I have tried over the years, on this Website, to bring you
studies from other people that are somewhat different, in the
sense, you just do not find them in the average "theology" forum
or spoken about in any depth in sermons or "religious" magazines.
The following chapters from the book by K.J.Aaron are certainly
in this realm of "Well we just do not speak about such things."
I will WARN you before you start reading, this is not what you
might be thinking it is from the title below. The following is
not for the faint of heart or the squeemish, or for those who
don't really want to know in detail, about what the Bible records
on sexual matters. So if this is you, then STOP and go and study
other topics on this Website - Keith Hunt (May 2007).
SEXUALITY AND THE BIBLE
The reader may find himself asking, as the author has, "is that
in the Bible?" Whores and whoremongers; polygamists and
bigamists; homosexuals and lesbians; incest, intercourse,
circumcision, castration, menstruation, urination, masturbation,
perversion, wet dreams, adultery, fornication - all are
mentioned. Sex, in one form or another, was closely interwoven
with the beliefs and practices of the Bible people. As one writer
has said: "The Hebrews circumcised the penis, they did not
Why does the Bible say, "Adam knew his wife"? Asked a young
man in a Sunday School class. Someone answered: "It seems obvious he
should know the woman to whom he was married!"
Most people realize, of course, that the expression "Adam
knew his wife" means he had sexual intercourse with her; for, as
a result, "she conceived" (Genesis 4:1). To say Adam "knew" his
wife (rather than to say he had "sex" with her) is an example of
euphemism: the substitution of an inoffensive expression for one
that may offend.
A story is told about Harry Truman giving a speech before a
delegation of farmers. "I grew up on a farm," the president said,
"and I know that farming means manure, manure, and more manure."
A friend of the president's wife leaned over to her, saying,
"Really, Bess, you should teach Harry to say 'fertilizer,' not
'manure'." Mrs. Truman shook her head and replied: "Good lord! it
has taken me thirty years to get him to say `manure'!"
Often euphemisms are used as substitute words for the sexual
organs. A few of the many listed in "A Dictionary of Euphemisms
and Other Double Talk" for the female organs are: field, ring,
furrow, cavern, pit, garden, swine, slit, hold, trench, sheath,
cunnus, little boat, vulva, and mouse-trap. For the male organ:
tail, stem, column, pole, pike, groin, hanger, nerve, stake,
stopper, javelin, tree, obelisk, shaft, rod, awl, dart, beam,
vein, private, plowshare, prick, weapon, bat, bone, horn, pecker,
cock, mouse, tool, peter, and dick.
In the Bible, euphemisms for the sexual organs include such
terms as "secrets" (Deuteronomy 25:11), "stones" (Deuteronomy
23:1), "loins" (Genesis 46:26), "thigh" (Genesis 24:2), "privy
member" (Deuteronomy 23:1), "fountain" (Leviticus 20:18), and
"the place of the breaking forth of children" (Hosea 13:13).
As the basis of an analogy, Paul spoke of the various parts
of the human body, including the head, eyes, ears, nose, hands
and feet, and "our uncomely parts" (1 Corinthians 12:15-24).
Elsewhere the Greek word used here is translated "shame"
(Revelation 16:15), "unseemly" (Romans 1:27), and is diectly
linked with a word meaning the "pundenda (Strong's Concordance,
808, 809). It seems probable, then, that Paul's analogy included
the sexual parts of the body, euphemized into the expression
Biblical euphemisms for sexual intercourse, many of which
are listed in "Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible," include the
Adam knew Eve ... and she conceived (Genesis 4:1).
Go in unto my maid ... obtain children by her (Genesis 16:2).
A man ... to come in unto us (Genesis 19:31).
Jacob ... went in unto her (Genesis 29:23).
Abimelech had not come near her (Genesis 20:4). T
Thou shalt not approach to his wife (Leviticus 18:14).
When I came to her, I found her not a maid (Deuteronomy 22:14).
I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived (Isaiah 8:3).
Thou hast humbled her (Deuteronomy 21:14).
He took her, and lay with her (Genesis 34:2).
The manner of as the earth (Genesis 19:31).
