Re: Lev. 18:22 (LXX)

jordan@chuma.cas.usf.edu (Greg Jordan) writes:

>The word koitE often renders "marriage bed."  It is unmistakeable that 
>Lev. 18:22 is contrasting the use of "arsenos" (not andros) with that of 
>"gunaikos" (not thElus).  It is forbidding a husband to sleep with a 
>*male* on the bed of his wife, a specification of adultery, not a general 
>condemnation of homosexual behavior.

	The word KOITH is also often used euphemistically for sexual intercourse.
 This is most assuredly its use in this passage.  The Hebrew underlying
KOITHN is a *plural* noun in the construct state.  The use of the plural
where it would not be expected suggests an idiomatic expression.  There are
three examples of this expression in the Hebrew Bible: the text under
discussion (Lev. 18:22), Lev. 20:13 which is parallel to the former and Gen
49:4.  The reference in Genisis is undoubtedly to sexual intercourse since it
refers to Reuben's laying with his father's concubine (Gen. 35:22).  It is
logical to believe that an idiomatic expression of this sort has a like
meaning in the other two passages mentioned.

	The idea that this passage should be limited to adultery by homosexual
activity rather than to homosexual behavior in general is to be rejected.
 There is no clear indication that it is anything but a general statement.
 Any idea of adultery must be read into it without any substancial support
from the text itself.  Although GUNH, which means "woman," may be used for
"wife," normally one would expect to see clear indications in the text if the
meaning were "wife," either by a context that demands such an understanding
or by a genitive refering to a husband or by the use of the article make the
reference specific.  If one will peruse the instances of "wife" in the OT and
look at the contexts and the underlying Hebrew one finds a similar situation.
 For invariably the context specifies the relationship, where there is not a
construct-state noun or a pronoun suffix to make the the husband-wife
relationship clear.  

	We may get an idea of the general meaning of GUNH in Lev. 18:22 by comparing
it to the correponding part of the expression in Gen. 49:4.  In the latter we
have KOITHN TOU PATROS SOU indicating that Reuben had introduced himself into
a sexual relationship that properly belonged to his father (note both the
article and the second-person posessive pronoun).  In the case of Lev. 18:22
(and also 20:13) we have simply KOITHN GUNAIKOS.  If the meaning had to do
with a sexual relationship that properly belonged to the man's *wife*, we
would expect to find THS GUNAIKOS AUTOU or something of the sort.  Since
GUNAIKOS is both anarthrous here and also lacks any modifying pronoun, the
most natural way to understand it is to assign it a general sense.  

	The use of ARSHN in place of ANHR  and the use of GUNH in stead of QHLUS are
not of enough significance to affect the meaning here, and these coices of
synonyms certainly do not, in and of themselves, imply a marriage

	Nevertheless, assigning a meaning to Lev. 18:22 does pose somewhat of a
problem because of the idiomatic nature of the expression corresponding to
KOITHN GUNAIKOS.  It would appear, however, that the essential meaning is
that you shall not lie with a man as in the sexual relationship one might
have with a woman.

David Moore