They sat on either side of the room, facing away from each other. One seemed tired, with lined face and work-worn hands. Simply dressed, yet her eyes sparkled. The other? Striking, from a distance. Hair, make-up, and dress to attract attention, male attention, to be specific. Yet, something was not right. Although she had done a masterful job of camouflaging her age, a closer look revealed she was an older woman. She glared at the other woman as she spoke.
“You stole my child! That fool, Solomon, did not have any idea what he was doing. He thought he was so smooth. How everyone praised him for his wisdom. Wisdom? Ha! That was my baby, and she had no right to him.”
Gesturing toward the other woman, “Just look at her. She’s a wreck. What kind of a life has she had, old and worn out as she is? What has that brat done for her anyway? I could have gotten rid of the pregnancy, but I decided it would be a good idea to have someone to look after me in my old age. Now I’m GLAD I did not have to mess with him. From the looks of her, it wouldn’t have done me any good.” Nodding her head proudly she announced, “I’ve done just fine for myself, without having to worry about anyone else. I do not need anybody or anything to hold me back. I am just fine, thank you very much. Maybe old Solomon did me a favor!”
During the tirade, the other woman looked down at her hands, carefully slipping them out of sight between the folds of her garment. The first woman flounced out of the room with aplomb. The other dabbed tears with her sleeve, and said, “We were best friends. Neither of us had a home. No family. All we had was each other. We were young with no skills. We only knew one thing to do, and we did it to survive. We always helped each other. It is not good to be alone in that way of life. There were other women too, sometimes we needed protection or…” She paused as she struggled how to express her thought. “Sometimes we had to help each other out if things got rough.”
“We both found that we were with child at about the same time. The other girls told us they would help us…that they could get rid of it. But I could not even imagine killing my own child. I was low, but not that low. She struggled about what to do as well. We talked a lot about it. I decided to just do what I had to do; I thought I maybe I could give my child to someone who could not have a child of her own. My friend decided she would keep her child and try to sell it.” She shuddered as she whispered the words.
“Both of us went into labor at the same time. It was terrible for her. I could hear her cries, and I knew something was wrong. I know I saw them carry a baby away. When my baby was born, they swaddled him and put him next to my breast. I wrapped him in my arms and fell asleep because I was so exhausted. However, I had looked in his eyes; I knew my baby. He was breathing and he was suckling. When I woke up my arms were empty; she was cuddling a child. I asked her, where my baby was. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, ‘Your baby died.’”
“‘NO!’ I cried. ‘He did not die; he was well. He was in my arms.’ I went over to her and when I saw the baby’s face I knew it was my baby. I accused her of stealing my child and she raged at me. The baby startled and began to cry. It tormented me because her screaming frightened him.”
“She had bargained with some of the other girls to testify that my baby died and that I had stolen hers. Others stood up for me. When we stood before King Solomon I was faint with fear and worry. He was a new king, and he had no experience settling disputes. He heard both of our complaints. Then he finally looked at us and said, ‘The only answer is to divide the child between you. Bring me a sword’, he commanded. His men jumped to obey. I fell to the floor in anguish. I cried out ‘NO, My Lord! NO! She may have the child.’ When he turned his angry gaze upon me I fainted there in the floor.”
“The next thing I knew I heard her screaming, ‘He’s mine. He’s mine!’ Someone was helping me up. I sat there to trying to compose myself when I realized the King was putting my baby in my arms. He looked kindly upon me and he said, ‘Woman, take your child and raise him to know the One True God.’ I praised God, and I thanked him. I didn’t care what sacrifice I would have to make, I knew the child was a gift from God.”
“How did I take care him?” Her smile was radiant as she answered. “I didn’t; God did. It has not been easy, but His blessing saved us both. I’ve worked hard gleaning in the fields with the poor, but it has been a joy.”
A tall, strong young man came into the room. “Mother, here you are! I have been looking for you. Our business is done, are you ready to return home?”
Standing, as he helped her to her feet, she said, “My son. God bless you, my son. Home. Yes to home.”
1 Kings 3; Galatians 5:14; Romans 12:1–3
Go to “The Women Speak” page for a study guide for this lesson. If you are following the study and using the guide each week, please let me know. I would love to hear how you are doing. God bless you this Thanksgiving as we think about how His love is a home for all who want to follow Him. And that is true joy.