The King of Ethiopia traveled

by E.A. Wallis Budge, [1932]

King Solomon swore to the Queen

SOLOMON answered and said unto her, “I swear unto thee that I will not take thee by force, but thou must swear unto me that thou wilt does not take by force anything that is in my house.” And the Queen laughed and said unto him, “Being a wise man why dost thou speak as a fool? Shall I steal anything, or shall I carry out of the house of the King that which the King hath not given to me? Do not imagine that I have come hither through the love of riches. Moreover, my own kingdom is as wealthy as thine, and there is nothing which I wish for that I lack. Assuredly I have only come in quest of thy wisdom.” And he said unto her, “If thou wouldst make me swear, swear thou to me, for a swearing is meet for both [of us], so that neither of us may be unjustly treated. And if thou wilt does not make me swear I will not make thee swear.” And she said unto him, “Swear to me that thou wilt did not take me by force, and I on my part will swear not to take by force thy possessions”; and he swore to her and made her swear.

The King went up on his bed on the one side [of the chamber], and the servants made ready for her a bed on the other side. And SOLOMON said unto a young manservant, “Wash out the bowl and set in it a vessel of water whilst the Queen is looking on, and shut the doors and go and sleep.” And SOLOMON spake to the servant in another tongue which the Queen did not understand, and he did as the King commanded, and went and slept. And the King had not as yet fallen asleep, but he only pretended to be asleep, and he was watching the Queen intently. Now the house of SOLOMON the King was illumined as by day, for in his wisdom he had made shining pearls which were like unto the sun, and moon, and stars [and had set them] in the roof of his house.

The Queen slept a little. And when she woke up her mouth was dry with thirst, for the food which SOLOMON had given her in his wisdom had made her thirsty, and she was very thirsty indeed, and her mouth was dry; and she moved her lips and sucked with her mouth and found no moisture. And she determined to drink the water which she had seen, and she looked at King SOLOMON and watched him carefully, and she thought that he was sleeping a sound sleep. But he was not asleep, and he was waiting until she should rise up to steal the water to [quench] her thirst. And she rose up and, making no sound with her feet, she went to the water in the bowl and lifted up the jar to drink the water. And SOLOMON seized her hand before she could drink the water, and said unto her, “Why hast thou broken the oath that thou hast sworn that thou wouldst not take by force anything that is in my house?” And she answered and said unto him in fear, “Is the oath broken by my drinking water?” And the King said unto her, “Is there anything that thou hast seen under the heavens that is better than water?” And the Queen said, “I have sinned against myself, and thou art free from [thy] oath. But let me drink water for my thirst.” Then SOLOMON said unto her, “Am I perchance free from the oath which thou hast made me swear?” And the Queen said, “Be free from thy oath, only let me drink water.” And he permitted her to drink water, and after she had drunk water he worked his will with her and they slept together.

After he slept there appeared unto King SOLOMON [in a dream] a brilliant sun, and it came down from heaven and shed exceedingly great splendor over ISRAEL. And when it had tarried there for a time it suddenly withdrew itself, and it flew away to the country of Ethiopia shone there with exceedingly great brightness forever, for it willed to dwell there. And [the King said], “I waited [to see] if it would come back to Israel, but it did not return. And again while I waited a light rose up in the heavens, and a Sun came down from them in the country of Judah, and it sent forth light which was very much stronger than before.”  ISRAEL, because of the flame of that Sun entreated that Sun evilly and would not walk in the light thereof. And that Sun paid no heed to Israel, and the Israelites hated Him, and it became impossible that peace should exist between them and the Sun. And they lifted up their hands against Him with staves and knives, and they wished to extinguish that Sun. And they cast darkness upon the whole world with the earthquake and thick darkness, and they imagined that that Sun would never more rise upon them. And they destroyed His light and cast themselves upon Him and they set a guard over His tomb wherein they had cast Him. And He came forth where they did not look for Him, and illumined the whole world, more especially the First Sea and the Last Sea, ETHIOPIA and RÔM. And He paid no heed whatsoever to Israel, and He ascended His former throne.

When SOLOMON the King saw this vision in his sleep, his soul became disturbed, and his understanding was snatched away as by [a flash of] lightning, and he woke up with an agitated mind. And moreover, SOLOMON marveled concerning the Queen, for she was vigorous in strength and beauty of form, and she was undefiled in her virginity, and she had reigned for six years in her own country, and, notwithstanding her gracious attraction and her splendid form, had preserved her body pure. And the Queen said unto SOLOMON, “Dismiss me, and let me depart to my own country.” And he went into his house and gave unto her whatsoever she wished for of splendid things and riches, and beautiful apparel which bewitched the eyes, and everything on which great store was set in the country of Ethiopia, and camels and wagons, six thousand in number, which was laden with beautiful things of the most desirable kind, and wagons wherein loads were carried over the desert, and a vessel wherein one could travel over the sea, and a vessel wherein one could traverse the air (or winds), which SOLOMON had made by the wisdom that God had given unto him.