The expression "lieth carnally" (Leviticus 19:20 is from two
Hebrew words - one meaning to lie down for the sexual act, and
the other, to ejaculate semen, the word commonly translated
"seed" (Strong's Concordance, 7902, 2233). A similar meaning is
evident in the euphemistic phrase, "If any man's seed of
copulation go out from him..." (Leviticus 15:16). When a woman
becomes pregnant, she has "conceived seed" (Leviticus 12:2), or
is "taken with the manner" (Numbers 5:13). If she miscarries,
"her fruit departs from her" (Exodus 21:22). Euphemisms for a
woman's menstrual flow include "flowers" (Leviticus 15:33), "the
custom of women" (Genesis 31:35), and "the manner of women"
In the marriage act, with the woman on her back, the man
would open her robe-"uncover her nakedness" (Leviticus 18:7)-and
open his robe to spread it over her. These actions provided the
basis for the euphemistic way of speaking: "1 spread my skirt
over thee" (Ruth 3:9; Ezekiel 16:8). Immorality is referred to as
"filthiness in her skirts" (Lamentations 1:9) and "chambering"
(Romans 13:13). Romantic love play is called "sporting" (Genesis
26:8). Homosexual intercourse is called "going after strange
flesh" (Jude 7).
The words "eateth" and "mouth" (as used in Proverbs 30:20)
are listed as euphemisms in Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible:
"Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth
her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness." Since no one
links adultery with the normal eating of food or wiping the
mouth, the terms are clearly euphemistic for sexual activity.
Today the word "screw" is a vulgar slang word for sexual
intercourse. A comparable word, "grind," was frequently used by
the ancients in the same sense. Writers such as the ancient
Horace provide proof of this usage. In the Bible, Job said: "If
my heart have been deceived by a woman.. then let my wife
"grind" unto another, and let others bow down upon her" (Job
31:9,10). In his famous early English translation of the Bible,
Coverdale put it this way: "O then let my wife be another man's
harlot, and let other lye with her."
Jerome, noted translator of the Latin Vulgate, understood
the word "grind" in Isaiah 47:2 in the same way. Though the
expression "grind meal" is used, the wording of the context,
"make bare the leg, uncover the thigh ...thy nakedness shall be
uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen," strongly suggests a
sexual meaning. It should be remembered that captive women taken
as concubines were forced to grind in both senses of the word
(Strong's Concordance, 2912).
After Samson was betrayed by Delilah, "the Philistines took
him, an put out his out his eyes, and bound him with fetters of
brass; and he did grind in the prison house" (Judges 16:21).
This is normally taken to mean he was forced to labor at the
mill, grinding meal. But the rabbis understood this as having a
sexual meaning - that he was held captive for purpose of
"grinding" women! A Talmudic tractate (Sotah 9b-10a) explains
that Samson continued his profligate life in prison, and the
Philistine women set aside all considerations of marital bonds in
the hopes of gaining offspring who would inherit his strength and
The word that is translated "hinge" (1 Kings 7:50), is the
same word that is translated a woman's secret parts" (Isaiah
3:17). This word is defined by Strong as "a hole, i.e. hinge or
the female pudenda" (Strong's Concordance, 6596). All of this
seems quite strange until we understand the "design" of the
ancient hinge. As the accompanying drawing shows, a hinge
involved a vertical pin that turned in a hole. Since a woman also
has a hole (in which a sexual partner "turns"), the use of
"hinge" as an euphemism is understandable - and not radically
different from the modem term "swinger"!
The ancient hinge: a hole, usually in a stone, in which a
vertical pin turned. The round hinge stone shown here is from
Sometimes words are brought over from another language, left
untranslated, and serve as euphemisms. In time, though, some of
them become standard words. Our word "penis," which in Latin
simply means tail, is an example. The Romans might have refered
to a dog (male or female) as having a tail (penis).
Interestingly, our word "pencil" (from the Latin penis) means a
little tail, the first pencils being a brush of hair. A standard
word the Romans would have used for the male organ would have
been membrum virile. If they wanted to use an euphemism, they
might have called it a gladius (sword). Naturally the gladius
(sword) fit into a vagina (the Latin word for sheath)!
