LEVITICUS 18:22 AND LEVITICUS 20:13
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
[note: Lesbians are not mention at all!]
Most conservative Christians I've come in contact with have little use for the First Testament: they use Isaiah to foretell the coming of Christ; Psalm 139 to condemn abortion (while conveniently omitting Psalm 137); Genesis to promote "intelligent design," the mythic story of creation formerly know as "creation science;" and selective passages of the law of Moses to condemn their victim du jour. Beyond that they believe that "Christ fulfilled the law," which explains why they have no problem flaunting the Levitical commands against eating at Red Lobster, shaving, or women wearing pants and men wearing pink or purple Ralph Lauren button-down oxfords, polo shirts, or two-tone pastel Belgian slippers with contrasting piping and tassels.
These two verse are only mention twice in the entire bible unlike the rest of the code. This Holiness code is given directly to the israelities, and not to the entire world population to follow. So why are Christians quoting from a ancient jewish laws? To justify their prejudice,ain't it obvious. Christ only quoted one verse from it " you shall love your neighbor as yourself"
Now the word abomination mean: 1,ritualy impure,2. foul thing,. There is nowhere where it means wrong, or every christan's favorite word sin. It's a relgious term.
One expalnation would be that they couldn't have intercourse with a male as like a woman because it would be mixing the sex, make it ritualy impure in a anceint israelite's mind. Now insrealite men could have oral sex. They could hug, cuddle, and kiss. But because of the Holiness code no intercourse it was ritualy impure. They were also trying to survive with their population with neighboring tribes looking to take the land that was for them.
If we are to take the Bible literally, however, we cannot do this. The author applied the Hebrew term shakab to the "thou shalt not lie with" sequence and mishkab to the "as with" woman sequence. Mishkab occurs 46 times in 44 verses, all in the books of Moses. Mishkab generally means "bed," as in Leviticus 15:4 when the scripture states if a man lies in a bed [mishkab] and a woman has bled on the sheets, he is unclean, or as in Numbers 31:17 where God commands that every woman who has been to "bed" [mishkab] with a man (and therefore might be carrying an "unborn baby") should be slain. Yada, yada, yada: all pretty self-explanatory.
Shakab occurs 213 times in 194 verses, so we have plenty of context from which to draw a closer definition of the term. I looked through each of these verses and found that in 101 instances shakab meant to go to bed, or to sleep, in the most innocuous sense. In 51 instances shakab means to "sleep with the fathers," not in any perverse Christian sex fantasy sense, but meaning that they died, as in the "Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes" sense. In only one instance does shakab seem to refer to straight-forward vanilla marital sex: Leviticus 15:18, "When a man lies with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both must bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening." Taking into account the rights husbands had then, and wives didn't, it may not be that vanilla. Read on.
Shakab Means "Rape"
In 52 instances (virtually all of the sexual instances) the term shakab is used to describe a sexual encounter typified by deceit or force, in other words, some type of rape. Consider the following examples:
"Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie [shakab] with him, that we may preserve the seed of our father."
Lot's daughters rape their father, at least that's his story, and he's sticking to it.
"And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien [shakab] with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us."
Here Isaac tries to pass his wife, Rebekah, off as his sister. Rightly assuming that Rebekah would not have willingly had sex with any Philistine who offered, we can assume that among the Philistines it was considered a boys-will-be-boys type of issue to rape unmarried Jewish women. Even so the king, Abimelech, delivers an edict forbidding anyone to "molest" Isaac (again with the male rape thing), or his wife.
Previously, in Genesis 20, Abraham had practiced the same deceit with his wife, Sarah. Abimilech, thinking Sarah was Abraham's sister, kidnapped her, with the intention of raping her. He was forced by God to return her to Abraham, to whom he paid a fine.
Next, in Genesis 30, a conversation between two women,
"And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie [shakab] with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes."
In this verse Rachel is trading sex for drugs, letting her sister sleep with Jacob, her husband, in exchange for mandrakes.
"And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay [shakab] with her, and defiled her."
"That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie [shakab] with me, and I cried with a loud voice:"
In this story Joseph, living as a trusted slave in the house of Potifer, is sexually harassed by Potifer's wife. She's after him to have sex with her and he'll have none of it. One day he ends up alone with her and when he realizes this he rushes to get out of the house only escaping by shedding his coat which she has hold of. When Potifer comes home she cries rape, claiming as evidence the coat he "left behind." Joseph is sent to prison.
"Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay [shakab] with her."
2 Samuel 13:14
"Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished [shakab]."
"Neither left she her whoredoms brought from Egypt: for in her youth they lay [shakab] with her, and they bruised the breasts of her virginity, and poured their whoredom upon her."
When "she" was young they "lay with her and bruised the breast of her virginity." They made this woman into a whore by raping her.
I argue that shekab in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 means that a man shall not force, or in any way coerce, another man to have sex, in the way that a man is allowed to force sex upon his wife. In other words, man is not allowed to rape a man, it is an abomination. The story of Sodom supports this interpretation. Remember that the attempted rape of the "men" in Lot's house is seen as a horrible crime, whereas the attempted rape of his daughters, or the rape of the concubine of Gibeah in Judges 19, passes without comment. Though the verses in Leviticus condemn the rape of a man, they say nothing about healthy, mutual, consensual relations between members of the same sex.
The affirmation of same-sex love in some form in the old testament as follows:
In Deuteronomy 13:6 it is written,
"If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers…"
This verse lists a man's relations in order of closeness, descending to ascending: brother, son or daughter, wife, friend which is as thine own soul. This suggests that the man in this society maintains a relationship with another man that is closer than that of his wife, a relationship which is as close "as thine own soul."
This relationship is echoed in 1 Samuel 18:1,
"And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul."
For the conservative Christian who can read "homosexual sex" into the key passages of Leviticus and NOT see the "homosexual" relationship in Deuteronomy and 1 Samuel, selective literalism has been elevated to a high art form. This art form, however, remains an art, and not a valid argument that the verses in Leviticus condemn homosexuality.
Part 3 next: