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where a few can gather to enjoy themselves. It is not a vestibuled train of parlor cars, express to heaven on the Sunday railroad, where men have through tickets and can read their newspaper as they roll along, regardless of the world outside.

And swifter than the progress of school buildings and apparatus for the day schools should be the progress in the Sunday School buildings, and all the aids to teaching the Bible and training the children for the kingdom of God.

The Value of a House of Worship is beyond price. Many instances are known where the erection of a church building has kept alive a small church that was ready to perish. Read the reports of your denomination Church Building Society for specific cases. A

group

of earnest Christians, with some heroic leader, has many a time kept alive a certain amount of religious work in a community while meeting in a schoolhouse, or hall, or even in some cases in rooms over saloons. But the church cannot grow and cannot appeal to the irreligious in the community ; cannot do its best work even for the church members and their children without a separate building, consecrated to the worship of God and indicating to the people of the community the presence of God, whatever their personal attitude toward Him may be.

LESSON XI (24). - September 12. THE GLORY OF SOLOMON'S REIGN. 1 Kings 10:1-13, 23-25.

GOLDEN TEXT. ways. Ps. 128:1.

Blessed is everyone that feareth Jehovah, that walketh in his

Devotional Reading : Isa. 2 : 2–4.
Additional Material for Teachers : i Kings 9:1-28; 10: 14-29.
Primary Topic : A QUEEN VISITS A KING.

Lesson Material : i Kings 10:1-13.
Memory Verse : How much better it is to get wisdom than gold ! Prov. 16 :

16.
Junior Topic : THE QUEEN OF SHEBA Visits SOLOMON.

Lesson Material : i Kings 10:1-13.

Memory Verse : Prov. 8:11.
Intermediate and Senior Topic : THE CLIMAX OF ISRAEL'S GREATNESS.
Topic for Young People and Adults : Tests OF NATIONAL GREATNESS.

a man.

THE TEACHER AND HIS CLASS.

The Intermediates and Seniors can

in addition make some study of the hisAs this is our last lesson concerning tory of Israel, and of the map, to discover Solomon, we should look particularly in what ways this was a climax in Israel's beyond this culmination of his glory and greatness, and the elements of weakness the lessons it teaches, to the tragical which were already present, which broke ending of his career. Note carefully up the kingdom immediately after Solocauses that led to the downfall of so wise mon's death.

The Book of Ecclesiastes puts The Young People and Adults can into Solomon's mouth, as “ the conclusion carry still deeper this historical study, of the whole matter," Fear God and can make comparisons with the great keep His commandments, for this is the empires of later history, and can discuss whole duty of man.”

the question of our greatness as a nation In the Primary and Intermediate Are we truly great ? Is the character classes the story will be the most promi- of our greatness an asset or a liability ? nent part of the lesson. They should know something about the greatness and glory of Solomon, and how it was proved THE LESSON IN ITS SETTING. by this visit from the Queen of Sheba. Let them see, as the application, Jesus' Time. The visit of the Queen of claim that “ a greater than Solomon” is Sheba is said to have been " at the end our King and our Friend, in Matthew of twenty years ” (1 Kings 9 : 10). It 6 : 28–34 ; 12 : 42.

is uncertain whether it means after Solomon's twentieth year as king, or (as Matheson, Representative Men of Israel, Beecher) twenty years after the comple- in the chapter on " Solomon the Wise" tion and dedication of the Temple, or (pp. 283–302), has a very unusual charabout the 28th year of his reign. We are acterization of Solomon. Farrar's Solosafe if we regard the time as somewhat mon and His Times. Stanley's History beyond the middle of Solomon's 40 years' of the Jewish Church. Geikie's Hours reign.

with the Bible. Place. Sheba, or Sabæa, the home The Land and the Book, vol. II, for of the visiting queen, was a wealthy the moral condition of Jerusalem in region in southern Arabia, bordering on Solomon's time; and vol. I, for Solothe Red Sea. It was 1500 miles from mon's prodigality. Jerusalem.

The visit was made to Jerusalem, the capital of Solomon's kingdom.

PLAN OF THE LESSON.

SUBJECT : The Glories of Solomon's THE ROUND TABLE.

Reign. FOR RESEARCH AND DISCUSSION.

I. A GLIMPSE AT THE MARVELS THAT

SOLOMON WROUGHT, 1 Kings 9 : What can be learned about Sheba.

1-28 ; 10: 14-29. The marvellous development of Solomon's kingdom. Solomon's work for Jerusalem.

II. THE GREAT FAME OF SOLOMON, The hard questions.

1 Kings 10 : 23–25. “The half was not told.”

III. THE QUEEN OF SHEBA Visits The greater glory of the kingdom of Christ. Solomon's last days.

SOLOMON, 1 Kings 10:1-13. The kingdom immediately after Solomon.

