It is not often that I dive into the political quagmire regarding the proposed “two-state solution” for Israel. However, since I just returned from the region I sense an urge to speak up…from a biblical perspective. Some of the leaders around the world would do well to take a stroll through the “Book of the Land” before forcing their foreign policies on the people who live there. I offer a biblical precedent that could be employed in Israel: Don’t cut the baby in two!
Just after King Solomon prayed for wisdom and God answered him, he was tested with what seemed like an impossible problem to solve. Two women came before him claiming maternal rights to a newborn baby. To complicate matters, one of the women had accidentally killed her only child.
“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. It happened on the third day after I gave birth, that this woman also gave birth to a child, and we were together. There was no stranger with us in the house, only the two of us in the house. This woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on it’” (1 Kings 3:17-19, NASB).
Even though there is cause for compassion for the mother of the dead child, her plan of action for dealing with her grief adds much more than insult to injury.
“So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead son in my bosom” (verse 20).
With the morning light came the real mother’s discernment. She uncovered the conspiracy of replacement on the face of a dead baby who was not her child.
“When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, behold, he was dead; but when I looked at him carefully in the morning, behold, he was not my son, whom I had borne” (verse 21).
With the words of the real mother came the unfurled wrath of the other mother. “Then the other woman said, ‘No! For the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son.’ But the first woman said, ‘No! For the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son.’ Thus they spoke before the king” (verse 22).
After listening to both wailing for maternal legitimacy, King Solomon had heard enough. There was no DNA test available and no daddies present for a look test. All King Solomon had was wisdom from God, and that was all he needed.
“Then the king said, ‘The one says, “This is my son who is living, and your son is the dead one”; and the other says, “No! For your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.”’ The king said, ‘Get me a sword.’ So they brought a sword before the king. The king said, ‘Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other’” (verses 23-25).
Sounds like a simple solution. But how could butchering the child ever achieve peace in the house of the two mothers? Certainly the king could move on to “more important matters” and the other mother could welcome half of another dead child and have company in her misery. But what about the real momma, not to mention the baby now cut in two? No legitimate mother would ever agree to such a “peace plan.” In fact, any woman who would agree to such a plan could not be the real mother, and Solomon knew it.
“Then the woman whose child was the living one spoke to the king, for she was deeply stirred over her son and said, ‘Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him.’ But the other said, ‘He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!’ Then the king said, ‘Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him. She is his mother’” (verses 26-27).
The best thing to do now is apply the wisdom of Solomon: Pay close attention to the hearts of the mothers. Let them show their true colors through their words and actions. Which mother killed her child and now wants illegal custody of the surviving child? Which mother has conspired to claim legal right to a child that is not her own? Which mother is willing to see the child slaughtered, rather than alive and thriving? Which mother is willing to give the child away to the illegitimate mother for the sake of his survival and wellbeing? You make the call!
“When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down, they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice” (verse 28).
Just like in the biblical story, the simplistic “two-state” strategy creates a no-win “solution” that will never achieve peace. Don’t cut the baby in two!