collection
246 cm x 346,5 cm
S-18

Two women asked the Jewish King Solomon to arbitrate in a serious dispute. Both of them had recently given birth to a child. However, one of the mothers had accidentally suffocated her child while she was asleep. When she realised what had happened, she exchanged the dead child with the other womans child, which was alive. Both women claimed that the living child was theirs. Solomon then proposed chopping the child in two and giving each woman half. One of the mothers agreed. The other begged Solomon not to kill the child, saying she would rather give it to the other woman. This showed Solomon who the real mother was and he returned the child to her. Solomons judgement showed great wisdom. The judgement of Solomon became a concept and a synonym for just and wise jurisdiction. Paintings of the theme often hung in courts. The idea behind this was that Solomons wisdom would inspire judges to pass fair judgement and convince the accused that the sentence passed was just. De Crayers painting originates from the former Oudburg lecture hall in the Castle of the Counts in Ghent, which until the end of the eighteenth century served as a courthouse.