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Third place in a beauty contest

Once upon a time, the Queen of Sheba came from afar to see something impressive. But now people are travelling from afar, to see the Queen of Sheba! Apparently orchid hunters of the world are streaming to the west to see a spectacular specimen of that name, that only blooms once every ten years. It certainly looks striking in photo form, and no doubt all the more in real life.

But if the Biblical allusion and nomenclature is to be followed accurately, it must mean that there exists an even more impressive orchid, called the King Solomon, for the Book records that the Queen of Sheba made an intentional visit in person to see the greater and more impressive wealth of Solomon, and that the sight overwhelmed her.

But then, to be technical, if that is the case, that would put Sheba into third place, for the Book proposes that there is someone who is even more impressive than both these royal personages. “The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.” And in another place, He said, “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.”

DM 19th August 2022


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