The sign which SOLOMON gave the Queen

The Queen rejoiced, and she went forth in order to depart, and the King set her on her way with great pomp and ceremony. And SOLOMON took her aside so that they might be alone together, and he took off the ring that was upon his little finger, and he gave it to the Queen, and said unto her, “Take [this] so that thou mayest not forget me. And if it happens that I obtain seed from thee, this ring shall be unto it a sign; and if it is a man-child he shall come to me, and the peace of God be with thee! Whilst I was sleeping with thee I saw many visions in a dream, [and it seemed] as if a sun had risen upon ISRAEL, but it snatched itself away and flew off and lighted up the country of ETHIOPIA; peradventure that country shall be blessed through thee; God knoweth. And as for thee, observe what I have told thee so that thou mayest worship God with all thy heart and perform His Will. He punisheth those who are arrogant and He showeth compassion upon those who are humble, and He removeth the thrones of the mighty, and He maketh to be honoring those who are needy. For death and life are from Him, and riches and poverty are bestowed by His Will. For everything is His, and none can oppose His command and His judgment in the heavens, or in the earth, or in the sea, or in the abysses. And may God be with thee! Go in peace.” And they separated from each other.

The Queen brought forth and came to her own Country

The Queen departed and came into the country of BÂL ZADÎSÂRĔY nine months and five days after she had separated from King SOLOMON. And the pains of childbirth laid hold upon her, and she brought forth a man child, and she gave it to the nurse with great pride and delight. And she tarried until the days of her purification was ended, and then she came to her own country with great pomp and ceremony. And her officers who had remained there brought gifts to their mistress, and made obeisance to her, and did homage to her, and all the borders of the country rejoiced at her coming. Those who were nobles among them she arrayed in splendid apparel, and to some, she gave gold and silver, and hyacinthine and purple robes, and she gave them all manner of things that could be desired. And she ordered her kingdom aright, and none disobeyed her command; for she loved wisdom and God strengthened her kingdom.

The child grew and she called his name BAYNA-LEḤKEM. And the child reached the age of twelve years, and he asked his friends among the boys who were being educated with him, and said unto them, “Who is my father?” And they said unto him, “SOLOMON the King.” And he went to the Queen his mother, and said unto her, “O Queen, make me know who is my father.” And the Queen spake unto him angrily, wishing to frighten him so that he might not desire to go [to his father] saying, “Why dost thou ask me about thy father? I am thy father and thy mother; seek not to know anymore.” And the boy went forth from her presence and sat down. And a second time, and a third time he asked her, and he importuned her to tell him. One day, however, she told him, saying, “His country is far away, and the road thither is very difficult; wouldst thou not rather be here?” And the youth BAYNA-LEḤKEM was handsome, and his whole body and his members, and the bearing of his shoulders resembled those of King SOLOMON his father, and his eyes, and his legs, and his whole gaits resembled those of SOLOMON the King. And when he was two and twenty years old he was skilled in the whole art of war and of horsemanship, and in the hunting and trapping of wild beasts, and in everything that young men are wont to learn. And he said unto the Queen, “I will go and look upon the face of my father, and I will come back here by the Will of God, the Lord of Israel.”

The King of Ethiopia traveled

The Queen called TÂMRÎN, the chief of her caravan men and merchants, and she said unto him, “Get ready for thy journey and take this young man with thee, for he importuneth me by night and by day. And thou shalt take him to the King and shalt bring him back hither in safety, if God, the Lord of Israel, pleaseth.” And she prepared a retinue suitable to their wealth and honorable condition and made ready all the goods that were necessary for the journey, and for presenting as gifts to the King, and all that would be necessary for ease and comfort by the way. And she made ready everything for sending him away, and she gave to the officers who were to accompany him such sums of money as they would need for him and for themselves on the journey. And she commanded them that they were not to leave him there, but only to take him to the King, and then to bring him back again to her, when he should assume the sovereignty over her land.

Now there was a law in the country of Ethiopia that [only] a woman should reign and that she must be a virgin who had never known man, but the Queen said [unto SOLOMON], “Henceforward a man who is of thy seed shall reign, and a woman shall nevermore reign; only seed of thine shall reign and his seed after him from generation to generation. And this thou shalt inscribe in the letters of the rolls in the Book of their Prophets in brass, and thou shalt lay it in the House of God, which shall be built as a memorial and as a prophecy for the last days. And the people shall not worship the sun and the magnificence of the heavens, or the mountains and the forests, or the stones and the trees of the wilderness, or the abysses and that which is in the waters, or graven images and figures of gold, or the feathered fowl which fly; and they shall not make use of them in divining, and they shall not pay adoration unto them. And this law shall abide forever. And if there be anyone who shall transgress this law, thy seed shall judge him forever. Only give us the fringes of the covering of the holy heavenly ZION, the Tabernacle of the Law of God, which we would embrace (or, greet). Peace is to the strength of thy kingdom and to thy brilliant wisdom, which God, the Lord of Israel our Creator, hath given unto thee.”

The Queen took the young man aside and when he was alone with her she gave him that symbol which SOLOMON had given her, that is to say, the ring on his finger, so that he might know his son, and might remember her word and her covenant which she had made [with him], that she would worship God all the days of her life, she and those who were under her dominion, with all [the power] which God had given her. And then the Queen sent him away in peace.

