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THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON!

 

FIRST KINGS 3:16-28

TWO MOTHERS, TWO BABIES!

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 "Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him. And 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. And 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. And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it. And 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. And 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. And 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. Then 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. And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then 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. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof. And 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."

 

INTRODUCTION:

The Lord willing, we are going to next study an event in the life of Solomon, King Solomon of Israel.

Our Text will be First Kings chapter three. These lessons will focus on the wisdom God gave young Solomon. Verses sixteen through twenty-eight to be specific.

After all, we do worship and serve an omniscient God! He knows all. And He has clearly stated that He is willing to share His vast, really unlimited Wisdom with whomever! Whoever asks for it anyway!

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5, quite a promise indeed!

In fact, let's today ask God several times for wisdom and insight and understanding as we scan and adore this great Bible passage. I think that in all these years, while I have taught this amazing event a few times, I've never preached the Text verse by verse!

I'm looking forward to it.

Join us!

               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 16:

This is the first verse in our paragraph about Solomon's wisdom, especially as it is demonstrated in a down-to-earth situation.

Two ladies are introduced to us. "Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him." First Kings 3:16

The noun for "women" is "ishshah," normally translated "wife" in the Old Testament. Now these two may have indeed been married, once anyway. No doubt by now they're divorced. And the Text is quick to tell us that they also are "harlots."

This Hebrew noun is "zanah," a person who "commits fornication." The root of our word indicates an individual who is "well-fed, wanton, overabundant." Not ladies of moderation!

Nonetheless these women somehow gained access to the King, the King of Israel!

Of course in the few ways Solomon is a Type of Christ Jesus our Lord, harlots and immoral women had access to Him as well! He saved many a lady with such a background! He died for sinners, you know!

But these two have a specific problem, a grievance. And they need the insight, prudence, understanding, discernment of their Leader.

Well, as everyone knows by now, Solomon is dead. Three thousand years dead now.

But I am so glad to report that we alive today still have a Leader to Whom we can go for wisdom. And His Name is Jesus.

And through the Leadership of His Holy Spirit, plus the written Word He has given us, the Bible, we can seek His "Mind."

Knowledge on how to live in such a way as to please Almighty God!

Jesus, so much more than Solomon, is God's very Treasure House of Wisdom! Paul actually expressed it this way: "Jesus, In Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Colossians 2:3

Jesus, our Mentor!

Greater than Solomon!

                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 17:

Today we journey back to First Kings chapter three. In the precious Book we call the Old Testament.

We're studying these days an event in Solomon's life. The time two ladies, harlots, came to him with one living infant and one dead, both newborns.

There's a problem to be addressed. One of the mothers has rolled over on her baby during the night and smothered it. Then, the first harlot claims, the deceitful mom traded her dead baby for the living one!

But I'm getting ahead of the story. Let's listen to the conversation between the King and the lady who first speaks.

"And 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." 1 Kings 3:17

This is not a lot of information, but it will suffice for today. "I and this woman dwell in one house."

The verb "dwell" here is "yashab." It's Hebrew for "remain, abide or stay, continue." This then must have been a permanent living arrangement.

So this much is readily apparent. Her baby would not be dead ... had she not lived with a deceitful woman!

The mother whose living baby was accidentally suffocated allowed the wrong person to sleep in her bed!

Which leads me, any preacher really, to logically deduce the fact that one's companions have a great influence on the trajectory of one's life!

Be careful with whom you live!

This is a fundamental message throughout all Scripture, appearing again and again. Here are some scattered examples.

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" Paul the Apostle in 2nd Corinthians 6:14.

"Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go." But why? "Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul." Solomon in Proverbs 22:24-25.

"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" The Prophet Amos in his little Sermon Book, Amos 3:3.

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." King David in Psalm 1:1-2.

Then: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." Back to Paul in 2nd Corinthians 6:17, but with the same subject in mind.

That's enough Scripture for this point.

Let's be careful whom we allow to become our friends!

Well, one final thought: "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners." 1st Corinthians 15:33

What warnings!

                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 18:

Our next verse tells more about the tragic situation we're studying. Two mothers, both harlots, one with a dead baby and the other with a living child. And these infants were only three days apart in age.

