20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations

Larry Holzwarth - February 10, 2019

The Bible contains many comments regarding premarital and extramarital relations, most of them negative, as well as many stories of the prophets and other characters which appear in its many books engaging in reproductive activity. Prostitutes appear in many of the books of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament. So do acts of incest, homosexuality, adultery, rape, and murder motivated by passion. Much of what it relates regarding carnal relations is quite graphic. The word harlot is common throughout the Hebrew Bible. In one story, the whole female population who were virgins were spared from slaughter by order of Moses, who told the conquering Israelites to save them and take them for themselves.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
Salome, who danced for the head of John the Baptist is not named in Matthew, where the story is told. Wikimedia

For those who believe that the Bible is literally true and support the idea of a young earth, the presence of reproduction is a necessity – considering the entire world needed to be populated twice. The first time and then following the flood and the story of Noah, who some interpret as being a figure in one of these wanton tales in the Bible. Great kings of Israel, including Solomon and David, displayed their power in part through the number of their concubines, and delivered them as rewards to those that pleased them. Here is a list of just a few of the passionate biblical stories which can easily be verified within the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible as well as the New International Version (NIV).

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
Noah curses his son and grandson after awaking from a wine induced sleep. Wikimedia

1. The story of Noah, Ham, and the curse of Canaan

In chapter nine of Genesis, the story is related that Noah, drunk from wine and passed out in his tent, was seen by his son Ham, the father of Canaan, who “saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without”. His brothers entered the tent facing the other way and covered their father. “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren”. Genesis is not specific as to what Noah knew Ham (or Canaan) had done to him in his wine-sodden state, but cursing his grandson Canaan for simply being accidentally seen naked seems excessive.

The question is why Canaan was cursed rather than Ham, since it was Ham who had seen his father and at a cursory reading did something to Noah. The word ben, which appears in the original texts, can refer to son or grandson as well as other descendants, so that when Noah awoke and knew what his youngest son (ben) had done to him, it may well refer to Canaan, rather than to Ham, especially since it was Canaan who was cursed. Whether Ham or Canaan had illicit relations with the drunken Noah has been debated for centuries, but it is clear that something more occurred in the story than the mere accidental sight of a naked, drunken Noah.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
Judah is met by the disguised Tamar, who obtained his signet to later prove it was she who seduced him. Wikimedia

2. The story of Onan, Tamar and Judah

Genesis chapter 38 relates the story of Onan, whose reluctance to obey the commands Judah, his father, led to activity which gave the English language the word onanism. Onan’s brother Er died (God slew him for wickedness) without first impregnating his wife Tamar, and thus had no heir. In accordance with tradition, Onan was told to “Go in to your brother’s wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her; raise up offspring for your brother”. Onan was aware that delivering an heir to his brother’s widow would have financial repercussions that would affect his own inheritance and refused to follow his father’s edict, though he created an appearance of doing so.

Onan went in to Tamar many times, according to Genesis, but rather than consummating their relationship in the manner dictated by his father (and later included in Mosaic Law) he instead ensured “when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother”. Later, in the same chapter, Tamar disguised herself as a harlot and went to Judah, receiving the payment of signets and the gift of pregnancy from her father-in-law. Judah eventually learned of the deception and ordered her to be burned as a harlot, before relenting when he learned that she was pregnant with his child, which turned out to be twins.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
A depiction of Lot fleeing Sodom accompanied by his family and two angels by Peter Paul Rubens. Wikimedia

3. Lot and his virgin daughters

In Genesis chapter 19, two men identified as angels and later as men visit Lot in the city of Sodom, and as word of their presence in Lot’s home spread a crowd gathered outside. The men outside Lot’s home demanded that he release the two visitors to the crowd. “And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them”. Lot, determined to protect the visitors under his roof, went out to address the crowd, asking them not to treat the visitors “wickedly”, and offered the men of Sodom an alternative.

“…I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes…” The crowd was unimpressed with Lot’s offer, demanded again that the two men be handed over to them, and ordered Lot to stand aside, “and came near to break the door”. As Lot continued to remonstrate with the crowd, the visitors in his house pulled him back inside, and blinded the men pressing against the door, “so that they wearied themselves to find the door”. The visitors then warned Lot of their intention to destroy the city, and Lot and his extended family prepared to flee Sodom the following morning.

4. Lot and his two daughters, part two

After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which Lot’s wife witnessed and was thus turned into a pillar of salt, Lot and his two daughters, the same he had offered to the mob in Sodom, dwelt in the mountains outside of Zoar according to Genesis. The daughters, fearful that the isolation meant they would never find husbands nor give birth, hatched a plan. “Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the seed of our father”. The firstborn of the two “lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose”. The following night the younger of the two repeated the act.

