Leviticus 20
Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Punishments for the Vices and crimes Prohibited in Ch. 18 and 19. - The list commences with idolatry and soothsaying, which were to be followed by extermination, as a practical apostasy from Jehovah, and a manifest breach of the covenant.

Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
Whoever, whether an Israelite or a foreigner in Israel, dedicated of his seed (children) to Moloch (see Leviticus 18:21), was to be put to death. The people of the land were to stone him. בּאבן רגם, lapide obruere, is synonymous with סקל, lit., lapidem jacere: this was the usual punishment appointed in the law for cases in which death was inflicted, either as the result of a judicial sentence, or by the national community.

And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
By this punishment the nation only carried out the will of Jehovah; for He would cut off such a man (see at Leviticus 17:10 and Leviticus 18:21) for having defiled the sanctuary of Jehovah and desecrated the name of Jehovah, not because he had brought the sacrifice to Moloch into the sanctuary of Jehovah, as Movers supposes, but in the same sense in which all the sins of Israel defiled the sanctuary in their midst (Leviticus 15:31; Leviticus 16:16).

And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:
If the people, however (the people of the land), should hide their eyes from him (on the dagesh in חעלּם and יעלּימוּ see the note on Leviticus 4:13-21), from an unscrupulous indifference or a secret approval of his sin, the Lord would direct His face against him and his family, and cut him off with all that went a whoring after him.

Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.
And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.
He would also do the same to every soul that turned to familiar spirits and necromantists (Leviticus 19:31, cf. Exodus 22:17), "to go a whoring after them," i.e., to make himself guilty of idolatry by so doing, such practices being always closely connected with idolatry.

Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
For the Israelites were to sanctify themselves, i.e., to keep themselves pure from all idolatrous abominations, to be holy because Jehovah was holy (Leviticus 11:44; Leviticus 19:2), and to keep the statutes of their God who sanctified them (Exodus 31:13).

And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.
For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
Whoever cursed father or mother was to be punished with death (Leviticus 19:3); "His blood would be upon him." The cursing of parents was a capital crime (see at Leviticus 17:4, and for the plural דּמיו Exodus 22:1 and Genesis 4:10), which was to return upon the doer of it, according to Genesis 9:6. The same punishment was to be inflicted upon adultery (Leviticus 20:10, cf. Leviticus 18:20), carnal intercourse with a father's wife (Leviticus 20:11, cf. Leviticus 18:7-8) or with a daughter-in-law (Leviticus 20:12, cf. Leviticus 18:17), sodomy (Leviticus 20:13, cf. Leviticus 18:22), sexual intercourse with a mother and her daughter, in which case the punishment was to be heightened by the burning of the criminals when put to death (Leviticus 20:14, cf. Leviticus 18:17), lying with a beast (Leviticus 20:15, Leviticus 20:16, cf. Leviticus 18:23), sexual intercourse with a half-sister (Leviticus 20:17, cf. Leviticus 18:9 and Leviticus 18:11), and lying with a menstruous woman (Leviticus 20:18, cf. Leviticus 18:19). The punishment of death, which was to be inflicted in all these cases upon both the criminals, and also upon the beast that had been abused (Leviticus 20:15, Leviticus 20:16), was to be by stoning, according to Leviticus 20:2, Leviticus 20:27, and Deuteronomy 22:21.; and by the burning (Leviticus 20:14) we are not to understand death by fire, or burning alive, but, as we may clearly see from Joshua 7:15 and Joshua 7:25, burning the corpse after death. This was also the case in Leviticus 21:9 and Genesis 38:24.

And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.
And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.
And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.
And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister, nor of thy father's sister: for he uncovereth his near kin: they shall bear their iniquity.
No civil punishment, on the other hand, to be inflicted by the magistrate or by the community generally, was ordered to follow marriage with an aunt, the sister of father or mother (Leviticus 20:19, cf. Leviticus 18:12-13), with an uncle's wife (Leviticus 20:20, cf. Leviticus 18:4), or with a sister-in-law, a brother's wife (Leviticus 20:21, cf. Leviticus 18:16). In all these cases the threat is simply held out, "they shall bear their iniquity," and (according to Leviticus 20:20, Leviticus 20:21) "die childless;" that is to say, God would reserve the punishment to Himself (see at Leviticus 18:14). In the list of punishments no reference is made to intercourse with a mother (Leviticus 18:7) or a granddaughter (Leviticus 18:10), as it was taken for granted that the punishment of death would be inflicted in such cases as these; just as marriage with a daughter or a full sister is passed over in the prohibitions in ch. 18.

And if a man shall lie with his uncle's wife, he hath uncovered his uncle's nakedness: they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.
And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.
Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out.
The list of punishments concludes, like the prohibitions in Leviticus 18:24., with exhortations to observe the commandments and judgments of the Lord, and to avoid such abominations (on Leviticus 18:22 cf. Leviticus 18:3-5, Leviticus 18:26, Leviticus 18:28, Leviticus 18:30; and on Leviticus 18:23 cf. Leviticus 18:3 and Leviticus 18:24). The reason assigned for the exhortations is, that Jehovah was about to give them for a possession the fruitful land, whose inhabitants He had driven out because of their abominations, and that Jehovah was their God, who had separated Israel from the nations. For this reason (Leviticus 18:25) they were also to sever (make distinctions) between clean and unclean cattle and birds, and not make their souls (i.e., their persons) abominable through unclean animals, with which the earth swarmed, and which God had "separated to make unclean," i.e., had prohibited them from eating or touching when dead, because they defiled (see ch. 11). For (Leviticus 18:26) they were to be holy, because Jehovah their God was holy, who had severed them from the nations, to belong to Him, i.e., to be the nation of His possession (see Exodus 19:4-6).

And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.
But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people.
Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.
And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.
A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.
But because Israel was called to be the holy nation of Jehovah, every one, ether man or woman, in whom there was a heathenish spirit of soothsaying, was to be put to death, viz., stoned (cf. Leviticus 19:31), to prevent defilement by idolatrous abominations.

Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch [1857-78].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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