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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 18

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

And the Lord spake.See Trapp on " Leviticus 7:22 "

Verse 2

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God.

I am the Lord your God. — Your Maker and Master.

Verse 3

After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.

After the doings of the land of Egypt. — Where, and in Canaan, these heinous sins are counted peccadillos; as at this day also they are in Spain, Italy, Turkey, where their catamites are their serious loves; sodomy is hardly held a vice; bestiality was boasted of by Mohammed their prophet.

In their ordinances. — The Egyptians made it lawful, so did the Persians, for brother and sister to couple together in marriage. Of this and the like ordinances it might be rightly said, as once it was of the ceremonial law, that they were statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live. Ezekiel 20:25

Verse 4

Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I [am] the LORD your God.

To walk therein. — Not to halt therein, nor to take a turn or two, or for a while, as Samson went with his parents till he met with a honeycomb; but indesinenter ambulabo, as David saith, Psalms 116:9 "Walk, and not be weary; run, and not faint," as those in Isaiah 40:31 . "So run, that ye may obtain," saith the apostle. 1 Corinthians 9:24

Verse 5

Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I [am] the LORD.

He shall live in them. — As the flame lives in the oil, as the creature by his food, so the spiritual life is maintained by an evangelical keeping of God’s commandments. As on the contrary, every motion of the soul out of this way, tends to death; being as the motion of the fish out of his element.

Verse 6

None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover [their] nakedness: I [am] the LORD.

None of you shall approach, — viz., To couple carnally with them. Ezekiel 18:6 Isaiah 8:3 Yea, though it be under a pretext of marriage: for by marriage they seem to justify their incest, which makes it the worse, saith Tostatus, whose reason here I like better than that of Cardinal Campeius, though it sound somewhat like. If comparison should be made, said this carnal cardinal, much greater offence it is for a priest to have a wife than to have and keep at home many harlots. For they that keep harlots, said he, Act. and Mon., fol. 790. as it is naught that they do, so do they acknowledge their sin; the other persuade themselves they do well, and so persist without repentance or conscience of their fact.

Verse 7

The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she [is] thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

She is thy mother. — And so it is against nature to lie carnally with her. Aristotle Hist. Animal., lib. ix. cap. 47. tells of a camel that killed his keeper for causing him to cover his dam, and of a horse that cast himself down headlong after he had done the like.

Verse 8

The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it [is] thy father’s nakedness.

It is thy father’s nakedness. — For "the wife hath not power over her own body, but the husband": 1 Corinthians 7:4 and when her chastity is assaulted, she should say, saith Chrysostom, Non est corpus meum, sed mariti, My body is not mine, but my husband’s.

Verse 9

The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, [whether she be] born at home, or born abroad, [even] their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.

Or born abroad,i.e., Base born, which our English laws call natural children. The Hebrews call them brambles, and Mamzerim, spots abroad, and Shatukim, such as must say nothing when others are praising their parents. The Greeks call bastards, υβριδες , because they are their fathers’ reproach, and are subject to contempt and contumelies of others.

Verse 10

The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, [even] their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs [is] thine own nakedness.

For theirs is thine own nakedness. — Children are but the father multiplied; the father of another edition.

Verse 11

The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she [is] thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

Thou shalt not uncover. — This verse is added for an exposition of Leviticus 18:9 .

Verse 12

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she [is] thy father’s near kinswoman.

She is thy father’s near kins woman. — As near as may be: and therefore nature abhorreth any such copulation.

Verse 13

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she [is] thy mother’s near kinswoman.

See Trapp on " Leviticus 18:12 "

Verse 14

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she [is] thine aunt.

Of thy father’s brother. — The nakedness of whose wife is called his nakedness, because man and wife are one flesh. Matthew 19:6 See Trapp on " Matthew 19:6 "

Verse 15

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she [is] thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

Son’s wife. — Whether he be dead or alive.

Verse 16

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it [is] thy brother’s nakedness.

Brother’s wife. — Except in that special case. Deuteronomy 25:5 This was Herod’s sin Matthew 14:4 and our Henry VIII’s; whereupon was the divorce.

