1 Kings 3:20
So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I was asleep. She laid him in her bosom and put her dead son at my bosom.
The Prayer of Solomon and its FulfilmentE. De Pressense 1 Kings 3:3-16; 4:2-34
Administration of Justice Difficult1 Kings 3:16-28
Evil of DivisionsE. Thompson, D. D.1 Kings 3:16-28
Judgment Obtained by Appeal to the Principle of AffectionE. Thompson, D. D.1 Kings 3:16-28
The MotherA. Mursell.1 Kings 3:16-28
The True MotherR. Young, M. A.1 Kings 3:16-28

Solomon was never more kingly than when he made this choice. Subsequently he became enervated by prosperity, corrupted by heathen associations, etc., but now he ruled as a king over himself. The bright promise of life is often gradually overcast, till it ends in the gloom of a hopeless night. Examples from Scripture, e.g., Saul the King, Esau. It is well to know the kind of choice that "pleased the Lord." In Solomon's there was true wisdom, for it had these elements -

I. THE CHOICE WAS FOR THE GOOD OF OTHERS RATHER THAN FOR THE ADVANTAGE OF HIMSELF. It was not like asking for knowledge and wisdom that he might himself be admired as a sage. This followed, but this he did not seek. He wished to rule God's people well for their good, and asked that he might do what was just in judgment, what was equitable in law. Such equity establishes any rule on a sure foundation. Our hold on India is chiefly due to the righteousness of our magistrates, and the trustworthiness of men like the Lawrences, Lord Mayo, etc. Natives would not hesitate to bring an action in one of our English law courts against an Englishman, so certain are they of even-handed justice. This Solomon sought, and the peace and prosperity of his kingdom (1 Kings 4:25) arose from the fact that God gave it him. To ask God to make us wise and capable for the sake of others, is a prayer consonant with His will. Unselfishness is commended and exalted under the new dispensation as it never was under the old. Christ Himself came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life "a ransom for many." The prayer of selfishness, greed, avarice, can never be put up in Christ's name.

II. THE CHOICE WAS MADE OF INWARD WORTH AND NOT OF OUTWARD SHOW. He did not ask for himself riches and honour. What will make us noble is always more readily given by God than what will make us wealthy. A wise father would rather that his son should be truthful than that he should win popularity among his schoolfellows by anything surreptitious and deceitful. So our heavenly Father cares little that we should make money, or win applause; but He cares much that we should be wise, and true, and loving; and these graces He will in no wise withhold from those who seek. Sometimes He answers our prayers for these inward blessings in modes we resent. The illness that throws us back upon Him, the failure that proves a man's life does not consist in the abundance of things that he possesseth, etc., may work in us the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The Lord Jesus, who was at once the King of Glory and the village carpenter, showed us this; and in the inward gladness His disciples experienced amid their outward woes, we have confirmation of it. Show how, in New Testament history, and in the lives of the saints, the words which begin the Sermon on the Mount have been fulfilled. Blessedness of the highest kind comes to the poor in spirit, to them that mourn, to the meek, to them which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, to the merciful, to the pure in heart, to the peacemakers, and even to those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.

III. THE CHOICE MADE OF THE HIGHER BROUGHT WITH IT THE LOWER BLESSINGS, (Vers. 11-13) Because Solomon asked wisdom God gave him that, but added to it wealth and honour. If we ask grace to fulfil our mission, and rightly do our life work, our heavenly Father will see that we do not want for life's necessities. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." The teaching of Christ (Matthew 6:24-34) goes to show that a man who is chiefly concerned to please God need have no anxiety or care about lower things. If God feeds the birds, He will feed you; if He clothes the lilies, He will clothe you; if He gives the life, He will give the "meat" that is less than life. Ask God for the higher blessings: pardon, righteousness, reverence, wisdom, etc., and He will give you not only these, but all things necessary for us, and all the riches and honours that are good for us. Solomon's wisdom was great, but there has come into the world one greater than Solomon, more worthy far of our adoration and love. As the child in Nazareth, Jesus grew in wisdom, and in stature, and in favour with God and man. His wisdom was purer, deeper, truer than Solomon's, because it was united with purity of life, with victory over sin, and with sacrifice of self. He is the true Shelomoh, "the Prince of Peace;" the true Jedidiah, "the well beloved of the Father;" and to Him now let us humbly bow the knee, as to One worthy to be exalted both as Prince and Saviour. - A.R.

