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The Judgment of Solomon : The tenth-century King of Israel demonstrated his legendary wisdom in a delicate custody battle.
The Judgment of Solomon

Based on 1 Kings 3:16-28.

A ‘judgment of Solomon’ is an ultimatum that reveals what someone’s priorities really are. The term comes from a tale about King Solomon, who inherited the throne of his father David in 970 BC.

SOON after he was crowned King of Israel, two women appeared before Solomon, asking him to judge their case.

They were prostitutes who lived in the same house, and both had given birth within days of each other. According to one, the other had very craftily swapped babies after finding that her own had died in the night. Of course, the accused woman protested wildly that it was all the other way round, and the living child really was hers.

Solomon surprised everyone by turning to an attendant to say, ‘Slice the child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other’.

Of the two women, one met the King’s decision with a shrug, but the other tearfully begged Solomon to award the child to her rival, rather than harm a hair of its head. This told the King all he needed to know, and he was able to restore the baby to its own loving mother.

Based on 1 Kings 3:16-28.

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Picture: From the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent, via Wikimedia Commons. Licence: Public domain. View original
‘And she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it.’ The scene as imagined by 17th century Flemish artist Gaspar de Crayer (1584-1669).
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