Leviticus 20:13 "'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

An in-depth look at the laws handed down to the Jews in the Sinai desert reveals a subtle beauty to their purpose and effect. Careful study shows each of these laws accomplishes at least one of three things:

  1. preserves Jewish national identity (as Yaweh’s chosen people)
  2. establishes societal norms
  3. promotes procreation within the patriarchal framework

It’s easy to see how the prohibition against homosexuality fits right in.

The surrounding nations (Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites) didn't find homosexuality nearly so detestable as the Israelites did, so by making male-male sex an abomination in Jewish culture, it certainly set them apart.

The law also solidified societal and sexual norms for the Hebrew community. For Israelites, sexual intercourse was only acceptable when it was between a man and a woman — with other restrictions. A man’s sisters, mother, step-mothers, for example, were are off limits.

Lastly, these laws were put in place when Israel was young. The new Hebrew nation needed massive yet orderly growth to acquire and maintain both military and economic power. Theirs was a patriarchal society, where males held the power and where power, wealth, and status passed from father to son. So, men had to procreate feverishly and having romantic, sexual intercourse with other males would in no way further that goal. Prohibiting male-male sexual relationships worked to promote procreation.