The Latin word for acorn is "glans." Because an acorn
resembles the head portion of the male organ, it was a natural
development to bring "glans" over into English to designate this
part of the male anatomy. Because of this resemblance, the
ancients commonly regarded the oak tree as "male." superstitious
and idolatrous rites involved oak trees, providing the basis for
Isaiah's rebuke about "the oak which ye have desired" (Isaiah
For the bodily part we call testicles, the Greeks used the
word "orchis." Since a certain flower has a root with a similar
shape, it was called an orchid. By bringing the word over into
English untranslated, a young lady can wear a orchid (rather than
a "testicle") pinned neatly on her dress!
We are all familiar with a court procedure in which a person
places his hand on a Bible, swearing he will tell the truth and
nothing but the truth. An earlier custom required a man to place
his hand on the sexual organ, euphemistically called the "thigh,"
as when Abraham sent his servant to secure a wife for Isaac"
"Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: and I will make thee
swear by the Lord" (Genesis 24:2). Such was an established custom
of the time. Many years later, when he was dying, Jacob said to
Joseph: "Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh ... bury me
not in Egypt" (Genesis 47:29).
"Thigh," when used as an euphemism, refers to the
"generative parts" (Strong's Concordance, 3409). This is evident
in the passages such as Judges 8:30 "And Gideon had threescore
and ten sons of his body [margin: going out of his high]: for he
had many wives," And, Exodus 1:5: "...the souls that came out of
the loins of Jacob [margin: out of the thigh of Jacobl." To put
it plainly, as Clarke explains, "In swearing, the hand was often
placed on circumcised part," a custom called Yemeen-ed-Dehhereh
Gedheeb, The Oath of the Circumcised Penis.
This method of taking an oath was known as "giving the hand"
as the following scriptures show: "And all the princes and the
mighty men ... submitted themselves unto Solomon [margin: gave
the hand under Solomon]" (1 Chronicles 29: 24). Ezekiel mentioned
a king who "despised the oath by bre ing the covenant, when, lo,
he had given his hand" (Ezekiel 17:18). "We have given the hand to
the Egyptians, and to Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread"
(Lamentations 5:6). The time of Ezra, swearing they would put
away foreign women "gave their hands" (Ezra 10:19).
This custom, in one form or another, has been practiced
among numerous tribes and peoples. Among the Arabs, two men might
meet with this greeting: "God so willing: inch by inch, may thy
firm stalk increase in power and sensitivity!" Then each touched
the fingers of his right hand to chest, lips, forehead, and his
palm upon the generative organs.
The accompanying old drawing shows the Egyptian god Osiris
swearing by holding his own penis. Such was not considered
indecent, but would compare to the present-day custom of placing
a hand on the heart while saying a solem pledge.
In the Sudan, a tribesman would salute a sheik by touching
his hands between his thighs to affirm humility and kiss his
beard. The sheik then might, if he chose, acknowledge him by
genital examination. If he became erect, he was obligated to
entertain him that night with concubines. European captives
brought before El-Mahdi were compelled to place their fingers
upon his privates while he guided them into the faith. A Hindu
custom required men to touch between the thighs or actually grasp
Putting the hand "under the thigh" was considered especially
solem because it involved the life force, the means of producing
offspring. THE NEW BIBLE DICTIONARY says that placing the hand
under the "thigh" was simply an euphemistic way of saying "place
your hand on my testes."
Because of this custom, we derive the word "testify" from
the Latin root "testis." The word "detest," from the same root,
means, roughly, "to hate to the bottom of one's balls."
Placing the hand upon the testicles of another man while
taking an oath was not considered improper - if done by a MAN.
But Hebrew law ordered a woman's hand cut off if she grabbed a
man in this area (deuteronomy 25:11,12).
"When men strive together one with another, and the wife of
the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand
of him that smiteth him, and puueth forth her hand and taketh him
by the secrets: then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall
not pity her."
