A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Is God gender biased? Does the Bible warn against men’s sexual sins more than women’s?

Does Scripture indicate that MEN are more prone to sexual sin than WOMEN? The sexual sins of both sexes are recounted in the Bible.  Is God pointing the finger at one sex in particular?

Gustave Dore: The Woman Taken in Adultery

For those who are stuck in the sinkhole of sexual immorality, I urge you to read to the bottom of this post where I give a link to a sermon by Ps Liam Goligher that may help you.

This post extends what I wrote in a comment at Relationship Abuse: The Short Story.  I’ve added material about Lot’s daughters and the consequences of their sexual sins. And the adulterous woman whom the Pharisees brought before Jesus.

Passages that describe and even-handedly condemn men’s and women’s sexual sins

1 Cor 7:1-5   As for the things you wrote to me about: it is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his wife, and let every woman have her husband. Let the man give due affection to his wife; likewise also the wife to the man. The wife does not have right over her own body, but the husband, and likewise the husband does not have right over his own body, but the wife. Do not withdraw yourselves one from another, unless it be with consent for a time to give yourselves to fasting and prayer. And afterward, come again to the same thing, lest Satan tempt you through your lack of self control.

Romans 1:26-27   For this cause God gave them up to shameful lusts. For even their women turned from the natural way to the unnatural. And likewise also the men left the natural way with a woman, and burned in their lusts for one another. And man with man wrought uncleanness, and received in themselves the reward of their error accordingly.

Deut 22:22-23   If a man is discovered having sexual relations with another man’s wife, both the man who had sex with the woman and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel. If there is a young woman who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man encounters her in the city and has sex with her, you must take the two of them out to the gate of that city and stone them to death—the young woman because she did not cry out in the city and the man because he has violated his neighbor’s fiancée. You must purge the evil from you.

Some Christians who are victims of rape are disturbed by these ^ verses because they seem to be saying, “If you didn’t cry out when you were being raped, you are guilty!”  Here is my post which addresses that perplexity. She did not cry out while being raped … so is she guilty?

It helps to realise that victims of abuse always resist the abuse. Victims resist abuse in prudent, determined and creative ways. One survivor told me she had a nightmare which encapsulated multiple simultaneous flashbacks of sexual abuse. She was shocked awake…screaming in her mind, not out loud. Screaming in your mind when it’s not safe to scream out loud is one way of resisting the abuse.

Lev 18:23   You are not to have sexual intercourse with any animal, defiling yourself with it; a woman is not to present herself to an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion.

Lev 20:15-16   If a man has sexual intercourse with an animal, he must be put to death; you are also to kill the animal. If a woman comes near any animal and mates with it, you are to kill the woman and the animal. They must be put to death; their own blood is on them.

Passages which focus on women’s sexual sins

There are three passages in the Bible which particularly focus on women’s sexual sins.
1. Lot’s daughters intentionally committed incest with their father.
2. Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, and when Joseph fled from her advances she got him sent to jail for ‘attempted rape’.
3. In the early days of Christianity, a woman named Jezebel seduced believers to practice sexual immorality and eat food sacrificed to idols.

Lot’s Daughters  Gen 19:30-38   Lot departed from Zoar and lived in the mountains along with his two daughters, because he was afraid to live in Zoar. Instead, he and his two daughters lived in a cave. Then the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man in the land to sleep with us as is the custom of all the land. Come, let’s get our father to drink wine so that we can sleep with him and preserve our father’s line.” So they got their father to drink wine that night, and the firstborn came and slept with her father; he did not know when she lay down or when she got up.

The next day the firstborn said to the younger, “Look, I slept with my father last night. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight so you can go sleep with him and we can preserve our father’s line.” That night they again got their father to drink wine, and the younger went and slept with him; he did not know when she lay down or when she got up.

So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. The firstborn gave birth to a son and named him Moab. He is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger also gave birth to a son, and she named him Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites of today.

Side note: The sexual immorality of Lot’s daughters caused big problems for the nation of Israel. Lot’s daughters gave birth to Moab and Ammon.  Psalm 106 tells us that the Moabites and Ammonites practiced child sacrifice:
Ps 106:34-39  They did not destroy the peoples as the Lord had commanded them but mingled with the nations and adopted their ways. They served their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood – the blood of their sons and daughters whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; so the land became polluted with blood. They defiled themselves by their actions and prostituted themselves by their deeds.

