Ruth and Naomi - An exegesis

Continuing the discussion of last week, I want to examine the covenant that Ruth makes with Naomi to see whether it can be used as any basis for celibate covenants. I understand that for some of my readers even contemplating endorsing celibate same-sex relationships is controversial,  but to do the Scriptures justice we have to see what they actually say, not what we think they say.

As always I am using the English Standard Version.

Ruth 1:6-18 reads:

When she heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the LORD show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. 9 May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
Then she kissed them and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons- 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD’s hand has gone out against me!”

14 At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her.

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

Although the crucial passage is from verse 16 onwards, where Ruth addresses Naomi, the context of the departure from Moab is important for understanding what Ruth is and isn’t saying to Naomi. Remember, Naomi has come to Moab with her husband and sons. The sons marry Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah, before Naomi’s husband dies followed by her sons. Upon hearing that things are now better the other side of the Jordan, Naomi plans to go home.

Despite the fact that her daughters-in-law set out with her, she instructs them to stay in Moab. Here the first subtlety in the exchanges occurs, because she calls on Ruth and Orpah to return to their mother’s home. When you look at other instances of widows returning (Gen 38:11, Lev 22:12, Num 30:17, Deut 22:21, Judges 19:2-3) it is always to the father’s house. The only occurences of “mother’s house” are in Song of Songs 3:4 and 8:2, and in Gen 24:28 (Rebekah returning to her mother after talking to Abraham’s servant). All three of these verses are in the context of preparation for marriage and that seems to be the logical conclusion here – “Go home to your mothers,” says Naomi, “and prepare yourself for marriage again”.

As if to emphasise the end of her role as mother to the girls, Naomi then says “May YHWH deal kindly with you”. Kindly here is the Hebrew “hesed” and this formula is used in two other places, 2 Sam 2:6 and 2 Sam 15:20, where in each case it uses the form of words to signify the end of a relationship (as argued by Sakenfeld) so what Naomi is doing is emphasising that she no longer is involved in the girls’ lives from this point.

This theme is continued in the second exchange of Ruth 1:11-13. The familial link between Naomi and Ruth and Orpah was made through their marriage to her sons. She protests that she cannot have any more sons, and even if she does, will they really wait around for 20 years in order to marry them? Though Naomi and Orpah transferred to her family (and became de facto her daughters) upon marriage to her sons, she will not destroy their future by maintaining that bond. “Go back,” is the plea.

Now we enter into the section most often used in support of same-sex covenants. It begins in Ruth 1:14 with Orpah leaving Naomi but Ruth clinging to her (“dabaq”). It is quite right to say that this is the same Hebrew used in Gen 2:24 to talk of a man “holding fast” to his wife, but it is used in plenty of non-erotic contexts as well (Ezek 3:26, Deut 28:21, Jer 13:11, Psalm 22:15, Deut 11:22, Deut 30:20, 2 Kings 5:27 to begin with). It is exactly the same word used in Ruth 2:8 and 2:21 when Boaz tells Ruth to stick closely to the young men who are harvesting and in Ruth 2:23 when Ruth sticks closely to the young women – hardly an invitation to form a covenant union with either the men or the women.

It seems to me that the most likely usage of “dabaq” here is to indicate that Ruth is clinging onto Naomi in maintenance of the mother / daughter relationship that was established when she married her son. At that point, she became part of Naomi’s (and Elimelech’s) family and took on their identity. Though Orpah agrees to sever that bond and return to her birth family in Moab, Ruth is saying at this point, “Though my husband has died I remain your daughter”. And this makes sense of her covenant in verses 16 and 17:

For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried.

What Ruth is essentially saying is this – I am your daughter and I remain your daughter. I am now part of your people, your God is my God, I will live in your home as your daughter. I will be buried where you are buried, because we are family. Naomi relents and accepts that Ruth will stay with her, and they return together to Judah.