By now you have probably read the whole story. Here it is so far, with a little "hint" of what's coming as well. "Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him. And 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. And 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. And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it. And 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. And 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. And 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." 1st Kings 3:16-22

Today's Verse: "And 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." Verse 18

We learn a few bare facts here.

The babies, as I said earlier, are only a few hours apart in age, three days.

The two women lived together and alone, no other person in the house. No "stranger," in Hebrew "zur," usually indicating a "foreign" person.

I see here a pattern, In fact it might even be a faint glimmer of "typology." Or perhaps just an allusion to Jewish history.

One son dies!

One son lives!

And an attempt to replace the dead son with the living one!

Think with me now. This is a paradigm of Scripture.

Adam's and Eve's Son Abel dies. Murdered in fact!

But God gives them another, Seth, who carried the godly line.

David's son Amnon died, as does Absalom, not counting his little baby boy. But God gives David and Bathsehba another child, this one named Solomon. He's the next King too!

But then, so beautifully expressed in the Bible, God's Son dies! His Name is Jesus and He is crucified on a torturous Roman cross.

But here's the good news. God's Son does not remain dead! Sin slew Him, a Death that is sacrificial. A Death nonetheless allowed by His Father in Heaven, Almighty God!

But God raised His Son, this Same Son, from the Grave!

One might say, using Paul's terminology, that the First Adam, a "son" of God according to Luke 3:38, in the sense that God directly and miraculously created him ... died!

God's first son.

But God's second Son, the "last Adam" based on 1st Corinthians 15:45, literally lived! Still lives in fact! Died for sinners, then on "the 3rd day," another expression common to our 1st Kings 3 story here, came back to life!

Never to die again!

1st Kings 3, two little Hebrew sons, through whom we faintly, as if through an x-ray, see a Picture of Passover in the past ... and a soon coming Jesus in the future!

Wow!

Certainly it's true.

One can find Jesus in any Bible Text, if creativity and discernment are exercised, of course as led by the Holy Spirit!

No one "took" God's Son from Him ... He freely gave Him for us all!

                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSES 19-20:

The Text today reads: "And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it. And 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." 1st Kings 3:19-20

How very sad!

A mother "sleeps" on her son, asphyxiating him. That verb "overlaid" translates "shakab," just meaning "lie down" on a bed. To rest a few hours, in other words.

Was she careless?

Was she drunk?

Was it simply an accident?

No one knows. The Scripture is not that specific. No liability is ascribed for the heartbreaking tragedy.

All we know is that she, the heavy sleeper, was a harlot, living with a girlfriend.

No blame for the death ... but here's the issue, the problem.

Someone lied about the situation.

The mom of the dead baby switched him with the living infant, as the other harlot slept!

That's deceit!

That's stealing!

And all this "confusion" is brought to king Solomon, a hard "knot" to unravel!

Both ladies claim the living son!

Then again, we've so far heard only one side of the story!

Therefore Solomon (wisely) does not yet render a solution, a verdict.

He wrote elsewhere of such dilemmas. Let's read his brilliant words. "The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going." Proverbs 14:15, which being explained means ... "There are two sides to most accounts!"

There must be some other way to understand this confrontation.

If we could only see the hearts of these two mothers.

But only Deity can do that! "For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." God's very words in 1st Samuel 16:7.

So Solomon, now richly invested with Wisdom from above, recently so in fact, seeks the "mind of the Lord" on this issue.

James teaches us something Solomon had already experienced. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5

The soon-coming judgment Solomon renders will be astounding, and suitable, and successful too!

He certainly discovers God's Will in this affair.

More on this tomorrow, Lord willing.

Oh, one more thought today.

Things that happen at "midnight," things in the Bible. I mean things like this baby-swap. Are there many? If so, where?

The Passover, the Death Angel, or the Delivering Angel if you had the Blood applied, flew overhead at midnight! Just read Exodus 12:29 for proof of the timeline.

And Samson was up one evening at midnight! "And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron." Judges 16:3, moving gates and defeating enemies at that hour!

Now here's Ruth and Boaz at midnight! "And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down. And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman." Ruth 3:7-9, a marriage proposal!

