The Wisdom of Solomon

One of the great tales of wisdom is the Biblical story known as the “Judgement of King Solomon.” Put briefly; two women came to the king, both claiming a baby as their own, no proof could be brought one way or the other, so Solomon decrees that the baby be cut in two. One woman begs the king to give the baby to the other woman, so that it will live, the other cries, “if I cannot have the child, no one can.” Solomon, of course, gives the child to the first woman, citing that a true mother feels compassion and love for her child, while the woman who could so callously condemn and infant to death is clearly not it’s mother.

Now, was this really wisdom? Didn’t old Sol just use a trick to get the women to reveal their true natures? It certainly doesn’t sound like he used any preexisting information to come up with his oh-so subtle scheme. Wait now, think about it. What Solomon used is what Hercules Poirot would have called knowing the “psychology of the individual.” The king understood what the women were really fighting about; he knew the liar was not actually interested in having a new baby but in denying her rival the child. Sure, a sane woman would never have allowed for an innocent child to be killed, but the woman we are dealing with here was suffering from the lose of her own child and had already been driven to the desperate measure of stealing someone else’s baby.

So while, on the surface, the story may just seem as a tale of a simpler, more primitive time it really is a great example of how one can use his wisdom to make the right choices.

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