Leviticus 18

Levitical sex ban (Leviticus 18)

We assume many of you have seen 76 Things Banned in Leviticus which has made the internet rounds quite successfully. The creator has received some of the same criticism we have: someone just out to make fun of the Bible or to push a specific anti-Christian agenda.

While we can't speak for his/her intention, the creator does being the list with the following statement: "Unless you've never done any of them (and 54 to 56 are particularly tricky), perhaps it's time to lay off quoting 18:22 for a while?" This seems like a fair request: asking for the reader to check his/her own eyes for logs and sawdust before bringing an ocular inspection on another. (c.f. Matthew 7:1-6, there will be a Card Talk about that one later)

Our game has a card specifically about chapter 18 of Leviticus, with all its sexual austerity, so allow us to combine the efforts of "76 Things Banned" and A Game for Good Christians in this Card Talk.

From chapter 18 of Leviticus, "76 Things Banned" scandalously lists the following:

25. Having sex with your mother (18:7)

26. Having sex with your father's wife (18:8)

27. Having sex with your sister (18:9)

28. Having sex with your granddaughter (18:10)

29. Having sex with your half-sister (18:11)

30. Having sex with your biological aunt (18:12-13)

31. Having sex with your uncle's wife (18:14)

32. Having sex with your daughter-in-law (18:15)

33. Having sex with your sister-in-law (18:16)

34. Having sex with a woman and also having sex with her daughter or granddaughter (18:17)

35. Marrying your wife's sister while your wife still lives (18:18)

36. Having sex with a woman during her period (18:19)

37. Having sex with your neighbour's wife (18:20)

38. Giving your children to be sacrificed to Molek (18:21)

39. Having sex with a man "as one does with a woman" (18:22)

40. Having sex with an animal (18:23)

I've got to ask: how much of a problem do you have with this list?

Other than the heated words which will arise from #39, the issue of preferences for #36, and the inappropriate jokes associated with #40 and certain parts of the United States, who is really arguing that the rest are puritanical, sexually repressed laws? More importantly, why the hell are people listening to/agreeing with those people?

Are you really that anxious to sleep with your mother or granddaughter? Do you really want to take spiritual advice and/or biblical interpretation from the person who is?

A conversation about the passage's argued patriarchal slant is a fine point of debate,* but for the love of YHWH, let's shut up about how sexually oppressive Levitical sex laws are.


But what do we know: we made this game and you probably think we're going to Hell.


*Note on Levitical sex laws and patriarchy ~ The form of patriarchy called for in this passage of Scripture is for the express purpose of protecting women from being sexually subjugated by the men in the community. While this is not a "complementarian system", removing all traces of "women as property" claims (though other passages in the Bible do address that), it does express the idea that males in Hebrew society cannot merely claim any woman they want as their sexual property; furthermore, this is not, as some have argued, only based on the notion that the women are the property of another man. This rationale is clearly flawed, because in each of the hypothetical situations/relationships, the male in question could in fact be the patriarch over any of these classes of women, in the event a father, brother, uncle, (etc.) died. The prohibition is absolute, not conditional on who "owns" the woman.