O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Ok, next question. SO, this week at our gathering we are looking at 1 Kings 3. And we just finished Galations a couple weeks ago, for which I gave a presentation about how Paul's example of Hagar/Ishmael and Sarah/Isaac represent the two covenants in transition. So it's on my brain. Now we see again, two women, two sons and some interesting NT parallels. But I don't see a clear metaphor.

Does anyone have insight about this passage from a covenant context? Is it just an example of Solomons wisdom or is there something prophetic about God's people here?


1 Kings 3:16-28

Then two harlots came to the king and stood before him.

The one woman said, "Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were alone. There was no one else with us in the house; only we two were in the house.

And this woman's son died in the night, because she lay on him. And she arose at midnight and took my son from my side, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast.

When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked at him closely in the morning, behold, he was not the child that I had borne."

But the other woman said, "No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours." The first said, "No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine." Thus they spoke before the king.

Then the king said, "The one says, 'This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead'; and the other says, 'No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.'"

And the king said, "Bring me a sword." So a sword was brought 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 the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, "Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death." But the other said, "He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him."

Then the king answered and said, "Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother."

And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.



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Hi Riley,  I can not stop thinking about this story, and how there might be a meaning the original audience would have seen easily but we do not have the same cultural references.  Especially if this was the exile community.   I can not help but think that we are supposed to begin to see Salomon's compromise in the very first verse with his marriage to Paroh's daughter.   Secondly,  I can help but think the 2 women being seen as Harlots is some sort of metaphor,  perhaps symbolizing the divided kingdom which is about to happen,  Judah in the south and Israel in the North.  I believe other places in scripture called the kingdom or Israel a  harlot when it turned from  God to false gods.  So perhaps the baby that lives is Judah because it remained much stronger (and Jesus was from Judah) and Israel the dead baby.     I know this probably seems way out there, but there is just too much, with 2 babies and the two kingdoms which is about to happen, and then the use of harlot since we know Isreal had a greater problem with idolatry than judah but both kingdoms did have idolatry.     I just can not believe that this story is simply here as evidence of soloman's wisdom for several reasons,  what is likelihood of 2 harlots getting there disputed all the way to the king, they probably would have fought it out themselves. Also would the 2nd women really have been so angry to say cut the baby in half and also thereby revealing herself as a liar, would someone really behave this way before a King ?

Of course all of this is just me thinking out loud.  I hope someone else has some thoughts.    what are your thoughts on this possibility? 

Hey Marie, 

I totally agree that there is something more there to it. I like your idea of the divided Kingdom - I think that makes sense completely! Have you read other people's replies to my question? They had good ideas too, though I'm surprised no one else mentioned the divided kingdom. Anyway - great thoughts! I passed on both of our thoughts to Doug, so I look forward to seeing what comes up on Sunday. 

I SO enjoyed our time over dinner the other night! Let's do that again sometime. Fun to see you here at DID also.


Hi Riley,

    I read the other reply too, and Jerel's points are interesting too,  This is such a fun experience for me, reading the bible from the preterist perspective.   I am so thankful I met you, and also for this site and the porch.   I am learning so much from our dialogue,  I feel the most free I have ever felt as a christian, because I am finally getting answers that make sense and also no one is condemning me for having questions.      I enjoyed dinner too I hope we get to do that again soon, perhaps as I am reading the books you loaned me question will come up.   Well see you tomorrow



You know I haven't really thought about this story much before except in the traditional light, but with my pretersit decoder glasses on (LOL) this story screams out of the Messianic story of the birth of the people of God. I don't know if every detail can be pressed, but such themes as "same house" indicating that the Jews and the Christians were all living together in the same house during the transition period until AD70; the one harlot woman trying to steal the baby (God's people) from the side of the the other woman (righteous Israel) which would be Christ with the allusion of the blood and water from his side; the theme of giving birth which harkens to Isa 66 and Rev 12 and the woman flying to the wilderness for protection likely being another way of saying fleeing to the King for help, and also the messianic birth first without travail and then the labor pains of the birth of the people coming later (who shall claim identity of the people of God, Jews or Christians?); and then the sword which denotes that it would not be used by the righteous king to make a separation of the people of God but that the true people of God  the Christ followers would be spared the sword.

So in that light, I would say the unrighteous woman was unrighteous Judah, and the righteous woman was true Israel (Christ, yes I'm applying that to Christ but corporately not individually), the baby is the faithful children of God in Christ during the transition period, the King is God, and the sword is the judgment in AD70 that makes a final separation between who is and who isn't the true children of God.

There likely is a type or shadow of this story for the immediate audience with the two houses of Israel during the time of the divided kingdom like Marie said, and that makes sense to me, but I can't help but see its ultimate fulfillment in the Christ story.

Those are just a few quick thoughts off the top of my head this morning.  BTW Riley I really enjoyed the 5 S's talks you did last year on, my wife and I are looking forward to hearing more from you. :)



Hi Riley,

If I might add a few thoughts to Jerel's great insights, we might look at the children as representing God's kingdom inheritance that was to be found in Christ ( since children are a heritage of the Lord, Ps. 127:3 ) offered to all the house of Israel ( both women ). The unbelieving forfeited the inheritance ( the dead child ) by their lack of faith ( which was the only way that God ordained that it could be received ). To the elect however this inheritance was precious and they would give up everything ( the living child ) to preserve it.

Solomon ( as "the son of David" ) passes his righteous judgement that preserves the inheritance and the "precious value" ( I Peter 2:7 ) is received by the faithful woman.

Just some thoughts.





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