Chapter 3: 25,26,27
3:25-27: "And the king said, Divide the living child in two,
and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then spake the woman whose
the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son,
and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay
it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.
Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise
slay it: she is the mother thereof."
This text focuses on King Solomon as he gives a powerful test of motherhood.
The original intent of the text is to demonstrate the wisdom of Solomon.
He had become king at an early age although he was not the direct heir
to the throne of David by family protocol. Now, as king, he would have
to serve as the military leader of the people, lawmaker, chief executive
and the nation's only supreme court judge. As a new and young king he would
have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the learned mean of the king's
court that he could make fair and wise decisions as the nation's chief
judge, as well as prove himself as a lawmaker, executive and military leader.
God talked to Solomon in a dream and gave him the opportunity to realize
any dream of his heart. Sensing the enormity of his new position, young
Solomon asked God for wisdom. God was so impressed with Solomon that he
gave him wisdom, wealth and fame as well. As the nation's only lawmaker,
he ordered the construction of the temple of the Lord and placed taxes
on the people to underwrite its costs. As chief executive, he executed
treaties with the enemies of the nation, often bringing peace by marrying
the daughters of foreign kings, forcing delicate alliances that insured
the integrity of his reign. No doubt, Solomon was leadership material,
for even at a young age, he was dynamic in his vision and commitment to
building the kingdom.
The supreme test of Solomon's ability came when it was time for him
to act as the nation's supreme judge. At regular intervals, at his own
choosing, the king had to sit and listen to the appeals of persons unsatisfied
with decisions made by some of the king's appointed lower court judges.
Acting as a judge was the ultimate test of Solomon's ability to lead as
king of Israel. If he made foolish decisions, the credibility of his reign
would be in question.
The first difficult test of his wisdom involved deciding the dispute
of two mothers that argued over a baby. Both women shared living quarters
and both had babies about the same age and the same sex. However, one of
the women rolled in her sleep and smothered her baby to death. The dead
babies were switched in the night and the two women disputed between themselves
as to the identity of the real mother. The case was so difficult that none
of the lower courts could decide it. What they had before them was the
word of one woman over another with no clear cut way of making a decision
about which one was telling the truth. They both talked with pain in their
voices. They both appeared angry at each other for the deed. Both appeared
to be the rightful mother of the living child. Baffled, the lower courts
sent the case to Solomon. It drew considerable attention, because it would
be the first great test case of his administration. It would set the tone
of public perception of this young king. After hearing the case, Solomon
decided the matter by ordering the living baby to be cut in half, giving
a portion to each woman. One woman accepted the decision without debate.
She thought it was fair. One woman pleaded with Solomon not to kill the
child but to give it to the other. She would rather see the child alive,
but in someone's care than to die unnecessarily. To Solomon, that was the
deciding factor. It identified the real mother and he ordered the baby
to be given to the pleading mother.
The episode drew initial attention to the wisdom of Solomon, but it
also focused attention on the nature of true motherhood. The virtues of
a real mother were exemplified and demonstrated uniquely in this short
text. "Love" became the single virtue that decided this case. It is also
the single virtue, demonstrated through action, that decides real mothers
in any generation.
Solomon was a young and ambitious monarch, but yet untested in one
of the most important duties of the king, to judge civil and criminal matters
in the King's court.
Solomon asked God for the gift of wisdom and understanding and it was
granted. Our text gives the first application of the great wisdom he received.
The two women appeared before the king for him to settle their dispute.
His ultimate solution was to cut the baby in half and give each mother
half. Immediately one of the women cried out for the infant and was willing
to give him away rather than see him die. Solomon concluded that this woman
was the real mother. The real mother contributes to the life of her child
and will go to any means to insure the safety and care of her offspring,
which is a contrast between these two women, both claiming to be the real
mother. One, because of either carelessness or apathy, contributed to the
death of her son. The other, took great care and her child survived.
The action established Solomon's wisdom in the mind
and hearts of the people as it was repeated to their hearing.
The guilty woman had made a mistake. However, to
cover her mistake and the error of her ways she was willing to destroy
the life of an innocent child to insure her own survival. She took no thought
of the life she would terminate, only her own safety and well being. To
guarantee that safety she was willing to go half on a baby, especially
since the baby involved was not her own and meant nothing to her. The baby
was simply a means to achieve an end. The baby was a ticket to freedom.
If cutting the baby in half could accomplish what she needed then she was
The real mother on the other hand had the
concern of her child at heart. She would prefer to have a whole baby alive
than half of a baby dead. She would prefer to see her baby alive and well
in someone's care than to have only half a baby. That was the level of
emotional commitment that Solomon hoped his act would elicit: an out pouring
of sympathy and love that would be unparalleled. When the appropriate time
came, real love would be displayed, even at the expense of the mother's
The guilty mother's disinterest in the
welfare of the child represents the way the world receives every person:
a means to achieve an end. Generally, Satan enters a life, uses it and
tears it apart. It does not matter to him whether a life is lost or ruined,
only that his purpose is achieved. Much like the possessed man who ran
naked through the grave yard was not considered beyond how he could be
used, so Satan destroys every life in which he can get a grip.
The real mother demonstrates God's love for his
people. Not selfish in its intent, God's love moves men to raise themselves
to higher levels of respect for life and being of others. In no way would
God's love seek only half of a being. He seeks to preserve every part of
his creation as a complete and whole being.
Sin cut mankind in half. When Jesus went to Calvary,
he reconciled man unto to God and made him whole again!
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Chapter 20: 28
20:28 "And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel,
and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD
is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I
deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that
I am the LORD."
This text focuses on Israel as it wins a great battle because its enemies
misunderstood the nature of God.
King Ahab engaged in a battle with the Syrians under King Ben-hadad
as he defended the region of Samaria. Ben-hadad was a drunken, warlike
and superstitious king. He sent threats to the king of Israel, who himself
was less than ideal. The Lord sent word, by the prophets, that Israel would
defeat Syria in battle, despite its massive armies led by 32 kings.
When the battle ended, Israel was victorious. As the Syrians analyzed
their defeat they concluded that they lost because they fought Israel in
the hills, which is the strong hold of Israel's God. Their scholars produced
writings from the great Israeli King David who wrote: "I will lift up mine
eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." This was evidence that
God was a God of the hills and mountains. Their conclusions seemed valid
when their scholars pointed out that Psalm 87:1 says: "His foundation is
in the holy mountains." When they read scriptures such as Psalm 15:1 "LORD,
who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?" or
Psalm 24:3 "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand
in his holy place?"; they concluded that their mistake was to fight Israel
in the stronghold of their God.
The Syrians decided to wage a battle against Israel again with an even
mightier army, replacing the 32 kings with trained military commanders
and more soldiers. The power of the new army that faced Israel the next
year was awesome. They felt confident because they had more than 127,000
soldiers, chariots, horses and machinery of war at their disposal. Most
importantly they were fighting Israel in the valley this time, not in the
hills. They felt the God of Israel would be powerless in the valley and
his people would be vulnerable to defeat.
God sent a message to king Ahab that Israel would win this battle. His
victory over such a huge force, in the open fields of the valley showed
both Israel and its enemies that God was not limited to just the hills,
but that he is a God of the valleys as well.
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