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1 Kings 3:16-28

Solomon Demonstrates His Wisdom

3:16 Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 3:17 One of the women said, “My master, this woman and I live in the same house. I had a baby while she was with me in the house. 3:18 Then three days after I had my baby, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one else in the house except the two of us. 1  3:19 This woman’s child suffocated 2  during the night when she rolled 3  on top of him. 3:20 She got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side, while your servant was sleeping. She put him in her arms, and put her dead son in my arms. 3:21 I got up in the morning to nurse my son, and there he was, 4  dead! But when I examined him carefully in the morning, I realized it was not my baby.” 5  3:22 The other woman said, “No! My son is alive; your son is dead!” But the first woman replied, “No, your son is dead; my son is alive.” Each presented her case before the king. 6 

3:23 The king said, “One says, ‘My son is alive; your son is dead,’ while the other says, ‘No, your son is dead; my son is alive.’” 3:24 The king ordered, “Get me a sword!” So they placed a sword before the king. 3:25 The king then said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one and half to the other!” 3:26 The real mother 7  spoke up to the king, for her motherly instincts were aroused. 8  She said, “My master, give her the living child! Whatever you do, don’t kill him!” 9  But the other woman said, “Neither one of us will have him! Let them cut him in two!” 3:27 The king responded, “Give the first woman the living child; don’t kill him. She is the mother.” 3:28 When all Israel heard about the judicial decision which the king had rendered, they respected 10  the king, for they realized 11  that he possessed supernatural wisdom 12  to make judicial decisions.

1 sn There was no one else in the house except the two of us. In other words, there were no other witnesses to the births who could identify which child belonged to which mother.

2 tn Heb “died.”

3 tn Heb “lay, slept.”

4 tn Heb “look.”

5 tn Heb “look, it was not my son to whom I had given birth.”

6 tn Heb “they spoke before the king.” Another option is to translate, “they argued before the king.”

7 tn Heb “the woman whose son was alive.”

8 tn Heb “for her compassions grew warm for her son.”

9 tn The infinitive absolute before the negated jussive emphasizes the main verb.

10 tn Heb “feared,” perhaps in the sense, “stood in awe of.”

11 tn Heb “saw.”

12 tn Heb “the wisdom of God within him.”

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