And of course, this understanding makes perfect sense of the rest of the book. Originally Naomi instructed Ruth to return to her birth mother and let her find her a new husband. Now that Ruth has emphatically insisted that Naomi is her mother, Naomi looks to fulfil her obligations as a mother to her daughter. The two of them set to work to match up Ruth to Boaz, and three chapters later the job is done!!! Throughout the courtship the references are made again and again to the family (Ruth 2:1, Ruth 2:2 – “daughter”, Ruth 2:11 – “mother-in-law”) and of course Boaz takes his role eventually as the kinsman redeemer (Ruth 4:8-10), a role he can only take because of family ties.

We see then very clearly that the covenant Ruth makes with Naomi is of daughter to mother and not partner to partner. The relationship cannot be used to support same-sex celibate relationships, because the relationship between Ruth and Naomi is utterly different. There might be support from other places in Scripture for such relatonships, but the account of Ruth is not the place to find it.

Comments welcome.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • Lisa

    What you do not explain in your well written tome is the fact that the Ruth 1:16 is a passage that is used, frequently I might add, in marriage ceremonies between a man and a woman. If used in that context, it’s obviously speaking of deep love and commitment between the man and woman.

    But, alas, the passage is spoken by a woman to another woman.  I am not suggesting that Ruth and Naomi were sexually intimate, because that is not the case at all.  I am suggesting, however, that this illustrates that deep and abiding love can exist between two women, etc.

    Lisa

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      Lisa, I’m not aware of its usage in any liturgy. If you’re able to give us a link to a reference to support your suggestion that would help.

      If it’s used outside of the liturgy then I might want to argue that its application is incorrect.

      • Lisa

        This is just from the Internet:

        http://www.westchester-weddings.com/ceremony_bible_verses_1.asp

        http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/97127/special_bible_verses_for_your_christian.html

        Page 4 of the pdf file entitled: “Synopsis of a Marriage in the book of Ruth”, by Gary Anderson.

        http://www.mnweddingminister.com/biblical.html

        If you want more examples, let me know. Ruth 1:16 has been used through the years at traditional wedding ceremonies.  Again, it is a passage that is about the love between two women, but it is continually used in traditional marriage vows.  I have been to weddings where it was used.

        It’s a very beautiful passage.  The crux of it, however, is that it is still about the feelings between two women, and it is NOT spoken from a man to a woman or vice versa.

        Lisa

        • nadine

          i really agree i feel something more is there jus like the david and johnathan story i wonder

      • Susan

        http://weddings.about.com/od/yourweddingceremony/a/BibleReadings.htm

        http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=6203

        I think Peter’s right that most liturgical churches probably don’t list the passage from Ruth as an option in their prayer books for a service of matrimony, probably because some intelligent person realized that it isn’t about a marriage commitment, but I have been to many weddings that have used it as a reading.  It has entered the popular culture, at least in the US, as a declaration of loyalty and commitment, and has been taken out of context to be applied to romantic love.

        Good clear post, Peter.  I’ve done pretty extensive study on Ruth (in Hebrew), and you brought up a couple of things that I hadn’t seen (like the use of  hesed as a way to formalize the ending of a covenant–interesting). 

        • Lisa

          I was not thinking of liturgy in the pure sense, but as a reading.

          Again, it is used in wedding ceremonies to apply, as you say, to commitment, and when you repeat the words “I will go where you go, your God will be my God, death shall not part us,” to another person, I’d say that it covers the commitment aspects and a deep connection/love. 

          The words, again, are spoken between two women, not a man and a woman, in the original context.  Slice it any way that you want, the words of love and loyalty–I do not intimate that I believe there was anything ‘sexual’ between the two women–spoken as ‘vows’ in a wedding ceremony, originate between two women.

          There is no escaping that.

          Lisa

          • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

            Lisa,

            You wrote:

            I was not thinking of liturgy in the pure sense, but as a reading.

            This is exactly the point. Without any reference in the liturgy to this verse being part of the marriage service you cannot in any sense claim that it validates lesbian relationships. The fact that it is not in the liturgical provision shows very clearly that the framers of the liturgy did not recognise it as having any bearing on the kind of covenant being expressed in a marriage.

