The Truth Is…
The pagan world respected and feared the gods, whose behavior could be, in turns, either malicious or benign. Of course, the gods did love some mortals. It was supposed that a god, in an amorous encounter with a human female, might on occasion sire a hero, an Alexander or a Caesar, especially favored by the gods.
The Jews, however, unlike other peoples of the ancient world, convinced themselves that they were the unique and perpetual beneficiaries of divine favour, a chosen people “loved” by their fierce tribal god. In an attempt to gather the Jewish people, one unknown author wrote the lines, a brilliant piece of marketing, that have given the Jews a sense of entitlement that they still maintain.
“The LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth … because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your ancestors.”
– Deuteronomy 7.6,8
The concomitant of God’s love, of course, was the imperative to love God in return. Indeed, this celestial “lover” demanded it under threat of retribution:
“You shall have no other gods before me … for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
– Exodus 20.3,6.
Love for fellow Jews had to be subordinated to love for God. The disturbing yarn about Abraham’s all but sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22.2) made alarmingly clear that love for a favorite child could not withstand the demands of the terrible sky god. In the disgusting tale of Jephthah (Judges 11.29,39), an only daughter was indeed reduced to a burnt offering to please “God”. Love indeed.
Thus Yahweh is the most monstrous of lovers, threatening to harm children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren for any shortfall in his required adoration. HIS was to be no lukewarm or part-time affection: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” No wonder that bloody abattoir, otherwise known as the Jewish Temple, sacrificed thousands of animals on a daily basis. The bloody sacrifice of life conveyed “love” to the divine tyrant.
Judaism’s “one flesh” – Sex makes more Jews
“A man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
– Genesis, 2.24.
“The concept of adultery does not apply to intercourse between a Jewish man and a Gentile woman; rather the Talmud equates such intercourse to the sin of bestiality.”
– Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion, p87.
In the Mosaic law of the Jews “fornication” had a precise meaning, quite different from contemporary usage. The Law made no prohibition on male premarital or extramarital sexual activity so long as the women involved were not the property of another Jew. A Jewish male could acquire as many wives as he could afford, and also avail himself of the services of concubines and prostitutes. A childless marriage was reason enough for a male to take another wife and polygamy among the Jews drew no rabbinical reproof until the 11th century AD.
Setting the example were the patriarchs themselves, all prodigious fornicators. Abraham had three wives and his grandson Jacob, progenitor of the twelve tribes, had the services of four women – Rachel and Leah, and their obliging personal slaves Bilha and Zilpa. Rehoboam, son of the legendary King Solomon, is credited with 18 wives and 60 concubines (2 Chronicles 11.21) – an impressive harem, but far short of his father’s prodigious tally of 700 wives and 300 concubines. And it seems the randy king still found the energy to give the Queen of Sheba “all her desire” (1 Kings 10.13) – which according to Ethiopian tradition was a son called Menilek. No “adultery” was committed by all this extra-marital activity: visiting dignities, unmarried females, slaves or captives, all were fair game.
Indeed, sex with powerless women was deemed desirable, because any resultant pregnancy increased the stock of Jews. Genesis 1.28 relates God’s mandate to the Jews: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.“. The Jews, possessed by dreams of imperial expansion yet zealous for a “racial purity”, especially prized captured virgin brides. They, like all early peoples, recognized that copulation with a female virgin was the best assurance of paternity. In a notorious pronouncement, supposedly Moses himself said:
‘Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by sleeping with him. But all the young girls who have not known a man by sleeping with him, keep alive for yourselves.’
– Numbers 31.17,18.
Judaism fiercely defended male rights to first penetration as a guarantee of legitimate inheritance. A Jewish father was the custodian of his daughter’s virginity and market value until ownership passed, with a bride price, to her new owner. Family honour and economic survival were intimately bound up with its female products remaining untampered with until a successful “sale” had been agreed. If a buyer discovered that his new wife had been deflowered already she was to be stoned to death. Parents might retain stained nuptial bed sheets as proof that their virgin daughter really had been intact on her wedding night (Deuteronomy 22.15,20). An unbetrothed rape victim was required to marry the rapist, provided the rapist first compensated the father with fifty shekels (Deuteronomy 22:28,29).
