Solomon shows that he is wise
16 Two women who were prostitutes came to meet with the king. They stood in front of him to tell him their problem.
17 One woman said, ‘My lord I live in the same house with this woman. I gave birth to a baby while she lived there with me. 18 Three days later, she also gave birth to a baby. We were alone in the house. Only the two of us were there, no one else. 19 But in the night, this woman lay on her son and he died. 20 So she got up during the night and she took my son from my side. I was still asleep. She put my son beside her. She put her dead son beside me. 21 When I got up in the morning to feed my son, I saw that he was dead! So I looked carefully at him in the morning light. Then I realized that he was not my son. He was not the son that I had given birth to!’
22 Then the other woman said, ‘No, that is not true! It is my son who is alive. Your son is dead!’
But the first woman answered, ‘No! The dead baby is your son. My son is alive!’
They continued to argue like that in front of the king.
23 Then the king said, ‘One of you says, “My son is alive and your son is dead.” But the other one says, “No! Your son is dead and my son is alive.” ’
24 So the king said, ‘Bring a sword to me!’ So they brought a sword to the king. 25 Then the king commanded, ‘Cut the child who is alive into two pieces. Give one piece to one woman and the other piece to the other woman.’
26 Then the mother of the child who was alive spoke to the king. She loved her son very much. So she said to the king, ‘My lord, please do not kill the baby! Instead, give him to the other woman.’
But the other woman said, ‘Neither of us should have him. Cut him in two pieces!’
27 So King Solomon said, ‘Do not kill the child! Give him to the first woman. She is his mother.’ 28 Everybody in Israel heard about what the king had decided. So they respected the king's authority. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly.