In Leviticus 21:1-4 God tells priests not to defile themselves with corpses. I really hope we’re not talking about necrophilia! Although, he does say it’s okay for a priest to defile himself with a corpse, provided it’s a close family member, like a mother or son. Okay, now I really hope we’re not talking about necrophilia!
But then, this appears to just be a translation issue. When the KJV says “defile” the NIV says, “make ceremonially unclean.” And putting this passage into context, it seems to be talking about the tradition of rending one’s garments and messing up one’s hair to mourn the dead, a common bereavement practice among the Israelites.
Which means that the authors are just reworking yet another commandment. Just like before when God said you shouldn’t cut yourself for the dead, now he’s saying you can’t mess up your appearance for the dead. He does offer a caveat for close kin including mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, and unmarried sisters. God explains that an unmarried sister is still dependent on a brother since she doesn’t have a husband. This is because in God’s perfect society, women are incapable of taking care of themselves.
God also explains that simply being related by marriage is not enough, so priests may not publicly mourn their in-laws, step-children, etc. Of course, wouldn’t that also apply to his wife? But even if it doesn’t, this commandment is incredibly heartless. God is forbidding priests from mourning their loved ones in the expected cultural tradition, and for what? Because he doesn’t want them to be unclean? Who cares? Oh right, if they’re magically unclean, they won’t be able to perform their magical duties as magical priests. The reality is, there is no magic, and the bible is preventing priests from dealing with tragedy in their own ways. How pathetic.