The young man [and his retinue] made straight their way and they journeyed on and came into the country of the neighborhood of GÂZÂ. Now, this is the GÂZ which SOLOMON the King gave to the Queen of Ethiopia. And in the Acts of the Apostles Luke, the Evangelist wrote, saying, “He was the governor of the whole country of GÂZÂ, a eunuch of Queen HENDAKÊ, who had believed on the word of LUKE the Apostle.”

The young man arrived in his mother’s country

When the young man arrived in his mother’s country he rejoiced there in the honor he received], and in the gifts [that were made] to him. And when the people saw him they thought him to be the perfect likeness of SOLOMON the King. And they made obeisance to him, and they said unto him, “Hail, the royal father liveth!” And they brought unto him gifts and offerings, fatted cattle and food, as to their king. And [the people of] the whole country of GÂZÂ, as far as the border of Judah, were stirred up and they said, “This is King Solomon.” And there were some who said, “The King is in JERUSALEM building his house”—now he had finished building the House of God—and others said, “This is SOLOMON the King, the son of DAVID.”

They were perplexed, and they disputed with one another, and they sent off spies mounted on horses, who were to seek out King SOLOMON and to find out if he were actually in JERUSALEM, or if he were with them [in GÂZÂ]. And the spies came to the watchmen of the city of Jerusalem, and they found King SOLOMON there, and they made obeisance to him, and they said unto him, “Hail, may the royal father live! [Our] country is disturbed because there hath come into it a merchant who resembleth thee in form and appearance, without the smallest alteration or variation. He resembleth thee in the noble carriage and in splendid form, and in stature and in goodly appearance; he lacketh nothing in respect of these and is in no way different from thyself. His eyes are gladsome, like unto those of a man who hath drunk wine, his legs are graceful and slender, and the tower of his neck is like unto the tower of David thy father. He is like unto thee exactly in every respect, and every member of his whole body is like unto Thine.”

King Solomon answered and said unto them, “Where is it then that he wisheth to go?” And they answered and said unto him, “We have not enquired of him, for he is awesome like thyself. But his own people, when we asked them, ‘Whence have ye come and whither do ye go?’ said, ‘We have come from the dominions of HENDAKÊ(CANDACE) and ETHIOPIA, and we are going to the country of Judah to King SOLOMON.'” And when King SOLOMON heard this his heart was perturbed and he was glad in his soul, for in those days he had no children, except a boy who was seven years old and whose name was ÎYÔRBE‛ÂM (REHOBOAM). It happened to SOLOMON even as Paul state, saying, “God hath made foolishness the wisdom of this world,” for SOLOMON had made a plan in his wisdom and said, “By one thousand women I shall beget one thousand men children, and I shall inherit the countries of the enemy, and I will overthrow [their] idols.”

But [God] only gave him three children. His eldest son was the King of Ethiopia, the son of the Queen of Ethiopia, and was the firstborn of whom [God] spake prophetically, “God sware unto DAVID in righteousness, and repented not, ‘Of the fruit of thy body will I make to sit upon thy throne.'”And God gave unto David His servant grace before Him, and granted unto him that there should sit upon the throne of Godhead One of his seed in the flesh, from the Virgin, and should judge the living and the dead, and reward every man according to his work, One to whom praise is meet, our Lord JESUS CHRIST, forever and ever, Amen. And He gave him one on the earth who should become king over the Tabernacle of the Law of the holy, heavenly ZION, that is to say, the King of Ethiopia. And as for those who reigned, who was not [of] ISRAEL, that was due to the transgression of the law and the commandment, whereas God was not pleased.

The Arrival of Kebra Nagast Manuscripts in Europe’
‘The Queen of SHEBA’
‘Legends of Solomon’
‘Arabic Text’ 

‘The Contents of the Kebra NagastT Described [ch1-59]’
‘The Contents of the Kebra Nagast Described [ch 60-117]’
‘THE GLORY OF KINGS’- [ch1-10]
‘The Glory of Zion’-[ch11-20]’
The queen came to Solomon the king’-[ch-21-25]
‘Solomon gave Commandments to the Queen’-[ch 26-29]
‘The King of Ethiopia traveled’-[ch 30-34]
‘They made the Son of King Solomon’- [ch 35-39]
‘ The Ten Commandments’-[ch 40-44]
‘They carried away Zion’-[ch 45-49]
‘The Wagon was given to Ethiopia’-[ch 50-55]
‘The Fall of Zadok the Priest’- [ch 56-60]
‘The sin King Solomon’-[ch 61-65]
‘The Question of Solomon'[ch 66-69]
‘Mary the daughter of David’-[ch 70-75]
‘The King of Persia’-[ch 76-80]
‘Abraham traveled to Egypt’-[ch 81-87]
‘This is what ye shall eat: the clean and the unclean’-[ch 88-91]
‘The first war of the Ethiopian King’-[ch 92-95]
‘Prophecy about Christ’-[ch 96-99]
The Ark of the covenant-[ch100-104]
‘The Coming of Christ”-[ch 105-109]
‘The return of Zion’