Then the king gave his ruling: "Give the living baby to the first woman. By no means should you kill him; she is his mother."
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.)
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.
(E. Thompson, D. D.)
(E. Thompson, D. D.).
PeopleDavid, Gibeon, Pharaoh, Solomon
PlacesEgypt, Gibeon, Jerusalem
TopicsAnswereth, Baby, Child, Death, Kill, Slay, Thereof, Wise
Outline1. 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 Themes1 Kings 3:16-27
5120 Solomon, character
8409 decision-making, and providence
LibraryA 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.
Whether the Degrees of Prophecy Change as Time Goes On?
Letter Lxxiv. To Rufinus of Rome.
Love is the Touchstone by which the Reality of Truth is Perceived...
The Song of Solomon.
Sargon of Assyria (722-705 B. C. )
Tit. 2:06 Thoughts for Young Men
Formation and History of the Hebrew Canon.
Differences in Judgment About Water Baptism, no Bar to Communion: Or, to Communicate with Saints, as Saints, Proved Lawful.
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