24 And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought before the king. 25 And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.”
King Solomon is a new King and has just asked God for wisdom so that he can lead well. Here he is faced with a difficult situation. He must come to a conclusion to solve this perplexing problem.
It was not uncommon for people to bring difficult problems to the king. We see it a couple of times in 2 Samuel. The first being , where Nathan tells David of a man who has wronged another man, where David placed judgement on the man who was in the wrong, which was him after all. Additionally, shows us that it was not uncommon for people to approach the king over matters. Yes, contextually both passages deal with sin that was in King David’s heart but the fact that Nathan and Joab both used metaphorical issues to reveal issues to David is enough evidence to prove that it was not uncommon for tough issues to be addressed by the king.
Exposition of the Text:
In this case, king Solomon has taken over as king, he is still new to all the responsibilities and has just asked God to give him wisdom to lead well. Immediately, he is faced with a difficult case. He listens to the issue and quickly decides that his only option is to cut the child in half, allowing both women to have the child.
King Solomon’s approach is unquestionably difficult to fathom. I can imagine that the people before the king are all slightly shocked that the king desired to have a sword brought to him. I can hear the servants whispering amongst themselves, "what is King Solomon thinking asking for a sword in this situation?” King David would never order such a cruel order. Of course none of them dared to defy the order, thus, they quickly brought the sword to him only to have the king shock them further when he demands them to divide the child, or cut the child in half. The Hebrew word here is Gazar, and is used in the imperative meaning it was an order from the king!
Nothing about the order was conventional. Clearly, the result of this order is the death of the child over the quibble of the two women.
Many times in life, we are faced with situations whether it be with friends or family that results in quarrels. It could be as dire as the situation for this young child who is facing death over the fighting of these two women or as petty as not talking to one another because of quarreling. Regardless, there is harm being afflicted to each party. A relationship is divided and broken which destroys all it touches. Jesus, when he was being criticized and told he was doing works from the power of Beelzebul tells the people in , "24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” The same is true in our homes, churches and communities. We absolutely must approach our conflicts with an approach that is viewed by the world as unconventional. We must ask for reconciliation even when we might feel we are the party in the wrong. We must be peace makers. Ultimately, that is the pursuit of King Solomon.
Is King Solomon really wanting to cut the child in half? Of course not, he is looking for a response and the response will guide him to the proof he needs to make a just judgement. Thus, Some problems not only require unconventional approaches, all situations require a careful assessment.