Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament

Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament

by Richard M. Davidson

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Overview

Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament by Richard M. Davidson

Flame of Yahweh offers a thorough exploration of gender relationships and sexual activity in the Old Testament. Topics include sexuality in Eden, the elevation vs. the denigration of women, exclusivity vs. adultery and premarital sex, permanence vs. divorce and remarriage, intimacy vs. incest, and sexuality in the Song of Songs.

Written from a theologically conservative perspective, Richard Davidson provides a meticulously researched work that makes extensive use of other ancient Near Eastern documents on subjects ranging from homosexuality to gender relations. At the same time, the author offers clear explanations of terms and historical context that make the work accessible to the reader.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801046025
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/01/2007
Pages: 874
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 2.10(d)

About the Author

Richard M. Davidson is J. N. Andrews Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and chair of the Old Testament department at Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     xvii
Abbreviations     xix
Introduction     1
The Purpose of the Work     2
The Plan and Scope of the Work     6
Overview of Old Testament Sexual Vocabulary     7
Sexuality in Eden: The Divine Design (Genesis 1-3)
Sexuality in the Beginning: Genesis 1-2     15
Sexuality as a Creation Order     17
A Heterosexual Human Duality and Marital Form     19
A Monogamous Marital Form     21
Equality of the Sexes without Hierarchy     22
Sexuality and Wholeness     35
Sexuality and Exclusivity     43
Sexuality and Permanence     44
Sexuality and Intimacy     46
Sexuality and Procreation     49
The Wholesome, Holy Beauty of Sexuality     50
Sexuality and the Fall: Genesis 3     55
The Nakedness of Adam and Eve     55
Divine Judgment concerning the Relationship between Eve and Adam     58
Sexuality outside the Garden: Old Testament Development (Torah, Prophets, Writings)
Creation Ordinance versus Cultic Sexuality     83
Positive Affirmations of the Edenic Ideal     84
The Cultic Sacralization/Divinization of Sex in Pagan Worship     85
AncientNear Eastern Background     85
Mesopotamia     85
Egypt     90
Anatolia/Hittites     91
Ugarit/Canaan     92
Pentateuch     97
Narratives     97
Legislation     102
Sacralization of Sex and the Male Priesthood in Israel     106
Prophets/Writings     107
Sexually Related Imagery for God     113
God as Husband/Bridegroom     113
God as Father     117
Feminine Imagery for God     120
Is God Male or Female?     126
The Fertility Cults and Divine Grace     130
Human Heterosexuality versus Homosexuality, Transvestism, and Bestiality     133
The Divine Design     133
Homosexual Practice     134
Ancient Near Eastern Background     134
Mesopotamia     134
The Hittite Empire (Anatolia)     139
Egypt     139
Ugarit/Western Semites/Canaan     141
Summary     142
Pentateuchal Narratives     142
Ham's Sin-a Homosexual Act?     142
Sodom: Homosexual Lust or Inhospitality?     145
Pentateuchal Legislation      149
Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13     149
Deuteronomy 23:18-19 (ET 23:17-18)     159
Homosexual Practice in the Prophets/Writings     160
Male Cult Prostitution     160
Judges 19     161
Ezekiel 16 and 18     162
Ruth and Naomi?     164
David and Jonathan?     165
The Old Testament Wisdom Tradition?     167
Summary     169
Transvestism (Cross-Dressing)     170
Bestiality     172
Distortions of the Heterosexual Marital Form and Divine Grace     175
Monogamy versus Polygamy/Concubinage     177
Positive Affirmations of the Edenic Divine Design     177
Plural Marriages (Polygamy/Concubinage)     178
Ancient Near Eastern Background     178
Pentateuchal Narratives     180
The Bigamy of Lamech     181
Polygamy at the Time of the Flood     181
Abraham's Polygamy/Concubinage     184
Jacob's Polygamy/Concubinage     186
The Polygamy of Esau and Concubinage of His Son     189
Moses, a Bigamist?     189
Pentateuchal Legislation     191
Legislation concerning the Female Slave: Exodus 21:7-11      191
Legislation against Marrying "a Woman to Her Sister": Leviticus 18:18     193
Legislation regarding the King's Marital Status: Deuteronomy 17:17     198
Other Legislation Purportedly Presupposing Polygamy     201
Polygamy in the Prophets/Writings     202
Summary     210
Plural Marriages and Divine Grace     211
Elevation versus Denigration of Women     213
