IS THE BIBLE AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY?
A scholarly response on what the Hebrew and Aramaic Bible says concerning LGBTI people.
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Homosexuals (Part 2)
8. The first homosexual relationship in the New Testament regards a centurion and his boy (or child). The Aramaic word ta-li-a (or tal-ya - Assyrian pron.) can mean "a boy from infancy [see Matt. 2:13] to adolescence" but generally means a “male child, boy [from 7 to 12 years of age].” It also carries the meaning of “boyfriend;” and hence the person referred to is not necessarily in the age range of a child. The Centurion said “my boy” is lying in the house, paralyzed... This means the Centurion is saying: “my boyfriend” is lying in the house. The boy is clearly a young man because he was a soldier. We know this because the centurion talks about having soldiers under his command who he gives orders and they obey (See Matt. 8:5-14). The paralyzed “boy” is specifically called his “servant” ow-da at Luke 7:10 and at Matthew 8:9. This would make it unlikely that the “boy” is the centurion’s son. However, the word “servant” is used as a reference to a soldier or soldiers under one’s command elsewhere in Scripture (see Gen. 14:15, etc). The parallel Aramaic text at Luke 7:2 says the young man was “dear, beloved” ya-qir to him (i.e. the centurion). This young man lives under his roof (i.e. in his house) [Luke 7:6]. A lot of Roman soldiers were gay because Rome had a marriage ban for serving Roman soldiers. Luke 7:6 reads “…the centurion sent raḥ-mow (his lovers and friends) to him [Jesus].” Raḥ-mow literally means “his male lovers (or friends).” It follows the previous details about the centurion and his boyfriend (i.e. boy). Therefore, it's the last indicator, along with the other details and reasons, that the word ta-li-a "boy" means "boyfriend" in this story. So even though the word talia "boy" can sometimes be used as a synonym for "a young man" (even though Aramaic and Hebrew often differentiate between the two) I don't believe it only means "young man" (2nd or 3rd meaning) here. As you saw, that "boy (or child) " was "dear, beloved" to that centurion. He was also his servant, a young man and lived in his home.
1st Note: Yal-lu-da or Show-ra are better words for "an infant, child under 7 years old." Judith 7:12 (Aramaic text numbering) or Judith 7:23 (Greek text numbering) is a good verse that shows how the Aramaic language uses different words to distinguish between "boys" and "young men." That verse says: "and the young men, women and children (i.e. boys & girls) were gathered around Uzziyah and around the rulers of the city." Ạ-lay-me is the word for "young men" and tla-ye is the word for "boys, children."
2nd Note: The Greek text of the Old Testament doesn’t always or never translates the Hebrew word e-ved “servant” as the Greek word doulos “servant” (Matt. 8:9, Luke 7:10). The exact opposite occurs in the Aramaic translation of the Old Testament. The Aramaic word ow-da “servant” is the translation mostly or always for the Hebrew word e-ved “servant.” They are actually the same Semitic word. If you subtract the final “a” in the Aramaic word, (which is a common addition to 3 letter Hebrew words), then both words have the same letters (i.e. Ayin, Bet[-h] & Dalet[-h]). 3rd Note: The Greek word phi-lous can mean "friends," "lovers" or "lovers and friends." It's usually just translated as "friends" in English translations. However, if Lucas wanted to exclude "lovers" from the group, he could have used the word khow-row "his friends" instead. Or he could have used the word "servants" or "young men" if the persons were just employees. Also, it's not likely that the centurion would have sent any females to another male (i.e. Yeshua) in that age (time).
9. The second known homosexual relationship in the New Testament appears at Acts 10:24, which reads: “And the next day they entered Caesarea. And Cornelius was waiting for them, and all his relatives and also his dear friends were assembled with him.” (Lamsa). Dr. Lamsa translates the Aramaic words raḥ-me ḥab-bi-we (beloved lovers) as “dear friends” at this verse. There is a problem with this translation because the Aramaic language already has a word for friends (khow-re). Raḥ-me literally means “lovers” and is from the word raḥ-ma “love.” So, obviously a context is needed when raḥ-me is to be interpreted as “friends.” The Aramaic text is emphasizing that the word raḥ-me should be translated as “lovers” because it has an accompanying adjective “beloved.”