IV. THE TRAGEDY OF SOLOMON. What in the kingdom led to this fall?

V. TESTS OF A NATION'S GREATNESS. What are the conditions for stability in a nation? What constitutes a great nation?

THE LESSON IN ART. THE TEACHER'S LIBRARY.

Solomon in All His Glory, Nast.* Commentaries on i Kings and 2 Chron- The Queen of Sheba, Raphael, Le icles, such as the International Critical Lorraine, Ghiberti, Rubens, * Memling, Commentary by Prof. E. L. Curtis, D.D., Schopin. on Chronicles; the Cambridge Bible, and Evil Doing of Solomon, Vlengheld, * the Expositor's Bible.

Erckhout, Von Schnorr.

I. A GLIMPSE AT THE MARVELS SOLOMON WROUGHT, 1 Kings 9:1– 28 ; 10: 14-29. Solomon was in great moral peril from his very success. An autocratic will with almost no outward restraint, uninterrupted success, countless wealth, luxuries and pleasures on every hand, are more perilous to the character than hidden reefs and secret currents and tornadoes are to a ship at sea. And God took every method of saving the king from going himself and leading the people in the wrong way.

God in a vision set clearly before the king the two ways (1 Kings 9:1-9): the way of life and the way of death, and the conditions on which alone there could be enduring success. Solomon could choose his way, but walking in that way he must receive that to which the way leads.

The Climax of Israel's Greatness. 1. During the twenty or twenty-eight years of Solomon's reign he had brought his kingdom to its greatest height of glory. It had reached the full extent of its boundaries that had been promised. It included the whole strip of territory between the desert on the east and south, and the Mediterranean Sea on the west, except the narrow strip occupied by the Phænicians, who were in alliance with him. Never after the death of Solomon did the kingdom even approach the same greatness as during his life.

2. The Magnificent Temple, described in our last lesson.
3. The Royal Palaces adjoining the Temple (1 Kings 7: 1-12).
4. The Enlargement and Beautifying of Jerusalem (1 Kings 9 : 24 ; 11:27).

5. Water Works. Solomon brought water from what are called the Pools of Solomon, near Bethlehem, in a costly covered aqueduct, the first known to history. This water was gathered in great reservoirs, and has always enabled Jerusalem to maintain its thousands of worshippers at different periods, and to endure long sieges. 6. Fortresses. The whole territory of the twelve tribes was also protected for 23. So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.

24. And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.

25. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.

caravans

the first time by a number of strongholds, as if in anticipation of future invasions (1 Kings 9 :17-19; 2 Chron. 8:4-6).

7. Navy and Commerce. Solomon, by a league with Tyre, had a wide-extended commerce with Africa and Asia, probably even to some part of India. The Phænicians were noted seamen, and for the only time in their history Israel seemed likely to become a great commercial nation. They also had inland commerce with Egypt, and

across the Arabian desert (1 Kings 9 : 26–28; 10: 22).

8. Army. Solomon introduced into the army of Israel chariots and cavalry, till now almost unknown to them. Nor were they intended merely for royal display, but from this time they became a regular and impor

Pools of Solomon. tant branch of the military service (1 Kings 4 : 26 ; 10: 26–29 : 1 Chron. 1 :14-17).

9. Revenue and Wealth. Gold was accumulated in great abundance, and silver and the fine cedar wood were made as common as the stones and common wood of the fields (1 Kings 10 : 27).

II. THE GREAT FAME OF SOLOMON, 1 Kings 10 : 23–25. Higher in wealth, wisdom, and power than any other human being had ever ascended, the kings and queens of the earth came to visit him in Jerusalem, and the whole world rang with his praise. It became a habit for the conspicuous sovereigns everywhere to go to see this wonderful king on his throne of ivory, and hear him discourse. They wanted to behold him as a veritable person, and hear him speak as he was reputed to speak, with proverbs dropping off his tongue, and songs falling from a voice that appeared inspired, as indeed it was. His actual renown as a prince was less than his reputation as a sage.

Solomon's Missionary Privilege. Solomon's marvellous wisdom and countless wealth and wide-extended kingdom were given him, not for himself alone, but as an instrumentality for making known the true God and the true religion, as a high mountain on which the altar fires of Jehovah, burning brightly, could be seen by the world lying in darkness. This privilege was the noblest gift of all. Had he continued to use it aright his missionary activity would have kept him from falling, and preserved the kingdom and its glories to his successors. It is a mistake to think that Israel was shut out from other nations for themselves alone. It was done to kindle a light that might shine around the world.

