The promise of arbitration in achieving peace and resolving conflicts between persons, nations and civilizations is not a novel, nor is it an untested phenomenon. Its use stretches back millennia where, long before courts and similar institutions were established, people turned to arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism. An early record and example of an arbitration arises from the account of King Solomon’s resolution of a dispute between two young women who had submitted their dispute for resolution by the King. The story goes that both women lived in the same house and gave birth to children within days of each other. On one fateful night when, it was agreed by both parties, no other person was in the house, one of the women accidentally smothered her child while sleeping. The petitioning woman claimed that the accused woman smothered her own child and, upon realizing her horrendous mistake, had exchanged her then-deceased child with the other woman’s child while the other was sleeping. The accused woman denied this and both claimed that the living child was theirs.
After listening to both women’s arguments, and after deliberating, the King called for his sword to render his award. He declared that the only fair solution would be for him to cut the living child in half so that both women could have one-half of the child. Upon hearing this award, the true mother of the living child exclaimed “[o]h, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!” However, the other said “[h]e shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!” Following the interjections of both women, the King recognized the woman willing to surrender the child as the true mother. His wisdom and good judgment indicated that a true and loving mother would rather surrender her child than see the child done harm.