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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Leviticus 18

Verses 1-30


Sexual relationships (18:1-30)

Moral standards in the ancient world were low, a fact well illustrated by the list of sexual perversions given in this chapter. In Egypt the Israelites had seen these things practised all around them, and in Canaan, to which they were travelling, the moral filth was even greater; so great, in fact, that it was incurable. As at the time of the Flood, God saw that the only solution was to destroy the entire population (18:1-5).
The sexual unions (RSV: ‘the uncovering of the nakedness’) forbidden here are contrary to the decent relationships expected in a family. Sexual unions between parents and children, brothers and sisters, in-laws and in-laws, could result only from unnatural and uncontrolled lust. If allowed to go unchecked, such behaviour would eventually ruin marriage, family and society (6-18).

Other perversions were also forbidden, such as homosexuality, sexual unions between humans and animals, and the offering of one’s children either as burnt sacrifices or as religious prostitutes (19-23). (Molech was an Ammonite god to whom people sometimes offered children as burnt sacrifices; see 1 Kings 11:5-7; 2 Chronicles 28:1-3; 2 Chronicles 28:1-3; Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 32:35.) The opening warning concerning the destruction of all who practise such things is repeated, with an added reminder to the Israelites that they would suffer the fate of the Canaanites if they ignored God’s moral instruction (24-30).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Leviticus 18". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.