IS THE BIBLE AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY?
A scholarly response on what the Hebrew and Aramaic Bible says concerning LGBTI people.
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1st Note: The word galah "he uncovered" is in the Hitpael conjugation (yithgal - "[&] he was uncovered" or "he uncovered himself" [Gen. 9:21]). The Hitpael conjugation can give a verb a reflexive meaning or a passive meaning. Usually the Niphal conjugation gives a verb a passive meaning (ex. "he WAS uncovered") & the Hitpael conjugation gives the verb a reflexive meaning (ex. "he uncovered HIMSELF"). However, the Hitpael conjugation often carries both a reflexive and a passive meaning depending on the context. That's even if a verb is already used in the Niphal form to designate the passive meaning. So the fact that galah appears in it's Niphal conjugation ("niglah - he was uncovered") many times in the Bible (1 Sam. 3:21; Isa. 53:1; etc.), doesn't mean that its Hitpael form was used to gives it only a reflexive meaning. The word arah "he uncovered" is a synonym for galah, and it's HITPAEL meaning can be "WAS uncovered" (Lam. 4:21) and "uncovering HIMSELF, lifting HIMSELF up, flourishing" (Ps. 37:35). The Bible also has an example of the word arah in the imperfect Niphal pronunciation at Isaiah 32:15: "until a spirit from on high SHALL BE POURED OUT on us ..." Literally that statement says: "until a spirit from on high SHALL BE UNCOVERED on us ..." Thus, the statement "was uncovered," can be expressed in either a verb's NIPHAL or HITPAEL forms.
2nd Note: Shem was the firstborn of Noaḥ (Jubilees 10:14). We also know this because Shem is said to be the "OLDER brother of Yapheth" (Gen. 10:21). In Hebrew grammar, when a definite noun is in the construct state and has an adjective, the adjective also is definite and comes after the following second noun. (Examples: Deut. 11:7; Jud. 1:13; 2:7; 3:9; 9:5; 2 Ki. 15:35; 2 Chron. 27:3; Neh. 3:30; Jer. 13:9; 36:10; Ezek. 10:19; 11:1; etc.). So the statement: "Shem ... the older brother of Yapheth" in correct Hebrew grammar would be worded as it is as: "Shem .. [the] brother of Yapheth, the older." The words "the older" describe "[the] brother [Shem]" not "Yapheth." Ḥam was the youngest son of Noaḥ (Gen. 9:24).
3rd Note: (Deut. 22:30) "A man shall not take (marry) the wife of his father; and he shall not uncover the [cloak] skirt of his father." That's a different way of saying what happened to Noaḥ. Ḥam should not have taken his father's wife. He had uncovered his father's skirt, which can mean that "he uncovered the skirt belonging to his father" hence "he uncovered his father's wife's skirt." Or if the "skirt" belongs to the father, then the statement isn't literal; similarly to the Genesis statement: "[Noaḥ] was uncovered." Definitely, Ḥam saw his father's nakedness; which again isn't literal. He saw Noaḥ's wife naked. Many verses in Leviticus chapters 18 and 20 plus (Ezek. 22:10) attest to those statements not being literal.
The following are a couple of examples when the word "nakedness" doesn't refer to an individual person's "nudity," but something else. This is to show that we aren't just to assume that the "nakedness of so-and-so" automatically always refers to their literal nudity. Consider when the word "nakedness" should be interpreted as "dishonor, shame, reproach, etc." When the servants of King Artaxerxes complained that the Jews were building the wicked and rebellious city Yerushalem, they claimed that if it would be built and its walls would be completed, the Jews wouldn't give tribute. Afterwards, they literally said this to the king: "... and it was not meet for us to SEE THE NAKEDNESS (reproach, dishonor) of the king, therefore we have sent and have informed the king." (Ezra 4:12-14). The CAPITALISED WORDS are a shortened alternate statement for: "... SEE THE [shame of the] NAKEDNESS of the king, ..." (see 1 Sam. 20:30). It's a visual statement and hence the word "nakedness" can be translated as "shame, disgrace, etc." to carry the shortened statement's meaning into English. Another example is when Yoseph accused his brothers of coming to SEE THE NAKEDNESS (shame, bare or defenseless areas) of the land of Egypt (Gen. 42:9, 12).
4th Note: (Gen. 9:24) "And Noaḥ awoke from his wine and knew (realized, found out) what his youngest son did." The Hebrew word ben "son" can also refer to a "grandson, descendant" in a supporting context when the literal meaning isn't obviously meant. The Book of Jubilees holds the opinion that Cenaan, the grandson, acted inappropriately. However, it's not likely that this Biblical story is saying that. Since both Ḥam and Cenaan are mentioned in this tale, the more specific way for "his grandson" would be "the son of his son." So the "youngest son" is most likely Ḥam. Thus, I caution the reader to not allow a Pseudepigrapha (Apocrypha) Book that isn't Scripture to interpret Scripture.
Is the Bible Against Homosexuality? by Preacher Mattai © 2016. All rights reserved.