“King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lordhad said to the Israelites, ‘You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you; for they will surely incline your heart to follow their gods.'” – 1 Kings 11:1
Just say the words “foreign women” and certain kinds of people get excited. It’s hard enough to be a woman, but to be a foreign woman is to put oneself in a kind of danger. The danger is in the increase in stereotypes that are hurled at you.
I side with Solomon in loving many foreign women and (shhhh, don’t tell anyone) I’d love to know more about their gods. I can surely understand the Lord’s ancient reasoning about Solomon’s women: marrying them would forge alliances both religious and political that might endanger Israel, at least in its small self. As Israel and the rest of us have “gone global,” we understand that nation-building and many Gods, even the women involved, are interesting.
I’ll never forget a woman I met in Istanbul. She was scarved, smoked cigarettes, drove a red convertible and ran a large dry cleaning business. I think Solomon would have been intrigued – about her and about her God.
You who are one God but is known in many ways, draw near and bless us with intrigue and interest in each other. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Prayers for People Who Say They Can’t Pray.