Leviticus 20

Punishments for Sin

1 The LORD said to Moses,
2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death. The members of the community are to stone him.
3 I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people; for by sacrificing his children to Molek, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name.
4 If the members of the community close their eyes when that man sacrifices one of his children to Molek and if they fail to put him to death,
5 I myself will set my face against him and his family and will cut them off from their people together with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek.
6 “ ‘I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people.
7 “ ‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God.
8 Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy.
9 “ ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head.
10 “ ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.
11 “ ‘If a man has sexual relations with his father’s wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
12 “ ‘If a man has sexual relations with his daughter-in-law, both of them are to be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads.
13 “ ‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
14 “ ‘If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you.
15 “ ‘If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he is to be put to death, and you must kill the animal.
16 “ ‘If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
17 “ ‘If a man marries his sister, the daughter of either his father or his mother, and they have sexual relations, it is a disgrace. They are to be publicly removed from their people. He has dishonored his sister and will be held responsible.
18 “ ‘If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them are to be cut off from their people.
19 “ ‘Do not have sexual relations with the sister of either your mother or your father, for that would dishonor a close relative; both of you would be held responsible.
20 “ ‘If a man has sexual relations with his aunt, he has dishonored his uncle. They will be held responsible; they will die childless.
21 “ ‘If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonored his brother. They will be childless.
22 “ ‘Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out.
23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them.
24 But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations.
25 “ ‘You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those that I have set apart as unclean for you.
26 You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.
27 “ ‘A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’ ”

Images for Leviticus 20

Leviticus 20 Commentary

Chapter 20

Law against sacrificing children to Moloch, Of children that curse their parents. (1-9) Laws repeated, Holiness enjoined. (10-27)

Verses 1-9 Are we shocked at the unnatural cruelty of the ancient idolaters in sacrificing their children? We may justly be so. But are there not very many parents, who, by bad teaching and wicked examples, and by the mysteries of iniquity which they show their children, devote them to the service of Satan, and forward their everlasting ruin, in a manner even more to be lamented? What an account must such parents render to God, and what a meeting will they have with their children at the day of judgment! On the other hand, let children remember that he who cursed father or mother was surely put to death. This law Christ confirmed. Laws which were made before are repeated, and penalties annexed to them. If men will not avoid evil practices, because the law has made these practices sin, and it is right that we go on that principle, surely they should avoid them when the law has made them death, from a principle of self-preservation. In the midst of these laws comes in a general charge, Sanctify yourselves, and be ye holy. It is the Lord that sanctifies, and his work will be done, though it be difficult. Yet his grace is so far from doing away our endeavours, that it strongly encourages them. Work out your salvation, for it is God that worketh in you.

Verses 10-27 These verses repeat what had been said before, but it was needful there should be line upon line. What praises we owe to God that he has taught the evil of sin, and the sure way of deliverance from it! May we have grace to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things; may we have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness, but reprove them.

Cross References 52

  • 1. ver 10; Genesis 26:11; Exodus 19:12
  • 2. ver 27; Leviticus 24:14; Numbers 15:35,36; Deuteronomy 21:21; Joshua 7:25
  • 3. ver 5,6; Leviticus 23:30
  • 4. Psalms 74:7; Psalms 79:1; Jeremiah 7:30; Ezekiel 5:11
  • 5. S Leviticus 15:31
  • 6. S Leviticus 18:21
  • 7. Deuteronomy 17:2-5
  • 8. S ver 3; S Leviticus 19:31
  • 9. S Leviticus 11:44
  • 10. S Exodus 29:1; Exodus 31:13; Leviticus 11:45; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:16*
  • 11. S Exodus 6:2; S Exodus 20:2
  • 12. S Genesis 26:5
  • 13. S Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12
  • 14. Exodus 20:12; Jeremiah 35:16; Malachi 1:6; Malachi 2:10
  • 15. S Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 27:16; Ezekiel 22:7
  • 16. Exodus 21:17; Deuteronomy 21:20-21; Matthew 15:4*; Mark 7:10*
  • 17. ver 11; Deuteronomy 22:30; Joshua 2:19; 2 Samuel 1:16; 2 Samuel 3:29; 1 Kings 2:37; Ezekiel 18:13; Ezekiel 33:4,5
  • 18. Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18; Deuteronomy 22:22; John 8:5
  • 19. S Genesis 38:24; S Exodus 21:12
  • 20. S Leviticus 18:7; Deuteronomy 27:23
  • 21. S ver 9; S Leviticus 18:8
  • 22. S Genesis 11:31; S Genesis 38:16; Leviticus 18:15
  • 23. Leviticus 18:22
  • 24. S Leviticus 18:17
  • 25. Leviticus 21:9; Numbers 16:39; Judges 14:15; Judges 15:6
  • 26. S Leviticus 18:8; Deuteronomy 27:23
  • 27. S Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 18:23
  • 28. ver 10
  • 29. S Leviticus 18:9
  • 30. S Genesis 17:14
  • 31. S Leviticus 5:1
  • 32. S Leviticus 15:24; Leviticus 18:19
  • 33. Ezekiel 18:6
  • 34. S Leviticus 18:12; Leviticus 18:12-13
  • 35. S Leviticus 18:13; Leviticus 18:14
  • 36. ver 21; Genesis 15:2
  • 37. S Leviticus 18:16; Matthew 14:4; Mark 6:18
  • 38. S ver 20
  • 39. S Genesis 26:5
  • 40. S Leviticus 18:25-28
  • 41. S Leviticus 18:3
  • 42. S Leviticus 18:24; Leviticus 18:24,27,30
  • 43. S Leviticus 18:25
  • 44. S Exodus 3:8; Exodus 13:5; Exodus 33:3; Numbers 14:8; Numbers 16:14
  • 45. S Exodus 33:16
  • 46. Leviticus 10:10; Leviticus 11:1-47; Deuteronomy 14:3-21; Acts 10:14
  • 47. Deuteronomy 14:2
  • 48. ver 8; Leviticus 19:2; Joshua 24:19; 2 Kings 19:22; Psalms 99:3
  • 49. S Exodus 33:16
  • 50. S Exodus 22:18
  • 51. S Leviticus 19:31
  • 52. S ver 2; S Leviticus 24:14

Chapter Summary


In this chapter several laws are, repeated, enforced with a penalty annexed to them, and the breach them made capital, to deter from it, as giving seed to Molech, Le 20:1-5; going after such that have familiar spirits, or are wizards, Le 20:6; by shunning which, and other sins, a regard would be shown to holiness, Le 20:7,8; such as cursing parents, Le 20:9; committing adultery, Le 20:10; incestuous copulations, and marriages, and beastly actions, Le 20:11-21; all which it became the Israelites to avoid, lest, when come into the land of Canaan, they should be cast out of it, as the old inhabitants were for the same things, Le 20:22-24; and therefore, that they might appear to be a distinct people from others, they were to put a difference between clean and unclean creatures, Le 20:25,26; and the chapter is closed with a law, making it death for any person to have a familiar spirit, or to be a wizard, Le 19:27.

Leviticus 20 Commentaries

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