Was Hatshepsut a Pharaoh when she visited King Solomon’s Jerusalem?



Damien F. Mackey


So proposes Adam Stuart, who has written: “…. I wrote earlier that it seems very improbable that Hatshepsut would have visited Solomon at any time before she became king, unless it were to visit her sister Neferbity/Nefrubity if that sister were the daughter of pharaoh who was married to Solomon (royalty sometimes visit each other, but do the chronological details of Neferbity’s life allow for this?). But if this were the case, then I would think that the Bible would have mentioned the relationship between the Queen of Sheba and pharaoh’s daughter, which it does not. It says that the Queen of Sheba came to prove Solomon with hard questions. It does not say that the Queen of Sheba came to visit pharaoh’s daughter, Solomon’s Egyptian wife”.

 * * *


Disregarding how the biblical scribes might have referred to the phenomenon of a female king – {both “king” (melech) and “pharaoh” (pharoh) being used in the Bible for Egyptian monarchs} – I intend to argue here that the Old and New Testaments call Solomon’s guest “queen” simply because that is what she was at the time of her visit to Jerusalem.

Needless to say, there is a big difference between a Queen and a Pharaoh.

So I would date her visit earlier than Stuart does, and place it – as according to Hyam Maccoby (SIS Review, IV:4, “The Queen of Sheba and the Song of Songs”) and Dr. Ed Metzler (Conflict of Laws in the Israelite Dynasty of Egypt, http://moziani.tripod.com/dynasty/ammm_2_1.htm – in the context of a marriage.

Hence the phenomenal gifts (dowry), as opposed to the mean presents of the Punt expedition. What the queen had seen in Jerusalem had truly stunned her: the glory of king Solomon and his palace; the Temple and its liturgies; and the magnificent fleet. She wanted the same for her own land of Egypt, after she had returned. Ed Metzler takes this verb as implying a divorce. Metzler, n. 52:


“On their divorce cf. Ed Metzler, Discovering Mosaistics (N. 1) pp. 175 and 182–3. The word “divorce” (Latin divortium) derives from divertere “to turn away”, and thus the story about the Queen of Sheba ends by saying that “she turned”, and went away to her own land (1. Kings 10, 13 and 2. Chronicles 9, 12). The insertion of the two preceding verses (as e. g. Genesis 38 in the story of Joseph) indicates that a period of time, maybe 10 years, elapsed”.

All purely political, of course.

She, though Solomon’s favourite wife, had not provided him with the requisite male heir. That was achieved by Rehoboam’s mother, an Ammonite named Naamah.

Only later, some time after her return to Egypt, did Hatshepsut become Pharaoh.


The Punt expedition, which Hatshepsut did not accompany – as has been well noted – was for the purpose of acquiring rare incense plants for her (Solomonic-type) temple at Deir el-Bahri. The campaign was led by Nehesi.



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