Thursday, August 14, 2008

Judgment of Solomon

Raphaël. The Judgment of Solomon. c.1518-1519. Vatican

The amazing, yet unrealised, marvel of Solomon’s judgment is, that, it was never carried out. If it was, then great tragedy and wrong would have occurred, but precisely, because, it was not executed (and was not meant to have been) it was just and meet.

This came to me at work, early monday morning. My little project, at the moment, was to reduce the length of an arm of equipment, so that it would clear between two fences. Instead of allowing me to take a good measurement, as I was perched on top of a stool, some unidentified, and rude, Ford management person wanted the halfway point immediately. This was not the right measurement, for the arm moved on a pivot creating a radius, it did not move in parallel. There were other things that might have changed the measurement, they turned out to be negligible, but the operative point was the radius. The piece came back too short. Luckily, the remainder was longer, and that was cut, the next day, with a good measurement, without the presence of management.

Well, it was customary that the king’s, or magistrate
’s, or potentate’s judgment was irrevocable, and had to be carried out exactly. Mercy and sense were not required. Management still has that cavalier air of diktat. Recently (27 July), the Sunday’s Old Testament reading was the gift of wisdom to Solomon. This story, in the second part of that chapter, past the liturgical recitation, of the baby is quite a memorable story to women, and of course to others, that demonstrated Solomon’s wisdom. This was early in his reign, so Solomon should not be portrayed as an old man, for as the years progressed, he allowed for great error to grow in the kingdom.
Then there came two women that were harlots, to the king, and stood before him: And one of them said: I beseech thee, my lord, I and this woman dwelt in one house, and I was delivered of a child with her in the chamber. And the third day, after that I was delivered, she also was delivered, and we were together, and no other person with us in the house, only we two.And this woman's child died in the night: for in her sleep she overlaid him. And rising in the dead time of the night, she took my child from my side, while I thy handmaid was asleep, and laid it in her bosom: and laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold it was dead: but considering him more diligently when it was clear day, I found that it was not mine which I bore. And the other woman answered: It is not so as thou sayest, but thy child is dead, and mine is alive. On the contrary she said: Thou liest: for my child liveth, and thy child is dead. And in this manner they strove before the king.Then said the king: The one saith, My child is alive, and thy child is dead. And the other answereth: Nay, but thy child is dead, and mine liveth. The king therefore said: Bring me a sword. And when they had brought a sword before the king, Divide, said he, the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. But the woman whose child was alive, said to the king, (for her bowels were moved upon her child,) I beseech thee, my lord, give her the child alive, and do not kill it. But the other said: Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. The king answered, and said: Give the living child to this woman, and let it not be killed, for she is the mother thereof. And all Israel heard the judgment which the king had judged, and they feared the king, seeing that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment. — 3 Kings iii. 16-28. DRC.

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