article is the fourth chapter of K. J. Aaron 's Sexuality and
the Bible which has been posted because it is EXCELLENT and
that it has value to help people understand the Bible. Please
note that Ex-minister
does not wish to imply that the author has left the faith.
A special thank you is due to Keith
Hunt for his
recognition of such rare Biblical study material and for
granting permission to re-post it here at this website. Keith
is a Christian and I heartily encourage you to visit his
intriguing website Keith Hunt
where he has over 300 Biblical Study articles!
reader is strongly encouraged to start with the first chapter
Biblical Euphemisms for Sexual Activities. At
the conclusion of this chapter there are links for the other
chapters of Aaron's excellent series.
Sin of Onan: Birth Control and More!
K. J. Aaron
is better to cast your seed in the belly of a whore than to
spill it on the ground," says the Bible. Or does
the notes of "Dake's Annotated Reference Bible,"
this is number 26 on a list of 36 quotations mistakenly
believed to be in the Bible. To understand why some have
supposed this is a Biblical verse, we must consider an old law
that required a man to marry his brother's wife if the brother
brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no
child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a
stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take
her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's
brother unto her (Deuteronomy 25:5).
doing this, the first child born to this union was considered
the dead brother's child:
it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall
succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his
name be not put out of Israel (Deuteronomy 25:6).
before Moses formulated this custom into a written law,
however, it was being practiced. A specific example involves
the marriage of Onan and Tammar. Tammar's first husband died,
and "Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife,
and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. And Onan knew
that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he
went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the
ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother"
The fact that Onan "spilled it on the
ground," reflects the primitive living conditions at the
time. He apparently lived in a cave, tent, or but with dirt
We are told that the Lord slew Onan (Genesis 38:10) -
a common Old Testament expression when a person died of
unknown causes (2 Samuel 6:7, etc.). All things, good or bad,
were attributed to God (Isaiah 45:7). Evil spirits were sent
by God (1 Kings 22:22). Even the adversary, "Satan,"
who afflicted Job, was but the Lord's instrument (Job 1:12).
The concept of a separate, supernatural being in an intense
conflict against God, was a later development. So, when Onan
died, it was said the Lord smote him. Considering the setting,
the physical cause was probably a heart attack that occurred
during the sex act.
Over the centuries, birth control and
masturbation have both been condemned on the basis of this
incident. But the careful reader will notice that the sin for
which Onan was judged was neither. Onan's act was not
masturbation; it was "coitus interruptus." And while
this was a form of birth control, we are not told he did not
want children. He resented the idea that a child born to this
union would not be considered his.
Later, Onan's widow, Tamar,
disguised herself, sat by the road, and
When Judah [0nan's
father] saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she
had covered her face. And he turned unto her by the way, and
said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he
knew not that she was his daughter-in-law).... And it came to
pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying,
Tamar thy daughter-in-law hath played the harlot; and also,
behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring
her forth, and let her be burnt (Genesis 38:14-16,24).
glaring inconsistency! Supposing his daughter-in-law had
become a whore, Judah wanted her burnt - yet he did not feel
it was wrong for him to patronize a whore. When she produced
the staff, signet, and bracelets which he had given her, it
was evident he was the father-to-be! Twins were born, one of
them Pharez, through whom the line of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob was extended on down to David and, ultimately, Jesus
(Matthew 1:3; Luke 3:33). Thus, Judah became the head of a
tribe of utmost importance in Biblical history: the tribe of
Judah, named after him, and perpetuated through incest with
All of this brings us back to the words:
"It is better to cast your seed in the belly of a whore
than to spill it on the ground." It is not a Biblical
quotation, but we can now see how the saying originated.
Judah's son had sexual relations with his wife Tamar, "he
spilled it on the ground," and died. But, later, when
Tamar played the part of a whore, Judah impregnated her with
twins, and was not killed. Thus, someone, somewhere, put
together the saying: "It is better to cast your seed in
the belly of a whore than to spill it on the ground."
widespread ancient belief. possibly based on the story of Onan,
was that a groom faced danger on the wedding night - that even
death may be lurking in the shadows. Tobias, whose story is
given in the Apocrypha, (the books of the Apocrypha were
included in the original printing of the King James Version in
1611, also in Wycliffe's (1382), the Greek Septuagint, and the
Latin Vulgate, but were excluded from the Hebrew Bible. They
appear in Roman Catholic Bibles. Protestants generally tend to
favor a position similar to that expressed by Luther:
"These are books which are not held equal to the sacred
scriptures, and yet are useful and good for reading") was
in love with a beautiful woman named Sarah who had the
misfortune of losing seven husbands, each one on the wedding
night! "I have heard that this maid hath been given to
seven men," he exclaimed, " and that they all
perished in the bride-chamber" (Tobias 6:13). The reason
for this, we are told, was because a jealous demon in love
While Tobias pondered just what he should do, the
angel Raphael advised him to take the heart and liver from a
fish he had caught in the Tigris river, burn these parts in
the marriage chamber, and the smell would drive the devil
And when they had finished their supper, they brought
Tobias unto her. But as he went, he remembered the words of
Raphael, and took the ashes of the incense, and put the heart
and the liver of the fish thereupon, and made a smoke
therewith. But when the devil smelled the smell, he fled into
the uppermost s of Egypt" (Tobias 8:1-3).
