“If a man goes to bed with a man as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they must be put to death; their blood is on them.”-Leviticus 20:13
From verse 10 of Leviticus 20, God again spells out improper sexual acts and the consequences.
Basically, sexual violations can be divided into two categories: those requiring the DEATH PENALTY and those not.
Today let’s take a look at those sexual acts that require the death penalty for BOTH of the participants.
A MAN HAVING SEX WITH A MARRIED WOMAN WHO IS NOT HIS WIFE
Understand that this is NOT referring to a married man sleeping with an unmarried woman. That is NOT adultery according to TORAH. Adultery is based only on the marital status of the woman. As with the preceding law, the assumption is that the woman was a willing participant. Thus, God says both of them must die.
A MAN HAVING SEX WITH HIS FATHER’S WIFE
The “father’s wife” here is NOT referring to the man’s biological mother. It is referring to what today we would call a “stepmother”.
A MAN HAVING SEX WITH HIS SON’S WIFE
Pretty self-explanatory I would think.
A MAN HAVING SEX WITH ANOTHER MAN (homosexuality)
The phrase “as one lies with a woman” led the Talmud in Sanhedrin to characterize this act “putting a brush into a tube”. In other words, the phrase “as one lies with a woman” is referring to the particular homosexual act of anal penetration.
A MAN MARRYING BOTH A WOMAN AND HER MOTHER AT THE SAME TIME
What’s interesting is that for this particular sin, it doesn’t specifically say if the man “has sex with” or “goes to bed with” as it does the other sexual prohibitions. It specifically points out the action of “marrying”. It says “If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is depravity…”. For doing this, God says all three shall be burned up in fire. (Now don’t think I’m advocating that it’s cool beans for a man to have sex with a woman and her mother if he’s not married to them. Hell no I’m not. I’m just saying the wording difference is interesting.)
A MAN OR WOMAN HAVING SEX WITH AN ANIMAL
What’s interesting with this command is that commentators have wrestled with the reason for executing the animal. Rashi said “If the person committed a wrong, what wrong has the beast done?” The most plausible explanation given is that the animal, even minus its volition, was associated with an abominable act and so must be destroyed as a contaminated thing.
And that’s it folks.
Does it seem frightfully archaic that the Lord would demand the death penalty for such sex acts?
Either way you slice it, I think the least we can take away from this is just how serious and abominable YHVH views these actions.