The godly Psalmist, every midnight, is awake and praising God! "At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments." Psalm 119:62, inspiring!

Then there was that earthquake God sent at midnight to a Macedonian city called Philippi. Its very epicenter was at the city jail! And Paul and Silas were eventually set free, with a number of souls being saved too. Acts 16:25 is the text for this one.

Next Paul preached until midnight in Troas, an encouragement to many of us men of God yet today. Acts 20:7, though one young man did fall asleep!

Lastly, one midnight Paul was in a storm ... a shipwreck is imminent. But God saves the lives of all aboard, 276 men I think. See Acts 27:27.

Bible teacher, Preacher studying with us today ... think about a series of lessons or sermons on the "midnights" of the Bible!

But be sure to include this bright thought. We serve a God Who can give a song at midnight! In Job 35:10 the great patriarch says of God that He is such a Giver, the Provider "of songs in the night."

Amen!

                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 21:

Our journey continues, a verse-by-verse trek through 1 Kings 3:16-28. Today we need to discuss verse 21. It's a story of two ladies, each with a newborn child. "And 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."

The mother who first speaks to Solomon claims to have been robbed! Of her baby, of her living son. She is accusing her roommate of killing one infant, accidentally no doubt, smothering the baby in her sleep.

But worse, the careless Mom now has deceitfully tried to switch the babies! Sadness consumes this account.

The one thing I'd like us to notice today is the fact that the Mother with the living child, according to her story so far, spent some time the next morning "considering" the whole situation.

Instinct, maternal instinct alone, should have told her something was "wrong." And maybe it did.

But her morning "consideration" made things definite. Cemented her thinking, removed any doubts.

The verb Solomon uses for this lady's "considering" is spelled "biyn" in Hebrew. It means "to discern." Better yet, "to gain understanding."

The verb stem here is labeled "Hithpolel" by the Hebrew teachers. It is both reflexive and causative.

She herself is the one doing the deep thinking. Thus being grammatically reflexive. And there is a cause that propels her to think like this, love for the child or an impulse from God, whatever. Therefore the "causative" label is attached to our word.

Morning "think" time!

This whole idea is close to the Biblically taught practice of "meditation." We are primarily encouraged to ponder Scripture in this fashion. Dozens of rewards are promised if we do so, guaranteed by the Lord Himself!

But meditation on the affairs of life is good too. Weighing one's ways in the eyes of God.

Here's the Bible advice I'd most like to share now. Words from thre Mouth of God: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

Do you take time every day to "consider" the issues of the day?

To "meditate" in God's Word?

If we evaluate all of life in the Light of God and His Word ... many a problem can be solved!

Or avoided!

Or at least made easier to bear!

Amen.

                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSES 22-23:

It's become an argument!

Two Mothers ... two babies!

But one of those infants is dead!

And both Moms are claiming the living one!

"And 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. Then 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." 1st Kings 3:22-23

The Text is cyclic. Two ladies, harlots, argue. Then the King, Wise Solomon, carefully repeats their stories, opposing stories!

Not a single name is given in the whole Passage, except for the King's. Perhaps that means our Jewish Monarch is the "star," the main character, of the Paragraph.

He's the one who unravels this interpersonal "knot," using a gem of prudence freshly received from the Lord!

But look, all we have to develop today in our Lesson is a two-verse argument! What must be said? What can be said?

Surely something about the confrontations in Scripture!

The Bible is full of them.

Eve versus the Devil, Satan or the Serpent!

Cain versus Abel.

Noah versus the ungodly population of his day.

God versus the rebels at the Tower of Babel.

Abraham versus Lot.

Isaac versus Ishmael.

Jacob versus Esau.

Joseph versus Potiphar's Wife.

And we're just now leaving the Bible's first Book, Genesis!

Moses versus Pharaoh.

Joshua versus the giants.

Hundreds, maybe thousands of Bible arguments!

How do we handle these strained relationships? These situations where it looks like someone is lying? Where maybe even life and death are the ultimate issues?

Here are some ideas.

Jesus said to settle such battles "quickly!"

Paul said we should not let the sun set on any angry spirit within our heart!

