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Chapter XXXIX.

Solomon in the beginning of his reign surrounded the city with a wall. To him while asleep God appeared standing by him, and gave him the choice of whatever things he desired. But he asked that nothing more than wisdom should be granted him, deeming all other things of little value. Accordingly, when he arose from sleep, taking his stand before the sanctuary of God, he gave a proof of the wisdom which had been bestowed upon him by God. For two women who dwelt in one house, having given birth to male children at the same time, and one of these having died in the night three days afterwards, the mother of the dead child, while the other woman slept, insidiously substituted her child, and took away the living one. Then there arose an altercation between them, and the matter was at length brought before the king. As no witness was forthcoming, it was a difficult matter to give a judgment between both denying guilt. Then Solomon, in the exercise of his gift of divine wisdom, ordered the child to be slain and its body to be divided between the two doubtful claimants. Well, when one of them acquiesced in this judgment, but the other wished rather to give up the boy than that he should be cut in pieces, Solomon, concluding from the feeling displayed by this woman that she was the true mother, adjudged the child to her. The bystanders could not repress their admiration at this decision, since he had in such a way brought out the hidden truth by his sagacity. Accordingly, the kings of the neighboring nations, out of admiration for his ability and wisdom, courted his friendship and alliance, being prepared to carry out his commands.

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