He cried out to prevent her, and he called aloud to her, ‘Verily it is a palace paved with g1ass.’"

The mention of the crystal pavement may be due to a confused recollection of the "molten sea" in the Temple at Jerusalem (1 Kings vii. 23). All the other marvels seem to be purely Jewish fancies. The Jewish account is so evidently fabulous that it is surprising that Muhammad so evidently believed it to be strictly true. But some of the incidents mentioned can be somewhat more fully explained than others. For instance, the idea (widely prevalent in the East to the present day) that Solomon ruled over various kinds of evil spirits was derived from the Jews from a misunderstanding 1of the Hebrew words שִׁרָּה וְשִׁדּוֹח in Eccles. ii. 8. These words probably mean "a lady and ladies." But the commentators seem to have misunderstood the terms, which occur nowhere else in the Bible, and to have explained them as denoting certain demons (fem. οf שֵׁרִים). Hence he is spoken of in both the Jewish legend and in the Qur'an as having armies composed of various kinds of spirits. The story of the Merchant and the Jinni in the Arabian Nights is another instance of the same belief. It is strange to find the Prophet Muhammad emulating the writer of that wonderful book as a story-teller even though the source of

1 Or rather perhaps from the Persian story of Jamshid, which seemed to suit Solomon because of the misunderstanding referred to in the text. Vide pp. 249, 250.

the Qur'anic tale is known. In credulity, however, Muhammad undoubtedly eclipsed his rival, for the latter cannot be supposed to have believed his own wondrous tales, nor does he profess to have received them from above.

The historical basis for the whole tale is afforded by the record given in 1 Kings x. 1-10 (and repeated in 2 Chron. ix. 1-9), which tells us nothing whatever marvellous about Solomon, nothing about Jinns and 'Ifrits and crystal palaces, but is a simple narrative of a visit paid to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba, a well-known part of Arabia.

"And when the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices and very much gold and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king which he told her not. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, ‘It was a true report that I heard in my own land of thy