KING SOLOMON and the case of TWO MOTHERS
Moderator: This is a story of two mothers who bring their case before King Solomon. The King knew that on the date in question, in the middle of the night, two prostitutes slept peacefully, their newborns tucked in their arms. The two women aren’t named in the Bible, but we will call them Mona and Lena.
Mona woke that night to discover she’d laid on her child, smothering it. Very distraught, she heard her friend Lena’s baby softly cooing in its sleep. Suddenly, in her grief, an idea came to her. She quietly stepped over to Lena’s bed, took Lena’s sleeping baby from her, and placed her own dead baby in Lena’s arms. Now, Mona reasoned, she wouldn’t have to suffer the loss of her child.
Moderator: Everybody come to order. Court is in session now.
King Solomon: Women, what appears……
Lena: Your Honor, Your Majesty. Mona and I lived together. I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Three days later, Mona had a son also.
Usually my baby’s cries of hunger wake me up, but that morning I slept long. No cries wakened me. I woke to find my son still sleeping. I tried to nudge him awake because it was well past his eating time, but something was terribly wrong. He wouldn’t respond to my touch. I picked him up, shaking him gently to waken him. But he was so cold. I panicked, trying to revive him, but he was dead! I just held on to him, crying wildly, not wanting to put his stiff, cold body away from me. Gradually I calmed down, and looked closely at him. I wanted to burn every detail of his lovely face in my mind.
In checking him out, I realized this was not MY son. It was too small, and had too much hair. It sure looked like Mona’s son.
Mona: That was not my son. My son is in my arms!
King Solomon: Quiet, Mona. You will have your turn to speak! Lena, go on.
Lena: There are no witnesses to prove what I’m saying. We were the only two people in the house that night. I can only plead with you, that the baby Mona is holding today is MY child.
King Solomon: And what do you have to say, Mona?
Mona: Lena gave birth to a child, a son. I helped her. Three days later Lena returned the favor, helping me deliver my son. Neighbors were there to help and celebrate both births.
The other morning I woke much earlier than Lena. I thought it was strange, that her baby hadn’t stirred when my son cried.
I was contentedly nursing my son when I suddenly heard Lena scream. I couldn’t imagine what was wrong. I jumped up to go to her and saw her shaking her baby wildly. But the baby never cried, no matter how hard she shook him or spanked him. Suddenly, she broke down, hysterically screaming out “I must have rolled over him in bed and smothered him.” I went and picked him up. He was cold and stiff. His life was gone!
Even as I felt sorry for Lena, I was thankful my son was alive and nursing. He is such a joy. Lena’s grief must be affecting her mind, to make up such a story as she’s telling, that it was my child that was dead and I am now holding her child.
Lena: Your Majesty, what Mona says is wrong! The living child is mine! The dead child is hers!
Mona: No! The dead child is yours. The living child is mine! Take your hands off my baby!
King Solomon: Ladies, stop that fighting right now! One of you says, this is my son that lives, and yours is the dead child. The other says, No, your son is dead, my son lives. I must go off to consider the evidence, what little there is of it. (He exits and goes off stage to his private area.)
King Solomon (in his office): Oh God, I asked you for the gift of wisdom and this is the case you give me to test your gift. How on earth or in heaven can I resolve this case? Where is your wisdom now? How can we prove who is the rightful mother of this child? (He was quiet, pondering and listening, for a while.) Oh, thank you God, for such wisdom! I think now I know how to determine who the real mother is, and who is the liar! I’ll go out to the squabbling women and settle this now.
Mona: Oh, your majesty, know that this child is mine.
Lena: No! No! The child is mine!
King Solomon: Will someone bring me a sword? NOW!……Thank you. Now, sir, take the sword and divide the living child in two. Give half to Mona, and half to Lena.
Lena: Oh, your majesty, NO! Please, give the living child to Mona and do not kill him. Please, let him live. She can have him.
Mona: Go ahead, my King. Let this child be neither hers nor mine. Divide it, and then neither of us will have a child! We will be equal again!
King Solomon: Lower that sword! Remove it from the courtroom! Send the child with Lena, and by no means kill him. Because Lena is the child’s mother. Only the real mother would make any sacrifice, even letting her child go to someone else, rather than going through the pain of seeing him slain by the sword. The words of these women have told me the truth.
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