Hidden Verses – Third Sunday Of Lent
These are not really hidden verses, they are plainly there in the Bible, but who is reading the Bible? Some just never turn up in the Catholic Lectionary or the Lectionary of other Denominations, some are hidden verses, because some part of them has been hidden by translation (see A Fail Grade to the Translators!)
So let us look at today’s reading in 1. Corinthians. Below it is quoted in three paragraphs, the middle paragraph being the one which is expressly taken out of the reading in the Lectionary:
1. Cor. 10: 1 to 6 & 10 to 12:  Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;  And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;  And did all eat the same spiritual meat;  And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.  But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.  Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
 Neither be ye idolaters, as [were] some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.  Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.  Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
So let us start with verse 6 which is not among the hidden verses. This speaks against the word lust which has in modern English Language a sexual connotation which the original Greek words have not. The first one, epithymetes, only occurs this once in the New Testament. It is a noun related to the second one, epithymeein, which means epi around and thymos, the soul or the spirit. So the word means be around something with your soul or spirit. This can be sex, but it does not have to be. It can be food, it can be a possession. The English expressions ‘to be covetous’ and ‘to be fain’ may be a good translation
Verses 7 to 9 are the hidden verses, the ones expressly left out of the Lectionary. Verse 7 refers to the people ‘playing’ in Ex. 32: 6. This is the chapter in which Aaron had made the golden calf.
Verse 25 says that the people were naked for this game. The Hebrew word for ‘playing’ is the same which was used when Abimelech looked out of a window and saw Isaac ‘sporting’ with Rebecca which made him realise that she was not his sister, but his woman in Gen. 26: 8. Ex. 32 is a very interesting chapter since this ‘play’ between adults was in honour of God, as can be seen from verse 5 in which Aaron proclaimed ‘a feast to the LORD’. So these sex games were the way the people worshipped God. Also in verse 4 the people said about the calf, ‘These [be] thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.’ It says gods, the Hebrew word is Elohim, which means the plural form. However, it nearly always says this word when the translation refers to God, e.g.: Gen. 1: 1, ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’ The word for God is in plural, literally meaning gods. The interpretation is that a plural majestatis is meant as when a king speaks of ‘us’ instead of ‘me’ or he is addressed as ‘your majesty’ in other languages with the word ‘your’ in plural form. In English plural and singular form of this word are identical.
In any event, the people had sex to worship God! This is explained in more detail in the chapter ‘Ecstasy’ in Greetings from Paradise.
So what was the sin? The sin was to have had made an image. It violated the second commandment, Ex. 20: 4 to 6. When Moses came down from the mountain, he went straight for the calf and destroyed it in Ex. 32: 20. And when he asked Aaron in the next verse, ‘What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?’, Aaron did not justify or try to excuse himself for the sex orgy in verses 22 to 24, but for having made the golden calf! Also in the last verse of the chapter, ‘…the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.’ The sex was not the offence. It is not only alright to have sex, but sex can be used to worship God!
1. Cor. 10: 8 warns against ‘fornication’. The Greek word for ‘commit fornication’ is porneuein, which means to take part in the porneia, a festival of physical love in Corinth (This is the first letter to the Corinthians!) similar to our Mardi Gras, the Love Parade or the Carnival in Rio. The porneia was in honour of Aphrodite Pornae, the heavenly harlot, and the Geographer Strabo who lived at the time of Christ wrote about Corinth that the Temple of Aphrodite, we would call it the brothel, was one of the major sources of income to the city. In particular, he wrote, that many captains who had made big profits in Corinth would squander all their takings in this temple and he said there was a saying, ‘The journey to Corinth is not for every man!’ The Apostle Paul warned the Corinthians, not to take part in the worship of a foreign goddess, since this would violate the First and Foremost Commandment. However three chapters earlier he recommended to avoid taking part in the porneia by having a woman of the congregation.
Sex is not forbidden in the Bible. As explained in Greetings from Paradise in the chapter ‘In the Beginning’ Sex is the Image of God in Gen. 1: 27. It was Sex what was on God’s mind when He ‘created mankind in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him (rather it, the male pronoun refers to mankind, since it is a word of male gender in Hebrew); male and female created he them.’
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.