Leadership/Submission/Equality and Old Testament Patriarchy: An Overview     213
The High Valuation of Women in the Old Testament: Pentateuchal Narratives     223
Genesis Matriarchs     226
Sarah     226
Hagar     228
Rebekah     230
Rachel and Leah     232
Tamar     233
Conclusion     235
Women at the Exodus     235
Shiphrah and Puah     236
The Egyptian Princess     237
Jochebed     237
Miriam     237
The Seven Daughters of Jethro (Including Zipporah)     239
Conclusion     240
Daughters of Zelophehad     241
The High Status of Women in Pentateuchal Laws     242
Women's Status vis-a-vis That of Men in Pentateuchal Law      242
Legislation Purportedly Presenting an Inferior Status for Women     244
Numbers 5     245
Leviticus 12:1-8     245
Leviticus 27:1-8     247
Numbers 30:4-17 (ET 30:3-16)     248
Deuteronomy 25:11-12     248
Woman as Chattel?-the Tenth Commandment and Other Passages     249
An All-Male Priesthood     251
The High Status of Women in Religious and Civil Affairs     253
Conclusion     255
The High Valuation of Women in the Prophets/Writings     256
The Former Prophets     256
Women in Joshua     256
Women in Judges     259
Women in Samuel and Kings     266
The Latter Prophets     273
Specific Women     273
Groups of Women     273
Other Elevated Valuations of Women     274
The Writings: Narratives/History     276
Ruth     276
Esther     278
Writings: Hymnic/Wisdom Literature     280
Job     280
Psalms     282
Proverbs     283
Ecclesiastes     286
Distortion of the Divine Ideal: Exploitation, Denigration, and Abuse of Women      288
Pentateuch     288
Prophets/Writings     289
The Denigration of Women and Divine Grace     294
Wholeness versus Fragmentation (Prostitution, Mixed Marriages, Masturbation, Sexual Blemishes, and Impurities)     297
Positive Affirmations of the Edenic Ideal for Sexual Wholeness     297
Wholistic Anthropology     297
The Whole Family     298
Complementarity-Whether Married or Single     299
Wholeness of Sexual Organs and Freedom from Ritual Impurities     302
Fragmentation of Sexual Wholeness     302
Prostitution/Harlotry     302
Ancient Near Eastern Background     303
Pentateuchal Narratives     305
Pentateuchal Legislation     306
Prophets/Writings     307
Metaphorical References     310
Grace     315
Mixed (Interfaith) Marriages     315
At the Time of the Flood (Gen 6:1-4)     315
Patriarchal Warnings     316
Mosaic Legislation     317
Prophets     318
Writings     319
Grace     324
Masturbation     324
Sexual Blemishes and Ritual Uncleanness Related to Sexuality      325
Pentateuchal Legislation     325
Prophets/Writings     334
Grace     335
Exclusivity versus Adultery and Premarital Sex     337
Affirmations of the Divine Ideal of Exclusivity     337
Exclusivity in the Marriage Relationship     337
The High Value of Virginity     339
Distortions of the Divine Ideal: Adultery and Premarital Sexual Intercourse     342
Ancient Near Eastern Background     342
Pentateuchal Narratives Related to the Theme of Adultery     344
Pentateuchal Legislation regarding Adultery     345
The Decalogue     345
Other Legislation     346
Adultery in Israel in Contrast with Other Ancient Near Eastern Legislation     347
The "Trial of Jealousy" in Numbers 5     349
Pentateuchal Legislation Dealing with Premarital/Pre-betrothal Sexual Intercourse     354
Premarital Sex with a Betrothed Virgin (Deut 22:23-27)     355
The Case of the Slandered Bride (Deut 22:13-21)     356
Seduction of a Single Woman (Deut 22:28-29; cf. Exod 22:15-16 [ET 22:16-17])     359
Sexual Intercourse with a Betrothed Slave Girl (Lev 19:20-22)     361
A Double Standard of Sexual Faithfulness in the Pentateuch?     363
Adultery in the Prophets     364
Adultery in the Writings     369
Psalms     369
Job     369
Proverbs     370
Adultery, Extramarital Sex, and Divine Grace     373
Permanence versus Divorce/Remarriage     377
Affirmation of the Divine Ideal     377
Distortion of the Divine Ideal: Divorce/Remarriage     384
Ancient Near Eastern Background     385
Divorce in Pentateuchal Narratives     388
Patriarchal "Divorce": Genesis 21:9-14     388
Patriarchal Remarriage: Genesis 25:1     389
Pentateuchal Legislation Related to Divorce: Deuteronomy 24:1-4     389
Translation     389
Literary Form and Structure     389
Grounds for Divorce (v. 1a)     390
Procedure of Divorce (v. 1b)     392
Remarriage and the Second Divorce or Death of a Second Husband (vv. 2-3)     394
Legislation: The Apodosis (v. 4a)     395
Rationale for the Legislation (v. 4a-d)     395
The Overall Purpose of the Legislation     398
Other Pentateuchal Legislation Dealing with Divorce     405
Prohibitions of Divorce     405
Prohibitions against Marrying Divorced Women      406
Rights of Divorced Women     407
