Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Law Against Bestiality -- Short But Not So Sweet -- Exodus 22:19

--> Exodus 22:19: “Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death.”

 
The Sanctuary of Pan at the Head of the Jordan River, Israel

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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2 comments:

  1. Anonymous14/2/15 08:33

    Just stumbled across this site.

    I'd be surprised if bestiality were among the top 100 or even the top 1,000 things that Christians are thinking or worried about these days.

    If I'm correct in this, what's the point?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Anonymous for your comment. You raise an interesting point and I'll do my best to respond helpfully. But first I'd be surprised to know a) whether you are a Christian, and b) how exactly you came to just "stumble" upon this post?

    Whether this is among the top 100 or top 1000 things Christians are thinking about or not, we'll never know as I don't think either of us are prepared to do the survey to find out.

    However, as you may or may not know I am studying Exodus in this series of posts and this topic comes up when you get to Exodus 22:19. I could have skipped over it, but chose to address it because, and although, I did not say it very clearly in the post, this is still a practice today, albeit, very rare, around the world and even right here in North America. I think we as Christians need to be aware of it and know that God has spoken clearly against it. Some things do not change just because our mainstream culture changes. Let us not keep our heads in the sand, we're only fooling ourselves if we do. Blessings. Ken.

    ReplyDelete