Posted on January 14th, 2016 | by Leslie

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Sisters & Sinners

Notes on Track 1

This song comes from a lifetime of study and assimilation of Biblical theology.  I was raised in a Baptist church, but as a pagan feminist at heart I often felt those who ministered were missing the point, particularly where women’s stories were concerned.

One day I mused what it might be like to stumble across a pub in limbo frequented by ladies of Biblical traditions.  What would I overhear?  Who would I find in the booth by the window?  Can anything bind us together across time and place and ideology?  We are all sisters and sinners, trying to get by.

Cast of players

  • Jezebel – queen & wife of Ahab the king of Israel who encouraged her husband to take what he wanted and worship Baal (1 Kings 16-21)
  • Esther – Jewish queen, saviour of her people & wife of Ahasuerus who reigned as king from India to Ethiopia (The Book of Esther)
  • Lydia – seller of purple (expensive dyed cloth) from Thyatira who converted to Christianity under Paul (Acts 16)
  • Delilah – sold Samson by uncovering his weakness to the lords of the Philistines for 1100 pieces of silver (Judges 16)
  • Salomé – name commonly given (Flavius Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities) to the dancer who asked for the head of John the Baptist on the advice from her mother, later served to her on a silver platter (Matthew 14 & Mark 6)
  • Deborah – prophetess & judge of Israel (Judges 4-5)
  • Naomi – mother-in-law of Ruth who bade her daughter return to her people following the death of Ruth’s husband yet Ruth refused to abandon her (The Book of Ruth)
  • Leah – elder sister with delicate/weak eyes whose father tricked Jacob into marrying before he was allowed to marry her younger sister Rachel, the woman he loved (Genesis 29-35)
  • Mary Magdalene – according to the Gnostics the consort of Jesus, his beloved disciple, true author of the Gospel of John and mother of Jesus’ child who fled to Gaul while pregnant (John 19-20, Marys of the Sea tradition of France)
  • Mary – mother of Jesus who became mother to Mary Magdalene upon Jesus’ death (John 19:26-27) & fled with her to Gaul (Marys of the Sea tradition of France)
  • Eve – Biblical first wife of Adam and the first woman created, also first to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2-4)
  • Lilith – class of female demon (Akkadian) or later night hag/creature/monster (Hebrew) & in Jewish folklore Adam’s first wife formed from the same earth from which he was formed (Alphabet of Ben Sira ~ 700-1000 CE)

Lyrics

Jezebel met Esther in a bar and over drinks
They traded stories ‘bout the kings they used to love
Until their vision blurred and all men looked the same
When it was dark

Lydia met Delilah after work, ran up a tab
Perfecting business plans they shared to rule the world
And laughed about the way they liked to close a sale
Through the night

Salomé’s waiting tables, platter in hand
While Deborah smokes the courthouse from her mind
Naomi keeps her daughter close ‘little longer than planned
And Leah’s still a lover to the blind
We are all sisters and sinners, trying to unwind
We are all sisters and sinners, girls, by our own design

Mary M met her mother in the back and wore a veil
To hide her face from anyone who knew her name
And she’s still jet-lagged so she’s drinking Cabernet
To remember

And it’s last call so ladies, drink up
This isn’t happy hour, honey
We’re at the crossroads of heaven and hell
And I don’t want your soul
But I’ll take your money ‘cause

Salomé’s waiting tables, platter in hand
While Deborah smokes the courthouse from her mind
Naomi keeps her daughter close ‘little longer than planned
And Leah’s still a lover to the blind
We are all sisters and sinners, trying to unwind
We are all sisters and sinners, girls, by our own design

3 AM: Eve and Lilith pool their tips and share a cab
They spend the night together, they’re comparing notes
Of married men that they’ve lost track of on the road
Saying

We are all sisters and sinners, trying to unwind
We are all sisters and sinners, girls, sparks of the divine
We are all sisters and sinners, girls, making up our minds
We are all sisters and sinners by our own design

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