Black Spirituality Religion : KING SOLOMON AND THE QUEEN OF SHEBA...

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Aqil, Jun 30, 2003.

  1. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    (Translated from the KEBRA NAGAST by E.A. Wallis Budge)

    Concerning TÂMRÎN, the Merchant

    And there was a certain wise man, the leader of a merchant's caravan, whose name was TÂMRÎN, and he used to load five hundred and twenty camels, and he possessed about three and seventy ships.

    Now at that time King SOLOMON wished to build the House of God, and he sent out messages among all the merchants in the east and in the west, and in the north and in the south, bidding the merchants come and take gold and silver from him, so that he might take from them whatsoever was necessary for the work. And certain men reported to him concerning this rich ETHIOPIAN merchant, and SOLOMON sent to him a message and told him to bring whatsoever he wished from the country of ARABIA, red gold, and black wood that could not be eaten by worms, and sapphires. And that merchant, whose name was TÂMRÎN, the merchant of the Queen of ETHIOPIA, went to SOLOMON the King; and SOLOMON took whatsoever he desired from him, and he gave to the merchant whatsoever he wished for in great abundance.

    Now that merchant was a man of great understanding, and he saw and comprehended the wisdom of SOLOMON, and he marveled thereat, and he watched carefully so that he might learn how the King made answer by his word, and understand his judgment, and the readiness of his mouth, and the discreetness of his speech, and the manner of his life, and his sitting down and his rising up, and his occupations, and his love, and his administration, and his table, and his law.

    To those to whom SOLOMON had to give orders he spoke with humility and graciousness, and when they had committed a fault he admonished them gently. For he ordered his house in the wisdom and fear of God, and he smiled graciously on the fools and set them on the right road, and he dealt gently with the maidservants. He opened his mouth in parables, and his words were sweeter than the purest honey; his whole behavior was admirable, and his whole aspect pleasant. For wisdom is beloved by men of understanding, and is rejected by fools.

    And when that merchant had seen all these things he was astonished, and he marveled exceedingly. For those who were wont to see SOLOMON held him in complete affection, and he became their teacher; and because of his wisdom and excellence those who had once come to him did not wish to leave him and go away from him. And the sweetness of his words was like water to the man who thirsts, and like bread to the hungry man, and like healing to the sick man, and like apparel to the naked man. And he was like a father to the orphans. And he judged with righteousness and accepted the person of no man (i.e., he was impartial). He had glory, and riches, which God had given unto him, in great abundance, namely, gold, and silver, and precious stones, and rich apparel, and cattle, and sheep, and goats innumerable.

    Now in the days of SOLOMON the King gold was as common as bronze, and silver as lead, and bronze and lead and iron were as abundant as the grass of the fields and the reeds of the desert; and cedar wood was also abundant. And God had given him glory, and riches, and wisdom, and grace in such abundance that there was none like unto him among his predecessors, and among those who came after him there was none like unto him.
     
  2. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    How the Merchant returned to ETHIOPIA

    And it came to pass that the merchant TÂMRÎN wished to return to his own country, and he went to SOLOMON and bowed low before him, and embraced him and said unto him, "Peace be to thy majesty! Send me away and let me depart to my country to my Lady, for I have tarried long in beholding thy glory, and thy wisdom, and the abundance of dainty meats (food) wherewith thou hast regaled me. And now I would depart to my Lady. Would that I could abide with thee, even as one of the very least of thy servants, for blessed are they who hear thy voice and perform thy commands! Would that I could abide here and never leave thee! But thou must send me away to my Lady because of what hath been committed to my charge, so that I may give unto her her property. And as for myself, I am her servant."

    And SOLOMON went into his house and gave unto him whatever valuable thing he desired for the country of ETHIOPIA, and he sent him away in peace. And TÂMRÎN bade him farewell, and went forth, and journeyed along his road, and came to his Lady, and delivered over to her all the possessions that he had brought. And he related unto her how he had arrived in the country of JUDAH and JERUSALEM, and how he had gone into the presence of SOLOMON the King, and all that he had heard and seen. And he told her how SOLOMON administered just judgment, and how he spake with authority, and how he decided rightly in all the matters which he inquired into, and how he returned soft and gracious answers, and how there was nothing false about him, and how he appointed inspectors over the seven hundred woodmen who hauled the timber and the eight hundred masons who hewed the stone, and how he sought to learn from all the merchants and dealers concerning the cunning craft and the working thereof, and how he received information and imparted it twofold, and how all his handicraft and his works were performed with wisdom.

