold of thy gate, and made me hear thy voice.”
King SOLOMONSolomoned and said unto her, “Wisdom and understanding spring from thee thyself. As for me, [I only possess them] in the measure in which the God of Israel hath given [them] to me because I asked and entreated them from Him. And thou, although thou dost not know the God of Israel, hast this wisdom which thou hast made to grow in thine heart, and [it hath made thee come] to see me, the vassal and slave of my God, and the building of His sanctuary which I am establishing, and wherein I serve and move around about my Lady, the Tabernacle of the Law of the God of Israel, the holy and heavenly ZION. Now, I am the slave of my God, and I am not a free man; I do not serve according to my own will but according to His Will. And this speech of mine springeth not from myself, but I give utterance only to what He maketh me to utter. Whatsoever He commandeth me that I do; wheresoever He wisheth me to go thither I go; whatsoever He teacheth me that I speak; that concerning which He giveth me the wisdom I understand. For from being only dust He hath made me flesh, and from being only water He hath made me a solid man, and from being only an ejected drop, which shot forth upon the ground would have dried up on the surface of the earth, He hath fashioned me in His own likeness and hath made me in His own image.”
As SOLOMON was talking in this wise with the Queen, he saw a certain laborer carrying a stone upon his head and a skin of water upon his neck and shoulders, and his food and his sandals were [tied] about his loins, and there were pieces of wood in his hands; his garments were ragged and tattered, the sweat fell in drops from his face, and water from the skin of water dripped down upon his feet. And the laborer passed before SOLOMON, and as he was going by the King said unto him, “Stand still”; and the laborer stood still. And the King turned to the Queen and said unto her, “Look at this man. Wherein am I superior to this man? And in what am I better than this man? And wherein shall I glory over this man? For I am a man and dust and ashes, who to-morrow will become worms and corruption, and yet at this moment I appear like one who will never die. Who would make any complaint against God if He were to give unto this man He hath given to me and if He were to make me even as this man is? Are we not both of us beings, that is to say, men? As is his death, [so] is my death; and as is his life [so] is my life. Yet this man is stronger to work than I am, for God giveth power to those who are feeble just as it pleaseth Him to do so.” And SOLOMON said unto the laborer, “Get thee to thy work.”
He spake further unto the Queen, saying, “What is the use of us, the children of men if we do not exercise kindness and love upon earth? Are we not all nothingness, mere grass of the field, which withereth in its season and is burnt in the fire? On the earth we provide ourselves with dainty meats, and [we wear] costly apparel, but even whilst we are alive we are stinking corruption; we provide ourselves with sweet scents and delicate unguents, but even whilst we are alive we are dead in sin and in transgressions; being wise, we become fools through disobedience and deeds of iniquity; being held in honor, we become contemptible through magic, and sorcery, and the worship of idols. Now the man who is a being of honour, who was created in the image of God, if he doeth that which is good becometh like God; but the man who is a thing of nothingness, if he committeth sin becometh like unto the Devil—the arrogant Devil who refused to obey the command of his Creator—and all the arrogant among men walk in his way, and they shall be judged with him. And God loveth the lowly-minded, and those who practice humility walk in His way, and they shall rejoice in His kingdom. Blessed is the man who knoweth wisdom, that is to say, compassion and the fear of God.”
And when the Queen heard this she said, “How thy voice doth please me! And how greatly do thy words p. 28 and the utterance of thy mouth delight me! Tell me now: whom is it right for me to worship? We worship the sun according as our fathers have taught us to do because we say that the sun is the king of the gods. And there are others among our subjects [who worship other things]; some worship stones, and some worship wood (i.e., trees), and some worship carved figures and some worship images of gold and silver. And we worship the sun, for he cooketh our food, and moreover, he illuminates the darkness, and removeth fear; we call him ‘Our King’, and we call him ‘Our Creator’, and we worship him as our God; for no man hath told us that besides him there is another god. But we have heard that there is with you, ISRAEL, another God Whom we do not know, and men have told us that He hath sent down to you from heaven a Tabernacle and hath given unto you a Tablet of the ordering of the angels, by the hand of Moses the Prophet. This also we have heard—that He Himself cometh down to you and talketh to you, and informeth you concerning His ordinances and commandments.”
