‘Leviticus 18:22’ is a Christian hoax

The religion made up its favorite verse

Jonathan Poletti
I blog God.
Published in
5 min readFeb 24


For many Christians it’s the #1 Bible verse—the sacred words that center the religion. But Leviticus 18:22 has a problem you won’t hear about in church.

I’ve been going over a pile of papers by Bible scholars who say that the verse, in the Hebrew text, is very different from its English translations.

And with a male you shall not lie the beds of a woman

I don’t remember that Leviticus 18:22. I remember this one:

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman”

Midjourney (2023)

I read it again and again.

“And with a male you shall not lie the beds of a woman.”

What does “the beds of a woman” mean? I thought I knew a bit about the Bible, but I’m at a loss. The beds of a woman.

Do gay guys get into that? I learn new things all the time.

Many scholars have written about the mysteries of Leviticus 18:22. Renato Lings notes the Hebrew text is “so arcane that the entire verse becomes almost untranslatable.”

For a literal translation, he tries this:

“With (a) male you shall not lie (the) lyings (of a) woman”

The Hebrew scholar Jan Joosten offers this very literal translation:

“And-with a male not you-will-lie ‘lyings-of’ a woman”

Tamar Kamionkowski has this literal translation:

“You shall not lie the lying downs of a woman with a man, it is an abomination.”

The “lyings-of” is often thought to mean “beds.” Accepting this, the scholar Bruce Wells gives his literal translation:

“And with a male you shall not lie on the beds of a woman”

He adds: “Scholars have generally avoided this interpretation without saying exactly why.”

‘Leviticus 18:22’ guides much of Christianity.

The familiar translation is the basis of endless arguments, splits, wars of every kind. What everyone…