Posted in History & Literature

Judgement of Solomon

The Bible tells many stories of a King Solomon, son of David. King Solomon is most famous for his wisdom, of which there are many accounts of in the Bible. The following is an example of the wisdom of Solomon.

There once lived two women living under the same roof who both gave birth to a son at similar times. One of the mothers accidentally smothered her own son while sleeping, and decided to switch the two infants, claiming the living one to be her own. The other woman instantly noticed that the dead baby was not hers and confronted the culprit, asking for her baby back. She refused, leading to a very heated argument that ultimately ended up in the court of King Solomon. The two women pleaded him to make the decision of who the real mother was. After much deliberation, King Solomon called for a sword to be brought before him. He stated that since both women were claiming the boy to be their own, there was only one solution: to split the baby in two and give each person a half of the baby. The lying woman, in bitter jealousy, urged King Solomon to cut the baby. She thought that if she could not have the baby, then no one shall. The true mother, mortified by what King Solomon planned on doing, pleaded him to just give the baby to the other women and not to kill the baby. The king then judged that she must be the true mother and gave the baby back to her, while punishing the other for her sins.

The story shows how the wisdom of King Solomon led to justice and reuniting the mother and baby by method of creating a fake situation that would instantly distinguish the actual mother from the liar. The expression “splitting the baby” is still used in legal professions to describe the act of coming to a simple compromise between two parties.

The intended moral of the story is probably to teach people that wisdom can defeat even the greatest of challenges. But perhaps the real moral of the story is: if you are insane enough to steal a baby, at least have enough acting skills to follow through with it instead of telling someone to kill the baby.