Context: When young King Solomon assumes the throne of Israel, inherited from his father, King David, he is asked by God what he desires most of all. Solomon's request for the gift of wisdom pleases God, who decrees that the young king shall have wealth and honor, as well as wisdom. During his reign, characterized by peacefulness (David had completed the conquest of the "promised land" from the Canaanites), Solomon spends seven years building an ornate temple and thirteen years building an elaborate palace with an ivory throne and golden serving vessels. The fame of the opulence of his court and of the unusual wisdom of the king attracts diplomats and rulers from all of the leading nations. Among those wishing to witness the glory of the famed court and the wisdom of its king is the Queen of Sheba:
And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built,
And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.
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.
Howbeit I believe not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it; and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.