Solomon's judgment : the meta-riddle.

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In the biblical story of Solomon’s Judgment (1 Kgs 3,16-28), after the question of how the king can determine which woman is the true mother, a further question arises: Which woman turned out to be the true mother — the plaintiff or the defendant? This study attempts to do four things: first, confirm that the latter question is a deliberate feature of the story and is thus a meta-riddle that illustrates the biblical authors’ highly sophisticated management of ambiguity; second, present the interpretation history pertaining to this riddle; third, solve the riddle; and fourth, show the effect of textual criticism on it.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)33-44
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • King of Israel -- Solomon
  • Judgment -- Biblical teaching
  • Riddles in the Bible
  • Bible -- Kings
  • 1st -- III
  • 16-28 -- Criticism
  • interpretation
  • etc


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