Well it happened again. It jumped out at me. At least I though it did.
I was listening to the Word on my way to work, with distractions buzzing around my head, and the passage landed on 2 Kings 6.
You know, the chapter where King Solomon uses his wisdom to determine the rightful mother. Ya – that chapter where he threatens to kill the one child and offer half to each of the arguing women in order to solve their dispute. What genius.
But Carl – You are way wrong about the King and the child in 2 Kings 6.. Let’s read the passage I was slightly listening to.
2 Kings 6:25-31
And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver.
Now as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!”
And he said, “If the LORD will not help you, how shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?”
And the king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’
So we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day I said to her, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him.’ But she has hidden her son.”
When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes–now he was passing by on the wall–and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body–
and he said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”
Okay, but as is obvious to all concerned, this is a passage about a king and a child, but for the life of me I don’t see any other similarities.
Consider the passage about Solomon and the sword, and once you read it, I thought it would be interesting to compare the differences and see if there may be a lesson for us.
1 Kings 3:16 – 27
Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him.
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.
Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were alone. There was no one else with us in the house; only we two were in the house.
And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him.
And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast.
When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked at him closely in the morning, behold, he was not the child that I had borne.”
But the other woman said, “No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine.” Thus they spoke before the king.
Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; and the other says, ‘No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.'”
And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought before the king.
And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.”
Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.”
Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother.”
Ok, we have two similarities, in that the story speaks of a King (Ahab and Solomon) and of children Let’s consider the differences.
The nation of Israel was so different in these stories.
Under Ahab, the nation was in starvation mode, with the Syrians on the doorstep, and annihilation eminent. The nation was suffering under the curse of ungodly kings, with Ahab, a very evil little king, ruling over the nation, being led about by that woman Jezebel.
Under Solomon, the nation was in the golden age of prosperity and power. The nation was, more than at any time in it’s history, enjoying the benefits of a godly King, and now his son, reigning on the throne, was reaping the benefits of this history. It was a time of tremendous luxury and national strength, where all the nations bowed to the nation of Israel.
The children’s mothers were of different stock.
In the Ahab account, the women appear to be “average mothers”, under the extreme duress of starvation. Nothing appears to be mentioned about their moral character (under normal circumstances). I know – they ate a child! That is horrendous. And to offer your own child up to satisfy your hunger – that is an incredible statement about the human condition. But without any moral identifier, as in the next pair of women, could we not assume these women were average mommas?
In the time of Solomon, the women in the story were hookers, ladies of the night that used and abused men, selling their bodies for the bread of supper. Though they were prostitutes, at least one of these women still had a beating heart for thier youngin.
Both kings were addressed by one woman to provide help.
With Ahab, the women wanted justice in order to continue finding sustenance. (I tend to think the hidden child would be sacrificed eventually). Ahab’s solution – Curse Elisha, promise his death and seek to blameshift the problem to someone other than the self.
With Solomon, both women wanted to care for a child. At least one of them truly did. One momma would give anything for her child. Even give the child up, to ensure its survival.
Solomon’s solution. Look for love. The love of a mother that can not be held back.
You know, I listened to this passage a few days ago, and last night, my daughter was asking about purchasing life insurance, since she has an itty bitty baby. We chatted for a bit, talking of term life and whole life and premiums and such. (BTW, I am not a life insurance salesman, just a dad telling what he know!) Eventually she asked about life insurance for the baby. I informed her rather casually that children’s life insurance is intended to cover burial expenses if the child passed.
A second passed , and she blurted out that she experienced actual pain in her heart when I said that, just to think of her ittly bitty one passing. A mother’s love. It is truly astounding. I have seen my wife break down sobbing over her children, broken hearted over decisions they have made, or that have been made for them.
The love of a mother is a pale reflection of the love of God towards His people. God’s love is a heartbreaking, give anything you can type of love. And yet there are limits that restrict love from being shared, enjoyed and benefitted from. A heart that refuses to receive love, in the end only hates itself.
So Carl what is the lesson from this short post?
Devotion to God
Solomon and Ahab were different, not due to circumstances, but because of who they were devoted to.
True, Solomon was slipping away from the true and living God, but Ahab was as far away as he could get. Their devotion to the living God was exhibited in their reaction to the problem.
Solomon relied on God for his wisdom, having prayed to God in humility for wisdom to lead his people. God provided wisdom, and this story of the child and the sword is one of many stories exhibiting Solomon’s gift from God. Solomon resorted to the love of a mother to solve his problem. Unconventional – yes. Effective – very much so!
Ahab was just a weak little evil king. Led about by an evil woman. No conviction of soul, no humility or willingness to admit to sin, (at least not yet!). No – Ahab was a bad one! And all he did was blame a good one, and ultimatley the Good One!
1 Kings 21:25
There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the LORD like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited.
What type of person are you?
Do you see the love of God, even just a flicker, in the people around you? Do you look to be a blessing to those around you, and seek God’s wisdom for the benefit of others? Solomon did, and his status grew, and God blessed his life (as much as He could, and for as long as possible).
Or do you blame others for your problems and see others as enemies and impediments to your happiness? Ahab did, and it didn’t end well for him.
Where is your devotion now. It will be evident tomorrow. Something to consider the next time you face a difficult situation. (Hopefully not involving two women and an argument! That is just too much for me!!!!)
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.