I’m going to tell you one of my most favourite bible stories. It involves King Solomon, two women of low, cultural status, and a baby.
I’m also paraphrasing, telling the story. If you would like to read the actual biblical account, click this link: 1 Kings 3:16-28.
One day while the King held court, two women came to him with a pretty serious problem, levelling heavy accusations at each other.
The first woman explained to the King; This woman and I live in the same house. It’s just us. I gave birth to a child, and 3 days later, she also gave birth to a child. No one was with us, and we were alone.
She continues, and says that during the night, this other woman rolled over in her sleep and accidentally smothered her baby. He died.
Then the other woman woke up, and realized what she had done. So while I was still asleep, she came and took my son from my bed and replaced him with her dead child. When I woke up, I could see he wasn’t mine!
At this point, the other woman now steps forward and shouts No!! The dead child is yours, and MY baby is alive!
The first woman shouts back, the dead baby is yours! MY child lives!!
Every time I read this, I can just imagine the grief, agony, and fear that must be between these two women. One woman feeling the guilt and anguish of a child who died by her side, and one woman feeling the fear of losing her child, the decision now in the hands of a King.
The King sat and watched these women argue for a bit, and then spoke. He said, You both say your child lives. Signaling to someone in the room, probably a guard, he asked for a sword to be brought to him.
He ordered, Cut the child in half. Give one half to each of them, that they both may have a part.
Horrifying, barbaric…. I can’t even imagine.
Please don’t kill my son! The baby’s mother screamed. “Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him!!
The other woman shouts, Cut him in half! Then neither of us will have a baby!
Solomon raises his hand, and commands, Do NOT kill the baby. Pointing to the woman who was willing to do anything that the child might live, he said: She is the mother. Give the child to her.
The Bible goes on to say that when the people heard of this incident, they marvelled at the wisdom of King Solomon and his ability to judge fairly.
When I read/hear this story, I marvel at something else.
The King could have tried to figure out who the baby belonged to. I know that a three day old child doesn’t look like a newborn. I know that there’s a pretty good chance that a baby will look like his/her parent. Solomon didn’t examine the child, he didn’t compare the child to the women. The child was nearby, obviously, but that wasn’t what the King wanted to see.
He wanted to see the Mothers heart, so he calls for the sword.
The real mother, was the woman willing to suffer loss for her child’s gain. The woman who would do anything to save her child. That was what he was looking for. The woman falling down before him and crying, No! Give the child to her, I love him, but please, don’t kill him.
And the King, seeing this, commands: She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.
Maybe the heart of a real mother means so much to me, because in another month, we’ll be celebrating the 13th birthday of my sweet little girl. 13 years! But on the day she was born, I wasn’t there.
In fact, I would not meet her for 5 more years.
A story for another day. But in this day of adoptive moms, foster moms and step-moms, I think it’s a valuable reminder that it’s our heart that holds the seed of motherhood, not our blood.
So tomorrow is Mothers Day, a day when so many women will be waking up to breakfast in bed, homemade cards and things held together by glitter glue. And while so many moms will feel they don’t deserve the attention, or that they still wish they could do more, or be more (my hand is raised over here!), enjoy the day!
Happy Mothers Day ❤️.