1And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. 2Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the LORD, until those days. 3And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. 4And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.
5¶ In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. 6And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.3.6 mercy: or, bounty 7And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. 8And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 9Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?3.9 understanding: Heb. hearing 10And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;3.11 long life: Heb. many days3.11 discern: Heb. hear 12Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. 13And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.3.13 shall…: or, hath not been 14And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. 15And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.
16¶ Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him. 17And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house. 18And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house. 19And this woman’s child died in the night; because she overlaid it. 20And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. 21And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear. 22And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king. 23Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living. 24And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. 25And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. 26Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.3.26 yearned: Heb. were hot 27Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof. 28And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.3.28 in him: Heb. in the midst of him
Solomon Asks God for Wisdom
1Solomon and Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, agreed to help each other. So Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter. He brought her to the City of David. She stayed there until he finished building his palace, the Lord’s temple, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2But the people continued to offer sacrifices at the high places where they worshiped. That’s because a temple hadn’t been built yet where the Lord would put his Name. 3Solomon showed his love for the Lord. He did it by obeying the laws his father David had taught him. But Solomon offered sacrifices at the high places. He also burned incense there.
4King Solomon went to the city of Gibeon to offer sacrifices. That’s where the most important high place was. There he offered 1,000 burnt offerings on the altar. 5The Lord appeared to Solomon at Gibeon. He spoke to him in a dream during the night. God said, “Ask for anything you want me to give you.”
6Solomon answered, “You have been very kind to my father David, your servant. That’s because he was faithful to you. He did what was right. His heart was honest. And you have continued to be very kind to him. You have given him a son to sit on his throne this day.
7“Lord my God, you have now made me king. You have put me in the place of my father David. But I’m only a little child. I don’t know how to carry out my duties. 8I’m here among the people you have chosen. They are a great nation. They are more than anyone can count. 9So give me a heart that understands. Then I can rule over your people. I can tell the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Who can possibly rule over this great nation of yours?”
10The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for that. 11So God said to him, “You have not asked to live for a long time. You have not asked to be wealthy. You have not even asked to have your enemies killed. Instead, you have asked for wisdom. You want to do what is right and fair when you judge people. Because that is what you have asked for, 12I will give it to you. I will give you a wise and understanding heart. So here is what will be true of you. There has never been anyone like you. And there never will be. 13And that is not all. I will give you what you have not asked for. I will give you wealth and honor. As long as you live, no other king will be as great as you are. 14Live the way I want you to. Obey my laws and commands, just as your father David did. Then I will let you live for a long time.” 15Solomon woke up. He realized he had been dreaming.
He returned to Jerusalem. He stood in front of the ark of the Lord’s covenant. He sacrificed burnt offerings and friendship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his officials.
A Wise Ruling
16Two prostitutes came to the king. They stood in front of him. 17One of them said, “Pardon me, my master, this woman and I live in the same house. I had a baby while she was there with me. 18Three days after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone. There wasn’t anyone in the house but the two of us.
19“During the night this woman’s baby died. It happened because she was lying on top of him. 20So she got up in the middle of the night. She took my son from my side while I was asleep. She put him by her breast. Then she put her dead son by my breast. 21The next morning, I got up to nurse my son. But he was dead! I looked at him closely in the morning light. And I saw that it wasn’t my baby.”
22The other woman said, “No! The living baby is my son. The dead one belongs to you.”
But the first woman said, “No! The dead baby is yours. The living one belongs to me.” So they argued in front of the king.
23The king said, “One of you says, ‘My son is alive. Your son is dead.’ The other one says, ‘No! Your son is dead. Mine is alive.’ ”
24He continued, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought to him. 25Then he gave an order. He said, “Cut the living child in two. Give half to one woman and half to the other.”
26The woman whose son was alive was filled with deep love for her son. She said to the king, “My master, please give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”
But the other woman said, “Neither one of us will have him. Cut him in two!”
27Then the king made his decision. He said, “Give the living baby to the first woman. Don’t kill him. She’s his mother.”
28All the Israelites heard about the decision the king had given. That gave them great respect for him. They saw that God had given him wisdom. They knew that Solomon would do what was right and fair when he judged people.