What's the Bible have to say about polyamory? Spoiler alert: it mostly has things to say about questionable polygamy. Join us for an impromptu study on multi-partner relationships and Judeo-Christian values.
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Emily: On this episode of the Multiamory podcast, it’s Impromptu Bible Study. If you’ve listened to our podcast for a while you’ve probably heard the lack of religious upbringing that I have personally had, but fortunately, my two brilliant co-hosts are very well-versed in all things Bible. Today, they’re going to school me a little bit on Bible stories that are related to polyamory and polygamy.
Dedeker: If you couldn’t tell already that we’re in a bizarre world, Emily did our opening, I think for the first time in all of Multiamory history possibly except for the episode that you and I did together, Emily.
Emily: Did I do that one or did you?
Dedeker: Maybe I don't remember.
Emily: I don’t know either.
Jase: Someone tweeted us. Let us know who did the intro in that episode.
Emily: I forget.
Dedeker: Here we are a Bizarre World. Emily’s doing the intro. We’re talking about the Bible. Good Lord, literally. Praise the Lord.
Jase: Yes, this particular episode is going to be a little more lighthearted and fun as we look at some of these stories. I did want to just say here that actually for the past, maybe couple years, I've really been wanting to do a more serious episode about specifically Christianity and polyamory since Christianity is the dominant religion in our culture here in the United States as well as in most of Europe. It's definitely relevant I think to a lot of our listeners. Because a lot of us have that culture whether we were raised that way or not, it still permeates our culture. Anyway, we've been wanting to do this for a while and I've been really looking for a good guest for this. Someone who is actually a pastor or a theologian or something like that but--
Emily: It's funny that that's a word; theologian.
Dedeker: Theologian? It’s a great word.
Jase: It’s a great word. Anyway, I've had a hard time finding someone who's the combination of knows anything about polyamory and is willing to talk about it publicly on a show and also who is available.
Dedeker: And has an opinion that's not just, “Polyamory is wrong.”
Jase: Well, yes. Someone who's willing to engage in a more nuanced conversation about it. I have found some pastors who do speak more openly about it, but in contacting them, they just weren't available. Their schedules too busy with stuff. Though anyway, just so you know, that is something I do really want to do because that is a topic that, I think, would be relevant to a lot of our listeners.
Emily: If you know anyone let us know.
Dedeker: If you know anyone definitely send them our way. It is interesting because as some of our listeners probably know, Jase and I, both had evangelical Christian upbringings. That we’re different obviously in our own individual respects, but still a lot of similar through lines and the kind of doctrine that we were raised on. Neither of us identifies as Christian anymore, but I do think it is interesting to have this conversation examining the stories that we were raised with and what we were taught about multi-partner relationships. If any of that's translated to our philosophies as adults, I don't know. I guess we'll discover that in this episode maybe.
Emily: You all know a lot of Christian things that I don't and music.
Dedeker: It’s the kind of thing where even if you don't identify as Christian anymore, it's a lot of brain space that these stories, parables and songs still take up. It's pretty funny. Anyway, spoiler alert for our listeners. Generally speaking, multi-partner relationships that are portrayed in the Bible are problematic. Lots of patriarchal polygamy, concubines, harems and slave girl ownership and all those things, but again, product of its time.
Also, I found in doing a little bit of research for this episode that portrayals of polygamy in the Bible, interesting because it's often interpreted in sometimes problematic ways, either it's interpreted as a literal, as in, polygamy is what God said is the correct way to do. That's why I need to start collecting child brides and building a harem or I’ve seen interpretations of like every single person in the Bible who practiced polygamy had something bad happen to them. So, clearly, God's trying to tell us that marriages just one man and just one woman which in itself has some problems.
Anyway, so the stories that we’re talking about today are primarily from the Old Testament. That means that not only are they Christian stories, they are also Jewish and also Muslim stories as well. We aren’t here to lambast or make any particular commentary on Christianity as a faith, or Judaism as a faith, or Islam as a faith. We are just here to tell Bible stories to someone who has never heard these Bible stories before essentially.
Jase: While we may be critical of the stories themselves, that doesn't mean that we are necessarily criticizing the religion as a whole. Because as we said, there’s a wide variety of interpretations of these stories, regardless of how you practice your religion today, these are still the stories that are historically part of that. Whether you interpret that meaning, "We should do it that way", or you interpret that as, "Yes, this is the history of the people this religion descended from, but that doesn't mean that that's how we should do it." In fact, we definitely shouldn't. We should keep the camp that we would be in here. Anyway just want to preface it with that.
Emily: I apologize in advance for my face. If you're watching the YouTube video because it often is going to be potentially incredulous-looking or just surprised or something. It's difficult for me not show my emotion and that's just simply because I don't know these stories at all and they might be surprising to me. Let’s not be like, "This is wrong or bad", it's just me being like, "Wait. Really? What?"
Dedeker: I love that we're starting out the episode with apologizing for your face ahead of time.
Jase: Everyone’s sorry for Emily's face.
Emily: Is that correct?
Jase: Nothing we can do about that.
Dedeker: We’ve tried our best.
Emily: We’ve tried to fix it, but it’s unfixable. With that, I did little to know anything. They’re basically going to tell me these stories and I'm just going to--
Jase: Dedeker and I prepared these in secret from Emily
Emily: Yes, while I watched yuzuru Hanyu videos.
Jase: This will be Emily's first time hearing these stories at all.
Dedeker: Everyone interprets their relationship with God differently.
Emily: Yes, mine just happens to be in the form of figure skaters
Jase: Got it. Okay. Let's get into it, shall we?
Jase: Cool, we are going to be talking mostly about four different men from the Bible. Do we want to give a preview of who those are, real quick, so for those of you who can go around and get your notes from Bible school-
Dedeker: Yes, we're talking about the Four Greats. Actually, these are probably like the four rock stars of the Old Testament, I would think. We’re going to talk about Abraham and his relationship exploits. We’re going to talk about Jacob and his adventures and we’re also going to be talking about King David and King Solomon.
Jase: Yes, we've broken this down. I guess I'm doing the daddies and granddaddies and Dedeker's doing the sons and grandsons.
Dedeker: That’s not how my upbringing broke it down, but we can go with that.
Emily: Everyone in the Bible is related.
Jase: Well, these particular people are related. A lot of people in the Bible are related.
Dedeker: That is actually a big thing in the Old Testament is that there's this particular one lineage that everyone's connected to a certain extent. Pretty much all the famous main characters are on the same lineage. It’s very Lord of the Rings.
Jase: To give you an analogy you might understand, it's also very Game of Thrones, where it’s like, “This person is the nephew of this person who is married to that person who is son of that-- That kind of thing. Bible’s got same thing, basically Game of Thrones.
Emily: Are they all going after a throne?
Dedeker: Let’s just start this out.
Jase: All right, the first person we’re going to talk about here is Abraham. The story of Abraham is told in the book of Genesis which is the first book of the Bible, I don't know if you knew that.
Emily: Because it's Genesis.
Jase: Yes. I've actually been listening to a lot of Genesis lately at work.
Dedeker: You mean the band?
Emily: I can hear them calling in the night.
Jase: Close enough.
Emily: Phil Collins.
Jase: Been rocking out some Phil Collins, yes. Anyway, here's the deal. We’re going to try to keep these stories focused not on the whole stories of these dudes, but more on their relationship situation. It's hard to stay on task here, but we’re going to do our best. Father Abraham had many sons and many sons had father Abraham.
Emily: Wait, are you using that song again?
Jase: Yes, I’m singing that song again.
Emily: Apparently, there's a song that's the hokey pokey.
Jase: It's the hokey pokey for Christians.
Dedeker: It is like the Christian hokey pokey.
Jase: [singing] Father Abraham had many sons and many sons had father Abraham. I am one of them, and so are you, so let's all praise the Lord. Right hand. Then you do whatever. It's hokey pokey.
Dedeker: Not in the Bible.
Jase: That's not from the Bible. Yes, that's true. That's from Sunday school. Like half of our audience was like, "Oh my God, yes," and the other half was like, "What is he singing?"
Dedeker: What the hell?
Emily: I represent that half.
