It’s 2 am, and I cannot sleep, so I’ll toss up some thoughts about a passage that has been on my mind: Leviticus 18. Now these days, people tend to think that verse 22 is the only verse in the passage, but I’ve been actually thinking of the broader chapter. Allow me to outline it briefly to illustrate why it’s been troubling me:
Lev. 18:1-3 opens up with a command: “You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes” (18:3).
The idea here is that Israel is in between geographic locations (in a transitional stage). God is about to bring them into a new one where they’re not to live according to the code of conduct that they knew or that they’re going to encounter.
Lev. 18:4-5 then transitions to a new command: “You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God” (18:5).
Israel is going to get a new code of conduct, direct from Yahweh, and it’s a matter of life and death (18:5).
Lev. 18:6-23 contains a code of conduct that is sexual in nature; it opens with uncovering a family member’s nakedness and closes with bestial relations.
It’s essentially a downward spiral of wicked behaviour. The majority of the section contains prohibitions about uncovering nakedness (18:6-19) and then accelerates rapidly into prohibiting adultery (18:20), the murder of children (18:21), homosexuality (18:22), and finally bestiality (18:23). Given the light of the past 75 years or so, that progression seems like a step-by-step description of what has (so far) been the downward spiral experienced by Canada and the US.
Then, the chapter closes off with a rather chilling warning that expands on the warning given in 18:5. Here’s the passage in its entirety: