1 Kings 3:16-28: Wise Justice


We all love a good riddle, for example the famous one about a choice between two doors.  There are two door guardians by the two doors, one always lies and one always tells the truth: what single question could you ask to find out which is the right door?  The answer is, ask any one of them what the other door guardian will tell you is the right one, and then choose the opposite.  The one telling the truth will know that the one who lies will point to the wrong one; and the one who lies will lie about the one who tells the truth. In this case they will both be indicating which door is the wrong door, so you choose the opposite.  We love these sorts of riddles and we read books in them, and use them in IQ tests and as jokes, and we become accustomed to them and even adept at them.  But how very different it is to have a book knowledge about solving problems to unpicking the complexities of a real life situation.

I was recently a juror in a court case which was a he-said-she-said case regarding a charge of rape.  Each one sounded like they were telling the truth.  There were no other witnesses, in fact the person making the complaint was so drunk she had blanks in her memory.  How do you decide who is telling the truth.  The court case ended, not by determining the facts of the situation, but by throwing it out of court because of insufficient grounds to lay a charge.  That is not justice, true a potentially innocent man was not charged as guilty, but was he guilty or not, the courts could not determine.  Our earthly justice system is very limited in what it can know for sure, and there are many instances of cases needing to be thrown out because no one can know enough to make a verdict, and sometimes justice is corrupted through neglect, deceit or error.  Knowing the complexities of the judicial system we can more fully appreciate then Solomon’s wisdom in the case before us.

As we look at this section we want to note Solomon’s wise justice, and then think on the wise justice of Christ who Solomon is said to foreshadow.