Note: The word khow-ra "friend, companion" is pronounced in the plural as khow-re (friends). However, this word has another legitimate pronunciation. Friend (with the same spelling) can also be pronounced kho-ra and its plural pronunciation is khoo-re. Sometimes the letter beth, when it has a "w" sound acts like the letter wow and becomes a vowel. This same thing occurs in other words such as "man," which can be pronounced as gow-ra or go-ra, "seven" which can be pronounced as show-a or sho-a, etc.
10. “Now there was one of his disciples who was leaning das-mik on his bosom, the one whom Jesus loved...So that disciple leaned himself n'pal on the breast of Jesus, and said to him, My Lord, who is he?" (John 13:23,25 Lamsa). The Disciple lying on Jesus’ bosom was John. It is believed that John was at least gay because of the intimate connection between him and Jesus. The intimate words of John lying on Jesus’ breast give John the characteristics of a gay male. Jesus may have been John's lover since John writes that Jesus LOVED him in the same verse of him lying on his (Yeshua's) bosom. They loved each other. Otherwise, I can also accept that there may have been no sexual connection between Jesus and John, and that John may have been just a celibate gay man. The Aramaic word smak means “to lay upon, rest and sleep.” So this verse (Jn. 13:23) can be saying that John "layed (or rested) on his bosom." For Jn. 13:25, The Aramaic text says that John "fell on the breast of Jesus,.." There is no reason to translate the word n'pal as leaned, or to add the word himself in our English translation. Another possible indicator that Yeshua and John were in a homosexual relationship is found at (John 19:26-27 Lamsa): "When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he LOVED standing, he said to his mother, Woman, behold your son! Then he said to the (that) disciple, Behold your mother! And from that very hour the (that) disciple took her with him." Again we see that Yeshua LOVED John. There are also a couple of other places where John writes in his Gospel that Yeshua loved him (John 20:2; 21:7). Moreover, Yeshua may have entrusted the care of his mother Mariam to John, his lover, at his impending death on the cross. Why would he do that? Mariam had at least other [step-] children and / or relatives that could have taken care of her. The mother-in-law and father-in-law were known and addressed as "parents" along with "mother" or "father." A son-in-law was also called a "son." We see this at (Tobit 8:21 P'shitta): "And half of my goods, take now. And half of them [you shall receive] when I have died and my wife [has died]. They are yours. And I am your father and Aiddanya (Edna) is your mother. Be comforted my son!" [see also Tobit 10:11-12; etc.]
NAMES AND OCCUPATIONS THAT INDICATE THE PERSON IS LESBIAN OR GAY:
11. (a) "Gaius asks of your welfare. [He is] my receiver and [the receiver (host)] of all of the assembly. Erastos the steward (administrator) of the city and Quartus the brother ask of your welfare." (Rom. 16:23). Erastos means "beloved" in Greek. Homosexual couples often consisted of the "lover" and the "beloved." Erastos is also called a rab-bay-ta "steward, administrator, manager." That title or occupation was often occupied by gay men. That's because there are just some things that women and gay men are good at; just like there are some things that men and lesbians are good (or better) at. Erastos is related to the word e-ros "love, desire." Our English word "erotic" is from that word.
