Jacob and Solomon were polygamists. Tamar and Rahab were prostitutes. What are polygamists and prostitutes doing on the pages of Holy Scripture? And God told the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute. What about Cain—did he really marry his sister? Abraham did, and he was also a polygamist. Lot offered his daughters up for rape, David committed adultery (or rape?) and the Bible calls both men righteous. Love, Old Testament style, was bizarre.
As readers of the Old Testament encounter these weird, confusing, and horrific “love” stories they ask, “What’s up with sex in the Old Testament?” The church often ignores the R-rated bits of the Bible, so it’s hard for people to find answers to their disturbing questions about sex in Scripture, which can lead people to give up on God and God’s word. However, these stories were included in the Bible for a reason, to reveal an even more shocking “love” story. When humans behave badly, God behaves graciously. God not only forgives people with sexual baggage, but also redeems their lives and includes them in his mission. God’s word records their story to benefit us. Just as sex was not often ideal in the Old Testament, it’s often not ideal today. Instead of ignoring these stories, Prostitutes and Polygamists engages, discusses, and learns from them.
Let’s be honest here, the real reason I read this book is because of the title – Prostitutes and Polygamists: A Look at Love, Old Testament Style – and the cover. Doesn’t that peak your interest? Since we are being honest, have you ever wondered why the church rarely ever talks about the scandalous sexual issues? Sex is just something that people don’t talk about. Apparently, we are supposed to talk about it and learn about it, or it wouldn’t be in the bible. God thought it was important enough to be written in His word, so we shouldn’t just gloss over it or ignore these stories.
David T. Lamb has obviously researched these issues, and has given us a well-rounded, yet humorous, look into the lives of the biblical prostitutes and polygamists. I loved how he spotlights God’s forgiveness!
I believe I have learned something new, and enjoyed myself in the meantime. I don’t usually spend a lot of time in the Old Testament, and I felt forced to hunker down and check the scriptures/stories for myself. If nothing else, this is a great source to get you back in the Word. This book also reminded me that if God can use them, certainly He can use me too! There is hope for us all!
I would love to hear your thoughts, if you have read this one. Let’s discuss!