Bible Review 17:1, February 2001

Sperm Stealing

A moral crime by three of David’s ancestresses

By Shlomith Yaron

The Bible describes three cases of “sperm stealing,” incidents in which women seduce a man and make him an unwitting sperm donor. And all three instances involve an ancestor of David, ancient Israel’s great hero-king.

Sperm stealing is a fact of human life as old as the most ancient civilizations and as contemporary as modern single women who decide that their marital status should not bar them from becoming mothers. We have examples of sperm stealing from the literature of ancient Sumer and ancient Greece.1 I suspect that if the reader does not personally know of a woman who has seduced a man into unknowingly fathering a child, it would not take many inquiries to learn of one who did.

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