Kebra Nagast : A Rich History.

Hello, fellow readers! Today I’m going to be talking to you guys about the Kəbrä Nägäśt (The Glory of Kings). This book reveals the tale that brought two powerhouse individuals together and created history. To this day, King Solomon and Queen of Sheba are talked about for religious reasons and historical ones.

For those who don’t know much about the Kebra Nagast, I’ll break it down for you. It is originally broken into 117 chapters, but in class, we read the condensed version of it. King Solomon is the reigning king of Jerusalem who is known for his overflow of wisdom and knowledge. After learning about the King Of Solomon from her merchant, Queen Makeda (Queen of Sheba) plans a trip to visit him to learn more and pick his brain. While she was there, she was given knowledge and wisdom and eventually converted to Judaism. By the end of her visit, she ends up going home with a gift: a child who would be born to her Kingdom. He would be her only child and his name would be Menelik. Once this chile got older, he became more curious about his father and his mother sent him on a visit to meet him. During his visit, his father wanted him to stay with him but he decided to go back to his home. Unbeknownst to him, he comes home to his mother with a gift: the ark of the covenant. The Ark of Covenant is a sacred gold covered wooden chest that holds the ten commandments. It is seen as the word and energy of God. This becomes a prize possession to the Ethiopian people and their culture.

In this version of their story, the Queen of Sheba is believed to be from Ethiopia. In many texts, they have her spread out in different homelands. In an article that I found on the Brittania, they say that she “also appears among the Persians (probably derived from Jewish tradition), where she is considered the daughter of a Chinese king and a peri” (Britannica) in a story that covers her history. The history of Queen of Sheba is important to many because, without her, there’d be no Menelik nor would the Ark of Covenant be in the possession of the Ethiopian people.

The birth of Menelik brought so many blessings to not only his parents but his people. Because of him, there are texts written around the ark of covenant, people throughout history have gone to it to seek guidance and still put faith in it today. His legacy brought great pride to his family, being the first emperor of the homeland where his mother’s spirit is honored.

While reading this story, I only had a few problems with it. Considering the time that it was made, I can’t really be too mad about it but there are a few parts that made me question it. Many parts of the story enable some of the problematic things that King Solomon does, like tricking Queen Makeda into sleeping with him and him being allowed to sleep with all the women he wants. It’s misogynistic that he is seen to be the only one to withhold the knowledge and not that she was wise enough to go and seek the knowledge. Also, in this story, it was understood that women weren’t seen as leaders but just as additions to the men on the throne. Queen Makeda was seen as a woman that falls underneath the spell of his knowledge and ends up as another one of the mothers of his children. She also brought something to the table without her being the mother of his child. She was a wise woman as well. These two strong, intelligent individuals came together to create something bigger than themselves. 

  • IMAGE SOURCES:

Picture of Queen Solomon and Queen of Sheba.

Picture of Menelik I. 

  • WORKS CITED.

“Queen of Sheba.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., www.britannica.com/biography/Queen-of-Sheba.