Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, May 28th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 18

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 2

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.

Verse 3

See the Leviticus 18:24-30 note.

Verse 5

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.

Verse 6

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.

Verse 7

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.

Verse 8

Compare the case of Reuben, Genesis 49:3-4. See 1 Corinthians 5:1.

Verse 9

Thy sister - What was here spoken of was the distinguishing offence of the Egyptians.

Verse 12

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.

Verse 16

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.

Verse 18

To vex her - literally, to “bind” or “pack together”. The Jewish commentators illustrate this by the example of Leah and Rachel Genesis 29:30.

Verse 21

Molech - See the note at Leviticus 20:2-5.

Verses 24-30

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 20:0 to enact such penalties as the order of the state required, and as represented the collective conscience of the nation put into operation.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Leviticus 18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/leviticus-18.html. 1870.
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