Summary: You can have knowledge without wisdom, but you cannot have wisdom without knowledge. Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. It is knowledge applied. Seek wisdom from God.
Solomon asked for wisdom, and God granted him.
• 3:15 Solomon “returned to Jerusalem” (instead of going to the high place), and “stood before the Ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.”
• He did the right thing and worshipped the Lord before the Ark of God.
The author went on to record for us one particular dispute that was brought before the King, to show us the wisdom that God has given Solomon.
• This is no ordinary case. For a family dispute to be brought before the King, it would likely mean the judges down the ranks were unable to solve it.
Let’s pause here. What would you do? For those of us who do not know the rest of the story, what would you have done?
Two prostitutes living together, each giving birth to baby boys, three days apart.
• They stayed alone, in the same house, with no other family members or friends.
• In the night, one mother accidentally rolled over and smothered her baby to death.
• She then switched the babies in the middle of the night, giving her roommate the dead baby and taking the living one as her own.
When the other woman woke up to nurse her son, she found out that the baby has died. And on closer look, realised that the baby wasn’t hers.
• It may be hard to tell, for a baby that young, but surely a mother can recognise her child.
• The babies must have been swapped in the night. But she has no proof.
The other woman denied knowing anything, insisting that the living child was hers.
• The circumstances served her well. No one could know for sure. The cover up was impeccable.
• It happened in the night, they were sleeping, only two of them in the house, no witnesses, both babies of the same gender and born only three days apart.
• She was so confident of the cover up that she was prepared to commit perjury before the King, that is, to lie to the King, without fear of being caught.
So with this information, what are we going to do? How are we going to solve it?
• No CCTV. No DNA testing. No CSI team to do the investigation. No lawyer to fight their case (both likely poor and marginalised by the society).
• This is probably why the case is brought before the King - no one can solve it.
Solomon took time to LISTEN to both sides and gathered information. After hearing their stories, he SUMMARISED their respective positions (verse 23).
• He looked at their body language and observed their interactions.
• Obviously one of them is lying. One of them made the switched and covered it up. But which one?
Solomon came up with a way to test their reactions.
• He declared, “Bring me a sword. Cut the baby into two and let each of them take half.” (3:25) Let’s end the case here.
• There is a risk in this (a small one): What if neither of them say anything? What if both remained quiet? Is Solomon going to carry out the threat?
Herein lies the wisdom. Solomon believes that the real mother would respond, undoubtedly, naturally, because no mother would allow such a thing.