Just why or how
this fish smell caused the demon to flee from Tobias is not
explained. Nor are we told why the demon fled to Egypt. An
event in the ministry of Jesus implies some demons prefer
certain territories (Mark 5:10). We also read that demons walk
through dry places !Matthew 12,43). For this Egypt would
Josephus mentions a certain root the Jews used to
drive away devils, while Martin Luther had his own unique
methods: he broke wind at the Devil, threw ink at the Devil,
and on one occasion is quoted as saying to the Devil:
"Lick my ass!" That evening Luther noted in his
diary that "he [the Devil] said no more - good way of
getting rid of him."
The devil having fled from Tobias,
his marriage to Sarah was consummated, and his life was
spared. A grave had been dug for him, but when the maidservant
was sent to the bridal chamber, she "opened the door, and
went in, and found thtm both sleeping, and came forth, and
told them that he was alive (Tobias 8:10-14).
the old belief that a groom may face death on his wedding
night, certain scriptures now come into better focus. Notice
the wording of Psalms 19:5: "...as a bridegroom coming
out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man run a
race." He rejoices because his marriage was consummated
and his life spared!
Similarly the words of John the Baptist
become intelligible: "It is the bridegroom who has the
bride; but the bridegroom's friend who stands outside and
listens for his voice is very glad when he hears the
bridegroom speak" (John 3:29, Goodspeed version). The
friend of the groom does not stand at the door merely to
listen for groans of ecstasy - he is concerned for the groom's
life! When he finally hears the groom's voice, he knows the
marriage has been consummated and the groom is alive. His duty
at the door is then completed. So, John the Baptist likened
himself to the friend, while Jesus was the groom. "He
must increase, but I must decrease" (verse 30). John
said, his purpose as the forerunner of Christ having been
Primitive ignorance concerning the details of
reproduction have resulted in some curious ideas. The wording,
"Onan knew that the seed should not be his" (Genesis
38:9), may imply that he believed a child born to this union
would be his brother's child - LITERALLY!
Before the days of
scientific inquiry, exaggerated reports made the rounds about
how many children a woman might give birth to. One woman named
Dorothie supposedly gave birth to 20 children in two
deliveries. Described in the old English of the time, "shee
was forced to bear up her bellie with a large scarf tied about
her neck" In the year 1296 a woman reportedly gave birth
to 35 children at one time - a small figure in comparison to
Countess Hagerman who was said to have given birth to 365
In some cultures, it was believed that multiple
births could only be the result of multiple fathers. Rabbi
Johanan believed that Goliath "was the son of a hundred
fathers and one mother." To him, having multiple fathers
probably explained why Goliath was so large.
It was not
uncommon for ancient people to believe that giants were
fathered by superhuman gods or angels who had larger than
average bodies. The Hebrew version is recorded in Genesis
The sons of God [angels] saw the daughters of men that
they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they
chose .... There were giants in the earth in those days; and
also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the
daughters of men.
the "sons of God" in this passage were angels can be
argued from scriptures (Job 1:6; 38:7), Jewish history
(Josephus), translators (Moffatt, Goodspeed), and church
fathers (Justyn Martyr, Methodius). Though the Bible does not
specify who led the angels in these actions, according to the
book of Enoch (mentioned in Jude 14), it was Azazel, who was
later bound with a chain in the desert (Enoch 9:1). One of the
most sacred rites among the Hebrews was to send a goat,
ritually laden with the sins of the people, into the desert to
Aaron shall cast lots (a lottery] upon the two goats; one lot
for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat [margin:
Azazel] ... to make an atonement... let him go for a scapegoat
into the wilderness" (Leviticus 16:8-10). The Moffatt
translation says: "...for Azazel the demon."
teaching that angels (though fallen or evil ones) had sexual
intercourse with human women and produced giant god like men
is TOTALLY FALSE and incorrect. Angels (bad or good ones)
CANNOT REPRODUCE. Jesus said angels do NOT MARRY. If angels
(and bad ones in this case) could reproduce with human women,
they would NOT HAVE STOPPED, they would still be doing so, and
what a mess there would be in the world today. What a
night-mare thought it would be for women to have to go through
life never quite knowing if they were reproducing babies from
evil angels. regardless of certain Scriptures in Job, showing
angels are "sons of God" [through being created] -
the idea and teaching that angels can have sexual intercourse
with human women is UTTER GARBAGE - Keith Hunt)
accompanying drawing by Leonardo Da Vinci (d. 1519), reflects
a belief of his time: that erections were caused by air
pressure carried in canals from the lungs!