            Secondly, you are simply not engaging with the exegesis above that argues that the language of Ruth 1:16 is mother and daughter and not partner and partner. Indeed, you have singularly failed to respond in any significant manner to that clear reading of the text.

            • Lisa

              Secondly, you are simply not engaging with the exegesis above that argues that the language of Ruth 1:16 is mother and daughter and not partner and partner. Indeed, you have singularly failed to respond in any significant manner to that clear reading of the text.

              Oh really?

              Whether it is used in the official ‘liturgy’ or used as a reading is a moot point and you know it.

              I gave you plenty of sources, David. It’s in the concordance of my Bible, David.

              David, I have attended weddings where it was spoken, sometimes the bride and groom spoke the words to each other.

              Tell me how I am ‘singularly wrong’ when I have indeed read and heard this passage spoken by a MAN and a WOMAN, concerning marriage, love and commitment’ yet the words were spoken by two women?

              The text is clear, David. The words were spoken by a woman to another woman, and many, many couples and churches use the passage during traditional wedding ceremonies. It sort of puts the kabosh on the whole ‘mother daughter’ thing.

              • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                Lisa,

                My name is Peter, not David.

                The fact that something is used as a reading in a service does not in any way mean that the theology present in that reading is appropriate to the service, unless you are arguing that a reading de facto provides a valid theology of the service which it is within. For example, if I included a reading from a novel about incest in a marriage service, would that automatically validate an incestuous relationship? Would it validate an incestuous marriage? What about a reading that is about a man and an underage child? Would that within the context of a marriage service validate such a sexual relationship?

                So the point is not moot, in fact it is vital to the issue at hand. Ruth 1 is not provided as a reading for a marriage service in the prayer books of the leading denominations for the simple reason that the love presented in Ruth 1 is not romantic love.

                The crucial issue to determine what a passage means is *not* the context in which the passage is read (i.e. a marriage service) but the actual words of the reading itself.

                • Lisa

                  Oh, sorry Peter, it’s early.

                  Why is it that when faced with something you cannot explain away, suddenly you have to start equating a passage that describes ‘love’ between two women to incest? You must be reading too much at Stand Firm.

                  Or a man and underage child? What does that have to do with the passage in Ruth, where two adult women express their love for one another?

                  I never said that Ruth and Naomi were lesbian lovers, however, it’s clear that their relationship went much deeper than friendship.

                  Do the research, not just skewed research Peter, and you can find many examples of romantic friendships.

                  I don’t really care whether the story of Ruth and Naomi is included as part of liturgies or not, Peter, the fact is that many denominations have allowed that particular passage to be read at marriage ceremonies. I grew up Baptist, and I recall many wedding ceremonies I attended there, using the passage in Ruth as part of the wedding vows, or as readings.

                  Hmm, just a few minutes of Internet Research pulls this web blog from a devout Catholic:

                  http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/wedding-lectionary-ruth-18-11a-13b-17/

                  As I posted before, I do not think that Ruth and Naomi were sexually intimate, though I do believe they had a very strong, romantic friendship.

                  Remember, Peter, it’s not always about the sex act.

                  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                    Let’s do this one more time Lisa.

                    Is the plain meaning of the text of Ruth 1 that Ruth and Naomi were lovers (sexual or otherwise)? Yes or no? If yes, at what point is my exegesis in the post flawed. Please tell us which point in my argument is incorrect. If you can’t tell us which of the points in my exegesis of the text is incorrect, then you must conclude a “no” to the question I have posited.

                    The challenge is simple – please tell us all the point in my exegesis that is flawed. Which verse have I interpreted incorrectly? Which bit of Hebrew have I got wrong?

                    And your link has this wonderful sentence which you seemed to have missed – “Wherever you go, I will go …” is a romantic notion, but how many people realize it is a gesture of loyalty and love of a woman for her mother-in-law?. That rather makes my point doesn’t it? The love between Ruth and Naomi is *not* romantic love and the writer of the blog post recognises that fully and that’s why she expresses reservations about it being used at a wedding. Yes, Ruth 1 is about faithfulness, *no* it’s *not* about faithfulness within romantic love.

