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1 Kings 3:16-28The Message (MSG)

16-21 The very next thing, two prostitutes showed up before the king. The one woman said, “My master, this woman and I live in the same house. While we were living together, I had a baby. Three days after I gave birth, this woman also had a baby. We were alone—there wasn’t anyone else in the house except for the two of us. The infant son of this woman died one night when she rolled over on him in her sleep. She got up in the middle of the night and took my son—I was sound asleep, mind you!—and put him at her breast and put her dead son at my breast. When I got up in the morning to nurse my son, here was this dead baby! But when I looked at him in the morning light, I saw immediately that he wasn’t my baby.”

22 “Not so!” said the other woman. “The living one’s mine; the dead one’s yours.”

The first woman countered, “No! Your son’s the dead one; mine’s the living one.”

They went back and forth this way in front of the king.

23 The king said, “What are we to do? This woman says, ‘The living son is mine and the dead one is yours,’ and this woman says, ‘No, the dead one’s yours and the living one’s mine.’”

24 After a moment the king said, “Bring me a sword.” They brought the sword to the king.

25 Then he said, “Cut the living baby in two—give half to one and half to the other.”

26 The real mother of the living baby was overcome with emotion for her son and said, “Oh no, master! Give her the whole baby alive; don’t kill him!”

But the other one said, “If I can’t have him, you can’t have him—cut away!”

27 The king gave his decision: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Nobody is going to kill this baby. She is the real mother.”

28 The word got around—everyone in Israel heard of the king’s judgment. They were all in awe of the king, realizing that it was God’s wisdom that enabled him to judge truly.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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