Perhaps you may have heard the argument, as I have, against mother/baby co-sleeping because in King Solomon's court a woman was said to have killed her child by laying on him. Well, in the process of looking for something else, I stumbled across this fascinating and detailed analysis of the case where King Solomon ordered a sword be given to him, for the purpose of settling an argument by cutting a living child in half.

First, this quote, an accusation by the first woman that the second woman "lay upon" her child, causing his death. This is the part I have heard used against co-sleeping in the past.

"My Lord, this woman and I dwell in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while with her in the house. On the third day after I gave birth, she also gave birth. We live together; there is no outsider with us in the house; only the two of us were there. The son of this woman died during the night because she lay upon him. She arose during the night and took my son from my side while I was asleep, and lay him in her bosom, and her dead son she laid in my bosom"

But then, after young King Solomon gave the living child to the first woman, stopping short of cutting him in half (it was all a ruse to expose the second woman as the false mother) the author questions...

"But how could King Solomon have been sure the other (second) woman would not also have mercy on the child? Wouldn't most people break down in such a situation and relinquish their claims? What sort of person would want to be responsible for the death of an innocent child, even if it were not her own? "

The author then answers with this WONDERFUL explanation!

"Perhaps this was an aspect of the depth of King Solomon's insight - he knew that no normal parent lies on her own child and crushes him in her sleep. Babies always sleep with their mothers and fathers, yet this never happens, for perhaps God implants within a human being an innate sensitivity that prevents her from doing such a thing. A woman who lies on her child must be lacking basic human feeling, and such a person would certainly have no mercy on the child of another. According to the Abarbanel, perhaps such a woman developed a blood lust and possessed a cruel desire to see another life snuffed out. "


reference: http://www.jlaw.com/Commentary/solomon.html
a web site about Jewish Law specifically the article entitled "Jewish Law - Commentary/Opinion - The Brilliant Wisdom of King Solomon"

Hebrew name: Shlomo - peace and prosperity

The greatest king Israel ever had, King Solomon has grown out even of his Biblical proportions and become a man of legend. How much is true and how much is not is up for each one to decide - the Bible gives us a complete life story, but no archeological remains have been found of the great king.

According to the scriptures, then, the son of King David and Bathsheba ruled Israel from about 960 to 922 BC. His reign became the golden age of the kingdom. In this time there were no wars, only growth and prosperity. In Jerusalem, Solomon constructed a great temple along with many public houses and palaces. Along the borders he built fortified cities such as Gezer, Megiddo and Hazor. Within the country trade caravans passed, ever adding to the wealth.

The king was said to be the wisest of all men. For "...God gave Solomon Wisdom and Understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore." (1 Kings 4:29) He is said to have written both the Proverbs, the book of Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs.

The two most famous manifestations of Solomon's wisdom are found in the story of two mothers and a baby, and that of the Queen of Sheba. In the first, the king was asked to judge between two women who both claimed to be the mother of a child. He offered to cut it in two so that each could have half of it. One woman agreed with his ruling, but the true mother would rather give her child to the other than kill it.

The Queen of Sheba was a foreign royal who came to see Solomon's wealth with her own eyes, and to test his wisdom, she asked him three riddles. He answered them all perfectly, and the queen was so charmed by this that she eventually bore his son. This son was said to be the ancestor of the emperors of Ethiopia.

King Solomon was fond of women. He had hundreds of wives and concubines, some taken as peace treaties, others for pleasure. This is said to have contributed to his country's downfall. The king allowed his women to keep practising their foreign religions, sometimes even joining them, and for this, God tore the kingdom asunder soon after his death.

But the king's memory lived on in legends. The mention of his name brings thoughts of wisdom and splendour. The most popular name for grand hotels in Israel, it seems, is King Solomon, or a derivation thereof. Better still are the King Solomon's casinos. There is even a King Solomon Cave on Tasmania, which could explain why no trace of his wealth has ever been found.

King Solomon was the son and successor to the throne of King David and his wife Bathsheba. The dates of his birth and death are not known as a certainty, but his forty-year reign over Israel was approximately from 970-930 BCE. King Solomon is allegedly the wisest and wealthiest man of all time. 1 Kings describes how God, when the king was a young man, asked Solomon what gift he would like to receive from God. Solomon asked for wisdom, and the Lord was pleased at Solomon's request, granting him not only the wisdom Solomon sought, but power and wealth as well. The king's wisdom led him to write a 'book' of wise maxims, today the book of Proverbs in the Deuterocanonical Bible, and a love poem now called Song of Songs. Solomon went on to obtain 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines, given to him to seal treaties and foster relationships between other nations and Israel. Solomon's reign as king marked the last time that Israel was unified; this period is known as the Solomonic Era. According to scholars, King Solomon died circa 926-922 BCE.

1 Kings. Concordia Self-Study Bible: New International Version. St. Louis, MO: International Bible Society, 1973.

Sol"o*mon (?), n.

One of the kings of Israel, noted for his superior wisdom and magnificent reign; hence, a very wise man.

-- Sol`o*mon"ic (#), a.

Solomon's seal Bot., a perennial liliaceous plant of the genus Polygonatum, having simple erect or curving stems rising from thick and knotted rootstocks, and with white or greenish nodding flowers. The commonest European species is Polygonatum multiflorum. P. biflorum and P. giganteum are common in the Eastern United States. See Illust. of Rootstock. False Solomon's seal Bot., any plant of the liliaceous genus Smilacina having small whitish flowers in terminal racemes or panicles.

 

© Webster 1913.

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