Is there any reason behind why punishment differed in Leviticus 20:13 and 1 Kings 15:11-12? What's the context?

Leviticus 20:13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

1 Kings 15:11-12 And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as David his father had done. He put away the male cult prostitutes out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.

I saw this in Project Reason, saying it is a contradiction of how homosexuals should be treated. One states death and the other says removal out of the land.

2 Answers 2


Leviticus 20:13 mentions what should be done to Israelites under the Law of Moses. 1 Kings 15:11-12 mentions how a particular King ruled the nations of Israel. It seems from the context that there were some Canaanite idolatry temples within Israel, which practiced cult prostitution. 1 Kings 14:24 indicates that there was actually both male and female prostitutes. From what I know about these temples it is most probable that the prostitutes and the priests were not Israelites, so the law was not applicable to them. That the King forced them out of Israel seems to have been a move that God approved of.

It should be noted that there are many instances when people are congratulated in the Bible when they move in the 'direction of right', without actually going all the way. So even if this was incorrectly understood as a law that was to be applied to foreigners also, there is actually no contradiction in one person’s example being spoken well of, versus the actual prescription that should have been followed.


There are at least two possibilities. The first would be that when the Scriptures say he put them away, it might be referring to Asa's actual implementation of the prescribed Levitical punishment.

Another way to look at it is to divide the two statements. Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as David his father had done. He served the Lord with his whole heart and ruled with integrity. Then the writer goes on to indicate one of the other things he did, that is, to put away the male cult prostitutes.

If he did not implement the prescribed Levitical punishment, then he exhibited mercy, but still prevented the practice from continuing in Israel. Was it the letter of the law? No. Would he have been justified in God's sight if he had carried out the prescribed punishment? Yes. (Again, he may have actually carried out the prescribed punishment.)

However, even if he implemented a lesser sentence than what was prescribed, it's only a difference between prescription and practice. The prescription is not contradicted just because one person doesn't follow it.

He may have partially failed in this, but still overall did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. David himself committed adultery and murder, but he is still called a man after God's own heart--not because he never sinned, but that he repented greatly whenever he did and truly sought the Lord with all his heart.

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