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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Leviticus 20



1Of him that gives of his seed to Moloch.
4Of him that favours such an one.
6Of going to wizards.
7Of sanctification.
9Of him that curses his parents.
10Of adultery.
11Of incest.
13Of sodomy.
15Of bestiality.
18Of uncleanness.
22Obedience is required with holiness.
27Wizards must be put to death.

Verse 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.
18:21; Deuteronomy 12:31; 18:10; 2 Kings 17:17; 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6; Psalms 106:38; Isaiah 57:5,6; Jeremiah 7:31; 32:35; Ezekiel 16:20,21; 20:26,31; 23:37,39; Acts 7:43
Molech. The Rabbins describe this idol as made of brass sitting upon a throne of the same metal, in the form of a man, with the head of a calf, adorned with a royal crown, and his arms extended as if to embrace any one. When they offered any children to him, they heated the statue by a great fire kindled within, and the victim was put into his arms, and thus consumed. Others relate, that the idol, which was hollow, was divided into seven compartments within; in one of which they put flour, in the second turtles, in the third a ewe, in the fourth a ram, in the fifth a calf, in the sixth an ox, and the seventh a child; which were all burnt together by heating the statue inside. The account which Diodorus (l. xx.) gives of the statue of Saturn, to which the Carthaginians, descendants of the Canaanites, sacrificed their children, is very similar. For they had a brazen stature of Saturn, stretching out his hands towards the ground, in such a manner that the children placed within them tumbled down into a pit full of fire. To this account Milton alludes, in Paradise Lost, B. 1. 392.
the people
27; 24:14,23; Numbers 15:35,36; Deuteronomy 13:10,11; 17:5-7; 21:21; Acts 7:58,59

Verse 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.
I will set
17:10; 1 Peter 3:12
to defile
Numbers 19:20; Ezekiel 5:11; 23:38,39
18:21; Ezekiel 20:39; 2 Corinthians 6:16

Verse 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:
Acts 17:30
and kill
Deuteronomy 13:8; 17:2-5; Joshua 7:12; 1 Samuel 3:13,14; 1 Kings 20:42; Revelation 2:14

Verse 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.
I will
against his
Exodus 20:5; Jeremiah 32:28-35,39
17:7; Psalms 106:39; Jeremiah 3:2; Hosea 2:5,13

Verse 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.
27; 19:26,31; Deuteronomy 18:10-14; Isaiah 8:19
Exodus 34:15,16; Numbers 15:39; Psalms 73:27; Ezekiel 6:9; Hosea 4:12
cut him
1 Chronicles 10:13,14; In the days of Moses, superstition was almost the {sensus communis} of the human race, which then made severe punishment necessary: by means of the Christian dispensation such errors are now exploded, the cultivation of philosophy and natural history having harmonised and contributed their feebler share of light, so that we no longer have to deplore mischiefs occasioned by the silly curiosity attempting to unfold future events.

Verse 7
Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
11:44; 19:2; Ephesians 1:4; Philippians 2:12,13; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:3,7; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15,16

Verse 8
And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.
And ye
18:4,5; 19:37; Matthew 5:19; 7:24; 12:50; John 13:17; James 1:22; Revelation 22:14
21:8; Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12; 37:28; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Verse 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.
The term yekallel signifies not only to curse, but to speak contemptuously, disrespectfully, or to make light of a person: so that all speeches which have a tendency to lessen our parents in the eyes of others, or to render their judgment, piety, etc., suspected or contemptible, is here included; though the act of cursing, or of treating the parent with injurious or opprobrious language, is what is particularly intended. He who conscientiously keeps the fifth commandment, can be in no danger of the judgment here denounced.
Exodus 21:17; Deuteronomy 27:16; Proverbs 20:20; 30:11,17; Matthew 15:4; Mark 7:10
his blood
11-13,16,27; Joshua 2:19; Judges 9:24; 2 Samuel 1:16; 1 Kings 2:32; Matthew 27:25

Verse 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.
the adulterer
Deuteronomy 22:22-24; 2 Samuel 12:13; Ezekiel 23:45-47; John 8:4,5

Verse 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.
18:8; Deuteronomy 27:20,23; Amos 2:7; 1 Corinthians 5:1

Verse 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.
18:15; Genesis 38:16,18; Deuteronomy 27:23

Verse 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.
18:22; Genesis 19:5; Deuteronomy 23:17; Judges 19:22; Romans 1:26,27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10; Jude 1:7

Verse 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.
a wife
18:17; Deuteronomy 27:23; Amos 2:7
21:9; Joshua 7:15,25

Verse 15
And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.
18:23; Exodus 22:19; Deuteronomy 27:21

Verse 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.
And if a woman
We are assured by Herodotus (in Euterp.) that the abominations here referred to existed among the Egyptians, and even formed part of their superstitious religious system, and we have reason to believe that they were not uncommon among the Canaanites. (See ch. 18:24, 25). Need we wonder then, that God should have made laws of this nature, and appointed the punishment of death for these crimes? This one observation will account for many of those strange prohibitions which we find in the Mosaic law.
and the beast
Exodus 19:13; 21:28,32; Hebrews 12:20

Verse 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.
18:9; Genesis 20:12; Deuteronomy 27:22; 2 Samuel 13:12; Ezekiel 22:11

Verse 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.
15:24; 18:19; Ezekiel 18:6; 22:10
Heb. made naked.

Verse 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.
18:12,13-30; Exodus 6:20

Verse 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.
uncle's wife
Job 18:19; Psalms 109:13; Jeremiah 22:30; Luke 1:7,25; 23:29

Verse 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.
his brother's
18:16; Matthew 14:3,4
an unclean thing
Heb. a separation.

Verse 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.
18:4,5,26; 19:37; Psalms 19:8-11; 105:45; 119:80,145,171; Ezekiel 36:27
Exodus 21:1; Deuteronomy 4:45; 5:1; Psalms 119:20,106,160,164,175; Isaiah 26:8,9
spue you
18:25-28; 26:33; Deuteronomy 28:25,26

Verse 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.
in the manners
18:3,24,30; Deuteronomy 12:30,31; Jeremiah 10:1,2
18:27; Deuteronomy 9:5; Psalms 78:59; Zechariah 11:8

Verse 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.
But I
See on
Exodus 3:8,17; 6:8
a land
Milk and honey were the chief dainties of the ancients as they are now among the Arabs, particularly the Bedouins. Hence not only the Hebrews, but also the Greeks and Romans, painted the highest pleasantness and fertility by an abundance of milk and honey. The image used in the text, and frequently by ancient authors on similar subjects, is a metaphor, derived from a breast, producing copious streams of milk.
26; Exodus 19:5,6; 33:16; Numbers 23:9; Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2; 1 Kings 8:53; John 15:19; 2 Corinthians 6:17; 1 Peter 2:9

Verse 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.
put difference
11:1-47; Deuteronomy 14:3-21; Acts 10:11-15,28; Ephesians 5:7-11
or, moveth.

Verse 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.
the Lord
7; 19:2; Psalms 99:5,9; Isaiah 6:3; 30:11; 1 Peter 1:15,16; Revelation 3:7; 4:8
24; Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2; 26:18,19; Titus 2:14

Verse 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.
a familiar
6; 19:31; Exodus 22:18; Deuteronomy 18:10-12; 1 Samuel 28:7-9
their blood


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Leviticus 20:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

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