The Lord again spoke blessings on the "peacemaker."

Peter said a lot of fervent, pure love would "cover" a multitude of wrongdoing, of hurts and brokenness.

Solomon said that even our words, apparently including the "tone" of our voices, can settle many a stand-off.

And David prayed that all he thought, much less said, would be "approved" of God, "acceptable" in His Sight!

Pretty good advice.

Even these ladies could have implemented some of these nuggets, maybe all of them.

Surely we, living three thousand years later, can live lives of peace and harmony ... with all the "light" we now possess, gleaned from the Word of God of course.

Otherwise, Paul leaves us with a bit of stark reality in this area. "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." Romans 12:18

As much as possible!

                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

If those  two lonely Moms had possessed the advice and counsel readily available to us, straight from the Heart of God and recorded in His Word, this "fight" might have never occurred.

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSES 24-25:

Solomon could have anything he wanted. God promised so! But He humbly asked the Lord for wisdom. "And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king. Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like." 2nd Chronicles 1:11-12

And as soon as this wisdom was granted, the King faced a "test." An opportunity to prove his ability to meekly discern the things of God.

Two ladies appeared before the Monarch. Each with a baby, one dead and the other alive, the infants, both boys.

On top of that, both Moms were claiming the living child!

What's a King to do?

An understanding Judge is needed!

Here's how Solomon responded.

"And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king." 1st Kings 3:24, where "sword" translates chereb," meaning a "knife, dagger, axe," or any such cutting tool.

What exactly is he going to do?

Obviously, split something.

Or someone!

More about that tomorrow.

No, I can hardly wait. "And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other." The next verse in our text, verse 25.

Wow!

A sword ... to cut and sever and divide.

All this reminds me of another Bible Sword.

"For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

The Bible!

When Jesus returns to earth some day, still future at the time of this writing, the Word of God that proceeds out of His Mouth is again depicted as a "sharp sword!" Revelation 19:15 is the reference.

Yes.

The Bible is God's great Book of demarcation! Again: "For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

It is here called a "living" Book, "zao" in Greek but translated "quick" in our King James Bibles.

"Powerful" translates "energes," very "energetic, enabled of God!"

"Piercing" is a blend of "dia" and "hikanos." Meaning "sufficient or enough" ... to "go all the way through anything!"

"Dividing asunder" is from the root word "meros," putting a thing into many different "pieces" or "parts!"

But look how closely, how precisely, the Scriptures can discern. It can even differentiate the "soul" from the "spirit!" This is a topic of conversation and study and even debate among professionals to our very day, soul and spirit!

And to the "joints" and "marrow" of the body! Another quite close dichotomy, medically taxing in Paul's day! But the Bible can do it!

Read God's Word!

It will separate the true from the false.

It will try every aspect of our being.

It will reveal to us God's System of Priorities.

It will, just like Solomon's sword is about to do in our lessons, solve our problems!

                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, VERSE 26:

We are now at the "heart" of our story, 1st Kings 3:16-28. Solomon has rendered a decision, one concerning the two little babies. One dead infant and one still alive.

Here is that ruling: "And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other." 1st Kings 3:24-25

And here are the women's responses to that decree: "Then 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." 1st Kings 3:26

The true Mother becomes obvious!

What skill and discernment and wisdom the King has just displayed, truly ability straight from God!

Two hearts have just been revealed!

One is a heart of true love!

The other was apparently motivated by lesser emotions.

Today I'd like to discuss the Mom who smothered her little boy. Then stole the living baby from its Mom!

She just said in essence, "Go ahead! Kill the living child! That way no one has a baby. If I am going to experience bereavement and sadness ... so can she!"

This woman was under the control of "envy!"

She did not want her "friend" to have anything she herself could not have and enjoy!

To her, better both be devastated that she alone!

Now let's contrast that feeling with our Lord Jesus Christ, His Heart.

He was willing to die for you and me, suffering untold pain and agony ... that we may be happy!

That we might be saved, delivered, possessors of Eternal Life!

Luke words it this way: "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10

He lost it all ... that we might enjoy the wonderful things of God!

What a Saviour!

How unlike the selfish Mom in today's story.