Jase: Okay, cool. Let's just get this started. Abram, who later was called Abraham, was married to Sarai, later named Sarah. There's a lot of name changing in the Bible. Just accept it.
Emily: That's very confusing.
Jase: There's lots of changing names to other names that sound very similar to the first names. Like Saul becomes Paul and Abram becomes Abraham.
Dedeker: The names get changed at a particular turning point. It's not like suddenly the scribe changes the spelling of the name.
Jase: No, God tells them to change their name.
Dedeker: Yes, God is like, "Now you're Abraham instead of Abram."
Jase: That's a longer discussion for another time. A lot of it has to do with the meanings of names and what characters make up that name. Anyway, it's a much more complicated thing. I'm sorry for even mentioning it.
Dedeker: It's not really relevant to this story.
Jase: Not relevant. I'm just going to use their easier to say names. Sarah, Abraham's wife, this is from Genesis 16, had born him no children, but she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar the Horrible. I'm sorry, it's probably Hagar.
Dedeker: Hagar. Just Hagar.
Emily: Hagar. Isn't that from something?
Jase: Hagar the Horrible was a comic strip going out in the Sunday papers. She had an Egyptian slave named Hagar. She said to Abraham, "The Lord has kept me from having children, go sleep with my slave. Perhaps I can build a family through her."
Dedeker: Okay, we already established some very progressive, "I can't have a child, but I'm totally fine for you to go and have a child with someone else. It'll be great".
Jase: Right, this was a very common practice at the time when wives were not able to conceive would be to some kind of concubine or a slave or someone like that do the actual child bearing.
Emily: Didn't Anne Boleyn get her head cut off for something similar?
Jase: I don't know. What's that story? It's not in the Bible.
Emily: Okay, I don't know, maybe not.
Dedeker: You're jumping way to far ahead in history.
Emily: Yes, okay.
Dedeker: You gotta bring it back.
Jase: Abraham agreed to what Sarah said. After Abraham had been living in Canaan 10 years, Sarah, his wife, took her Egyptian slave, Hagar, and gave her to her husband to be his wife. So he did marry her. For those of you out there, yes, you do still need to get married before you have sex.
Emily: He married Hagar the Horrible?
Jase: In addition to his wife Sarah.
Emily: Okay, so now he's got two wives?
Jase: Now he's got two wives.
Dedeker: Now he's got two wives, yes.
Jase: He slept with Hagar and she conceived, but when she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarah said to Abraham, "You're responsible, this is your fault." No, she said, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms and now that she knows she's pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me." He said, "The slave is in your hands do with her whatever you think is best."
So she treated Hagar real bad and Hagar ran away. Hagar ran away and was at a spring in the desert and an angel of the Lord came to her and said, "Hagar, slave of Sarah, where have you come from and where are you going?" She said, "I'm running away," and the angel said, "Go back to your mistress and submit to her and I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count."
Dedeker: I don't know if that's really a good--
Jase: She's sold. She was like, "Sold, you got me. That sounds great".
Emily: That does not. All the little babies coming.
Jase: Yes, right.
Jase: She went back and she bore Abraham a son and he gave him the name Ishmael. Abraham, by the way, was 68-years-old when Hagar--
Dedeker: It says 86 here.
Jase: I'm sorry, yes, 86. I read that backwards.
Emily: Dyslexic men.
Dedeker: There's some controversy about that. I've heard some people think back in this time, the way that they counted years was different. That's why a lot of the ages in the Bible seem really, really old. Like the number ends up being a lot higher than maybe it was in reality.
Dedeker: Especially for the time. Right.
Dedeker: Other people say because of God's blessing or something people were living longer back then. I haven't looked into any interpretations recently, but that is what I've heard.
Jase: Okay, cool. First we got the setup of her giving her slave to her husband. So he marries her--
Emily: Then treating her metamour horribly.
Jase: Treating her metamour badly.
Dedeker: I was going to say. I was like, anyone who complains to me about not getting along with her metamour, I want to whip out like, "You know, it could be a lot worse."
Emily: Well, it's hard as that.
Dedeker: "You could have been a slave and had your partner just tell your metamour, do whatever you want with her and it could have been real bad."
Jase: Yes, then fast forward now a number of years. Some angels, once again, come and are talking to Abraham. I just really love this story so I'm going to read this here. They say, "I will surely return to you about this time next year and Sarah, your wife, will have son." Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. She was 90.
Emily: What? Way past it, jeez.
Jase: So Sarah laughed to herself and she thought, "After I am worn out and my Lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?" Then the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, will I really have a child now that I am old? Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.' Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, "I did not laugh", but he said, "Yes, you did laugh."
Dedeker: This is in the Bible?
Jase: That's verbatim.
Dedeker: They go back and forth for another six chapters arguing about it.
Jase: No, seriously though, that's it and then cut's to an entirely different story. The Bible cuts right off after--
Emily: Yes, you did laugh.
Jase: I did not laugh. Yes, you did laugh.
Dedeker: Yes , you did laugh. Then she has a baby.
Jase: Then she has a baby a couple of chapters later.
Emily: At 90?
Jase: At 90. That's when she has Isaac.
Dedeker: Isaac's name means laughter, right?
Jase: I don't even know.
Dedeker: Yes, I think that's the case. His name is laughter because of the fact that she laughed when God tried to tell her that she was going to have a baby.
Emily: Did God name him?
Jase: Well, God generally tells people what they should name their babies in the Bible.
Dedeker: God's an influencer, generally speaking.
Jase: Kind of like a weird influencer as podcasters.
Emily: All these people are talking to God, so He's like a social media influencer.
Dedeker: In like the polyamory podcasting scene, like the way we're influencers.
Jase: Yes, God's very similar.
Emily: He's a social media influencer.
Jase: Also, to go back to shitty metamour situations, so Hagar's son, Ishmael, who's now maybe eight or something like that, he's still a kid. Maybe he's a little bit older than that. They find him making fun of Isaac and so they exiled both, him and his mom. Just like, "You were a jerk kid, get out. Both you and your mom are exiled."
Emily: Every kid is a jerk.
Dedeker: Just like Professor Marston. It's like total couple privilege where they kick out the third.
Jase: It is very much couple privilege. It goes back to the days of the Bible
Emily: Oh my God. God was cool with it?
Jase: Well, except, remember that God had promised to Hagar that her descendants would be numerable to count. Actually, Ishmael is a very significant figure in Islam because his lineage is traced to a lot of current lineages in the Middle East.
Dedeker: I thought it was that Ishmael is traced to being the forefather of the Palestinian line.
Jase: Yes, I'm not sure. I didn't look all the way into the details of which line it was. Anyway, God did fulfill His promise there.
Emily: Good job, God.
Jase: Yes, good job, God. Anyway, so far we're like, all right there's a wife and then she gives her slave here. So-
Dedeker: Sorry, I just did a quick Google. In Islam, Muslims believe that Ishmael is the first born of Abraham. He's recognized by Muslims as the ancestor of several prominent Arab tribes and being the forefather of Muhammad.
Jase: Okay, got it. So he's related to Muhammad.
Jase: Thank you for looking that up. Then fast forward another while and Abraham's getting older here and he takes another Wife.
Emily: Even older? He was like real old already.
Jase: He died at 200 something. He was an old, old dude.
Dedeker: Yes, but for all we know the way they counted years that could have actually meant he was 50 or something.
Jase: Yes, that's true.
Dedeker: We don't know.
Jase: We don't really know. In any case-
Emily: Maybe he was an elf.
Jase: So then he takes another wife. This time his wife Sarah has died.
Emily: Okay, she gone.
Jase: Somehow Abraham's still living even though he was 10 years older than her. He's still living and Sarah died and so he marries a new woman. She bares him 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 sons and then he marries another wife, Jokshan. She gives him a couple--
Emily: Jokes on you, bro.
Jase: [laughs] Yes.
Dedeker: I thought you were setting up like a Jokshan, so-and-so.
Jase: Yes, right. Jokshan, Jokes on. I'm sorry, I'm really bad at pronouncing these Hebrew names. I'm really sorry. Anyway, she gives some childrens.
Dedeker: Wait, are you really going to read all of this lineage?
