1 Kings 3
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Solomon’s Rule Consolidated

1Now Solomon became a son-in-law to Pharaoh king of Egypt [and formed an alliance] by [a]taking Pharaoh’s daughter [in marriage]. He brought her to the [b]City of David [where she remained temporarily] until he had finished building his own house (palace) and the house of the LORD and the wall around Jerusalem. 2But [in the meantime] the people were still sacrificing [to God] on the high places (hilltops) [as the pagans did to their idols], for there was no [permanent] house yet built for the [c]Name of the LORD.

3Now Solomon loved the LORD, walking [at first] in the statutes of David his father, except [for the fact that] he sacrificed and burned incense in the high places [ignoring the law that required all sacrifices to be offered at the tabernacle]. 4The king went to Gibeon [near Jerusalem, where the tabernacle and the bronze altar stood] to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask [Me] what I shall give you.”

Solomon’s Prayer

6Then Solomon said, “You have shown Your servant David my father great lovingkindness, because he walked before You in faithfulness and righteousness and with uprightness of heart toward You; and You have kept for him this great lovingkindness, in that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is today. 7So now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king in place of David my father; and as for me, I am but a little boy [[d]in wisdom and experience]; I do not know how to go out or come in [that is, how to conduct business as a king]. 8Your servant is among Your people whom You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted. 9So give Your servant an understanding mind and a hearing heart [with which] to judge Your people, so that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge and rule this great people of Yours?”

God’s Answer

10Now it pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. 11God said to him, “Because you have asked this and have not asked for yourself a long life nor for wealth, nor for the lives of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to recognize justice, 12behold, I have done as you asked. I have given you a wise and discerning heart (mind), so that no one before you was your equal, nor shall anyone equal to you arise after you. 13I have also given you what you have not asked, both wealth and honor, so that there will not be anyone equal to you among the kings, for all your days. 14If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and My commandments, as your father David [e]did, then I will lengthen your days.”

15Then Solomon awoke, and he realized that it was a dream. He came [back] to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; he offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and he prepared a feast for all his servants.

Solomon Wisely Judges

16Then two women who were prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17And the one woman said, “O my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. 18And on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were [alone] together; no one else was with us in the house, just we two. 19Now this woman’s son died during the night, because she lay on him [and smothered him]. 20So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from [his place] beside me while your maidservant was asleep, and laid him on her bosom, and laid her dead son on my bosom. 21When I got up in the morning to nurse my son, behold, he was dead. But when I examined him carefully in the morning, behold, it was not my son, the one whom I had borne.” 22Then the other woman said, “No! For my son is the one who is living, and your son is the dead one.” But the first woman said, “No! For your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.” [This is how] they were speaking before the king.

23Then the king said, “This woman says, ‘This is my son, the one who is alive, and your son is the dead one’; and the other woman says, ‘No! For your son is the dead one, and my son is the one who is alive.’” 24Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword before the king. 25Then the king said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to the one [woman] and half to the other.” 26Then the woman whose child was the living one spoke to the king, for she was deeply moved over her son, “O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; cut him!27Then the king said, “Give the first woman [who is pleading for his life] the living child, and by no means kill him. She is his mother.” 28When all [the people of] Israel heard about the judgment which the king had made, they [were in awe and reverently] feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was within him to administer justice.

[a] 1 Pharaoh gave the Canaanite city of Gezer to his daughter as a dowry. Located on a major trade route it was strategically important to the economies of both Egypt and Israel (see 9:16).
[b] 1 This was on the south side of the eastern ridge of Jerusalem.
[c] 2 See note Deut 12:5.
[d] 7 Solomon was already a father (see 11:42; 14:21).
[e] 14 Lit walked.

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