(c. 973–c. 933 BC)

King Solomon


Two prostitutes living alone in the same house had babies within three days of each other. One baby died, and its mother stole the other while the mother slept, substituting the corpse of her own baby. Although the other woman noticed the deception, the first woman refused to relinquish the baby. So they came before King Solomon, each claiming that the living child was hers. The king commanded his officers to bring a sword and when it was brought, ordered: “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other.”

The rightful mother, stirred with love and pity for her child, said, “Please, my Lord, give her the living child — please do not kill it!”

The other woman, however, said, “It shall be neither mine nor yours. Divide it!”

The king then answered, “Give the first one the living child! By no means kill it, for she is the mother.”

Biographical Note: 
Solomon was King of Israel, the second son of David by his wife Bathsheba, and the acknowledged favorite of his father. He is renowned for having built the first .

More Information: 

The above anecdote is taken from 1 Kings 3:16-27. Find out more about Solomon.

Photo Info

Image of King Solomon above: “The Judgment of Solomon,” Royal Academy of Arts, London.