Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 3:21

When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, behold, he was dead; but when I looked at him carefully in the morning, behold, he was not my son, whom I had borne."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Arbitration;   Judge;   Rulers;   Solomon;   Wisdom;   Thompson Chain Reference - Solomon;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Children;   Courts of Justice;   Justice;   Magistrates;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Solomon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Book(s);   Court Systems;   Harlot;   King, Kingship;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Priests and Levites;   Wisdom;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Boyhood ;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Law of Moses;   Sol'omon;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bear;   Decision;   Proverbs, Book of;   Queen of Sheba;  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck,.... As she used to do:

behold, it was dead; her own child, as she thought at first:

but when I had considered it in the morning; it was towards morning, or just at break of day, when she arose to suckle it, and found it dead: but when it was broad day, and the light of the morning was increased, she more narrowly viewed it, and by its features, or some marks she had observed;

behold, it was not my son which I did bear: she was fully satisfied it was not her own child, but another.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:21". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-3.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 3:21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.

Ver. 21. To give my child suck.] This is a check to those nice dames that needlessly refuse to suckle their own children. Not harlots only, but "sea monsters draw out their breasts, and give suck to their young." [Lamentations 4:3]

Behold, it was not my son.] Though death had somewhat altered the features of the child, yet the true mother could not be mistaken in it.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:21". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-3.html. 1865-1868.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And when I rose in the morning to breast feed my child, behold, it was dead, but when I had looked at it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, whom I had borne.”

Consequently when the first woman arose in order to feed her baby she had thought that it was dead, but once she had examined it in the morning light she had realised that it was not her baby at all.

1 Kings 3:22 a ‘And the other woman said, “No, but the living is my son, and the dead is your son.” And this one said, “No, but the dead is your son, and the living is my son.”

The second woman then spoke up and declared that the truth of the matter was that her son was the living son, while the dead son was the first woman’s, at which the first woman said that that was not true but that the opposite was the case.

1 Kings 3:22 b ‘Thus they spoke before the king.’

This then was the case that they had brought before the king.

1 Kings 3:23 Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son who lives, and your son is the dead, and the other says, ‘No, but your son is the dead, and my son is the living.’ ”

The king no doubt eyed them both up and down, and then repeated the situation as described by the women. It appeared insoluble. One said one thing, and the other another. How could one possibly decide who was telling the truth when there was no evidence either way apart from the two women’s opposing testimony?

1 Kings 3:24

And the king said, “Fetch me a sword.” And they brought a sword before the king.’

But the king had not been given divine wisdom for nothing, so he called for a sword to be brought to him, which was immediately done.

1 Kings 3:25

And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.”

The king then gave his verdict that there was only one way in which to be fair to both and that was to divide the child up between them. Needless to say the living child would no longer then be living.

1 Kings 3:26

Then the woman whose the living child was spoke to the king, for her heart yearned over her son, and she said, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and on no condition slay it.” But the other said, “It shall be neither mine nor yours, divide it.” ’

The thought of this happening to her son was more than the true mother could bear, and she cried to the king, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and on no condition slay it.” The other woman was, however, nonchalant about the situation and agreed wholeheartedly with the king. This immediately resulted in Solomon recognising which of them must be the true mother.

1 Kings 3:27

Then the king answered and said, “Give her the living child, and on no condition slay it. She is its mother.” ’

And he accordingly gave instructions that the living son be given to the woman who was prepared to do anything rather than see her son die.

1 Kings 3:28

And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged, and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do justice.’

All around were filled with awe, and the story began to filter out to the whole of Israel, with the result they too were filled with awe at the king’s wisdom. And all recognised that it demonstrated that the wisdom of God was with him and that they could therefore depend on him in the future for true justice. There would be no more questioning his right to rule.

One lesson for us from this story is that we are always judged by the choices that we make. Like the false mother, false Christians will always give themselves away in the end, whatever their protestations, by the options that they subscribe to, and the choices that they make. As Jesus said, ‘Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things that I say?’ (Luke 6:46).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:21". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/1-kings-3.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

21.When I had considered it in the morning — Here is a graphic word-picture. The true mother, with all the alarm and earnestness of a smitten heart, looks at the dead child again and again, and turns it over, scrutinizing every feature, and lo, it is not hers!

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:21". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-3.html. 1874-1909.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.
give
Genesis 21:7; 1 Samuel 1:23; Lamentations 4:3,4
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 3:20 - took

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:21". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-3.html.