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David, Bathsheba & Harem Politics

Season 1: Episode 22
David, Bathsheba & Harem Politics
Date Aired: 04/20/2023

Ancient harems were about much more than sex. They were the powerful realms of royal women — wives, consorts and concubines — where favored sons were positioned as future kings. What can the biblical account of David and Bathsheba tell us about the reality of ancient harems? A lot! says return guest Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones. Bathsheba, a victim of King David’s lust, rises to become “queen mother,” the most powerful position in the royal courts of the ancient Near East. Lloyd explains how David and Bathsheba’s famous story is at once the product of ancient literary motifs and the real-life exploits of harem life.

Listen to the episode on the Biblical Time Machine website or wherever you get your podcasts.

Disclaimer: The Society of Biblical Literature is not responsible for the content of this podcast. The opinions expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Society of Biblical Literature, its members, or its staff.

  • The Biblical Time Machine Podcast is hosted by Helen Bond and Dave Roos. Helen Bond is professor of Christian origins at Edinburgh University. She is the author of Women Remembered: Jesus’s Female Disciples, The First Biography of Jesus: Genre and Meaning in Mark’s Gospel, and The Historical Jesus: A Guide for the Perplexed. Her research focuses on the social and political history of first century Judaea, the historical Jesus and the canonical gospels. Dave Roos is a journalist and writer who contributes to, HowStuffWorks and the popular podcast Stuff You Should Know. Dave has a degree in religious studies from Duke University.