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Flame of Yahweh

Sexuality in the Old Testament

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Flame of Yahweh offers a thorough exploration of gender relationships and sexual activity in the Old Testament. Topics include sexuality in Eden, the elevation vs. the denigration of women, exclusivity vs. adultery and premarital sex, permanence vs. divorce and remarriage, intimacy vs. incest, and sexuality in the Song of Songs.

Written from a theologically conservative perspective, Richard Davidson provides a meticulously researched work that makes extensive use of other ancient Near Eastern documents on subjects ranging from homosexuality to gender relations. At the same time, the author offers clear explanations of terms and historical context that make the work accessible to the reader.


"This volume represents a most remarkable achievement. With encyclopedic breadth and extraordinary depth the author explores what the Old Testament has to say about every conceivable subject related to human sexuality. His discussions of the ancient Near Eastern cultural contexts, from which Old Testament writings emerged and to which they appear to have responded, are exceptional; and his treatment of specific biblical passages is generally balanced and thorough. Regardless of where readers find themselves in debates concerning sexual morality or gender relations, in the future all who embark on serious study of biblical perspectives on these issues would do well to start with Davidson's work. The bibliography alone takes up 140 pages!"

Daniel I. Block, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

The Author

  1. Richard M. Davidson

    Richard M. Davidson

    Richard M. Davidson is J. N. Andrews Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and chair of the Old Testament department at Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

    Continue reading about Richard M. Davidson


"Davidson presents a conservative perspective that explores the theology of sexuality in the final canonical form of the Old Testament. This compilation balances both the exegesis of specific passages and traces the development of sexuality throughout the many eras of Israelite history. . . . Davidson has produced an enormous volume dealing with every conceivable facet of human sexuality as it appears in the Old Testament. It is a rich resource that helps to situate the development of sexual practices in the Old Testament. A particular strength of this work is the continual comparison and contrast between the law codes of the ancient Near East and those of Israel. Although Davidson does not employ a feminist hermeneutic, he continually interacts and dialogues with feminist scholars. He outlines the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of views before advancing his own argument. Moreover, he makes an admirable effort to mediate between both liberal and conservative perspectives on gender relations. . . . Davidson has produced a useful volume detailing many areas of human sexuality in the Old Testament. The bibliography is more than extensive and provides a wealth of helpful information."--Journal of Hebrew Scriptures

"This study is encyclopedic, examining every passage in the Hebrew Bible that deals with human sexuality. Davidson is interested in the final or canonical form of the biblical text and employs synchronic methods of new literary criticism and new biblical theology. . . . The issues treated include various forms of marriage, heterosexuality and homosexuality, sex as part of cultic worship, procreativity, and rape. This is . . . a valuable resource to consult."--The Bible Today

"While the prose is scholarly in style, I have found both graduates and undergraduates without Hebrew language have appreciated chapters. Even a bright and curious teenager dipping into this book would find many burning questions tackled biblically. Davidson is to be commended for an OT biblical theology of sexuality which is fearless, deep, and comprehensive--almost encyclopaedic. With 142 pages of bibliography, it offers a rich mine of scholarly material. . . . In an age when culture-shaping sexual questions are often discussed everywhere except church . . . Davidson's work offers not only valuable biblical information but permission and example to encourage teachers and preachers. Church and society need this kind of grace-based biblical teaching on sexual issues, revealing God as the Source of all that is good and the Redeemer of love and sex, and calling people in a fast-changing culture to the timeless logic of biblical principles."--Journal of the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies

"This book is highly recommended to professors, pastors, family ministries personnel, and those interested in human sexuality."--Ministry

"From scholars whose methods and ideologies diverge from his own, Davidson repeatedly harvests points with which he can agree. Hence, this extensively researched study ([with] a bibliography of 142 pages) should prove valuable to a wide range of OT scholars."--The Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"Flame of Yahweh contains a mine of information about all questions of sexuality in the Old Testament. Davidson is aware of the different positions and views on this topic, and he enters into dialogue with other scholars, discusses the different views, and proposes his own solutions. . . . Davidson's work can be recommended for anyone interested in the biblical perspectives on sexuality."--Theoforum

"An ardent, authoritative survey of sexuality discovered in Old Testament Scriptures. . . . [Davidson] boldly asserts the teleological plan for sexuality from the Creator, traces the degeneration of sexuality after the Fall, and fortunately ends up on a positive note, verifying the beauty of sexuality as a holy union. . . . Flame of Yahweh fulfills a great need in the history of Old Testament scholarship."--Harvey E. Solganick, Southwestern Journal of Theology