“And they made their father drink wine that night also”, with the insensible Lot not aware of what had happened, according to Genesis. Both daughters became pregnant from their one night stands, as it were, with their father. The firstborn daughter, “bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day”. The second daughter too had a son, which she named Benammi, “the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day”. Whether Lot ever discovered that he had fathered sons through his own daughters is not specified in Genesis 19, which from beginning to end is about intimate practices.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
Rembrandt depicted Samson and Delilah as married, though the biblical story does not. Wikimedia

5. The Samson and Delilah story begins with Samson visiting a harlot

Samson and Delilah are names indelibly linked to one another. But their story, which is revealed in Judges Chapter 16, begins with the biblical strong man visiting a prostitute. “Then Samson went to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her”. Aware of his presence, the Gazites gathered at the gate of the city, where they planned to kill him as he departed in the morning, but Samson stayed with the harlot until midnight, when he arose and left, “and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all…” carrying them upon his shoulders to a hill outside of the city.

Samson and Delilah are remembered as two of the great lovers of ancient times, though the story in Judges makes no reference of Samson knowing her, nor coming in unto her, nor any of the other phrases used in the Bible to refer to carnal relations. Instead it says, “And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah”. It seems the love was not returned, because Delilah sold him out to the Philistines for several hundred pieces of silver. Samson and Delilah clearly slept together as related in Judges, but had no issue reported in the story which ends with his destruction of his prison and the Philistines within.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
Throughout the Hebrew Bible polygamy was well established, and there are references to it in the New Testament as well. Wikimedia

6. The ancient Israelites were allowed multiple wives in some circumstances

Polygamy was allowed in the Hebraic law and described in the Bible in numerous locations. In Exodus 21, which discusses the law regarding relationships between a man and his children, servants, and others, verse 10 reads, “If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish”, indicating all wives must be treated equally. The following verse proclaims, “And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money”. It is also Exodus 21 which contains the famous verse 24, “Eye for Eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot”.

Deuteronomy also refers to multiple wives in its references to the law, including chapter 21, which presents the resolution of a dilemma which could arise in the case of two wives, “one beloved, and another hated”, when both had borne male children. If the firstborn son is mothered by the hated wife, according to the law, he is still entitled to the main share of the inheritance from his father, who could not favor the son of his beloved wife because of his greater affection for his mother. Deuteronomy 17 specifies that the king should not have multiple wives, meaning too many, and as King of Judah, David, had at least six at one time according to the Bible, and possibly more.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
David spotted Bathsheba as she was bathing, while her husband was serving with David’s troops. Wikimedia

7. David and Bathsheba

When David was pacing on the roof of his palace he observed a woman in a nearby garden in the process of bathing. According to 2 Samuel, David inquired about her and learned that she was the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Disregarding the commandment about coveting thy neighbor’s wife, David sent for her, and “she came in unto him, and he lay with her”. The woman, Bathsheba, returned to her house after the encounter, and again according to 2 Samuel, “And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child”. David then sent about to hide the evidence of his sin, bringing her husband home from battle, and commanding him to return to his house.

Although Uriah returned upon David’s command, he did not go into his own house, and thus did not have intimate relations with his wife, which David could have used to mask his own fatherhood of Bathsheba’s child. David then ordered Uriah’s commander to place him at the forefront of battle, ensuring that Uriah the Hittite was killed in combat. David sent Uriah back to the battle carrying the message which led to his death. Bathsheba then became another of David’s wives, and though the biblical account claims David repented for his sins regarding Bathsheba and Uriah, their first child died shortly after birth. Bathsheba later bore David’s son Solomon, who succeeded him as King of Judah.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
The rape of Tamar – David’s daughter – by one of his sons, Amnon, led to enduring strife within his family. Wikimedia

8. David’s daughter Tamar was raped by David’s son Amnon

In 2 Samuel is found the story of Tamar, a daughter of David, being raped by Amnon, a son of David and a half-brother of Tamar, as the two were born to different wives of David. Amnon feigned illness and when visited by David asks his father to send his half-sister Tamar to him with food. When Tamar arrived with the food, Amnon ordered all men out of the house and then asked Tamar to feed him in his bedchamber, to which she agreed. When she entered the room Amnon, “took hold of her, and said unto her, come lie with me, my sister”. Tamar refused, protesting, “Nay my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly”.

