Sex and power in Bible stories and Of Kings and Prophets

Sex and power in Bible stories and Of Kings and Prophets December 27, 2015

ofkingsandprophets-saul-rizpah

Now here’s an interesting coincidence.

Yesterday, while looking for images that I could use in this post on actors who have appeared in both Bible films and Star Wars films, I rewatched a short sequence from A Clockwork Orange in which the main character fantasizes about living in Bible times. One of his fantasies involves going to bed with his wives’ handmaids, and sure enough, we see him in bed with three half-naked women at the same time.

Then, today, the British tabloid The Daily Mirror ran this story on the upcoming TV series Of Kings and Prophets, which stars Ray Winstone as King Saul:

He’s about to become a granddad for the first time, but hardman Ray Winstone is winding back the years by sharing a bed with three women in his latest Hollywood project.

The raunchy scenes will go out on the biblical drama Of Kings and Prophets – which he’s currently filming in South Africa.

On set sources say Ray, 58, has scenes with three naked women at one time – but the veteran actor is unfazed by it.

One insider said: “Ray’s character is sleeping with quite a few women in this film. He’s not bothered by the nudity, he says he’s used to it.”

I don’t know how much nudity there could actually be in a show made for network television — this is ABC, not HBO — but these days, who can say.

In any case, this aspect of the series shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the trailer for the original (and now-discarded) pilot episode, nor should it seem all that out of place to anyone who is familiar with the original Bible stories.

The biblical Saul had at least one wife and one concubine whose names we know, though there very easily could have been others; and the biblical David, of course, had multiple wives as well as a number of concubines, some of whom were publicly violated by David’s son Absalom during the civil war within that dynasty.

So sex and power were intricately connected in the ancient Israelite monarchies, and it makes sense for Of Kings and Prophets to explore that. The question is whether the show will be as sensationalistic about it as The Daily Mirror is trying to be.

— The photo of Saul and his concubine Rizpah at the top of this post is from the trailer for Of Kings & Prophets that was released in May 2015.

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