Potiphar’s wife  Gen 19:6b-18   Now Joseph was well-built and handsome. After some time his master’s wife looked longingly at Joseph and said, “Sleep with me.”

But he refused. “Look,” he said to his master’s wife, “with me here my master does not concern himself with anything in his house, and he has put all that he owns under my authority. No one in this house is greater than I am. He has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. So how could I do such a great evil and sin against God?”

Although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her. Now one day he went into the house to do his work, and none of the household servants were there. She grabbed him by his garment and said, “Sleep with me!” But leaving his garment in her hand, he escaped and ran outside. When she saw that he had left his garment with her and had run outside, she called the household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “my husband brought a Hebrew man to make fools of us. He came to me so he could sleep with me, and I screamed as loud as I could. When he heard me screaming for help, he left his garment with me and ran outside.”

She put Joseph’s garment beside her until his master came home. Then she told him the same story: “The Hebrew slave you brought to us came to make a fool of me, but when I screamed for help, he left his garment with me and ran outside.”

Jezebel  Rev 2:20   But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

Side note: The “food sacrificed to idols” was flesh. Whether it was the flesh of animals or humans is not stated in Revelation chapter 2. But since Psalm 106 tells us that the Moabites and Ammonites practiced child sacrifice, we can’t rule out the possibility that Jezebel was encouraging believers to practice child sacrifice and eat the flesh of the murdered children.

Passages which focus on men’s sexual sins

1 Cor 6:9-10   Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived. For neither fornicators, nor worshippers of images, nor whoremongers, nor effeminates, nor abusers of themselves with the male sex, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor cursed speakers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Matt 5:27-28  You have heard how it was said to the people of the old time, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whosoever looks on a wife, lusting after her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Lev 20:13   If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed a detestable thing. They must be put to death; their blood is on their own hands.

1 Cor 5:1   There is a report abroad that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not once named among the Gentiles: that a man should have his father’s wife.

Numbers 25:1-5  While Israel was staying in the Acacia Grove, the people began to have sexual relations with the women of Moab. The women invited them to the sacrifices for their gods, and the people ate and bowed in worship to their gods. So Israel aligned itself with Baal of Peor, and the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the Lord so that His burning anger may turn away from Israel.”  So Moses told Israel’s judges, “Kill each of the men who aligned themselves with Baal of Peor.”

Deut 22:25-27   But if the man encounters an engaged woman in the open country, and he seizes and rapes her, only the man who raped her must die. Do nothing to the young woman, because she is not guilty of an offense deserving death. This case is just like one in which a man attacks his neighbor and murders him. When he found her in the field, the engaged woman cried out, but there was no one to rescue her.

John 8:1-11   And the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman caught in adultery, and set her in the midst, and said to him, Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, even in the act. Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned. What therefore do you say?

And they said this to bait him, to have something to accuse him of.

Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground. And while they continued asking him, he lifted himself up and said to them, Let him who is without sin among you, cast the first stone at her. And again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

And as soon as they heard that, they went out one by one, the eldest first. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the centre. When Jesus lifted up himself again and saw no one but the woman, he said to her, Woman, where are they, your accusers? Has no one condemned you? She said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.

I believe this story points to the sexual sins of men far more than the sexual sins of women. The Pharisees claimed they caught the woman in the very act of adultery, but they did not bring the adulterous man to Jesus along with her. Who knows: it could have been one of those very Pharisees who committed adultery with her! They could have schemed together to set her up. We know they wanted to trap Jesus between a rock and a hard place so they could accuse him. To them, the woman was merely a pawn. Jesus’ calm, dignified and needle-sharp question to the men caused them all to slink away.

The big one. Chapter 18 in Leviticus spells out the forbidden degrees of kinship.

I encourage you to read this next passage of Scripture slowly, and as you do, think about your friends, relations and cyber friends. So much incest has been done by abusers. My heart goes out to all victims of incest.

Lev 18:6-19  This is a long passage so I’ve formatted the commands in bullet points.

