By Eric Hutchinson

Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?”–King Solomon

“We should be friends,” quoth Potiphar’s wife;
but Joseph turned, and ran for his life.
“Avoidance is not purity!,”
she cried; but he ignored her plea.

King Solomon, on the other hand,
was less obsessed with his wedding band.
“Self-centered codes are deeply flawed–
Thy commandment’s, um, exceeding broad!”

Now: which of them is more in line
with the spirit of our urbane time?
Old Joseph the neanderthal,
Or Solomon (around nightfall)?

Joseph, he’s so dull and boring;
Solomon is clearly soaring.
Joseph, self-protecting–tired;
Solomon, enlightened–wired.

Joseph, writing Pence fan fiction;
Solomon, anti-restriction:
“Time to join the modern age!
Increase the minimum wage!

Down with the patriarchy!
Its manners are indeed beastly!
My advice: make lots of pals,
a polyphonic friend chorale!”

And so, dear readers, you can see
the choice in front of you and me.
To be like Joseph? That’s a shame.
But Solomon? Well, he’s got game–

his dad was rich, sent him to Yale,
while rustic Joseph went to jail.

Eric Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.

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Posted by E. J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Associate Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College, where he also directs the Collegiate Scholars Program. He is the editor and translator of Niels Hemmingsen’s On the Law of Nature: A Demonstrative Method.


  1. I know allowances must be made for satire, but if truth is beauty and beauty, truth, this poem’s as true as water is dry.


    1. I couldn’t say it better, so what you said, ApolloQuinn


  2. Clark Elder Morrow May 7, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    James 4:7


  3. So apparently the name of the game is now to caricaturize and make fun of a well-developed and balanced potion which you disagree with rather than actually think about it and possibly be influenced by a biblical way of thinking about … Wait for it
    … Other Christians. What a borish, pathetic post from mere o. I think you guys need to stop reading Jordan Petersen to understand the sexes.


  4. I’m here for the comments.

    But yes, the spirit of this satire is exactly right.
    Those who mock caution may find themselves wishing (later) they were more cautious.


  5. Amy Mantravadi May 7, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    Taking a page out of Doug Wilson’s playbook, I see. What a shame that anyone these days who questions the Pence Rule for any reason, however well thought out and articulated, is caricatured in this manner. If you disagree, have the guts to state things in a straightforward manner. Don’t write crap that is meant to produce vilification by oversimplification. Like Alastair, you are coloring a broad swath of people by pointing to the most extreme examples. The majority of people I know who have questioned aspects of the Pence Rule are fiercely respectful of the institution of marriage and protective of their own. They do not deny the need for certain boundaries. They even agree that the Pence Rule may be appropriate for some people and in certain situations. They do, however, question the imposition of a one-size-fits-all rule without exception when it is not explicitly outlined in scripture. I used to think that not binding someone’s conscience to something man made was a rather Reformed kind of thing to do. Follow the Pence Rule or don’t follow it, but don’t assume that anyone who critiques it for any reason is leading us on a pathway to rampant sexual infidelity. Don’t tar and feather godly women by comparing them to Potiphar’s wife rather than the many examples of good women in scripture. If this article was merely a joke, then it fails spectacularly. If it was meant as a real argument, then I question Mere Orthodoxy publishing something that has no concept of nuance and no respect for people with differing views.


    1. “Don’t write crap that is meant to produce vilification by oversimplification.”

      You mean like saying those who follow the Pence Rule are sanctified Harvey Weinsteins?


        1. Love for Mantravadi to police her side as strongly, then.


  6. Peter Schellhase May 7, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Whoa, lots of hurty butts in the comments! I think it’s funny.


    1. I guess there’s no accounting for taste. I thought it was too clever by half.


  7. So Potiphar’s wife just wanted to be friends with Joseph? Is this based on a sanitized-beyond-all-recognition-to-avoid-scandalizing-children picture Bible? Who in their right-wing mind thought posting this article was a good idea? (And I say that as someone who leans more right than left.)


  8. Nathanael Johnston May 10, 2018 at 7:32 am

    I’m really disappointed in Mere Orthodoxy for publishing this. It’s a sad, mean-spirited, and unfunny attempt at satire. You’re better than this.


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