Keith Hunt - The Sin of Onan - Page Four   Restitution of All Things

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The Sin of Onan

Birth-control and more

I again give you WARNING!  If you do not like to think about or
read about the plain talk of sexuality, then do not read any
further, as we continue with K.J.Aaron's book - Keith Hunt 

                              THE SIN OF ONAN

     "It is better to cast your seed in the belly of a whore than
to spill it on the ground," says the Bible. Or does it?

     In the notes of "Dake's Annotated Reference Bible," this is
number 26 on a list of 36 quotations mistakenly believed to be in
the Bible. To understand why some have supposed this is a
Biblical verse, we must consider an old law that required a man
to marry his brother's wife if the brother died:

     If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no
     child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a
     stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and
     take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an
     husband's brother unto her (Deuteronomy 25:5).

     By doing this, the first child born to this union was
considered the dead brother's child:

     And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall
     succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his
     name be not put out of Israel (Deuteronomy 25:6).

     Centuries before Moses formulated this custom into a written
law, however, it was being practiced. A specific example involves
the marriage of Onan and Tammar. Tammar's first husband died, and
"Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry
her, and raise up seed to thy brother. And Onan knew that the
seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto
his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that
he should give seed to his brother" (Genesis 38:8,9).

     The fact that Onan "spilled it on the ground," reflects the
primitive living conditions at the time. He apparently lived in a
cave, tent, or but with dirt floors.
     We are told that the Lord slew Onan (Genesis 38:10) - a
common Old Testament expression when a person died of unknown
causes (2 Samuel 6:7, etc.). All things, good or bad, were
attributed to God (Isaiah 45:7). Evil spirits were sent by God (1
Kings 22:22). Even the adversary, "Satan," who afflicted Job, was
but the Lord's instrument (Job 1:12). The concept of a separate,
supernatural being in an intense conflict against God, was a
later development. So, when Onan died, it was said the Lord smote
him. Considering the setting, the physical cause was probably a
heart attack that occurred during the sex act.

     Over the centuries, birth control and masturbation have both
been condemned on the basis of this incident. But the careful
reader will notice that the sin for which Onan was judged was
neither. Onan's act was not masturbation; it was"coitus
interruptus." And while this was a form of birth control, we are
not told he did not want children. He resented the idea that a
child born to this union would not be considered his.

     Later, Onan's widow, Tamar, disguised herself, sat by the
road, and

     When Judah [0nan's father] saw her, he thought her to be an
     harlot; because she had covered her face. And he turned unto
     her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in
     unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his
     daughter-in-law).... And it came to pass about three months
     after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy
     daughter-in-law hath played the harlot; and also, behold,
     she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her
     forth, and let her be burnt (Genesis 38:14-16,24).

     What glaring inconsistency! Supposing his daughter-in-law
had become a whore, Judah wanted her burnt - yet he did not feel
it was wrong for him to patronize a whore. When she produced the
staff, signet, and bracelets which he had given her, it was
evident he was the father-to-be! Twins were born, one of them
Pharez, through whom the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was
extended on down to David and, ultimately, Jesus (Matthew 1:3;
Luke 3:33). Thus, Judah became the head of a tribe of utmost
importance in Biblical history: the tribe of Judah, named after
him, and perpetuated through incest with his daughter-in-law!

     All of this brings us back to the words: "It is better to
cast your seed in the belly of a whore than to spill it on the
ground." It is not a Biblical quotation, but we can now see how
the saying originated. Judah's son had sexual relations with his
wife Tamar, "he spilled it on the ground," and died. But, later,
when Tamar played the part of a whore, Judah impregnated her with
twins, and was not killed. Thus, someone, somewhere, put together
the saying: "It is better to cast your seed in the belly of a
whore than to spill it on the ground."

     A widespread ancient belief. possibly based on the story of
Onan, was that a groom faced danger on the wedding night - that
even death may be lurking in the shadows. Tobias, whose story is
given in the Apocrypha, (the books of the Apocrypha were included
in the original printing of the King James Version in 1611, also
in Wyclifs (1382), the Greek Septuagint, and the Latin Vulgate,
but were excluded from the Hebrew Bible. They appear in Roman
Catholic Bibles. Protestants generally tend to favor a position
similar to that expressed by Luther: "These are books which are
not held equal to the sacred scriptures, and yet are useful and
good for reading") was in love with a beautiful woman named Sarah
who had the misfortune of losing seven husbands, each one on the
wedding night! "I have heard that this maid hath been given to
seven men," he exclaimed, " and that they all perished in the
bride-chamber" (Tobias 6:13). The reason for this, we are told,
was because a jealous demon in love with her!

