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[165] Now when the queen had thus demonstrated in words how deeply the king had affected her, her disposition was known by certain presents, for she gave him twenty talents of gold, and an immense quantity of spices and precious stones. (They say also that we possess the root of that balsam which our country still bears by this woman's gift.) 1 Solomon also repaid her with many good things, and principally by bestowing upon her what she chose of her own inclination, for there was nothing that she desired which he denied her; and as he was very generous and liberal in his own temper, so did he show the greatness of his soul in bestowing on her what she herself desired of him. So when this queen of Ethiopia had obtained what we have already given an account of, and had again communicated to the king what she brought with her, she returned to her own kingdom.

1 Some blame Josephus for supposing that the balsam tree might be first brought out of Arabia, or Egypt, or Ethiopia, into Judea, by this queen of Sheba, since several have said that of old no country bore this precious balsam but Judea; yet it is not only false that this balsam was peculiar to Judea but both Egypt and Arabia, and particularly Sabea; had it; which last was that very country whence Josephus, if understood not of Ethiopia, but of Arabia, intimates this queen might bring it first into Judea. Nor are we to suppose that the queen of Sabaea could well omit such a present as this balsam tree would be esteemed by Solomon, in case it were then almost peculiar to her own country. Nor is the mention of balm or balsam, as carried by merchants, and sent as a present out of Judea by Jacob, to the governor of Egypt, Genesis 37:25; 43:11, to be alleged to the contrary, since what we there render balm or balsam, denotes rather that turpentine which we now call turpentine of Chio, or Cyprus, the juice of the turpentine tree, than this precious balm. This last is also the same word that we elsewhere render by the same mistake balm of Gilead; it should be rendered, the turpentine of Gilead, Jeremiah 8:22.

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