1 Kings 3 International Children’s Bible (ICB)
Solomon Asks for Wisdom
3 Solomon made an agreement with the king of Egypt by marrying his daughter. Solomon brought her to Jerusalem. At this time Solomon was still building his palace and the Temple of the Lord. He was also building a wall around Jerusalem. 2 The Temple had not yet been finished. So people were still offering animal sacrifices at altars in many places of worship. 3 Solomon showed that he loved the Lord. He did this by following the commands his father David had given him. But Solomon still used the many places of worship to offer sacrifices and to burn incense.
4 King Solomon went to Gibeon to offer a sacrifice. He went there because it was the most important place of worship. He offered 1,000 burnt offerings on that altar. 5 While he was at Gibeon, the Lord came to him in a dream during the night. God said, “Ask for anything you want. I will give it to you.”
6 Solomon answered, “You were very kind to your servant, my father David. He obeyed you. He was honest and lived right. And you showed great kindness to him when you allowed his son to be king after him. 7 Lord my God, you have allowed me to be king in my father’s place. But I am like a little child. I do not have the wisdom I need to do what I must do. 8 I, your servant, am here among your chosen people. There are too many of them to count. 9 So I ask that you give me wisdom. Then I can rule the people in the right way. Then I will know the difference between right and wrong. Without wisdom, it is impossible to rule this great people of yours.”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked him for this. 11 So God said to him, “You did not ask for a long life. And you did not ask for riches for yourself. You did not ask for the death of your enemies. Since you asked for wisdom to make the right decisions, 12 I will give you what you asked. I will give you wisdom and understanding. Your wisdom will be greater than anyone has had in the past. And there will never be anyone in the future like you. 13 Also, I will give you what you did not ask for. You will have riches and honor. During your life no other king will be as great as you. 14 I ask you to follow me and obey my laws and commands. Do this as your father David did. If you do, I will also give you a long life.”
15 Then Solomon woke up. He knew that God had talked to him in the dream. Then he went to Jerusalem and stood before the Ark of the Covenant with the Lord. There he gave burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. After that, he gave a feast for all of his leaders and officers.
Solomon Makes a Wise Decision
16 One day two women who were prostitutes came to Solomon. They stood before him. 17 One of the women said, “My master, this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she was there with me. 18 Three days later this woman also gave birth to a baby. No one else was in the house with us. There were only the two of us. 19 One night this woman rolled over on her baby, and it died. 20 So during the night she took my son from my bed while I was asleep. She carried him to her bed. Then she put the dead baby in my bed. 21 The next morning I got up to feed my baby. But I saw that he was dead! Then I looked at him more closely. I saw that he was not my son.”
22 But the other woman said, “No! The living baby is my son. The dead baby is yours!”
But the first woman said, “No! The dead baby is yours, and the living one is mine!” So the two women argued before the king.
23 Then King Solomon said, “Each of you says the living baby is your own. And each of you says the dead baby belongs to the other woman.”
24 Then King Solomon sent his servants to get a sword. When they brought it to him, 25 he said, “Cut the living baby into two pieces. Give each woman half of the baby.”
26 The real mother of the living child was full of love for her son. She said to the king, “Please, my master, don’t kill him! Give the baby to her!”
But the other woman said, “Neither of us will have him. Cut him into two pieces!”
27 Then King Solomon said, “Give the baby to the first woman. Don’t kill him. She is the real mother.”
28 When the people of Israel heard about King Solomon’s decision, they respected him very much. They saw he had wisdom from God to make the right decisions.
1 Kings 3 New International Version (NIV)
Solomon Asks for Wisdom
3 Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2 The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the Lord. 3 Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.
4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” 15 Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream.
He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.
A Wise Ruling
16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.
19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. 20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”
22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.”
But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.
23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”
24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”
26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”
But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”
27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”
28 When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.