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Cultures, Nations and Religions of Ethiopia
Wedding, Holidays, Birth...
Solomon & Sheba
Part IIPart I
Solomon & Sheba... The journey was long, longer than the Jews' road from Egypt. But she was in love and covered the distance not in forty years but forty days.
Even today Ethiopia has no highways; only roads, sometimes tracks. For thousands of years they lived in isolation. Why would they need roads? Why should you travel the world when you live in paradise? Go in all four directions, to every corner of the world from the heart of this mountain kingdom and see for yourself. East, West, North -- heat and deserts. South -- jungles and diseases....
Wait! Let me see! Which gate of the city did Sheba enter? There's David's Hill south of Jerusalem and from where you can see the whole city. Good place. She reached the town at the end of the day, when the dying sun makes the air blue like the waters of Abby. Was the new Solomon's Temple complete for her to see? We don't know. They stopped; Sheba's caravan was enormous; like an army, the people and horses were tired. Jerusalem saw the multitude of the never-seen-before dark people -- and panicked. But the king calmed his people; he knew that the Queen of the South had arrived.What do we know about the past? There were no news crews, no photographers, no reporters. Only pictures and poetry could tell us was took place in Jerusalem at the time of Sheba's visit.They say that she talked and talked with Solomon on matters of religion, and before long she abandoned the worship of the sun and the moon and the stars and worshipped the God of Israel. Love of poetry, which was a true indication of their love of God, brought them together. The first of the Song of Songs, which is Solomon's, was her song.
O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth! or your love is better than wine, your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is oil poured out; therefore the maidens love you.
Well, after Sheba had spent six months in Jerusalem, she informed King Solomon that while she would like very much to remain in his capital, and continue under his tutelage in order to grow in wisdom and in the knowledge of the religion of Israel, the time had come when duty required that she return to her own land....
Draw me after you, let us make haste. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exult and rejoice in you; We will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you.
When Solomon heard that time has come for her to leave, he understood, he was a king himself, but the man in his heart said, "A woman of such splendid beauty has come to me from the ends of the earth. Will God give me seed in her?"I am very dark, but comely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of cedar, Do not gaze at me because I am swarthy, because the sun has scorched me...
The king was most reluctant to part with his gracious and lovely visitor, and pondered the matter of marrying her. With this in mind, Solomon pleaded with the queen not to leave him in haste but to prolong her sojourn for yet another season in order that he might complete her instructions of wisdom:Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who wanders beside the flocks of your companions?
Following one of those dinners at which highly seasoned meats were featured, Solomon invited the queen to spend the night in his quarters. She agreed to do so on condition that he not violate her person; Solomon accepted that on condition that she not take anything of his. Having thus reached an agreement, the two retired for the night. During the night the queen awoke and took a drink of water, only to find that Solomon had expected this. He thus justified taking her to his bed because she had broken the agreement.
"Thou hast broken the oath that thou hast sworn not to take anything by force that is in my palace." Solomon seized her arm.
"The oath did not apply to water," Sheba protested.
"There is nothing upon earth more precious than water," the king replied.
"I was wrong, but let me drink," the queen admitted and begged....
Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful!.. Your lips are like a scarlet thread, and your mouth is lovely... Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, that feed among the lilies... You are all fair, my love; there is no flaw in you...
As they slept together the king dreamed a dream, and he saw that the sun came down to the land of Judah and illuminated it very brightly, and presently it removed to Ethiopia and shone there. And a second time it came to the land of Judah, but the Jews hated it and strove to destroy it, and it departed to the lands of Rome and Ethiopia.
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love... O that his left hand were under my head, and that his right hand embraced me! I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem. that you stir not up nor awaken love until it please...
Next day Solomon gave the queen a ring, saying, "If thou hast a son, give it to him and send him to me." Sheba knew that she was pregnant. The wise king didn't know his future. Solomon didn't know that he will end his life in the kingdom of madness. Oh, friends, love is more powerful than wisdom.... No, no, this not the end of the story, only the beginning.
Since I do not want to tell the story of the old man with the broken heart, who lost his mind because of his love for Queen Sheba (you can read in the Bible). Yes, yes, my friends, the king who had a thousand wives, couldn't have the one he loved. How did he understand it? Because he didn't have her. And you know, when man's heart is broken, the madness comes next...
Let me tell you a good, I mean, happy story about father and son. Solomon and Menelik. [See Part Two]