1280 the Council of Cologne decreed that if a woman died in
labor, her mouth was to be kept open with a gag so her unborn
child would not suffocate until it could be removed from her
body! Even if it meant the death of the mother, the Roman
church insisted an unborn child should be spared - since it
had not yet been "baptized"! In some cases of
difficult labor, a baptismal syringe (as the seventeenth
century version shown here) could be used to perform this rite
before birth. The nozzle opening of some syringes was in the
form of a cross, presumably to add sanctity to its use.
Rachel had just given birth to a son, in her dying moments she
"called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Ben-jamin"
(Genesis 35:18). The name Ben-oni meant, as the margin says,
"The son of my sorrow," whereas Benjamin meant,
"The son of the right hand." This was probably based
on the ancient idea that sons were conceived from the testicle
on the right hand side. According to the theory of Anaxagoras
(c. 450 B.C.), a woman became pregnant during intercourse
because a very tiny person passed into her from the male. Her
body only served as an incubator in which it grew - merely a
place of development as ground is for a seed. Thus future
generations of people existed, in some form, in their fathers
- not their mothers. Apparently Rachel believed this way, for
she said to Jacob: "Give me children, or else I die"
(Genesis 30:1). But, ironically, it was while giving birth
that she died!
believed not such thing - she just wanted children, and
without the male sperm or seed she could not have any.
"Give me children, or else I die" is just a figure
of speech to say my life is not worth living if I do not have
children - for some women not having children is extremely sad
- Keith Hunt).
was believed that this "tiny person," resident in
the male, could in some mysterious sense do such things as
hear a message or even pay tithes! "God found Jacob, and
there he spoke with us," implying that the unborn
descendants were in Jacob at the time (Hosea 12:4). Even more
explicit is the reference in Hebrews that "Levi ...payed
tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father,
when Melchisedec met him" (Hebrews 7:9,10). Because of
these beliefs, for a man to cast his "seed" on the
ground, as Onan did, could in a definite sense be considered
Roman Catholic church may have taught such things in its
history, but Paul saying that Levi payed tithes in Abraham had
NOTHING to do with the idea of some "tiny person resident
in the male. Paul is using the thought that all people come
from the line of male sperm uniting with the female egg down
through each generation of time. Hence it could be said that
I, Keith Hunt, existed from generations ago. It is a metaphor,
a concept that Levi did exist in the seed of Abraham, and as
that seed passed on to a woman, Levi was eventually born. The
thought with Paul was NOT that some tiny person lived inside
him. The darked world that knew not God, may have had such
crazy ideas, but the people of God lived in the light. David
in the Psalms said the "circule of the earth - he knew
the earth was a globe, not flat as some, [like the RC church
once did] have claimed - Keith Hunt)
now know, however, it is the combination of the seed of the
male and the egg of the female that produces a baby. This puts
the question of birth control in an entirely different light.
is also now known that in a single ejaculation there are
enough sperm, if every one could be used, to produce a
population larger than that of the United States! If birth
control is considered murder because sperm is lost, even
intercourse that results in PREGNANCY would be murder, for it
also causes a vast loss of sperm!
matters such as providing food, clothing, shelter, safety,
jobs, and education, it is generally accepted that the will of
God requires of us rational and responsible action. One does
not leave these matters wholly to chance. Why, then, should
planning be out of place in this most important event: the
birth of a baby? If everyone today produced as many children
as humanly possible, the world situation would be one of utter
sorrow and chaos.
story is told of one pastor who took a church when there were
only three in his family - he and his wife and a baby. Next
year their home was blessed with a new addition. He approached
the church board for a raise in salary. The next year another
baby was on the way and another request for more salary.
Several years passed, several additions to the family, and
several more requests for a raise in salary were presented.
Finally one board member questioned the wisdom of having so
many children. The pastor assured him that "the Lord
keeps sending them." The board member replied:
"Well, the Lord also sends the rain, but this is no
reason not to wear rubbers!"
are many couples today who are unable to produce offspring. If
reproduction is the only valid purpose for intercourse, as
Ambrose and some of the other church fathers supposed, none of
these couples should ever engage in sexual intercourse! This
was not the position of Paul who emphatically recommended
sexual relations on a regular basis for married couples.
Abstinence was to be practiced only during times of mutually
agreed fasting and prayer (I Corinthians 7:5). It is evident,
then, that sexual relations did not, and could not, in every
instance result in offspring.
