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.
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