     While Tobias pondered just what he should do, the angel
Raphael advised him to take the heart and liver from a fish he
had caught in the Tigris river, burn these parts in the marriage
chamber, and the smell would drive the devil away!
     And when they had finished their supper, they brought Tobias
unto her. But as he went, he remembered the words of Raphael, and
took the ashes of the incense, and put the heart and the liver of
the fish thereupon, and made a smoke therewith. But when the
devil smelled the smell, he fled into the uppermost s of Egypt"
(Tobias 8:1-3).

     Just why or how this fish smell caused the demon to flee
from Tobias is not explained. Nor are we told why the demon fled
to Egypt. An event in the ministry of Jesus implies some demons
prefer certain territories (Mark 5:10). We also read that demons
walk through dry places !Matthew 12,43). For this Egypt would
     Josephus mentions a certain root the Jews used to drive away
devils, while Martin Luther had his own unique methods: he broke
wind at the Devil, threw ink at the Devil, and on one occasion is
quoted as saying to the Devil: "Lick my ass!" That evening Luther
noted in his diary that "he [the Devil] said no more -  good way
of getting rid of him."

     The devil having fled from Tobias, his marriage to Sarah was
consummated, and his life was spared. A grave had been dug for
him, but when the maidservant was sent to the bridal chamber, she
"opened the door, and went in, and found thtm both sleeping, and
came forth, and told them that he was alive (Tobias 8:10-14).

     Understanding the old belief that a groom may face death on
his wedding night, certain scriptures now come into better focus.
Notice the wording of Psalms 19:5: " a bridegroom coming out
of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man run a race." He
rejoices because his marriage was consummated and his life

     Similarly the words of John the Baptist become intelligible:
"It is the bridegroom who has the bride; but the bridegroom's
friend who stands outside and listens for his voice is very glad
when he hears the bridegroom speak" (John 3:29, Goodspeed
version). The friend of the groom does not stand at the door
merely to listen for groans of ecstasy - he is concerned for the
groom's life! When he finally hears the groom's voice, he knows
the marriage has been consumated and the groom is alive. His duty
at the door is then completed. So, John the Baptist likened
himself to the friend, while Jesus was the groom. "He must
increase, but I must decrease" (verse 30). John said, his purpose
as the forerunner of Christ having been accomplished.

     Primitive ignorance concerning the details of reproduction
have resulted in some curious ideas. The wording, "Onan knew that
the seed should not be his" (Genesis 38:9), may imply that he
believed a child born to this union would be his brother's child
     Before the days of scientific inquiry, exaggerated reports
made the rounds about how many children a woman might give birth
to. One woman named Dorothie supposedly gave birth to 20 children
in two deliveries. Described in the old English of the time,
"shee was forced to bear up her bellie with a large scarf tied
about her neck" In the year 1296 a woman reportedly gave birth to
35 children at one time - a small figure in comparison to
Countess Hagerman who was said to have given birth to 365

     In some cultures, it was believed that multiple births could
only be the result of multiple fathers. Rabbi Johanan believed
that Goliath "was the son of a hundred fathers and one mother."
To him, having multiple fathers probably explained why Goliath
was so large.
     It was not uncommon for ancient people to believe that
giants were fathered by superhuman gods or angels who had larger
than average bodies. The Hebrew version is recorded in Genesis

     The sons of God [angels] saw the daughters of men that they
     were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose
     .... There were giants in the earth in those days; and also
     after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters
     of men.

That the "sons of God" in this passage were angels can be argued
from scriptures (Job 1:6; 38:7), Jewish history (Josephus),
translators (Moffatt, Goodspeed), and church fathers
(Justyn Martyr, Methodius). Though the Bible does not specify who
led the angels in these actions, according to the book of Enoch
(mentioned in Jude 14), it was Azazel, who was later bound with a
chain in the desert (Enoch 9:1). One of the most sacred rites
among the Hebrews was to send a goat, ritually laden with the
sins of the people, into the desert to Azazel:

     "And Aaron shall cast lots (a lottery] upon the two goats;
     one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat
     [margin: Azazel] ... to make an atonement... let him go for
     a scapegoat into the wilderness" (Leviticus 16:8-10). The
     Moffatt translation says: "...for Azazel the demon."

(This teaching that angels (though fallen or evil ones) had
sexual intercourse with human women and produced giant god like
men is TOTALLY FALSE and incorrect. Angels (bad or good ones)
CANNOT REPRODUCE. Jesus said angels do NOT MARRY. If angels (and
bad ones in this case) could reproduce with human women, they
would NOT HAVE STOPPED, they would still be doing so, and what a
mess there would be in the world today. What a night-mare thought
it would be for women to have to go through life never quite
knowing if they were reproducing babies from evil angels.
regardless of certain Scriptures in Job, showing angels are "sons
of God" [through being created] - the idea and teaching that
angels can have sexual intercourse with human women is UTTER
GARBAGE - Keith Hunt) 

     The accompanying drawing by Leonardo Da Vinci (d. 1519),
reflects a belief of his time: that erections were caused by air
pressure carried in canals from the lungs!

