A-Z: Famous stories from the Bible: King Solomon's Wisdom


The third king of Israel was Solomon, King David’s favourite son. He succeeded to the throne of Israel after a prolonged time of civil war and unrest. 

One night, Solomon had a dream in which God appeared to him. In the dream God offered him anything he wished for and Solomon made the surprising request for wisdom to govern the nation well, instead of wealth, power or long life. This pleased God, who not only gave Solomon wisdom, but wealth, honour and long life as well, provided he followed God’s commandments all his life.

Judgement of Solomon by RubensOne day, two prostitutes brought their dispute to King Solomon. They lived in the same house and had both given birth within three days of each other. During the night one baby died and his mother then exchanged her dead baby for the other’s live baby. The innocent mother soon realised what had happened but could not reclaim her baby as the other woman persistently lied that he was hers. No-one could solve this dispute so the matter was brought to the king. 

When the women continued arguing in front of him, Solomon ordered that the baby be cut in two by a sword and shared between them. At this, the rightful mother of the baby pleaded for his life and begged that the other woman have him. But the lying woman wanted the baby killed so that neither of them should have him. Then Solomon ordered that the infant was given to the woman who would rather relinquish her child than see him harmed, as she was clearly his rightful mother. Everyone marvelled at the divine wisdom Solomon had shown.

The story illustrates:

  • How wise humans can be when they follow God’s wisdom
  • God’s desire to give good things to his people
  • God’s approval of those who are humble rather than seeking worldly status.

Related topics

Bid ideas from the Bible: Wisdom and foolishness

Bible References

1 Kings 3:5-28
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