(Now this I must say gives me some trouble, as it has other
scholars of the Bible in past times. Maybe it is possible that a
law such as this was never inforced, or that it was an eye for an
eye law, which meant just retribution. But saving your husband
from possible death from another man, you would think nothing
would be barred. I really do not have the answer, it is one of
those "looking through a glass darkly" of the apostle Paul's
words. I guess we can ask the Lord about this law, when He
returns to earth. He has not given me the answer at this time -
This passage has puzzled and embarrassed commentators, for
what purpose could be accomplished by cutting off a woman's hand?
Could an act committed in a few seconds be a fair basis for
losing a hand for the rest of her life? Especially strange is the
severity here, for the woman would have been doing so, according
to the text, to help her husband when another was trying to kill
(As I've said above, this does seem to be a strange and
severe law. I do not know of it ever being applied in Israel
in a literal way - Keith Hunt)
"My father hath chastised you with whips," king Rehoboam,
Solomon's son, threatened. "But I will chastise you with
scorpions.... My little finger shall be thicker than my father's
loins"! (1 Kings 12:10,11). An expression about a thick little
finger, if taken literally, would hardly constitute a belligerent
threat. But, if we understand "loins" euphemistically (as in
Genesis 35:11; Hebrews 7:5), these words, as Brasch points out,
probably had a rough sexual connotation; that is: "My litte
finger shall be thicker than my father's [erect] penis." Such
language would seem all the more emphatic since his father,
Solomon, was recognized as quite a stud - a man with a thousand
women in his harem (1 Kings 11:3).
Referring to an unmentionable part of the body, by naming
another part in the same vicinity, is known as the Rule of the
Displaced Referent. We have seen this usage in the words "lions"
and "thigh." Even the more unlikely word "feet" has been so used.
When a woman gives birth, the baby "cometh out from between her
feet" (deuteronomy 28:57). Jacob, referring to the offspring of
Judah, said: "The scepter shall not depart from judah, nor a
lawgiver from between his feet" (Genesis 49:10).
Today, if we wanted to say testicles, we would probably just
say testicles. Or if we were speaking of one's descendants, we
would not feel a need to explain what part of the body they came
from. Even Clarke seemed a bit embarrassed by this primitive way
of speaking: "I am sufficiently aware that the literal meaning of
the original 'mibbeyn raglaiv' is from between his feet, and I am
as fully satisfied that it should never be so translated ... for
reasons which surely need not be mentioned."
In a reference in which our King James translators put the
word "piss" (which was not an offensive word in 1611 A.D.), the
original actually used an euphemism for urine, as given in the
margin: "the water of their feet" (2 Kings 18:27). Since the
"water" here is urine, there can be no doubt that "feet" is an
euphemism for the sexual organs.
Israel, destined to suffer the loss of all things, was
likened to a man from whom all hair was shaved - not only the
hair of the head and beard, but even the pubic hair, euphemized
as the hair of the feet: "In the same day shall the Lord shave
with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by
the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet, and it
shall also consume the beard" (Isaiah 7:20).
Even the expression "wash the feet," used as an euphemism,
could have a sexual meaning: When David told Urah to go to his
house and "wash thy feet," his feet had doubtless just been
washed before coming into the presence of the king. It would not
be necessary to wash them again upon entering his own house
(which was close - 2 Samuel 11:2), nor would such be necessary
for David to mention. The setting makes it clear what David
wanted Uriah to do. Apparently Uriah understood these words in a
sexual sense, for he later explained why he did not go to his
house to "lie with my wife" (2 Samuel 11:1-11).
"Foot" is a very ancient and established euphemism for the
male organ. "Shoe," consequently, becazme a natural euphemism for
a man's sexual partner. This may help us better understand a
Jewish custom about removing a shoe. If a man refused to marry
his brother's widow, as prescribed by the law of Moses.
then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence
of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and
spit in his face ... and his name shall be called in Israel,
The house of him that hash his shoe loosed (Deuteronomy
Since a foot going into a shoe was emb;ematic of sexual
intercourse, the REVERSE - the act of taking a shoe from the foot
- apparently symbolized that sexual intercourse between these two
people would not occur.