  • You are not to come near any close relative for sexual intercourse; I am Yahweh.
  • You are not to shame your father by having sex with your mother. She is your mother; you must not have sexual intercourse with her.
  • You are not to have sex with your father’s wife; it will shame your father.
  • You are not to have sexual intercourse with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s, whether born at home or born elsewhere. You are not to have sex with her.
  • You are not to have sexual intercourse with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter, because it will shame your family.
  • You are not to have sexual intercourse with your father’s wife’s daughter, who is adopted by your father; she is your sister.
  • You are not to have sexual intercourse with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative.
  • You are not to have sexual intercourse with your mother’s sister, for she is your mother’s close relative.
  • You are not to shame your father’s brother by coming near his wife to have sexual intercourse; she is your aunt.
  • You are not to have sexual intercourse with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; you are not to have sex with her.
  • You are not to have sexual intercourse with your brother’s wife; it will shame your brother.
  • You are not to have sexual intercourse with a woman and her daughter. [THIS FORBIDS FATHER-DAUGHTER INCEST]
  • You are not to marry her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter and have sex with her. They are close relatives; it is depraved.
  • You are not to marry a woman as a rival to her sister and have sexual intercourse with her during her sister’s lifetime.
  • You are not to come near a woman during her menstrual impurity to have sexual intercourse with her.

I think it’s significant that the warnings in Leviticus 18 are all written to men who might be tempted to have sex with their mother, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, daughter, daughter-in-law, grand-daughter, etc.

God seems to have thought it was important to command men to not commit these kinds of sexual sins. To me, that indicates God was implying that men initiate those kinds of sins more than women do.

Christians have traditionally interpreted the forbidden degrees as applying to both sexes.

Table of Kindred and Affinity, Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

Both men and women can fall into the sinkhole of pornography

A Journey Through the Pornography Sinkhole – by a man (Wendell)

When victims don’t look like victims: women burdened with sins and led astray by various passions – by a woman who used porn and is now recovering. Here is an excerpt from her story:

I developed a habit of using pornography soon after I was born-again, which piled shame on top of shame. The older neighbor man who abused me as a child exposed me to pornography at the age of five. Much of my anger stemmed from the embarrassment and self-hatred that I was a woman struggling with a man’s sin. (I’ve since learned that women are the fastest growing demographic who are getting into habitual use of pornography.)

With Confidence, Draw Near is a sermon by Dr Liam Goligher which may be helpful for anyone who is trying to break an addiction or mortify a besetting sin.

***

OT quotes are from the HCSB. NT from the NMB.
biblegateway.com has the HCSB and NMB online

Further reading

Sexual abuse in marriage – what should a Christian wife do?

The Unique Nature of Sexual Intimacy Makes its Abuse Uniquely Destructive

The Bible’s view on premarital sex – is the remedy always “get married”?

Pornography as a Fuel for Abuse

The Lord shielded not my eyes but my soul from the filth on the screen

 

 

17 Comments

  1. Finding Answers

    An observation to consider on the woman in the city who did not cry out: Perhaps the woman’s inability to cry out (communicate) did not stem from any of the reasons mentioned in the original post.

    • Good observation, Finding Answers. There could be many reasons the woman was unable to cry out.

    • Helovesme

      Finding Answers absolutely.

      I won’t list out the possible yet potentially triggering options as to why this might be the case.

      But truly—and I say this with all gentleness to anyone who would dare to blame someone for not crying out—–no sarcasm intended—-use the brain that God gave you, and beyond that, and applicable to believers—-use the Holy Spirit He so generously gives you.

      Does anyone, while using one or both of those resources—-really think that God meant that only if a woman cries out, it’s a crime and a sin?

      The flip side is suggesting that if she doesn’t cry out—–it really wasn’t non-consensual, now was it?

      Ever been in situations where you TRY to scream, and nothing comes out because fear and terror have closed up your throat?

  2. Gany T.

    The last link listed in the post (The Lord shielded not my eyes, but my soul from the filth on the screen), although gut wrenching in the depravity it deals with, is powerful in recounting God’s strength in dealing with it.