2 Samuel goes on to relate that Amnon ignored his half-sister’s protest. “Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her”. After the rape, Amnon “hated her exceedingly” and dismissed her from his presence by saying, “Arise and be gone”, and calling for one of his servants to “put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her”. David heard of the rape and was angered by it, but did not punish his son. Tamar’s brother, Absalom, half-brother to Amnon, later killed him for the rape of his sister, two years after the act of incestuous rape occurred.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
David kept numerous concubines in addition to his several wives. Wikimedia

9. David kept concubines in addition to his several wives

In 2 Samuel, the existence of David’s concubines is revealed when it becomes clear that he left ten women so named to keep his house when he fled from the approach of an army led by his rebellious son, Absalom. Absalom used the concubines to demonstrate his contempt for his father and his complete lack of fear of his father’s supporters, while simultaneously demonstrating to the people of Jerusalem that he had the right to reign as king. He did so on the advice of his ally Ahithopel, who said “Go in unto thy father’s concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong”.

Absalom followed his advice. “So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel”. The inference to be taken is that Absalom took revenge upon his estranged father by taking his concubines in the open, shielded by a tent from above, but clearly seen by the population, using the women to both satisfy his lust publicly. It was the same roof from which David had lusted after Bathsheba, which had led to a prophecy by Nathan that David’s punishment for his sins in that event would correspond to what he had himself committed.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
Despite the many transgressions of his son Absalom, David mourned his loss and punished the concubines his son had raped. Wikimedia

10. David punished his concubines for having been raped by Absalom

Following Absalom’s public rape of his father’s concubines, “in the sight of all Israel” he declared himself king and David’s smaller army fled to beyond the Jordan. Absalom’s delays allowed David to reach safety where he then had the time to adequately prepare his troops for combat before he was attacked by those led by his son. Absalom’s army was caught unprepared and roundly defeated by David’s forces in battle at Ephraim’s Wood, and Absalom was killed in the fighting after his head became caught in the branches of a tree he had attempted to ride beneath. Though David had given explicit orders that his son was not be killed, his general Joab killed him anyway.

David returned in triumph to Jerusalem, with all of the tribes and clans of Israel again proclaiming their allegiance to him. When he returned to his house, having learned of the ten concubines he had left behind having consorted with his dead son, he decided to retain them, but as housekeepers only. David took the women “and put them in ward, and fed them, but went not into them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood”. David replaced them with other concubines, who took their places as his lovers, while those ravaged by Absalom were little more than slaves.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
The Rape of Dinah by Giuliana Bugiardini places the act and the attire in the guise of a medieval city. Wikimedia

11. The rape of Dinah and its aftermath

Genesis 34 describes a rape and the violent revenge which followed through the story of Dinah and her brothers, who committed murder and rape in revenge. Dinah, only daughter of Jacob, went to visit “the daughters of the land” when she was seen by Shechem. “And when Schechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her”. He then was smitten with her and asked his father to negotiate a deal through which he could be married to the victim of his actions. The story relates that when Jacob heard of the rape he “held his peace” until his sons returned from the field.

Although Jacob arranged for the marriage to take place, Dinah’s brothers demanded that the men of Schechem’s family be circumcised, which weakened them, and then brothers Simeon and Levi murdered Schechem and all the males of his family, including his father. They then took all of the women and children captive, and claimed all of the property which had belonged to their victims, earning the reprobation of their father, Jacob. In response to his remonstrations they replied “Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?” Jacob and his family were then led to a place of safety, according to the account in Genesis.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
Joseph spurned the advances of Potiphar’s wife, which led to her falsely accusing him of attempted rape. Wikimedia

12. Joseph and Potiphar’s wife

When Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, he was sent to Egypt, according to the account of his life in Genesis. There he was sold as a slave to a man named Potiphar, and eventually became the head of Potiphar’s household, though remaining a slave. Potiphar’s wife, who is unnamed in the Genesis story, attempted to seduce Joseph; “And she caught him by his garment, saying, lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out”. The wife remained where she was and called in the men of the house, to whom she complained that Joseph, “came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice”, offering Joseph’s garment as evidence.

