Biblical Archaeology Review 36:1, January/February 2010

Solomon & Sheba, Inc.

New inscription confirms trade relations between “towns of Judah” and South Arabia

By André Lemaire

Southern Arabia is 1,200 miles south of Israel. Naturally, skepticism about the reality of trade between South Arabia and Israel in ancient times seems justified.

Yet the Bible documents this trade quite extensively—most famously in the supposed affair between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. And the land of Sheba is referred to two dozen times in the Hebrew Bible.

Without addressing the historicity of the personal relations between Solomon and the queen of this South Arabian kingdom (or queendom?), I think it can be shown that the international trade between Judah and southern Arabia very probably existed as early as the latter half of the tenth century B.C.E.—the time of King Solomon.

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