SOLOMON gave Commandments to the Queen
The King answered and said unto her, “Verily, it is right that they (i.e., men) should worship God, Who created the universe, the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land, the sun and the moon, the stars and the brilliant bodies of the heavens, the trees and the stones, the beasts and the feathered fowl, the wild beasts and the crocodiles, the fish and the whales, the hippopotamuses and the water lizards, the lightnings and the crashes of thunder, the clouds and the thunders, and the good and the evil. It is meet that Him alone we should worship, in fear and trembling, with joy and with gladness. For He the Lord of the Universe, the Creator of angels and men. And it is He Who killeth and maketh to live, it is He Who inflicteth punishment and showeth compassion, Who raiseth up from the ground him that is in misery, Who exalteth the poor from the dust, Who maketh to be sorrowful and Who to rejoice, Who raiseth up and Who bringeth down. No one can chide Him, for He is the Lord of the Universe, and there is no one who can say unto Him, ‘What hast Thou has done?’ And unto Him it is, meet that there should be praise and thanksgiving from angels and men. And as concerning what thou sayest, that ‘He hath given unto you the Tabernacle of the Law,’ Verily there hath been given unto us the Tabernacle of the God of Israel, which was created before all creation by His glorious counsel. And He hath made to come down to us His commandments, done into writing, so that we may know His decree and the judgment that He hath ordained in the mountain of His holiness.”
The Queen said, “From this moment I will not worship the sun, but will worship the Creator of the sun, the God of Israel. And that Tabernacle of the God of Israel shall be unto me my Lady, and unto my seed after me, and unto all my kingdoms that are under my dominion. And because of this, I have found favor before thee, and before the God of ISRAEL my Creator, Who hath brought me unto thee, and hath made me hear thy voice, and hath shown me thy face, and hath made me understand thy commandment.” Then she returned to [her] house.
The Queen used to go [to SOLOMON] and return continually, and hearken unto his wisdom, and keep it in her heart. And SOLOMON used to go and visit her, and answer all the questions which she put to him, and the Queen used to visit him and ask him questions, and he informed her concerning every matter that she wished to inquire about. And after she had dwelt [there] six months the Queen wished to return to her own country, and she sent a message to Solomon, saying, “I desire greatly to dwell with thee, but now, for the sake of all my people, I wish to return to my own country. And as for that which I have heard, may God make it bear fruit in my heart, and in the hearts of all those who have heard it with me. For the ear could never be filled with the hearing of thy wisdom, and the eye could never be filled with the sight of the same.”
Now it was not only the Queen who came [to hear the wisdom of Solomon], but very many used to come from cities and countries, both from near and from far; for in those days there was no man found to be like unto him for wisdom (and it was not only human beings who came to him, but the wild animals and the birds used to come to him and hearken unto his voice, and hold converse with him), and then they returned to their own countries, and every one of them was astonished at his wisdom, and marveled at what he had seen and heard.
When the Queen sent her message to SOLOMON, saying that she was about to depart to her own country, he pondered in his heart and said, “A woman of such splendid beauty hath come to me from the ends of the earth! What do I know? Will God give me seed in her?” Now, as it is said in the Book of KINGS, SOLOMON the King was a lover of women. And he married wives of the HEBREWS, and the Egyptians, and the Canaanites, and the EDOMITES, and the ÎYÔBÂWÎYÂN (MOABITES ?), and from RÎF and KUĔRGUĔ, and DAMASCUS, and SÛREST (SYRIA), and women who were reported to be beautiful. And he had four hundred queens and six hundred concubines. Now this which he did was not for [the sake of] fornication, but as a result of the wise intent that God had given unto him, and his remembering what God had said unto Abraham, “I will make thy seed like the stars of heaven for number and as the sand of the sea.” And SOLOMON said in his heart, “What do I know? Peradventure God will give me men children from each one of these women.” Therefore when he did thus he acted wisely, saying, “My children shall inherit the cities of the enemy, and shall destroy those who worship idols.”