                    • Lisa

                      Oh, aren’t you the smug one!

                      I fully know what was in the post that I sent to you.

                      My point is that the first paragraph let’s you know, Peter, that mainline churches, including the Catholic Church, DO use, and have encouraged the use of the passage in WEDDING CEREMONIES.

                      I’m fully aware of what the poster says.

                      Oh, yes, that’s right. You are the authority on God’s word, because you understand ‘Hebrew.’ Your interpretation of ‘dabaq’ is just that…an interpretation.

                      There are several other interpretations of the meaning and usage of that word, as it relates to Ruth and Naomi.

                      Just because you utter it, does not make it so, Peter.

                      You are not God. I could write a similar dissertation, proving my point as well, and it does not much to look up information that supports your theory, as it would with mine.

                      I think you know that.

                      Lisa

                    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                      So the answer is that you can’t critique a single sentence of what I have written, but you still insist that Ruth 1 is about romantic love? You argue that dabaq means something entirely different to what I’m suggesting in this context, but you’re not going to present us with a single example to support your conjecture?

                      Instead, you’re engaging in ad hominem, accusing me of being smug, of elevating myself to a higher position.

                      I think we can all see who has won the argument over the exegesis.

                    • Lisa

                      “Let’s do this one more time, Lisa”

                      Smug comment number 1

                      “Which bit of Hebrew have I got wrong?”

                      Smug comment number 2

                      What ad hominem attack have I made on you Peter? you certainly seem very smug to me, pointing out that I just don’t get it and that obviously I cannot make an argument, because clearly I don’t know ‘Hebrew’ like you do.

                      You don’t call that smug?

                      You already explain the real meaning of “dabaq” as you agree it is the same interpretation of the word that is in Genesis, describing Adam and Eve. You could have stopped right there, but you have to ‘proof text’ to prove that the word pops up in ‘non erotic’ contexts as well.

                      Maybe, when you identified as a gay man, the idea of same sex love only meant ‘erotic sex’ to you, but for many folks, like me, same sex love has little to do with the actual sex act, Peter, than it does a deep emotional commitment.

                      My point is that the texts ARE used by mainline churches during heterosexual weddings, and if that is the case, then there clearly has to be some validity to the fact that Ruth and Naomi were not just ‘mother in law and daughter’ etc.

                      I would think linking what I said to ‘incest’ etc., as you did, constitutes more of an ad hominem attack than me pointing out that you seem very smug.

                      The idea that you have to ‘win’ says much more about you, your theology than any ‘attack’ you feel I could make about you.

                      You do elevate yourself to a much higher position, it’s evident in everything you write on your website.

                      Yes, you are Post Gay, and the rest of us are just not as ‘enlightened’ as you. You are special Peter!

                      Lisa

                    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                      The prosecution rests.

                    • Lisa

                      Indeed it does, if the argument was ‘is Peter Ould a pompous ass?’ Other than that, no.

                    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                      You’re really helping your case here Lisa with that brilliant display of non ad hominem.

                  • Trinidad. Adventist. Gay?!

                    Romantic?
                    There is no evidence for this in the text of the Bible.

                    I have noticed a switch over the years. Allusions about Ruth and Naomi or David and Jonathan used to be qualified heavily. It was suggested that “maybe it was possible that these stories likely could have been referring to what might have been gay relationships…”

                    As of late the new tack is to just state it as fact and vehemently so.

                    Make no mistake, Jesus and the disciples are next.

                    • Sue

                      Hi TAG,

                      There have already been interpretations of Christ’s relationship with John (” the disciple whom Jesus loved”) as being more than platonic friendship. Of course there have been “theories” about the relationship with Mary Magdalene – as in “The last Temptation” film – no I haven’t seen it!

                      As you know, I am totally gay affirming, however I prefer to look to other scriptural strands as affirming the validity of such relationships rather than this rather blanket assumption that, whenever two people of the same sex express affection, it should be considered as a sexual or romantic attachment. I would like to see some exploration of the David / Jonathon aspect though.

