Early morning sun filters into the king’s throne room. Loyal servants hover about, but the peace is shattered by frantic women’s voices from the outer court pleading for an audience with King Solomon.
When King Solomon’s reign began, God offered to help, and Solomon literally asked for a “listening heart” to govern his people. An example of Solomon’s inspired wisdom is found in 1 Kings 3:16-28. Here’s how I imagine the scene.
The women’s arguing made Solomon chuckle to himself, he didn’t like to get involved in women’s quarrels, after all he’s gaining a reputation as a wise king. However, his heart is drawn into the unfolding drama because of another sound--the cries of an infant mixed into the fray.
He motions and two disheveled women walk toward his dais. A bawling newborn is swaddled in a sling in front of one, and the woman makes no effort towards comfort. King Solomon signals for a burly bodyguard to take the infant.
Massive-soldier Hiram does as the king asks, but a frown creases his brow as he awkwardly lifts the tiny babe to his shoulder.
Intent, Solomon listens as the women argue their plights, each claiming to be the birth mother. These facts emerge through their accusations. They live in the same house and both delivered sons the previous week. However, one of the sons died in the night, and now both women swear the tiny babe is theirs.
Solomon wonders which woman is telling the truth. He knows two facts: last night, one woman had a son die and one had a son stolen. Even a fool knew that information added up to two inconsolable women. A swift move of his hand signals for their bickering to stop.
Like a refreshing breath from above, a solution descends upon him. He looks toward Hiram who cradles the mewing infant and wonders how the giant guard has managed to calm the babe? He calls him forward and commands he unsheathe his sword.
Solomon reads his trusted guard’s eyes. Doubt briefly flickered, but he obeys. Hiram stretches out huge palms, in one the babe, in the other the haft of his razor-edged sword. A hush falls over the room.
Solomon steadies his gaze on both women and gives a command to half the child between them. Immediately one woman’s face registers smug pride, but the other woman’s eyes reflect indescribable pain, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” Solomon has his answer. Only a real mother would be willing to give her son to another to spare his life.
When Solomon became king, God offered him gifts. Instead of wealth, power, or fame he asked for good judgment. All of us could benefit from wisdom that descends from the King of Kings, the kind Solomon received.
James encourages, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
That’s a wise request king or not.