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Leviticus 18:9-18

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

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

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

3 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.

4 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).

5 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.

6 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.

7 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.

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

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

10 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.

11 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.”

12 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.”

13 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).

14 tn Heb “on her in her life.”



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