Vol 3, No 1 (2007) Solomon and the Two Prostitutes

SOLOMON AND THE TWO PROSTITUTES

Avaren E. Ipsen

ABSTRACT

In popular consciousness, the occupation of the women in the Solomon judgement story of 1 Kings 3:16-28 is generally absent. This is often true of biblical criticism as well. The prostitution aspect is downplayed by being portrayed as a naturalised component of ancient Israelite society, effaced by emphasising the women as mothers or elided by focusing upon the story as mainly about Solomon’s virtuoso display of wisdom. Thus the significance of the story as one about and/or ideologically impacting prostitutes is not usually in the spotlight. What are the consequences of foregrounding the story element of prostitution? There are many analogies and similarities between the justice seeking prostitutes in 1 Kings 3:16-28 and stories of modern day activist prostitute women who are demanding justice and protesting the coercion and violence they experience in relation to current judicial/legal systems. This paper utilises feminist standpoint theory in order to read a biblical text in conjunction with the social experience of activist sex workers. This strategy privileges the non-hegemonic theory of sex work of prostitution rights activists in the San Francisco Bay Area. The activists of the Sex Worker Outreach Project (SWOP, ) interpret with me, a biblical scholar, this biblical story of Solomon and the two prostitutes in 1 Kings 3:16-28.

KEYWORDS

Solomon; prostitution; 1 Kings 3:16-38; Sex Worker Outreach Project

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