    And each morning TÂMRÎN related to the Queen about all the wisdom of SOLOMON; how he administered judgment and did what was just; and how he ordered his table, and how he made feasts; and how he taught wisdom; and how he directed his servants and all his affairs on a wise system; and how they went on their errands at his command; and how no man defrauded another; and how no man purloined the property of his neighbor; and how there was neither a thief nor a robber in his days. For in his wisdom he knew those who had done wrong, and he chastised them, and made them afraid, and they did not repeat their evil deeds, but they lived in a state of peace that had mingled therein the fear of the King.

    All these things did TÂMRÎN relate unto the Queen, and each morning he recalled the things that he had seen with the King and described them unto her. And the Queen was struck dumb with wonder at the things that she heard from the merchant her servant, and she thought in her heart that she would go to him; and she wept by reason of the greatness of her pleasure in those things that TÂMRÎN had told her.

    And she was exceedingly anxious to go to him, but when she pondered upon the long journey she thought that it was too far and too difficult to undertake. And time after time she asked TÂMRÎN questions about SOLOMON, and time after time TÂMRÎN told her about him, and she became very wishful and most desirous to go that she might hear his wisdom, and see his face, and embrace him, and petition his royalty. And her heart inclined to go to him, for God had made her heart incline to go and had made her to desire it.
     
  3. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    How the Queen made ready to set out on her journey

    And the Queen said unto them, "Hearken, O ye who are my people, and give ye ear to my words. For I desire wisdom and my heart seeketh to find understanding. I am smitten with the love of wisdom, and I am constrained by the cords of understanding; for wisdom is far better than treasure of gold and silver, and wisdom is the best of everything that hath been created on the earth. Now unto what under the heavens shall wisdom be compared? It is sweeter than honey, and it maketh one to rejoice more than wine, and it illumineth more than the sun, and it is to be loved more than precious stones.

    And it fatteneth more than oil, and it satisfieth more than dainty meats (food), and it giveth a man more renown than thousands of gold and silver. It is a source of joy for the heart, and a bright and shining light for the eyes, and a giver of speed to the feet, and a shield for the breast, and a helmet for the head, and chain-work for the neck, and a belt for the loins. It maketh the ears to hear and hearts to understand, it is a teacher of those who are learned, and it is a consoler of those who are discreet and prudent, and it giveth fame to those who seek after it.

    And as for a kingdom, it cannot stand without wisdom, and riches cannot be preserved without wisdom; the foot cannot keep the place wherein it hath set itself without wisdom. And without wisdom that which the tongue speaketh is not acceptable. Wisdom is the best of all treasures. He who heapeth up gold and silver doeth so to no profit without wisdom, but he who heapeth up wisdom—no man can filch it from his heart. That which fools heap up the wise consume. And because of the wickedness of those who do evil the righteous are praised; and because of the wicked acts of fools the wise are beloved.

    Wisdom is an exalted thing and a rich thing: I will love her like a mother, and she shall embrace me like her child. I will follow the footprints of wisdom and she shall protect me forever; I will seek after wisdom, and she shall be with me forever; I will follow her footprints, and she shall not cast me away; I will lean upon her, and she shall be unto me a wall of adamant; I will seek asylum with her, and she shall be unto me power and strength; I will rejoice in her, and she shall be unto me abundant grace. For it is right for us to follow the footprints of wisdom, and for the soles of our feet to stand upon the threshold of the gates of wisdom. Let us seek her, and we shall find her; let us love her, and she will not withdraw herself from us; let us pursue her, and we shall overtake her; let us ask, and we shall receive; and let us turn our hearts to her so that we may never forget her.

    If we remember her, she will have us in remembrance; and in connection with fools thou shalt not remember wisdom, for they do not hold her in honor, and she doth not love them. The honoring of wisdom is the honoring of the wise man, and the loving of wisdom is the loving of the wise man. Love the wise man and withdraw not thyself from him, and by the sight of him thou shalt become wise; hearken to the utterance of his mouth, so that thou mayest become like unto him; watch the place whereon he hath set his foot, and leave him not, so that thou mayest receive the remainder of his wisdom. And I love him merely on hearing concerning him and without seeing him, and the whole story of him that hath been told me is to me as the desire of my heart, and like water to the thirsty man."

    And her nobles, and her slaves, and her handmaidens, and her counselors answered and said unto her, "O our Lady, as for wisdom, it is not lacking in thee, and it is because of thy wisdom that thou lovest wisdom. And to for us, if thou goest we will go with thee, and if thou sittest down we will sit down with thee; our death shall be with thy death, and our life with thy life." Then the Queen made ready to set out on her journey with great pomp and majesty, and with great equipment and many preparations.

