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Leviticus 20

Law against sacrificing children to Moloch, Of children that curse their parents. (1-9) Laws repeated, Holiness enjoined. (10-27)

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Law against sacrificing children to Moloch, Of children that curse their parents

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Again, 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.

3 And 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.

4 And 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:

5 Then 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.

6 And 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.

7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.

8 And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.

9 For 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.

Laws repeated, Holiness enjoined

10 And 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.

11 And 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.

12 And 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.

13 If 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.

14 And 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.

15 And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.

16 And 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.

17 And 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.

18 And 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.

19 And 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.

20 And 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.

21 And 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.

22 Ye 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.

23 And 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.

24 But 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.

25 Ye 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.

26 And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.

27 A 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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Moloch. See C. xviii. 21.

Ver. 3. I will thus execute vengeance upon him by the hands of his people; and, in case they neglect it, or the crime be secret, I will surely punish the guilty person, and all who may have consented to his wickedness, v. 5. H. — Face: Chal. “wrath,” which manifests itself on the countenance. D.

Ver. 4. My commandment: Heb. “If the people hide their face not to see:” (C.) or Sept. “look over on purpose, and neglect the man who has given of his seed to the ruler.”

Ver. 6. Them. To have recourse to them, is to deal with the devil and commit idolatry. See C. xix. 31.

Ver. 8. Sanctify you, and order you to keep at a distance from the impure worship of other nations. H.

Ver. 9. Die. The Rabbins say, by being strangled, when nothing farther is added: but if the following addition be made, stoning is understood. But their authority is not of much weight, and is contradicted, v. 2. Stoning was the most usual method of putting to death in the days of Moses, and is commonly meant; or perhaps the judges might determine the mode of execution. — Upon him. He deserves to die. He can blame no other. See Matt. xvii. 25. C. — For greater infamy, the person to be stoned or hung, was stripped of his clothes. T. — The punishment of lapidation (v. 2) seems to be designed for the following times, as it was for adultery. Deut. xxii. 24. M. John. viii. 5.

Ver. 10. Adulteress. Philo (de Joseph.) says, whoever discovered a man in the very act, might kill him; and the Roman law allowed the same liberty, impune necato. But God requires a juridical process, and witnesses, as we see in the case of Susanna, (Dan. xiii.) and in that of the woman who was brought to our Saviour. One witness might authorize a person to put his wife away, and if he then retained her, he was esteemed a fool. Prov. xviii. 23. But more witnesses were requisite before she could be put to death. They put their hands on the heads of the guilty, thus taking their blood upon themselves, if they accused them wrongfully. Solon allowed the husband to kill the adulterer. The woman was not permitted to wear any ornaments, or to enter any temple afterwards. If she did, any one might tear her clothes, and beat, but not kill her.

Ver. 11. Father. See C. xviii. 8. It is supposed that the father was dead, otherwise the punishment would probably be greater than for adultery. The Sam. “with the wife of his father’s brother.” C.

Ver. 12. Crime. Heb. tebel, “confusion,” the same term which is used in speaking of bestiality, (C. xviii. 23,) though the latter crime be more enormous. H.

Ver. 14. Alive, is not in the original; but must be understood. The Rabbins say melted lead was to be poured down the throats of the guilty. The words of Moses seem rather to refer to external fire. C. — With them, if they both gave their consent to the crime. M.

Ver. 15. The beast also ye shall kill. The killing of the beast was for the greater horror of the crime, and to prevent the remembrance of such abomination. Ch. — The beast was to be killed with clubs; the man was stoned to death. Jonathan.

Ver. 16. Them. This monstrous abomination, teras, as Herodotus, an eye-witness calls it, was not unknown to the Egyptians. Gunaiki tragos emisgeto; (B. ii. 46,) nor to other nations. Apul. Met. 10.

Ver. 17. A crime. Heb. chesed, commonly signifies an act of piety or goodness, as if Moses intended to insinuate that such marriages were at first lawful. Thalmud. Seld. Jur. v. 8.) But a softer term is used to denote a great impiety, as the Hebrews say to bless, when they mean to curse, or to blaspheme; (C.) and the Greeks call the furies Eumenides, or “the good-natured.” — One another’s. Heb. “He hath uncovered his sister’s,” &c. Whether they saw what was indecent or not, if they admitted of any unlawful commerce, they were to be stoned to death. H.

Ver. 18. People, if the action become public; otherwise the man may be purified. C. xv. 24. This intemperance was by a positive law declared a mortal offence in the Jews, though in itself it might be venial. Sanchez ix. 21. The text shews that the woman here gives her consent. — And she open. Hence she deserves to die, for exposing herself and her children to great danger. H.

Ver. 19. Flesh, or relation. M.

Ver. 20. Children. The Sadducees read, “they shall die naked.” The present Heb. has simply, “they shall be without children;” their offspring shall be illegitimate. S. Aug. q. 76. God will not bless their marriage. “Such we know can have no children.” S. Greg. q. 6. S. Aug. Apost. Anglorum. The guilty shall be slain without delay. Grot. C.

Ver. 24. Honey. Most fertile and delicious. M.

Ver. 26. Mine. This is the reason of these different prescriptions, that they may know the dignity to which they have been raised, and may avoid the manners of the profane. C.

Ver. 27. Spirit. Heb. ob, means also a bottle. See C. xix. 31. If those who consult such people be guilty, the authors of the delusion deserve death still more. H. — The spirit of python is no other than the spirit of the devil, or of Apollo, who was called Pythius, on account of his having slain the serpent python. His oracles were in great request, as he was supposed to know the secrets of futurity. C.