                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, VERSE 26 AGAIN:

The King has wisely hit on the solution to the problem at hand. The Mother of the dead baby does not care about the fate of the living child!

But, and what a contrast this is, the Mom of the living baby had a totally different attitude!

Her very words again: "Then 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." 2nd Kings 3:26

The heart of a true Matriarch!

Really a genuine Dad feels this way too.

Here we see the "sacrifice" authentic love is willing to make, especially in order to spare its object of affection!

Better this little boy, vibrant and healthy, be reared in someone else's home ... than slain and deprived of a lifetime of growth and potential happiness.

Paul depicts this type of unselfish affection in detail in 1st Corinthians chapter 13, under the name of "charity" or "agape" love. "Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth."

And once this sacrificial love exhibited itself in the heart and on the tongue of Mom number one, Solomon knew the identity of the real parent here!

So Solomon rendered his decision: "Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof." 1st Kings 3:27

It's true what Jesus said in Matthew 12:34, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."

Amen!

                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10, SOLOMON'S IDEA:

The idea Solomon had, that thought about slicing a baby boy in half, what was its source?

Of course the mere mention of such an act revealed the identity of the child's real Mother. For that matter it uncovered the false Mom too!

To refresh our memories, here's the Text again: "And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other." 1st Kings 3:24-25

Again I ask, how did the Lord lead Solomon to such an unusual solution?

Well, I think I might know the answer.

Likely Solomon, being King as he was, heard the Bible read often. The Law of Moses required, meaning God mandated it also, that the Israelite Monarch be a scholar of the scrolls!

Read this with me. "And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them. That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel." It's pure Bible, Deuteronomy 17:18-20.

All I'm saying is this. A good King, which Solomon was initially, would have thoroughly known God's Word, that part written thus far anyhow.

And the following little piece of information is buried in that Law, that Pentateuch, that Bible, not escaping the King's attention or memory apparently!

"And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein; the owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his. And if one man's ox hurt another's, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it; and the dead ox also they shall divide." Exodus 21:33-35

An ox here is to be halved!

Cut into two pieces!

Come to think of it, every sacrifice in Israel, nearly every sacrifice, was "cut" into pieces.

Solomon based his decision about these Mothers and their babies on something he had read in God's Word, just with a few changes in practice to fit the new situation.

God thought of cutting an animal in half, to enact justice!

Solomon adopts the same idea, actually using precedent, and does basically the same thing!

And the advice worked, was extremely successful.

"And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then 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. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof." 1st Kings 3:25-27 once again.

And this principle holds through throughout all God's Word. A later writer drawing from the wisdom of an earlier writer!

Paul did this repeatedly.

So did Peter.

And John.

Even Jesus.

And so may we.

                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11, VERSE 28:

The last verse of our Text now enters our focus of attention. And we may stay here several lessons. "And 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." 1st Kings 3:28

The words "judgment" and "had judged," a noun with its related verb, translate the Greek root word "shaphat," meaning "to govern, rule," or even "punish."

King Solomon has rendered a wise decision!

One that rewards the first lady, the true Mother who had told no lie, and punishes and exposes the second lady, the thief or kidnapper.

And keep in mind that this event occurs immediately after God, in answer to Jedidiah's prayer, Solomon's other name, has gifted the man with supernatural wisdom!

Wow, Solomon means "peace" and Jedidiah means "Beloved of Jehovah." It uses the same word stem that the name "David" uses, "boiling" hot love!

Add to this fervor and hunger for the Lord a generous allotment of wisdom ... and you have a character sample of the King.

"And 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."

This man, our royal judge in these lessons, was a writer too. Scripture tells us he composed three thousand proverbs and a thousand and five songs. First Kings chapter four, verse thirty-two is our source here.

Of these only about two hundred proverbs survive, all in the Old Testament Book by that name, Proverbs. And just three of his songs or poems have lived into modernity, Psalm 72 and Psalm 127 and that whole little love story, the Song of Solomon.

But here's what I want to say. Add one more proverb please. The lesson we've been studying for ten or twelve days now is nothing but an "acted proverb."

Ezekiel did this too, quite often, "visualized" his sermons, performed them in front of the people to whom he preached.

