Matthew 12:42 - The Queen of the South

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 12:42 - The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

QUESTION: The Queen of the South was long since dead at the time the Lord spoke these words. Hence her rising up in the judgment will necessitate her resurrection. The only basis suggested for her resurrection is related to her knowledge and understanding of the God of Israel. What else is required?

ANSWER: Matthew 12:38-42 is addressed to the scribes and Pharisees who, like the people, were in disbelief that Jesus was the Messiah...Master, we would see a sign from thee (vs. 38). Jesus calls them an "evil and adulterous generation" for their failure to believe despite the signs and miracles publicly performed. He tells them the only sign they will receive is the sign of the prophet Jonas (vs. 39-40). In contrast to their unbelief, Jesus references the repentance of the Ninevites at the preaching of Jonas, for behold, a greater than Jonas is here (vs. 41), and the Queen of the South who came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, a greater than Solomon is here (vs. 42). Both the Ninevites and the Queen of the South were Gentiles who knew not God and thus their examples stood out in stark contrast to Israel to whom the oracles of God were given. The "judgment" of that generation was fast approaching and it was that judgment that Jesus is here addressing to this generation (vs. 42). The imminent judgment coming upon the Jewish nation and the destruction of Jerusalem was prominent in the teaching of the Lord and his apostles.

Both the Ninevites and the Queen of the South accepted the signs given them, and though scripture indicates they believed what they had heard and seen (Ninevites - coming destruction; Queen of the South - Solomon's wisdom), there is no scriptural evidence that the men of Nineveh learned or that the Queen of the South believed the Gospel. But in their mention here in Matthew 12:41-42, it does not appear that they are referenced as individuals called to judgment to account for their stewardship, but are rather being called upon as witnesses (on behalf of the "prosecution" as it were) to "condemn" this generation in regard to the judgments to be poured out upon it! God does not require the testimony of witnesses as His judgment is both sure and just, but the examples of these two witnesses were well known to the people, and in the day of their calamity Christ's unheeded warnings of their examples would surely come to their minds to both judge and condemn them.

There is ground for understanding these verses as a grammatical case of ellipsis in which there is an omission of a word or words necessary for complete grammatical construction, yet understood in the context. The understood words being those describing the responseof the Ninevites and the Queen of the South in contrast to "this generation's" failure to believe despite signs and wonders. Thus, verse 42 with those "understood words" filled in would read, The (example of the) Queen of the South shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; or as it appears in the Diaglott - The Queen of the South will rise up at the judgment against this generation, and cause it to be condemned. Christ references Sodom in a similar manner in Matthew 11:23-24, i.e., for if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment ("a day of trial" - Diaglott) than for thee. Though the day of judgment (or trial) in reference to Sodom is long past, would we expect that the "men of Nineveh" or the "Queen of the South" will personally appear at the judgment of any city or generation to "cause it to be condemned?" God's decrees are just and sure and do not require the testimony of man, yet their examples are a sure testimony to those who know of them.