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Leviticus 18:7-20

Context
18:7 You must not 1  expose your father’s nakedness by having sexual intercourse with your mother. 2  She is your mother; you must not have intercourse with her. 18:8 You must not have sexual intercourse with your father’s wife; she is your father’s nakedness. 3  18:9 You must not have sexual intercourse with your sister, whether she is your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, 4  whether she is born in the same household or born outside it; 5  you must not have sexual intercourse with either of them. 6  18:10 You must not expose the nakedness of your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter by having sexual intercourse with them, because they are your own nakedness. 7  18:11 You must not have sexual intercourse with the daughter of your father’s wife born of your father; she is your sister. You must not have intercourse with her. 8  18:12 You must not have sexual intercourse with your father’s sister; she is your father’s flesh. 9  18:13 You must not have sexual intercourse with your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s flesh. 18:14 You must not expose the nakedness of your father’s brother; you must not approach his wife to have sexual intercourse with her. 10  She is your aunt. 11  18:15 You must not have sexual intercourse with your daughter-in-law; she is your son’s wife. You must not have intercourse with her. 18:16 You must not have sexual intercourse with your brother’s wife; she is your brother’s nakedness. 12  18:17 You must not have sexual intercourse with both a woman and her daughter; you must not take as wife either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter to have intercourse with them. 13  They are closely related to her 14  – it is lewdness. 15  18:18 You must not take a woman in marriage and then marry her sister as a rival wife 16  while she is still alive, 17  to have sexual intercourse with her.

18:19 “‘You must not approach a woman in her menstrual impurity 18  to have sexual intercourse with her. 18:20 You must not have sexual intercourse 19  with the wife of your fellow citizen to become unclean with her.

Leviticus 20:10-21

Context
20:10 If a man 20  commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, 21  both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. 20:11 If a man has sexual intercourse with his father’s wife, he has exposed his father’s nakedness. 22  Both of them must be put to death; their blood guilt is on themselves. 23  20:12 If a man has sexual intercourse with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be put to death. They have committed perversion; 24  their blood guilt is on themselves. 20:13 If a man has sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman, 25  the two of them have committed an abomination. They must be put to death; their blood guilt is on themselves. 20:14 If a man has sexual intercourse with both a woman and her mother, 26  it is lewdness. 27  Both he and they must be burned to death, 28  so there is no lewdness in your midst. 20:15 If a man has sexual intercourse 29  with any animal, he must be put to death, and you must kill the animal. 20:16 If a woman approaches any animal to have sexual intercourse with it, 30  you must kill the woman, and the animal must be put to death; their blood guilt is on themselves.

20:17 “‘If a man has sexual intercourse with 31  his sister, whether the daughter of his father or his mother, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace. They must be cut off in the sight of the children of their people. 32  He has exposed his sister’s nakedness; he will bear his punishment for iniquity. 33  20:18 If a man has sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman and uncovers her nakedness, he has laid bare her fountain of blood and she has exposed the fountain of her blood, so both of them 34  must be cut off from the midst of their people. 20:19 You must not expose the nakedness of your mother’s sister and your father’s sister, for such a person has laid bare his own close relative. 35  They must bear their punishment for iniquity. 36  20:20 If a man has sexual intercourse with his aunt, he has exposed his uncle’s nakedness; they must bear responsibility for their sin, they will die childless. 20:21 If a man has sexual intercourse with 37  his brother’s wife, it is indecency. He has exposed his brother’s nakedness; 38  they will be childless.

1 tn The verbal negative here is the same as that used in the Ten Commandments (Exod 20:4-5, 7, 13-17). It suggests permanent prohibition rather than a simple negative command and could, therefore, be rendered “must not” here and throughout the following section as it is in vv. 3-4 above.

2 tn Heb “The nakedness of your father and [i.e., even] the nakedness of your mother you shall not uncover.”

sn Commentators suggest that the point of referring to the father’s nakedness is that the mother’s sexuality belongs to the father and is forbidden to the son on that account (see B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 120, and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 294). The expression may, however, derive from the shame of nakedness when exposed. If one exposes his mother’s nakedness to himself it is like openly exposing the father’s nakedness (cf. Gen 9:22-23 with the background of Gen 2:25 and 3:7, 21). The same essential construction is used in v. 10 where the latter explanation makes more sense than the former.

3 tn Heb “the nakedness of your father she is.” See the note on v. 7 above. This law refers to another wife of the man’s father, who is not that man’s mother. The laws in the Pentateuch sometimes assume the possibility that a man may have more than one wife (cf., e.g., Deut 21:15-17).

4 tn Heb “the daughter of your father or the daughter of your mother.”

