The Meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba

Third or fourth quarter of the 12th century
Stained glass
Strasbourg Cathedral

In 3 Kings 10 (KJV 1 Kings 10), the Queen of Sheba "came to try him [Solomon] with hard questions," and he "informed her of all the things that she proposed." Consequently she declared that "the report is true…concerning thy wisdom." This image declares what this "wisdom" is all about through the words on Solomon's scroll: initium sapient[ie], from Psalm 110:10 and Sirach 1:16, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

Although neither the psalm nor the book of Sirach was believed to have been authored by Solomon, the phrase seems to be associated with him. It appears with the person pictured in this 9th-century fragment identified by the Vatican Museums as King Solomon.

The queen's scroll reads, regina austri venit, "the queen of the south comes." Calling her the queen not of Sheba but of "the south" reflects Matthew 12:42, "The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold a greater than Solomon here."

Read more about images of King Solomon.

Source: this page at Wikimedia Commons.