                    • Blair

                      Hi Sue and all,

                      I agree with you Sue – and at the risk of undercutting things rather, I suggest it’s anachronistic to seek to read Biblical texts like Ruth/Naomi or David /Jonathan as ‘gay relationships’ or anything approaching that. The time and culture gaps are just too wide for a start. And as you imply, there are good arguments for affirming committed same-sex relationships – which don’t rest on anachronistic readings of these stories.

                      in friendship, Blair

                    • Sue

                      Blair – you’re so sensible. I do sometimes look at the David and Jonathon relationship and I can see the validity of claims that it MIGHT be homo-erotic, then again it might not be! Concerning Ruth and Naomi, I don’t see how it can possibly be a sexually motivated – for a start on the simple basis that they are mother-in- law and daughter-in- law! I think what we “learn” from Ruth / Naomi is the intensity of human love and compassion; Naomi selflessly tells her daughters-in-law to look to their own interests, Ruth selflessly chooses to look out for the interests of her late husband’s mother – as an act of love, compassion and generosity.

                      That level of self-giving is not a bad model for close human relationships, whether parent / child, spouse/lover. For that reason, I don’t think it is an inappropriate reading at a wedding or civil ceremony.

  • Trinidad. Adventist. Gay?!

    I think this was well-written.
    Also, I appreciate whatever code you’re using to embed the texts in the post. It is most convenient.

    I think this was thorough and logical and it leaves me to wonder why anyone ever tried the “Ruth and Naomi” angle in the first place.

    Now, could you tackle David and Jonathan in a similar way too? ;-)

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      I might have a go at David and Jonathan in a week or so.

  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

    Please note – I cannot accept comments without a valid email address. Will the recent commenter on this thread please resubmit their useful comment with a valid email address.

  • Lisa

    Well, you seem to skirt the fact that ad hominem is your territory, and if you want to play the ‘prosecution rests’ game, then I’ll give you what you want.

    Pompous Ass..Pompous Ass..Pompous Ass

    “See? ‘they’ just want to engage in ad hominem attacks” there you go.

    Nothing in your ‘exegesis’ (oooh big word! he must have smarts real good!) supports or denies the possible fact that Ruth and Naomi may have had an intense, romantic relationship, that may or may not have included the act of ‘sexual intercourse.’

    Why you spend so much time trying to disprove that is beyond me. I bet it has something to do with the whole “Post Gay” thing.

    More power to you in your new life, with a wife and child. I’m glad you are happy.

    …oh, you are still a pompous ass.

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      “Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years? O that he were here to write me down an ass! but, masters, remember that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass. No, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow; and, which is more, an officer; and, which is more, a householder; and, which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any in Messina; and one that knows the law, go to; and a rich fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that hath had losses; and one that hath two gowns, and everything handsome about him. Bring him away. O that I had been writ down an ass!”

      Dogberry
      Much Ado About Nothing, Act IV, Scene II

  • sound

    Sadly, Lisa, my experience of Peter mirrored yours and I thought it best to shake the dust… I can only advise you to do the same. You will not get beyond the smugness.

    There is however hope….Ruth Gledhill, whose blog Peter has admired and links to from his own is now able to move to the point where she says:

    “There really are better things for our churches to be doing than banging on about something that is neither illegal nor immoral but, if you believe in a transcendent God, surely part of His creation. When is all this going to end?”

    It is not quite Shakespeare, but it says what the majority of people in the Church beleive….

    • Trinidad. Adventist. Gay?!

      Am I in Wonderland?
      Peter laid out the case and to this day, Lisa has not yet tackled the issue at hand except to hold the incredible position that because “some mainline churches” use excerpts from Ruth 1 in wedding ceremonies (has anyone else had this experience? I haven’t) then that provides a radical “original” meaning to a THOUSAND year-old text that predates Christianity itself! This is incredible!

      How can *recent* marriage “trends” (if we can even call them that) give a pre-Christian text a supposedly “original” meaning that simply does not exist in any major historical Jewish or Christian commentary on the matter?

      How could Peter be accused of making fun of Lisa’s lack of Hebrew knowledge? How is he supposed to know if she knows Hebrew or not?