Jase: Anyway, the point is he goes on and marries a few more women. Check this out, one line goes, Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. Isaac Great is son from Sarah, but while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the Land of the East. We've named all of these sons from different wives. By the way, he also had a bunch of kids from concubines that he gave gifts to and sent them away.
Dedeker: Isaac the important one.
Jase: There's even more that we don't even get named here.
Emily: There's a million, billion sons?
Jase: Million, billion. Right.
Dedeker: The song, "Father Abraham had many sons, had many sons had Father Abraham." It is true.
Emily: That's such a sweet song, but it's kind of like, "He be going to town."
Dedeker: [laughs] Yes, as a child you never really think of the implications of that.
Jase: You know, wait a minute. Yes, he is considered sort of the father of all the different tribes of Israel who were born from his descendants. Although apparently, not just the Tribes of Israel, but also of the Arab tribes and a lot of different cultures trace their ancestry back to Abraham.
Dedeker: It's the reason why Judaism and Islam and Christianity are all for just Abrahamic religions.
Dedeker: They all came from Abraham. Before we move on to the next story, do we learn any important modern-day polyamory lessons from this story?
Emily: If you're a guy, you're allowed to do whatever you want.
Dedeker: Jeez, Emily.
Jase: She is hitting on something that's yes.
Dedeker: That's not unique to the story, though.
Jase: I know. It's not unique to the story, but I'm saying in cultures like ours that have come from this Judeo-Christian background, this has been in our history or our culture for a very long time.
Dedeker: That's true. It is definitely just another example of a normalization of this myth that we buy into. That men want to have multiple partners and women don't.
Jase: Right. Totally and valuing virginity in women which will come up in the second half of this episode. Don't worry, we'll talk about some virgins.
Emily: Okay, I'm now worried.
Jase: Anything else? Did you learn any lessons studs?
Dedeker: If I'm really grasping at straws here, it's kind of like if you're not getting along with your metamour, sometimes it is okay to stick it out and it'll pay off in the end. I feel like it's encouraging you, if you're being abused by your metamour, just deal with it which is not a good lesson.
Jase: Not good, no. It is a somewhat troubling story actually. When you look at it not from the point of view of Abraham, which is the point of view the story is told from, but the point of view of all the other characters. It's like, "This kind of sucks." This is not a great story for most of the other people involved.
Emily: That guy seemed super self-serving. He was like, "I need some kids. I need some more kids."
Dedeker: I don't think that was just Abraham's fault. It was kind of the MO of like, "Spread your seed as far as you freaking can and have lots of descendants."
Emily: Well, he succeeded.
Jase: Well, the Lord also did command him to go and-
Emily: Spread that damn seed.
Jase: Yes, and He told him that he would be the father of all these tribes for generations and generations. He was like, "My wife cant even have kids," and the Lord was like, "Shut your face."
Dedeker: "I'll show you."
Emily: Shut your face?
Jase: [laughs] Let's move on.
Dedeker: Yes, let's keep moving on.
Emily: He's a spiteful God.
Dedeker: Emily, the next person we're talking about is Jacob, who is the grandson of Abraham.
Jase: [singing] "Jacob. Jacob and sons depended on farming to earn their keep." I'm going to sing songs about all of the people we talk about here if I can.
Dedeker: All people?
Emily: What was that from?
Jase: That's from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Not a song that we sang in Bible study, but I did do it in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat when I played The Pharaoh.
Dedeker: You would play a Pharaoh.
Jase: I was great as The Pharaoh.
Emily: Why would he play The Pharaoh? I've never seen the show. I know that it was an Andrew Lloyd Webber show.
Jase The Pharaoh is basically Elvis. He's done in the style of Elvis.
Emily: Did you shake your hips about?
Jase: I did. Actually, some parents complained.
Jase: No joke. In high school. I did this youth theatre thing and yes, some parents apparently didn't get the whole Elvis thing and complained about me being too sexual of waving my hips around.
Dedeker: Because you gyrated your pelvis? Oh, my God.
Emily: You and your pelvis.
Emily: Who wouldn't get that that was--
Dedeker: I could have been a fly on that wall. Good heavens. Wow. Let's move past that imagery and again talk about Jacob. Jacob is also another important player in the old testament. He's the grandson of Abraham. The son of Isaac. Jacob, his story is really long. We're not going to get into all of it. God gives him the name Israel which is why the country of Israel is named Israel, because the Lord came to Jacob and told him that's your name now.
Emily: He was like, "Your name ain't Jacob anymore, it's Israel." Apparently, he was like, "Yo, Israel."
Jase: Yes, trust me this happens a lot in the Bible, just go with it.
Dedeker: Comes up a lot, yes.
Emily: This is incredibly confusing. Okay, keep going.
Dedeker: We're still going to call him Jacob. He goes on to have 12 sons and those 12 sons become the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel which is another really important part of the Old Testament. None of that is really important. Where this story begins, when we're talking about Jacob's love life. Under some dubious circumstances, Jacob, he's on the limb. He's on the run. He's in the desert trying to--
Emily: Is this before or after the 12 sons?
Dedeker: This is before. He's a strapping young single man right now at this point.
Emily: Bachelor paradise, yes.
Dedeker: Yes, exactly. Bachelor in paradise. The love story of Jacob and Rachel is one of the really famous love stories in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. Basically, Jacob comes across like another tribe and he learns by talking to the tribe that actually they're related to him. They're like some second cousins or something like that. He meets Rachel who was a shepherdess in this tribe.
I'm going to read from Genesis 29 what their first encounter was. "While he was talking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep for she was a shepherd. When Jacob saw Rachel and Laban's sheep-" Laban is the chief of the tribe. "- He went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle's sheep." He goes over and tries to help her. "Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud."
Emily: What? Why? [laughs]
Jase: Keep going.
Dedeker: "He had told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and a son of Rebecca, his mother. So she ran and told her father." Of course the question I'm like, are you sure that's the reason she's running away from Jacob? [laughs]
Emily: [laughs] "This weird guy came up and kissed me and then started weeping and was like, "I'm Rebecca's son." Okay.
Dedeker: Generally, the way the story is interpreted is that Jacob falls head over heels with Rachel from the first moment that he sees her. He's so moved by meeting her and kissing her that he weeps out aloud. He goes, he meets Laban who's related to him. Laban is like, "Sure, hang out, this is great. You're family." Laban, he has two daughters. His daughter Leah, the older one and then his younger daughter Rachel who's the one that Jacob's really hot for. The Bible specifically says, "Leah had weak eyes but--"
Emily: What does a weak eye look like?
Dedeker: She could have been blind.
Emily: She had poor eyesight.
Jase: Maybe, I don't know.
Dedeker: She could have just had astigmatism. We don't know. It just says she has weak eyes.
Jase: They could have looked weak. Maybe she just didn't have a piercing gaze. I really don't know.
Dedeker: Yes. "But Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Jacob was in love with Rachel and he said, "I'll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter, Rachel." A little bit of context before this Laban was like, "I know your family, but if you're going to stay and work for me, I want to be able to pay you." He asks, "Give me Rachel and I'll work for free for seven years."
Laban was like, "Yes, tots. Tots into it." In the Bible, it goes on to say to, "So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her."
Emily: That's nice.
Dedeker: That stuff is really like some serious romantic commentary that we don't normally get in the Old Testament.
Jase: Are you not going to read the super romantic lines he says right after that?
Dedeker: [laughs] I will don't worry, sorry. Yes, then the verse that's exactly after that. So Jacob's finished his seven years. Then Jacob says to Laban, "Give me my wife. My time is completed and I want to make love to her."
Emily: The father goes, "Ew."
Dedeker: What happens now? Normally, this seems like a pretty traditional love story. Well, traditional-ish I guess. Laban pulls a fast one on Jacob. He throws a big wedding feast. They're going to have a big old wedding and then when it's time for like honeymoon, in the tent sex time, Laban dresses up his older daughter, Leah, sends her in to Jacob-- -with the weak eyes. Jacob apparently is so drunk, he can't even tell it's Leah.
Dedeker: Leah, God knows if she can see where she is. Jacob ends up having sex with Leah instead.
