Queen of Sheba and King Solomon:Interracial Romance Goes Biblical

A Depiction of Sheba and Solomon by the artist Ana Maria Pacheco. I love this!

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

My mother has a close friend who loves the Lord. A lot. And she wants to ensure that friends and family enjoy a similar kind of love. As such, she worries about me and mine, given that my search for a religion I can call my own has taken me down some pretty obscure paths. So, every now and then, she sends me little gifts, like a giant blanket with the Lord’s Prayer printed on one side. Last week, she sent my children this book about the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon.

I admit, when I saw the book, I kind of rolled my eyes and prepared to add it to my giveaway pile. But then I decided to read it, because dear readers, I can’t just give up on a book without leafing through its pages. And guess what? I loved it.

I’ve been to a lot of church services over the years and have studied many world religions, but I never knew the legend of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. In the book, the queen is portrayed as an incredibly wise, young Black woman (The kingdom of Sheba later becomes Ethiopia) with long braids and a kind heart. She travels to meet King Solomon of Israel because she has heard of his great wisdom. I’m summarizing here, but they end up having a total meeting of the minds because they’re both so smart. Then they fall in love and get married. Unfortunately, the Queen has to leave Israel and go back to Sheba to lead her people, but she manages to get pregnant before she leaves, raises their son, Menelik, alone in Sheba and when he’s of age he goes to meet and spend time with his dad in Israel. The offspring of Menelik become the Ethiopian Jews of legend.

Isn’t that an amazing story? I love the children’s versions of Biblical stories. They are so much easier to understand and appreciate. Now, I’m all excited to research more about the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. They’re like the original interracial, multicultural couple with a mixed kid in a long-distance relationship. Of course, what is really known about the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon is much more vague than this sanitized love story, but it is still fascinating and makes me wonder why their legend isn’t more celebrated like other biblical stories, like Noah and the Ark? Could it be because Sheba and Solomon were an interracial couple? Or because the Queen of Sheba is perceived as a wise and powerful woman of color? Note, I did find this one movie starring Vivica Fox as the Queen of Sheba, but the film is really about Solomon.

Tell me dear readers, did you know the story of Sheba and Solomon? What did you know about it? Where did you learn it? Apparently the story is told in several different religious traditions. Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention. Well I am now.

Peace!

4 comments for “Queen of Sheba and King Solomon:Interracial Romance Goes Biblical

  1. 17 October, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I remember the Queen of Sheba story from my childhood. We were nominally Southern Baptists but seldom attended church. I don’t remember anything about her ethnicity being mentioned one way or another though. Interesting!

    • Ms. Meltingpot
      18 October, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Erin,
      It’s true, technically her ethnicity is up for grabs. Depends on who is telling the story. But of course since Sheba becomes Ethiopia, ya gotta kind of think she might have been a Black queen. Just my opinion. Thanks for sharing your memories.

      • 19 October, 2012 at 1:37 pm

        Oh definitely!!! I’m not disagreeing, just saying that I didn’t give the matter any thought as a child. Makes perfect sense to me as an adult though! And, given the religiously sanctioned racism of the church we (sometimes) attended, I wonder if they deliberately *left-out* the Queen’s ethnicity in much the same way that all the Jesus pictures showed him as being blond and blue-eyed?

        • Ms. Meltingpot
          19 October, 2012 at 2:42 pm

          Erin,
          I hear ya. In fact, I just found an older movie version of the Queen of Sheba where both the Queen and Solomon were played by White actors. So, clearly Sheba can be whatever people want/need her to be.

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