12. (a) “When I send Artemas or Tycicus to you; endeavor to come to me at Nicopolis; for I have decided to winter there.” (Titus 3:12 Lamsa). Artemas is named after the Greek goddess Artemis (Diana- in Vulgate). This woman was probably a lesbian since Bible names have meanings, and carry characteristics about the person. It's as if she has the same character and nature of the goddess - a lesbian, protector of women, huntress, midwife. Artemis is called a par-then-os "lesbian, virgin." Artemis was worshipped as one of the primary goddesses of childbirth and midwifery. This may be because Artemis believed she had been chosen by the Fates to be a midwife. Artemis also assisted her mother in the delivery of her twin brother Apollo; since she was born first (the 6th day). We know from the Hebrew Bible that lesbians occupied the office of "midwife" frequently. Artemis is also seen doing "manly" or "lesbian" things such as being the patron and protector of young girls and hunting. Artemis swore never to marry. She sat on her father Zeus' knee and asked him to grant her several wishes. A few of the wishes were: "to remain a virgin, to have many names to set her apart from her brother Phoiḅos (Apollo), to have a bow and arrow made by the Cyclops, and to have twenty Amnisides Nymphs as handmaidens to watch her dogs and bow while she rested. The fact that she didn't want to ever marry seems suspicious to me. That desire would be unnatural because God made us sexual creatures. It would however make sense if she was a lesbian. - In another story, she changes Siproites, a boy, into a girl, because he either sees her naked or attempts to rape her. Was Siproites turned into a lesbian then? Artemis, the goddess of forests and hills, was worshipped throughout ancient Greece. Her best known cults were on the island of Delos (her birthplace), in Attica at Brauron and Mounikhia (near Piraeus), and in Sparta. At Ephesus in Ionia, Turkey - she was worshipped as a mother goddess. The temple there was probably the best known center of her worship except for Delos.
(b) "I am entrusting to you Phoiḅe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Kenchreais, that you may receive her in our Lord as is right of the saints, and in every matter that she seeks from you, you shall stand by (serve, help) her; because she also was a protector of many [and] also of me." (Rom. 16:1-2). Phoiḅe means "bright, pure, radiant" and is one of the names of Artemis - "The Bright or Pure." So Phoiḅe already comes across as a lesbian to me. She is also called a qa-yum-ta "protector;" an occupation of a lesbian. The Greek New Testament has the word pros-ta-tis1 "one who stands before and protects, a guardian, champion, front-rank-woman." It can have a secondary meaning of a "servant." However, I wouldn't translate this word as "servant" here because she is already called a servant in verse one (i.e. di-a-ko-nos / msham-sha-ni-tha - servant). The KJV translated pros-ta-tis terribly as: "a succourer (helper);" which isn't the most obvious meaning for this word. Judith's maid was called a pa-ra-sta-tis2 "one who stands by or near, defender, one's comrade on the flank." Both Greek words refer to "defenders," but in slightly different positions. Hebrew would use two words versus one Greek composite word made up of two words. (1 Sam. 22:6) mentions that Shaul and his servants [i.e. guards] standing by (around) him were in Giḅeah. Eglon, king of Moaḅ, also had guards "standing by him" that left when Ehud arrived (Judg. 3:19). - Like the second Greek word, Yehoshua (Joshua), the son of Nun, "was standing before (serving)" Mosheh (Deut. 1:38). Along that meaning, (Deut. 17:12) talks about a priest who is standing to serve." Artemis was likely called a pros-ta-tis "defender (f.)" and her twin brother Apollon likely was called a pros-ta-tes "defender (m.)." Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon gives references of both of them where a form of the composite verb root pros-ta-tei-a "standing before" is used.
Supplement: The above list of homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals should not be assumed to be all of them in the Bible. I have left out the other ones that the reader should be able to identify by deduction and hence assume that certain individuals are or likely LGB in the Bible. Who is to say that the other eunuchs aren't gay? What about Joseph who swore on his father's privates? Maybe he was gay and only had a wife to produce children. Otherwise, he could have been bisexual and that could explain why his master Potiphar believed his wife; who said Joseph tried to sleep with her. I have also left out possible lesbian and gay couples in the Aramaic Bible where the following words appear: raḥ-ma (lover, friend), khow-ra (companion) and show-ta-pa [m.] / show-tap-ta [f.] (partner, husband / wife). That's because I couldn't rule out that the non-sexual or non-relationship meaning wasn't meant. Those same words are used to describe spouses and lovers in a heterosexual relationship. Since the word raḥ-ma can mean "friend" or "lover" in certain contexts, it can also carry both of those meanings in many statements in the Bible where it is translated merely as "friend." Readers lose part of the message in the translation. Take (Proverbs 19:4 Peshitta) for one example: "Wealth adds many friends (or lovers); but a poor man shall be separating (or departing) from his friends (or lovers)." There are many more examples like this where raḥ-me can have a dual meaning of both "friends and lovers."
Is the Bible Against Homosexuality? by Preacher Mattai (c) 2016. All rights reserved.