Reading For Tuesday 1 Kings 3:16-28
When would the evidence of God's divine endowment make itself manifest? It was not long before a case would come to Solomon that would require great wisdom. The case of two prostitutes, both claiming to be the mother of a baby, demonstrated the judicial wisdom that had been given to Solomon. The women had given birth to children out of wedlock within three days of one another. No one else was present at the births. Therefore independent collaboration was impossible. The first woman charged that her friend had smothered her child during the night and allegedly switched her dead baby for the living one that was sleeping at the side of his mother. In the morning light, the mother discovered that the dead baby was not hers. The other woman disputed all these claims and maintained that the living child was really hers.
After listening to the two woman, Solomon was ready to make a decision. He summarized the problem as it had been presented to him and ordered a sword to be brought to him. The living child would be divided and half given to each woman. The real mother, the first woman as it turned out, was emotionally moved by the decision that in effect would render her son dead. In desperation, she cried out to the king to spare the child and give it to her rival. She preferred to lose her case and see her rival rewarded than to have the child killed. To the contrary, the other woman was perfectly content to allow the execution to take place. She did not really love the child, and her only objective had been to deprive this woman of her newborn child. This stratagem was used by Solomon in order to learn the identity of the real mother. He ordered the first woman to be given custody of the disputed child. Word spread quickly leaving the people of Israel amazed by this demonstration of royal wisdom and discernment. This was evidence that the wisdom of God was in their new king.
Things To Consider:
* This case was brought to the King because it was so difficult. What made it so hard to judge?
* How much pressure do you think was on Solomon in this case?
* What hinders justice in the story?
* Why do you think the people were so impressed with Solomon's judgment?
* Why would this case between two prostitutes give the nation confidence in their new king?