Luther spoke of "doing it twice weekly." He
considered it proper for a man to tell a wife who rebuffed
him: "If you won't, another will." A young man was
applying for a ministerial license. The form he was given to
fill out asked for name. He wrote in his name. And address. He
wrote this in. In the place where it had the word sex, he
wrote: "Yes! usually about three times a
we are told that Solomon had a thousand women in his harem (1
Kings 11:3), if he had sexual relations with a different one
each night, it would take almost three years to make the
rounds. This means Solomon would have had sex one thousand
times as often as the average woman in his harem! Such are
some of the inconsistencies of polygamy.
of the controversy regarding birth control hinges on when life
actually begins. This, in turn, is at the center of today's
abortion controversy. Is a person on his 20th birthday really
20 years old - or is he 20 years and nine months old?
According to the law of Moses, an unborn child was not
considered a living being - at least not in the same sense as
one who had been born:
men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit
depart from her and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely
punished ... and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if
any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye
for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot (Exodus
distinction here is this: if a man hurt a pregnant woman in
such a way that she lost her baby, the guilty man paid a fine.
But if the woman herself died, then he had to give his life
for her life! Since he was not required to give his life for
the fetus, there is the definite implication that it was not
considered a separate and independent life prior to
IS UTTERLY FALSE. Such reasoning from this Scripture does NOT
support ABORTION! If it did then the argument that you can
kill a fetus or unborn child right up to the ends of nine
months in the womb, would be justified by God. Even nations
like the USA and Canada, have OUTLAWED late abortions. They
can see from LOGIC and from science, that killing an unborn
child in the latter end of nine months is NOT RIGHT!
this verse above shows is (and some may question God on this)
that the Lord DOES value established adult life and maturity
more important in certain ways than an unborn baby. Now,
remember, God is able, and WILL, resurrect ALL people one day.
But if we had to put a "dollar" figure on an unborn
child and a grown adult woman, the woman would have a higher
price tag. I hope putting it this way may be offensive and
tacky sounding to some, but the meaning of Exodus 21:22-25,
must be understood that way. Those verses do not teach God is
in favor of abortion at any stage of nine months. God and
science prove human LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION! There is a
sperm or seed with 23 units and an egg with 23 units. When
they come together to make 46 units, human life has been
formed. To deliberately, with planned forthought, kill that
human life is MURDER - Keith Hunt)
Moses ordered women stoned to death for committing adultery
(John 8:5), it is evident many of them would have been
pregnant at the time of stoning. In the Mosaic massacres, such
as the one at Moab, literally thousands of pregnant women -
wives and mothers - were killed by Israelite soldiers (Numbers
31:17). It was not abortion in the modern, clinical sense, but
the outcome was the same for the fetuses.
have shown on this Website, that MERCY could be applied to any
specific "capital punishment" law in Israel. Death
was not automatic and an absolute must. Jesus had mercy on the
woman taken in adultery, and God did not kill David for his
adultery with Bathsheba. I have also shown that under the Old
Covenant certain things were ALLOWED by God, but under the New
Covenant there is a much higher bar to jump over. As God can
and will resurrect all life, born or unborn, so some were
killed in carnal battles of warfare. For a full in-depth study
on "warfare" I refer you to the series of articles
I've written on this subject, on this Website - Keith
abortion issue has provided a theological paradox. If a fetus
is an immortal soul from the second of conception, as many
believe and if a child who dies before the age of
accountability goes to heaven - this would mean that doctors
who do abortions send more souls to heaven than the preachers,
and abortion clinics save more souls than churches!
course this would be true IF the immortal soul teaching was
Biblical - but it ain't, hence the argument has no merit.
Study the studies under "Death - then what?" - Keith
case of Onan has been cited against masturbation; but, as we
have seen, this was not the sin for which he was condemned.
The word masturbation probably comes from mas (semen), and
tubare (to agitate), though some link it with manus (hand),
since the hand is commonly used. Some have used other objects
and a few their own mouth (self-fellatio). This is very rare,
however, for (as the Kinsey report says), only about two or
three in 1,000 are double-jointed enough to do it.
day Sarah caught Ishmael teaching Isaac how to masturbate -
according to some commentators. Though the Bible itself does
not spell this out - not in so many words - it does say
Ishmael was "mocking" (Genesis 21:9). The Greek and
Latin versions add, signficantly "with her son
Isaac." The word translated "mocking" is
certainly capable of a sexual meaning. It is the word used by
Potiphar's wife when she accused Joseph of trying to
"mock" (rape) her (Genesis 39:14,17). When a
Philistine king saw Isaac and Rebekah "sporting"
(translated from the same word), he was convinced they were
not merely brother and sister! (Genesis 26:8). The same word
is translated "play" when the naked Israelites
partook in orgies around the golden calf (Exodus 32:6,25). The
"Jerusalem Bible" says Ishmael was
"playing" with Isaac, which was obviously not
innocent play - it was distasteful enough that Sarah demnaded
that Ishmael and his mother be BANISHED!