Thus falsely accused of an attempted rape, Joseph was put in prison by Potiphar, where he drew the attention of Pharoah through his ability to interpret dreams. After his release and appointment to high office, Joseph married Asenath, leading the son of pharaoh to conspire with Joseph’s brothers to kill her husband, which led to the death of Pharoah’s son. Joseph and Asenath, who may have been Potiphar’s daughter, and thus the daughter of the person who falsely accused him, ruled Egypt for the following 48 years.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
Rahab went from being a harlot in the Old Testament to a saintly woman and ancestor of Jesus in the New Testament. Wikimedia

13. Rahab and the spies in Jericho

The book of Joshua tells the story of the fall of Jericho to the Israelites following a siege directed by Joshua. Prior to the siege, Joshua sent two spies to Jericho, where they “came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there”. The spies had been seen in the city, and word of their presence had been relayed to the king, who sent men to Rahab to demand they be handed over. “And the woman took the two men, and hid them” before telling the agents of the king that they had left the city. Rahab hid Joshua’s spies in the attic of her house beneath stalks of flax, sending the agents of the king on a wild goose chase.

Joshua does not record how the spies knew to approach Rahab or how they determined that she was a harlot. She took advantage of her situation however, and in return for helping the Israelite spies, extracted a promise that she and her family would be spared after the city fell. She was told to mark her house with a red cord to ensure her safety. By the time of the New Testament, the harlot in the Book of Joshua had become an example of saintliness (Hebrews and James). In the gospel of Matthew, the author listed her in the genealogical records of the ancestors of Jesus.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
The virgin Abishag is presented to David, in the hope that she will be able to generate heat in the aging king. Wikimedia

14. David and the virgin Abishag

The Book of 1 Kings opens with a description of King David in old age, unable to keep warm despite the presence of blankets. His distressed servants decided on a plan to help the old man generate heat. “Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat”. The nation of Israel was explored throughout the land before a suitable young virgin was found. Abishag was a young woman of great beauty, and was brought before David. The Hebrews of the time were of the belief that the bestial prowess of their king was tied to the success of their crops, hence David’s decline was of practical importance.

Abishag was brought before David, who was pleased with her, and she ministered to him in the prescribed manner in an attempt to help him increase his heat, but 1 Kings states clearly that “the king knew her not”. David’s lack of libido was an indication that his tenure as king was rapidly drawing to an end, and Bathsheba began to exhort him to take the necessary steps to ensure that his successor as king would be his son by her, Solomon. After David died his eldest surviving son Adonijah asked for permission to marry Abishag (which would have carried similar connotations as Absalom’s sleeping with his father’s concubines) and Solomon, believing it to be part of an attempted coup, had him put to death.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
An 1853 illustration of the Song of Songs, another name for the Song of Solomon, a biblical book entirely devoted to love and intimacy. Wikimedia

15. The Song of Solomon

The book of the Hebrew Bible known as both the Song of Songs and the Song of Solomon is unusual in that it is the only book of what Christians refer to as the Old Testament that is not directed toward the God of Israel, law, prophecy, nor wisdom. It is in its entirety a paean to love and intimacy. Jewish tradition describes it as reflecting the relationship between God and his chosen people; Christian tradition holds it as describing the relationship between Christ and his church. The book is largely a dialogue between lovers, initiated by a woman who asks her lover to meet, only to receive a flirtatious reply. The second verse of the book begins its promiscuous references, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.

The seventh chapter of the Song of Solomon includes a man’s description of his lover. “Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies” it proclaims, after first praising her feet and thighs as “the work of the hands of a cunning workman”. The male lover proclaims of her, “This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes”. The man then announces his intention to ascend the palm tree and seize the grapes, “I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof, now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine…” The description of the woman is in response to hers of her lover in a preceding chapter of the Song of Solomon.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
Another illustration by woodcut for the Song of Solomon, depicting the lovers together apart from the crowds. Wikimedia

16. More from the Song of Solomon

The Song of Solomon also describes physical acts of love, rendered at different levels of explicitness depending on the translation. After a description of the physical attributes of the lovers, in which the woman is described in part, “Thy lips, Oh my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue…”, and she is compared to a closed garden she responds with an invitation to her lover. “Awake, Oh north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits”.

The Song of Solomon describes a couple’s desires before and following their marriage, as well as their physical encounters during their honeymoon and later during their marriage. Its imagery, in all translations, is neither subtle nor difficult to ascertain. Its suggestive nature is clear, after the man states his desire and intention to enjoy the fruits of his garden he is invited by his lover to join her in the fields, where they are surrounded by flowers and nature. In chapter 5 the woman states, “My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him”. The true author of the Song of Solomon is unknown, though it is attributed to Solomon due to his being mentioned by name in the book.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
Like his father before him, Solomon kept both wives and concubines, though in far greater numbers. Wikimedia

17. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, according to the Bible

In 1 Kings it is recorded that “…Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites” despite the prohibition of God who warned that such women would turn the hearts of the men of Israel against Him and toward their own gods. “Solomon clave unto these in love” according to the biblical account. Solomon must have had a great capacity for love because 1 Kings relates, “And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart”.

