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On the mountain east of Jerusalem he built a place to worship Chemosh, the disgusting god of Moab, and a place to worship Molech, the disgusting god of Ammon. He also built places of worship where all his foreign wives could burn incense and offer sacrifices to their own gods.

Even though the Lord, the God of Israel, had appeared to Solomon twice and had commanded him not to worship foreign gods, Solomon did not obey the Lord but turned away from him. Still, she has done her best in accumulating five husbands, even though that looks rather paltry compared to Solomon and his princesses plus concubines.

Blessed be God that I have wedded five! These six lines are to be found in the Cambridge University Library manuscript, Dd. However they are not in other authoritative manuscripts, such as the Ellesmere. The scribe of the Cambridge University Library manuscript may have inserted these lines himself, adding to the picture of the Wife as being typical of all that the antifeminists claimed of women — their deceit, their lustfulness, their greed.

Of fyve husbondes scoleiyng am I. Welcome the sixth, whenever he shall appear. For truly, I will not keep myself chaste in everything. So is this why she has come on pilgrimage? In the hope of meeting husband number 6? Below is the Ellesmere manuscript in the Huntingdon Library, California, at the relevant lines. You can clearly see the extensive Latin gloss added by the scribe to the left of the text, the virgules, and the carefully ruled lines. The Latin gloss refers the reader to I Corinthians Chapter 7 verse Internal rhymes as well as rhyming couplets increase the sense of speed at which one husband is overtaken by the next.

Green-Eyed Monsters and Good Samaritans by Leonard Mann

It is better to be wedded than to burn. In lines 49, 50 and 51, 2 the Wife quotes some lines from St Paul accurately but she crucially leaves out the lines where St Paul says that marriage is a second-best option. By burn, he means burn in hell. She details characters from the Old Testament who had more than one wife or who married more than once, lines 53 — 62 53 What rekketh me, thogh folk seye vileynye What do I care, though people condemn 54 Of shrewed Lameth and his bigamye? I pray yow, telleth me. I pray you, tell me. In referring to these characters from the Old Testament, the Wife is ignoring the New Testament teaching which updated this in favour of having only one wife at a time.

But the Wife brushes this drawback aside:.

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What rekketh me, thogh folk seye vileynye What do I care? Of shrewed Lameth and his bigamye? He, too, had more than one wife. Lamech would be known to the pilgrims and they would be seeing a stained glass representation of Lamech when they reached Canterbury Cathedral. Here he is, between Noah and Thara in the Ancestors of Christ windows:.

a profusion of allusions

Colored glass and vitreous paint; lead came. The Lollards, led by Wyclif, and prominent in the mid to late 14th century, challenged the power of the Pope and the priests who safeguarded for themselves knowledge about the Bible and the services too were in Latin, so most people were none the wiser. Lollards promoted the reading of the Holy Scripture in the vernacular in this case, English as the means of knowing the true Word of God. Personal faith was a central issue.

However, the Lollards would have been astounded if they had thought that the Wife was reading the Bible in English in order to endorse her belief in having a series of husbands and as much sex as possible. Producing a string of famous men from the Old Testament who had more than one wife at a time means that she can marry lots of husbands consecutively, says the Wife.

But she is interpreting the New Testament where Jesus and St Paul say that a man may marry one wife at a time in the light of the Old Testament lots of wives. Whereas, of course, in orthodox understanding, you move from the Old Testament to the New. He is updating the true meaning of the Old Testament in the New.

The Wife is ignoring this, conveniently. The Wife piles on the questions but she whirls on before anyone has time even to think about the answer, let alone put it into words. Speed is one of her trademarks. In that day Jesus went out of the house, and sat beside the sea. And much people was gathered to him, so that he went up into a boat, and sat; and all the people stood on the brink. And while he soweth, some seeds felled [fell] beside the way, and birds of the air came, and ate them. But other seeds [Soothly other] felled into stony places, where they had not much earth; and at once [and anon] they sprung up, for they had not deepness of earth.

But when the sun was risen, they parched [they sweltered, or burned for heat ], and for they had not root, they dried up. And other seeds [Forsooth other] felled among thorns; and the thorns waxed up, and strangled them. But other seeds [But other] felled into good land, and gave fruit; some an hundredfold, another sixtyfold, [and] another thirtyfold. He that hath ears of hearing, hear he. And the disciples came nigh, and said to him, Why speakest thou in parables to them? And he answered, and said to them, For to you it is given to know the privates of the kingdom of heavens; but it is not given to them.

That same day Jesus left the house and went to the lakeside, where he sat down to teach. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it, while the crowd stood on the shore.

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He used parables to tell them many things. As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

DCI Shakespeare

Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. But when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants. But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants bore grain: some had one hundred grains, others sixty, and others thirty.

For the person who has something will be given more, so that he will have more than enough; but the person who has nothing will have taken away from him even the little he has.

The reason I use parables in talking to them is that they look, but do not see, and they listen, but do not hear or understand. Or where did he command people to be virgin? The Wife argues energetically and combatively that God never prohibited marriage and neither did he command people to remain virgins. The speed at which she stacks up her arguments is increased by the number of questions piled up, one after the other.

Green-Eyed Monsters and Good Samaritans

The Wife challenges her audience to prove her wrong. Tell me. Tell me, she says, where in the Bible it says that God forbad marriage. Grammatically and rhetorically, firing out commands like this, the Wife of Bath is in the driving seat.


The Wife certainly gives this verse from the Bible a good shaking-up. But … For … Then….