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David Was a Rapist, Abraham Was a Sex Trafficker

What we miss when we downgrade Old Testament abuse stories to sexual peccadilloes.
David Was a Rapist, Abraham Was a Sex Trafficker

My family and I were driving to the movie theater recently and Game of Thrones came up in our conversation. Having never read the book or seen the HBO show, but figuring reviews and trailers gave me all I needed to know, I pontificated, “Game of Thrones is popular only because it’s about sex and violence.” To which my son Noah responded, “Sex and violence—sounds like your books, Dad.”

The reason I write about sex and violence is that the Bible—especially the Old Testament, where I spend most of my time—talks about sex and violence. A lot. It includes stories of fornicators, adulterers, prostitutes, polygamists, ethnic cleansing, fratricide, infanticide, and other forms of cruel activity.

But the Old Testament is also full of sexual violence. We read of rapists, pimps, and other perpetrators of sexual exploitation. The Bible, then, is not that different from Game of Thrones—or better yet, the news. Every day we seem to hear about sexual assaults on college campuses, in the military, and even in churches. Sadly, many of us are no longer shocked when we hear such horrific news.

This reality makes studying sexual violence in Scripture all the more pressing. Paul said all of Scripture—including what we might consider the R-rated stories of the Old Testament—is God-breathed and can train us in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16–17). It’s not that we skip over such stories, but that we tend to use euphemisms when telling them. We don’t pay close attention to the details, and as a result miss what the biblical authors intended to communicate. Stories not just of prostitutes, adulterers, and fornicators, but also of sexual predators and human traffickers, ...

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David Was a Rapist, Abraham Was a Sex Trafficker
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