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September 12, 1980 - Image 94

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-09-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

94 Friday, September 12, 1980

Solomon, Sheba Story in Fiction

WE WISH OUR FRIENDS
AND RELATIVES A
HAPPY, HEALTHY

By ALLEN A. WARSEN

NEW YEAR

MR. and MRS.
JOSEF BERKOVIC & FAMILY

L

1211Z11 'Mt 7131115

TO ALL OUR
FAMILY AND FRIENDS

MR. and MRS.
ERWIN KEPES & FAMILY

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

vo•

WE WISH OUR FRIENDS
AND RELATIVES A
HAPPY HEALTHY

NEW YEAR

LUBA and
SAMUEL KLAIMAN

isron It= 1135

TO ALL OUR
FAMILY AND FRIENDS

JILL and MICHAEL LUTZ

WE WISH OUR FRIENDS
AND RELATIVES A
HAPPY. HEALTHY

NEW YEAR

SARAH and HY
MERVIS & FAMILY

=xi rtme ruir5

TO ALL OUR
FAMILY AND FRIENDS

MR. and MRS.
MONIEK MARGULIES

Faye Levine's novel,
"Solomon and Sheba"
(Richard Marek Pub-
lishers), is a fictionalized
version of the biblical story
(I Kings 10).
The novelist sketches
briefly the life stories of
Kings David and Solomon.
She describes King David as
a war hero and romantic
figure, and his son, King
Solomon, as a diplomat,
builder and lover.
She delineates Solomon's
cabinet as consisting,
among others, of a high
priest, a secretary of the
oxen, a raiser of flocks, a
chief of drummers and
musicians, a court gover-
nor, jailer, a household
grand master and the chief
steward.
The author states that
Solomon, to gain his sub-
jects' consent for the con-
struction of a national
sanctuary, invited repre-
sentatives of the tribes to
meet with him to consider
the project.
The tribesmen consisting,
inter alia, of "the
philosophical rapists of Re-
uben," "the vengeful Le-
vites" and "the robber
flocksmen of Gad" met with
the king at a high place at
Gibeon "where once in the
old days the sun stood still."

We wish our family and friends a
very healthy, happy and prosperous
New Year
MR. and MRS. EARL M. FRIEDMAN
Helene & Michael

IN!

We wish our family and friends a
very healthy, happy and prosperous
New Year

MR. and MRS. RUBIN HERMAN & RONNIE

We wish our family and friends a
very healthy, happy and prosperous
New Year

GARY and MARY KRASMAN

111 & LEONARD BORIN
San Diego, Calif.

Wishes Their Family and Friends

A Happy & Healthy
New Year

tlzrzn.

rt3v5

MR. and MRS.
MORRIS H. FISHMAN & FAMILY

would like to wish all our family
and friends a healthy and happy
New Year

MR. and MRS.
RICHARD PERGAMENT

Wishes Their•Family and Friends

A Happy & Healthy
New Year

After careful considera-
tion of the king's proposal,
the assembled unanimously
approved it.
The author continues her
narrative with a description
of the land of Sheba and its
civilization. Situated at the
high edge of Egypt from
where the country gently
rolls down "the belly and
uterus of Ophir, past the
Nilotic cradle and the great
rift and on to the farther
cape."
The land, where love
was law, was dominated
by women loved by
long-haired men "who
were in all things their
sisters." Its monarch,
Queen Sheba; , following
a mysterious vision and
the receipt of a diploma-
tic communication from
King Solomon of
Jerusalem, decided to
visit him "to prove him
with hard questions" (I
Kings 10).
While traveling to the
land of the Hebrews, the
novelist writes, Queen
Sheba reminisced about her
past. According to legend,
she was born to a Chinese
king and a fairy. Actually,
her mother was of flesh and
blood and the murderess of
Sheba's older brother.
Officially, Sheba was a
virgin, "else she could not be
queen." She prided herself
of stopping the practice of
"putting little girls with
snakes" as offerings to Xal-
kydra, who she said, would
be pleased with a goat, or an
"old woman who's become
immune."
As she and her caravan
came closer to Jerusalem,
she was anxious to meet
Solomon for she felt "some-
thing will happen between
us."
At their first rendezv-
ous, the queen tested Sol-
omon with a set of
thought-out questions.
The king answered
wisely. They included:
"What is the most power-
ful organ of the body?"
"Death and life are in the
power of the tongue!"
"How are body and spirit
connected?" "The baseness
of spirits is derived from
their bodies. The nobility of
bodies is derived from their
spirits."
The monarchs, the author
fictionalizes, often differed
on matter of vital impor-
tance. A good illustration is
the case of the nursing
mothers. The queen tried to
resolve their quarrel dip-
lomatically, but failed. Sol-
omon looked at the infant
both women claimed as
their own, and brandished
his sword over its head as if
ready to cut it in two.
Instantaneously, "one
of the mothers screams
and thrusts the baby at
the woman she was con-
testing a moment before,
pleading for mercy." Sol-
omon awarded the child
to its rightful mother.
Years later, in his old age,
Solomon "in the phantas-
magoria of insight, im-
agined that the child the
women had been fighting
over that day was his own

