It is no secret that the Bible appears to condemn homosexuality. What is more unknown is the fact that an alternate translation exists within the Scriptures that illustrate a completely different picture of these verses when focusing on the original language, context, and cultural practice of Biblical times. What emerges is a different story that condemns homosexual sex acts in connection to idol worship rituals, gang rape practices and prostitution. In this article, I will focus on new evidence that Deuteronomy and 1 Kings confirm that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are speaking directly about males engaged in shrine prostitution. If you would like to review the evidence concerning the alternate translations of ALL the verses that appear to condemn homosexuality, please visit http://gaychristians.2freedom.com
Moses’ Last Words
Before I get to the main point, I must explain the context of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Leviticus contains the law for the Jews as given to Moses. It was a manual of rules that the Jews were to follow in order to set themselves apart from the inhabitants of the land that they were promised to inherit. Deuteronomy is the last book that Moses authored before his death. It gave a summary of the commands that the Jews were to follow and remember as they entered into the promise land of Canaan which was then named Israel. So Deuteronomy was essentially a summary of what God told Moses to relay before his death. It reads in the same format as ancient treaties as a contract between God and His people. Because it is the last book Moses authored, it has many repeated portions from the Levitical code.
The Death Penalty, Repeated
The laws that prescribed the death penalty in Leviticus are all repeated again in Deuteronomy as forbidden practices, minus one exception. As you might guess, the only law that does not seem to be repeated from Leviticus to Deuteronomy is the verse that prohibits a man lying with man (Lev. 18:22, 20:13). Although this law is the only single law that prescribes capital punishment that looks as if it is not included again in Deuteronomy, there is something else that is mentioned in Deuteronomy that appears to be a repeat after all. Deuteronomy 23:17 prohibits male shrine prostitution. “No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute (qadesh, קָדֵשׁ).” Could it be that the law of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 is repeated in Deuteronomy 23:17, only it is described in more direct terms to modern readers?
Shrine prostitution was rampant in Biblical times and was directly connected to idol worship. Male worshipers would give their semen as a sacrifice to their idols through anal intercourse with the male and female shrine prostitutes. The shrine prostitutes acted as intercessors to the gods through sexual fluid exchange. These were not gay men, but heterosexuals with families who had sex with men as an idol worship practice. Although some of the male shrine prostitutes could have been gay, many were only performing what they saw as a holy ritual to their gods. This in no way describes modern day gay people.
Shrine prostitution in Leviticus 18 and 20
If one reads Leviticus in context with this cultural knowledge, you will notice that both Leviticus 18 and 20 detail the prohibition of giving sacrifices to the idol Molech who was the main idol of Canaan. In fact, Leviticus 18:21 (right before 18:22) states that no man should offer his seed to Molech. (Note that many translations interpret this as “children,” but the original Hebrew word “zera” זָ֫רַע also means “semen” and “intercourse.”) The very next verse prohibits a man lying with a man. It is even called an abomination, but not just any abomination. There are two words for abomination in Hebrew. The type of abomination used for Leviticus 18:22 is “toevah” תּוֹעֵבָה, which is usually connected to a sin of idolatry. Furthermore, Leviticus 20 goes into even more detail about idol worship of Molech before it seems to prescribe the death penalty to “man lying with man.” It seems obvious to be speaking about shrine prostitution. Lev. 20:5 states, “Then I’ll oppose that man and his family and eliminate him from contact with his people, along with all the prostitutes who accompany him and who have committed prostitution with Molech.”
Additionally, the order of Leviticus 18 suggests that 18:22 is connected to an idol worship practice. Chapter 18 can be broken up into four topical parts: Verses 1-5 is a greeting, verses 6-20 are prohibitions of those near of kin, verses 21-24 are acts connected to idol worship of Molech, and verses 25-30 describe that the Canaanites practiced all of these customs. Focusing on verses 21-24: “You must not give any of your seed as an offering to Molech, so that you do not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD! You shall not lie with a male
as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. You must not have sexual intercourse with any animal to become defiled with it, and a woman must not stand before an animal to have sexual intercourse with it; it is a perversion.” (note that “as one” is crossed out because this comparative language is not reflected in the original Hebrew text.) This clearly appears to be referring to male/male sex in the confines of idol worship, i.e. shrine prostitution. Additional proof is the verse that follows which describes bestiality which was also an idol worship sex practice. Leviticus 17:7 indicates idol worship bestiality practice: “They are no longer to slaughter their sacrifices to the goat idols, for whom they have been committing prostitution.”
1 Kings referrrence to Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13
In 1 Kings 14:24, we see a reference to the male shrine prostitutes from Canaan. It states, “and there were also male shrine prostitutes (qadesh, קָדֵשׁ) in the land. They did according to all the abominations (toevah, תּוֹעֵבָה) of the nations that the LORD drove out before the people of Israel.” Note that this verse must be giving reference to Leviticus 18, rather than Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 23 only states that Israelites are not to become shrine prostitutes. It says nothing about it being practiced by the Canaanites, which were “the ones driven out before the people of Israel.” Instead, Leviticus states that “male lying with male” was done amongst the Canaanites (Lev. 18:27) and also called it a toevah (idolatry abomination.) One could safely assert that 1 Kings 14:24 is referring directly to the Canaanite male shrine prostitutes which would conclude that the Leviticus verses are a prohibition against male shrine prostitution.