      From the beginning he asked her to focus on the argument given (from the plain reading of the text) and she has yet to do so.

  • Collin

    i’m 15 and had to research Naomi and Ruth’s relationship for Bible Class, and guess what popped up? yup, this. i got distracted by all the comments between Peter and Lise, very entertaining by the way haha. Now, i know this was posted early last year, but i have to say something to the both of you, though i’m sure lisa, if even Peter, will see this. My explination isn’t very researched into or whatever, but i think it makes since. Now to start, Peter: i must say that i do agree that Naomi and Ruth are not Homosexual,but that is not a proven fact. there are two sides to the argument that i’m well aware you see. God can use anyone, even Homosexuals. it is still possible that these two women did become lovers. now, on the issue of what Ruth says to Naomi: I went to my cousin’s wedding last week, and it was not word for word, but what she says and what the pastor has them repeat is very similar. especially the last part ” May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” compaired to “until death do us part” or however it goes. again, not very reashered argument. Now, Lisa: though i don;t agree that it was a romantic friendship, i do see where you;re coming from. it does seem a little strange that anyone can be that close and not have some sort of romance involved. i know you don;t see it as lesbianism either, but i’d say in your point, it’s pretty close. now, my mother’s a lesbian (let’s not go into that too much please, touchy touchy subject.) and she has her lover, and her close friends, which sometimes seems like a romantic friendship, but for my mom her lover and their friends there is a fine line between the two. and Naomi and Ruth sometimes seem like my mom and her friends. so again, i see where you’re coming from.
    That said: if i freaking 15 year old can see both arguments and come to the conclusion we won’t know till we’re all in heavan, why can’t you two huh? seriosuly! you sound like my parents did before the divorce. arguments aren’t always about winning, sometimes they’re about comprimise.

    Grow up,
    Collin

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      Thanks for commenting Collin.

    • Ron

      Collin,

      If you read Peter's original post, he gives several points of evidence why the relationship between Naomi and Ruth is not sexual but spiritual. By spiritual, I mean a union of spirits in a relationship of mother and daughter. Naomi tries to send Ruth home but Ruth refuses because of her relationship through her dead husband. Then, Naomi works at finding Ruth a husband and succeeds. Stepping back and looking at the book of Ruth as a whole indicates a strong mother – daughter-in-law relationship. There is nothing that can legitimately or logically be construed as a sexual relationship.

      As to Lisa's comments regarding what Ruth told Naomi in her "wherever you go, I will go" talk, yes, that is used in modern weddings. However, that is used in weddings today between a man and woman does not mean that Ruth's utterances of those words was in any way sexual. It denotes Ruth's commitment to maintaining her current relationship to Naomi, not the revelation of a sexual union.

      The use of Ruth and Naomi to support gay relationships has never been advanced until the gay movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Using these two women to market gay relationships as legitimate in the eyes of God is, in my opinion, deliberate twisting of Scriptures to advance behavior and actions that God regards as sin.

  • Dirck

    No one could accurately say the Bible approves of homosexuality. God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for that practice.

    Also at 1 Corintians6:9,10 What! Do YOU not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, 10 nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom.

    Jude 6,7And the angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place he has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day. 7 So too Sod´om and Go•mor´rah and the cities about them, after they in the same manner as the foregoing ones had committed fornication excessively and gone out after flesh for unnatural use, are placed before [us] as a [warning] example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.

    • Chelsie

      Dirk, God did NOT destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexuality. Please do read the story in its entirety. 1)God had already made the decision to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah before the angels ever arrived. 2) Lot himself was a resident of the town 3) His two virgin daughters were engaged to be married to men from the city 3) Lot offered the angry mob his virgin daughters (who were raped to death) to the mob so they would forgoe the angels. He was a resident of the town, he would have known if all of the men were homosexual and not offered his daughters. 4) God explains why he destroyed the town, and never mentions homosexuality Ezekiel 16:49-50 states “Now this is the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” The crime of the town was not assisting the poor. Ironically, God destroyed the entire city. Therefore the poor that were sinned agains, along with all the men, women, and children were killed. And furthermore, whether or not you believe that homosexuality is a sin, comparing GANG rape to homosexuality is ignorant. Rape was a common practive in those times and it was used to humiliate enemies. Those people that committed the rape on other men were not homosexual, they were heterosexual sick bastards. That behavior should definately be condemned. No one should be subjected to rape. Also, I wonder since you are all using the old Testament to prove that homosexuality is wrong, do you sacrafice goats? Just a thought.

