1 Kings 3:25, Solomon’s Metaphor (Cut the Baby In Two!)

He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”

//This is surely the most famous story attributed to King Solomon. Two women were arguing about who was the rightful mother to a baby, and they brought the baby to Solomon. He promptly asked for a sword and ordered that the child be cut in half, so that each mother would receive an even share.

You know the punch line. The real mother cried out, saying “give the living baby to the other woman!” But the other woman said, “Cut him in two, so that neither of us can have him.” Thus Solomon determined the rightful owner, and awarded the baby to the first woman.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Immediately after Solomon died, Israel divided into northern and southern kingdoms. Some see the baby story as a metaphor of a divided kingdom, in which both halves die. (They really do, though it takes a few hundred years. First the northern half perishes, at the hands of the Assyrians, and then the southern half falls to the Babylonians.)

Question: Is this merely a metaphor bemoaning the loss of Solomon? Is it saying that the wisdom of Solomon was the only thing keeping the nation together, and when Solomon died, the split of Israel (and hence its eventual death) was inevitable?

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