Makeda: The Queen of Sheba ~ Ethiopia
Makeda was the Queen of Ethiopia and Saba, ancient lands in Africa and the southern Arabian peninsula. Some believe that the capital of her kingdom, Axum, was founded 100 years after the Great Flood depicted in the Bible.
Known to the Ethiopian people as Makeda, she has been called a variety of names by different peoples in different times. In Islamic tradition she was “Bilqis.” The ancient Greeks knew her as the “Ethiopian Diana.” To King Solomon of Israel she was the Queen of Sheba.
Queen Makeda was known to be beautiful, intelligent, patient, and resourceful. She had an unquenchable desire for truth and wisdom. A life of luxury could not satisfy her soul despite her royal power and vast riches of gold, jewels and rare spices. Her adventurous spirit led her not only to explore the African and Middle Eastern kingdoms that surrounded Ethiopia, but also to capture the love of Solomon, the most powerful king of the time.
In her journeys and at her royal court, she heard a great deal about the wisdom of King Solomon. The more she heard, the more she wanted to travel to see this king in all of his glory. Queen Makeda began her journey with a huge entourage consisting of scores of retainers, hundreds of mules, donkeys and camels that carried a vast treasure in gold, rare gems and valuable spices.
During her six-month visit with King Solomon, Queen Makeda conferred frequently with the King. She was so impressed with his wisdom that she adopted Jehova as the one true God. Shortly thereafter she returned to her own country. Although Solomon would have preferred that she stay, he pulled her aside saying, “Take this ring so that thou mayest not forget me.”
Queen Makeda departed for home, and nine months and five days after she left King Solomon, she gave birth to a male child, Ibn al-Hakim, “Son of the wise man.” His royal name was Menelik.
When he was 15 years old, Menelik traveled to Jerusalem to visit his father. As it turned out, he did not need the ring Solomon had given his mother to be recognized by the ruler. When he arrived in the kingdom, the people could see immediately that he was the son of King Solomon.
When the young prince approached his father, Solomon said, “He is handsomer than I am, and his form and stature are those of David, my father, in his early manhood.” Solomon kissed and embraced his son, and asked him to stay. He promised Menelik the kingdom of Israel upon his death, but Menelik replied, “My lord, it is impossible for me to abandon my country and my mother; I swore that I would return to her.”
When Solomon came to understand that his son would not stay in Jerusalem, he proclaimed him the King of Ethiopia, bestowed upon him the name of David, and provided him with councilors and officers for his kingdom in Ethiopia.
Except for a brief period during the ninth and tenth centuries, and until the demise of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of Judah, descendants of Queen Makeda ruled the throne of Ethiopia until 1974.
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