     In 1280 the Council of Cologne decreed that if a woman died
in labor, her mouth was to be kept open with a gag so her unborn
child would not suffocate until it could be removed from her
body! Even if it meant the death of the mother, the Roman   
church insisted an unborn child should be spared - since it had
not yet been "baptized"! In some cases of difficult labor, a
baptismal syringe (as the seventeenth century version shown here)
could be used to perform this rite before birth. The nozzle
opening of some syringes was in the form of a cross, presumably
to add sanctity to its use.

     When Rachel had just given birth to a son, in her dying
moments she "called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him
Ben-jamin" (Genesis 35:18). The name Ben-oni meant, as the margin
says, "The son of my sorrow," whereas Benjamin meant, "The son of
the right hand." This was probably based on the ancient idea that
sons were conceived from the testicle on the right hand side.
     According to the theory of Anaxagoras (c. 450 B.C.), a woman
became pregnant during intercourse because a very tiny person
passed into her from the male. Her body only served as an
incubator in which it grew - merely a place of development as
ground is for a seed. Thus future generations of people existed,
in some form, in their fathers - not their mothers. Apparently
Rachel believed this way, for she said to Jacob: "Give me
children, or else I die" (Genesis 30:1). But, ironically, it was
while giving birth that she died!

(Rachel believed not such thing - she just wanted children, and
without the male sperm or seed she could not have any. "Give me
children, or else I die" is just a figure of speech to say my
life is not worth living if I do not have children - for some
women not having children is extremely sad - Keith Hunt).

     It was believed that this "tiny person," resident in the
male, could in some mysterious sense do such things as hear a
message or even pay tithes! "God found Jacob, and there he spoke
with us," implying that the unborn descendants were in Jacob at
the time (Hosea 12:4). Even more explicit is the reference in
Hebrews that "Levi ...payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in
the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him" (Hebrews
7:9,10). Because of these beliefs, for a man to cast his "seed"
on the ground, as Onan did, could in a definite sense be
considered murder.

(The Roman Catholic church may have taught such things in its
history, but Paul saying that Levi payed tithes in Abraham had
NOTHING to do with the idea of some "tiny person resident in the
male. Paul is using the thought that all people come from the
line of male sperm uniting with the female egg down through each
generation of time. Hence it could be said that I, Keith Hunt,
existed from generations ago. It is a metaphor, a concept that
Levi did exist in the seed of Abraham, and as that seed passed on
to a woman, Levi was eventually born. The thought with Paul was
NOT that some tiny person lived inside him. The darked world that
knew not God, may have had such crazy ideas, but the people of
God lived in the light. David in the Psalms said the "circule of
the earth - he knew the earth was a globe, not flat as some,
[like the RC church once did]  have claimed - Keith Hunt)

     We now know, however, it is the combination of the seed of
the male and the egg of the female that produces a baby. This
puts the question of birth control in an entirely different

     It is also now known that in a single ejaculation there are
enough sperm, if every one could be used, to produce a population
larger than that of the United States! If birth control is
considered murder because sperm is lost, even intercourse that
results in PREGNANCY would be murder, for it also causes a vast
loss of sperm!

     In matters such as providing food, clothing, shelter,
safety, jobs, and education, it is generally accepted that the
will of God requires of us rational and responsible action. One
does not leave these matters wholly to chance. Why, then, should
planning be out of place in this most important event: the birth
of a baby? If everyone today produced as many children as humanly
possible, the world situation would be one of utter sorrow and
     The story is told of one pastor who took a church when there
were only three in his family - he and his wife and a baby. Next
year their home was blessed with a new addition. He approached
the church board for a raise in salary. The next year another
baby was on the way and another request for more salary. Several
years passed, several additions to the family, and several more
requests for a raise in salary were presented. Finally one board
member questioned the wisdom of having so many children. The
pastor assured him that "the Lord keeps sending them." The board
member replied: "Well, the Lord also sends the rain, but this is
no reason not to wear rubbers!"

     There are many couples today who are unable to produce
offspring. If reproduction is the only valid purpose for
intercourse, as Ambrose and some of the other church fathers
supposed, none of these couples should ever engage in sexual
intercourse! This was not the position of Paul who emphatically
recommended sexual relations on a regular basis for married
couples. Abstinence was to be practiced only during times of
mutually agreed fasting and prayer (I Corinthians 7:5). It is
evident, then, that sexual relations did not, and could not, in
every instance result in offspring.

     Martin Luther spoke of "doing it twice weekly." He
considered it proper for a man to tell a wife who rebuffed him:
"If you won't, another will."
     A young man was applying for a ministerial license. The form
he was given to fill out asked for name. He wrote in his name.
And address. He wrote this in. In the place where it had the word
sex, he wrote: "Yes! usually about three times a week."

     Since we are told that Solomon had a thousand women in his
harem (1 Kings 11:3), if he had sexual relations with a different
one each night, it would take almost three years to make the
rounds. This means Solomon would have had sex one thousand times
as often as the average woman in his harem! Such are some of the
inconsistencies of polygamy.