III. THE QUEEN OF SHEBA VISITS SOLOMON, 1 Kings 10 : 1-13. Sheba is almost universally recognized as the ancient kingdom of the Sabæans in southern Arabia, bordering on the Red Sea. Discoveries of inscriptions, etc., many now in the museums of Berlin and London, show that before the time of Solomon this was

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1. And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.

2. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.

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a great and rich kingdom, with numerous gold mines, a literary civilization, and a wide commerce in gold, precious stones, and perfumes. “The immense abundance of spices in Arabia, and especially in the Yemen or Sabæan country, is noted by

many writers. Herodotus says that the whole tract exhaled an odor marvellously sweet (3 : 113).” — Cook. "The queen of Sheba represented a civilization which doubtless regarded itself as venerable and cultured by the side of that of the rude tribes of Palestine."

The Arabs have named this queen Balkis, and rounded her story with endless legends.

We may

be surprised," says The Queen of Sheba's Visit to King Solomon.

P. P. Rubens. Canon Tristram,

to find a “queen holding supreme power among an Oriental people ; but it is interesting to note that, from Solomon's time downwards, we find almost a succession of queens of southern Arabia. In fact, the Arabs of the country near Egypt seem to have been regularly governed by queens.'

The queen had heard of the fame of Solomon, which through his commerce and conquests had extended through the known world (1 Kings 3 : 34). Concerning the name of the Lord. Solomon's religious fame, as distinct from his artistic, literary, military, or political fame. This included the magnificent temple he had built to Jehovah. The story of his early choice, and God's promises, and the wonderful fulfilment of them in the rise of an almost unknown people into a world kingdom of splendor and power, may have reached the ears of the queen.

Came to Jerusalem.“ We must remember that she was a heathen from Arabia ; she lived away fifteen hundred miles from the land of Israel. Nearly three months she must have been journeying under a blazing sun and across a burning desert of sand. We shall surely mistake greatly if we imagine she had undertaken so serious a transit because she was merely curious to look upon Solomon's wealth or prowess, his trading in apes and peacocks, his parade of royalty in the entertainment of princes, or listen to his repartees of intellectual sharpness and wit.”

“Ancient journeys are not to be measured by miles, but by hours. Now, both the queen and her company travelled by camels, and the camel can only go, with any degree of comfort, at a walking pace. We may be pretty sure, therefore, that the party would not travel, on the average, more than 20 miles a day, which would give something like 75 days for the journey to Jerusalem, and the same for the return.” – Pulpit Bible. Then the journey through the desert would subject her to many discomforts. And lastly she had with her a vast treasure (v. 2), very tempting to the robber bands of the region, especially in the land of Ishmael, whose“ hand was against every man.”

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3. And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not.

4. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built,

5. And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cup-bearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.

6. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts, and of thy wisdom.

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Prove him with hard questions. To see if he was really as wise as rumor asserted. She tested him by riddles and enigmas of various kinds, which are so dear to an Oriental heart. Having tested his wisdom by these riddles, the queen would bring to him the great religious and moral questions which will keep asking themselves in the heart of every thinking person, The wonderful deeds of the God Solomon worshipped, and his readiness to swer prayer

for wisdom and blessing, must have stirred her heart to its depths, in the hope that she, too, might find the true God and Saviour and Father of mankind ; and also that she might learn wisdom for the guidance of her country from the same source.

Our report of the visit . begins

Women Travelling Across the Desert. with her experience after she had met Solomon and opened her whole soul to him. When she had listened to Solomon's wisdom, heard his answers to her hard questions, and the solutions to all her problems, they were so far beyond all she even imagined that there was no more spirit in her (v. 5). Her amazement was so great that, as we say, it took away her breath. “Evidently she was subdued to the last degree of astonishment or humiliation. Adam Clarke is willing to go so far in his comment as to say 'She fainted.'”

She had been shown his wisdom in the ordering of his kingdom, and his architectural inventions, and everything that required great skill. And the house that he had built, referring to his palace, not to the temple. And the meat of his table, that is, both the great variety of food that was put upon the king's table (1 Kings 4 : 22, 23) and the costly furniture of the table (1 Kings 10:21). The sitting of his servants. Here“ servants means the officers and distinguished persons who were privileged to sit at the king's table, and were ranged in large numbers according to rank at the royal banquets. The attendance of his ministers. The alert attitude of his personal attendants. And their apparel, the gorgeousness of their livery or uniform, which is an important part of a fine establishment. And his ascent. His private passage from the palace to the temple; or, as some think, the impressiveness of his sacrifices.

6. It was a true report. She nobly acknowledges the truth, without any envy or conceit.

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