25 Aug. 1 Kings 3:16-28

25 Aug.  Solomon makes a wise decision

“One day two women who were prostitutes came to Solomon. As they stood before him, one of the women said, ‘My master, this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she was there with me. Three days later this woman also gave birth to a baby. No one else was in the house with us; it was just the two of us.’”

“’One night this woman rolled over on her baby, and he died. So she took my son from my bed during the night while I was asleep, and she carried him to her bed. Then she put the dead baby in my bed. The next morning when I got up to feed my baby, I saw that he was dead! When I looked at him more closely, I realised he was not my son.’”

“’No!’ the other woman cried, ‘The living baby is my son, and the dead baby is yours!’ But the first woman said, ‘No! The dead baby is yours, and the living one is mine!’ So the two women argued before the king.”

“Then King Solomon said, ‘One of you says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead.’ Then the other one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and my son is alive.’ The king sent his servants to get a sword. When they brought it to him, he said, ‘Cut the living baby into two pieces, and give each woman half.’”

“The real mother of the living child was full of love for her son. So she said to the king, ‘Please, my master, don’t kill him! Give the baby to her!’ But the other woman said, ‘Neither of us will have him. Cut him in two pieces!’”

“Then King Solomon said, ‘Don’t kill him. Give the baby to the first woman, because she is the real mother.’”

“When the people of Israel heard about King Solomon’s decision, they respected him very much. They saw he had wisdom from God to make the right decisions.”

          (1 Kings 3:16-28)

 

 

In yesterday’s passage, we were told how God gave Solomon wisdom to make wise decisions when ruling his people (see 1 Kings 3:5-12). Today’s passage illustrates Solomon’s God-given wisdom in a curious story of two women and their babies.

Two prostitutes came to the king with a violent quarrel and a plea for justice. The women, who lived together in the same house, had both recently given birth to a son, but one of the babies died, and its mother took the other woman’s child and claimed it as her own.

Both women pleaded their case before the king, who told his servants to bring a sword and cut the baby in half so the women could share the child. The real mother was immediately horrified, and asked the king to give her baby away to the other woman rather than see him killed.

The woman’s instinctive love towards her own child won the day. Solomon immediately knew who the real mother was, and ordered the child to be restored to her.

When the story was circulated among the people of Israel, Solomon gained their respect for his God-given ability to make wise and just decisions.

The photo shows an artist’s impression of ‘The judgment of Solomon’, a painting on ceramic (Castelli, 18th century, Italy) at the Lille Museum of Fine Arts.

You can read more about the early years of Solomon’s reign @ https://thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/31-the-golden-age-of-israel-under-king-solomon/solomons-alliance-with-egypt/


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