1 Kings 3:16-28; 6
David ruled Israel for forty years. When he died, his kingdom passed to his son Solomon. Solomon was a great king who ruled in peace. To show his thanks, Solomon decided to build a beautiful temple to the Lord. It was made with the finest cedar wood from Lebanon and with huge blocks of stone. Solomon decorated the Temple with gold and rich carvings. In front of it stood two great bronze pillars. It took Solomon seven years to build the Temple. But when the Israelites spoke of King Solomon, they praised his great wisdom, not his wonderful buildings. Once two women came before Solomon. "My lord," the first woman said, "this woman and I were living alone in the same house when I gave birth to a baby boy. Three days later she also had a baby boy. That night both of us went to sleep holding our babies. But this woman fell asleep on top of her baby, and the poor child died. At midnight she woke up and saw that her baby was not breathing. She crept into my room, quietly took my baby away from me, and put her dead baby in my bed." "You are lying!" cried the second woman.
"Let the woman finish her story," Solomon ordered.
"When I woke up," the first woman went on, "I discovered the dead baby in my bed, but I saw that it was not my baby. Now I want my baby back." "Nonsense!" answered the second woman, and the two women argued back and forth while King Solomon looked on. Finally he said, "Bring me a sword." The king's servants brought him a sword. "Now," ordered the king, "cut the baby in two, and give half to each woman. That way both of them will be satisfied." "No!" cried the first woman, weeping. "Let her have the child. Anything, as long as you do not harm him." "It is a good judgment," the second woman said. "If I cannot have the baby, at least she will not have him." For a moment everyone was silent. Then King Solomon spoke. "Give the first woman the child," he said. "She is the mother. She loves the baby so much that she would rather part with...
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