People love drama and scandalous stories, even at times reading scandal into stories when it’s unwarranted. For example, seeing Bathsheba as seducing a king or the woman at the well as immoral, failing to see these women as victims. But sometimes the reverse is true with a bible character. We view a person as a victim of a huger atrocity than what really happened—as with Jephthah’s daughter. Read more
It seems we love scandal, gossip, and all the juicy details of other people’s lives. If this were not the case, shows like the Bachelor would probably disappear forever. Which might not be such a bad thing…but I digress.
When it comes to reading the Bible, we encounter numerous stories of sin and grace. (PTL for grace!) And sometimes, it’s not hard to make them a little more dramatic…it makes for better sermons. Other times, we cater too much to certain traditions and ideas. Or, other times, some stories simply come across to modern readers as sounding different than they really were.
The rest of this week I hope to look at a few of these stories, which I think tend to be overdramatized or misunderstood in their retelling.
Many could make the list, but here are a few examples:
- Mary Magdalene often gets referred to as a prostitute with little to no evidence to suggest this.
- Bathsheba gets referred to as a woman who seduced King David into an affair instead of a victim who was raped by a powerful king.
- The woman at the well is often called immoral instead of a virtuous woman respected by her town.
- We say Jephthah sacrificed his daughter on an alter instead of saying that she was dedicated to temple service for the rest of her life.