Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, July 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 20

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-5


Verses 1-5:

The practices described in chapter 18 are designated in chapter 20 as crimes against society as well as sins against God and His righteous principles. the present chapter gives the penalties for violation of these laws.

This text defines the penalty for Molech-worship, see Le 18:21. It was a capital crime: death by stoning, see De 13:6-11. The penalty was to be the same for all who connived in this sin, or who ignored it.

Verse 6

Verse 6:

This verse expands the statute in Le 19:31 (see comments), and prescribes the penalty for violation: the guilty party was to be "cut off" from among his people, either by Jehovah personally, or by some unspecified agency. Jehovah is pictured as married to Israel, Jer 2:2; 31:32. To engage in occult or idolatrous practices is spiritual fornication, Jer 3:1-11. Israel’s repeated excursions into idolatry and occult practices eventually caused Jehovah to cut her off or put her away by giving her a "bill of divorcement," Ho 2:6-13; Jer 3:8.

Nowhere in Scripture does God imply that He has changed His views of the occult or idolatry. These still constitute spiritual fornication.

Verses 7-8

Verses 7, 8:

The text is a positive command. "Sanctify," qadesh, "separate or set oneself apart." The word does not mean to be without sin or flaw. It means to be reserved or set apart for the exclusive use of the one to whom devoted.

"Holy," qadosh, the same root word translated "sanctify."

The meaning: "Set yourself apart, and reckon yourself to be reserved for the exclusive use of Jehovah your Elohim."

Holiness is a requisite for God’s child today, see Ro 6:19, 22; 12:1; 1Co 3:17; 2Co 7:1; Eph 1:4; Co. 1:22; 1Th 3:13; 4:7; 1Pe 1:15, 16; 2:5, 9.

The other command of the text: to keep Jehovah’s statutes, and to put them into practice. This is relevant for today, as well, Mt 28:20; Jas 1:22-25; Lu 6:46; Joh 14:15.

Verse 9

Verse 9:

This amplifies the law stated in Ex 21:17. God demands the highest respect for parental authority. this holds true today, Eph 6:1-4; Col 3:20. Disrespect for parental authority leads to disobedience to Divine authority. Jesus delivered a scathing denunciation for those who seek to violate this principle, Mr 7:9-13.

Verses 10-17

Verses 10-17:

This text prescribes the penalties for the sins described in chapter 18: the sins of adultery, incest, homosexuality, lesbianism and bestiality. The penalty is death by stoning. In the case of a man who marries both a woman and her mother, they shall be "burnt with fire." This does not mean that they were to be burned alive, but that their bodies were to be burned after they were stoned to death.

Verse 17 refers to more than the act of a brother and sister looking at each other’s exposed bodies. It denotes sexual relations between brother and sister.

Today’s permissive society sees the sins of incest and homosexuality as being minor matters. But God’s view of these sins has not changed, 1Co 6:15-20.

Verse 18

Verse 18:

This verse gives the penalty for violating the prohibition of sexual relations during a woman’s menstrual cycle (see comments on Le 18:19). It was excommunication.

Verses 19-21

Verses 19-21:

The text defines the penalty for violating the law regarding incestuous relations with aunt or sister-in-law, stated in Le 18:12-16. The parties involved were to be childless. This was a severe sentence, in light of the high priority assigned to bearing children in Israel, Ps 127:3-5.

Verses 22-26

Verses 22-26:

Nations whom Israel displaced practiced those things which Jehovah forbade to Israel. These practices caused the Lord to "abhor" quts (to be vexed; wearied with) them. This text teaches that the principles embodied in the Law apply alike to all nations, Ro 1:18-32; 2:13-15.

Israel attempted to attain to the righteousness of God, by obeying the commandments of the Law. This they were unable to do: the Law was not designed to give righteousness, but to point to the One who alone can grant life, Ro 8:3, 4.

The text teaches the principle of separation. God’s people are to be different from those around them. The lifestyle of the child of God is to reflect this difference.

Verse 27

Verse 27:

Le 19:31 forbids consulting spirit mediums, witches, or any who deal with the occult. Le 20:6 prescribes the penalty for those who consult them: excommunication from Israel’s society. The present text pronounces the death penalty for all who are practitioners of the occult.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Leviticus 20". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/leviticus-20.html. 1985.
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