Verse 17

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; [for] they [are] her near kinswomen: it [is] wickedness.

It is wickedness. — Wickedness with a witness; and yet avowed for lawful by some odious upstart sectaries, who teach that those marriages are most laudable that are betwixt persons nearest in blood, brother and sister, father and daughter, mother and son, … This they shame not to set forth in print. Hist. Davidis Georg., pp. 28, 29; Little Non-such, pp. 5-7.

Verse 18

Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex [her], to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life [time].

A wife to her sister,i.e., Any two women together: compare Ezekiel 1:9 . Here polygamy is flatly forbidden. In which sin many of the patriarchs lived and died; not through any impiety, the Lord testifying that their hearts were upright, but merely through the mistaking of this text, as it may seem, taking the word "sister," for one so by blood, which was spoken of a sister by nation, as those clauses, "to vex her," and "during her life," do evince.

Verse 19

Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.

Unto a woman.See Trapp on " Leviticus 15:24 "

Verse 20

Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her.

To defile thyself. — As David, how did he embroil himself with Bathsheba, and chased away that pure Spirit. Psalms 51:10-12 Casta Deus mens est.

Verse 21

And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through [the fire] to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I [am] the LORD.

Pass through the fire. — Either to be burnt to death in honour of that abominable idol; or to be consecrated thereto, by passing between two fires, which scorched them. See Trapp on " Matthew 5:22 "

Neither shalt thou profane the name,i.e., Cause it to be profaned and blasphemed by others, as in Proverbs 30:9 1 Timothy 1:20 . See Trapp on " 1 Timothy 1:20 "

Verse 22

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination.

Thou shalt not lie with mankind. — The Sodomites’ sin. Genesis 19:5 See Trapp on " Genesis 19:5 " This, say the Hebrews, was Ishmael’s sporting with Isaac: and this, say others, was the sin of Joseph’s brethren, the evil report whereof he brought to his father. A sad report it was surely to our King Henry I, that was brought him concerning his eldest son, William, who, crossing the seas from France to England, was with many other gallants cast away by shipwreck, being Sodomitica labe infecti fere omnes, saith Guliel. Parisiensis, almost all of them infected with this abomination of going after strange flesh. Judges 1:7-8

Verse 23

Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it [is] confusion.

Neither shalt thou lie with any beast. — See what a foul sink of sin man’s nature is! Who would think that any such surpassing wickedness - so υπερβαλλουσα τις κακια η θηριστης . Aristotle calls bestiality - should ever enter into man’s heart? But "there, as in the sea, is that Leviathan," the devil, and there are "creeping things," abominable and ugly lusts, "innumerable." 2. Mag. Mor., cap. 5.

Verse 24

Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:

The nations are defiled. — And yet are not the Scriptures defiled, by providing against such filthinesses, no more than the sunbeams are by shining upon a stinking lake.

Verse 25

And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

And the land is defiled. — From one end thereof to the other; Ezra 9:11 as the face of the old world was grown so foul, that God was fain to wash it with a flood.

Verse 26

Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit [any] of these abominations; [neither] any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:

Ye shall therefore keep. — Unless ye be ambitious of a like destruction. Luke 13:3

Ye shall therefore keep my statutes. — Or else, it will be a horrible shame to you to live in my good land, and not to live by my good laws.

Verse 27

(For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which [were] before you, and the land is defiled;)

Which were before you. — But had not your helps.

Verse 28

That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that [were] before you.

That the land spue not you out. — It is wisely said by Herodotus, That the destruction of Troy is a fit example of the rule, that great sins bring great plagues.

Verse 29

For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit [them] shall be cut off from among their people.

The souls. — That is, the persons. The soul is the man.

Verse 30

Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that [ye] commit not [any one] of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I [am] the LORD your God.

These abominable customs. — Heb., Statutes of abominations. Their evil customs became as laws: that tyrant of three letters, Mos, had made them so.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 18". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/leviticus-18.html. 1865-1868.
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