Later two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. `If it please you, my lord," one of the women said, "this woman and I live in the same house, and while she was in the house I gave birth to a child. Now it happened on the third day after my delivery that this woman also gave birth to a child. We were alone together; there was no one else in the house with us; just the two of us in the house. Now one night this woman's son died; she overlaid him. And in the middle of the night she got up and took my son from beside me while your servant was asleep; she took him in her arms and put her own dead son in mine. When I got up to suckle my child, there he was, dead. But in the morning I looked at him carefully, and he was not the child I had borne at all."
Then the other woman spoke. "That is not true! My son is the live one, yours is the dead one"; and the first retorted, "That is not true! Your son is the dead one, mine is the live one." And so they wrangled before the king. `This one says," the king observed, " `My son is the one who is alive; your son is dead,' while the other says, `That is not true! Your son is the dead one, mine is the live one.'
Bring me a sword," said the king; and a sword was brought into the king's presence. `Cut the living child in two," the king said, "and give half to one, half to the other." At this the woman who was the mother of the living child addressed the king, for she felt acutely for her son. "I beg you, my lord," she said, "let them give her the live child; on no account let them kill him!" But the other said, "He shall belong to neither of us. Cut him in half!"
Then the king gave his decision. "Give the live child to the first woman," he said, "and do not kill him. She is his mother." All Israel came to hear of the judgement which the king had pronounced and held the king in awe, recognising that he possessed divine wisdom for dispensing justice.
Mantra: O God come to our aid, O Lord make haste to help me.
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