[b-hebrew] Abraham, Sarah, Lot, etc.: Leviticus 18: 7

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Jan 1 15:12:51 EST 2008

Kenneth  Greifer:

You  wrote:  “Recently you said that  Leviticus 18:7 does not mean a daughter 
and father are not forbidden to each  other, but only a son and his parents 
are forbidden to each other. I assume it  is because the rule is given with 
"you" masculine singular. I asked you if that  is the same as in the ten 
commandments where it also uses "you" masculine  singular. Do you think women were 
allowed to break some of the ten commandments?  So far, you must have forgotten 
to answer me, or you didn't notice my  email.” 
    1.  You  also wrote recently that you have been unable to change my 
opinions about  anything.  I have little expertise  on Leviticus or the Ten 
Commandments.   So I am open to your insights on those  matters.
    1.  In  the Patriarchal narratives, no one ever asks what Rebekah’s 
religious views  are before she marries Isaac.   Ditto for Leah and Rachel before 
they marry Jacob.  Judah marries a non-relative, whose  religious views 
certainly could not have been monotheistic.  At least in the Patriarchal  narratives, 
this does not seem to be an issue.
By  stark contrast, each woman in the Patriarchal narratives is expected to 
do  whatever it may take to provide her man with a son, no matter what.  The 
one woman who fails to do that is  Lot’s wife, and Lot’s wife is the only woman 
in the entirety of the Patriarchal  narratives who is punished. 
But  on that score, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  Er’s 
sin must have been that he did not  make a concerted effort to sire a son by 
his wife Tamar.  Onan’s sin is certainly that, after the  death of his older 
brother Er, Onan did not make a good faith effort to sire a  son by Tamar on Er’
s behalf.  Both  Er and Onan promptly die. 
So  in the Patriarchal narratives, childbearing issues are more important 
than  traditional religious views, in terms of who gets divinely killed and who 
does  not. 
Moving  now to the relevant secular history, note that Akhenaten had no 
complaints about  Nefertiti’s religious views.  Rather, the crisis that Nefertiti 
caused Akhenaten was the fact that  Nefertiti never bore Akhenaten a son.  
Looking at Nefertiti’s age and the ages of the 6 daughters that she bore,  a 
reasonable assumption is that Nefertiti refused to get pregnant again after  
bearing her last two sickly daughters, on the grounds that being well into  middle 
age, Nefertiti’s chances of bearing a healthy male child at this point  were 
minimal, whereas having another pregnancy would almost certainly  significantly 
reduce her life expectancy.  Though to us moderns, that position of Nefertiti 
seems eminently  reasonable, Akhenaten would have thought of that as being 
essentially  treasonous.  Beloved Matriarch #1  Sarah righteously exemplifies the 
opposite childbearing view of a woman well  into middle age.  Lot’s wife,  
though, appears to be like Nefertiti on this critical issue, in my controversial 
 view of the case. 
Thus  both in the Patriarchal narratives and in secular history, what really 
counted  for the first historical monotheists was their women’s childbearing 
views, not  their women’s religious views narrowly defined.  In my 
controversial view, whatever was  of critical importance to Akhenaten in Years 14 and 15 
of his 17-year reign is  exactly what is invariably focused upon in the 
Patriarchal narratives.  And Akhenaten’s controversial, unpopular  actions are never 
castigated in the Patriarchal narratives, but rather are  consistently 
justified, believe it or not.  In my controversial view of the case, the first 
historical Hebrew  composed the Patriarchal narratives, and his immediate motive for 
doing so was  to rouse Akhenaten from Akhenaten’s terrible depression over 
Akhenaten’s  drastically deteriorating family situation, so that Akhenaten would 
not fail to  defend Canaan (and the new Hebrews) from being overrun by the 
dreaded  Hittites.  My controversial, unique  theory of the case seems to be 
able to explain all aspects of the Patriarchal  narratives, as far as I can see.  
But to the extent that you can poke holes in my analysis of the  Patriarchal 
narratives, I’m all ears. 
Since  the Patriarchal narratives consistently “march to the beat of a 
different  drummer”, it would not surprise me in the slightest if you demonstrated 
that all  the rest of the Bible has a very different viewpoint on the above 
3.  I never duck a question from anyone  about the Patriarchal narratives.  
But when you ask me whether I think the Ten Commandments apply to women  as 
well as men, you have ventured far outside my limited realm of  expertise.  Why 
don’t you post your  own thoughts, and then I will learn from you? 
Jim  Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois

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