least one writer sets forth the view that when Samson was made
to "sport" before the assembled Philistines, it was
a public display of masterbation (Allen Edwards, "Erotica
Judaica" p.67,68). We are told they called for Samson
"that he may make us 'sport'" and "he made them
'sport'" (Judges 16:23-27). Two different words, each
translated sport, are used here. The one is "tzachaq,"
the same word used regarding Ishmael with Isaac. The other is
"sachaq," both being variants of "shahaq,"
meaning to rub or beat, to pound repeatedly. It could be that
Samson only jumped up and down like a crown in making sport
for them. But IF these terms are used euthemistically - IF
there is a sexual implication here - masterbation could have
been included in the degarding acts Samson was forced to
to a legend, Zedekiah (mentioned in Jeremiah 52;11) was not
only blinded, but compelled to masturbate in the presence of
Queen Amyitis and that Ezekiel was forced to join him in this
one occasion when he was very angry at Joab, David pronounced
a curse on his entire family! "Let there not fail from
the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper,
or that LEANETH ON A STAFF, or that falleth on the sword, or
that lacketh bread (2 Samuel 3:29). There is some question as
to the exact meaning of the words "lean" and
"staff" here, especially since they are never
translated this way anywhere else in the Bible.
his translation called the "The Hebrew Iliad,"
Pfeiffer uses the term masturbator: "May there never be
missing from Joab's family one ill with gonorrhea, a leper, a
masturbator, one falling by the sword, and one lacking
food." The Goodspeed translates it: "an effeminate
creature," while the Revised Standard version, also
coneying the idea of effeminacy, reads: "one who holds a
spindle." The idea here is that either this man would be
a homsexual or a masturbator, the latter because he would be
so ugly no woman would want him. In either case, he would
produce no offspring - such being considered a great shame.
1833, a lecture given by Henry Varley before a large audience,
claimed masturbation caused short stature, a contracted chest,
weak lungs, and other disabilities. Mrs. Ellen G. White, whose
writings are still considered nearly infallible by some
Seventh Day Adventists, wrote in detail on masterbation,
stating it would cause cancer, blindness, and insanity. In
1887, "Spermatorrhea" a book by J.L.Milton,
discussed the use of the devices pictured here to prevent boys
from masturbating. Two featured spikes to inflict pain - and
one was designed to ring a bell in the parents' room - if the
boy had an erection.
a church camp when I was a teenager, one young man told me
demons made him masturbate. His father told him it was a
normal desire, but he was convinced it was demon possession.
Right or wrong, masturbation is quite widely practiced. A
seminary teacher asked a class of young men how many of them
had ever masturbated. About half raised their hands. He told
some people later that half of his class were masturbators and
the other half liars!
of condemning masturbation as "self abuse," some
Christian writers today consider it in some situations, as
self-help. "secrets of eden: God and Human
means of self control may be masturbation .... It occurs in
almost everyone's life at one time or another. Masturbation is
the one sexual outlet the teenager and the adult Christian
have outside of marriage that is not condemned in scripture.
Masturbation produces none of the mental or physical side
effects with which parents and grand-parents have frightened
children for centuries.
Old Testament prophets condemned masturbation, it was not
merely as a sexual activity, but because of its association
with IDOLATRY. In those days, semen, produced by masturbation,
was presented as a sacred offering to various gods and
godesses as a fertility rite.
Sumerian priests ceremoniously presented semen as sacred
offering (Erotica Judaica, pp.10,11). In ancient India, the
Vedic sacrifice involved daily offerings of semen food for the
ritual fire. The god Agni is depicted devouring the fluid
which spouts from the ever-erect lingam of Siva. An Egyptian
belief held that the Nile resulted from the masturbatory
ejaculations of Osiris, while coffin texts tell about Atum-Ra
creating the universe when he masturbated with his fist. An
old Babylonian idea was that the water-god Enki fertilized
that land with his seed by a torrential act of
self-stimulation. Offerings of semen were presented to the
Ammonite fire god Molech - a practice condemned by Moses:
shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech....
Whosoever he be ... that given any of his seed unto Molech; he
shall surely be put to death ... and if the people of the land
do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of
his seed unto Molech, and kill him not; then I will set my
face against that man ... and all that go a WHORING after him,
to commit WHOREDOM with Molech (Leviticus 18:21; 20:2-5).