Dedeker: Then in the morning, sees who it is. He's really pissed off and he ends up-- We've all been there. Jacob comes storming out. Of course he's like, "What the hell man? What was this about?" Laban's just like, "Hey, what? Our tradition is that I marry off the older daughter first. If you work for me for another seven years, then I'll give you Rachel." Laban totally extorts Jacob, but Jacob is so in love with Rachel, it is like, "Okay, I will work for you for free for another seven years to get Rachel."
Finally, he puts in his other seven years of work, finally gets to marry Rachel. There's a verse in the Bible that says Jacob made love to Rachel also and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah.
Dedeker: Yes, comparing. We do talk about the comparison thing.
Emily: His love was greater?
Dedeker: They just throw that verse in there at the end, of, by the way, he definitely loved Rachel more than Leah, who he's been married to for seven years at this point.
Emily: Wait, so he had to marry her?
Jase: It happened already.
Dedeker: Yes, he had to. He'd had sex with her. It's done.
Jase: Well, she would probably have to be stoned to death if he wasn't married to her.
Dedeker: He couldn't marry her off to any other man.
Jase: Yes, she wasn't a virgin anymore.
Dedeker: She wasn't a virgin anymore. She probably was going to get pregnant with his child. He couldn't just give Leah to someone else. The thing is that this story of Jacob and Rachel, it's usually used as a lesson.
Emily: A lesson of what?
Dedeker: Encouraging abstinence before marriage.
Emily: That's stupid.
Jase: It's sort of the True Love Waits thing.
Dedeker: The True Love Waits thing.
Jase: He waited 14 years.
Dedeker: Yes, it's the idea of if you really love this person, then you're going to wait for her and God is going to bring her to you at the right time.
Emily: He was drunk and he had sex with her.
Jase: I bet they leave out that part when they're telling you in Sunday school for the most part.
Dedeker: Even though you do get to have sex for half of that time with your other wife that you didn't want.
Emily: Oh my God.
Dedeker: The thing is, the rest of the story for Leah at least, is pretty sad, kind of the same way with Hagar. There is that parallel. Hagar is the first one to have babies, but ends up being the one who has the roughest time of it. Basically, what follows once Jacob has his two wives, is just a cornucopia of childbearing. Rachel can't have any children. She's barren. Leah is good at child producing, but Jacob still doesn't like her, but he still sleeps with her enough to get her pregnant a bunch of times.
Rachel, again this is going to be some deja vu, Rachel gives her servant to Jacob to also marry and have more kids. Then Leah gives her servant to Jacob to also marry and have more kids. This is so terrible because it's a combination of not only like metamour rivalry, but also sibling rivalry on top of it, if you think about it, because of the fact that it's two sisters.
Emily: It's just so sad. It's all about this fucking guy.
Dedeker: It is really sad because the Bible keeps coming back to the fact that Leah is really sad because her husband doesn't really love her.
Emily: I bet.
Dedeker: She's aware of it.
Emily: She's really like, "I don't really like him either, but I'm married to the guy."
Dedeker: No choice. Anyway, Rachel does miraculously become pregnant eventually after all of this servant swapping that goes around.
Jase: Again, older in life like her grandmother-in-law.
Dedeker: Rachel does get pregnant. She gives birth to Joseph, who is the Joseph of Technicolor Dreamcoat thing.
Emily: Then he gets a Technicolor Dreamcoat, okay.
Dedeker: Then High School Jase is in a play and gets in trouble for gyrating his hips.
Jase: Yes, totally.
Emily: Then we've come full circle.
Dedeker: Without the bible really, where would we be today?
Emily: I don't know where you two would be, but I would be exactly in the same place. Continue.
Jase: Something that is somewhat relevant to things we talk about on this show, like we talked about with the comparison thing of like, his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah, that here too even with his kids when Joseph is born, it's like he finally has a son from his favorite wife. That's why he gives him this resplendent coat that all the other brothers were jealous of that.
Dedeker: He totally favors Joseph.
Emily: I bet they are.
Jase: Which is what the whole story of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is.
Emily: Wait, and then what happens in it?
Dedeker: That's a whole other story for another time.
Jase: I'd love to tell it to you, but I would recommend just seeing if you could watch Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat because that would be a more entertaining way to hear the story.
Emily: I don't know.
Jase: It's some good music. It's Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Emily: I love Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Jase: It's good stuff.
Dedeker: Did we learn any applicable polyamory or non-monogamy lessons from the story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah?
Emily: Don't let your parents use you in a ploy to get some guy to work for you for 14 fucking years.
Dedeker: [laughs] Maybe, don't get too drunk on your wedding night?
Jase: You know what? I like it. I will take that lesson. We did just talk last week about not getting too drunk at polyamory meetups. Let's have that be the lesson here.
Emily: Or on your wedding night.
Jase: What a story for the lesson to be don't drink too much.
Dedeker: Because you never know what your father-in-law's going to try to pull.
Emily: Geez. God came up with some intense stories.
Dedeker: I got to say, revisiting some of these stories as an adult, it is so funny because it's like when you hear this this story as a kid, everyone focuses on the, "Jacob and Rachel love each other so much and he waited and God blessed them and then they had Joseph and Joseph went on to do these great things." Everyone just glosses over the really sad parts of it, like Leah being just given away in sexual slavery by her father regardless of the fact that that was common back then, but still just being given to a man who's just eventually going to never really loved her.
Emily: All these siblings that he doesn't like as much.
Jase: Absolutely. I will also say, I have a very clear memory of the way that this story was told to me as a kid, was that after the seven years of work, they do the marriage. In the wedding ceremony, she's got the veil and he pulls up the veil and sees, "Shit, this is Leah not Rachel." They entirely leave out the whole drunken sex thing like that was not part of the story. That was not part of the story that I learned as a kid in Sunday school.
Dedeker: Really? They didn't even tell you he didn't even find out after--
Jase: No, they skipped over that.
Dedeker: Wow. For some reason, I always had that as part of the story.
Dedeker: Because in the Bible, I don't know if I read the translation that says he made love to her, but it was always like, he "lay with her," that's a common Bible euphemism for having sex. He lay with her and then in the morning-- I also remember watching a film when I was very young that was a film adaptation of the story of Jacob. That was the scene. It was that crazy wedding feast, we all run into the tent, cut to black, cut to the next morning when Jacob wakes up and he's hangover stupor and rolls over and there's Leah smiling at him and he's like, "What the fuck?"
Jase: If they're using it as a sort of, "Don't get drunk and have sex," lesson.
Dedeker: Well, to be fair, I watched that film at my secular grandparents house not in church.
Jase: Okay, because that was not part of the story for me at all, like with all of this. The sex part was just basically deleted from these stories.
Jase: It had a black, innocent, redacted. It was black.
Emily: Wait, really?
Jase: No, I'm joking.
Emily: I believe anything that you say about any of this shit.
Jase: I know, I'm sorry, Emily.
Dedeker: People who've been listening to the show for a long time know that we did do that Christmas episode where we did Two Truths and a Lie Bible edition to see what we can make up about the Bible that would fool Emily.
Emily: The answer was quite a lot.
Dedeker: Quite a lot.
Jase: I will say, we should do that again sometime. Maybe we'll do that as a bonus content on this episode, for our Patreon supporters, get that bonus content. I definitely think we made that too hard last time.
Dedeker: Yes, we definitely did.
Jase: Because we caught up on technicalities. We could make an easier version of Two Truths and a Lie Bible edition. Maybe we'll do that as bonus content.
Emily: Still stump the hell outta me.
Dedeker: That's true.
Jase: Before we get on to our second two Bible stories here, we want to take a quick break to talk about some really exciting things. The first of which is that we're going on tour.
Jase: Again, yes. If you are in North America, then there is going to be a Multiamory live show somewhere near you.
Jase: Probably pretty near you, depending which state you live in, maybe not as near you, but pretty near you. [laughs] We're doing shows in eight different cities in North America, seven in the US, one in Canada. We're super excited about it. This starts on April 16th of 2018. We're going to be in Toronto, Chicago, New York somewhere in Texas we haven't booked that one quite yet. We're going to be in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Portland. What did I miss? San Francisco. We hope to see you in one of those places, if you want to get all of the information and links to buy tickets and all of that you can go to multiamory.com/events. There you can see a list of all the things we're doing. We are also speaking at two different conferences in April.
