Judgment of King Solomon - Bible Story
Solomon's Prayer for Wisdom
Preceding the Bible story of King Solomon's Judgment regarding the women disputing an infant, he prayed to God for wisdom. It is important to remember that Solomon sought wisdom from the Lord and prayed God would grant him understanding to be a righteous ruler.
Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, "Ask what I shall give you."
And Solomon said, "You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?"
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days." And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came 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. (1 Kings 3:3-15)
The Wisdom of Solomon
From the first book of Kings, Chapter 3, this Bible story illustrates the wisdom of King Solomon as he loved the Lord and relied on Him for insight. Two mothers living in the same house, each the mother of an infant son, came to Solomon. One of the babies had died, and each claimed the remaining boy as her own. Calling for a sword, Solomon declared his judgment: the baby would be cut in two, each woman to receive half. One mother did not contest the ruling, declaring that if she could not have the baby then neither of them could, but the other begged Solomon, "Give the baby to her, just don't kill him!"
The king declared the second woman the true mother, as a mother would even give up her baby if that was necessary to save its life. "All Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king because they perceived the wisdom of God was in him to do justice." (1 Kings 3:28)
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, Nicolas Poussin: The Judgment of Solomon