Sheba, despite the mystery of her origins, presents us with a valid memory of women who managed to carve out high-ranking positions for themselves in worlds dominated by men. An independent woman ruling a fabulously wealthy Arabian or African kingdom to the south of Judah, this unnamed queen appears in one of the many stories emphasizing the grandeur of Solomon’s court and his international reputation for extraordinary wisdom.
In the midrashic account, the Queen of Sheba heard of King Solomon’s great wisdom and declared: “I will go and see whether he is wise or not, and I will come to test him with riddles.”
Any discussion of women in Qumran must needs open with the question of whether there were any. A significant trend in research claims that there were none.