Solomon, wise man!

Too bad he later let sin creep into his life and tarnish the glow of all that godliness!

"And 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."

Let's live for Jesus.

                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

An old British preacher by the name of Alexander Maclaren once said, "Every miracle is a parable. And every parable is a miracle." In like fashion our "two mothers" story here is a proverb!

 

 

LESSON 12, STILL VERSE 28:

The verb "feared" in 1st Kings 3:38, where the people "feared" their wise King, is spelled "yare" in Hebrew. It quite often means "to revere" a person!

They had deep respect and held in high honor the man whom God had set as their leader.

"And 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." 1st Kings 3:28

Yes, Solomon was wise.

And from his own pen, confined to the Book of Ecclesiastes, I extracted three blessings, side-effects, corollary benefits of this God-given Wisdom.

First, it makes one's face "shine!" Here it is word for word: "Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed." Ecclesiastes 8:1, where "shine" translates "or," a little verb meaning "to become light!" Like fire, or once it's even compared to the break of day, both examples in the King James Bible.

Next Wisdom "strengthens" a person. Solomon under the leadership and inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God wrote: "Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city." Ecclesiastes 7:19, with "azaz" meaning "to cause to prevail!" To be hard with resolve, not soft and indecisive! Nearly a touch of a right kind of stubbornness is implied!

Then Ecclesiastes 9:18 promises that Wisdom from God is an aid in fighting the enemies of life, no doubt the devil being the chief. "Wisdom is better than weapons of war." Jesus certainly defeated Satan with His mighty Wisdom and Discernment!

There they are.

Seek and enjoy God's Wisdom ... and thereby be blessed with a shining, bright countenance! And amazing spiritual strength! And victory time and time again as the enemies fall before you!

"And 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." 1st Kings 3:28

We can claim God's Wisdom too.

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5

                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 13, THOSE LADIES:

Those ladies!

The ones we've been studying.

"Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him. And 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. And 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. And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it. And 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. And 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." 1st Kings 3:16-21

They occupy half the chapter at least, 1st Kings 3, vital introductory material to the reign of Majestic, Wise King Solomon.

The "motif" of this chapter is centered in these two women if fact.

Now today let me show you how the whole Bible is, at least in a sense, patterned around "two women!"

Truthfully the Book of 1st Kings opens that way, with two other women and their sons. Two boys, now grown, vying for the Kingdom, for the Throne of Israel. One is named Solomon and the other is Adonijah. The ladies, their Moms respectively, are Bathsheba and Haggith.

So really our two Mothers in 1st Kings 3, our Text for several days now, are the second set of warring ladies in the Book. And the Book is only three chapters old!

Next we widen the scope a bit. Let's discuss the two ladies of Proverbs, the whole Book of Proverbs. There Lady Wisdom appears again and again. Chapter nine involves her giving a great feast, inviting the simple and unlearned to enjoy the meats and drinks of Godly understanding, holy discernment! The other prominent lady is called "the strange woman," lacking in morality and humility and obviously Wisdom! These two permeate the whole 31 chapters, Proverbs, the great Bible Book of Wisdom.

Then we journey to the New Testament ... to see if two women can be found, symbolically and yet spiritually accurate. Here they are! A Bride and a Harlot do come to mind. The Bride belongs to Jesus and is chaste and pure, the New Testament Church really! And the other one is quite the opposite, a "whore" to use King James language, carefully described in Revelation 17. Picturing the ungodly religious amalgamation of the great tribulation days, apostasy personified, ecumenicity at its fullest.

Sets of ladies!

And our two 1st Kings 3 girls fit the picture, the paradigm perfectly.

Let's learn!

                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 14, HARLOTS ONCE, SAINTS NOW:

The incident we've been noticing has two harlots confronting King Solomon almost immediately after he was gifted by God with astounding Wisdom.

True, these ladies have a problem.

One has been dishonest, stealing a baby from the other.

Each is claiming a living child, each denying a dead one.

Solomon, as Kings often did in bygone days, was expected to decide the heart of the case, the truth.

But still, two questionable women before the King, so soon?