This weekend we are going to be at Southwest Love Fest which is the first annual conference in Towson, Arizona. Which we're really excited about. We are going to be giving two different workshops there. One on polyamory and fictional media. One on relationship anarchy. I'm also going to be speaking on a panel about masculinity and polyamory with Kevin Patterson who was just on our show a few episodes ago.
Toward the end of April, we are going to be at RelateCon in Boise, Idaho being keynote speakers for that. Again, giving the same two workshops as well as giving a keynote address and being at a lot of the events. We would love to you there. Again, all of that information and all those links are available on our website at multiamory.com/events.
Dedeker: Another thing that you can do, if you want to support our show, other than coming to see one of our live shows which of course, we'd love to see you there. If you can't make it, we would absolutely love it if you could take two minutes of your time to leave us a review. Go to Apple Podcast or iTunes or whatever it's called these days. Leave us a good rating and leave us a review. It helps us to show high up in search results when people search for polyamory podcast or Sex-Positive podcast or relationship podcast, things like that. It helps other people know whether or not the show is worth it to listen to. Live us a review, let people know what you liked, let people know if there's a particular episode that you'd recommend people starting with.
Jase: That's a great idea.
Dedeker: Yes, it would really help us out.
Jase: Awesome. Another way that you can support us is by joining our Patreon community at patreon.com/multiamory. You can contribute to help us keep running this show. That is how we've been able to do things like a tour at all. The fact that we have Patreon supporters is 100%. That's the only reason we're able to do things like live shows and tours at all. We appreciate you so much for those of you who are already supporting us.
For those who aren't, if you'd like to join that community at patreon.com/multiamory. At various tiers, we have a number of different rewards such as access to our private invite-only Facebook group. We have a monthly video discussion group as well as at the $7-a-month level, you get our episodes a day early and you get bonus content with each episode.
Definitely, go check that out. Also, for Patreon subscribers, you get a discount for tickets on all of our live shows during our tour if you're at the Facebook level or higher on Patreon. Even if you're not a Patreon yet, and you'd like to become one, you can go do that now. Sign up and get your discount on tickets to see our live shows.
Emily: Finally, our sponsor for this week is Adam and Eve. Which is kind of funny because we're also doing something on the Bible.
Jase: Either appropriate or a little bit sacrilegious. Can't decide.
Emily: Given the nature of these stories, I'd say it's rather appropriate. Basically, if you use our promo code multi, M-U-L-T-I at checkout, you will get 50% off of almost any item. You'll get free shipping and a special free gift. I don't know what that one is, but actually no. I do. It's usually a sex swing.
Jase: It's a sex swing right now, yes.
Emily: Apparently, some of our Patreons have the multiple sex swings.
Jase: Because they're full of sex swings.
Emily: Giving them out candy. It's awesome. Again, Adam and Eve has been awesome to us. We get a little kickback if you use our promo code and we would really appreciate that. Again at Checkout promo code, multi. You can use it as many times as you want. Get all those sex swings and sex toys.
Emily: With that, back to these Bible stories. Tell me the next one. Someone, tell me.
Jase: All right. Now we're moving on to the stories of King David and King Solomon.
Dedeker: David's a big one.
Emily: These people are grand people? Grandson people?
Dedeker: Yes, King David was the father of King Solomon.
Dedeker: Yes, they're related. I went to King David's tomb when I was in Jerusalem.
Emily: Wait, he was a real person?
Dedeker: Yes, all these are real people.
Emily: They are? I thought that they were fictional people.
Jase: No, they're real people.
Dedeker: That's a bigger discussion for another time.
Dedeker: That's the thing about the Old Testament. It's a combination of not just a faith document, but also an actual historical document that does track the genealogy of--
Emily: Like I was saying at the like Noel. What is that? That's not real.
Jase: I'm sorry. This is a bigger conversation.
Emily: This is now a big conversation all over a sudden about the biblical interpretation. What's the line between what was real, what was not, what was the interpretation, what was based on facts?
Jase: What is cool though is that there is a whole field of study which is specifically biblical history where people do exactly that. They try to find other sources to verify whether or not certain people existed at all. Whether or not they said or did certain things. Whether they are related to certain people.
There are places where in the Bible actually, King David for example, who we are about to talk about in two different books in the Bible, is attributed as being a different number son out of a different number of siblings. There are small differences because it was an oral tradition or was oral history that eventually got written down.
Emily: Yes, from like hell of a long time ago.
Jase: Right, from a long time ago.
Emily: Sorry, excuse me using the word "hell'.
Jase: Yes, that is a whole much bigger field of study which is fascinating. Honestly, I think it's super-fascinating, but it's not what we're talking about right now. Right now we're talking about David. King David. I'm blanking on a song about King David. I'm sure there are plenty.
Dedeker: I was trying to think of that too. I do want to finish my story about going to his tomb though.
Jase: Yes, please do.
Dedeker: It was actually one of my favorite moments when I was in Jerusalem. When I went there I was by myself. I was exploring The Old City and it was definitely bringing up a lot of weird feelings about visiting all these places that I had heard about in my childhood and Christianity and it actually being there and like, "Oh God." I don't know. Kind of this weird existential religious crisis about what I still believed, what I no longer believe.
It started down pouring rain, really intense rain, really suddenly. I just ran into this building, just a really old ancient building and ducked to the side to get some cover. I realized once I was in there. I was like, "This is the tomb of King David." There are a whole bunch of Hasidic Jews at the tomb. A bunch of Hasidic Jewish men having the wildest party I've ever seen in my life.
Playing music, singing songs and dancing. Just at King David's tomb, well, it's raining out in Jerusalem. It was actually a really cool moment that I stumbled on. I was like, "Wow." I don't normally of Hasidic Jews as very joyful people, but it was because the impression I get is always very stern. It was really cool to see that side of that culture.
Jase: Cool, let's learn about King David whose tomb Dedeker has been to. King David here, he had eight wives during his life.
Emily: Busted end.
Dedeker: He was a king though to be fair. That was kind of a thing that kings did is you just collected. Well, you collected them like Pokemon really.
Emily: Gotta catch them all.
Jase: Gotta catch them all.
Dedeker: It's not even a matter of building a helm. It's a matter of all the different political alliances you could--
Jase: Well, exactly and actually David is a good example of that because a lot of his marriages were because he was interested in people, but also somewhat political. His very first wife, I actually don't know how to pronounce this name. If it's Michel or Michal or-- M-I-C-H-A-L.
Dedeker: Michal. You're trying to make it more Hebrew.
Jase: Michal was the second daughter of King Saul and David was interested in this woman.
Emily: Also known as Paul.
Jase: Sorry, different Saul.
Dedeker: No, that's a different one. Different Saul that became Paul.
Emily: Don't tell me that and then Jesus.
Jase: Sorry, Saul who became Paul was in much later in the New Testament.
Dedeker: The New Testament.
Emily: Okay. This is Saul isn't just Saul.
Dedeker: Just Saul.
Jase: As in better called King Saul.
Emily: Okay, got it.
Jase: Got it. The prequel.
Emily: A prequel to the prequel to the prequel, all right.
Jase: Yes, David was interested in Saul's second daughter, Michal, so he needed to pay a dowry essentially to kind of bribe the king to give him his daughter. I'm going to read this as a direct quote out of 1 Samuel 18:27, "David took his men with him and went out and killed 200 Philistines and brought back their foreskins."
Dedeker: The Philistines were a warring tribe.
Jase: Yes. That the Jews were at war with during this time-- brought back their foreskins.
Emily: Meaning from the penile head?
Dedeker: Yes, that kind of foreskin not any other kind of foreskin that you may be thinking of.
Emily: I don't know of any other foreskin.
Jase: Yes, I don't either. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might be-
Emily: One foreskin, two foreskins. I'm scared.
Dedeker: One, two, three-
Jase: No, I was thinking more of like, one foreskin, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. It took a long time. It took a very long time because they laughed after each one to hide their fucking horror at what they were doing.
