Leviticus 18:8

8 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.

Leviticus 18:8 in Other Translations

8 The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness.
8 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's wife; it is your father's nakedness.
8 “Do not have sexual relations with any of your father’s wives, for this would violate your father.
8 "Don't have sex with your father's wife. That violates your father.
8 You are not to have sex with your father's wife; it will shame your father.

Leviticus 18:8 Meaning and Commentary

Leviticus 18:8

The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover
That is, who is indeed a man's father's wife, but not his own mother, but a stepmother or mother-in-law; or otherwise this law would coincide with the former; a man lying with such an one is accursed by the law, ( Deuteronomy 27:23 ) ; such an incestuous copulation was that of Reuben with Bilhah, and Absalom with his father's concubines or secondary wives, and such an incestuous marriage was that of the Corinthians, ( 1 Corinthians 5:1 ) ; and of Antiochus Soter, king of Syria, with Stratonice his mother-in-law {c}: and even it was criminal to do this after a father's death, as Jarchi interprets it; and though she was only betrothed, and not married, and the father dead after such betrothing; as Gersom; nay, though she was divorced by the father, yet was not lawful for the son to have, no, not after his death: it is thy father's nakedness;
being espoused to him, and so one flesh with him; and the son and father being one flesh, such a mixture must be unlawful; and since then the nakedness of a mother-in-law is the father's, then surely that of an own mother's must be so likewise, which confirms a sense given of it in ( Leviticus 18:7 ) : Cicero F4 exclaims against such marriages as incredible and unheard of, as instances of unbridled lust and singular impudence.


F3 Vid. Julian. in Misopogon, p. 72
F4 Orat. 14. pro A. Cluentio Avito.

Leviticus 18:8 In-Context

6 “ ‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.
7 “ ‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.
8 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.
9 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.
10 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you.

Cross References 2

  • 1. 1 Corinthians 5:1
  • 2. Genesis 35:22; Leviticus 20:11; Deuteronomy 22:30; Deuteronomy 27:20
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.