Black Spirituality Religion : THE BEAUTIFUL BLACK QUEEN OF SHEBA...

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Aqil, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Many people consider the origins of the Queen of Sheba to be an unsolvable mystery. Not so in Ethiopia. There it is a certainty that the woman who entranced King Solomon was the Ethiopian Queen named Makeda Bilqis.

    According to the Kebra Nagast ("Glory of the Kings"), a revered Ethiopian history, Queen Makeda was born in 1030 BC. Upon her father's death, she ascended to the throne, and she was reportedly both beautiful and rich.

    An Ethiopian merchant prince named Tamrin engaged in trade with King Solomon of Jerusalem; he was impressed with the King's honest and impartial nature. He shared his opinion with Makeda, who was impressed with his description of this just - and rich - man. She determined to travel to Jerusalem to meet him. Tamrin put together a caravan and guided Makeda's entourage on the journey.

    In Jerusalem, Queen Makeda was welcomed by King Solomon in royal fashion. He supplied her and her entourage with housing in his palace, and wined and dined them, paying special attention to the beauteous Makeda. The two royal personages were delighted with each other's company. Solomon even converted her to the religion of Ethiopia, Judaism.

    After six months, Makeda informed Solomon that, as much as she would like to stay, she had to return to her duties in Sheba. Solomon was reluctant to let her leave, and pleaded with her to remain a short while longer. Makeda agreed. During this continued stay she became pregnant with Solomon's child.

    Finally she insisted that she return to her country, and reluctantly Solomon saw her on her way, giving her many presents and a ring for what he hoped would be a son. Shortly after she returned to Sheba, she did indeed give birth to a son, naming him "Ebna Hakim," which means "son of the wise man."

    According to legend, when their son was twenty-two, she sent him to visit his father, as she had promised to do when she left Jerusalem. Solomon was reportedly overjoyed to see his son, especially since his other heir, Rheabom, was reported to be somewhat foolish. Solomon pleaded with Ebna Hakim to stay in Jerusalem and become his successor, but Ebna insisted on returning to Sheba.

    Solomon reluctantly let him go, sending with him his counselors' sons, who were trained in the law, to help with the conversion of the people of Sheba to Judaism. Reportedly, these young men stole the Arch of the Covenant from Jerusalem, and took it with them to what is now Ethiopia, where the Ethiopians claim it still remains.

    The missionaries were successful in their work, forming a community of the Falasha (African Jews) of Ethiopia, who still form a significant part of the population.

    Makeda Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba, continued to rule until 955 BC, when she was succeeded by her son, Ebna Hakim, who took the name, "Menelik I..."


    "In Her Footsteps, 101 Remarkable Black Women," Annette Madden, Conari Press, 2000, Gramercy Books.
     
  2. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The Queen of Sheba was the first to echo the phrase "Black is beautiful." These words are in the Bible...in a book called The Song of Solomon 1:5, and it reads in part, “I am black but comely” ("comely" translates "beautiful" in the Hebrew language)...
     
  3. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    "The Queen of the South will appear at the judgment when this generation is on trial."

    The Queen of Sheba
    was called "The Queen of the South." We learn only a little about her from the Bible, but it is what happens to the story in the telling that is most fascinating. 1 Kings: 10 describes her visit to Solomon. She came to 'test him with hard questions' - she wanted to know whether he was really as wise as they said he was. So the Bible is interested in her because of her mind. She was a wise woman.

    But posterity has remembered her for the rich gifts she brought with her, spices, gold and precious stones, gifts that lend her a kind of oriental exoticism. The text says that she was 'breathless' before Solomon's wisdom and admitted that his God must be the greatest. We are told that Solomon gave her all that she desired. Later readers have assumed that her desires were erotic rather than intellectual, and that she was breathless with passion rather than with hard thinking. This is due to the racism and envy of some Bible writers and commentators who knew the Queen was Black.

    I suppose that whomever has ears to hear will hear it their own way. But whether it was mind or body or both, Sheba (whose real name was Makeda Bilqis) is seduced by Solomon. Though almost his equal in money and brains, she gave in and adored him. A foreign queen from a distant land with strange gods, she converted to Solomon and his god. An outsider with an insider's understanding. This is the woman who Jesus later claimed would rise up to condemn unbelievers.

    Her story has grown over the centuries and she appears later in Christian and Islamic folklore. In medieval Christianity she is part of the legend of the true cross. The story goes that when she visited Solomon she refused to walk on a bridge because it was made of the wood which would later be turned into the cross of Christ. Her gifts to Solomon prefigure the gifts from those other pagan royals that later visited Bethlehem. In Islamic legend she is a Sun worshipper who visits the faithful Solomon. It is said that she had exceptionally hairy legs. Solomon heals her by inventing a depilatory cream made from lime and arsenic, and she converts to the his faith.

    But perhaps the most significant thing about Sheba is that she was Black. It's not clear where the land of Sheba was historically. It could have been Yemen or it could have been North Africa, but traditionally it was definitely Ethiopia. To this day Ethiopian Christians claim to be descended from Menelik, the son of Solomon and Sheba, presumably conceived on that momentous visit.

    In the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, in the roof section owned by the Ethiopians, there is a fresco of Solomon and Sheba. Rastafarians too would see themselves as descendents of Sheba. Christians in these parts of the world have always seen her as Black. She has long been associated with the bride in the Song of Solomon, where it says in chapter 1 verse 5: "I am black but comely." W.B. Yeats wrote in his poem: 'Sang Solomon to Sheba and kissed her dusky face.'

