Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Moloch. See chap. xviii. 21.
I will thus execute vengeance upon him by the hands of his people; and, in case they neglect it, or the crime be secret, I will surely punish the guilty person, and all who may have consented to his wickedness, ver. 5. (Haydock) --- Face: Chaldean, "wrath," which manifests itself on the countenance. (Du Hamel)
My commandment: Hebrew, "If the people hide their face not to see:" (Calmet) or Septuagint, "look over on purpose, and neglect the man who has given of his seed to the ruler."
Them. To have recourse to them, is to deal with the devil and commit idolatry. See chap. xix. 31.
Sanctify you, and order you to keep at a distance from the impure worship of other nations. (Haydock)
Die. The Rabbins say, by being strangled, when nothing farther is added: but if the following addition be made, stoning is understood. But their authority is not of much weight, and is contradicted, ver. 2. Stoning was the most usual method of putting to death in the days of Moses, and is commonly meant; or perhaps the judges might determine the mode of execution. --- Upon him. He deserves to die. He can blame no other. See Matthew xvii. 25. (Calmet) --- For greater infamy, the person to be stoned or hung, was stripped of his clothes. (Tirinus) --- The punishment of lapidation (ver. 2) seems to be designed for the following times, as it was for adultery, Deuteronomy xxii. 24. (Menochius) (John. viii. 5.)
Adulteress. Philo (de Josephus) says, whoever discovered a man in the very act, might kill him; and the Roman law allowed the same liberty, impune necato. But God requires a juridical process, and witnesses, as we see in the case of Susanna, (Daniel xiii.) and in that of the woman who was brought to our Saviour. One witness might authorize a person to put his wife away, and if he then retained her, he was esteemed a fool, Proverbs xviii. 23. But more witnesses were requisite before she could be put to death. They put their hands on the heads of the guilty, thus taking their blood upon themselves, if they accused them wrongfully. Solon allowed the husband to kill the adulterer. The woman was not permitted to wear any ornaments, or to enter any temple afterwards. If she did, any one might tear her clothes, and beat, but not kill her.
Father. See chap. xviii. 8. It is supposed that the father was dead, otherwise the punishment would probably be greater than for adultery. The Samaritan, "with the wife of his father's brother." (Calmet)
Crime. Hebrew tebel, "confusion," the same term which is used in speaking of bestiality, (chap. xviii. 23,) though the latter crime be more enormous. (Haydock)
Alive, is not in the original; but must be understood. The Rabbins say melted lead was to be poured down the throats of the guilty. The words of Moses seem rather to refer to external fire. (Calmet) --- With them, if they both gave their consent to the crime. (Menochius)
The beast also ye shall kill. The killing of the beast was for the greater horror of the crime, and to prevent the remembrance of such abomination. (Challoner) --- The beast was to be killed with clubs; the man was stoned to death. (Jonathan)
Them. This monstrous abomination, teras, as Herodotus, an eye-witness calls it, was not unknown to the Egyptians. Gunaiki tragos emisgeto; (B. ii. 46,) nor to other nations. (Apul. Met. 10.)
A crime. Hebrew chesed, commonly signifies an act of piety or goodness, as if Moses intended to insinuate that such marriages were at first lawful. (Thalmud; Selden, Jur. v. 8.) But a softer term is used to denote a great impiety, as the Hebrews say to bless, when they mean to curse, or to blaspheme; (Calmet) and the Greeks call the furies Eumenides, or "the good-natured." --- One another's. Hebrew, "He hath uncovered his sister's," &c. Whether they saw what was indecent or not, if they admitted of any unlawful commerce, they were to be stoned to death. (Haydock)
People, if the action become public; otherwise the man may be purified, chap xv. 24. This intemperance was by a positive law declared a mortal offence in the Jews, though in itself it might be venial. (Sanchez ix. 21.) The text shews that the woman here gives her consent. --- And she open. Hence she deserves to die, for exposing herself and her children to great danger. (Haydock)
Flesh, or relation. (Menochius)
Children. The Sadducees read, "they shall die naked." The present Hebrew has simply, "they shall be without children;" their offspring shall be illegitimate. (St. Augustine, q. 76.) God will not bless their marriage. "Such we know can have no children." (St. Gregory, q. 6.; St. Augustine, Apost. Anglorum.) The guilty shall be slain without delay. (Grotius) (Calmet)
Honey. Most fertile and delicious. (Menochius)
Mine. This is the reason of these different prescriptions, that they may know the dignity to which they have been raised, and may avoid the manners of the profane. (Calmet)
Spirit. Hebrew ob, means also a bottle. See chap. xix. 31. If those who consult such people be guilty, the authors of the delusion deserve death still more. (Haydock) --- The spirit of python is no other than the spirit of the devil, or of Apollo, who was called Pythius, on account of his having slain the serpent python. His oracles were in great request, as he was supposed to know the secrets of futurity. (Calmet)