Melekim Aleph (1 Kings) 3:16-28:
16Some time later two prostitutes came to the king to have an argument settled. 17 “Please, my King,” one of them began, “this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she was with me in the house. 18 Three days later this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there were only two of us in the house.
19 “But her baby died during the night when she rolled over on it. 20 Then she got up in the night and took my son from beside me while I was asleep. She laid her dead child in my arms and took mine to sleep beside her. 21 And in the morning when I tried to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t my son at all.”
22 Then the other woman interrupted, “It certainly was your son, and the living child is mine.”
“No,” the first woman said, “the living child is mine, and the dead one is yours.” And so they argued back and forth before the king.
23 Then the king said, “Let’s get the facts straight. Both of you claim the living child is yours, and each says that the dead one belongs to the other. 24 All right, bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought to the king.
25 Then he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other!”
26 Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who loved him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my king! Give her the child—please do not kill him!”
But the other woman said, “All right, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us!”
27 Then the king said, “Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother!”
28 When all Yisra’el heard the king’s decision, the people were in awe of the king, for they saw the wisdom Elohim had given him for rendering justice.
We know that King Shelomoh (Solomon) was very wise, in fact, out of all the gifts offered to him upon his coronation by the Most High, “wisdom” was the most blessed request that could have been made. So much so, that not only did Yahweh bless him with wisdom, but also increased him in wealth and dominion as well. Given that bit of background information, we are left with this accounting as one of the few example of his wisdom.
The surface level understanding is very clear: we have a beautiful example of King Shelomoh’s wisdom, a true gift from Elohim, and the true power of the love of a mother for her child. Unconditional love so strong and unselfish, that the woman would rather see her child given away so that it lives, than to have it be killed due to lies and deceitfulness. It is the type of love that we should have for all of Yahweh’s people.
On a metaphorical level, we see the two prostitutes/whores, which symbolize the nations of Yisra’el and Yehudah – this is a foreshadowing, because the kingdom had not yet been divided from Shelomoh’s hand, and yet should have served as an eerie warning to coming events. The two nations repeatedly whored after different the deities (g-ds) of the surrounding peoples. Shelomoh himself built temples and high places to the chief deities of His many wives. He had a choice to repent from his evils, but because he sought to placate his wives rather than seek the face of Yahweh, Yahweh in His righteous anger separated the kingdom into two – the Northern Kingdom Yisra’el/Ephrayim which were the 10 northern tribes (Reuven, Shim’on, Gad, Naphtali, Zevulun, Asher, Dan, Menashsheh, Ephrayim, Yissakar [& some of Levi]) and the Southern kingdom Yehudah which consisted of Yehudah, Binyamin, and the majority of Levi. Because of the extreme lengths Yaroboam (Jeroboam, King of the Northern Kingdom) went to replace the Feast of Yahweh with alternate dates and feast to the Ba’als, Yahweh sent them into exile (the Diaspora) to become one with the nations – they were spiritually dead and divorced by Yahweh, left to the desire of their evil hearts and to truly become one with the nations, not a set apart people. The Kingdom of Yehudah did not do much better, but because of the everlasting covenant made with King David, there had to remain a remnant for David’s seed to rule.
On the spiritual level, this is a story about you and me and our salvation. How is that you may ask? Well, the two women symbolize the two kingdoms that are in constant conflict over you – the fleshly world (the Adversary’s kingdom) and the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven (Yahweh’s/Yahushua’s kingdom). One Kingdom and its laws lead you to life, one with blessings and prosperity. The other kingdom and its laws lead you to death, with curses and a false sense of prosperity. Many have come before you and have been used by the Adversary unto death, symbolized by the prostitute with the dead son – when one is used up, he moves on to the next to advance his kingdom without regard for the loss of life. But the Messiah who came and died for you, and His Father in Heaven who created you, wants you to live, be blessed, love, and spread the message of an everlasting Kingdom where you will not experience death! Which child would you rather be? Can you live divided against yourself, the child in the passage certainly could not have?
As you wade through this passage, and the corresponding interpretation, I pray that you begin to see that there is a much deeper picture to be found than just a story or history lesson. Yahweh is trying to reach us through every word, every moment, and every recounting of His amazing love and power to save. Be blessed in your journey on the paths of righteousness. Shalom Aleichem!