Emily: Can you imagine.
Jase: Wait a minute. Did this mean that they were like at a brisk?
Jase: No, they killed them all and cut off like in-
Dedeker: No match because they killed them. They killed them and-
Jase: Instead of taking ears or scalps or something, they took foreskin.
Dedeker: Kind of like, "We're going to circumcise them and you know- . Emily, this is not the only instance of the Bible of a mass foreskin removal.
Jase: Yes, but we're not going to get into this today.
Dedeker: It happens at least three or four times.
Emily: I'm sorry. The Bible is bonkers. I don't that I'm alone in thinking this.
Dedeker: I was commenting on this earlier that whenever I revisit the Bible as an adult and like I read a story like there's like the story of King David. I read and I read and I reaad and then inevitably I get to the point where they always cut off in Sunday school or in church. Where they're like, "Here is the end of the story, that's it." If I keep reading it just becomes bonkers. It does become like all the weird stuff that they would never bring up in a sermon. Like collecting 200 foreskins. Where I'm like, "Wait. What. This has been in here this entire time, what?"
Emily: I can't imagine my sweet grandmother who was a Christian scientist which is also rather bonkers-- If anyone is a Christian scientist, sorry. I can't imagine her reading the Bible and just being like, "Yes, foreskins. No prob and then- "
Dedeker: The thing to pair in mind though is at least what I understood of Christian culture when I was in it-- I don't know how it is now, it was accepted that not a lot of Christians have read every single word of the Bible.
Emily: That is probably clear now.
Dedeker: It is a big book to be fair and then also on top of it like, usually you're relying on a leader to take you through the Bible. Like a pastor to point out the most important parts so that you don't necessarily have to just sit at home and read it cover to cover. Some Christians do. I know in my church they did have a specific class that you could take that was like over the course of the year, you read the entire Bible. Some people do but it's at least in the culture that I grew up in, it wasn't mandatory that everybody reads every single word of the Bible.
Jase: No. definitely not
Emily: Did you read the whole thing?
Jase: I've not read the whole thing.
Dedeker: I've not read the whole thing.
Jase: I've read almost all of the New Testament and bits and pieces of the Old Testament. I did have a Bible as a kid that did have a reading program in it that you could go by day by day and read.
Jase and Dedeker: [singing] "Day by day."
Dedeker: I know that one.
Jase: All right. That you could go day by day and check off each thing you were supposed to read. The description of it was specifically set up so each day or each other day-- I forget which it was, you would read something from the Old Testament and something from the New Testament. Because, they didn't quite use these words but essentially saying because the Old Testament a lot of it is really boring and the New Testament is a little more action-packed. A little bit more.
Dedeker: The fact that it is a historical and geological-
Emily: The foreskin swiping.
Jase: Every now and then there is a good exciting moment like this. Let's get back to the story.
Jase: He counted out-
Dedeker: We haven't even hit the polygamy part.
Dedeker: [inaudible 00:55:36]
Jase: This is just his first life here. He counts out all the foreskins-- I can't even imagine what it smelt like in that room.
Emily: Good fucking God.
Jase: Gives them to the king to say, "Now, I want your second daughter and I'll become your son-in-law." Saul's like, "Dude, impressed. Then, he gave his daughter Michal to him. Fun story. This is a little aside actually. Michal had no children with David.
Emily: Of course not, because none of the first wives do.
Jase: Well, it's okay.
Dedeker: That is the theme, huh.
Jase: Leah was the first wife, technically. But not the first love, I don't know. I don't know if there was love here honestly. This could just be a political move. This story doesn't have a lot of like, "Oh and he fell so hard for her." We'll actually get to that.
Dedeker: This seems like a political move because it involves like killing Philistines.
Jase: I think so, yes. Anyway, what's interesting here is that there is a weird, what's seen sometimes as a discrepancy where at times, it is said that she had five sons with Adriel who's a different dude. This is from Wikipedia. Many scholars believe this to be an ancient copyist error that the five sons were actually her older sister Merab's but that an ancient copyist accidentally wrote Michal in place of Merab.
In the Hebrew Bible and King James Bible, it does say Michal had five sons by some other guy. In most modern translations of the Bible, they've switched it back to Merab the sister restoring what's hypothesized to be the original text. However, I do love the idea that maybe this is just a-- What's the word? What's the equivalent of whitewashing but that's for like patriarchy?
Patriarchy-washing of a story where like, maybe she did have another man or another husband who she had kids by and that was okay. We've just like tried to delete that from the story and tried to turn it into a patriarchal story.
Emily: By [inaudible 00:57:52]
Jase: No, this isn't by [inaudible 00:57:55]. This is just-
Emily: No. I know it's not that. I'm just saying like equivalent shit.
Jase: Yes. Anyway, then blah, blah, blah he had six more wives because he's now a big deal because he's related to the king.
Dedeker: He probably did not have to collect as many foreskins to get those wives.
Jase: At that point, I think once you're related to the king, you've probably got a stockpile full of foreskins. Again, just like in the story of Abraham, there's like a one line mention that's also, "After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him." One line. There's also a bunch of other ones here that don't get narrowed by name. Then Bathsheba. Have you heard the name Bathsheba before?
Emily: Yes, no.
Jase: No? Okay, good. She's a pretty famous Bible character here.
Emily: I do recall looking over stealthily and I saw some tits. That's all.
Jase: I did have a picture of Bethsheba's tits up on my screen earlier, yes.
Dedeker: I believe it'd probably be the interpretation of Bathsheba's tits. That's not in the Bible. There is no description of the tits in the Bible, unfortunately.
Emily: It's at the Louvre. I was just there.
Jase: Yes, this is the painting by Rembrandt in 1654 at the Louvre Museum.
Emily: I saw so many tits on that dude.
Jase: All right, so Bethsheba. This is from 2 Samuel 11. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace.-
Emily: Just for kicks.
Jase: For kicks. From the roof, he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful-
Emily: That's why she has a naked picture.
Jase: Yes. "David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "She is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite. David sent messengers to her. She came to him and he slept with her-
Emily: Of course he did.
Jase: Then, she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David saying, "I am pregnant." That's just a no.
Dedeker: She sent him a text.
Emily: "I am pregnant."
Jase: I was thinking like a telegram. It's like, "I am pregnant."
Dedeker: I am pregnant. Full stop.
Emily: [inaudible 01:00:01]
Jase: Anyway, he sees this hot lady, finds out she's married to somebody else-
Emily: He's like, "Don't care."
Jase: He's like, "Don't care I'm the king."
Dedeker: "Don't care I'm the king. It's good to be the king."
Jase: "It's good to the king." He does her, she gets pregnant and then her husband comes back from war. He's in King David's army. Comes back from war and David's like, "Bro, you're back." This is me interpreting the Bible by the way. This is not a quote anymore. "Bro, you're back. Go home and do your wife man. You've got to go do her." He's just like, "No, how could I-
Dedeker: He's trying to have some-
Emily: "How can I do her?"
Jase: He's like, "How can I do that, I just came back from war. I just want to chill here at the palace, bro." David is like, "No, no, seriously, like stay here like a day but then go fuck your wife, please." He doesn't. He just hangs out at the palace and is like, "No."
Emily: And then he's like, she getting bigger and bigger.
Jase: King David's like, "Shit, I need a second plan." He tells his Generals, "Hey, I need you to plan it out in the battle so that this dude ends up on the frontlines in a really shitty place in the battlefield and gets killed."
Emily: What the fuck?
Jase: Which does happen. He gets killed and then King David's like, "Oh shit. Your husband died." He marries Bathsheba and then God's really pissed about it though.
Emily: Yes. I bet.
Jase: Yes. God's not happy about it.
Emily: God's like, "No."
Jase: That first son dies. King David's like-
Dedeker: Like, that's God's punishment.
Jase: King David interpreted it. It even says in the Bible that King David interprets that as that being his punishment.
Dedeker: Okay. Interesting.
Jase: Yes, interesting. Doesn't even commit to being like, "That's the truth." He interprets it that way. Then she has a second son who he names, Solomon. He ends up naming him as the heir to the throne. Which is also a recurrent theme in the Bible of not the firstborn sons being the heir to the throne.
