|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:1-30 Unlawful marriages and fleshly lusts. - Here is a law against all conformity to the corrupt usages of the heathen. Also laws against incest, against brutal lusts, and barbarous idolatries; and the enforcement of these laws from the ruin of the Canaanites. God here gives moral precepts. Close and constant adherence to God's ordinances is the most effectual preservative from gross sin. The grace of God only will secure us; that grace is to be expected only in the use of the means of grace. Nor does He ever leave any to their hearts' lusts, till they have left him and his services.
Verse 23. - The fifth prohibition (see Herod., 2:16). The penalty is death (chapter 20:15).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Neither shall thou lie with any beast, to defile thyself therewith,.... A female one, as Aben Ezra notes, as a mare, cow, or ewe, or any other beast, small or great, as Ben Gersom, or whether tame or wild, as Maimonides (b); and even fowls are comprehended, as the same writers observe:
neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: that is, stand before a beast, and by a lascivious and obscene behaviour solicit the beast to a congress with her, and then lie down after the manner of four-footed beasts, as the word signifies, that it may have carnal copulation with her: for a man to lie with a beast is most shocking and detestable, but for a woman to solicit such an unnatural mixture is most horrible and astonishing: perhaps reference may be had to a most shocking practice among the Egyptians, from among whom the Israelites were lately come, and whose doings they were not to imitate, Leviticus 18:3; and which may account for this law, as Bishop Patrick observes: at Mendes, in Egypt, a goat was worshipped, as has been remarked Leviticus 18:7; and where the women used to lie with such creatures, as Strabo (c) and Aelianus (d) from Pindar have related; yea, Herodotus (e) reports, of his own knowledge, that a goat had carnal copulation with a woman openly, in the view of all, in his time; and though that creature is a most lascivious and lustful one, yet, as Bochart (f) from Plutarch has observed, when it is provoked by many and beautiful women, is not inclined and ready to come into their embraces, but shows some abhorrence of it: nature in brutes, as that learned man observes, is often more prevalent in them than in mankind:
it is confusion; a mixing of the seed of man and beast together, a blending of different kinds of creatures, a perverting the order of nature, and introducing the utmost confusion of beings, from whence monsters in nature may arise.
(b) Hilchot Issure Biah, c. 1. sect. 16. (c) Geograph. l. 17. p. 551. (d) De Animal. l. 7. c. 19. (e) Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 46. (f) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 53. col. 642.
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