Sheba (The Queen of Sheba)
The wisdom of ages is deposited in oral heritage and ancient literature. Our ancestors, when in troubles, often sought answers in ancient texts. Their forefathers had concentrated their observations in proverbs and various sacred books.
Prophecies attributed to Sibyl, allegedly the Queen of Sheba - especially the ones about the end of the world - are famous. According to some, the Sibyl's prophecies are a collection of myths, legends, beliefs, imitations of Bible, and ethical lessons we ought to follow in different eras of our human development.
Some people believe that these prophecies contain the revealed Truth, a desire for healthier life, and warning of the future, not always the best one, because it will be the result of our seafaring into the waters of ethical erroneousness.
So who was Sibyl then? Has she ever lived? And where? Was she indeed endowed with the ability to see the future?
Sibyl is the ancient name for female psychics or priestesses of Little Asia - women with clairvoyant abilities. They had rich knowledge and allegedly lived up to a very high age. They could reveal the will of gods in a trance. Females of this sort often used the name Sibyl. Was the Queen of Sheba one of them?
Some ten important Sibyls may be found throughout history, but it is quite possible that their number is higher. As people believed that Sibyls could indeed reveal the future, priests put their statements on records for later reference. Thus, Sibyl books came to life. These books were carefully stored and guarded. In the ancient Rome, only the Senate and the College of Priests were entitled to give consent to look into them, and only in extreme emergency like when there was famine, war, or need to make an important national decision. The books were most likely a collection of pagan, Greek, and Jewish beliefs deemed to have a prophetic nature. Pagans, Jews, and early Christians, too, learned from them.
Cumaean Sibyl was a famous prophetess. She led Aeneas through the underworld. Was she the author of the Sibyl's books in ancient Rome?
The most famous Sibyl's books, carefully guarded in Rome, are mostly associated with Cumaean Sibyl. She appeared as an old woman in Rome and visited Tarquinius (the Etruscan king of Rome, who reigned from 534 to 510 BC). She offered him nine prophetic books written in the Greek hexameter, but for an exorbitant price. Tarquinius refused to buy them. Sibyl then burned three books but asked the same price for those that remained. Tarquinius refused the offer again. Sibyl then burned the other three books and Tarquinius finally bought the remaining three books, but of course, for the original price.
The Sibyl's books were the first important prophetic books of the ancient Rome stored in the Temple of Jupiter on Capitol Hill. The temple became a prophetic center of the Roman Empire like Greek Delphi. The Roman playwright Plautus (254-184 BC) says that people used to sleep in the Temple of Jupiter expecting to receive a prophetic spirit. In the year 83 BC, a big fire destroyed the temple and probably the Sibyl's books too.
The existence of other Sibyl's books is indisputable. But who was the Sibyl - the Queen of Sheba? And was she really a Sibyl?
Sheba is a territory
in the south of the Arabian Peninsula. It also lies south of the place
(Israel) of the ancient Solomon's Kingdom. The entire 34th
Chapter of Qumran is called Sheba
- the place in several historical texts referred to as a region full
of prophets, prophetess, magicians, and messiahs. In the tenth chapter
of Kings, the Bible has a record of the Queen of Sheba (visiting
King Solomon; 1 Kings 10:1):
Unfortunately, the biblical reference is not anything concrete for us to make a responsible statement that Queen of Sheba had prophetic abilities. The Bible says that the Queen of Sheba meets Solomon, who welcomes her by sending an envoy of troops, which only implies that she was very important.
Solomon (about 960-935 BC) was the son of King David and the sovereign Judean-Israeli King. After his reign the ancient Israeli tribe society disintegrated into Israel and Judea.
Although the Bible is not clear about the characteristics of this woman, there is yet another important record in the New Testament. In the Gospel of Mathew (Matthew 12:42, but St. Luke also contains a similar reference), it is written: "The Queen of the South shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here."
Apart from this interesting synergy, there is nothing more referred to in the Bible except for the connection of the Queen of the South with the Judgment Day, and the remarkable point to a mysterious woman (greater than Solomon) ends here.
Maybe the above reference in Mathew is related to a person still unknown to us and circumstances have somewhat prevented us from knowing more about the connection of both - the Sibyl and the Queen of Sheba. Without more reliable historical texts we do not have enough arguments to connect this biblical woman with Sibyl.
Pythian Language - What Is It?
From among the other great psychics of our ancient times we must mention Pythia. She prophesized to Kroisos (560-547 BC), the last Lydian King. He was defeated and captured by the Persian king Kyros. When Kroisos came to Delphi to ask about his future (before the war), Pythia said, "When you cross the river Halys, you will destroy a large empire." Kroisos was convinced that he would destroy Persia, but he destroyed his own empire instead.
History has a number of such ambiguous prophetic statements on records. The Bible is not any exception. The Roman historian Tacitus (55-120 BC) says the following about one psychic and her versed statements: "... although she usually does not have any writing skills or knowledge of poetic art, she gives versed answers to questions that visitors only think of. "
We witness distortions of historical facts all the time. How then can we believe that ancient records are always accurate? For example, the Greek historian Herodotos (484? - 425? BC) is criticized for a few inaccurate records, but Herodotos only documented facts as other people had pictured them. Today, we see a completely bombed city in South Ossetia (Tskhinvali), the fact that a number of Western media have always ignored. Russians would certainly not bomb civilian targets in any city where their fellow countrymen (that is - Russians in Georgia) live. We see the deformed picture of very recent history (presented in the 21st century) and it is a big shame!
Foretelling is surely possible, but as we can see above, people have tendency to distort facts and give inaccurate accounts of what really happened.
Today, we can find Sibyl sects all over the
world. But they will probably hardly answer who was the Queen
of the South. The biblical text about her is too intricate
to understand except for the fact that she will have a very important
role in the judgment day, which plainly indicates her divine
nature. Queen of the South
will forever abide in secret until the day She
comes and tells us who She is.