The Wisdom Of King Solomon
AFTER Solomon succeeded his father David on the throne of Israel,
he went one day to the holy place Gibeon to offer sacrifice to the Lord,
for the temple of the Lord was not yet built.
And while Solomon was in Gibeon God appeared to him in a dream,
saying: "Ask of me whatever I am to give you."
Solomon answered: "O Lord God, I am your servant.
You have made me king instead of David my father,
and I am like a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in.
I am in the midst of your great people whom you have chosen,
so great a people that they cannot be numbered or counted.
"Give, therefore, to your servant an understanding heart to judge your people,
that I may judge between good and bad.
For who is able to judge so great a people as yours?"
God was much pleased that Solomon asked this thing.
And God said to him: "Because you have asked for this thing, and have not asked for long life for yourself, nor for riches for yourself, nor for the life of your enemies, but have asked for understanding to make wise judgments, you will see that I have done just as you asked. Lo, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has never been anyone like you
before, nor shall anyone like you arise after you.
"And I have also given you that which you have not asked, both riches and honour, so that there will not be anyone who is your equal among the kings all your days.
"And if you will walk in my ways, and obey my laws and my commandments, as your father David did, then I will lengthen your days."
Then Solomon awoke and knew that it was a dream.
He went to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord,
and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.
SOLOMON GIVES PROOF OF HIS JUDGMENT
Then there came two women to the king, and stood before him.
The one woman said: "O my lord, this woman and I live in one house,
and I bore a child in the house with her.
And it happened that three days afterward, this woman bore a child too.
We were together, and there was no one else in the house with the two of us.
"This woman's child died in the night and she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your handmaid slept, and she took him in her arms and laid her dead child in my arms.
"And when I rose in the morning to nurse my child, I saw that it was dead.
But when I had looked at it in the daylight,.I found that it was not my own son."
The other woman said: "No. the living is my son, and the dead is your
And the first woman said: "No, the dead is your son and the living is my son."
Thus they argued before the king.
Then the king said: "The one says, 'This is my son that is alive, and your son is the dead child,'
the other says, 'No, your son is the dead one, and my son is the living'."
So the king said: "Bring me a sword." And they brought him a sword. "Divide the living child in two," he said, "and give half to the one and half to the other."
Then the mother to whom the living child belonged spoke to the king, for her heart ached for her son, and she said: "O Lord, give her the living child, but by no means kill it."
But the other said: "Let it be neither mine nor yours, but divide it."
Then the king answered and said: "Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill it. She is the mother of it."
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