Sex in the Hebrew Bible

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Sex occurs frequently in the Hebrew Bible, with extensive laws regulating it.


The Bible refers to homosexuality numerous times in both the Old Testament and New Testament (including by Jesus). Every place it is mentioned it is referred to in a negative light. The teaching from the Scriptures are clearly against homosexual behavior of any kind.

Leviticus 18:22 says:

Leviticus 20:13 states:


These verses prohibits male homosexual acts.

Ham’s actions in Genesis 9:20-25, are debated upon because of the vagueness of the script, but some interpret it as Ham doing something sexual with his father Noah, while Noah was passed out drunk in his tent.[3][4]


  • Lot had sex with his daughters after they get him drunk for the purpose of becoming pregnant.[5]
  • The sin of Onan,[6][7] which is often misinterpreted as masturbation,[8][9] was coitus interruptus or withdrawal. He was also violating the duty of yibbum. Onan was struck down and killed by God because he "spilt his seed upon the ground" while he had a duty to impregnate his brother's wife.
  • Genesis 38:13-24 tells the story of Tamar (wife of Onan mentioned above) trading sex with her father-in-law Judah for ownership of a goat.
  • Exodus 20:14, as the seventh commandment, prohibits the act of adultery: "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
  • Leviticus 18 lists several prohibitions concerning sex according to biblical rule.[10]
  • It is said that Elkanah had sexual union with his wife Hannah and she bore him Samuel.
  • Book of Deuteronomy states the prohibition of prostitution. 17"(A)None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, (B)nor shall any of the sons of Israel be a cult prostitute. 18"You shall not bring the hire of a harlot or the wages of a [a](C)dog into the house of the LORD your God for any votive offering, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God."
  • Second Samuel 11:3-5 describes King David with Bathsheba and his act of adultery with her:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Gill, Lev. 18:22
  2. ^ Matthew Henry, Leviticus 18:22; 20:13
  3. ^ Genesis 9:20-23
  4. ^ David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, Astrid B. Beck, Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible, (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing: 2000), p. 543
  5. ^ Genesis 19:30-36
  6. ^ Dancy, J. The Divine Drama: the Old Testament as Literature, (ISBN 0718829875, ISBN 978-0-7188-2987-2), 2002, p. 92
  7. ^ Genesis 38:8-10
  8. ^ Patton, Michael S. (June 1985). "Masturbation from Judaism to Victorianism". Journal of Religion and Health. Springer Netherlands. 24 (2): 133–146. doi:10.1007/BF01532257. ISSN 0022-4197. PMID 24306073. Retrieved 12 November 2011. Social change in attitudes toward masturbation has occurred at the professional level only since 1960 and at the popular level since 1970. [133] ... onanism and masturbation erroneously became synonymous... [134] ... there is no legislation in the Bible pertaining to masturbation. [135]
  9. ^ Kwee, Alex W.; David C. Hoover (2008). "Theologically-Informed Education about Masturbation: A Male Sexual Health Perspective" (PDF). Journal of Psychology and Theology. La Mirada, CA, USA: Rosemead School of Psychology. Biola University. 36 (4): 258–269. ISSN 0091-6471. Retrieved 12 November 2011. The Bible presents no clear theological ethic on masturbation, leaving many young unmarried Christians with confusion and guilt around their sexuality.
  10. ^ Leviticus 18 (King James Version)
  11. ^ Proverbs 5 (King James Version)


  • Akerly, Ben Edward, The X-Rated Bible: An Irreverent Survey of Sex in the Scriptures (American Atheist Press, 1985) ISBN 0-910309-19-1
  • Smith, Morton H., Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Confession Standards, (Escondido, CA: Ephesians Four Group) 1999.

Further reading[edit]