The Queen of (Beer)
Damien F. Mackey
Following on from my recent:
How the Queen of Sheba may parallel Abimelech (Genesis)
according to which the biblical “Queen” referred to in both the Old Testament (I Kings 10:1) and the New Testament (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31) was Tamar, sister of Absalom, whose grandfather was Talmai king of southern Geshur (Shur), I now want to show how Jesus gave most helpful co-ordinates enabling for one to establish the Queen’s geographical location.
It turns out to be really quite simple.
“End of the land”
As determined previously, the Greek tes ges (της γης) as given in both Matthew and Luke means “the land”, the land of Israel.
Israel’s “end”, or border, was Dan in the north and Beersheba in the south (hence, we often read: “from Dan to Beersheba”).
Obviously only the southern border is relevant here in the case of the:
“[Queen] of the South”
“The south” is a common biblical term for the Negev.
So, we are directed to the chief town, Beersheba, that stands at the southern border of the kingdom of Israel, in the (northern) Negev – and known as “the Capital of the Negev”.
The Old Testament fully supports this, giving the name of the Queen’s realm as “Sheba”, which is just another name for Beersheba (Joshua 19:2): “… Beersheba (or Sheba) …”.
And, given the ancient city’s strategic location of intersecting trade routes, we ought not be surprised to read that the Queen of (Beer)sheba travelled to Jerusalem with so richly-laden a camel train as she did (I Kings 10:2, 10), and that: “Never again were so many spices brought in as those the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon”.