actual children were sometimes sacrificed to heathen gods
(Psalm 106:37, etc.), the wording here about whoredom with
Molech - a man giving of his seed unto Molech - strongly
suggests that this particular rite was an offering of human
semen (cf. Adam Clarke, "Clarke's Commentary,"
mention of men becoming "as a garden that hath no
water" (Isaiah 1:30) was understood by rabbis as a drying
up of the sap of manhood - the result of masturbation
performed for the purpose of offering semen to idols. An older
reference - and probably the oldest written mention of
masturbationus - appears in the "Egyptian Book of the
Dead" (1550-950 B.C.). In the ancient Egyptian writing
shown here, a man is saying he has not committed fornication,
has not had intercourse with men, Ancient Egyptian book
mentions ritual masturbation. and has not masturbated in the
sanctuaries of the god of his city. The phallic symbol used in
expressing these thoughts is apparent
to a widespread ancient belief, the loss of semen - by
masturbation, sexual relations, or even a wet dream - could
cause bad luck if it occurred before a battle or some other
important event. The Wagiriami of British East Africa believed
that if men slept with their wives during wartime they would
be unable to kill their enemies. The North American Indians
generally did not cohabit with women while at war. A tribe in
British Columbia abstained from sexual activity for three or
four weeks before a campaign. The Sia of New Mexico abstained
for four days before going hunting.
same basic belief was held by Moses. When he announced that
God would come down upon mount Sinai in three days, he
ordered: "Be ready against the third day: come not at
your wives" (Exodus 19:15). And before battles, he said:
"When the host [army) goeth forth against thine enemies,
then keep thee from every wicked thing" - an expression
linked, by usage and context, with sexual activity
of itself is not sin or wicked, hence this could be a command
for not using sex in a wicked way. Then it may not have
anything to do with sex, but any false wicked way to bring
good fortune in battle, as many heathen people were wont to do
before going into battle. The context does not support
sexuality as Mr. Aaron supposes - Keith Hunt).
Uriah refused to have sexual relations with his wife during
battle, it is evident he was very loyal to the cause for which
they were fighting (2 Samuel 11:11). But it is also possible
he feared a loss of semen would weaken him or bring bad luck -
according to the ancient belief.
had nothing to do with ancient belief of heathen ideas, but
was just being very focussed on the job of battle. Some
coaches today do not want their team members to have sexual
relations before a big game or final event - it is a matter of
focus, a setting of the mind on a serious undertaking - Keith
Samson had spent many hours making love to a harlot, he arose
at midnight and confounded his enemies by tearing down the
gates of Gaza and carrying them all the way to Hebron - a
distance of about 40 miles! (Judges 16:1-3). Apparently the
writer wanted to stress how strong Samson was, pointing out he
could do all this even with the loss of semen. If this was not
the point, why was it essential to mention his activities with
a harlot just prior to the feat?
true it is, the idea of letting out semen makes you less
strong or somehow weak, is silly. There maybe a pleasure of a
high and then a low and relaxation for a few minutes, but
within a few minutes a man can be just as strong as before the
loss of semen. Not having sex before some important event is
just a matter of "focus" of the mind, and has
nothing to do with loosing physical weakness - Keith Hunt)
David and his men fled from Saul, he asked the priest at Nob
for bread. Since only sacred bread was available, the priest
asked "if the young men have kept themselves at least
from women." David's reply was: "Of a truth women
have been kept from us about these three days, since I came
out, and the vessels of the young men are holy" (I Samuel
is an interesting twist here. The priest asked David if the
young men had kept away from women. David's reply to the
priest was that women had been kept away from them! The basis
for the priest's questioning was rooted in the law of Moses:
"Whosoever he be ... that goeth unto the holy things ...
having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut
off..." (Leviticus 22:3-6). If David's men were to eat
the sacred bread, they could not have a trace of semen on
them. David assured the priest the "vessels" of the
young men were clean. The word translated "vessels"
is common enough, having a variety of usages - bags, garments,
weapons, tools. The English word "vessel" comes from
the Latin "vas," meaning a vessel or duct, and can
be seen in such words as vase, vascular, vasculum, and even
vasectomy (an operation involving the duct of the testicles).
In Latin, "vas" can mean tool, whence the erotic
expression "bene vasatus" (one well-tooled). It
would appear then, in this context, that when David said the
"vessels" of these young men were clean, he referred
precisely to their sexual parts.
an accidental ejaculation of semen, commonly called a
"wet dream," rendered a soldier unclean and required
a temporary separation from the other soldiers:
there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of the
uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go
abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp: but
it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself
with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the
camp again (Deuteronomy 23:10,11).
basis for this taboo was probably that those who were unclean
would contaminate the others with bad luck. Each new morning
produced two groups of individuals: those who had wet dreams
the night before and those who did not. Just why washing was
not prescribed until many hours later, at evening, is not
can easily recreate the scene. When morning came, those who
experienced wet dreams during the night gathered at a
designated area outside the camp. Having to spend the whole
day out there, some probably made it a time for telling jokes
or sharing erotic details of their dreams. No doubt some
Soldiers "unclean" until sundown, welcomed a day off
and may have taken things into their own hands! Fraud, it
seems, would be hard to detect. Even an official penis
inspector would have no way to determine which cases were
accidental or which were deliberate!
