Dr. Yoo described her excitement of responding to her call, completing seminary only to learn that Korea did not ordain women at that time. It was not until 1989 that women were allowed ordination. She has returned to Seoul, South Korea and teaches Old Testament at the Methodist Theological University there. Dr. Yoo shared that she read the Bible as one who “does not belong.” Understandably, that perspective creates openness to the Scripture that is calling us to be one with God, to belong as a child of God.
In reviewing I Kings 3:16-28, Dr. Yoo challenged the audience to open their minds to explore the ambiguities of the text. Those ambiguities raise questions that may have not been considered before by many attendees.
- Could the 2 women have resolved the issue on their own?
- They had many things in common. They were both prostitutes. They shared a home. They both had sons within days of each other. They were alone together so they probably were each other’s midwives. They were a “created” family that depended on each other for survival.
- Could they have shared their grief in the death of a child and raised the surviving child as a son and nephew?
- Why was there no punishment for the crime of stealing a child and lying to the King?
- There was no response from the women. Did the King have absolute power over the women, were they afraid of the King?
- What if the King did intend to split the child and the sword was not just a threat as some have suggested? Was the King wise or a cruel ruler?
- Why was there no effort to get to the truth, no examination of evidence or questioning by the King?
- Is it reasonable to believe that someone could take a baby from a sleeping mother’s arms without waking her?
- What was the purpose of the story – to praise the King for judging wisely or that the King was unilateral and dangerous?
- Was it a parody of the King? The King had no name so there could be no punishment to the writer.
Today, we need greater wisdom, wisdom that will allow us to live together in support of each other.