1 Kings 3:27
Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Kings 3:27-28. She is the mother — As is evident from her natural affection to the child, which she had rather have given away from her than destroyed. Wisdom of God — Divine wisdom, with which God had inspired him for the government of his people. 3:16-28 An instance of Solomon's wisdom is given. Notice the difficulty of the case. To find out the true mother, he could not try which the child loved best, and therefore tried which loved the child best: the mother's sincerity will be tried, when the child is in danger. Let parents show their love to their children, especially by taking care of their souls, and snatching them as brands out of the burning. By this and other instances of the wisdom with which God endued him, Solomon had great reputation among his people. This was better to him than weapons of war; for this he was both feared and loved.Solomon determined to inaugurate his reign by a grand religious ceremonial at each of the two holy places which at this time divided between them the reverence of the Jews. Having completed the religious service at Gibeon, where was the tabernacle of the congregation, he proceeded to Jerusalem, and sacrificed before the ark of the covenant, which was in Mount Zion 2 Samuel 6:12. A great feast naturally followed on a large sacrifice of peace-offerings. In these the sacrificer always partook of the flesh of the victim, and he was commanded to call in to the feast the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow Deuteronomy 14:29. Compare 2 Samuel 6:19; 1 Chronicles 16:3. 1Ki 3:16-28. His Judgment between Two Harlots.

16. Then came there two women—Eastern monarchs, who generally administer justice in person, at least in all cases of difficulty, often appeal to the principles of human nature when they are at a loss otherwise to find a clue to the truth or see clearly their way through a mass of conflicting testimony. The modern history of the East abounds with anecdotes of judicial cases, in which the decision given was the result of an experiment similar to this of Solomon upon the natural feelings of the contending parties.

As is evident from her natural and motherly affection to the child, which she had rather have alienated and given away from her than destroyed. Then the king answered and said, give her the living child,

and in no wise slay it,.... That is, to her who desired it might not be slain, but rather be given to her who had no right to it:

she is the mother thereof; which might be strongly concluded from her compassion for it, her eagerness and earnestness to have its life spared, and from the indifference of the other, yea, from her cruelty and barbarity in moving to have it divided.

Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
27. Give her the living child] Not referring to the woman who had last spoken as the sequence of the clauses might lead us to expect. The king no doubt pointed to the mother who was desirous at all cost to keep the child alive.

The late Dr Bernard had a most ingenious explanation of the construction of this passage. The king, he said, was pondering the words of the two women. At last he broke forth in the language of the mother who had said ‘Give her the living child and in no wise slay it.’ And to that sentence, taken as representative of the person who had spoken it, he adds his own decision, ‘She is the mother thereof.’Verse 27. - Then the king answered and said [He simply echoes the exact words of the mother. This is clear from the fact that the word יָלוּד - natus, "the one born," here and in ver. 26 rendered "child," is a very unusual one], Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it [The LXX., which reads "Give the child to her who said, Give it to her," etc., obscures the evidently designed repetition] she is the mother thereof [Heb. she, his mother]. Solomon's Judicial Wisdom. - As a proof that the Lord had bestowed upon Solomon unusual judicial wisdom, there is appended a decision of his in a very difficult case, in which Solomon had shown extraordinary intelligence. Two harlots living together in one house had each given birth to a child, and one of them had "overlaid" her child in the night while asleep (עליו שׁכבה אשׁר, because she had lain upon it), and had then placed her dead child in the other one's bosom and taken her living child away. When the other woman looked the next morning at the child lying in her bosom, she saw that it was not her own but the other woman's child, whereas the latter maintained the opposite. As they eventually referred the matter in dispute to the king, and each one declared that the living child was her own, the king ordered a sword to be brought, and the living child to be cut in two, and a half given to each. Then the mother of the living child, "because her bowels yearned upon her son," i.e., her maternal love was excited, cried out, "Give her (the other) the living child, but do not slay it;" whereas the latter said, "It shall be neither mine nor thine, cut it in pieces."
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