So, this passage reminds me that what I love most about faith is included in the Law, even that found in Leviticus. A few examples from Chapter 19:
- 3 “‘Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.
- 9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.
- 13 “‘Do not defraud or rob your neighbor. Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.
- 18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
- 33 “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
Please, note that “Love your neighbor as yourself,” comes from the Old Testament. Not just the Old Testament, but the much maligned Book of Leviticus.
As judges have said to me, duly noted. Now let’s face these.
- 19:20 “‘If a man sleeps with a female slave who is promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment. Yet they are not to be put to death, because she had not been freed.
- 20:13 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
- 20:14 “‘If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you.
- 20:27 “‘A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’”
- 21:9 “‘If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.
Let me be clear. To carry out any of these instructions would be evil. There is no question in my mind that these words were not the product of the divine moving in the world. These are tribalism and superstition and in some cases a pretty clear manifestation of the patriarchy.
I also want to call out the NIV’s politically motivated translation. In 19:20, when a man rapes a slave, they use “sleep with,” but in 20:13 when translating gay sex, the provide the redundant “sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman.” Were there Southern Baptists confused by “lie with a man as with a woman”?
I am also compelled to point out at least one seeming contradiction pretty close together
- 15:24 “‘If a man has sexual relations with her and her monthly flow touches him, he will be unclean for seven days; any bed he lies on will be unclean.
- 20:18 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them are to be cut off from their people.
As I hope has been apparent from the beginning, I understand that the Bible is a collection of many works written by many people seeking out their relationship with God. I wish I could shrug off the presence of these verses. Yeah, the ancient Hebrews were superstitious like everyone else–so what? I think its juxtaposition with “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself,” makes it sting a little more.