Apr 17, 2022. I Kings 3:16-28

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A SON BY HALF. I Kings 3:16-28. 04/17/2022. #10.

16 Now two women who were harlots came to the king, and stood before him. 17 And one woman said, “O my lord, this woman and I dwell in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house. 18 Then it happened, the third day after I had given birth, that this woman also gave birth. And we were together; no one was with us in the house, except the two of us in the house. 19 And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him. 20 So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from my side, while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. 21 And when I rose in the morning to nurse my son, there he was, dead. But when I had examined him in the morning, indeed, he was not my son whom I had borne.” 22 Then the other woman said, “No! But the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son.” And the first woman said, “No! But the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son.” Thus they spoke before the king. 23 And the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son, who lives, and your son is the dead one’; and the other says, ‘No! But your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.’ ” 24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword before the king. 25 And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other.” 26 Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, “O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!” But the other said, “Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him.” 27 So the king answered and said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother.” 28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.

1. Royal judgment seat

                a. One of the roles of the king was to render judgment

                                a1. David often did not do well in rendering justice (Joab, Amnon, Absalom, Ziba,…)

                                a2. The priests had a role in justice

                                a3. Jethro had advised his son-in-law to appoint helpers to render justice in issues

                                a4. The judges went from village to village to render judgment

                                a5. Samuel’s sons were corrupt in justice

                b. Solomon had been given wisdom by God to issue justice and discern truth

2. Hidden issues

                a. Many times the true facts are hidden in cases

                                a1. Without certifiable witnesses or irrefutable evidence, many cases are unknowable

                                a2. A not guilty verdict often means that there was not enough evidence to convict rather than the accused is innocent of the crime

                b. In the absence of facts, speculation and force of argument take over, often to injustice

3. Two harlots in a house

                a. Two harlots were brought before Solomon

                                a1. Harlots are already women of ill repute

                                a2. Both these harlots live in the same house

                b. Babies of the business

                                a1. Prostitutes often give birth to illegitimate babies (often without knowing the father)

                                a2. Both these harlots give birth 3 days apart

                                a3. In the middle of the night, Harlot #2 rolled over on top of her child, smothering it

                c. Harlot #2 awoke and realized what she had done

                                a1. She exchanged her deceased child with Harlot #1’s live child

                                a2. When Harlot #1 awoke, she realized that the deceased child was not hers

                d. Harlot #1 accused Harlot #2 of making the switch

                                a1. Harlot #2 denied switching babies

                                a2. Lesser officials could not resolve the issue

4. Two halves do not make a whole

                a. After listening to the stories of Harlot #1 and Harlot #2, Solomon has no idea what the truth is

                                a1. Forensics and DNA testing are centuries away

                                a2. There were no witnesses to call forth

                b. Solomon understood human nature

                                a1. He knew that the true mother would be more concerned with the life of the child than raising the child

                                a2. He also knew that the mother of the dead child would rather see both children dead than hers dead and her roommate’s alive

                c. Solomon commands a sword be brought him to split the baby into halves to give to each mother

                                a1. Harlot #1 cries out to give the baby to Harlot #2

                                a2. Harlot #2 tells Solomon to go ahead and kill the baby

                d. Solomon declares that Harlot #1 is the true mother

                                a1. Solomon’s wise conduct puts fear in his subjects (nothing could be hidden from the king)

                                a2. They had not seen such discernment before

                e. James 1:5 God is the author of wisdom

                                a1. He grants wisdom to seekers (Matthew 7:7-8)                                 a2. When we reject wisdom, we sow vanity