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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
The crimes which are condemned in Leviticus 18; 19 on purely spiritual ground, have here special punishments allotted to them as offences against the well-being of the nation.
2Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
Molech, literally, "the King", called also Moloch, Milcom, and Malcham, was known in later times as "the abomination of the Ammonites" 1 Kings 11:5. He appears to have been the fire-god of the eastern nations; related to, and sometimes made identical with, Baal, the sun-god. The nature of the rite and of the impious custom called passing children through the fire to Molech is very doubtful. The practices appear to have been essentially connected with magical arts, probably also with unlawful lusts, and with some particular form of profane swearing. The rite in the time of Moses belonged to the region rather of magic than of definite idolatrous worship, and may have been practiced as a lustral charm, or fire-baptism, for the children of incest and adultery.
Stone him with stones - The commonest form of capital punishment. It was probably preferred as being the one in which the execution was the act of the whole congregation.
3And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
Defile my sanctuary - i. e. pollute the people as identified with their sanctuary.
4And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:
5Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.
6And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.
7Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
8And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.
9For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
10And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
11And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
12And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.
13If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
14And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.
The burning under the sentence of the Law took place after the death of the criminal by stoning, or strangling. Joshua 7:25.
15And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.
16And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
17And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.
Cut off ... - See Exodus 31:14 note. The more full expression here used probably refers to some special form of public excommunication, accompanied, it may be, by expulsion from the camp.
18And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
19And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister, nor of thy father's sister: for he uncovereth his near kin: they shall bear their iniquity.
20And if a man shall lie with his uncle's wife, he hath uncovered his uncle's nakedness: they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.
They shall die childless - Either the offspring should not be regarded as lawfully theirs, nor be entitled to any hereditary privileges, or they should have no blessing in their children.
21And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.
22Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out.
The ground is here again stated on which all these laws of holiness should be obeyed. See Leviticus 18:24-30 note.
23And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.
24But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people.
Compare the margin reference.
25Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.
The distinction between clean and unclean for the whole people, and not for any mere section of it, was one great typical mark of "the kingdom of priests, the holy nation." See the Leviticus 11:42 note.
Any manner of living thing that creepeth - Rather, any creeping thing; that is, any vermin. See Leviticus 11:20-23. The reference in this verse is to dead animals, not to the creatures when alive.
26And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.
27A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.