Then came there two women.
I. THAT SIN PRODUCES SUFFERING. The two women who came for judgment to Solomon were harlots; and the offsprings of their impurity were the means by which they were afflicted. The sin of unchastity is one of the most grievous of offences, because it is the one whose results are the most debasing and the most far-reaching. Of this sin, as of all others, it is eternally true, that the wages of sin is death.

II. THAT IN THE MOST DEGRADED NATURES SOME NOBLE TRAIT REMAINS. Some relic of a vanished Eden lingers in the worst of us, although the slime of the serpent may be over it still. These women, though sinners, loved their children. There is hope then for the worst of offenders, inasmuch as in every human soul there are dormant spiritual symphonies, which, when the dark night of sin is over, shall, at the dawning of a brighter day, be wakened by the touch of sympathy, like Memnon's statue, into music and into life.

III. THAT WHERE THE IGNORANT CAN SEE ONLY CRUELTY AND DISORDER, THE WISE AND FAITHFUL CAN RECOGNISE BENEFICENCE AND ORDER. The king, calling for a sword, ordered the living child to be divided. A cruel decree, superficial thinkers would say; but it was only a test after all, devised by true wisdom, in order the more readily to reveal the true mother. When men are so hasty in impugning the action of the Deity, and in imputing cruelty or unconcern to God at any period of public or private calamity, it would be well for them to bethink them of their own ignorance. So to us, who see but here in part through a glass darkly, the operations of God in grace and in nature must present many difficulties and apparent anomalies.

IV. THAT NOT BY OUTWARD PROFESSIONS, BUT BY THE SENTIMENTS OF THE HEART, MUST EACH OF US BE JUDGED. Both these women professed equally to love the living child; but it was seen speedily in the hour of trial as to which of the two had real feelings of maternal affection in her heart. It is what we are, and not what we have pretended to be, that will avail us "in the hour of death and in the day of judgment."

V. THAT OFTEN, WHEN GOD GIVES TO US A LIVING TALENT, AS A LIVING CHILD WAS GIVEN TO EACH OF THESE WOMEN, WE, LAZILY SLUMBERING AWAY OUR TIME, FAIL TO BE THANKFUL FOR IT, OR TO UTILISE IT AS WE OUGHT. By negligence on our own part, — as in the case of the woman who overlaid her child, — or by the craftiness of other agencies, be it those of world, flesh, or devil, taking advantage of our own supineness, — as in the case of the woman whose child was stolen while she slept, — we lose our gift from God, our living grace, and find, when we awake from our slumbers, only a dead image of a departed spiritual beauty, which no shedding of our heart's best blood can again quicken into life.

(R. Young, M. A.)

Musicians strike a key or note which they call a "natural," sometimes. It was for this note that Solomon was listening — the note of nature. The soldier's naked sword gleamed close to the baby's naked flesh, and, like a tuning-fork, it struck its note before it struck its blow. Its note was differently read by two different auditors. Two women's hearts took up the key. The one followed it with a murmur of contentment, willing that its work of blood should be accomplished. The other caught it with a cry of horror, as if it struck a discord in her soul. The sword was the baton of harmony to jealousy, but of horror to motherhood and love. There was nothing unnatural to the vixen heart in the decree to cut the babe in half. But the voice of motherhood found vent in a shriek which preferred anything to that, and accepted bereavement. and injustice rather than that innocence be harmed.

1. And this is the first instinct on which the relationship reposes. Instinct is a shorter and surer way to right conclusion than reason. It reaches it by a passionate leap, rather than by a patient process. Inference, sequence, deduction, calculation, hypothesis; these are the cumbersome machinery of what calls itself philosophy; and they almost always lead to a separate result in each separate mind which uses them, when they lead to any result at all; so that the only certain issue of their use is confusion worse confounded. With instinct it is all postulate, and all that complicates the logic of love, or encumbers the swift process of its flight, must be conceded, or it will be taken for granted. With the love that springs out of any relationship this will be more or less the rule; but with maternal love it is pre-eminently so.

