Solomon Asks for Wisdom
1Solomon made an agreement with the king of Egypt by marrying his daughter. Solomon brought her to Jerusalem. At this time Solomon was still building his palace and the Temple of the Lord. He was also building a wall around Jerusalem. 2The Temple had not yet been finished. So people were still offering animal sacrifices at altars in many places of worship. 3Solomon showed that he loved the Lord. He did this by following the commands his father David had given him. But Solomon still used the many places of worship to offer sacrifices and to burn incense.
4King Solomon went to Gibeon to offer a sacrifice. He went there because it was the most important place of worship. He offered 1,000 burnt offerings on that altar. 5While he was at Gibeon, the Lord came to him in a dream during the night. God said, “Ask for anything you want. I will give it to you.”
6Solomon answered, “You were very kind to your servant, my father David. He obeyed you. He was honest and lived right. And you showed great kindness to him when you allowed his son to be king after him. 7Lord my God, you have allowed me to be king in my father’s place. But I am like a little child. I do not have the wisdom I need to do what I must do. 8I, your servant, am here among your chosen people. There are too many of them to count. 9So I ask that you give me wisdom. Then I can rule the people in the right way. Then I will know the difference between right and wrong. Without wisdom, it is impossible to rule this great people of yours.”
10The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked him for this. 11So God said to him, “You did not ask for a long life. And you did not ask for riches for yourself. You did not ask for the death of your enemies. Since you asked for wisdom to make the right decisions, 12I will give you what you asked. I will give you wisdom and understanding. Your wisdom will be greater than anyone has had in the past. And there will never be anyone in the future like you. 13Also, I will give you what you did not ask for. You will have riches and honor. During your life no other king will be as great as you. 14I ask you to follow me and obey my laws and commands. Do this as your father David did. If you do, I will also give you a long life.”
15Then Solomon woke up. He knew that God had talked to him in the dream. Then he went to Jerusalem and stood before the Ark of the Covenant with the Lord. There he gave burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. After that, he gave a feast for all of his leaders and officers.
Solomon Makes a Wise Decision
16One day two women who were prostitutes came to Solomon. They stood before him. 17One of the women said, “My master, this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she was there with me. 18Three days later this woman also gave birth to a baby. No one else was in the house with us. There were only the two of us. 19One night this woman rolled over on her baby, and it died. 20So during the night she took my son from my bed while I was asleep. She carried him to her bed. Then she put the dead baby in my bed. 21The next morning I got up to feed my baby. But I saw that he was dead! Then I looked at him more closely. I saw that he was not my son.”
22But the other woman said, “No! The living baby is my son. The dead baby is yours!”
But the first woman said, “No! The dead baby is yours, and the living one is mine!” So the two women argued before the king.
23Then King Solomon said, “Each of you says the living baby is your own. And each of you says the dead baby belongs to the other woman.”
24Then King Solomon sent his servants to get a sword. When they brought it to him, 25he said, “Cut the living baby into two pieces. Give each woman half of the baby.”
26The real mother of the living child was full of love for her son. She said to the king, “Please, my master, don’t kill him! Give the baby to her!”
But the other woman said, “Neither of us will have him. Cut him into two pieces!”
27Then King Solomon said, “Give the baby to the first woman. Don’t kill him. She is the real mother.”
28When the people of Israel heard about King Solomon’s decision, they respected him very much. They saw he had wisdom from God to make the right decisions.