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Solomon Asks for Wisdom(A)

Solomon made a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt. He married Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace, the house of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. The people were sacrificing at the high places, because no house had yet been built for the name of the Lord. Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, though he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.

The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place, and he offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. While he was in Gibeon, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night, and He said, “Ask what you want from Me.”

Solomon answered, “You have shown great mercy to your servant David my father, because he walked before You in faithfulness, righteousness, and uprightness of heart toward You. And You have shown him great kindness in giving him a son to sit on his throne this day.

“Now, O Lord, my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, and I am still a little child and 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, so numerous that they cannot be numbered or counted. Give Your servant therefore an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and bad, for who is able to judge among so great a people?”

10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 God said to him, “Because you have asked this and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for yourself wisdom so that you may have discernment in judging, 12 I now do according to your words. I have given you a wise and an understanding heart, so that there has never been anyone like you in the past, and there shall never arise another like you. 13 I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no kings will compare to you all of your days. 14 If you will walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and My commandments as your father David did, then I will lengthen your days.” 15 Solomon awoke and found 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 of his servants.

The Wisdom of Solomon

16 At that time, two women who were prostitutes came and stood before the king. 17 The first woman said, “O my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I bore a child with her in the house. 18 Three days after I gave birth, she also had a child, and we were together. There was no one else with us in the house, only the two of us were in the house.

19 “Then this woman’s child died during the night because she rolled over on it. 20 She got up at midnight and took my son from beside me while your servant slept and laid him at her bosom and laid her dead child at my bosom. 21 When I rose in the morning to feed my child, it was dead. But when I looked closely in the morning light, I recognized that it was not my son whom I bore.”

22 The other woman said, “No, the living is my son, and the dead is your son.”

And she said, “No, the dead is your son, and the living is my son.” Thus they spoke before the king.

23 Then the king said, “One says, ‘This is my son who lives, and your son is the dead,’ and the other says, ‘No, but your son is dead, and my son is the living.’ ”

24 So the king said, “Bring me a sword.” And they brought a sword before the king. 25 The king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.”

26 Then the woman whose child was the living one spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son, and she said, “O my lord, give her the living child, and do not kill it.”

But the other said, “Let it be neither mine nor yours and divide it.”

27 Then the king answered and said, “Give her the living child, and do not slay it. She is its mother.”

28 All Israel heard of the king’s judgment, and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to execute sound judgment.