When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. When the queen of Sheba had observed all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his valets, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her. So she said to the king, "The report was true that I heard in my own land of your accomplishments and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. Not even half had been told me; your wisdom and prosperity far surpass the report that I had eard. Happy are your wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king to execute justice and righteousness." Then she gave the king one hundred twenty talents of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones; never again did spices come in such quantity as that which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
Commit your life to the Lord,
trust in him and he will act,
so that your justice breaks forth like the light,
your cause like the noon-day sun. (R./)
The just person's mouth utters wisdom
and his lips speak what is right;
the law of his God is in his heart,
his steps shall be saved from stumbling. (R./)
The salvation of the just comes from the Lord,
their stronghold in time of distress.
The Lord helps them and delivers them
and saves them: for their refuge is in him. (R./)
Then he called the crowd again and said to them, "Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile."
When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, "Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, "It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."
The Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon was clearly a very splendid affair, both for their exchange of gifts and their exchange of ideas. This exotic African queen valued Solomon’s wisdom above all the glitter and wealth that he put on display for his visitor. A little earlier the young king had prayed to God for an understanding heart, in order to be able to judge the people in wisdom and justice. Because he valued wisdom so highly, God promised him endless riches and glory as well. Solomon’s wisdom remained at the heart of his good fortune, integrating and balancing him, so he could judge the people wisely. That was the plan, at least, before the wise king went astray.
Wisdom teaches that all things are part of God’s good creation and are meant to enhance our life. Jesus illustrates this by declaring that whatever we eat or drink are gifts from the God of life, to be received with thanks. Evil comes from within a corrupt heart, from which flow all kinds of offenses. Without wisdom, selfishness can take hold of our heart. Jesus names some vices that are the very obverse of the Decalogue: theft, fornication, murder, greed, arrogance, an obtuse spirit. Our lives must be sincere, open always to the breath of God’s Spirit. Central to a good life lies a love of wisdom, humbly and faithfully following wherever God may lead us.