16 One day two prostitutes came and presented themselves before King Solomon. 17 One of them said, “Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a baby boy at home while she was there. 18 Two days after my child was born, she also gave birth to a baby boy. Only the two of us were there in the house—no one else was present. 19 Then one night she accidentally rolled over on her baby and smothered it. 20 She got up during the night, took my son from my side while I was asleep, and carried him to her bed; then she put the dead child in my bed. 21 The next morning, when I woke up and was going to nurse my baby, I saw that it was dead. I looked at it more closely and saw that it was not my child.”
22 But the other woman said, “No! The living child is mine, and the dead one is yours!”
The first woman answered back, “No! The dead child is yours, and the living one is mine!”
And so they argued before the king.
23 Then King Solomon said, “Each of you claims that the living child is hers and that the dead child belongs to the other one.” 24 He sent for a sword, and when it was brought, 25 he said, “Cut the living child in two and give each woman half of it.”
26 The real mother, her heart full of love for her son, said to the king, “Please, Your Majesty, don't kill the child! Give it to her!”
But the other woman said, “Don't give it to either of us; go on and cut it in two.”
27 Then Solomon said, “Don't kill the child! Give it to the first woman—she is its real mother.”
28 When the people of Israel heard of Solomon's decision, they were all filled with deep respect for him, because they knew then that God had given him the wisdom to settle disputes fairly.
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