The hall must have been awe-inspiring to the two women who were granted audience with the King. They came from humble origins and had chosen a profession that was without honor. Down the grand promenade they walked, dressed only in simple apparel of the peasantry class; while on every side, they were surrounded with the elegance and decorum of the King’s Court.
There he was, arrayed in all his splendor and seated on his throne. That day, His Majesty was both their judge and the mediator of their justice. The women, prostitutes who had both recently given birth to sons, were acknowledged and asked to present their cases.
“My roommate gave birth to a baby boy,” spoke the first woman, “and I likewise gave birth to a son only three days after her.” Fear caused her voice to quiver as she addressed the King. “One night, she rolled over on her son, and he suffocated under the weight of her body.” Tears rolled down the woman’s cheeks as her emotion shifted from fear to grief. She continued to testify: “During the night, she exchanged her dead son for my living son. I did not discover the deed until the next morning when I awakened to nurse my baby.” Her words conveyed a cry for justice as she petitioned for her child to be returned.
“No, the living son is mine,” shouted the second woman. Anxiety, anger, and aggression filled the tone of her voice as she recounted a different story. Both women ceased to be aware of their auspicious surroundings but instead could see only the environment created by their own immediate needs.
The King arose. All voices hushed. The court’s silence shattered the first mother’s eardrums. She could barely breathe as the weightiness of the moment pressed in upon her soul. Finally, the King spoke. He was prepared to announce his verdict. “Bring me a sword,” commanded King Solomon.
The entire court and the women watched as the King brandished the sword. Who would suffer the fate of his judgment? They waited. They watched. “Divide the child in two, and give half to the one mother and half to the other,” Solomon decreed.
Without taking time to think, pausing to reflect upon consequences, or waiting for the King to invite her to speak, the first woman cried out, “O, my Lord, give the living child to this one who is not his mother. Please, do not kill the boy.”
“Let it be neither mine nor hers,” resounded the second woman.
Solomon recognized the true mother. One showed pity to the child; one lacked mercy. One petitioned for life; the other demanded death. One conveyed a loving heart; while one revealed a covetous and callous soul. One sought the blessing of the baby; the other sought only the satisfaction of her own grief.
How grateful the first woman was as her son was returned to her arms. Again her voice quivered but this time overcome with emotions of gratitude. She thanked the King. She turned to exit the grand hall. Her eyes no longer surveyed the beauty of the palace. She was preoccupied with the beauty of her child’s face. She no longer felt like the ostracized and lowly class. She belonged. She was rejoined to her son.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the honored mothers who have laid down their own wishes to seek the well-being of their children! May the grandest King of all, Jesus, reward you with His benevolence for the love you have bestowed upon your children.