     Much of the controversy regarding birth control hinges on
when life actually begins. This, in turn, is at the center of
today's abortion controversy. Is a person on his 20th birthday
really 20 years old - or is he 20 years and nine months old?
According to the law of Moses, an unborn child was not considered
a living being - at least not in the same sense as one who had
been born:

     If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her
     fruit depart from her and yet no mischief follow: he shall
     be surely punished ... and he shall pay as the judges
     determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give
     life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand,
     foot for foot (Exodus 21:22-25).

     The distinction here is this: if a man hurt a pregnant woman
in such a way that she lost her baby, the guilty man paid a fine.
But if the woman herself died, then he had to give his life for
her life! Since he was not required to give his life for the
fetus, there is the definite implication that it was not
considered a separate and independent life prior to birth.

(THIS IS UTTERLY FALSE. Such reasoning from this Scripture does
NOT support ABORTION! If it did then the argument that you can
kill a fetus or unborn child right up to the ends of nine months
in the womb, would be justified by God. Even nations like the USA
and Canada, have OUTLAWED late abortions. They can see from LOGIC
and from science, that killing an unborn child in the latter end
of nine months is NOT RIGHT!
What this verse above shows is (and some may question God on
this) that the Lord DOES value established adult life and
maturity more important in certain ways than an unborn baby. Now,
remember, God is able, and WILL, resurrect ALL people one day.
But if we had to put a "dollar" figure on an unborn child and a
grown adult woman, the woman would have a higher price tag. I
hope putting it this way may be offensive and tacky sounding to
some, but the meaning of Exodus 21:22-25, must be understood that
way. Those verses do not teach God is in favor of abortion at any
stage of nine months. God and science prove human LIFE BEGINS AT
CONCEPTION! There is a sperm or seed with 23 units and an egg
with 23 units. When they come together to make 46 units, human
life has been formed. To deliberately, with planned forthought,
kill that human life is MURDER - Keith Hunt)    

     When Moses ordered women stoned to death for committing
adultery (John 8:5), it is evident many of them would have been
pregnant at the time of stoning. In the Mosaic massacres, such as
the one at Moab, literally thousands of pregnant women - wives
and mothers - were killed by Israelite soldiers (Numbers 31:17).
It was not abortion in the modern, clinical sense, but the
outcome was the same for the fetuses.

(I have shown on this Website, that MERCY could be applied to any
specific "capital punishment" law in Israel. Death was not
automatic and an absolute must. Jesus had mercy on the woman
taken in adultery, and God did not kill David for his adultery
with Bathsheba. I have also shown that under the Old Covenant
certain things were ALLOWED by God, but under the New Covenant
there is a much higher bar to jump over. As God can and will
resurrect all life, born or unborn, so some were killed in carnal
battles of warfare. For a full in-depth study on "warfare" I
refer you to the series of articles I've written on this subject,
on this Website - Keith Hunt) 

     The abortion issue has provided a theological paradox. If a
fetus is an immortal soul from the second of conception, as many
believe and if a child who dies before the age of accountability
goes to heaven - this would mean that doctors who do abortions
send more souls to heaven than the preachers, and abortion
clinics save more souls than churches!

(Of course this would be true IF the immortal soul teaching was
Biblical - but it ain't, hence the argument has no merit. Study
the studies under "Death - then what?" - Keith Hunt)

     The case of Onan has been cited against masturbation; but,
as we have seen, this was not the sin for which he was condemned.
The word masturbation probably comes from mas (semen), and tubare
(to agitate), though some link it with manus (hand), since the
hand is commonly used. Some have used other objects and a few
their own mouth (self-fellatio). This is very rare, however, for
(as the Kinsey report says), only about two or three in 1,000 are
double-jointed enough to do it.

     One day Sarah caught Ishmael teaching Isaac how to
masturbate - according to some commentators. Though the Bible
itself does not spell this out - not in so many words - it does
say Ishmael was "mocking" (Genesis 21:9). The Greek and Latin
versions add, signficantly "with her son Isaac." The word
translated "mocking" is certainly capable of a sexual meaning.
It is the word used by Potiphar's wife when she accused Joseph of
trying to "mock" (rape) her (Genesis 39:14,17). When a Philistine
king saw Isaac and Rebekah "sporting" (translated from the same
word), he was convinced they were not merely brother and sister!
(Genesis 26:8). The same word is translated "play" when the naked
Israelites partook in orgies around the golden calf (Exodus
32:6,25). The "Jerusalem Bible" says Ishmael was "playing" with
Isaac, which was obviously not innocent play - it was distasteful
enough that Sarah demnaded that Ishmael and his mother be
     At least one writer sets forth the view that when Samson was
made to "sport" before the assembled Philistines, it was a public
display of masterbation (Allen Edwards, "Erotica Judaica"
p.67,68). We are told they called for Samson "that he may make us
'sport'" and "he made them 'sport'" (Judges 16:23-27). Two
different words, each translated sport, are used here. The one is
"tzachaq," the same word used regarding Ishmael with Isaac. The
other is "sachaq," both being variants of "shahaq," meaning to
rub or beat, to pound repeatedly. It could be that Samson only
jumped up and down like a crown in making sport for them. But IF
these terms are used euthemistically - IF there is a sexual
implication here - masterbation could have been included in the
degarding acts Samson was forced to perform.