Emily: It's just like their favorite born sons.
Jase: Yes, basically.
Dedeker: Okay, yes. The interesting thing with the story of Bathsheba is the fact that Bathsheba constantly gets slut-shamed from what I've seen. Bathsheba is held up as like, "Well, why was she bathing on the roof when she knew that David could see her." Clearly David's like the king.
Emily: Because she fucking wanted to take a bath, bitch.
Dedeker: Yes, I know and David's the king. He's the one calling the shots here and almost-- I don't know. I don't want to get too deep into it. But, power dynamics are there and she can't really say no. The king is like, "Hey come sleep with me." stuff like that.
Jase: Yes, exactly. Sorry, yes.
Dedeker: Sorry, go ahead.
Jase: I was just going to say, one other thing. We mentioned consent earlier on in this and that it wasn't acknowledged in this story. Another one interesting that comes up here is that, one of King David's sons leads an insurrection later on that leads to civil war in his kingdom.
Emily: Why am I not surprised?
Jase: This is also viewed as a punishment from God. Essentially, by getting advice from a relative of Bathsheba, his son Absalom has sexual intercourse out on the roof, essentially in public with 10 of his father's concubines.
Dedeker: What? I never read that part of the Bible. This is another example of like they never covered in Sunday school.
Jase: Exactly. This is second Samuel chapter 16, verses 20 through 23 for those of you who want to look this up at home.
Dedeker: So, then, he has like a reverse gang bang on the roof?
Jase: Well, here's the thing again, not a lot of details given, but it's like is he raping these women on the roof so that everyone around can hear? Or is he just having consensual sex with them on the roof? Because, maybe they're like, "Cool, this is the new king. I don't know." It's not even mentioned.
Emily: My money is on the non-consensual sex.
Jase: The raping version. I know. It's awful. Anyway, super fucked up. This is also viewed as punishment from God, for David being a dickhead and killing off a man so he could marry his wife.
Dedeker: Well, this is maybe uncomfortable. Are there any positive lessons that we could apply to multi-partner relationships that we learned in this one?
Emily: Positive? No. It's great to be king and a man.
Dedeker: Okay. Just because you're a person who has multiple partners doesn't mean that you should try to encourage people to cheat with you.
Emily: Or try to find a way to kill your metamour.
Dedeker: Don't kill your metamour.
Jase: Don't kill your metamour. That's the lesson. Don't kill your metamour or God will punish you and your son will have sex with your concubines.
Emily: Also, it sounds like, there's so many concubines and so much slut-shaming and God.
Dedeker: The concubine thing is kind of a mix because it's like yes, this is like awful. Just owning women's bodies and treating them like chattel and as sex slaves. Then, on the other hand, I also think about the fact that if you were a woman living back at that time and the king took favor on you and wanted to make you a concubine that was probably the best promotion you could get in your life at that time.
That's like your only opportunity for advancement. It's like, sure you're a sex slave, but you live close to the palace and you're going to be fed and taken care of for the rest of your life. It establishes the same thing of women needing to have these very extreme survival techniques in order to get by because the fact that the world's not very kind to them.
Jase: Yes. It is an upsetting thing.
Emily: Basically, what I've been learning from these stories is that we haven't really come that far as a society since 2000 years ago.
Dedeker: Well, I'd like to think that there's less metamour murder.
Jase: Less metamour murder. Which is good because I feel like I may have been murdered in the past if that were a thing. We don't have actual-
Dedeker: Oh, jeez. If you lived in the past time when it was possible to murder your metamour you probably would have been.
Jase: Also, that we don't have concubines now, so like cool. We've come someplace. It's been a few thousand years, though.
Dedeker: We have different kinds of sexual slavery now but-
Jase: Yes. No, you're right. Nothing's better, nothing's better. Everything's doomed.
Emily: The last story.
Jase: Tell us about King Solomon and let's be with Solomon.
Dedeker: Well, I think the story of Solomon's a little bit less depressing than David.
Emily: Let's fucking hope so.
Dedeker: I do hope so. Solomon-- Son of David and Bathsheba, the second son. Solomon again, another important figure. He built the first temple in Jerusalem. He was known for extreme wisdom. I don't know if this is a true story or not but there's a story that's often attributed to him of. I don't know Emily if you've heard the story of like the two women who both had babies but one of the babies died and then both women were trying to claim that the remaining baby was theirs.
Emily: Yes. And, he's like, cut it in half.
Dedeker: Yes. That's attributed to King Solomon. That he was the one who did that baby cutting.
Emily: Wait, did they actually cut her?
Dedeker: No, but that was the whole point of it, is that the woman-
Emily: Who was actually the mother-
Dedeker: Who's actually the mother was the one who was like, "Don't cut the baby in half. Let the other woman have it."
Jase: He was like, "Aha-
Emily: - you be the mother."
Jase: Elementary dear Watson. You are the mother.
Dedeker: Anyway, King Solomon, that's his whole jam. King Solomon's thing was quantity, I would say.
Emily: Go on.
Dedeker: He was known for having-- Oh gosh I thought I copied the numbers, but I think it's something like 300 wives and 700 concubines. I don't know what that's-
Emily: God. He's one of those guys just like, "I've had sex with a thousand women."
Dedeker: No. Both of those numbers are in the hundreds. I may have been flipping those two but still, both of those numbers are in the hundreds. I don't know if that's at the same time. I don't know if that's just over the course of his kingly career. This is how many wives and concubines he went through.
Jase: His kingly resume.
Dedeker: Solomon was famous for just having tons and tons and tons of ladies. Specifically, he also-- the Bible says he loved many foreign women, so basically any non-Hebrew women. The Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Cydianins and Hittites and all these other rival-
Jase: Sidonians, I think.
Dedeker: Sidonians. All these rival nations.
Emily: From Sedona Arizona?
Dedeker: This was a problem because the fact-- I mean, it seems to imply that King Solomon basically married every single woman around him and then had to go into neighboring countries to start. You kind of exhausted the supplies that were at home.
Emily: Did he have like 7,000 children?
Dedeker: Yes. Yes, basically.
Emily: Oh yes. You did write it down. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines.
Dedeker: That's what it was. Okay.
Dedeker: 700 wives that were also royal, so all like princesses and queens.
Jase: Right. Okay, all political marriages.
Emily: He married truly everyone.
Dedeker: Yes. All of these like political marriages. Yes, truly everyone. This was a problem though because God had told the Israelites, "You can't intermarry with these other nations." Specifically, "Because, they will surely turn your hearts after their gods." I'm going to start quoting from the Bible here, "Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love." That's the interesting part. They mentioned that he loves these thousand women and doesn't want to give them up.
Emily: The one penis policy thing here is not so great. But, it's nice that he loved everyone.
Dedeker: Apparently, he did love everyone. Apparently, he was relatively egalitarian. [laughs]
Emily: Or so the Bible says.
Jase: What's fun is that one of the wives turned him onto a goddess at least.
Dedeker: Yes. Okay, so, well, that's the point is that it says, "As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God." He followed Ashtoreth the god of the Sidonians and Moloch the detestable god of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the eyes of the lord. He did not follow the lord completely as David, his father, had done. Solomon even went so far as like building temples to his wives’ gods in the city. Which to God-
Emily: Imagine that. Religious freedom in his country and God's like, "No. Thou shalt not have gods before me."
Dedeker: No dog. Yes. That's the thing, from God's perspective it's like, "No, no, no." Because, God is a jealous god. Can't have any other gods but Solomon's like, "I'm just trying to respect the cultures that my ladies came from."
Emily: That was nice of him.
Jase: Seems like a good guy. Yes.
Dedeker: Yes, I know, I know but the thing is, God was really not happy with it. He ends up punishing Solomon. Basically, kind of punishing Solomon. He's like, "I'm going to punish you, but the punishment's not going to come down on your head. It's going to come down on your sons' head. One of your son's head. One of your thousands of sons' head."
Jase: Classic, yes.
Emily: Which one?
Dedeker: I think it was Rehoboam or something like that. I think like Rehoboam loses a battle, like that was the Lord's punishment on him for his dad being too multicultural basically.
