The Judgement of King Solomon

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Two women came to King Solomon and stood before him. The first woman said: “My Lord, this woman and I dwell in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while with her in the house. On the third day after I gave birth, she also gave birth. We live together; there is no outsider with us in the house; only the two of us were there. The son of this woman died during the night because she lay upon him. She arose during the night and took my son from my side while I was asleep, and lay him in her bosom, and her dead son she laid in my bosom. When I got up in the morning to nurse my son, behold, he was dead! But when I observed him (later on) in the morning, I realized that he was not my son to whom I had given birth!”

The second woman replied: “It is not so! My son is the live one and your son is the dead one!”
The first woman responded: “It is not so! Your son is the dead one and my son is the living one!”
They argued before King Solomon.

King Solomon said, “This woman claims ‘My son is the live one and your son is the dead one’, and this woman claims ‘Your son is the dead one and my son is the living one!”‘ Then King Solomon said, “Bring me a sword!”. So they brought a sword before the King. The King said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one and half to the other”.

The first woman turned to the King, because her compassion was aroused for her son, and cried, “Please my Lord, give her the living child and do not kill it!”

But the other woman said: “Neither mine nor yours shall he be. Cut!”
The King spoke up and said: “Give her the living child, and do not kill it, for she is his mother!” All of Israel heard the judgment that the King had judged. They had great awe for the King, for they saw that the wisdom of God was within him to do justice. The woman was rightfully awarded custody of her son.

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