Too often the phrase “splitting the baby” is equated with justice. And sometimes the arbiters of justice in our modern world (judges) believe that giving something to both parties involved in a dispute is the wise and fair thing to do, after all, that’s the Wisdom of Solomon, isn’t it? Well, let’s see…

Two women having recently given birth came to King Solomon to settle an important dispute. One of the mothers had accidentally smothered her infant while sleeping, and silently replaced her dead child with the other. The mother of the living baby awoke, and realized the dead child was not hers.

They stood before the King, and argued a fairly typical “he said/she said” type situation that we see in courts today all the time. King Solomon asked for a sword, so he could cut the baby in half, and give part of the baby to each.

The real mother cried out not to cut the child in half, but to give it to the other woman. Solomon gave the baby to her, because he knew that would be the real mother’s reaction.

OK. So why is this used as an example of Solomon’s wisdom? Because he was really going to split the baby? Of course not.

The Wisdom of Solomon was in devising a plan that would reveal the truth.

Now, I’m not suggesting that judges in our modern world have the capacity to always reach the correct decision –or to use such strong arm tactics. What I’m asking of them, however, is that they make the best decision they can, with the facts and the applicable law, and stick to it.

Very often in the criminal law context, when a case is “he said/she said”, the law requires that a judge acquit a defendant because the State’s case has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. (It’s certainly not convicting the defendant, but “only” giving him probation, not jail – which I think some judges believe is splitting the baby.)

Giving something to both sides is not justice, nor is it following the Wisdom of Solomon.

[Post inspired by Dallas Sidebar’s use of Raphael’s famous painting which hangs in the Vatican. Good blog, and I recommend adding him to your RSS reader.]

  • Katie Hawthorne

    I am in 9th grade. I have been a christian ever since sixth grade. this story of the Bible had always been fasinating to me because thinking that solomon would actually divide a baby in half just becuz 2 women were fighting over it would be highly believeable.

  • Margaret

    WHo is the artist of the above painting and what was the media used in the painting?(marble, paints,canvas)

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  • That is a briliant, lucid and easy to understand explanation of what the true meaning the phrase is, and I really want to commend you on it.

    Nicely done. Clearly you can dig through the mud to get to the real core issues and meanings.

  • Kimberly

    I’m in a highly contested divorce right now. As a stay at home mother for the past 10 years, I have been the primary care giver of our three children. My husband loves our children as much as I do. However, he wants to “win.” I am frustrated with the legal system in the fact that he can commit adultery, file for a divorce, and demand primary custody of the kids. My frustration lies in the ability of highly skilled and well paid attorneys being able to drag out a divorce for 9 months. In the meantime, the children are truly suffering. I am to the point where I want to walk away *because* I love my babies so much. It is the wisdom of Solomon. But then I also think it would be just as damaging to have their mother walk away. I’m torn, but I appreciate your blog.

  • S. Carey

    Wonderful article and beautiful painting…who is the Artist?

  • solomon omozegiele

    Wisdom comes from God. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

  • solomonabi

    Up nija for 1 0

  • Mirtha

    The wisdom of Solomon is not being used in modern day Justice, one needs the right color, right bank account amount to withstand Justice. God’s justice is blind to all of that.