  3. Gany T.

    Perhaps a bit tangential to the main topic of this post, but this caught my eye:

    The original post said
    Jezebel Rev 2:20 …Side note: The “food sacrificed to idols” was flesh. Whether it was the flesh of animals or humans is not stated in Revelation chapter 2. But since Psalm 106 tells us that the Moabites and Ammonites practiced child sacrifice, we can’t rule out the possibility that Jezebel was encouraging believers to practice child sacrifice and eat the flesh of the murdered children. [Bold and italics mine]

    Thank you for this note, as it helps me better understand the NT’s oft-mentioned ‘food sacrificed to idols.’ Idolatry was the norm for all nations except Israel in OT times and was still going strong in NT times. I’ve come to see that literal, real idolatry is still being widely practiced in our time, and not only in remote or Third World countries. (One example: I was shocked when a 20-something clerk at a store casually mentioned that she is, quote “a pagan,” and was preparing her (authentic, creepy) costume for Samhein, known as Halloween to most of us. And I live in the conservative, Bible Belt of America!)

    I read Rev. Chapter 2 just hours before this post was published, and reflected on this particular false/evil teaching held by some of those in the church. A few verses earlier (2:14) the doctrine of Balaam is also called out, which also included food sacrificed to idols. The passage doesn’t seem – to me – to clarify if the presence of these ‘Balaam-like’ idol worshipers in the church was open/publicly known, or if they were perhaps hiding among the congregation disguising themselves as genuine believers, while actually being secret idol worshippers outside of church gatherings. I’m not sure.

    The incident of Balaam is dated at approximately 1407 BC; Christ’s earthly ministry and ascension, and the massive wave of evangelism of the new church and into the Book of Revelation were many centuries later. Hence this ancient, (idol/demon-worshipping), sexually immoral, and violent religion was STILL being practiced all those centuries later. It didn’t die away with ‘modernity’, ‘advanced civilizations’, or different cultures or even the birth and growth of the Church.

    A Google search of ‘ancient religions practiced today’ reveals a surge in idolatry (sometimes with a few tweaks to the original style) being practiced in our contemporary, “enlightened” day. Those are the ones which are public; it doesn’t include those religions and practices which are kept quite secret, such as some which are now being leaked by survivors of ritualistic/extreme abuse or believers who formerly were members of those groups. It’s clear that some practices of unsaved humanity are timeless. Thanks, again, for the note on ‘food sacrificed to idols.’

  4. Anon61

    Hosea 4:14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the harlot nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery, for [the fathers and husbands] themselves go aside in order to be alone with women who prostitute themselves for gain, and they sacrifice at the altar with dedicated harlots [who surrender their chastity in honor of the goddess]. Therefore the people without understanding shall stumble and fall and come to ruin.

    Just studied this one today!!!!!!

    • Thanks Anon61, this Hosea scripture is another one I could have included in the post. Which of these subheadings do you think it would best go under?
      — Passages that describe and even-handedly condemn men’s and women’s sexual sins
      — Passages which focus on women’s sexual sins
      — Passages which focus on men’s sexual sins

      • Anon61

        I believe, like Leviticus, it speaks of men being the initiators of the sexual sin toward daughters and daughters in law, and they [the daughters and daughters in law] are without fault. But temple prostitutes are different. They were in willful rebellion against God through idolatry worship and witchcraft, rather than an oppressed woman who has no other means to survive. Prostitutes such as Rahab, mentioned in Hebrews Hall of Faith, could possibly not have chosen her profession since it was a shameful thing. She could’ve been forced into it by her family or situation. I suppose a temple prostitute could’ve started out that way and digressed.

        Hosea 4:2-3
        “Because there is no faithfulness, kindness, or knowledge of God, there is cursing, lying, murder, stealing, adultery, violence, and bloodshed after bloodshed. Therefore, the land mourns, and EVERYONE who lives in it languishes, along with the beasts of the field, the birds of the sky, and the fishes in the sea disappear.”

        LANGUISH: to lack vitality, grow weak or feeble; to suffer from being forced to remain in an unpleasant place or situation. Decay, rot, wither away, waste away.

        So the LIE that we’ve been told in the Church is that you can live your life with Jesus and not let others affect you, and NO ONE can make you sin.

        So I began to study that, and all throughout the OT, God talks about how leaders in charge “caused My people to sin.”

