Sermon for January 12, 2020

Jonah, the Queen of Sheba, and Jesus

Matthew 12:38-45

  • Very similar verses are found in Matthew 16:1-4; Luke 11:16 agrees more verbally with the demand as described there than with our Luke 11:38. Mark 8:11-13 only mentions it briefly.
    • Mark and Luke relate such an incident once, but Matthew twice.
  • Two things are worth pointing out in our verses of Scripture today:
    • The sign of the prophet Jonah
    • The Queen of the South
  • The sign of Jonah is a direct reference towards the death and resurrection of Jesus, but it is also so much more.
    • Jonah 3:1-10
    • Nineveh’s served an ancient Mesopotamian god named Dagan (Pictured Above).
      • Dagan had the body of a fish and the face of a man.
      • In Mesopotamia the earliest textual references to Dagan come from the Royal Inscriptions of Sargon (2334-2279 BCE) and Naram-Sin (2254-2218 BCE).[1]
      • Biblical evidence of Dagan are:
        • Judges 16:23-24
        • 1 Samuel 5:1-7
          • Referred to again in Zephaniah 1:9
        • Jonah spent three days in Nineveh’s god!  For the Ninevites, Jonah was birthed out of their god!  Now you understand why they listened to him because Jonah wasn’t certainly doing it with the right heart!
  • The Queen of the South (the Queen of Sheba)
    • 1 Kings 10:1-10; (2 Chronicles 9:1-9 records the same)
    • While scholar disagree about her lineage, most scholars believe she was from the lands of Yemen, Egypt, and Ethiopia.[2]

The title of mqtwyt means “high official”. Makada or Makueda,was the personal name of the queen in Ethiopian legend and it might be interpreted as a popular rendering of the title of mqtwyt.[13] This title may be derived from Ancient Egyptian m’ki

  • “protectress, housewife”.[3]
    • With the Egyptian similarities, some scholars have suggested that this is none other than Queen Hatshepsut, the first female pharaoh in the history of Egypt, which at the time would have had its capitol in the area of Thebes or “Theba”.
    • For example, the Persians called Assyria, Athuria. Secondly, we know why Josephus called the capital of Ethiopia (i.e. Upper Egypt/Nubia) by the name Saba or Shaba.
    • Led the nation of Egypt to follow a supreme god Amun-Ra (Sun god) over other Egyptian gods.  This did not sit well with many in her country.

So why does Jesus use Jonah and the Queen of Sheba about a miraculous sign?

  1. Jesus says that these pagan people would become his followers before these religious teachers would!  Therefore, Jesus goes onto teach us why this is happening by giving us the story of an evil spirit being cast out of a “house”.
  2. Last week we learned about building a house or a lineage, your name.  The story in Matthew 12:43-45 shows us what happens to houses that forget their purpose and lose their way. 
  3. Matthew 12:44 (G444-ἄνθρωπος-anthrōpos meaning humankind, not G435ἀνήρ-anēr-an’-ayr meaning a man[4]); Isaiah 38:1; 2 Kings 20:1-2 4

Wicked Generations lose their houses to the world, but how should a house that belongs to Jesus Christ operate?

  1. 1 Timothy 3:1-11
  2. Titus 1:10-11,15-16

Titus 3:1-11  Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,  (2)  to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.  (3)  For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  (4)  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  (5)  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,  (6)  whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  (7)  so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  (8)  The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.  (9)  But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.  (10)  As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, (11)  knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (ESV)



[1]Crowell, B. 2001. “The development of Dagan: a sketch.” Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 1: 32-83.

[2] Yosef Tobi (2007), “QUEEN OF SHEBA”, Encyclopedia Judaica, 16 (2nd ed.), Gale, p. 765.

[3] E. A. Wallis Budge (1920), “m’kit”, Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, 1, John Murray, p. 288b.

[4] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. G444 & G 435.



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