nsrizn 1S1m

rt3V5

MR. and MRS. HYMAN GROSKIND & ERIC

wish all their friends and relatives
a happy and healthy New Year

We wish our family and friends a
very healthy, happy and prosperous
New Year

MR. and MRS. HENRY IGLEWICZ & DAUGHTER

nzrizrri MID rue,5

FAYE LEVINE

kingdom: young, fragile,
vulnerable, that he had in-
herited from his father and
that this kingdom would be
divided." (It was divided
during the reign of his son,
Jeroboam.)
At one of their meetings,
the queen told Solomon that
in her country "women
choose their men, and own
the game and the gold and
the cattle, and the groves,
and allot all to their daugh-
ters."
"In Israel," she continued,
"I see that your women are
small and your men large,
and I understand you do not
allow your women to love or
to work as we do in Sheba,
and you say they are not fit
for it."
However, shortly after
the queen's return from
Jerusalem, she . gave
birth to a son, who upon
reaching maturity re-
placed her as ruler of the
country, thus ending "the
line of queens who had
ruled in Sheba since time
out of mind." Simultane-
ously, the women domi-
nance in Sheba came to
an end.
In the appendix, titled
"Such Facts as Are Known
about Solomon and Sheba,"
Miss Levine examines the
traditions and legends of
her novel's two principal
characters.
She does not doubt the
historic existence of King
Solomon, but is skeptical
about Queen Sheba. She ob-
serves that the talmudic
sages, too, disputed her
existence. She notes, "My
biggest surprise in doing
this research was discover-
ing that the talmudic rabbis
didn't believe in the queen
of Sheba at all . . . the Tal-
mud says that the woman
Sheba is a mistake in trans-
lation, that the Bible word
translated "queen" should
rather be "kingdom."
Equally interesting is the
author's statement regard-
ing the "son of Solomon and
Sheba." According to her
findings the son "arrived on
the world literary scene in
the 13th Century, when an
epic of his birth and matur-
ity was written in (or trans-
lated from the Arabic into)
Gheze, the classical lan-
guage of Ethiopia."
This national epic,
curiously, "was used to
bolster the legitimacy of
Haile Selassie," who after
a 44-year reign was over-
thrown in 1974.
The author of "Solomon
and Shebu," Faye Levine, is
an authority in the history
and sociology of religion.

MR. and MRS. ARTHUR KEPES & FAMILY

wish all their friends and relatives
a happy and healthy New Year

We wish our family and friends a
very healthy, happy and prosperous
New Year

THE KIRMANS

Shirley, Norman & Sheryl

nzrizri mzue m3r25

MR. and MRS. SAM MOSCOW & FAMILY

wish all their friends and relatives
a happy and healthy New Year

We wish our family and friends a
very healthy, happy and prosperous
New Year
KARL and MARGIE STERN
Michael & Brian

MR. and MRS.
NATHAN FISHMAN & FAMILY

Wishes Their Family and Friends

A Happy & Healthy
New Year

nzrelzin rime ruv5

MR. and MRS.
WM. SIMON GOTTLIEB

would like to wish all our family
and friends a healthy and happy
New Year

nznzin

rit3v5

ALICE and HANK -
KLEGON & FAMILY

would like to wish all our family
and friends a healthy and happy
New Year

nzialzn `isle ;1305.

MR. and MRS.
HENRY LEE & SANDRA

would like to wish all our family
and friends a healthy and happy
New Year

11ZriZT1 `1211: rt3V5

MR. and MRS. PHIL S. WEISS
Woodland Hills, Calif.

Would like to wish all our family
and friends a healthy and happy
New Year

' t-i.AJ111,4

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