Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Solomon: Expert on Sexual Purity

I came across this column on Agape Press called The Serpent of Porn and had to laugh when it began with a Biblical lesson about the importance of avoiding sexual temptations from – of all people – Solomon!

Solomon intimately understood how powerful sexual temptation can be for a young man. It was with him in mind that he wrote the fifth chapter of Proverbs. “My son, give attention to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding …. For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and smoother than oil is her speech” (Proverbs 5:1-3).

Yes, folks, he’s actually turning to Solomon for advice on avoiding sexual temptation. Solomon. The king who, according to the Bible, had 700 wives and 300 concubines (though the Catholic Encyclopedia says that may be a mistake and he only really had 70 wives and 300 concubines; that’s much better). The same king who was, himself, the product of the marriage of David and Bathsheba after David had her first husband killed so he could have sex with her. This is a bit like turning to Elizabeth Taylor for marriage advice.

Comments

  1. #1 Chance
    April 20, 2006

    I wouldn’t shoot down ole’ Liz, I’m quite sure she knows more about marriage than any celibate(allegedly) priest. Having lived it and all.

    In my, admittedly limited, life experience the ability to stay married is no grand achievement. The ability to maintain a good marriage is.

    I have spent a great deal of time with 80-90 something women when I helped out at a theater whose primariy audience was seniors. I can’t begin to tell you how many of these women told me they wish they had left their now deceased husbands due to his behaviours but they stayed for either kids/financial reasons. What was clear is although they stayed married for decades they wished they hadn’t.

    On the flipside one of my dearest friends and his wife are as close as could be, thats a marriage worthy of respect. Whether it lasts 5 years or 50.

    So I think this is far from an area thats easily quantified. And for what it’s worth, I think the Catholics have it wrong. Given the supposed breadth of Solomons wealth 700 wives seems more likely to this fellow. I’d at least like to think he had more wives than mistresses.:-)

  2. #2 Dave S.
    April 20, 2006

    Ed says:

    The same king who was, himself, the product of the marriage of David and Bathsheba after David had her first husband killed so he could have sex with her.

    I thought David had her husband killed so Uriah wouldn’t find out he’d already slept with her, and in fact had knocked her up. The additional sex afterwards was a bonus!

    That makes it look much better you know. :)

  3. #3 CPT_Doom
    April 20, 2006

    Ed, have you seen the latest at AFA, which cross-posted this Soloman “sexual purity” crap? They are upset because Kentucky is thinking about using BCE/CE as well as BC/AD for dating. Apparently, BCE/CE (which, IIRC, has been in use for at least 2 decades by academics) is part of the vast secular conspiracy to destroy “Christianity.” Heck, you’re probably part of that vast conspiracy yourself, for having the gall to point out the ludicrousness of using Solomon as an expert on “sexual purity.”

  4. #4 Jer
    April 20, 2006

    Yeah, if you’re looking for “conservative American morality”, you should really avoid using the heroes of the Old Testament as your role models. David was a philanderer, Solomon was a polygamist, Samson was a terrorist, and most of the heroes used trickery, lies and even genocide to get their way – as long as it was what God wanted, the ends justified the means.

    Come to think of it, that does sound like a good description of modern “conservative American morality” – so nevermind.

  5. #5 Chris Heard
    April 20, 2006

    Ridiculous. However, as a biblical scholar, I feel compelled to point out that Solomon’s alleged 1,000 marriages probably had very little to do with sex. I mean, just think about the time that would be required … It’s unrealistic to think that Solomon needed this many women to keep him satisfied, Wilt Chamberlain notwithstanding. Solomon’s marriages are better understood as diplomatic marriages. But in strong contrast to Agape Press’s preposterous invocation of Solomon, it’s also worth noting that in the biblical book the Song of Songs, also called the Song of Solomon, Solomon is the “bad guy,” mocked for his profligacy over against the monogamous (well, not necessarily married, but “exclusively committed”) heroes of the book.

  6. #6 tacitus
    April 20, 2006

    I’m sure David Heddle will be along in a moment to tell us that Solomon’s promiscuous sex life was just fine since God sanctioned it… (Oh, and David was sorry he killed Bathsheba’s husband, so it all worked out nice in the end…)

  7. #7 Chance
    April 20, 2006

    Solomon is the “bad guy,” mocked for his profligacy over against the monogamous (well, not necessarily married, but “exclusively committed”) heroes of the book

    Monogamous heroes huh? Exclusively committed? Things that make you go hmmmmm.

  8. #8 ImagoArt
    April 20, 2006

    My son, give attention to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding …. For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and smoother than oil is her speech

    Is this a true statement or not? Whether or not Solomon followed his own advice is irrelevant to whether or not the advice is sound.

    Dave S. – you beat me to the punch regarding the David / Bathsheba / Uriah chronology.

    And where exactly are Elizabeth Taylor’s works on Marriage Advice?

    Rusty Lopez

  9. #9 Ed Brayton
    April 20, 2006

    Rusty wrote:

    Is this a true statement or not? Whether or not Solomon followed his own advice is irrelevant to whether or not the advice is sound.

    Well, the statement itself doesn’t really say much. It’s all in figurative language, but even at that it seems to suggest that the fault for adultery lies with the woman for tempting the man. A man trying to seduce could just as “oily” and filled with “honey” as a woman. I doubt Solomon was just so taken with the honey dripping from the lips of, oh, 1000 women that he just couldn’t resist them. If the advice is “don’t cheat on your spouse”, I’m behind it 100%. But I’m not likely to take that advice from an adulterer.

  10. #10 J. J. Ramsey
    April 20, 2006

    “It’s all in figurative language, but even at that it seems to suggest that the fault for adultery lies with the woman for tempting the man.”

    Actually, it seems to be faulting the man for succumbing to the temptation.

  11. #11 mark
    April 20, 2006

    NB: Solomon included a huge pair of phallic columns with his temple.

  12. #12 theRidger
    April 20, 2006

    You have to understand the cultural context. A man only commits adultery by sleeping with another man’s wife – possibly also his concubine, but that might just be theft. He is not an adulterer if she’s single. This regardless of whether he is married or not. Also, polygamy is not adultery. Therefore, Solomon could be quite consistent in (a) having 300 wives and 1000 concubines and (b) not being an adulterer and (c) condemning adultery.

    Mind you – this should not in any way be construed as my approval for the advice or the lifestyle …

  13. #13 Heathen Dan
    April 20, 2006

    The same Solomon who is alleged to have written the Songs of Solomon, the most sexually explicit book in the bible?

  14. #14 Chance
    April 21, 2006

    Adultery was a property crime. A wife was property plain and simple. She was given and received as such. This was actually fairly common practice until relatively recently(and still is in alot of the world).

    We now equate it with a form of morality but it really is more the moral equivalent of theft.

  15. #15 raj
    April 22, 2006

    It’s interesting that the Catholic Encyclopedia is admitting that there are mistakes in the Wholly Babble. I had been led to believe that the Wholly Babble was the inerrant word of god. But I’m not and never have been Catholic.

  16. #16 Bartholomew
    April 23, 2006

    Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense…My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him. I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dripped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. I opened to my beloved…

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