Even the word "water," as Strong points out, has been used
as an euphemism for semen (Strong's Concordance, 4325). Isaiah
48:1 is an example: "Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are
called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the
waters of Judah..." The Revised Standard Version substitutes the
word "loins" for "waters," but includes a note that the Hebrew
actually says "waters." Either way, there can be little doubt
that semen is meant.
The basis for our word "semen" is actually the Hebrew word
that is commonly translated "oil" in the Old Testament. Even in
the name Gethsemane, the place where Jesus agonized in prayer
(Matthew 26:36), the basic words are "gath" (press) and "semen"
(oil). Gethsemane was a place where olives were pressed to make
oil. We bring the word semen over into English - linking it with
that oily substance whereby the seeds of life are planted. Our
word seminary is formed on the same basis - a place where
thoughts, like seed, are planted in the mind. Even many seminary
graduates may not realize the linkage between the words semen and
Though scholars are divided as to which beastly animal is
intended in Job 40:16,17, there can be little doubt that its
sexual powers are euphemistically described:
Lo now, his strength is in his LOINS, and his FORCE is in
the NAVEL of his belly. He moveth his TAIL like a cedar: the
sinews of his STONES are wrapped together.
We have seen how "loins" can be used as a sexual euphemism.
"Strength" can mean sexual vigor (cf. deuteronomy 21:17).
"Navel," here, must be an euphemism for the reproductive organ,
for sexual "force" is not in the actual navel. The phrase about
MOVING his tail like a cedar, quite obscure in the King James
version (a cedar not being especially noted for moving), is
better understood in the following: "He setteth up his tail like
a cedar" (Douay); "his tail stands erect like a cedar tree"
(Lamsa); "His tail stiff as any cedar" (Moffatt).
The fact that "tail" has long been used as a phallic
euphemism, coupled with the final phrase about "stones" (or
"testicles," as the Douay version has it), leaves little room for
doubt that the reproductive organs are euphemistically described.
When primitive men observed that a horned bull could
impregnate many cows, the horn was adopted as the emblem of
virility and fertility. Even today. the euphemistic slang
expression "horny" is commonly used!
According to the Council of Toledo in 477 A.D., the Devil
not only has a large penis, but horns. In Scotland he is called
Auld Hornie. Horns have been ornamentally worn in the East.
Zedekiah "made him horns of iron" (I Kings 22:11).Fertility
dancers wore reindeer horns. Various fertility gods and goddesses
were depicted wearing horns or holding them. The cornucopia, a
fertility symbol, is known as the horn of plenty. Horns, ground
into powder, have been widely taken as a sex stimulant. Animal
horns have long been considered a symbol of the erect male organ.
In the Bible we read: "The horns of the righteous shall be
exalted" (Psalm 75:10). "I will make the horn of David to bud"
(Psalm 132:17. "My horn shall thou exalt like the horn of an
unicorn" (Psalm 92:10).
Since men do not have horns in the literal sense, there is
strong reason to believe the word "horn" is euphemistic. Though
the male organ may not be meant specifically, because the idea of
fertility is commonly present in such passages, there is a
A passage in Job, however, may be more specific. When Job
said, "I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn
in the dust" (Job 16:15), he had already mentioned such bodily
parts as head, mouth, lips, wrinkles, face, teeth, eyes, cheeks,
hands, neck, reins, skin, and eyelids. When he then mentions his
"horn" - considering the widespread use of the word as a sexual
euphemism - it is certainly not impossible that a phallic meaning
For a man to be virile - being of full strength, capable of
fathering children even in old age - was considered a great
blessing. This was, apparently, the thought expressed by Job:
"One dieth in his full strength ... his BREASTS are full of MILK"
(Job 21:23,24). The word that is here translated "breasts," means
"a container," and is not the word translated breasts elsewhere
(Strong's Concordance, 5845). Since a male does not have milk in
his breasts, there is a strong basis for understanding the
container here to mean "testicles" and the "milk" to mean
"semen." In this context, the man described was still sexually
potent, even in old age.
Such was apparently not the case of a man who testified in a
"The Father has given me victory!" the old man shouted.
"Victory over what?" some questioned.
"I's gotten victory over passion!"
"How old are you now?"
"We think, brother, that mother nature just helped you out!"