Now those early peoples lived under the law of the flesh, for the grace of the Holy Spirit had not been given unto them. And to those [who lived] after CHRIST, it was given to live with one woman under the law of marriage. And the Apostles laid down for them an ordinance, saying, “All those who have received His flesh and His blood are brethren. Their mother is the Church and their father is God, and they cry out with Christ Whom they have received, saying, ‘Our Father, Who art in heaven.'” And as concerning SOLOMON no law had been laid down for him in respect of women, and no blame can be imputed to him in respect of marrying [many] wives. But for those who believe, the law and the command have been given that they shall not marry many wives, even as Paul saith, “Those who marry many wives seek their own punishment. He who marrieth one wife hath no sin.” And the law restraineth us from the sister [-in-law], in respect to the bearing of children. The Apostles speak [concerning it] in the [Book of] Councils (Guidi (apud Bezold) compares No. 19 of the Apocryphal Canones Apostolorum).
King Solomon sent a message unto the Queen, saying, “Now that thou hast come here why wilt thou go away without seeing the administration of the kingdom, and how the meal[s] for the chosen ones of the kingdom are eaten after the manner of the righteous, and how the people are driven away after the manner of sinners? From [the sight of] it thou wouldst acquire wisdom. Follow me now and seat thyself in my splendor in the tent, and I will complete thy instruction, and thou shalt learn the administration of my kingdom; for thou hast loved wisdom, and she shall dwell with thee until thine end and forever.” Now a prophecy maketh itself apparent in [this] speech.
The Queen sent a second message, saying, “From being a fool, I have become wise by following thy wisdom, and from being a thing rejected by the God of Israel, I have become a chosen woman because of this faith which is in my heart; and henceforth I will worship no other god except Him. And as concerning that which thou sayest, that thou wishest to increase in my wisdom and honor, I will come according to thy desire.” And SOLOMON rejoiced because of this [message], and he arrayed his chosen ones [in splendid apparel], and he added a double supply to his table, and he had all the arrangements concerning the management of his house carefully ordered, and the house of King SOLOMON was made ready [for guests] daily. And he made it ready with very great pomp, in joy, and in peace, in wisdom, and in tenderness, with all humility and lowliness; and then he ordered the royal table according to the law of the kingdom.
The Queen came and passed into a place set apart in splendor and glory, and she sat down immediately behind him where she could see and learn and know everything. And she marveled exceedingly at what she saw, and at what she heard, and she praised the God of Israel in her heart, and she was struck with wonder at the splendor of the royal palace which she saw. For she could see, though no one could see her, even as SOLOMON had arranged in wisdom for her. He had beautified the place where she was seated and had spread over it purple hangings, and laid down carpets, and decorated it with miskât (Moschus), and marbles, and precious stones, and he burned aromatic powders, and sprinkled oil of myrrh and cassia round about, and scattered frankincense and costly incense in all directions. And when they brought her into this abode, the odor thereof was very pleasing to her, and even before she ate the dainty meats therein she was satisfied with the smell of them. And with wise intent, SOLOMON sent to her meats which would make her thirsty, and drinks that were mingled with vinegar, and fish and dishes made with pepper. And this he did and he gave them to the Queen to eat. And the royal meal had come to an end three times and seven times, and the administrators, and the counselors, and the young men and the servants had departed, and the King rose up and he went to the Queen, and he said unto her—now they were alone together—”Take thou thine ease here for love’s sake until daybreak.” And she said unto him, “Swear to me by thy God, the God of Israel, that thou wilt did not take me by force. For if I, who according to the law of men am a maiden, be seduced, I should travel on my journey [back] in sorrow, and affliction, and tribulation.”
The Three Hundred and Eighteen [Patriarchs]
Now we ordain even as did they. We know well what the Apostles who were before us spake. We the Three Hundred and Eighteen have maintained and laid down the orthodox faith, our Lord JESUS CHRIST being with us. And He hath directed us what we should teach, and how we should fashion the faith.