Biblical People

Biblical People: Two Prostitutes

Two prostitutes share a house. They each get pregnant. First one gives birth, and three days later, the other has a child. Both babies are boys.

One night the unthinkable happens. In her sleep, the second woman rolls on top of her son and he dies. When she realizes what she did, she switches babies and goes back to bed as though nothing happened.

When the first woman goes to nurse her son, she finds he is dead, but in the morning light she realizes it isn’t her baby. Her son is in the arms of the other woman. But the second woman claims it’s all a lie, that the living son is, in fact, hers.

The pair comes before King Solomon, seeking his intervention. Each one claims the living baby is hers, and insists the dead child belongs to the other woman. They argue with each other in front of the king.

Solomon says the solution is simple. Cut the living baby in two and give half to each woman.

The second woman, the one who is lying, says this is fine. She reasons that this way neither of them will have him.

But the first woman, the true mom, shows her love for her boy. She says not to cut him in half, to give the boy to the other woman. She wants him to live, even if it means having another woman raise him.

Solomon realizes the first woman is the true mother and gives her the child. His ruse works, allowing him to discern the truth.

Are we willing to give up the people we love the most if it’s in their best interest?

[Discover more about these two women in 1 Kings 3:16–28.]

Learn about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at