Seldom, it seems, has a woman, about whom we know so little, caught the imaginations of so many. If we pare back the myths that have grown up around her we have left a core of information which is, nonetheless, very significant.
She is a woman of some personal resource whether a queen in her own right or an emissary. We see her tackling the, circa, 5 month journey from her presumed home in present day Yemen to Jerusalem. Her caravan appears to have arrived unscathed suggesting an ability in leadership. We see her engaging with Solomon in an exchange which we can interpret as trade negotiations and we recognise her ability not only to assess Solomon’s wisdom but also to recognise God’s influence.
In those few sentences I find a woman whom I would be proud to emulate. However, I need to dispense with the media influences on my picture.
I doubt that any chamber orchestra will ever announce my arrival as per Handel and I challenge the images and behaviours with which Hollywood has peppered our imaginations (partly based on legends developed within all Abrahamic faiths). Think of the portrayals of the queen by Betty Blythe, Gina Lollobrigida or Halle Berry – a conversation and trade mission becoming an erotic tale of intrigue involving stereotypically beautiful men and women. The voice of the Queen of Sheba – whoever she represents – silenced.
How readily fact becomes embellished and how quickly legend gets absorbed then retold as truth.
As I am writing discussion boards, blogs, facebook groups and reviews are reverberating with the outpouring of #metoo stories and the waves of hurt and pain rippling out. Many people talking of a rekindling of their own hurt as the Ford and Kavanaugh hearings play out in the media. Let’s listen and pray.