Going on, we can see many examples of male prostitution always paired with idolatry: 1 Kings 15:12, “He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made.” 1 Kings 22:46, “He rid the land of the rest of the male shrine prostitutes who remained there even after the reign of his father Asa.” 2 Kings 23:7, “He tore down the houses of the male shrine prostitutes who were in the LORD’s temple, where women did weaving for Asherah.” Job 36:14, “They die while they’re young, or they live on as male prostitutes in the temples of idols.” Hosea 4:14, “For the men themselves go apart with harlots and offer sacrifices with shrine prostitutes.” Hosea 6:10, “I have seen a disgusting thing in the temple of Israel: there Ephraim practices shrine prostitution and Judah defiles itself.”
Ironically, some translations have chosen to use “Sodomites” in place of “male shrine prostitutes” in all of the above verses. This is entirely misleading. There were no men of Sodom left to be in the land (because they were all destroyed), and they certainly were not referring to gay men, but prostitutes who practiced idol worship rituals. So anytime you read a Bible that references “sodomites,” be sure to check the context to see if it is speaking about actual people of Sodom or a misleading translation that actually means male shrine prostitutes (qadesh, קָדֵשׁ).
ALL Homosexual acts paired with idol worship in the Bible
Every example of any homosexual sex act mentioned in the Bible is always paired in the same chapter with idol worship, minus the story of Sodom which was attempted gang rape of angels. Coincidence? Although Genesis 19:1-11 may not speak directly about idol worship with male/male sex acts in these verses, there are plenty of verses that demonstrate that idolatry was practiced in Sodom, so male shrine prostitution was likely practiced there too. Romans 1 is a prime example where idol worship is described in detail followed by a supposed verse about homosexuality (Romans 1:26-28). 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-11 use the word “arsenokoites” which literally means “man, beds.” Long before the word “homosexual” was invented, many translations used “male prostitutes” in its place. This only leaves Leviticus which also describes idol worship in both references to supposed homosexual practice. This demonstrates that there is always the presence of idols when male/male sex acts are present in the Bible. When was the last time you saw a modern gay person practicing prostitution for an idol? The Bible does not condemn a God-centered life-long committed relationship between two members of the same gender. The only gay sex condemned in the Bible is that of shrine prostitution and rape.
Mixing the modern world with the ancient
Sometimes as Christians we can look at the Bible and attempt to apply it to our modern world to a fault. On occasion, we can mix up the ancient cultural implication and apply modern concepts that change the entire meaning of the text to such an extreme that a whole group of people become unfairly condemned. The word “homosexuality” was defined in the late 1800’s, yet now we have inserted it into the Holy Bible of God’s Word in 1946. The fact that the word “sodomites” is used is another big cultural mistake. The word “sodomy” is a modern word for anal sex. “Sodomite” in the modern sense is a word for a gay male. The word itself is derived from the story in the Bible about Sodom, but if we really want to take the story of Sodom and apply it to the meaning of a modern sodomite, than that person would be a gang rapist that attempts to assault angels. (Re-read Gen. 19 again and you will understand.) With the true definition in place, have you known any sodomites in your life, ever???
Another issue we have a problem with is seeing prostitution in the Bible as either like modern prostitutes and/or viewing it as purely symbolic. When seen through modern lenses, we view prostitutes as people who exchange sex for money. There are 2 forms of prostitution mentioned in the Bible. The one that may be connected to more of a modern definition is zanah (זָנָה ). This is a woman who exchanges sex for money, but sometimes refers to having sex outside of marriage or a promiscuous woman. So if you have had any sexual involvement with anyone unmarried, than you could be called a zanah (prostitute) yourself. The other form of prostitution mentioned in the Bible is the shrine or temple prostitute named qadesh (קָדֵשׁ ). This is always connected to idol worship in some way. Although this was clearly practiced in ancient times, modern Christians sometimes view these verses as “symbolic prostitution.” They believe that the idol worshipers were symbolically “prostituting themselves with other gods.” History shows actual prostitution within idol worship.
Reviewing the facts
So all together it seems that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are referring to male shrine prostitutes. Summarized is the evidence. 1) The death penalty laws are all repeated in Deuteronomy and Deut. 23:17 is the only suitable replacement to Leviticus 20:13. 2) 1 Kings 14:24 gives reference to male shrine prostitutes in Canaan and only Leviticus 18 mentions that the custom was practiced in Canaan (when reading in context). 3) The order of Leviticus 18 shows that “a man lying with a man” was connected to idol worship. 4) The type of abomination that “a man lying with a man” is called is associated with an idolatry abomination. 5) All Bible verses descriptive of male/male sexual acts are paired with condemnation of idol worship, indicating male shrine prostitution.
For reference purposes, here are the sexual sins that are prescribed the death penalty in Leviticus and repeated again in Deuteronomy. Note that some of them repeat the death sentence in Deuteronomy, and others only mention it as a forbidden practice.
– Incest Lev.20:17, Deut. 27:22.
– Adultery Lev. 20:10-12, Deut. 22:22
– Bestiality Lev. 20:15-16, Deut. 27:21
– Sex with father’s wife Lev. 20:11, Deut. 27:20
– Daughter prostitute Lev. 21:9, Deut. 22:21
– Sex or marriage to mother-in-law Lev. 20:14, Deut. 27:23
– Shrine prostitution Lev 20:13, 18:22, Duet 23:17 (Note that female prostitution was previously forbidden in Lev. 19:29)
*There are other death penalty crimes in Leviticus that are repeated in Deuteronomy, but I have chosen to reference those of a relevant sexual nature.