The symbol of beauty and power

A thousand years before Christ, Ethiopia also known as Nubia, Kush, Axum and Sheba was ruled by a line of virgin queens. One of those queens was Makeda “the Queen of Sheba” whose reign was recorded in the Bible.

 

After Tamrin - who had jewels just comprised of ebony, sapphires and red gold, was invited to engage in trade with King Solomon of Israel, he sung praises of the King to Queen Makeda. Queen Makeda was impressed by the account of King Solomon’s wisdom and compassion to his subjects that she decided to visit him.

 

Traveling with more than 797 camels she travelled over the Sahara desert into Israel and upon arrival gifted King Solomon with 120 talents of gold, spices and precious stones worth $3,690,000 in today’s currency. The purpose of her visit was to seek wisdom and the truth about the God of the Jewish people. In response, King Solomon had a throne set up beside his. Queen Makeda also accompanied Solomon throughout his kingdom and has the opportunity to observe the wise King.

 

Now Solomon was thoroughly impressed by the beauty of the African Queen and did his all to honour, wine, dine and entertain her. He knew that according to Ethiopian tradition she must remain chaste; nevertheless he wished to have a son from her regal African lineage.

 

After six months in Israel, Makeda announced to King Solomon that she was ready to return to Ethiopia. To bid her farewell, the King invited her to a magnificent farewell dinner at his palace. The meal lasted for several hours and the King invited Queen Makeda to stay overnight in the palace in his quarters. She agreed as long as they slept in separate beds.

 

He vowed to honour her chastity as long as she did not take anything in the palace. Not long after the encounter the Queen was thirsty and found a large jar of water and drank from it. The King startled her and exclaimed that she had broken the oath that she would not take anything. As she had broken her promise, Solomon also broke his oath and took her as her lover.

 

Before the Queen left for Ethiopia, Solomon placed a ring in her finger and said

"If you have a son, give this to him and send him to me."

 

When she returned to the land of Sheba, Queen Makeda gave birth to a son, whom she named Son-of-the-wise-man. Upon reaching adulthood, the young man wished to visit his father so the Queen prepared for him to go to Israel.  She sent a message to Solomon to anoint their son as king of Ethiopia and to mandate that thenceforth only the males descended from their son should rule Sheba.

 

The king anointed him as the Queen had requested and renamed him Menelik, meaning "how handsome he is." Menelik returned to Sheba and, according to tradition, ruled wisely and well. His famous line has continued down to the 20th century when, even now, the ruler of Ethiopia is the "conquering lion of Judah" descended directly from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

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