    But there is a problem. It was the Latin of the Vulgate version of the Bible that introduced the 'Nigra sum sed formosa' - 'I am black but comely.' Not black and comely, but comely despite being black. Where African Christians celebrated Sheba's color, European Christianity gradually marginalized it, and tried to forget it. In Sheba they had a story of a heathen foreign woman who had surrendered to the true faith. In her surrender, apparently, she lost her color too. So from being the story of a wise and resourceful woman, the story changes to one of terrifying will to power and carries with it the church's terror and dread of otherness.

    The 'other' is overwhelmed, seduced and tamed. Sheba capitulates to Solomon, woman to man, pagan to believer. Only rarely in European art is Sheba portrayed as Black. In one appalling depiction she is Black, but with the long golden tresses of a Rapunzel. In Piero della Francesca's fresco in Arrezzo she is almost an English rose, with only one maid in the middle distance wearing a strange hat to hint that she has any connection with Africa at all!

    Sheba might have been a match for Solomon, and the Bible text almost has it so. But tradition has made him her conqueror and so inspired and validated many other victories of Europe over the orient, of man over women, of "truth" over error. But Jesus promised that Sheba would have her day, that she would rise up in judgment. We still live in a world in which the old conquerors are still at work, a world marred by racism, sexism, imperialism, and terrifying will to power.

    And, as Jesus promised, the Queen of Sheba still rises in judgment. In England today you are more likely to suffer harrassment and violence and less likely to find work if you are Black. There is a detention center where 120 mostly Black men are held without trial, for undetermined periods of time, subject to racist abuse, and many in desperate fear. And the Queen of Sheba rises in judgment. Many Black Christians coming to England feel excluded from "white" churches, and thus they set up their own.

    Solomon and Sheba could be each other's match, whether in wits or in love. Until she and all her sisters can be Black and comely; until all wisdoms will be recognized; until any human being could hold the hand of another in honest and co-equal love, the Queen of the South will rise in judgment...
     
  4. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I am of the opinion that Makeda Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba, is, historically speaking, the greatest Black woman who ever lived...
     
  5. j'hiah

    j'hiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    wow.

    this one's 2 good.
     
  6. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Destee?
     
  7. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    yes Aqil ... :)
     
  8. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    There is an ancient Biblical “urban legend” so to speak, that says upon the Queen’s arrival at King Solomon’s palace, he was overwhelmed by her stunning beauty. A lavish dinner was prepared for her in his private court the next day. When she arrived at his court and the huge gates opened, she noticed that Solomon had the entire floor inlaid with mirrors. She hesitated as she stepped in and saw Solomon standing there smiling. She stepped back and told Solomon she had to return to her quarters momentarily. There she had her attendants sew added indigo silk to her garment that would cover that which Solomon wanted to see...

    When she arrived the second time she walked right in and noticed that Solomon was surprised when he looked down at the mirrors. She smiled when he looked at her.

    When Queen Makeda arrived back in Sheba she immediately issued an edict stating that all females in her province sew additional material to their garments that covered their private parts. The women soon began making these separate, and what the Europeans called "bloomers" evolved. However, it was African women who first made and wore them...
     
  9. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    wow Aqil ... this is wonderful information ... thank you for sharing it with us ... goodnight ... :)

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  10. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    You're quite welcome, Destee...here is some of what King Solomon discussed with the Queen of Sheba:

    May God grant that I speak with judgment,
    and have thoughts worthy of what I
    have received,
    for He is the guide even of wisdom
    and the corrector of the wise.

    For both we and our words are in His
    hand, as are all understanding and skill in crafts.

    For it is He who gave me unerring
    knowledge of what exists,
    to know the structure of the world and
    the activity of the elements;
    the beginning and end and middle of
    times,
    the alternations of the solstices and the
    changes of the seasons,
    the cycles of the year and the
    constellations of the stars,
    the natures of animals and the tempers
    of wild beasts,
    the powers of spirits and the
    reasonings of men,
    the varieties of plants and the virtues
    of roots.

    I learned both what is secret and what
    is manifest, for wisdom, the fashioner of all things,
    taught me.

    For in her there is a spirit that is:
    intelligent, holy,
    unique, manifold, subtle,
    mobile, clear, unpolluted,
    distinct, invulnerable, loving the good,
    keen,
    irresistible, beneficent, humane,
    steadfast, sure, free from anxiety,
    all-powerful, overseeing all,
    and penetrating through all spirits
    that are intelligent and pure and most
    subtle.

    For wisdom is more mobile than any motion;
    because of her pureness she pervades
    and penetrates all things.

    For she is a breath of the power of God,
    and a pure emanation of the glory of
    the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains
    entrance into her.

    For she is a reflection of eternal light,
    a spotless mirror of the working of God,
    and an image of His goodness.

    Though she is but one, she can do all things,
    and while remaining in herself, she renews all things;
    in every generation she passes into holy souls,
    and makes them friends of God, and prophets.

    For God loves nothing so much as the
    man who lives with wisdom.
    For she is more beautiful than the sun,
    and excels every constellation of the stars.

    Compared with the light she is found
    to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night,
    but against wisdom evil does not prevail.

    She reaches mightily from one end of
    The Earth to the other,
    and she orders all things well.

    (The Wisdom of Solomon, 7: 15-30: 8:1,
    Books of the Apocrypha)
     
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