Thursday, March 20, 2014

Does the Bible forbid gay sex?

The two verses people use to decide if the Bible forbids gay sex are Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.

Both verses are similar.

Leviticus 18:22 in Hebrew:
ואת זכר לא תשכב משכבי אשּה תועבה הוא

  1. Word literal translation:
    and with / to / at
    no / do-not
    shall you sleep / lie-down
    beds of
    is he/it

  2. Phrase literal translation:

    ואת זכר
    and with male
    לא תשכב
    shall you not sleep/lie-down
    משכבי אשּה
    a woman's beds
    תועבה הוא
    it is an abomination

  3. Raw translation:

    You should not lie-down/sleep a woman's bed with a male. It's an abomination.

  4. Grammatically conservative translation, contextual with passage:

    You should not sleep with a man on a woman's beds. It's an abomination.

  5. Interpretive (translation of passage subject to dogma/doctrines not found in the passage)

    • Cultural conservative:
      You should not sleep with a man as you would a woman. It's an abomination.

    • Liberal:
      You should not sleep with your male spouse on your female spouse's bed. It's an abomination.

    • Creative:
      You should not have sex with your male spouse the same way as you would your female spouse. It's gross. Use different techniques.

Also there is a list of punitive and severe curses in Deut 27. Severe curse against sleeping with your father's or brother's woman, against sleeping with your sister, against sleeping with animals, against subverting the rights of immigrants, against conspiring to murder your associate, and YET not a single curse against homosexuality !

A more sensible interpretation

Leviticus commands us to regulate homosexuality to prevent inhumane activities among those who practice it, as much as we are commanded to regulate to prevent the boiling of the meat of a kid in its mother's milk. In this interpretation, it would be an abomination to refuse to allow gay marriage to regulate it.

Other occurrences of the word

The word [משכבי] has other occurrences in the Bible, and all of them are translated as [beds of]:

Gen 49:4, Job 7:13, Prov 7:17, Song 3:1, Dan 4:5, Dan 4:10, Dan 4:13 are the only verses where [משכבי] is found the Bible, besides the two verses in Leviticus.

All these verses translate [משכבי] as [beds-of]. Why should Leviticus be any different?

Why would you cherry-pick these two cases and twist the grammar to translate it differently?

Wicked abominable willful translations, arrogantly over-riding the Word of G'd with your own defective common-sense.

Further grammatical analysis

There are too many people who want to deceptively translate
[משכבי אשּה]
[like sleeping with a woman]

That would require badly twisting the Hebrew grammar.

The biblical Hebrew preposition for [as/like] is [כ], which is found too frequently all over the Bible. There is not a single occurrence of the preposition [כ] in these two verses.

The phrase [as lying] is found in 1King 1v21 and Prov 23v34. Therefore, the phrase [like/as sleeping with a woman] according to the grammar used in these two verses would be
[כשכב את אשה]
which would be way clearer. If [like sleeping with a woman] is actually meant, then why would Leviticus not use the clear and distinct phrase [כשכב את אשה]?

There is a plural possessive connective yod[י], which is impossible to be explained away.

[משכב] is an active participle, which would merely make [משכבי אשּה]

ways, places or positions in which a woman sleeps.

It would be an extreme stretch to turn the phrase into

like sleeping with a woman

as there are more direct ways to express such in biblical Hebrew.

Passive vs Active

[משכבי] is not a passive participle/gerund/verbal-noun.

Example of passive participle can be found in Ezek 2v10.
[והיא כתובה פנים ואחור] = And its written face and backside.
[כתובה פנים] = face's being written
[והיא כתובה פנים ואחור] = its face's and its back-side's being written on.
Here the adjoining plural possessive character is [ה]hey rather than a [י]yod because writings are considered feminine.
[כתבה] = active participle.

Look at Daniel 5v7, v15, (regardless that the verses are mixed with aramaic grammar/words)
[כתבה דנה] = this active-writing.
The king was seeing something writing on the wall. He was not saying, "what is this being written", but "what is this writing".
The difference is the [ו]vav:
[כתבה] vs [כתובה]

In essence, Lev 20v13 and 18v22:
[משכבי אשּה] = the active verbal-noun belongs to the woman and not to the two guys wanting to sleep with each other.

?Did the verses write?
[משכובה אשּה] woman's passive-being-slept-with

The verses simply and grammatically say,
If you two guys want to sleep together please don't sleep the woman's active-participle-sleeping. Don't sleep together on her beds, or where she sleeps. 
The verses do not say
Two guys do not sleep a woman's passive-participle-being-slept-with.
For readers who may find it difficult to visualize active vs passive participles, using phrases in English as illustration of the difference between active and passive:
  • Do not photograph her (active)painting
  • Do not photograph her (passive)being painted.