Leviticus 18:23
Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
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(23) Any beast.—The necessity for the prohibition of this shocking crime, for which the Mosaic law enacts the penalty of death (see Leviticus 20:15-16; Exodus 22:18), will appear all the more important when it is borne in mind that this degrading practice actually formed a part of the religious worship of the Egyptians in connection with the goat deities.

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.Molech - See the note at Leviticus 20:2-5. 21. thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, &c.—Molech, or Moloch, which signifies "king," was the idol of the Ammonites. His statue was of brass, and rested on a pedestal or throne of the same metal. His head, resembling that of a calf, was adorned with a crown, and his arms were extended in the attitude of embracing those who approached him. His devotees dedicated their children to him; and when this was to be done, they heated the statue to a high pitch of intensity by a fire within, and then the infants were either shaken over the flames, or passed through the ignited arms, by way of lustration to ensure the favor of the pretended deity. The fire-worshippers asserted that all children who did not undergo this purifying process would die in infancy; and the influence of this Zabian superstition was still so extensively prevalent in the days of Moses, that the divine lawgiver judged it necessary to prohibit it by an express statute.

neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God—by giving it to false or pretended divinities; or, perhaps, from this precept standing in close connection with the worship of Molech, the meaning rather is, Do not, by devoting your children to him, give foreigners occasion to blaspheme the name of your God as a cruel and sanguinary deity, who demands the sacrifice of human victims, and who encourages cruelty in his votaries.

A horrible confusion of the natures which God hath distinguished, and of the order which God hath appointed, and an overthrow of. all bounds of religion, honesty, sobriety, and modesty.

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.

Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
Verse 23. - The fifth prohibition (see Herod., 2:16). The penalty is death (chapter 20:15). Leviticus 18:23Lastly, it was forbidden to "lie with mankind as with womankind," i.e., to commit the crime of paederastia, that sin of Sodom (Genesis 19:5), to which the whole of the heathen were more or less addicted (Romans 1:27), and from which even the Israelites did not keep themselves free (Judges 19:22.); or to "lie with any beast." "Into no beast shalt thou give thine emission of seed,...and a woman shall not place herself before a beast to lie down thereto." רבע equals רבץ "to lie," is the term used particularly to denote a crime of this description (Leviticus 20:13 and Leviticus 20:15, Leviticus 20:16, cf. Exodus 22:18). Lying with animals was connected in Egypt with the worship of the goat; at Mendes especially, where the women lay down before he-goats (Herodotus, 2, 46; Strabo, 17, p. 802). Aelian (nat. an. vii. 19) relates an account of the crime being also committed with a dog in Rome; and according to Sonnini, R. 11, p. 330, in modern Egypt men are said to lie even with female crocodiles.
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