Solomon allied himself by marriage with Pharaoh king of Egypt. He married Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her to the City of David [to live there] until he had finished building his palace, and the House of the LORD, and the walls around Jerusalem.
The people, however, continued to offer sacrifices at the open shrines, because up to that time no house had been built for the name of the LORD.
And Solomon, though he loved the LORD and followed the practices of his father David, also sacrificed and offered at the shrines.
The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the largest shrine; on that altar Solomon presented a thousand burnt offerings.
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask, what shall I grant you?”
Solomon said, “You dealt most graciously with Your servant my father David, because he walked before You in faithfulness and righteousness and in integrity of heart. You have continued this great kindness to him by giving him a son to occupy his throne, as is now the case.
And now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David; but I am a young lad, aLit. “do not know to go out and come in”; cf. Num. 27.17.with no experience in leadership.-a
Your servant finds himself in the midst of the people You have chosen, a people too numerous to be numbered or counted.
Grant, then, Your servant an understanding mind to judge Your people, to distinguish between good and bad; for who can judge this vast people of Yours?”
The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.
And God said to him, “Because you asked for this—you did not ask for long life, you did not ask for riches, you did not ask for the life of your enemies, but you asked for discernment in dispensing justice—
I now do as you have spoken. I grant you a wise and discerning mind; there has never been anyone like you before, nor will anyone like you arise again.
And I also grant you what you did not ask for—both riches and glory all your life—the like of which no king has ever had.
And I will further grant you long life, if you will walk in My ways and observe My laws and commandments, as did your father David.”
Then Solomon awoke: it was a dream! He went to Jerusalem, stood before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented offerings of well-being; and he made a banquet for all his courtiers.
Later two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him.
The first woman said, “Please, my lord! This woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house.
On the third day after I was delivered, this woman also gave birth to a child. We were alone; there was no one else with us in the house, just the two of us in the house.
During the night this woman’s child died, because she lay on it.
She arose in the night and took my son from my side while your maidservant was asleep, and laid him in her bosom; and she laid her dead son in my bosom.
When I arose in the morning to nurse my son, there he was, dead; but when I looked at him closely in the morning, it was not the son I had borne.”
The other woman spoke up, “No, the live one is my son, and the dead one is yours!” But the first insisted, “No, the dead boy is yours; mine is the live one!” And they went on arguing before the king.
The king said, “One says, ‘This is my son, the live one, and the dead one is yours’; and the other says, ‘No, the dead boy is yours, mine is the live one.’
So the king gave the order, “Fetch me a sword.” A sword was brought before the king,
and the king said, “Cut the live child in two, and give half to one and half to the other.”
But the woman whose son was the live one pleaded with the king, for she was overcome with compassion for her son. “Please, my lord,” she cried, “give her the live child; only don’t kill it!” The other insisted, “It shall be neither yours nor mine; cut it in two!”
Then the king spoke up. “Give the live child to her,” he said, “and do not put it to death; she is its mother.”
When all Israel heard the decision that the king had rendered, they stood in awe of the king; for they saw that he possessed divine wisdom to execute justice.