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Leviticus 18:19-30

Context

18:19 “‘You must not approach a woman in her menstrual impurity 1  to have sexual intercourse with her. 18:20 You must not have sexual intercourse 2  with the wife of your fellow citizen to become unclean with her. 18:21 You must not give any of your children as an offering to Molech, 3  so that you do not profane 4  the name of your God. I am the Lord! 18:22 You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman; 5  it is a detestable act. 6  18:23 You must not have sexual intercourse 7  with any animal to become defiled with it, and a woman must not stand before an animal to have sexual intercourse with it; 8  it is a perversion. 9 

Warning against the Abominations of the Nations

18:24 “‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things, for the nations which I am about to drive out before you 10  have been defiled with all these things. 18:25 Therefore 11  the land has become unclean and I have brought the punishment for its iniquity upon it, 12  so that the land has vomited out its inhabitants. 18:26 You yourselves must obey 13  my statutes and my regulations and must not do any of these abominations, both the native citizen and the resident foreigner in your midst, 14  18:27 for the people who were in the land before you have done all these abominations, 15  and the land has become unclean. 18:28 So do not make the land vomit you out because you defile it 16  just as it has vomited out the nations 17  that were before you. 18:29 For if anyone does any of these abominations, the persons who do them will be cut off from the midst of their people. 18  18:30 You must obey my charge to not practice any of the abominable statutes 19  that have been done before you, so that you do not 20  defile yourselves by them. I am the Lord your God.’”

1 tn Heb “in the menstruation of her impurity”; NIV “during the uncleanness of her monthly period.”

2 tn Heb “And to the wife of your fellow citizen you shall not give your layer for seed.” The meaning of “your layer” (שְׁכָבְתְּךָ, shÿkhavtÿkha) is uncertain (see B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 122, “you shall not place your layer of semen”; but cf. also J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 283, and the literature cited there for the rendering, “you shall not give your penis for seed”).

3 tn Heb “And from your seed you shall not give to cause to pass over to Molech.” Smr (cf. also the LXX) has “to cause to serve” rather than “to cause to pass over.” For detailed remarks on Molech and Molech worship see N. H. Snaith, Leviticus and Numbers (NCBC), 87-88; P. J. Budd, Leviticus (NCBC), 259-60; and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 333-37, and the literature cited there. It could refer to either human sacrifice or a devotion of children to some sort of service of Molech, perhaps of a sexual sort (cf. Lev 20:2-5; 2 Kgs 23:10, etc.). The inclusion of this prohibition against Molech worship here may be due to some sexual connection of this kind, or perhaps simply to the lexical link between זֶרַע (zera’) meaning “seed, semen” in v. 20 but “offspring” in v. 21.

4 tn Heb “and you shall not profane.” Regarding “profane,” see the note on Lev 10:10 above.

5 tn Heb “And with a male you shall not lay [as the] lyings of a woman” (see B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 123). The specific reference here is to homosexual intercourse between males.

6 tn The Hebrew term תּוֹעֵבָה (toevah, rendered “detestable act”) refers to the repugnant practices of foreigners, whether from the viewpoint of other peoples toward the Hebrews (e.g., Gen 43:32; 46:34; Exod 8:26) or of the Lord toward other peoples (see esp. Lev 18:26-27, 29-30). It can also designate, as here, detestable acts that might be perpetrated by the native peoples (it is used again in reference to homosexuality in Lev 20:13; cf. also its use for unclean food, Deut 14:3; idol worship, Isa 41:24; remarriage to a former wife who has been married to someone else in between, Deut 24:4).

7 tn See the note on v. 20 above.

8 tn Heb “to copulate with it” (cf. Lev 20:16).

9 tn The Hebrew term תֶּבֶל (tevel, “perversion”) derives from the verb “to mix; to confuse” and therefore refers to illegitimate mixtures of species or violation of the natural order of things.

10 tn Heb “which I am sending away (Piel participle of שָׁלַח [shalakh, “to send”]) from your faces.” The rendering here takes the participle as anticipatory of the coming conquest events.

11 tn Heb “And.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have resultative or even inferential force here.

12 tn Heb “and I have visited its [punishment for] iniquity on it.” See the note on Lev 17:16 above.

13 tn Heb “And you shall keep, you.” The latter emphatic personal pronoun “you” is left out of a few medieval Hebrew mss, Smr, the LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate.

14 tn Heb “the native and the sojourner”; NIV “The native-born and the aliens”; NAB “whether natives or resident aliens.”

15 tn Heb “for all these abominations the men of the land who were before you have done.”

16 tn Heb “And the land will not vomit you out in your defiling it.”

17 tc The MT reads the singular “nation” and is followed by ASV, NASB, NRSV; the LXX, Syriac, and Targum have the plural “nations” (cf. v. 24).

18 sn Regarding the “cut off” penalty see the note on Lev 7:20.

19 tn Heb “to not do from the statutes of the detestable acts.”

20 tn Heb “and you will not.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have resultative force here.



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