Reynold Ruslan Feldman, Ph.D. - Author, Editor, Nonprofit Consultant, Wisdom Coach
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The Wisdom of Solomon?

The wisdom of King Solomon is legendary, not to mention Biblical. 1 Kings 3 tells the story. Two prostitutes are arguing about a baby they each claim is theirs. So they take their case and the baby to the king. “Bring a sword,” he orders. “I’ll cut the baby in half and give you each your fair share.” “Fine!” Says one woman. “No way!” Protests the other. “Give the baby to her.” “Aha,” says the king and awards the child to the second woman in the certain knowledge that the real mother would rather give away her living baby than get half of it back dead. This so-called Judgment of Solomon has stood as a classic of wise decision-making down the millennia. Yet the Bible also reveals (1 Kings 11) that the good king had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Moreover, one wife in particular got him into big trouble. So you have to wonder just how wise he was. Like our exemplar last week, Solomon illustrates that the fully human is sometimes compromised by the all-too-human. God, give us both the wisdom to know the difference and the capacity to act from our best selves ever more of the time.  

7 Comments to The Wisdom of Solomon?:

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Shoshanah on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 12:38 PM
Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines? So we have made some progress after all. I just finished reading the new book about Cleopatra. It was the culture of the day in Egypt, Rome, etc. to murder your siblings if they were a threat to your power, and, if victor in a war, to kill all key supporters of the losing side. As much as we complain about our society, there have been worse.
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Reynold Ruslan on Thursday, January 13, 2011 4:35 PM
Thanks, blog responders, for your wise comments. I agree with Shoshanah that we have made progress. Many in the past have shown us better ways. For example, Socrates four centuries before Jesus said he was a "citizen not just of Athens but of the world." Probably many more than one of us feel that way now, but I'm guessing we're still a minority. Bapak Muhammad Subuh said various times that if we have reached the true-human ("rohani"/insan kamil)level in our individual spiritual development, then we automatically feel as Socrates did and consider all of humanity as our family. That's why I continue to do inner work every day even though at my age one is supposed to be retired! I guess, as my colleague Loren Ekroth says, I'm "pro-tired." Cheers, RRF


levi on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 1:40 PM
I wasn't aware that they were prostitutes. Where did you learn that? Its not a challenge but a point of information. Solomon's problem was that he was King. He married many of his wives for political purposes and treaty making. He was also greatly skilled in torah knowledge. We don't come close
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Emmanuel on Thursday, January 13, 2011 12:42 PM
"God, give us both the wisdom to know the difference and the capacity to act from our best selves ever more of the time." AMEN!
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Elisabeth Smith on Thursday, January 13, 2011 1:07 PM
I totally agree with your last sentence of your blog.King David also made some unwise moves during his lifetime. All in all the Old Testament shows us the evolution of our spiritual nature, then in the New Testament Jesus Christ showed us a new way of living by love and forgiveness. We are ever evolving spiritual beings in this wonderful universe...
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This so-called Judgment of Solomon has stood as a classic of wise decision-making down the millennia.
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