to a later Jewish belief, it was Lilith, a night demon, who
caused men to have wet dreams. Though often mentioned in
rabbinical literature, Lilith is mentioned only one time in
the Bible - in Isaiah 34:14 - where the King James Version has
substituted the word "screech owl." The accompanying
illustration shows a Jewish talisman used in Germany to ward
off attacks of Lilith on pregnant women.
is said that during the Middle Ages, a man who had a wet dream
was to rise at once and sing seven psalms and a further thirty
in the morning as penance. If a man fell asleep in church and
had a wet dream, he had to sing the entire psalter!
what was probably considered the greatest form of "uncleaness"
involved WOMEN - that discharge of blood known to us as
menstruation. reflecting certain primitivbe beliefs of the
time, Pliny stated that the touch of a menstruating woman
would turn wine into vinegar, blunt razors, rust iron, and
cause mares to miscarry. Even the shadow of a menstruating
woman, was believed, would cause flowers to wither, trees to
perish, and snakes to cease wiggling!
to primitive superstition, when a girl began menstruating, she
was "unclean" and should be separated from others.
In a district of New Guinea, daughters of chiefs were kept
indoors for two or three years, never being allowed to descend
from the house. Some tribes believed crops would fail if a
girl touched the ground in this condition. Among the Kolosh
Indians of Alaska, a girl was confined to a little hut for a
year. Later, in some places, the time for seclusion was
reduced to six months. Some were kept for a time in total
darkness. Various fasts and diets were prescribed for the
uncleanness. Among the Bribri Indians of Costa Rica, a
menstruating woman was allowed only banana leaves as plates
for her food.
such examples of menstruation taboos could be given. But in
keeping with our basic theme, our main inquiry will concern
those rules and regulations in the Bible itself. The following
is a summary of the details that are spelled out in Leviticus
menstruating woman must be put apart for seven days each
month. If a man touches her, he becomes unclean. If she sits
in a chair, it is unclean. If she lies on a bed, it is
unclean. If a man touches her bed or chair, he is unclean
until evening. If he has any kind of sexual contact with her,
he is unclean seven days. If the woman bleeds more than seven
days, she remains unclean as long as the condition continues.
Eight days after her issue stops, she must take two turtle
doves or two pigeons to the priest, explaining to him she has
completed her menstrual cycle. The priest then kills one of
the birds for a sin offering and burns the other one. By doing
this he makes an "atonement" for her sin. Failure to
comply with these instructions carries a severe penalty:
a man and a woman engaged in sexual intercourse during
menstruation, both were to be KILLED. "And if a man shall
lie with a woman having her sickness ... he hath discovered
[margin: made naked] her fountain, and she hath uncovered the
fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from
among their people" (Leviticus 20:18).
off" does not automatically mean in every place used,
"death." It could mean isolated outside the camp of
Israel - Keith Hunt)
well known verse from Ezekiel says: "The soul that
sinneth, it shall die." Not so well known is the fact
that one of the sins specifically mentioned in the context is
the sin of coming "near to a menstruous woman"
would indeed seem that God does not want men to indulge in sex
during the woman's menstruous period, refraining from sex
during those days is put within a context of righteousness. As
of yet we may not know all the reasons for why God wants no
sexual relations during a woman's period, the flowing of such
body fluids may have scientific health reasons. We can
certainly have some ideas on this from how AIDS is spread, or
commonly spead today - Keith Hunt)
are people who claim to practice all the Bible says -
including the Old Testament law of "unclean" meats.
But what about the laws concerning "unclean" women?
If these laws were followed to the letter, a husband could not
kiss his wife during her menstruation, could not hold her
hand, could not touch her in any way lest he become unclean! A
person would constantly have to be careful about touching
beds, chairs, or anything. In checking into a motel room, one
would have to ask if any of the maids who made beds were
menstruating! One would always be in doubt in a public library
that some menstruating woman might have just handled a book.
One would not eat at a restaurant lest the cook or waitress be
unclean! Were such regulations divine revelations from
Almighty God, or do they reflect mere tribal taboos of the
were divine commands, not the inventions of an Israelite
culture absed on tribal taboos. In the society of Israel such
laws could be applied, as they were a close-nit community. The
law of not touching a woman during her period, is a general
statement only. There was no law saying husband and wife had
to sleep in seperate beds. Such laws were to treach the
Israelites certain spiritual lessons. I cover much of this
debate from people in the studies called "Living by Every
Word of God - How?" on this Website - Keith Hunt)
Jacob and Rachel left Padanaram, her father discovered his
"teraphim" images were missing. Catching up with the
camel train, he began to accuse them of stealing. "Now
Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's
furniture [saddle], and sat upon them ... and she said to her
father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up
before thee; for the custom of women is upon me" (Genesis
31:34,35). To have even touched the saddle would have rendered
him unclean because of Rachel's real (or pretended)
believe, and not without valid arguments, that these teraphim
were "phallic objects." We know that such were in
use throughout the ancient world as good luck charms and to
avert the evil eye. It is doubtful if any Hebrew woman would
dare handle images of this type while menstruating. And so, in
the words of Josephus, Rachel's father "left off
searching any further, not supposing that his daughter in such
circumstances would approach to those images."