     According to a legend, Zedekiah (mentioned in Jeremiah
52;11) was not only blinded, but compelled to masturbate in the
presence of Queen Amyitis and that Ezekiel was forced to join him
in this (Ibid., p.98).

     On one occasion when he was very angry at Joab, David
pronounced a curse on his entire family! "Let there not fail from
the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a
leper, or that LEANETH ON A STAFF, or that falleth on the sword,
or that lacketh bread (2 Samuel 3:29). There is some question as
to the exact meaning of the words "lean" and "staff" here,
especially since they are never translated this way anywhere else
in the Bible.
     In his translation called the "The Hebrew Iliad," Pfeiffer
uses the term masturbator: "May there never be missing from
Joab's family one ill with gonorrhea, a leper, a masturbator, one
falling by the sword, and one lacking food." The Goodspeed
translates it: "an effeminate creature," while the Revised
Standard version, also coneying the idea of effeminacy, reads:
"one who holds a spindle." The idea here is that either this man
would be a homsexual or a masturbator, the latter because he
would be so ugly no woman would want him. In either case, he
would produce no offspring - such being considered a great shame.

     In 1833, a lecture given by Henry Varley before a large
audience, claimed masturbation caused short stature, a contracted
chest, weak lungs, and other disabilities. Mrs. Ellen G. White,
whose writings are still considered nearly infallible by some
Seventh Day Adventists, wrote in detail on masterbation, stating
it would cause cancer, blindness, and insanity. In 1887,
"Spermatorrhea" a book by J.L.Milton, discussed the use of the
devices pictured here to prevent boys from masturbating. Two
featured spikes to inflict pain - and one was designed to ring a
bell in the parents' room - if the boy had an erection.

     At a church camp when I was a teenager, one young man told
me demons made him masturbate. His father told him it was a
normal desire, but he was convinced it was demon possession.
Right or wrong, masturbation is quite widely practiced. A
seminary teacher asked a class of young men how many of them had
ever masturbated. About half raised their hands. He told some
people later that half of his class were masturbators and the
other half liars!

     Instead of condemning masturbation as "self abuse," some
Christian writers today consider it in some situations, as
selfhelp. "secrets of eden: God and Human Sexuality" says:

     One means of self control may be masturbation .... It occurs
     in almost everyone's life at one time or another.
     Masturbation is the one sexual outlet the teenager and the
     adult Christian have outside of marriage that is not
     condemned in scripture. Masturbation produces none of the
     mental or physical side effects with which parents and
     grand-parents have frightened children for centuries.

     If Old Testament prophets condemned masturbation, it was not
merely as a sexual activity, but because of its association with
IDOLATRY. In those days, semen, produced by masturbation, was
presented as a sacred offering to various gods and godesses as a
fertility rite.

     Nude Sumerian priests ceremoniously presented semen as
sacred offering (Erotica Judaica, pp.10,11). In ancient India,
the Vedic sacrifice involved daily offerings of semen food for
the ritual fire. The god Agni is depicted devouring the fluid
which spouts from the ever-erect lingam of Siva. An Egyptian
belief held that the Nile resulted from the masturbatory
ejaculations of Osiris, while coffin texts tell about Atum-Ra
creating the universe when he masturbated with his fist. An old
Babylonian idea was that the water-god Enki fertilized that land
with his seed by a torrential act of self-stimulation.

     Offerings of semen were presented to the Ammonite fire god
Molech - a practice condemned by Moses:

     Thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to
     Molech.... Whosoever he be ... that given any of his seed
     unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death ... and if the
     people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man,
     when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not;
     then I will set my face against that man ... and all that go
     a WHORING after him, to commit WHOREDOM with Molech
     (Leviticus 18:21; 20:2-5).

     Though actual children were sometimes sacrificed to heathen
gods (Psalm 106:37, etc.), the wording here about whoredom with
Molech - a man giving of his seed unto Molech - strongly suggests
that this particular rite was an offering of human semen (cf.
Adam Clarke, "Clarke's Commentary," Vol.1, p.571).