Jase: Being too tolerant.
Dedeker: Being too tolerant. There's another side note with Solomon. M, have you heard of the Queen of Sheba?
Dedeker: What do you know about the Queen of Sheba?
Emily: [silence] Nothing.
Jase: Just heard the name.
Dedeker: Yes, it's a weird thing in the Bible because, it's this very short passage of the Bible, just that the queen of some place called Sheba hears about how awesome and rich and wise Solomon is and decides like, "I got to go meet this guy." So, she goes and she's so impressed by him that "she gave the King 120 tons of gold, large quantities of spices and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon." The Bible apparently needed to comment on that.
Emily: And, that was it?
Dedeker: So, she filled his house with curry [laugh] and then Solomon in return says, "I'm going to give you all of that you desire, whatsoever you ask," and then the Bible is just like, "And, he did." They don't say what she asked. There's different accounts and different faiths and different interpretations that suggest that they hooked up and for some reason, there's a bunch of art about the Queen of Sheba. There's actually a Handel piece called the Queen of Sheba, which I think if you heard, you'd recognize it instantly.
Emily: You mean the composer?
Jase: Yes, George Friedrich.
Dedeker: George Friedrich, yes.
Emily: She said Handel and I was like, "Who?"
Dedeker: How I'm supposed-- Handle?
Emily: Handle, I mean Handel, Handle.
Dedeker: Handle? Jase, you're the one who studied music things. What is it supposed to be?
Dedeker: What is happening?
Jase: We were just listening to-
Emily: I'm pretty sure I've heard that before.
Jase: Some Handel.
Emily: That is just delightful.
Dedeker: Oh, I see.
Jase: But, it should be George Friedrich Handel.
Dedeker: I said, Handel.
Jase: I know, you're correct. We just don't say it that way in America. Give me a handle of whisky while I listen to some Handel. [laugh]
Dedeker: Anyway, what lessons can we take away from the story of Solomon?
Emily: Solomon is a multicultural guy, but apparently God is jealous and not polyamorous.
Jase: But, also God is like, "Hey, man, that's not cool, but like, let's just do a little punishment." [laugh]
Dedeker: I guess there's a couple interpretation of this. There's the one interpretation where Solomon is this super, egalitarian, loving, multicultural guy who's like, "Oh yes baby, you want to worship fricking the goddess Ashtoreth. Like, I'll totally use my funds to build a temple just for you because your religious expression is that important to me. Even though it's not mine, but I'm not going to condemn you for that.
Feel free, go ahead." So, he's like a super woke dude, at least religiously, or I feel like more realistically. It's like he got into all these political marriages and another part of political ties is like, "And, I’ll even build a temple honoring your God in my city to show how good of a team player I am." So, that's probably more realistically, what it was.
Jase: I mean, I like the other interpretation better, but sure, yes. I think it actually is an interesting example of the ways that we can see-- I mean, we see it in modern-day politics as well, where you'll have certain people who will be viewed by some as like, "Oh my gosh, this person is really moving things forward in terms of cultural acceptance and offering asylum to people who need it." You know, helping out in the world.
And, then other people will be like, "Look at this fucking cock, can't stand up for anything and is helping the infidels." They probably don't use the word infidels, but you know what I mean, expressing that type of sentiment or someone else who's like a sort of multicultural like, pro-tolerance and acceptance person and to someone else it's like, they're destroying family values. I think it is interesting seeing that. I know that's not really relevant to our topic here of polygamy and polyamory in the Bible.
Emily: Let's face it, it's all just one polygamy, it's not polyamory.
Dedeker: Well, yes. The only examples of women in the Bible with multiple partners are all basically prostitutes.
Jase: Yes, although, that's maybe a topic for another time. But, there are arguments like Mary Magdalene who loves to be talked about as this prostitute who Jesus talked to and whatever. There are other accounts and biblical historians who actually make the argument that she was actually one of Jesus's disciples. It wasn't until later that she was–
Dedeker: We read The DaVinci Code.
Emily: I did read The DaVinci Code.
Jase: That's great. See, you've got some Bible knowledge, but that isn't just a DaVinci Code thing, right? There are some biblical historians who make that argument that there may have been other female disciple as well. Again, it's hard to know because, all of this has been decided by men at various length trough history, even the Bible as we know it. There were a lot more books that made up sort of the history of Israel and at one point, they translated these all into German and we're lie putting together the Bible. And, it was a King at the time I believe, who just decided like, ''These are the books that are legit and stay in and these are the books-
Dedeker: You're talking way further back before they were translating into German, the Council of Nicaea, that was like Constantine and pre Constantine, in the Roman empire.
Jase: Thank you, sorry. Yes, I'm confusing my Bible stories or my post-Bible stories.
Dedeker: No, but it's like it's been translated from Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek to Latin to old English and old German.
Jase: The story with the German translations is that they had translators, they had a bunch of translators, all go off for a year separately and translate the Bible into German. And, the story goes that all of them came back a year later or however long it was, and they all had an identical translation of it.
Jase: Right, but that is the story, at least, that it's why that is often used as one of the source translations of the Bible because, there were these several translations that came back the same.
Dedeker: Anyway, I guess, to bring it all together, it was really interesting for me to revisit these stories after having lived a long time in multi-partner relationships and suddenly seeing these weird stories come out where I was like, "Oh my god, metamour relations, it all makes sense." It is really interesting definitely to think about the fact that in Western culture with our Judeo-Christian background, we have a long history of having these multipartner, polygamous stories baked into our culture that are in some interpretations weird, and a little bit funny and in other interpretation, it's really toxic and awful. So, I guess, do with that what you will.
Emily: I mean, I learned a lot today, but I learned that I don't know, these stories are really problematic and it's not incredibly surprising to me that we have the problems that we have today, considering how seeped into our culture these stories are.
Dedeker: But, there's also a lot of things like the fact like, this was one translation they were reading from. There's a lot of things when people go back and go back to like original Hebrew when they examined what the original Hebrew word is, they're like, "Oh my gosh, actually it's this totally different word that totally changes the tone and the meaning of this passage." There are so many instances of that in the Bible, where things depending on how you translate it, can sound either really awful and toxic or actually not that bad and really inspiring and wonderful.
Jase: It is an interesting thing, yes. Translation is fascinating. When I was studying abroad in Russia, we did some translation work as part of a class and that really drove home for me because at that time I was still Christian, I was actually going to an American Baptist Church at the time. It really drove home for me though how much power translators have, how much there are things you cannot translate literally, that translation isn't a one-to-one thing. There's a lot of interpretation that goes into it. And, later in my life now studying Japanese, I see that even more so I think than I did with Russian.
But, definitely, translating from something like ancient Aramaic all the way forward through several other languages in between into modern-day English, of course, there are so many decisions that had to be made about interpreting the meaning of things. Even the idea that someone would think that the Bible is literally the word of God, it's like, even if you will accept the argument that it was, that would have been in Aramaic and this has gone through so many translations by different human beings, normal people-
Dedeker: Like when you go through Japanese Google translate 10 times then see what you got on the other side.
Jase: Do a YouTube search for I think it's Japanese translation or like Google Translate song lyrics, there are people who do back and forth through Google Translate, like to
Japanese and back to English and back over and over again, and then they sing those lyrics to popular songs and it's just absurd what stuff you come up with after going back and forth.
Emily: That's amazing.
Jase: That's essentially what's happened with the Bible, it's this telephone game through multiple languages. Gosh, of course, there's so much to be interpreted. What I think is nice at least about this episode for me being able to revisit these things, it's just reminding myself and I hope all of us that, so much of it is about what are the lessons you're going to take from this that no one, even us, can tell you like, ''This is the way it should be,'' but it's like, ''What meaning does this have for you? Is there a relevance to this?'' Just because someone's done something a certain way doesn't mean that's the only way to do it. I think it actually touches on a lot of themes that we do talk about a lot on this show.
Dedeker: Maybe someday we could do a more deeper religious dive-
Dedeker: Like a multi-religious examination of non-traditional relationships. But, that's for another day, another episode.
Jase: Yes. Well Emily, take us home.