obsession with menstruation has interwoven itself deeply in
Jewish history. The early Pharisees prohibited women's use of
ornaments or cosmetics during menstruation lest they appear
enticing to men. rashi, a well known Jewish commentator of the
eleventh century, would not hand the key of his house directly
to his wife during her menstrual period.
writer of "Pagan Rites in Judaism" mentions a visit
to the home of his grandparents when he was a child. After
supper his grandfather ordered his grandmother to leave the
table. She promptly left; it was rag time. They were Jewish.
In the illustration given here, drawn for a Jewish book in
1700, a man is repulsed by the sight of the menstrual
to the Talmud, if a menstruating woman met a snake on the
road, all she would have to say is: "I am
menstruating" and it would glide hastily away. "Baaras,"
a root used by the Jews to exorcise demons, was considered
deadly unless "the urine of a woman, or her menstrual
blood, be poured upon it " Such ideas clearly reflect the
superstition that existed in the Jewish mind regarding
the time of Jesus, Samaritan women, from birth, were
considered as unclean as a menstruating woman! The Jews had
"no dealings with Samaritans" or as the margin of
the "New International Version" has it: Jews
"do not use dishes Samaritans have used." For Jesus
to talk with the Samaritan woman at the well, and to share the
same drinking cup with her, boldly clashed with the basic
Jewish traditions of the time. Even the disciples "marvelled
that he talked with the woman" (John 4:9,27).
best known encounter of Jesus with the menstrual taboo,
however, was the healing of the woman who had suffered with an
issue of blood for twelve years. In seeking a cure, she had
spent all her money and "suffered many things of many
physicians" (Mark 5:26). Considering the very primitive
methods of treatment at the time, a number of which are
mentioned by Clarke, one can understand the embarrassment,
pain, and rejection this woman suffered.
she was "unclean," she did not dare approach Jesus
directly, but came behind, reaching out to touch the hem of
his garment. Jesus sensed that someone had touched him in
faith. "The woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was
done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all
the truth" (Mark 5:33). Such fear and trembling may have
been due, at least in part, to the belief forced upon every
Jewish woman from childhood - that she was unclean and her
menstruation was a sign of sin.
the Biblical prophets wanted to describe something detestable
and unclean, they used the example of a menstruating woman.
Ezekiel said: "Their way was before me as the uncleanness
of a removed woman" (Ezekiel 36:17). Jeremiah spoke of
Jerusalem "as a menstruous woman" among the nations
(Lamentations). In the time of distress, other nations would
of not pproach unto her to help or comfort.
of forgiveness or cleansing for Jerusalem were compared to a
woman being washed after menstruation: "When the Lord
shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and
shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem.." (Isaiah 4:4).
A fountain to wash away the "uncleanness" was to be
opened up for the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Zechariah 13:1),
uncleanness here being the term used in other verses for
menstruation (Strong's Concordance, 1740,1739,5079).
preached that the Israelites should cast away their idols
"as a menstruous cloth" (Isaiah 30:22).
Understanding the Jewish taboo, this comparison made a weighty
point. In our culture, if a preacher told people to get rid of
sin like they would throw away a Kotex, the point would not be
guest speaker at a church began his message by mentioning that
many things today are co-copilot, coworker, costar, cohost,
etc. Having chosen two separate verses for his text, he
announced he was using a text and a cotext. Not realizing that
it sounded like he said "Kotex," he looked confused
as laughter rippled through the crowd!
have often used a text from Isaiah about self righteousness
being as "filthy rags," usually not realizing what
kind of rags Isaiah meant! "But we are all as an unclean
thing, and all our righteousnesses are as FILTHY RAGS"
(Isaiah 64:6). These rags were those used by women during
menstruation - for the "menstrual flux" (Strong's
gives an interesting reading of this text from an old MS.
Bible: "And we ben made as unclene alle we: and as the
cloth of the woman rooten blode flowing, all our rigtwisnesse."
It is old English, but the meaning is clear. To this Clarke
adds: "If preachers knew properly the meaning of this
word, would they make such a liberal use of it in their public
ministry? How many blush in the congregation for the
incautious man and his `filthy rags!'"
to the chapters from K. J. Aaron's "Sexuality and the
Euphemisms for Sexual Activities
and Lewd: The Bare Facts
Sin of Onan: Birth Control and More!
in the Bathroom
Mutilation and Perversion
Price of a Dog: Temple Prostitution
Morals and Manners
Intimate Garden: The Song of Solomon