Chapter 3: The wisdom, marriages, and sacrifices of Shlomo

Chapter 3: The wisdom, marriages, and sacrifices of Shlomo

1.      King Shlomo married the daughter of Pharaoh:

  • Shlomo married into the house of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and he took the daughter of Pharaoh in marriage and brought her to the city of Dovid until his palace would be built, and until the house of God and wall of Jerusalem would be built around it.

2.      The offerings:

  • Sacrifices are being brought on Bamos: The nation water for the sacrifices on portable altars known as Bamos, as the house of God has yet to be built.
  • King Shlomo brings sacrifice on Bamos: King Shlomo loved God, and he went in the path of David his father. However, he continued to offer sacrifices and incense on the portable altars [and delayed building the temple for four years[1]]. The King traveled to Givona in order to offer sacrifices there, as that is where the portable altar was positioned [i.e. the altar built by Moshe which was situated in the city of Givon at that time[2]]. 1000 Olah sacrifices were brought by Shlomo on that altar [in a single day[3]].

3.      The dream of Shlomo with God and his request for wisdom:

  • In the city of Givon, Hashem appeared to Shlomo in a dream at night. God told Shlomo that he should ask him for whatever he desires. Shlomo then commenced to say as follows, “You have done for my father, Your servant David, a great kindness, after he followed after you diligently and was dedicated towards you with absolute honesty of the heart. You have done for him this great kindness and given him a son to sit on his throne as has occurred today. Now, Hashem my God You have crowned your servant in place of Dovid my father, and I am but a mere child [12 years old[4]] who is young and do not know the ways of the world, to come and go. Your servant sits amongst your chosen nation, a large nation that cannot be counted due to their immense population. Please give your servant an understanding heart to hear and judge your nation and understand right from wrong, as who can judge such a heavy nation as ours.”
  • God grants Shlomo unprecedented wisdom, wealth, and honor: The matter found favor in God’s eyes that he had asked for this [to be given intelligence in judging the nation. So Hashem said to him, “Being that you asked for this matter and did not ask to live long years, and did not ask for wealth, and did not ask for your enemies to be destroyed and rather asked to understand and comprehend judgment, therefore I will grant you what you requested. I will grant you wisdom of the heart and understanding of which there was no likeness of before you, and of which no other person will ever reach in the future. Furthermore, I will also grant you that which you did not request, and I will grant you wealth and honor to a level of stature that is unprecedented amongst any King in your days [whether you follow my Mitzvos or not, and furthermore[5]]. If you follow my path to guard my Mitzvos as did Dovid your father, then I will lengthen your days.”
  • King Shlomo celebrates the dream: Shlomo woke up from his dream and he arrived at Jerusalem and stood before the ark of God and brought offerings and sacrifices and made a great feast for all of his servants [in celebration of the good tidings he received from God in his dream[6]].

  1. The King settles a dispute regarding who is the true mother of the living child:
  • At that time, two women who are harlots arrived before the king for him to settle a dispute that they have, and they told the king the following story.
  • The claim of the first woman: One of the women stated as follows: “My master, I and this other woman were sitting in the same home, and I gave birth to a child while she was there. On the third day after my birth this woman also gave birth. There was no one else present in the home when we gave birth besides for the two of us. Now, the child of this woman passed away at night after she slept on top of him and suffocated him. Now, what did the woman do? She woke up in the middle of the night and took my son who was with me while I was sleeping and placed my child in her bosom and she took her dead child and laid him to rest in my bosom. I woke up in the morning to nurse my son and I see that he is dead. I contemplated on his figure in the morning and I recognized that he is not my child that I gave birth to.”
  • The claim of the second woman: The other woman stated as follows: “You are making a false claim, as my child is the one who is alive, and it is your child who is dead.” And the dispute continued between the two with each one claiming to be the mother of the living son and claiming that the other is the mother of the dead son.
  • The King reviews the claims: The king stated, “This one says that my son is the living one and the others son is the dead one, and this one says no, rather your son is the dead one and my son is the living one.” [From here we learn that a judge is required to verbally review the claims of each side in front of the sides, in order so he assures that he understood them properly.[7]]
  • The king gives a verdict to cut the child in half: The king requested for a sword to be brought to him, and so a sword was brought in front of the king. The king then the stated that the living child should be cut into two, and half the child should be given to one mother and the other half to the other mother.
  • The true Motherly instinct becomes revealed: The true mother of the living son became filled with compassion and mercy for her son after hearing this verdict from the king and requested from the king, “Please my master, give her the living child and do not put him to death.” However, the other woman responded by saying [to the sword bearer], “Also me and also you will not have the child, so cut him.”
  • The King reverses his verdict and grants the child to the true mother: The king responded to the above by saying, “Give her the living child and do not put him to death as she is the true mother.” [A heavenly voice than came and proclaimed that indeed she is the true mother.[8]”]
  • The king’s wisdom spreads to the populace: All the Jewish people heard of the above court case and the adjudication that was given by the king to solve the case. They became ingrained with much awe of the king, as they saw that the wisdom of God is found within him for the purpose of adjudication [and therefore feared doing anything evil for which they may need a judgment for[9]].

[1] Rashi 3:3

[2] Rashi 3:4

[3] Rashi 3:4

[4] Rashi 3:7

[5] Rashi 3:14

[6] Rashi 3:15

[7] Radak 3:23

[8] Makos 23b; Rashi 3:27

[9] Radak 3:28

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