      • ash

        Thank You Chelsie. Too often I hear of persons that hide behind Sodom and Gomorrah in their blasting of homosexuality. Its ironic that they are the ones who like to lambaste gays and talk about this story without stating all the times that Sodom and Gomorrah was mentioned in the bible, all the times the sins were stated and the one time homosexuality was even implied. Its funny because maybe if they did that they would realise in the old testament, which said the most on the topic, homosexuality never arose, but only from Paul in the New Testament was it even implied.

        Peter,

        I read all that you wrote and I must say good job on the research etc. I see the point you are making and that of Lisa's as well. I do think though that the point that Lisa is trying to make is that the fact that those words can be used in wedding ceremonies to express the romantic love felt by two heterosexual people to each other (whether is is part of liturgy or what have you) says alot about the relationship of ruth and naomi (in no way am I saying that they were lesbians as I do not know for sure one way or the other)

      • commonsense

        Chelsie, please take your own advice. And don’t just stop there, keep
        reading the entire Bible instead of snippets filling the blanks with
        lies and weird conclusions.

        1) True, he did. Before the angels
        arrived God had already decided that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah
        were wicked, sinful, lustful, greedy, arrogant, abominations. That is
        why He destroyed their city. I recommend reading KJV because it uses the
        word “ABOMINATION” which clearly means that it goes against God’s will
        (homosexuality, sodomy, and rape being few of many things) instead of a
        broadened phrase with a lessened/softened meaning like “detestable
        acts,” which could mean just about anything. Abomination goes directly
        against God’s will and Sodom and Gomorrah were filled with abominable
        acts.

        2) Lot was a resident of the town, but he was not born and
        raised there, he moved there and settled down. He and his family were
        the only reason God put off destroying the city, long enough for them to
        leave. That was why the angels were sent there in the first place.

        3)
        Yes they were, but when they fled only Lot, his wife, and two daughters
        left. His wife looked back and became a pillar of salt, leaving Lot
        alone with his two daughters.

        4) I assume you mean 4. Lot was a
        resident of the town and was most likely aware of their homosexuality.
        He offered his daughters as a means of pacifying the angry mob of men.
        But they REJECTED them and pressed Lot further. When he said no again
        they became angrier and tried to force their way into the house. The
        angels smote them with blindness so that none of the large mob could
        find the door and gain entry into his house.

        Genesis 19:4-8 (KJV) [Note: I would recommend reading the surrounding verses as well for further clarification.]

        4 But before they lay down, the MEN of the city, even the MEN of Sodom,
        COMPASSED THE HOUSE ROUND, both old and young, all the people from every
        quarter:

        5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the MEN which came
        in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that WE MAY KNOW THEM.

        [Note: The large mob of men from his city surrounded his house and
        demanded that the men (angels) be brought out so that they could know
        them. Know is a Bible euphemism for sex and with a crowd that large and
        angry it would be forcible and violent sex. If it is a group of men
        demanding sex from another man. The same-sex sexual act would be
        classified as homosexual.]

        6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,

        7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

        8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you,
        bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes:
        only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow
        of my roof.

        [Note:
        To address the daughters thing, yes they were offered to be raped by
        the men of the city. The men did not take up the offer and NOWHERE in
        the KJV or any other trusted bible does it or should it say that they
        were raped to death. That is incorrect.]

        5) If you read all of
        Ezekiel 49 (KJV) it compares Samaria and Sodom and their lifestyles. The
        words whoredom and abomination was thrown around and their greediness,
        arrogance, ignorance, etc. were all contributing factors that ultimately
        lead to their demise.

