Have you heard of the Quiverfull movement? It's a whacked-out group of fundamentalist Christians who try to have as many kids as they can, because they believe that children show God's favor on the men who father them.
The movement takes its name from Psalm 127, which says:
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them. Psalm 127:3-5
Which got me to thinking. If children are a blessing from God, and happy is the man that has his quiver full of them, which man in the Bible was the happiest? Who had the fullest quiver, so to speak?
So I started with Adam and worked my way through all the quivers in the Bible. But Adam didn't seem too interested in children. His first son (Cain) killed his second son (Abel), yet Adam didn't bother having any more kids for another 130 years or so, when he finally had Seth. He and Eve were diddling for six score and ten years and all he had to show for it was two arrows in his quiver. He lived another 800 years after having Seth, but all the Bible says about it is this: "And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters." No names, no numbers, no cigar for Adam.
Well then, maybe one of the patriarchs. Take Methuselah, for example. He lived to be 969, so he must have had lots of kids. But he was a slow starter, waiting until he was 187 before fathering his first son (Lamech). And although the Bible says he had other sons and daughters sometime in the next 782 years, it doesn't name names or give numbers. So forget Methuselah. No prize there either.
How about Methuselah's son, Lamaech? Lamech was the first of a long, proud line of polygamists in the Bible. But even with two wives he couldn't fill his quiver. When he was 182 he had his first son (Noah) and then had the usual nameless sons and daughters sometime in the next 595 years. What the fuck did he do with his wives, anyway?
OK, then what about Lamech's son, Noah? Nope. Noah waited until he was 500 to start a family. But he started with a bang, having three sons in a single year. I'm not sure how he managed that, since there is no mention of twins or triplets and the Bible only mentions one (nameless) wife. Fucking miracles, I guess. Anyway, the Bible doesn't say whether Noah had more children after the flood, though God did tell him and his sons to "be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth" (after God had drowned everyone on it).
What about King David? No one even tried to keep track of all his wives and concubines, so he must have had lots of children. 1 Chronicles 3:1-9 lists 19 sons and one daughter (which ties him with Jim Bob!). David must have had a hard time coming up with so many names because two sons are named Eliphelet and two are named Elishama. I suppose that's one of the hazards of a full quiver. You just can't keep your arrows straight.
Solomon was one of David's sons and he must have had quite a family since he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. If he kept up with the Duggars he'd have about 20,000 arrows in his quiver. But Solomon was the patron saint of birth control. The Bible only mentions one son (Rehoboam) and two daughters. The guy must have never taken his condom off!
It turns out that Solomon's (only?) son, Rehoboam wins the quiverfull prize, depending on how you keep score, that is. Rehoboam, like his dad, was a big-time polygamist, with 18 wives and 60 concubines. But unlike his dad, he used his wives to fill his quiver. And he had a quiverfull by the time he was done -- 88 total: 28 sons and 60 daughters.
But there were a few others that probably beat Rehoboam. Both Gideon and Ahab had 72 sons. But since the Bible doesn't mention their daughters, I guess Rehoboam can keep his prize. (Both sets of sons had unhappy endings: Gideon's 70 sons were murdered by one of their brothers, and Ahab's 70 sons were beheaded by Jehu at God's command.)
And there are several honorable mentions. Ibzan had 30 sons and 30 daughters. Abdon had 40 sons and 30 nephews. Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat 22 sons, and 16 daughters. And Jair had 30 sons that rode on 30 ass colts and had 30 cities.
Here's a little table to keep the quivers straight.
|Rehoboam||28||60||88||2 Chronicles 11:21|
|Gideon||72||?||At least 72||Judges 8:30, 9:4-5|
|Ahab||72||?||At least 72||2 Kings 1:16-17, 10:1-7, 9:24-26|
|Abdon||40||?||At least 40||Judges 12:14|
|Abijah||22||16||38||2 Chronicles 13:21|
|Jair||30||?||At least 30||Judge 10:3-4|
|David||19||1||At least 20||1 Chronicles 3:1-9|
|Heman||14||3||17||1 Chronicles 25:5|
For more information on the Quiverfull movement see Vyckie Garrison's blog, No Longer Quivering.