     Isaiah's mention of men becoming "as a garden that hath no
water" (Isaiah 1:30) was understood by rabbis as a drying up of
the sap of manhood - the result of masturbation performed for the
purpose of offering semen to idols. An older reference - and
probably the oldest written mention of masturbationus - appears
in the "Egyptian Book of the Dead" (1550-950 B.C.). In the
ancient Egyptian writing shown here, a man is saying he has not
committed fornication, has not had intercourse with men, 
Ancient Egyptian book mentions ritual masturbation. and has not
masturbated in the sanctuaries of the god of his city. The
phallic symbol used in expressing these thoughts is apparent

     According to a widespread ancient belief, the loss of semen
- by masturbation, sexual relations, or even a wet dream - could
cause bad luck if it occurred before a battle or some other
important event. The Wagiriami of British East Africa believed
that if men slept with their wives during wartime they would be
unable to kill their enemies. The North American Indians
generally did not cohabit with women while at war. A tribe in
British Columbia abstained from sexual activity for three or four
weeks before a campaign. The Sia of New Mexico abstained for four
days before going hunting.

     This same basic belief was held by Moses. When he announced
that God would come down upon mount Sinai in three days, he
ordered: "Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives"
(Exodus 19:15). And before battles, he said: "When the host
[army) goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from
every wicked thing" - an expression linked, by usage and context,
with sexual activity (Deuteronomy 23:9).

(Sex of itself is not sin or wicked, hence this could be a
command for not using sex in a wicked way. Then it may not have
anything to do with sex, but any false wicked way to bring good
fortune in battle, as many heathen people were wont to do before
going into battle. The context does not support sexuality as Mr.
Aaron supposes - Keith Hunt).

     When Uriah refused to have sexual relations with his wife
during battle, it is evident he was very loyal to the cause for
which they were fighting (2 Samuel 11:11). But it is also
possible he feared a loss of semen would weaken him or bring bad
luck - according to the ancient belief.

(Probably had nothing to do with ancient belief of heathen ideas,
but was just being very focussed on the job of battle. Some
coaches today do not want their team members to have sexual
relations before a big game or final event - it is a matter of
focus, a setting of the mind on a serious undertaking - Keith

     After Samson had spent many hours making love to a harlot,
he arose at midnight and confounded his enemies by tearing down
the gates of Gaza and carrying them all the way to Hebron - a
distance of about 40 miles! (Judges 16:1-3). Apparently the
writer wanted to stress how strong Samson was, pointing out he
could do all this even with the loss of semen. If this was not
the point, why was it essential to mention his activities with a
harlot just prior to the feat?

(And true it is, the idea of letting out semen makes you less
strong or somehow weak, is silly. There maybe a pleasure of a
high and then a low and relaxation for a few minutes, but within
a few minutes a man can be just as strong as before the loss of
semen. Not having sex before some important event is just a
matter of "focus" of the mind, and has nothing to do with loosing
physical weakness - Keith Hunt)

     When David and his men fled from Saul, he asked the priest
at Nob for bread. Since only sacred bread was available, the
priest asked "if the young men have kept themselves at least from
women." David's reply was: "Of a truth women have been kept from
us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of
the young men are holy" (I Samuel 21:1-5).

     There is an interesting twist here. The priest asked David
if the young men had kept away from women. David's reply to the
priest was that women had been kept away from them!
     The basis for the priest's questioning was rooted in the law
of Moses: "Whosoever he be ... that goeth unto the holy things
... having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut
off..." (Leviticus 22:3-6). If David's men were to eat the sacred
bread, they could not have a trace of semen on them.
     David assured the priest the "vessels" of the young men were
clean. The word translated "vessels" is common enough, having a
variety of usages - bags, garments, weapons, tools. The English
word "vessel" comes from the Latin "vas," meaning a vessel or
duct, and can be seen in such words as vase, vascular, vasculum,
and even vasectomy (an operation involving the duct of the
testicles). In Latin, "vas" can mean tool, whence the erotic
expression "bene vasatus" (one well-tooled). It would appear
then, in this context, that when David said the "vessels" of
these young men were clean, he referred precisely to their sexual

     Even an accidental ejaculation of semen, commonly called a
"wet dream," rendered a soldier unclean and required a temporary
separation from the other soldiers:

     If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason
     of the uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he
     go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the
     camp: but it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash
     himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come
     into the camp again (Deuteronomy 23:10,11).

     The basis for this taboo was probably that those who were
unclean would contaminate the others with bad luck. Each new
morning produced two groups of individuals: those who had wet
dreams the night before and those who did not. Just why washing
was not prescribed until many hours later, at evening, is not

     We can easily recreate the scene. When morning came, those
who experienced wet dreams during the night gathered at a
designated area outside the camp. Having to spend the whole day
out there, some probably made it a time for telling jokes or
sharing erotic details of their dreams. No doubt some
Soldiers "unclean" until sundown, welcomed a day off and may have
taken things into their own hands! Fraud, it seems, would be hard
to detect. Even an official penis inspector would have no way to
determine which cases were accidental or which were deliberate!

