"The Harlot by the Side of the Road"

Essay by Nikki18University, Bachelor'sA+, November 2004

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"The Harlot by the Side of the Road" was an interesting look at stories from the Bible that most people do not even know exist. In Sunday school and church you never hear the stories of rape, incest and violence that Jonathan Kirsch explains in this book. The teachers and pastors screen what knowledge of the Bible they teach you, leaving out the stories of the ever so controversial topic of sex. Through out the stories I had read of the forbidden tales, some themes that arose to my attention were that women always seem to be at the center of controversy or the cause of it, and that women had the instinctive ability to scheme and use trickery to get what they wanted or what they were entitled to. During the times of the Bible, women were not respected. They did not speak unless spoken to, did what they were told, and had no say in who they were wed to.

A women's mere purpose was to bare a son for her husband so that he could carry on the family name, or simply for a man's pleasure. However, in these stories the women managed to scheme their way into getting what they want. The stories of Tamar and Judah and of Lot and His Daughters are two examples of this.

Tamar is in a pre-arranged marriage to the eldest son of Judah, who is a wealthy man of power. Before producing an heir to the family fortune, he loses favor with God and dies. According to ancient custom and law the next oldest son would then take Tamar as his wife and provide the family with an heir that would be seen as the oldest son's child. However, in his greed he fails to do so...