5 tn Heb “born of house or born of outside.” CEV interprets as “whether you grew up together or not” (cf. also TEV, NLT).

6 tc Several medieval Hebrew mss, Smr, LXX, and Syriac have “her nakedness” rather than “their nakedness,” thus agreeing with singular “sister” at the beginning of the verse.

tn For a smooth English translation “either of” was added.

7 sn That is, to have sexual intercourse with one’s granddaughter would be like openly exposing one’s own shameful nakedness (see the note on v. 7 above).

8 tn Heb “The nakedness of the daughter of your father’s wife born of your father, she is your sister; you must not uncover her nakedness.” That is, a half sister, the daughter of the man’s father by another wife, who is not the man’s mother, is to be considered a true sister. Therefore, the man must not have sexual intercourse with her.

9 tc A few medieval Hebrew mss, the LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate all read “because she is the flesh of your father,” like the MT of v. 13.

10 tn Heb “you must not draw near to his wife.” In the context this refers to approaching one’s aunt to have sexual intercourse with her, so this has been specified in the translation for clarity.

11 tn As in v. 12 (see the note there), some mss and versions have “because she is your aunt.”

12 sn Regarding the last clause, see the notes on vv. 7 and 10 above.

13 tn Heb “You must not uncover the nakedness of both a woman and her daughter; the daughter of her son and the daughter of her daughter you must not take to uncover her nakedness.” Translating “her” as “them” provides consistency in the English. In this kind of context, “take” means to “take in marriage” (cf. also v. 18). The LXX and Syriac have “their nakedness,” referring to the nakedness of the woman’s granddaughters, rather than the nakedness of the woman herself.

14 tc Heb “they are her flesh.” The LXX reads “your” here (followed by NRSV). If the LXX reading were followed by the present translation, the result would be “They are closely related to you.”

15 tn The term rendered “lewdness” almost always carries a connotation of cunning, evil device, and divisiveness (cf. HALOT 272 s.v. I זִמָּה 2, “infamy”), and is closely associated with sexual and religious infidelity (cf., e.g., Lev 19:29; 20:14; Job 31:11; Jer 13:27; Ezek 16:27; 22:9). Recent English versions differ on how they handle this: NAB “would be shameful”; CEV “would make you unclean”; NIV “wickedness”; NLT “horrible wickedness”; NRSV “depravity”; TEV “incest.”

16 tn Or “as a concubine”; Heb “And a woman to her sister you shall not take to be a second wife [or “to be a concubine”].” According to HALOT 1059 s.v. III צרר, the infinitive “to be a second wife” (לִצְרֹר, litsror) is a denominative verb from II צָרָה A (“concubine; second wife”), which, in turn, derives from II צר “to treat with hostility” (cf. J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 283, and B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 122).

17 tn Heb “on her in her life.”

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

19 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”).

20 tn Heb “And a man who.” The syntax here and at the beginning of the following verses elliptically mirrors that of v. 9, which justifies the rendering as a conditional clause.

21 tc The reading of the LXX minuscule mss has been followed here (see the BHS footnote a-a). The MT has a dittography, repeating “a man who commits adultery with the wife of” (see the explanation in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 328). The duplication found in the MT is reflected in some English versions, e.g., KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV.

22 sn See the note on Lev 18:7 above.

23 tn See the note on v. 9 above.

24 tn The Hebrew term תֶּבֶל (tevel, “perversion”) derives from the verb “to mix; to confuse” (cf. KJV, ASV “they have wrought confusion”).

25 tn Heb “[as the] lyings of a woman.” The specific reference here is to homosexual intercourse between males.

26 tn Heb “And a man who takes a woman and her mother.” The Hebrew verb “to take” in this context means “to engage in sexual intercourse.”

27 tn Regarding “lewdness,” see the note on Lev 18:17 above.

28 tn Heb “in fire they shall burn him and them.” The active plural verb sometimes requires a passive translation (GKC 460 §144.f, g), esp. when no active plural subject has been expressed in the context. The present translation specifies “burned to death” because the traditional rendering “burnt with fire” (KJV, ASV; NASB “burned with fire”) could be understood to mean “branded” or otherwise burned, but not fatally.

29 tn See the note on Lev 18:20 above.

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

31 tn Heb “takes.” The verb “to take” in this context means “to engage in sexual intercourse,” though some English versions translate it as “marry” (e.g., NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV).

32 tn Regarding the “cut off” penalty, see the note on Lev 7:20.

33 tn See the note on Lev 17:16 above.

34 tn Heb “and the two of them.”

35 tn Heb “his flesh.”

36 tn See the note on Lev 17:16 above.

37 tn Heb “takes.” The verb “to take” in this context means “to engage in sexual intercourse.”

38 sn See the note on Lev 18:7 above.



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