    For, by the Will of God, her heart desired to go to JERUSALEM so that she might hear the Wisdom of SOLOMON; for she had hearkened eagerly. So she made ready to set out. And seven hundred and ninety-seven camels were loaded, and mules and ***** innumerable were loaded, and she set out on her journey and followed her road without pause, and her heart had confidence in God.
     
  4. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    How the Queen came to SOLOMON the King

    And she arrived in JERUSALEM, and brought to the King very many precious gifts that he desired to possess greatly. And he paid her great honor and rejoiced, and he gave her a habitation in the royal palace near him. And he sent her food both for the morning and evening meal, each time fifteen measures of finely ground white meal, cooked with oil and gravy and sauce in abundance, and thirty measures by of crushed white meal wherefrom bread for three hundred and fifty people was made, with the necessary platters and trays, and ten stalled oxen, and five bulls, and fifty sheep, without counting the kids, and deer, and gazelles and fatted fowls, and a vessel of wine containing sixty gerrât measures, and thirty measures of old wine, and twenty-five singing men and twenty-five singing women, and the finest honey and rich sweets, and some of the food which he himself ate, and some of the wine whereof he drank.

    And every day he arrayed her in eleven garments that bewitched the eyes. And he visited her and was gratified, and she visited him and was gratified, and she saw his wisdom, and his just judgments and his splendor, and his grace, and heard the eloquence of his speech. And she marveled in her heart, and was utterly astonished in her mind, and she recognized in her understanding, and perceived very clearly with her eyes how admirable he was; and she wondered exceedingly because of what she saw and heard with him—how perfect he was in composure, and wise in understanding, and pleasant in graciousness, and commanding in stature.

    And she observed the subtlety of his voice, and the discreet utterances of his lips, and that he gave his commands with dignity, and that his replies were made quietly and with the fear of God. All these things she saw, and she was astonished at the abundance of his wisdom, and there was nothing whatsoever wanting in his word and speech, but everything that he spake was perfect.

    And SOLOMON was working at the building of the House of God, and he rose up and went to the right and to the left, and forward and backward. And he showed the workmen the measurement and weight and the space covered by the materials, and he told the workers in metal how to use the hammer, and the drill, and the chisel, and he showed the stonemasons the angle measure and the circle and the surface measure. And everything was wrought by his order, and there was none who set himself in opposition to his word; for the light of his heart was like a lamp in the darkness, and his wisdom was as abundant as the sand.

    And of the speech of the beasts and the birds there was nothing hidden from him, and he forced the devils to obey him by his wisdom. And he did everything by means of the skill which God gave him when he made supplication to Him; for he did not ask for victory over his enemy, and he did not ask for riches and fame, but he asked God to give him wisdom and understanding whereby he might rule his people, and build His House, and beautify the work of God and all that He had given him in wisdom and understanding.
     
  5. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    How the King held converse with the Queen

    And 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 to tread upon the threshold of thy gate, and made me to hear thy voice."

    And King SOLOMON answered 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 round 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 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."
     
  6. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Concerning the Laborer

    And 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 tomorrow 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 as 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."

    And 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 (food), 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 honor, 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 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 illumineth 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."
     
  7. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    How SOLOMON gave Commandments to the Queen

    And 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 lightning 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 is 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 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."

    And 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 to hear thy voice, and hath shown me thy face, and hath made me to understand thy commandment." Then she returned to her house.

    And 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 that 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 to 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.

    And 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 MOABITES, and from RÎF2 and KUĔRGUĔ, and DAMASCUS, and SYRIA, and women who were reported to be beautiful. And he had four hundred queens and six hundred concubines. Now this that 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 like 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 of the bearing of children. The Apostles speak concerning it in the Book of Councils.
     
  8. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The continuing narrative of SOLOMON and the Queen of SHEBA

    And 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 meals 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.

    And 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 me 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.

    And 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 that 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 (i.e., food) therein she was satisfied with the smell of them.

    And with wise intent SOLOMON sent to her meats that 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 not take me by force. For if I, who according to the law of men am a maiden, am seduced, I should travel on my journey back in sorrow, and affliction, and tribulation."
     
  9. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Concerning how King SOLOMON swore to the Queen

    And 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 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 love of riches. Moreover, my own kingdom is as wealthy as thine, and there is nothing that 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 not make me swear I will not make thee swear." And she said unto him, "Swear to me that thou wilt 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.

    And 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 that were like unto the sun, and moon, and stars, and had set them in the roof of his house.

    And 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 that 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.

    And 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, and it 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." And 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 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.

    And 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 beautiful 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 that 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 were 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.
     
  10. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Concerning the sign which SOLOMON gave the Queen

    And 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 be a manchild 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. For 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 honored 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...

    (To be continued)
     
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