     According to a later Jewish belief, it was Lilith, a night
demon, who caused men to have wet dreams. Though often mentioned
in rabbinical literature, Lilith is mentioned only one time in
the Bible - in Isaiah 34:14 - where the King James Version has
substituted the word "screech owl." The accompanying illustration
shows a Jewish talisman used in Germany to ward off attacks of
Lilith on pregnant women.

     It is said that during the Middle Ages, a man who had a wet
dream was to rise at once and sing seven psalms and a further
thirty in the morning as penance. If a man fell asleep in church
and had a wet dream, he had to sing the entire psalter!

     But what was probably considered the greatest form of
"uncleaness" involved WOMEN - that discharge of blood known to us
as menstruation. reflecting certain primitivbe beliefs of the
time, Pliny stated that the touch of a menstruating woman would
turn wine into vinegar, blunt razors, rust iron, and cause mares
to miscarry. Even the shadow of a menstruating woman, was
believed, would cause flowers to wither, trees to perish, and
snakes to cease wiggling!

     According to primitive superstition, when a girl began
menstruating, she was "unclean" and should be separated from
others. In a district of New Guinea, daughters of chiefs were
kept indoors for two or three years, never being allowed to
descend from the house. Some tribes believed crops would fail if
a girl touched the ground in this condition. Among the Kolosh
Indians of Alaska, a girl was confined to a little hut for a
year. Later, in some places, the time for seclusion was reduced
to six months. Some were kept for a time in total darkness.
Various fasts and diets were prescribed for the uncleanness.
Among the Bribri Indians of Costa Rica, a menstruating woman was
allowed only banana leaves as plates for her food.

     Many such examples of menstruation taboos could be given.
But in keeping with our basic theme, our main inquiry will
concern those rules and regulations in the Bible itself. The
following is a summary of the details that are spelled out in
Leviticus 15:19-33:

     A menstruating woman must be put apart for seven days each
     month. If a man touches her, he becomes unclean. If she sits
     in a chair, it is unclean. If she lies on a bed, it is
     unclean. If a man touches her bed or chair, he is unclean
     until evening. If he has any kind of sexual contact with
     her, he is unclean seven days. If the woman bleeds more than
     seven days, she remains unclean as long as the condition
     continues. Eight days after her issue stops, she must take
     two turtle doves or two pigeons to the priest, explaining to
     him she has completed her menstrual cycle. The priest then
     kills one of the birds for a sin offering and burns the
     other one. By doing this he makes an "atonement" for her
     sin. Failure to comply with these instructions carries a
     severe penalty: death!

     If a man and a woman engaged in sexual intercourse during
menstruation, both were to be KILLED. "And if a man shall lie
with a woman having her sickness ... he hath discovered [margin:
made naked] her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of
her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their
people" (Leviticus 20:18).

("Cut off" does not automatically mean in every place used,
"death." It could mean isolated outside the camp of Israel -
Keith Hunt)

     A well known verse from Ezekiel says: "The soul that
sinneth, it shall die." Not so well known is the fact that one of
the sins specifically mentioned in the context is the sin of
coming "near to a menstruous woman" (Ezekiel 18:4-6).

(It would indeed seem that God does not want men to indulge in
sex during the woman's menstruous period, refraining from sex
during those days is put within a context of righteousness. As of
yet we may not know all the reasons for why God wants no sexual
relations during a woman's period, the flowing of such body
fluids may have scientific health reasons. We can certainly have
some ideas on this from how AIDS is spread, or commonly spead
today - Keith Hunt)

     There are people who claim to practice all the Bible says -
including the Old Testament law of "unclean" meats. But what
about the laws concerning "unclean" women? If these laws were
followed to the letter, a husband could not kiss his wife during
her menstruation, could not hold her hand, could not touch her in
any way lest he become unclean! A person would constantly have to
be careful about touching beds, chairs, or anything. In checking
into a motel room, one would have to ask if any of the maids who
made beds were menstruating! One would always be in doubt in a
public library that some menstruating woman might have just
handled a book. One would not eat at a restaurant lest the cook
or waitress be unclean! Were such regulations divine revelations
from Almighty God, or do they reflect mere tribal taboos of the

(They were divine commands, not the inventions of an Israelite
culture absed on tribal taboos. In the society of Israel such
laws could be applied, as they were a close-nit community. The
law of not touching a woman during her period, is a general
statement only. There was no law saying husband and wife had to
sleep in seperate beds. Such laws were to treach the Israelites
certain spiritual lessons. I cover much of this debate from
people in the studies called "Living by Every Word of God - How?"
on this Website - Keith Hunt) 

     After Jacob and Rachel left Padanaram, her father discovered
his "teraphim" images were missing. Catching up with the camel
train, he began to accuse them of stealing. "Now Rachel had taken
the images, and put them in the camel's furniture [saddle], and
sat upon them ... and she said to her father, Let it not
displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the
custom of women is upon me" (Genesis 31:34,35). To have even
touched the saddle would have rendered him unclean because of
Rachel's real (or pretended) condition.

