It was a tough case, certainly worthy of the attention of the modern Court TV or FBI Files programs. Two women were living in the same house and gave birth to sons within three days of each other. One of the women rolled over on her son in her sleep and smothered him. Discovering what had happened, she switched the babies in the night, leaving her dead son with the other sleep- ing woman and taking the live child for her own. In the morning, the second woman realized that the dead child was not her own and the legal battle for the possession of the living child began.

Of course, investigators today would quickly do DNA tests and determine to which woman the living child actually belonged. When this case was heard, such tests were not available. The judge in the case, the famed wise king Solomon, would have to find another method of determining who was the mother of the living child (1 Kgs. 3:16-28).

Solomon decided to use the "maternal love" test. Noting to the women the difficulty of ascertaining the truth about the situation, he commanded that the living child be divided in two with a sword and each woman be given half. The real mother of the child loved him so much that she preferred to see him given to the imposter rather than be killed. The deceiver, however, demonstrated no such love for the child, agreeing to the "division" of the child. The real mother was identified through her love for the child and the case was solved!

Paul Harvey recently told the story of two siblings who were fighting over possession of a family Bible. Their mother had died and both the son and daughter wanted the Bible which had been hers for so many years. Unable to resolve the disagreement be- tween themselves, the struggle had become a legal matter. The judge in the case suggested a resolution similar to that of Solomon -- sell the Bible and divide the proceeds between the two siblings. The brother and sister, realizing that the Bible would be lost to both of them with such a resolution, came to an agreement about the Bible.

The wisdom of the judge reminds one of Solomon (Harvey mentioned this!), but my attention was captured by the fact that two people were fighting over a Bible, a struggle so fierce that it eventually entered the legal system. They were selfishly fighting over a book which teaches the virtue of submission to one another, the responisbility of putting others first. One gets the impression that perhaps neither the brother nor the sister was very familiar with the contents of the Bible. The Bible was a prize, an heirloom to be proudly displayed on the living room coffee table. "Look! This is the Bible that Mom had."

Hopefully, we will used our Bibles for more than decoration. Of what value is the veneration of a Bible for its age with no regard for its contents?

By Allen Dvorak in News & Notes, June 20, 2004

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