Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 3

Solomon requests a sword, in order to test the women

1 Kings 3:24-26

One of the women in front of Solomon was lying in order to steal a child. The other woman was speaking the truth, and she was the mother of the living child. Solomon was the judge of this matter.

With deep regret, Solomon ordered his servants to bring a sword. He explained that he had been unable to decide between the women. One of their children had died, and one was living. One woman was lying, and she was a thief; the other woman was the mother. Solomon could not bring life to a dead child; he could only cause death to a living one. So he pretended that he had decided to end their argument in a cruel but sudden manner. Each mother would receive just half of the body of the child whom they both claimed.

Suddenly, there was a change in the women’s arguments. The child’s death would certainly end any jealous feelings between them. They both had a son, but both of their sons would have died. Of course, they could never be friends again – but they had only suffered the same kind of loss that many women must suffer.

For one woman, Solomon’s judgment brought relief. If Solomon had not discovered her lies, she would not suffer punishment. She was eager to approve of Solomon’s judgment. In her opinion, it was a fair judgment.

However, the mother of the living child cared only to save her son’s life. Her deep love for that boy caused her to give up even the desire to bring him up herself. She desperately urged Solomon to give the boy to the other woman, so that he could live.

Next part: Solomon declares which woman truly is the mother (1 Kings 3:27-28)


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