The Wisdom of Solomon (1008 AD)

Solomon’s judgment between the two women.

In the beginning of his reign Solomon loved the Lord, and walked in his father’s footsteps. One night the Lord appeared to him, and bade him ask what he would. Solomon asked for wisdom, that he might rule with justice. When the Lord heard this He was much pleased, and gave Solomon not only the wisdom he had asked for, but also riches and honors and a long life.

Besides, God gave him a true knowledge of all things in nature, so that he understood the admirable order of creation, the power of the elements, the course of the seasons, the position of the stars, the instincts of animals, and the thoughts of men, together with a knowledge of the diversity of plants, and the medicinal virtues of their roots. All nature was open to his mind, whence it came to pass that the wise men of the world and the princes of nations stood in admiration at the wisdom of Solomon.

One day two women came to him demanding judgment in their case. The first said: “This woman and myself live together in one house. We have each had a child. During the night her son died. When she discovered this she rose, whilst I slept, and took my son from my side, and laid her dead son in his place. In the morning I saw the dead child, but, on a closer examination, I discovered it was not mine.”

In answer to this the other said, “Surely your son is dead, and mine lives.” But the first answered, “It is not so.” Thus the two women disputed before the king. Then Solomon ordered a sword to be brought and the living child to be divided, and half to be given to one, and half to the other. When the mother of the child heard this she was filled with dismay and overwhelmed with agony. Torn with a mother’s love for her child, she cried out to the king, “My lord, give her the child alive; do not kill it.” But the other said, “Let it be divided.”

Then Solomon ordered the living child to be given to the first: “for,” said he, “she is the mother.” Soon this judgment was known in all the land of Israel, and the people were filled with admiration for Solomon, because they saw the Spirit of God was in him.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is said of Solomon?
  2. What did God give him?
  3. What else besides wisdom?
  4. What is said of the two women?
  5. What was Solomon’s decision ?

Source: Gilmour, Richard. Bible History (1894)

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