Perhaps there's a bit of foreshadowing here. Solomon is, by consensus anyway, a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. At least in some ways, in reference to His Power and Glory and Wealth and Peacefulness.

And Jesus, even before He was born, was associated with such ladies! Less than perfect women!

Ladies much like these who are now standing before King Solomon!

Let me briefly mention them, those in Jesus' Heritage.

I'll first start here.

In the line of Jesus' forefathers, given us by both Matthew and Luke, we find an amazing and unique thing. There are some women mentioned! Genealogies never did this in ancient days. But note the type ladies who are mentioned, even more astounding.

There's Tamar, a harlot from the Book of Genesis! Matthew 1:3 lists her as authentic and spells her name "Thamar," a Greek rendering of the Hebrew.

Then there's Rahab, another harlot! Matthew 1:5 lists her as "Rachab," a woman of ill repute.

There's Ruth too, a foreign and despised and cursed Moabite! See Matthew 1:5 for her name, the heroine of the Book of Ruth, a Bible Book named after her! In the Jewish Old Testament!

Last of all there's Bathsheba, an adulteress! Matthew 1:6 just calls her "the wife of Uriah," but we all know.

Four such ladies ... in line to bring Jesus into the world!

But I must add this, now four forgiven ladies!

Four believing ladies!

Four ladies mightily used of God!

Four ladies we should respect.

All I'm saying today is this. Solomon had some less-than-ideal women around him. At the onset of his reign.

Jesus did too. Up to hundreds of years before His Birth! But because of the Grace of God and the Blood of the Lamb ... forgiveness and cleansing and justification are possible to those who exercise faith in Christ and His Death on Calvary.

What contrasts!

Two harlots around Mr. Wisdom, King Solomon! But he sure helped them solve their problem

And the same around the Darling Son of God, in his line of forefathers! But He saved them all!

It sure is interesting when we read these Old Testament stories with a glance over our shoulders at the Cross!

                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

These ladies are mentioned by Matthew to emphasize their worth! He writes his Gospel mentioning women in a world where men only were recognized as forerunners of any significant child. It's as if the Holy Spirit wants us to see the beauty of four saved women, along with dozens of men ... named in the godly line!

 

 

LESSON 15, CONCLUSION ... WISDOM:

The whole incident we've been studying, 1st Kings 3:16-28, has included only three characters. Not counting the babies of course, one dead and one still living. But they have no speaking part in the account anyway.

And two-thirds of our cast here, the women, are never even named! It's always the "first" Mother and the "other" Mother, such anonymous terms.

Here's my point.

The subject of the "bring the sword and divide the baby" Text is no one but the King! That's King Solomon. This Bible event is a showcase for the King's newly acquired Wisdom, a recent Gift from God.

Notice that last verse in the chapter again. "And 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." 1st Kings 3:28

The King, folks saw that God's Wisdom was in him!

A whole situation, a whole tragedy, a whole episode ... manifesting a spiritual trait in a person's life!

Our God does that.

In my estimation the whole Book of Job is so designed. It's not about Elihu or Bildad or any of the others. Its focus is the godly old patriarch Job himself! God is displaying a trophy of His grace and a sterling example of believing Faith!

Same with the Gospels, the whole New Testament really! All about Jesus! The miracles, the sermons, the missionary trips, even the prophecies!

And truth be told, even Church difficulties may be allowed of God to reveal genuine spiritual maturity and character in the life or lives of some of the Believers there!

Paul as much as says so in 1st Corinthians 11:19. "For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." Splits and divisions will happen! They must! But why? Look at the verse! So certain "approved" members of said church may be "manifest," be highlighted, be proved faithful!

We would never know who will truly "stand" for God, "stand" with the Pastor, or "stand" in any other righteous way ... were there not tests all along life's pathway!

And every passed test ... brings Glory to God!

In closing, Solomon just took a test!

And passed!

And God was glorified!

So does God's plan continue to this very day.

Someone reading here this morning is taking a test from the Lord at this vey stage of his or her life.

Be faithful!

Magnify your Lord and Saviour!

He will bless you for it.

                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

We hope you've enjoyed this journey through 1st Kings 3:16-28, a tribute to godly Wisdom.

 

 

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