     Some believe, and not without valid arguments, that these
teraphim were "phallic objects." We know that such were in use
throughout the ancient world as good luck charms and to avert the
evil eye. It is doubtful if any Hebrew woman would dare handle
images of this type while menstruating. And so, in the words of
Josephus, Rachel's father "left off searching any further, not
supposing that his daughter in such circumstances would approach
to those images."

     The obsession with menstruation has interwoven itself deeply
in Jewish history. The early Pharisees prohibited women's use of
ornaments or cosmetics during menstruation lest they appear
enticing to men. rashi, a well known Jewish commentator of the
eleventh century, would not hand the key of his house directly to
his wife during her menstrual period.

     The writer of "Pagan Rites in Judaism" mentions a visit to
the home of his grandparents when he was a child. After supper
his grandfather ordered his grandmother to leave the table. She
promptly left; it was rag time. They were Jewish. In the
illustration given here, drawn for a Jewish book in 1700, a man
is repulsed by the sight of the menstrual rag. 
     According to the Talmud, if a menstruating woman met a snake
on the road, all she would have to say is: "I am menstruating"
and it would glide hastily away. "Baaras," a root used by the
Jews to exorcise demons, was considered deadly unless "the urine
of a woman, or her menstrual blood, be poured upon it " Such
ideas clearly reflect the superstition that existed in the Jewish
mind regarding menstrual blood.

     At the time of Jesus, Samaritan women, from birth, were
considered as unclean as a menstruating woman! The Jews had "no
dealings with Samaritans" or as the margin of the "New
International Version" has it: Jews "do not use dishes Samaritans
have used." For Jesus to talk with the Samaritan woman at the
well, and to share the same drinking cup with her, boldly clashed
with the basic Jewish traditions of the time. Even the disciples
"marvelled that he talked with the woman" (John 4:9,27).

     The best known encounter of Jesus with the menstrual taboo,
however, was the healing of the woman who had suffered with an
issue of blood for twelve years. In seeking a cure, she had spent
all her money and "suffered many things of many physicians" (Mark
5:26). Considering the very primitive methods of treatment at the
time, a number of which are mentioned by Clarke, one can
understand the embarrassment, pain, and rejection this woman

     Realizing she was "unclean," she did not dare approach Jesus
directly, but came behind, reaching out to touch the hem of his
garment. Jesus sensed that someone had touched him in faith. "The
woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came
and fell down before him, and told him all the truth" (Mark
5:33). Such fear and trembling may have been due, at least in
part, to the belief forced upon every Jewish woman from childhood
- that she was unclean and her menstruation was a sign of sin.

     When the Biblical prophets wanted to describe something
detestable and unclean, they used the example of a menstruating
woman. Ezekiel said: "Their way was before me as the uncleanness
of a removed woman" (Ezekiel 36:17). Jeremiah spoke of Jerusalem
"as a menstruous woman" among the nations (Lamentations). In the
time of distress, other nations would of not pproach unto her to
help or comfort.

     Promises of forgiveness or cleansing for Jerusalem were
compared to a woman being washed after menstruation: "When the
Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion,
and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem.." (Isaiah 4:4). A
fountain to wash away the "uncleanness" was to be opened up for
the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Zechariah 13:1), uncleanness here
being the term used in other verses for menstruation (Strong's
Concordance, 1740,1739,5079). 

     Isaiah preached that the Israelites should cast away their
idols  "as a menstruous cloth" (Isaiah 30:22). Understanding the
Jewish taboo, this comparison made a weighty point. In our
culture, if a preacher told people to get rid of sin like they
would throw away a Kotex, the point would not be as strong.

     A guest speaker at a church began his message by mentioning
that many things today are co-copilot, coworker, costar, cohost,
etc. Having chosen two separate verses for his text, he announced
he was using a text and a cotext. Not realizing that it sounded
like he said "Kotex," he looked confused as laughter rippled
through the crowd!

     Preachers have often used a text from Isaiah about self
righteousness being as "filthy rags," usually not realizing what
kind of rags Isaiah meant! "But we are all as an unclean thing,
and all our righteousnesses are as FILTHY RAGS" (Isaiah 64:6).
These rags were those used by women during menstruation - for the
"menstrual flux" (Strong's Concordance, 5708).  

     Clarke gives an interesting reading of this text from an old
MS. Bible: "And we ben made as unclene alle we: and as the cloth
of the woman rooten blode flowing, all our rigtwisnesse." It is
old English, but the meaning is clear. To this Clarke adds: "If
preachers knew properly the meaning of this word, would they make
such a liberal use of it in their public ministry? How many blush
in the congregation for the incautious man and his `filthy


To be continued with "Baal in the Bathroom" 

For a full study and understanding of all these physical laws
given to Israel, the reader is asked to study "Living by Every
Word of God - How?" on this Website - Keith Hunt.

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