Solomon, possibly speaking from personal experience, said:
"Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth," for "youth and manhood will
not last" (Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10, Moffatt). He then went on to
describe the suymptoms of old age:
"The keepers of the house shall tremble" - the hands become
paralytic; "the strong men shall bow" - the legs become feeble
and unable to support the weight of the body; "the grinders cease
because they are few" - the teeth become decayed and gone, the
few remaining unable to carry out their function; "those that
look out of the windows be darkened" - old age brings the loss of
proper eyesight or, as Moffatt translates it, "...ladies at the
lattice lose their lustre."
He shall rise up at the voice of the bird" - he has trouble
sleeing, is nervous; "all the daughters of music shall be brought
low - the voice becomes feeble and the tone quality is gone;
"afraid of that which is high" - fear of climbing steps, of high
places; "the almond tree shall flourish [fall off]" - fitting the
words of Hasselquist about the Judean almond tree in full bloom
"like an old man with his white locks." Having turned white, the
hair finally falls out (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7).
With this description of a man's aging body in mind, we come
now to that portion (verse 5) which says: "...and grasshopper
shall be a burden, and desire shall fail." Grasshopper? Desire?
Clarke mentions various explanation then adds: "Another
interpretation has been given of grasshopper; but I pass it by as
impertinent and contemptable."
What is this OTHER interpretation? Clarke does not say, but
it is probably the belief that "grasshopper" is an euphemism for
the male organ. In youth, it would hop up with desire, but now,
in old age, would fail to do so. Support for this belief is
confirmed by the context which speaks of failing "desire," a word
that actually means "caper berry" (Strong's Concordance, 35). As
the ANCHOR BIBLE points out, the caper berry was used as a sexual
stimulant - but failed to help the aged man described here. His
condition was like that of Maevius, mentioned by the classical
writer Martial: "Only in dreams you get stiff, Maevius...in vain
your wearied fingers ply your wrinkled member - rouse it as you
may, it will not raise its drooping head" (Martial 11:47).
Plants that resembled the genitals were believed to confer
sexual potency. Mandrakes, having a split root, sometimes
appeared to have human form with legs and sex organs, but
certainly not as well defined as the old fifteenth century
drawing given here would suggest! We know from the Bible that
Jacob and his wife believed in the powers of the mandrake.
"And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went
out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely
I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her
that night ... and she conceived" (Genesis 30:16,17).
Because the pod-like capsule of the vanilla plant resembles
the female genitalia, vanilla was also considered a powerful
aphrodisiac (sex stimulant). We know it best as a flavoring, but
the word itself comes to us from the Spanish vainilla ("small
pod"), the ultimate source being vagina, the word now commonly
used for the passage between the vulva and uterus.
Other substances which have been used as aphrodisiacs,
include almonds, anchovies, anise, ants, artichokes, asparagus,
bamboo, bananas, brains, cabbage, carrots, celery, cinnamon,
clams, crocodile, cucumbers, eels, frogs, garlic, ginger,
ginseng, goat, goose tongues, grapes, honey, horseradish, liver,
lizard, marijuana, menstrual blood, mushrooms, onions, opium,
oysters, semen, shrimp, snails, and spinach!"
The word "aphrodisiac" comes to us, fittingly, from
Aphrodite, goddes of sexual love. The Romans called her Venus,
from whose name we obtain "venereal," as in veneareal disease.
The influence of ancient mythology in the development of our
language can also be seen in words such as "cereal" which comes
from Ceres, goddess of grains "Money" comes from Juno Moneta,
the Roman goddess of national finances whose temple included the
The word "Siren" comes from the Sirens, half-woman and
halfbird creatures, who made sounds that lured sailors to their
doom. "Echo" comes from a nymph named Echo who could only repeat
sounds she heard "Panic" comes from the god Pan who went about
scaring people. "Tantalize" comes from Tantalus, from whose hands
water flowed, but could never quite reach his mouth. "Janitor"
and "January" both come from Janus, the two-faced god of
beginnings and keeper of the doors. "Atlas," the word for a book
of maps, comes from the god Atlas who is pictured as carrying the
To be continued - May 2007