  5. Helovesme

    I tend to get a bit defensive on Barb’s behalf even before someone might try to misinterpret her words.

    “To me, that indicates God was implying that men initiate those kinds of sins more than women do.”

    People on this site are usually conversational, not combative. But I feel compelled to make it clear—–Barb isn’t saying that men are more sinful than women. Or that men are sex-crazed and have little more than sex on their brains. That they are natural predators and are always on the lookout for someone (or something) to prey on.

    As I read it, she is saying that they can more often be tempted to and have more opportunities to commit certain sins, without excluding women entirely of course.

    The “opportunities” insertion is important. Men have tended to be in authority over others, put in positions of power and are often assumed to be deserving of such responsibilities based more on their gender and less on the content of their character.

    When I was being abused (not sexually), I very much recall the helplessness I felt. I had no control, no way out, and no way to make it stop. I was and am still female, and I got the message that this was my lot in life, because of that.

    This is a sticky subject all around, and even when handled with care as Barb strives to do, I’ve noticed that it can easily provoke the exact opposite reactions she was aiming for.

  6. Kind of Anonymous

    I remember reading something about an archeological find that bore Jezebel’s inscription and seal. Apparently she used aborted fetuses as part of her beauty regimen and the clay jars that contained them were inscribed with “These make me tender and beautiful” or something like that. Whether she used them by direct application or it was some kind of occult practice related to a form of sacrifice I don’t know. But from the sounds of it, she was indeed a very entitled and wicked person. It puts me in mind of something Jeff Crippen said once about how victims have to guard against becoming abusive themselves. It would certainly seem that this is happened to her on a grand scale. And is quite possibly why God says of the Jezebel in Revelation that He gave her space to repent. He knew how she got there and was willing to forgive her if she would turn to Him and admit that she had gone badly astray.

    • Hi Kind of Anonymous, if you could find a reliable link which talks about that archeological find, please can you email me the link? Thanks. I believe you already have my email address but it’s in the ABOUT tab in the menu if you need to find it again.

  7. Kind of Anonymous

    Sure, I will look it up and send it along.

  8. Kind of Anonymous

    Hi Barb, I am looking for that link but am just finding references to it without biblio, arrrghh. Will keep looking

    • Any reference you find that you sense is reliable, even if it has no biblio, is okay.

  9. Kind of Anonymous

    Hi Barb, I was able to find where the reference came from. It is quoted in a number of articles on deliverance esp. the Jezebel spirit.

    Archaeologists discovered what they believed to be the palace of Jezebel, the chief priestess of the cult of Ashtoreth – in the walls of Jezebel’s palace were found jars of infant remains – the jars contained the inscription: “These make me tender and delicate” (Halley’s Bible Handbook)

    • Thanks! I am going to look at Halley’s Bible Handbook to read that passage for myself.

      It is worth remembering that Queen Jezebel in the OT and the Jezebel in the NT were not the same woman.

      The Jezebel in Revelation is described as “teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.”

      Queen Jezebel who features in the story of Abah and Elijah in 1 Kings is described as doing the following sins:
      Murder and threats of murder of God’s prophets (1 Kings 18:4; 19:2); seeking revenge (1 Kings 19:2); conspiracy, theft, murder and suborning perjury in the incident concerning Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21); sexual immorality and witchcraft (2 Kings 9:21). I cribbed that list from this post by Wendell: Jezebel as a picture of abuse.

      If Halley’s Bible Handbook is correct in reporting that archaeological find, and if it really was the palace of the Queen Jezebel from 1 Kings, then it is possible — and probably likely — that Queen Jezebel was practising child sacrifice as part of her evildoing.

  10. Finding Answers

    EVERY time I have read the original post and the comments it generated, I have (unintentionally) combined two ideas: eating food sacrificed to idols and practicing child sacrifice.

    Combining parts of the two ideas, I came up with children sacrificed to idols, though the “idols” to which the children are sacrificed are not (necessarily) a literal, physical idol.

    Children can (figuratively) be sacrificed to “idols” in a multitude of ways, from “keeping up family appearances” to “following in mummy’s or daddy’s footsteps” to “family comes first”, (etc.).

    I do not think God would be gender biased with ANY kind of child sacrifice.

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