By James Killus
3:15 And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to
Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and
offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a
feast to all his servants.
3:16 Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and
stood before him.
3:17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one
house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.
3:18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered,
that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no
stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.
3:19 And this woman’s child died in the night; because she overlaid
3:20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while
thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead
child in my bosom.
3:21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it
was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was
not my son, which I did bear.
3:22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the
dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the
living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.
3:23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth,
and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the
dead, and my son is the living.
3:24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword
before the king.
3:25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half
to the one, and half to the other.
3:26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king,
for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her
the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it
be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.
3:27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and
in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.
3:28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged;
and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in
him, to do judgment.
4:1 So king Solomon was king over all Israel
The story of the true mother was a tale spread by Solomon’s people at a time of civil crisis.
Solomon had an elder brother, Adonijah, who was the rightful heir to the throne, (or had, at least, a more legitimate claim than Solomon) but Adonijah had already been executed at Solomon’s command, along with a number of Adonijah’s supporters.
Solomon’s tale of justice was actually a warning to any remaining supporters of Adonijah. “I am not the legitimate heir,” he was telling them. “I’ll not hesitate to split the Kingdom, just as my father David warred against King Saul.” The “wisdom of God” that was in him, was, in fact, the ruthless calculation of a warlord. “If I cannot be King,” he told the people of Israel, “No one will.”
But history is strange, and is written by the victors. So ruthless cunning is now recorded for all time as wisdom and justice.
Responses to “A Parable”