Sometime later, two prostitutes came and stood before the king.
One of them said, "Please, Your Majesty, listen: This woman and I have been living in the same house. I gave birth while she was there.
This woman gave birth three days after I did. We stayed together. Apart from the two of us, there was no one else in the house.
This woman's son died one night when she rolled over him.
She got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I was asleep. She laid him on her chest and laid her dead son on mine.
When I got up in the morning to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the daylight, it turned out that it wasn't my son—not the baby I had birthed."
The other woman said, "No! My son is alive! Your son is the dead one." But the first woman objected, "No! Your son is dead! My son is alive!" In this way they argued back and forth in front of the king.
The king said, "This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead.' The other one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and my son is alive.'
Get me a sword!" They brought a sword to the king.
Then the king said, "Cut the living child in two! Give half to one woman and half to the other woman."
Then the woman whose son was still alive said to the king, "Please, Your Majesty, give her the living child; please don't kill him," for she had great love for her son. But the other woman said, "If I can't have him, neither will you. Cut the child in half."
Then the king answered, "Give the first woman the living newborn. Don't kill him. She is his mother."
All Israel heard about the judgment that the king made. Their respect for the king grew because they saw that God's wisdom was in him so he could execute justice.