How’s This for A Wedding Present: 100 Foreskins

I thought that might get someone’s attention.  I couldn’t make up this if I tried.  You see, there are lots of people out there howling about the gay marriage issue and how marriage (straight) is the cornerstone of society and on and on.  Of course, these same people use their religious belief when they state this.  But they usually pass over a couple of instances in the Old and New Testament that discuss marriage, which doesn’t show it is its best light.

Here is one that comes from 1 Samuel:

"18:25 Then Saul said, "Thus shall you say to David, ‘The king desires no marriage present except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged on the king’s enemies.’" Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.18:26 When his servants told David these words, David was well pleased to be the king’s son-in-law. Before the time had expired,18:27 David rose and went, along with his men, and killed one hundred of the Philistines; and David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. Saul gave him his daughter Michal as a wife.18:28 But when Saul realized that the LORD was with David, and that Saul’s daughter Michal loved him,18:29 Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy from that time forward."

Now how disgusting is that?  Why is there all this talk of marriage and so on but no one wants to give 100 foreskins of their enemies as a wedding gift to the bride’s father?  It seemed to work for David.  He got his woman.  And just imagine the scene as David got his gift for his future bride.  Is this a family value?  Is this part of the tradition of marriage?  I’ve never seen this mentioned in the anti-gay crowd, and probably for good reason.

Or how about all the times when marriages were for political reasons.  Is this part of the tradition of marriage?   Here is a passage about that:

I Kings 3:1 Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt; he took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her into the city of David, until he had finished building his own house and the house of the LORD and the wall around Jerusalem. 

The poor daughters of these kings had no choice.  But hey, a marriage is a marriage…  Here is another case of a marriage in which the father gave his daughter to his slave to marry just so that they could make babies:

1 Chron 2:34 Now Sheshan had no sons, only daughters; but Sheshan had an Egyptian slave, whose name was Jarha.2:35 So Sheshan gave his daughter in marriage to his slave Jarha; and she bore him Attai.

And there won’t be marriages in heaven, at least according to Jesus. Why don’t we ever hear that from the ‘traditional marriage’ people?

22:24 "Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies childless, his brother shall marry the widow, and raise up children for his brother.’22:25 Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married, and died childless, leaving the widow to his brother.22:26 The second did the same, so also the third, down to the seventh.22:27 Last of all, the woman herself died.22:28 In the resurrection, then, whose wife of the seven will she be? For all of them had married her."22:29 Jesus answered them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.22:31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God,22:32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is God not of the dead, but of the living."

(see also Mark 12:24 and Luke 17:26 for the exact story. See also Luke 20:34)

And being married won’t save the world from the wrath of God–it didn’t save those before the flood:

"24:37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.24:38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark,24:39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.24:40 Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.24:41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left."

And most importantly, let’s look at what Paul, the author of most of the New Testament has to say about marriage.  I’ll say right away that he doesn’t want people to get married.  He wasn’t married, by the way:

1 Cor 7:26 I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are.7:27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.7:28 But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that.

(the impending crisis was supposedly the end of the world. He was a bit off on that…)

He goes on:

7:29 I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none,7:30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions,7:31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.7:32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord;7:33 but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife,7:34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband.

Now that last passage is very interesting.  Paul is saying that to be married is a distraction from what should be the main focus in life:  the affairs of the Lord. If you are a woman and married, it is a distraction.  If you are a man and married, it is a distraction.  Why is it that these people keep telling us that marriage is from God and that it is the foundation of society when Paul, who is really speaking the Words of God, is telling people not to be married. 

Again, Paul states:

"7:35 I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.7:36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his fiancee, if his passions are strong, and so it has to be, let him marry as he wishes; it is no sin. Let them marry."

To promote good order and unhindered devotion people should stay married.  Except when lust is uncontrollable.  And listen to this:

7:38 So then, he who marries his fiancee does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better. 

And Paul really isn’t for re-marriage (after a spouse dies):

7:39 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives. But if the husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord.7:40 But in my judgment she is more blessed if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

So next time you hear some religious fundamentalist bleating on and on about how marriage is the bedrock of society, ask them about Paul, which is really to ask them about the Word of God.  Why is it that Paul (God) thinks that the one who refrains from marriage will do better worshipping God than one who marries?  Why is it that Paul (God) thinks that people should get married when they can’t control their own lust?

Anyway, you get the picture.  I think those who want to believe in the Bible (and those who want to pretend to understand the Bible when they haven’t even read it) can do so.  If a male Christian does not want to marry a male, then don’t.  If a female Christian does not want to marry a woman, then don’t do it.  But it is a big problem with a male or female Christian tries to push their religious beliefs on the rest of us. When they do that, remind them of Paul and what he had to say. 

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