Even today, in many cultures, an unauthorised loss of virginity is a cause for alarm – and even violence. An early episode of an “honour killing” is told in the story of Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi, who massacre and pillage a whole city to avenge the dishonour of their sister Dinah – “Should he deal with our sister as with a harlot?” (Genesis 34.1,31).
Jewish wives, held as property, preserved the gene pool and transmitted Jewishness in a tribal system which might otherwise have been diluted by predatory males. The essence of this principle is preserved in the story of the progenitors, where Sarah, the wife of Abraham, demands the expulsion of his concubine:
“Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son.”
– Genesis 21.10.
Deuteronomy 23.2 made clear that “bastards shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to the tenth generation“! Fear that a Jewish male might be cuckolded even led to the sanctity of “trial by ordeal”, in which a suspected wife could be made to drink “bitter water” made from dust taken from the floor of the tabernacle! If her “thigh” (read “genitals”) rotted and her belly “swelled” – and no doubt if she merely feared the priestly curse – she was surely guilty (Numbers 5).
Thus while “love for God” had the highest calling, sex with captives could “give delight” (Deuteronomy 21.14) and was a righteous reward of warfare. As late as the time of the Maccabean kings, sexual slavery was an instrument of Jewish expansionism, with concubinage forced upon female captives (Deuteronomy 21.10,13). Enslaved males were forcibly circumcised (“made Jews”), no doubt with considerable bloodshed and infection. Clearly, the mutilation of male genitalia had great symbolism. 1 Samuel 18.27 records the edifying tale of the soon-to-be-king David using two hundred Philistine foreskins to buy the daughter of Saul – quite a dowry!
So important was the Mosaic rescript to add to the stock of Jews that males damaged in the genitals were forbidden even to enter the Temple. Only the potent could hold their place among the righteous:
“He that is wounded in the stones or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”
– Deuteronomy 23.1.
The yarn about Onan “spilling his seed” and being slain by God in consequence (Genesis 38.8,10) was a warning from the priests about shirking the responsibility “to multiply”. Even the involuntary loss of semen brought pollution upon the godly:
“And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.”
– Leviticus 15.16.
One aspect of the inspirational tale of Exodus is that virile Jews, though set to “hard labour”, were still able to out-breed their Egyptian masters. By the time Moses is ready to lead his people a mere seventy members of Jacob’s clan has grown to three million. Fecund, or what?
Homosexuality, in particular, drew the ire of the priests. It was one of many sex crimes for which righteousness demanded capital punishment. A “moral tale” was provided by the story of Lot in Genesis:
“The men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.”
– Genesis 19.4,5.
Lot, of course, solved the moral dilemma by offering the would-be rapists his two virgin daughters instead (he must have read Judges 19). The Sodomites, at least according to Ezekiel 16.49, were also guilty of pride, gluttony, sloth, greed, and failure to help the poor (in other words, Republicans).
But whatever yarns the priests dreamed up to illustrate “right behaviour”, the real challenge to the Jews came from the culture of the Romano-Hellenistic world, which accepted homosexual liaisons, and was certainly untroubled by the use of a passive male partner.
“That men might wish to caress and penetrate other beautiful men caused the Greeks, at least, little surprises. What was judged harshly was the fact that the pursuit of pleasure might lead some men to wish to play the female role.”
– Brown, The Body and Society, p30.
One might reasonably suppose that Judaism’s condemnation of sodomy, as of bestiality, arose not because it was unknown among the Hebrew tribesmen but precisely because it was prevalent and ran counter to the primary goal of populating the world with Jews.
The above material was taken from articles written by Kenneth Humphreys who permits copying if appropriate credit is given to the author, Kenneth Humphreys.
The full article can be found HERE. Read it. It explains much of the nonsense of the sexual references (concubines, spilling seed, multiple wives, masturbation, homosexuality, treatment of women, selling daughter into slavery, ad nauseum).