Addendum to the Leviticus
The case re-stated with additional exegesis
LEV 18:22 (20:13 is the same but with the penalty)
This verse is mistranslated! The 'New
American Standard Bible' AND the
'Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English
Old Testament by JR Kohlenberger 3rd' both confirm that the
literal translation of the original Hebrew is NOT
translated in just about every Bible, ie 'A man shall not lie with a man,
as a man lies with a woman', BUT "You
shall not lie with a man, as men (lit. those,
plural) lie with a woman (singular)",
Taken together with the following, it confirms
that the Leviticus reference, as all other OT refs, is a condemnation
of male shrine prostitution,
and NOT of loving, faithful same-sex relationships in which same-sex loving
is physically expressed.
NB Jerome (Latin Vulgate) translated 'arsenokoiti/s'
as 'masculorum concubitores'
or 'male prostitutes'.
Jerome lived and worked much closer to the times of the Bible writers,
ie at the time that the NT Canon was finally agreed, so his translation
is very important.
That this verse is a unique reference in the Old
Testament/Hebrew Bible is most significant, as these were the scriptures
of Jesus, the apostles (including Paul), and the early church. The New
Testament Canon was not agreed for many years, and
the Old Testament/Hebrew scriptures together with the Gospels informed
the New Testament writings, including those of Paul and Jude.
Importantly, a single reference on a matter of
such moral importance is entirely atypical of the
scriptures. God does not say 'I will say this only once'. Consider the
sexual sins of adultery, prostitution, fornication etc which are not only
condemned many times, but became part of the spiritual imagery of unfaithfulness
of Israel toward God, (see Ezekiel 16, one excellent example of several).
There are 100s of references to heterosexual sexual sin. So
what is this reference about?
1. Comparing the laws in Exodus/Leviticus,
with those in the copy of the law, (ie Deuteronomy), in the same way
as Kings is compared with Chronicles, and the Synoptic Gospels are compared
to help understanding, so in Deuteronomy is
found the law comparable to that in Lev 18:22. The only law in Deuteronomy
about same-sex acts is Deut 23:17,18 and concerns shrine prostitution.
2. Examination of the Hebrew words translated 'abomination'
or 'God hates that', and an analysis of their use, gave the following;
a. 'shequets' which relates to food regulations
in Lev 11;
b. 'shiqquts' which relates to unacceptable
and unworthy worship of God and desecration of the Temple;
c. 'toe'bah' is the Hebrew word used for
'abomination' almost exclusively of idolatrous worship, statutes and practices.
Where 'abomination' is used in the
references in Deuteronomy, 1 and 2 Kings to condemn shrine prostitution,
is the Hebrew word used. And 'toe'bah' is
the word used in Lev 18:22 and 20:13.
3. The context of Lev 18:22 and 20:13 is
of the idolatrous fertility religion and its statutes of Egypt and Canaan,
(Lev 18:3; 24-30; and Lev 20:23).
4. The history of Israel is concerned primarily with how their
kings dealt with idolatrous worship. Kings were judged in their history
not by greatness in battle or extending 'empire', but whether they rid
the land of 'the high places', ie idolatrous worship, including fertility
5. Thus the whole thing is of a piece, like
the pieces of a jigsaw; and
points to the Leviticus references being about male
shrine prostitution, just as all the other references to same-sex sin in
the Hebrew scriptures.
6. It speaks volumes that there are no references to same-sex sin
other than shrine prostitution, in the Decalogue,
(Exodus or Deut); the associated Books of the Covenant; the Blessings and
Cursings of Moses; the Great Prophets; or the Gospels. These 'truly
great' books are silent on the matter, and there
is but one doubtful reference which when analysed points, like all other
OT references, to same-sex acts associated with idolatrous fertility
worship, ie male shrine prostitution.
Thus, the conclusion is that there is
no condemnation of loving, faithful same-sex relationships in the OT -
the scriptures of Jesus and the early church; only of male prostitution,
which may have been committed by any man.
This is an important conclusion, for when we have unlocked the
meaning of the Leviticus references, we have unlocked the meaning of 1
Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1:10, for Paul takes the keyword for male shrine prostitution
ie 'arsenokoitai/s' straight out of the Leviticus
references and uses it in these two letters.
And while Paul condemned sexual immorality in his every letter,
he used this keyword from Leviticus in only two. This is further proof
that the Leviticus references are not a general condemnation of all same-sex
acts as claimed by some, as Paul would otherwise undoubtedly have used
the word in all his letters.
We also have to take account of the fact that the modern concept
of 'homosexual' was not defined till the late 19th century, SO the
Biblical writers could not possibly have had this concept in mind when
they were writing.
There is also some evidence that in the part of the world where the
Bible was written, people denied that homosexuals existed, (and still
deny it - something which flies in the face of the evidence, professional
and otherwise) and saw same-sex acts - in this case male shrine prostitution
- as heterosexual men perverting their sexuality. This would do much to
explain the Biblical texts.