According to the account in 1 Kings Solomon erected temples and shrines to the gods of the proscribed tribes, enticed by his many wives and concubines, and aroused anger in the god of Israel, who told him “…I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and give it to thy servant”. According to the account in 1 Kings, God raised enemies against Solomon and split his kingdom in two with his Solomon’s son Rehoboam becoming the king of Judah in the south, and a series of kings, uniformly failing to worship the god of Israel, establishing reigns in the north.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
The 23rd chapter of Ezekiel is replete with sensual imagery and descriptions as it relates the histories of Samaria and Jerusalem. Wikimedia

18. Ezekiel Chapter 23 is filled with sensual imagery

The book of Ezekiel is one of the major prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible, and it contains some of the most explicit imagery in the entire collection of books which comprises the Christian Old and New Testaments. Chapter 23 uses imagery to describe Samaria and Jerusalem as two sisters, Aholah and Aholibah respectively. The sisters are introduced thus: “And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there their breasts were pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity”. Aholibah is presented as the worst of the two, “she was more corrupt in her inordinate love than she, and in her whoredoms more than her sister in her whoredoms”.

Ezekiel describes Aholibah multiplying her whoredoms as she grew older “in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt. For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses”. Using the imagery, Ezekiel thus presents the trespasses of the Samaritans and the Israelites, and prepares them for the judgements to come after the God of Israel raises enemies to punish them for their continuing sins against Him. Ezekiel was a major influence on the writer of Revelation, which closes the New Testament, though chapter 23 and its suggestive references is entirely ignored in the later book.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
The parable of the ten virgins assigns ten brides to a single bridegroom, though he accepts only five. Wikimedia

19. The ten virgins in the Gospel of Matthew

In the Gospel of Matthew a parable spoken by Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to ten virgins on their wedding night. “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom”. Five of the virgins failed to put oil into their lamps before being called by the bridegroom, and asked the other five to share their oil with them. They were refused, and left to buy oil for their lamps. While they were gone the bridegroom arrived, “and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut”.

The other five virgins returned, presumably having oiled their lamps (the parable does not say whether they obtained oil before returning) but the bridegroom, ensconced with the five virgins in his chambers, refused to let them join in the “marriage” saying to the entreating women, “Verily I say unto you, I know you not”. The use of a marriage of ten women and one man in a parable is presented without editorial comment in Matthew, which indicates that polygamy even in the days of Christ was common enough to be presented without it being considered unusual or immoral.

20 Times the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Mentioned Carnal Relations
The dance of the seven veils as presented in art and film is not described in Matthew, nor is the name of the dancer given. Wikimedia

20. The dance of the seven veils

One of the tales of an erotic nature attributed to the Bible is Salome’s dance of the seven veils, which so pleased Herod that he acceded to her request to have John the Baptist beheaded. Salome is not named in the account, which is from the fourteenth chapter of Matthew, nor is there any mention of veils, of any number. Matthew recounts that the “daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask”. After Herodias instructed her to ask for the head of John the Baptist “in a charger” she did as bid and Herod ordered the beheading of John.

There is not even an implication that the dance was of an erotic nature, but it has come to be considered a slow striptease before Herod and his guests, who were celebrating Herod’s birthday. It was Oscar Wilde, of all people, who created the dance of the seven veils in his play Salome, written in 1891. Josephus identified Salome as the daughter of Herod II and Herodias. Wilde took the name, which does not appear in the gospels, and was influenced by other writers who had written of the dance, each embellishing on the rather spare account in Matthew. At the time of writing Salome, veil dances were a popular entertainment in Europe, a striptease which gradually revealed the dancer’s body. The nature of the dance performed by the “daughter of Herodias” is not described in Matthew at all.


Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

All Biblical sources are from the King James Version of the Bible Online

Genesis 9: 21-25

Genesis 38: 7-30

Genesis 19: 1-14

Genesis 19: 25-38

Judges 16: 1-31

Exodus 21:10-24 and Deuteronomy 21:15 and 21: 17

2 Samuel 11: 2-27

2 Samuel 13: 6-38

2 Samuel 16: 11-23

2 Samuel 19, 20

Genesis 34

Genesis 39

Joshua 2: 1-24, Matthew 1: 1-5, Hebrews 11:31, James 2:25

1 Kings 1: 1-40, 2: 13-25

Song of Solomon 1

1 Kings 11: 1-13, 12,14: 21-31

Ezekial 23: 3-22

Matthew 25: 1-13