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Bible Commentaries

Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Leviticus 18

 

 

Verse 2

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

Your God — Your sovereign, and lawgiver. This is often repeated because the things here forbidden were practised and allowed by the gentiles, to whose custom he opposes divine authority and their obligation to obey his commands.


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.

Egypt and Canaan — These two nations he mentions, because their habitation and conversation among them made their evil example in the following matters more dangerous. But under them he includes all other nations.


Verse 4

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

My judgments — Though you do not see the particular reason of some of them, and though they be contrary to the laws and usages of the other nations.


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 — Not only happily here, but eternally hereafter. This is added as a powerful argument why they should follow God's commands, rather than mens examples, because their life and happiness depend upon it. And though in strictness, and according to the covenant of works they could not challenge life for so doing, except their obedience was universal, perfect, constant and perpetual, and therefore no man since the fall could be justified by the law, yet by the covenant of grace this life is promised to all that obey God's commands sincerely.


Verse 6

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

To uncover their nakedness — I think Mr. Free has made it highly probable, that this phrase does not mean marriage, but fornication, throughout this chapter. So it unquestionably means in the twentieth chapter.


Verse 16

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness.

Thy brother's wife — God afterwards commanded, that in one case, a man should marry his brother's widow.


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.

Thou shalt not take a wife to her sister — Perhaps this text doth not simply forbid the taking one wife to another, but the doing it in such a manner or for such an end, that he may vex or punish, or revenge himself of the former; which probably was a common motive amongst that hardhearted people to do so.


Verse 19

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

As long as she is set apart — No not to thy own wife. This was not only a ceremonial pollution, but an immorality also, whence it is put amongst gross sins, Ezekiel 18:6. And therefore it is now unlawful under the gospel.


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 fire — This was done, either by burning them in the fire, or by making them pass between two great fires, which was a kind of consecration of them to that God.

Moloch — Called also Milcom, was an idol chiefly of the Ammonites. He seems to be the Saturn of the heathens, to whom especially children and men were sacrificed. This is mentioned, because the neighbours of Israel were most infected with this idolatry, and therefore they are particularly cautioned against it, though under this one instance all other idols and acts, or kinds of idolatry, are manifestly comprehended and forbidden.


Verse 25

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

I visit — I am about to visit, that is, to punish.


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:

Nor any stranger — In nation or religion, of what kind soever. For though they might not force them to submit to their religion, yet they might restrain them from the publick contempt of the Jewish laws, and from the violation of natural laws, which, besides the offence against God and nature, were matters of evil example to the Israelites themselves.


Verse 29

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

Cut off — This phrase therefore of cutting off, is to be understood variously, either of ecclesiastical, or civil punishment, according to the differing natures of the offences for which it is inflicted.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 18:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/leviticus-18.html. 1765.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 1st, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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