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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Leviticus 20


A.M. 2514. B.C. 1490.

Prohibitions against offering children to Molech, Leviticus 20:1-5 . Against consulting wizards, Leviticus 20:6 . Holiness enjoined, Leviticus 20:7 , Leviticus 20:8 . Against cursing parents, Leviticus 20:9 . Against adultery, Leviticus 20:10 . Against incestuous mixtures, Leviticus 20:11-21 . Holiness again enjoined, Leviticus 20:22-26 . Soothsayers to be stoned, Leviticus 20:27 .

Verse 2

Leviticus 20:2. The people Here follow the punishments of the crimes forbidden in the former chapters.

Verse 3

Leviticus 20:3. I will set my face against that man Deal with him as an enemy, and make him a monument of my justice. To defile my sanctuary Because the sanctuary was defiled by gross abominations committed in that city or land where God’s sanctuary was: or because by these actions they declared to all men that they esteemed the sanctuary and service of God abominable and vile, by preferring such odious idolatry before it. And to profane my name Partly by despising it themselves, partly by disgracing it to others, and giving them occasion to blaspheme it, and to abhor the true religion.

Verse 4

Leviticus 20:4. Hide their eyes Wink at his fault, and forbear to accuse and punish him.

Verse 6

Leviticus 20:6. To go a whoring To seek counsel or help from them.

Verse 8

Leviticus 20:8. Who sanctify you Who separate you from all nations, and from their impurities and idolatries, to be a peculiar people to myself; and who give you my grace to keep my statutes.

Verse 9

Leviticus 20:9. Curseth This is not here meant of every perverse expression, but of bitter reproaches or imprecations. His blood shall be upon him He is guilty of his own death: he deserves to die for so unnatural a crime.

Verse 10

Leviticus 20:10. The adulterer and adulteress shall surely be put to death Adultery, however lightly it may be accounted of by men who are lost to all sense of virtue and honour, has not only under the Mosaic economy, but by several other civilized nations; been reckoned a capital wickedness. By the ancient laws of Solon the husband was authorized to kill the adulterer and adulteress, if he found them in the fact; or if he did not choose to proceed to that severity, he might put out their eyes. Among the Egyptians too, adulterers were punished with the utmost severity. If a woman were enticed to commit adultery, her nose was slit, and the man received a thousand blows with rods. To the same purpose, by the Roman laws, the adulterer might be put to death if he were taken in the act. Considering the heinous nature and fatal consequences of this vice, we need not wonder much, if, in well-regulated states, it has been punishable with death. By our laws a man shall lose his life by robbing another of a few shillings; but what proportion is there between robbing a man of a sum of money, and invading his property in what he often cherishes more tenderly than ease, plenty, honour, and even life itself?

Verse 12

Leviticus 20:12. Confusion By perverting the order which God hath appointed, and making the same offspring both his own child and his grand-child.

Verse 13

Leviticus 20:13. Put to death Except the one party was forced by the other: see Deuteronomy 22:25.

Verse 14

Leviticus 20:14. They All who consented to it.

Verse 15

Leviticus 20:15. Slay the beast Partly for the prevention of monstrous births, partly to blot out the memory of so loathsome a crime.

Verse 17

Leviticus 20:17. See her nakedness In this and several of the following verses, uncovering nakedness plainly appears to mean not marriage, but fornication or adultery.

Verse 20

Leviticus 20:20. They shall die childless Both shall be speedily cut off ere they can have a child by that incestuous conjunction; or, if this seem a less crime than most of the former incestuous mixtures, and therefore the magistrate forbear to punish it with death, yet they shall either have no children from such an unlawful bed, or their children shall die before them.

Verse 21

Leviticus 20:21. His brother’s wife Except in the case allowed by God, Deuteronomy 25:5.

Verse 27

Leviticus 20:27. A man or a woman that hath a familiar spirit, shall surely be put to death They that are in league with the devil have in effect made a covenant with death; and so shall their doom be.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 20". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.