Sunday, December 28, 2014

The 7th Commandment

The seventh out of Ten Commandment speaks about "adultery". Lets take a look:

‎Exodus 20:14 ‏לֹ֣֖א תִּֿנְאָֽ֑ף׃ ס

The traditional interpretation of  "lo-tinaph" is "Thou shalt not commit adultery.". However, this is an incorrect or rather sloppy definition of the Hebrew word. In reality, the text is saying this:

"Not you shall commit sexual perversion"

Such translation is based on Leviticus 20:10.

If you will look closer at Leviticus 20:10, you will notice that it provides a clarification about the word. As you can see from this verse, if "tinaph" equal "adultery" there would be no need to specify that it is "with a woman of a man" or "with a woman of his associate". In other words, it is clear from this passage that "tinaph" can be committed in other ways than "with a woman of a man". Also, from last two words of this passage (hano'ef vehano'afet) it is clear that "tinaph" can be committed by both man and a woman, which implies "sexual perversion" rather than "adultery", because a man sleeping with another woman is not always considered "adultery" under Torah Law (see Exodus 22:16, Leviticus 19:20)

Jewish Commentaries such as Sforno suggest that the Ten Commandments also signify categories that encompass the entirety of the commandments; thus, the specific commandment was "don't do ne'ifa", but the philosophical category from that illustration is intended to cover all prohibited sexual relations.

Chizkuni and Ibn Ezra says it refers to any prohibited sexual relations(All these sources are in their commentaries on this verse.)

Here is the proper translation of Leviticus 20:10 so you can get a better idea of what I am talking about:
"And a man who commits sexual perversion with a wife of a man--who commits sexual perversion with a wife of his associate--to die shall die the Sexual Pervert and the Sexual Pervertess."
Last, but not least, the 10 Commandments is a "compressed" Torah of sorts (see Ex 34:28, Deut 4:13 and Deut 10:4) which must account for all other commandments in the Torah. And since Torah talks about numerous sexual deviances (such as incest, homosexuality, bestiality, e.t.c) there is no other choice but to understand that "lo tinaph" = "not you shall commit sexual perversion".


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