This is a type of verse that you wish you did not have to deal with when doing a study of the Bible. But it is there and since God does not mince words or speak unnecessarily, we need to fully regard what it says.
Here is what we do know from various commentaries. Bestiality was practiced in the ancient world (both in Egypt and Canaan), and it must have been prevalent enough for God to command against it here in the laws He gives His own people.
One of the things we can consider in light of bestiality is the fact that as David Guzik states, “If we reject God's Word when it comes to other areas of sexual morality, there is no other place to draw the line. We cannot say that sex with animals, children, or the dead is wrong if the ethic is ‘if it feels good, do it.’” In fact, based on what’s available on the Internet, we see that the voices of those speaking on behalf of such practices are indeed growing.
Matthew Henry suggests that a human involved with bestiality becomes a beast “in the shape of” a man. And thus, we have God’s severe punishment for them. There is strong belief that the practice was common in the days of Exodus in Egypt (why else would God raise it here) and that some New Testament era documents (Sonnini’s for example) refer to it even in the days of Paul and the apostles.
This practice was ascribed to Baal, the pagan god. There are accounts of the practice continuing in the world and they are brought to light from time to time. I am reminded of Jesus’s reference in Matthew 16:18 to the Gates of Hell. Some believe it was a reference to a location in modern Israel at the head of the Jordan, in the caves of the mountainous rock nearby considered today to be the “Sanctuary or Pan”. I had the privilege of visiting there for a while as part of my pilgrimage to Israel. There, in days past, the repugnant idolatrous acts were committed. And Jesus was saying to Peter, “When I build My Church, My people, not even that place that is so evil will be able to conquer it.” How blessed are those that believe His words and accept Him as Lord.
One would think this crime of bestiality is, as John Gill says in his commentary, “so detestable and abominable, so shocking and dishonorable to human nature, that one would think it could never be committed by any of the human species, and that there was no occasion for making a law against it.”
Unfortunately, that is not the case. People, fallen to depravity and corruption, were the same from the beginning. And God found this act so abhorrent that He shows them no mercy. His judgment on them is short, but not sweet.
I believe that the only thing that has changed as a result of the New Testament -- the New Covenant, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins – is that by complete sincere repentance and a total change of life, anyone guilty of such acts today can still make peace with God.
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