A Woman's Right to Divorce     407
Divorce/Remarriage in the Preexilic Prophets     409
Hosea 2:4     410
Isaiah 50:1     411
Jeremiah 3:1, 6-8     413
Judges 14:20-15:2     416
1 Samuel 25:44     416
Divorce and Remarriage in the Postexilic Prophets and the Writings     417
Ezra 9-10; Nehemiah 9:2; 13:3, 30     417
Malachi 2:13-16     417
Divorce/Remarriage and Divine Grace     422
Intimacy versus Incest     425
Affirmations of the Divine Ideal of Marital Intimacy     425
Pentateuch     425
Prophets/Writings     426
Forbidden Degrees of Intimacy: Incestuous Relationships     427
Ancient Near Eastern Background     427
Pentateuchal Narratives concerning Incest     428
Immediately after the Fall     428
Ham and His Mother?     429
Lot and His Daughters (Gen 19:30-38)     431
Reuben and Bilhah (Gen 35:22; 49:4)     432
Judah and Tamar (Gen 38)?     432
Pentateuchal Legislation against Incestuous Relations     434
Incest in the Prophets      443
Amnon and Tamar (2 Sam 13)     443
Absalom and His Father's Concubines (2 Sam 15-16)     445
Other Ceases of Incest     446
Incest and Divine Grace     446
Procreative Sexuality versus Problems/Distortions (Childlessness, Children Born out of Wedlock, and Abortion)     447
Positive Affirmations of the Edenic Ideal     447
The First Children     447
Procreative Fruitfulness, Covenant, and Circumcision     448
The Cherishing of Children     452
Childlessness     453
Orientation and Terminology     453
Pentateuch     454
Prophets/Writings     456
Adoption     457
Levirate Marriage, Related Legislation, and the Sin of Onan     461
Levirate and "Onanism" in the Pentateuchal Narrative     462
Genesis 38     462
Genesis 38:8-10: "Onanism"     464
Levirate in the Pentateuchal Legislation: Deuteronomy 25:5-10     465
Why Levirate Marriage?     465
Who Qualified as Levir?     467
Does Levirate Marriage Entail Incest?     471
What Does the "Sandal Ceremony" Symbolize?     473
Why Is This Law Placed Here in Deuteronomy?     474
The "Immodest and Violent Lady Wrestler" of Deuteronomy 25:11-12     476
Levirate in the Prophets/Writings: The Book of Ruth     480
Caring for the Widows and Orphans     483
Children Born out of Wedlock     484
Pentateuchal Legislation     484
Prophets/Writings     485
Reproduction/Population Control and Abortion-Related Issues     486
Reproduction/Population Control     486
The Status of the Human Fetus and Implications for Abortion     491
Ancient Near Eastern Background     491
Exodus 21:22-25     493
Other Old Testament Passages Dealing with the Status of the Human Fetus     497
Problems/Distortions of Procreative Sexuality and Divine Grace     500
Beauty versus Rape and the Parody of Beauty     503
Positive Affirmations of the Edenic Ideal     503
Pentateuchal Narratives     503
Pentateuchal Legislation     504
Prophets/Writings     506
Distortions of the Beauty of Human Sexuality: Rape     509
Ancient Near Eastern Background     510
Pentateuchal Narratives     512
Lot's Daughters (Gen 19)     512
Dinah (Gen 34)     512
Pentateuchal Legislation concerning Rape      519
Exodus 22:15-16 (ET 22:16-17) and Deuteronomy 22:28-29     519
Deuteronomy 22:25-27     519
Leviticus 21:7, 14     520
Rape in the Prophets/Writings     521
The Levite's Concubine (Judg 19)     521
Bathsheba (2 Sam 11)     523
Tamar (2 Sam 13)     532
Rape and Divine Grace     535
Sexuality as Unwholesome, Ugly, and Evil     536
Distorted Sexuality as a Parody of Beauty     538
Return to Eden
Sexuality in the Song of Songs: The Holy of Holies     545
Allegorization of the Song of Songs     545
The Literal Interpretation of the Song of Songs     549
Return to the Garden of Eden     552
Sexuality as a Creation Order     554
A Heterosexual Human Duality and Marital Form     556
A Monogamous Marital Form     561
Equality of the Sexes without Heirarchy     569
Sexuality and Wholeness     578
Sexuality and Exclusivity     587
Sexuality and Permanence     589
Sexuality and Intimacy     592
Sexuality and Procreation     604
Sexuality in the Song of Songs: The Flame of Yahweh     607
The Wholesome, Holy Beauty of Sexuality     607
The Flame of Yahweh     621
Afterword: Some Implications for a New Testament Theology of Sexuality     633
Sexuality as a Creation Order     633
Heterosexual versus Homosexual Practice     634
Monogamy versus Polygamy     638
Elevation versus Denigration of Women     639
Wholeness versus Fragmentation     652
Exclusivity versus Adultery     654
Permanence versus Divorce     654
Intimacy versus Incest     657
Sexuality and Procreation     658
The Wholesome Beauty of Sexuality     658
Bibliography     659
Index of Modern Authors     803
Index of Ancient Sources     817

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