Solomon did not “Split the Baby.”

“Splitting the Baby” is a phrase that has taken root in our lexicon.  It references King Solomon’s decision where two mothers were embroiled in a “custody battle” over a child, each claiming the child to be their own. 1 Kings 3:16 KJV

In family law courts, oftentimes the Judges compare themselves to Solomon when making decisions.  These Judges must make tough decisions based testimony and evidence that are frequently in stark contrast depending upon which party was offering up the facts and proof.

In the Biblical Custody Battle, King Solomon was faced with one infant and two mothers.  Solomon did not know which woman was the child’s real mother, so he arranged a test to see if he could determine the true mother.  In Solomon’s case, the real mother was willing to let the other woman have her child in order to spare his life, while the other woman (whose own baby previously died) agreed with King Solomon that the baby should be cut in two, with each woman receiving half.  The real mother in King Solomon’s court was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of giving the child up, so that he might live.   The Holy Bible, King James Version, 1 Kings 3:16.

These days, however, it seems that when we talk about “splitting the baby” we are referencing making decisions that leave both parties unhappy.  I have heard a Judge say that if both parties leave unhappy then they must have gotten the result right.  There may be some instances where this holds true, however there was no splitting in the Biblical version of Solomon’s decision.

Splitting the baby may be the solution if it’s not an actual baby.  But the wisdom of Solomon is remembered, celebrated, and often cited because he, in fact, did not split the baby.

Thompson Law Firm, pllc     Matthew Thompson     (601) 850-8000


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