2. If the mother-instinct pervaded all humanity, there would be no intricate question created out of the vivisection stir, on which science, "falsely so called," is condescending to dispute. It would be taken for granted that it was base and brutal; and that higher reason, to whose platform instinct often vaults by its own innate buoyancy, would declare that true science has resources too vast to be compelled to criminality to reach discovery; that the intelligence that would grope its way through cruelty to daylight misses its path, and takes a false name; and that men who pretend to find instruction in the infliction of agony on what is dumb and defenceless, instead of being a little lower than the angels, are a great deal lower than the beasts they butcher. But if the very principle of motherhood is instinctive and unreasoning, its developments are not unfrequently capricious and unreasonable. Maternal love is often diluted by maternal cares. Necessities increase with each renewal of the relationship; but the means of meeting them too often diminish. The natural selection of the mother's heart is towards the weakest and most helpless; and the survival of the fittest in the breast which is maternal, is asserted by feebleness rather than by strength. The mother loves that best to which she can give most.

3. It comes within the mother's province to lead the child into the fragrant orbit of religious influence, and to guide its feet when young amidst those scenes which shall colour its whole life, giving ballast to its youth, strength to its prime, and light at eventide to illumine its old age. Then if you would not burlesque that religion and repel the child, gild it with the sunshine with which its Author fills it. Let it be a garden of flowers, not an Egyptian brickfield of toil. The patience and the ingenuity of motherhood are boundless, and in no sweeter mission can they be embarked than in leading the children to the Saviour. Show them His sweet example. The wisest and the truest mothers axe the Hannahs who give their children to the Lord.

(A. Mursell.)

Now, by the same law that it would have been wicked in Solomon to have divided the child, is it wicked in us to divide our affections. Divisions at all times are bad. Whether they harass a church, which should be of one mind and one body; or a family, which should be united and strong in fellowship and love; we may rest assured, that evil consequences must arise, most injurious to individual members. And as for a house, we are told, if it be divided against itself it cannot stand. The Jew and the Gentile were two distinct persons, but Christianity made them one people. By the universality of the Gospel, all nations were united; by embracing the same faith they became one; a distinct people, having an appointed priesthood, with the great Author of our religion as their Head. They became indeed a church — one body, with one spirit — "a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure Word of God is preached, and the sacraments are duly ministered, according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same."

(E. Thompson, D. D.)

James the First is said to have tried his hand as a judge, but to have been so much perplexed when he had heard both sides that lie abandoned the trade in despair, saying, "I could get on very well hearing one side only, but when both sides have to be heard, by my soul, I know not which is right."

Among the heathens we read of similar decisions. We read of an emperor having discovered a woman to be the mother of a certain young man, whom she refused to acknowledge as her son, by commanding her to marry him; but rather than this, she confessed the truth. Another instance we read, is that of the King of Thrace, being appointed to decide between three young men, who each professed to be the son of a deceased king, and claimed the crown in consequence; but Ariopharnes found out the real son, by commanding each to shoot an arrow into the body of the dead king; two of them did this without any hesitation; the third refused, and was therefore judged to be the real son. In both cases an appeal was made to the principle of affection; and the truth was discovered, as in the case of the mother of the living child.

(E. Thompson, D. D.).

David, Gibeon, Pharaoh, Solomon
Egypt, Gibeon, Jerusalem
Arms, Asleep, Beside, Bosom, Breast, Child, Dead, Got, Handmaid, Laid, Layeth, Maidservant, Middle, Midnight, Riseth, Servant, Sleeping, Slept, Taketh
1. Solomon marries Pharaoh's daughter
2. High places being in use, Solomon sacrifices at Gibeon
5. Solomon at Gibeon, in the choice which God gave him,
10. preferring wisdom, obtains wisdom, riches, and honor
16. Solomon's judgment makes him renowned

