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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 3

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1Solomon allied himself to Pharaoh king of Egypt by marrying his daughter. He brought her to the City of David, until he had finished building his palace and the house of the LORD and the wall round Jerusalem. 2The people however continued to sacrifice at the shrines, for up to that time no house had been built for the name of the LORD. 3Solomon himself loved the LORD, conforming to the precepts laid down by his father David; but he too slaughtered and burnt sacrifices at the shrines.

4The king went to Gibeon to offer a sacrifice, for that was the chief shrine, where he used to offer a thousand whole-offerings on the altar. 5 a 3:5–13 Cp. 2 Chr. 1:7–12 . That night the LORD appeared to Solomon there in a dream. God said, ‘What shall I give you? Tell me.’ 6He answered, ‘You have shown great and constant love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in loyalty, righteousness, and integrity of heart; and you have maintained this great and constant love towards him and now you have given him a son to succeed him on the throne.

7‘Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, though I am a mere child, unskilled in leadership. 8Here I am in the midst of your people, the people of your choice, too many to be numbered or counted. 9Grant your servant, therefore, a heart with skill to listen, so that he may govern your people justly and distinguish good from evil. Otherwise who is equal to the task of governing this great people of yours?’

10The LORD was well pleased that this was what Solomon had asked for, 11and God said, ‘Because you have asked for this, and not for long life, or for wealth, or for the lives of your enemies, but have asked for discernment in administering justice, 12I grant your request; I give you a heart so wise and so understanding that there has been none like you before your time, nor will there be after you. 13What is more, I give you those things for which you did not ask, such wealth and glory as no king of your time can match. 14If you conform to my ways and observe my ordinances and commandments, as your father David did, I will also give you long life.’ 15Then Solomon awoke, and realized it was a dream.

Solomon came to Jerusalem and stood before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, where he sacrificed whole-offerings and brought shared-offerings, and gave a banquet for all his household.

16Two women who were prostitutes approached the king at that time, and as they stood before him 17one said, ‘My lord, this woman and I share a house, and I gave birth to a child when she was there with me. 18On the third day after my baby was born she too gave birth to a child. We were alone; no one else was with us in the house; only the two of us were there. 19During the night this woman's child died because she lay on it, 20and she got up in the middle of the night, took my baby from my side while I, your servant, was asleep, and laid it on her bosom, putting her dead child on mine. 21When I got up in the morning to feed my baby, I found him dead; but when I looked at him closely, I found that it was not the child that I had borne.’ 22The other woman broke in, ‘No, the living child is mine; yours is the dead one,’ while the first insisted, ‘No, the dead child is yours; mine is the living one.’ So they went on arguing before the king.

23The king thought to himself, ‘One of them says, “This is my child, the living one; yours is the dead one.” The other says, “No, it is your child that is dead and mine that is alive.” ’ 24Then he said, ‘Fetch me a sword.’ When a sword was brought, 25the king gave the order: ‘Cut the living child in two and give half to one woman and half to the other.’ 26At this the woman who was the mother of the living child, moved with love for her child, said to the king, ‘Oh, sir, let her have the baby! Whatever you do, do not kill it.’ The other said, ‘Let neither of us have it; cut it in two.’ 27The king then spoke up: ‘Give the living baby to the first woman,’ he said; ‘do not kill it. She is its mother.’ 28When Israel heard the judgement which the king had given, they all stood in awe of him; for they saw that he possessed wisdom from God for administering justice.

Notes:

a 3:5–13 Cp. 2 Chr. 1:7–12 .

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