|<< Leviticus 18 >>|
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God.
I am, the Lord your God - The frequent repetition of this formula in these parts of the Law may be intended to keep the Israelites in mind of their covenant with Yahweh in connection with the common affairs of life, in which they might be tempted to look at legal restrictions in a mere secular light.
3After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.
See the Leviticus 18:24-30 note.
4Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.
5Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.
If a man keeps the "statutes" (i. e. the ordinances of Leviticus 18:4) and "judgments" of the divine law, he shall not be "cut off from his people" (compare Leviticus 18:29), he shall gain true life, the life which connects him with Yahweh through his obedience. See the margin reference and Luke 10:28; Romans 10:5; Galatians 3:12.
6None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.
Near of kin - See the margin. The term was evidently used to denote those only who came within certain limits of consanguinity, together with those who by affinity were regarded in the same relationship.
To uncover their nakedness - i. e. to have sexual intercourse. The immediate object of this law was to forbid incest.
7The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
Or - It might be rendered "and", or rather, even; that is, which belongs to both parents as being "one flesh" (Genesis 2:24; compare Leviticus 18:8, Leviticus 18:14). These prohibitions are addressed to men.
8The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness.
Compare the case of Reuben, Genesis 49:3-4. See 1 Corinthians 5:1.
9The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.
Thy sister - What was here spoken of was the distinguishing offence of the Egyptians.
10The nakedness of thy son's daughter, or of thy daughter's daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness.
11The nakedness of thy father's wife's daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
12Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's sister: she is thy father's near kinswoman.
Thy father's sister - The instance of Amram and Jochebed Exodus 6:20 seems to show that marriage with an aunt was not considered wrong by the Israelites when they were in Egypt.
13Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister: for she is thy mother's near kinswoman.
14Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.
15Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son's wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
16Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness.
Thy brother's wife - That is, if she had children. See Deuteronomy 25:5. The law here expressed was broken by Antipas in his connection with Herodias Matthew 14:3-4.
17Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son's daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness.
18Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.
To vex her - literally, to "bind" or "pack together". The Jewish commentators illustrate this by the example of Leah and Rachel Genesis 29:30.
19Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.
20Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her.
21And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.
Molech - See the note at Leviticus 20:2-5.
22Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
23Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
24Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
The land designed and consecrated for His people by Yahweh Leviticus 25:23 is here impersonated, and represented as vomiting forth its present inhabitants, in consequence of their indulgence in the abominations that have been mentioned. The iniquity of the Canaanites was now full. See Genesis 15:16; compare Isaiah 24:1-6. The Israelites in this place, and throughout the chapter, are exhorted to a pure and holy life, on the ground that Yahweh, the Holy One, is their God and that they are His people. Compare Leviticus 19:2. It is upon this high sanction that they are peremptorily forbidden to defile themselves with the pollutions of the pagan. The only punishment here pronounced upon individual transgressors is, that they shall "bear their iniquity" and be "cut off from among their people." We must understand this latter phrase as expressing an "ipso facto" excommunication or outlawry, the divine Law pronouncing on the offender an immediate forfeiture of the privileges which belonged to him as one of the people in covenant with Yahweh. See Exodus 31:14 note. The course which the Law here takes seems to be first to appeal to the conscience of the individual man on the ground of his relation to Yahweh, and then Leviticus 20 to enact such penalties as the order of the state required, and as represented the collective conscience of the nation put into operation.
25And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.
26Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:
27(For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;)
28That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.
29For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
30Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.