        About the goats, when Jesus came (New
        Testament) He told us to worship Him and to pray to Him because He is of
        His Father. He never mentioned sacrificing goats. I’m not a theologian,
        but I believe that because the people of the Old Testaments were born
        into a very sinful world where their families were heathens. And most of
        whom worshiped idols and false gods and were living in ways that we
        shouldn’t, the goat sacrificing may have just been symbolic. A symbol of
        loyalty to the one and only God. They lived in a time where YHWH was
        never mentioned or even heard of. They were pagans and idolaters. I’m
        not 100% sure why though. I’ll reply back here one day if I ever find
        out.

        I also don’t eat pork or shellfish either. Nowadays I think
        most Christians make exceptions for shellfish, but there are still very
        many who do not eat pork.

  • Ron

    Ash,

    You stated that you “do not know for sure one way or the other” if Ruth and Naomi had a romantic relationship. I think if you re-read Peter’s exegesis, it is pretty clear that they did not.

    As for Lisa, she totally ignored what Pater wrote and not once did she ever offer any evidence that what he said was wrong. She accused him of being smug but, it seems to me, that she was rather smug herself.

    Lisa’s point was that, since Ruth’s comments about “where you go I will go, your people will be my people” are used in many weddings today then it means that Ruth was expressing her romantic love for Naomi.

    That conclusion is not logical. The statement itself is a declaration of loyalty and devotion. Ruth was determined to stay with Naomi and support her as she returned home and it was because of her loyalty to Naomi and to her dead husband.

    Because the statement expresses loyalty and devotion, it has become popular in wedding ceremonies because the husband and wife are commiting themselves to each other. While sex is most definitely a part of a marriage, the statement itself does not denote or imply sexual activity. It simply says “I will stay close to you for as long as I live.”

    To make Ruth and Naomi a model for lesbian relationships, gay apologists have to equate love with sex. Their contention is that Ruth and Naomi could not possibly have had such a close, devoted, loyal, and loving relationship unless it also involved sex. It has only been within the last 30-40 years that anyone ever suggested that their relationship was more than a mother and daughter-in-law.

    Don’t you find it odd that those who insist that the Bible approves of homosexual relationships cannot show one single verse that specifically endorses it? The best that they can do is say is that a verse “could” or “might” indicate a gay relationship. It is ALWAYS conjecture. On the other hand, in Genesis it says that “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined with his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” Jesus himself repeated this and, in all of his illustrations involving marriage, it was always between a man and woman.

    The debate over homosexual relationships is certainly a contentious and emotional one. However, if you read all of the scriptures in the Bible regarding sexuality, from front to back, it is pretty clear that the only sexual relationship that God approves of (because he designed it that way) is between a man and woman who are married and committed to each other. We have to allow the Bible to mold our thinking and behavior instead of molding the Bible to our thinking and behavior.

    Sorry for the long post.

    Ron

  • Asiangoddess

    Lisa, you rock!

    Could we differ from the said passage and tackle a few words? What does the word “MALOKOIS” AND “ARSENOKOITAI” really mean? As I have read so far, and I’m still doing some research, the interpretation of those two words are debated by scholars to this day.  It appears that nobody really knows what those words mean yet they are interpreted in our modern Bibles to mean “homosexuality.” 

    I’ve asked several clergy and I’m trying to speak with several Rabbi’s to get an (1) extensive interpretation of the words or at least (2) a satisfying definition of the words.

    Anybody that can shed insight on these two words would be appreciated.  I’m starting to think the use of these words are a little irresponsible, and a bit of spiritual abuse to say it means homosexuality when everybody is still debating on what these words actually mean in Biblical context.  I would like to think this is not so, but I’m leaning towards that, unfortunately.

Login

Wisdom...

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction
Proverbs 1:7

Vanity

Ebuzzing - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Peter on Twitter

Comments

Archives

  • 2014 (114)
  • 2013 (310)
  • 2012 (207)
  • 2011 (230)
  • 2010 (236)
  • 2009 (336)
  • 2008 (453)
  • 2007 (373)
  • 2006 (141)