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Kings 3:20

     5140   breasts

1 Kings 3:16-27

     5383   lawsuits
     5834   disagreement

1 Kings 3:16-28

     5120   Solomon, character
     5652   babies
     8367   wisdom, importance of

A Young Man's Wise Choice Op Wisdom
'In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. 6. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before Thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with Thee; and Thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that Thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7. And now, O Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king instead of David my father: and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"But Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness," &C.
Matt. vi. 33.--"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness," &c. This is a part of Christ's long sermon. He is dissuading his disciples and the people from carnal carefulness and worldly mindedness. The sermon holds out the Christian's diverse aspects towards spiritual and external things. What is the Christian's disposition in regard to the world, how should he look upon food, raiment, and all things necessary in this life? "Be careful for nothing." "Take no thought for your life,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Whether the Degrees of Prophecy Change as Time Goes On?
Objection 1: It would seem that the degrees of prophecy change as time goes on. For prophecy is directed to the knowledge of Divine things, as stated above [3690](A[2]). Now according to Gregory (Hom. in Ezech.), "knowledge of God went on increasing as time went on." Therefore degrees of prophecy should be distinguished according to the process of time. Objection 2: Further, prophetic revelation is conveyed by God speaking to man; while the prophets declared both in words and in writing the things
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Letter Lxxiv. To Rufinus of Rome.
Rufinus, a Roman Presbyter (to be carefully distinguished from Rufinus of Aquileia and Rufinus the Syrian), had written to Jerome for an explanation of the judgment of Solomon (1 Kings iii. 16-28). This Jerome gives at length, treating the narrative as a parable and making the false and true mothers types of the Synagogue and the Church. The date of the letter is 398 a.d.
St. Jerome—The Principal Works of St. Jerome

Love is the Touchstone by which the Reality of Truth is Perceived...
1. Love is the touchstone by which the reality of truth is perceived, and by it shall all men know that ye are My disciples (John xiii.35). I also make use of the sword of justice, so that at first sight some are inclined to think that, like Solomon, I intend to finish My work without mercy (1 Kings iii.16-28), but My object, like his, is to apply the touchstone of love which will bring out the truth, and show that you are the children of that God of Love who gave His life to save yours. You ought
Sadhu Sundar Singh—At The Master's Feet

The Song of Solomon.
An important link in the chain of the Messianic hopes is formed by the Song of Solomon. It is intimately associated with Ps. lxxii., which was written by Solomon, and represents the Messiah as the Prince of Peace, imperfectly prefigured by Solomon as His type. As in this Psalm, so also in the Song of Solomon, the coming of the Messiah forms the subject throughout, and He is introduced there under the name of Solomon, the Peaceful One. His coming shall be preceded by severe afflictions, represented
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Sargon of Assyria (722-705 B. C. )
SARGON AS A WARRIOR AND AS A BUILDER. The origin of Sargon II.: the revolt of Babylon, Merodach-baladan and Elam--The kingdom of Elam from the time of the first Babylonian empire; the conquest's of Shutruh-nalkunta I.; the princes of Malamir--The first encounter of Assyria and Elam, the battle of Durilu (721 B.C.)--Revolt of Syria, Iaubidi of Hamath and Hannon of Gaza--Bocchoris and the XXIVth Egyptian dynasty; the first encounter of Assyria with Egypt, the battle of Raphia (720 B.C.). Urartu
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 7

Tit. 2:06 Thoughts for Young Men
WHEN St. Paul wrote his Epistle to Titus about his duty as a minister, he mentioned young men as a class requiring peculiar attention. After speaking of aged men and aged women, and young women, he adds this pithy advice, "Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded" (Tit. 2:6). I am going to follow the Apostle's advice. I propose to offer a few words of friendly exhortation to young men. I am growing old myself, but there are few things I remember so well as the days of my youth. I have a most
John Charles Ryle—The Upper Room: Being a Few Truths for the Times

Formation and History of the Hebrew Canon.
1. The Greek word canon (originally a straight rod or pole, measuring-rod, then rule) denotes that collection of books which the churches receive as given by inspiration of God, and therefore as constituting for them a divine rule of faith and practice. To the books included in it the term canonical is applied. The Canon of the Old Testament, considered in reference to its constituent parts, was formed gradually; formed under divine superintendence by a process of growth extending through
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

Differences in Judgment About Water Baptism, no Bar to Communion: Or, to Communicate with Saints, as Saints, Proved Lawful.
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The book[1] of Kings is strikingly unlike any modern historical narrative. Its comparative brevity, its curious perspective, and-with some brilliant exceptions--its relative monotony, are obvious to the most cursory perusal, and to understand these things is, in large measure, to understand the book. It covers a period of no less than four centuries. Beginning with the death of David and the accession of Solomon (1 Kings i., ii.) it traverses his reign with considerable fulness (1 Kings iii.-xi.),
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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