Narrative, Shem and Japheth were blessed for coming to the defense of their father's honor. Instead of joining Ham in
his boasting, they reverently covered their dad's shame.281
189. Exodus 20:26--The Priest's nakedness wasn't to be exposed because it would create dissonance
between his social function, in which he was to be seen as sexually impartial, and his biological status as a sexual being.
The Priest's costume represented his social role; to be exposed in that circumstance would be improper and
Rita Poretsky writes: "Personhood, original sexual energy, and physical nakedness might be either in
synchrony with social institutions or in disharmony. . . . Nakedness is a nakedness of self in a social context, not simply
a nakedness of body." 283 On the flip side, it was quite appropriate for David to dance essentially nude in public
to celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant (II Samuel 6:14-23).
190. Leviticus 18:6-19--Here and throughout the Old Testament and Torah, the manifestation "uncover the
nakedness of" (as it is literally translated in the King James Version) is a euphemism for "have sexual relations
with." The prohibitions don't refer to nudity per se.
191. I Samuel 19:23-24--Jewish prophets were generally nude--so generally that when Saul stripped off
his clothes and prophesied, no one considered his nakedness remarkable, but everyone immediately assumed that he
must be a prophet also.
192. II Samuel 6:14-23--King David danced nearly naked in the City of David to observe the return of the
ark, in full view of all the citizens of the city. Michal criticized his public nudity and was rebuffed.
King David was not strictly naked--he wore a "linen ephod," a sort of short apron or close-fitting, armless,
outer vest, extending at the most down to the hips. Ephods were part of the vestments worn by Jewish priests. They
193. Isaiah 20:2-3--God directly commanded Isaiah to loose the sackcloth from his hips, and he went naked
and barefoot for three years. The prophet Micah may have done the same thing (see Micah 1:8).
194. Song of Solomon repeatedly expresses thanks for the nude body.
195. Every Biblical association of nakedness with shame is in reference to a sin already committed. One
cannot hide from God behind literal or figurative clothing. All stand nude before sex on beach
. Nakedness cannot automatically be equated with sexual sin.
Linking nudity with sexual sin, to the exclusion of all else, makes as much sense as insisting that fire can
Just be associated to the destruction of property and life, and is therefore wrong. Sin comes not from nakedness,
but from how the state of nakedness is used. Ian Barbour writes: "No aspect of man is evil in itself, but just in its
misuse. The inherent good of the material arrangement, in which man's being completely participates, is, as we shall see, a
corollary of the doctrine of development." 287
Pope John Paul II agrees that nudity, in and of itself, isn't sinful. "The body in itself constantly has its
own inalienable human dignity," he says. It is just obscene when it is reduced to "an item of 'enjoyment,' meant
for the gratification of concupiscence itself." 288
197. Nakedness cannot automatically be related to lust. check it
's not practical to cover the apples in the marketplace simply because someone might may be tempted by
gluttony, nor is it required to ban money because someone might be overcome by greed. Nor is it sensible to prohibit
nudity, simply because somebody may be tempted to lust. Furthermore, appreciation for the beauty of a member
of the other sex, nude or otherwise, cannot be equated automatically with lust. Just if desire is added does
Thanks become lust, and for that reason sin. Even then, it is the one who lusts, not the target of lust, who has sinned.
Bathesheba was never rebuked for bathing, but David for lusting (II Samuel 11:2-12:12). Pope John Paul II writes:
"There are conditions in which nakedness isn't immodest. If someone takes advantage of this kind of occasion to
treat the person as an item of enjoyment (even if his action is just internal) it's only he who is guilty of
shamelessness . . . not the other." 289 Margaret Miles finds that "