Leviticus 20:17
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 has uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Take his sister.—See Leviticus 18:9.

Leviticus 20:17. See her nakedness — In this and several of the following verses, uncovering nakedness plainly appears to mean not marriage, but fornication or adultery.20:10-27 These verses repeat what had been said before, but it was needful there should be line upon line. What praises we owe to God that he has taught the evil of sin, and the sure way of deliverance from it! May we have grace to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things; may we have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness, but reprove them.Cut off ... - See Exodus 31:14 note. The more full expression here used probably refers to some special form of public excommunication, accompanied, it may be, by expulsion from the camp. 7-19. Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy—The minute specification of the incestuous and unnatural crimes here enumerated shows their sad prevalence amongst the idolatrous nations around, and the extreme proneness of the Israelites to follow the customs of their neighbors. It is to be understood, that, whenever mention is made that the offender was "to be put to death" without describing the mode, stoning is meant. The only instance of another form of capital punishment occurs in Le 20:14, that of being burnt with fire; and yet it is probable that even here death was first inflicted by stoning, and the body of the criminal afterwards consumed by fire (Jos 7:15). Seeing is here understood, either,

1. Properly, and so God would cut off the occasions of further filthiness. Or rather,

2. Improperly, for touching her or lying with her; for,

1. The sense of seeing is oft put for other senses, as for hearing, Genesis 42:1, compared with Acts 7:12 Exodus 20:18 Revelation 1:12; and for touching, as John 20:25,29.

2. That act is expressed by words parallel to this of seeing, as by uncovering, or discovering, and by knowing, Genesis 4:1.

3. So it is directly explained in the following words,

he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness, which manifestly signifies lying with her.

4. It is not probable that an equal punishment would have been appointed to an immodest sight, and to the highest act of filthiness.

5. Nor seems there to be any reason why this crime should be restrained to this rather than to any other relations, when it was as great, yea, a greater crime in some other relations. In the sight of their people, i.e. publicly, for the terror and caution of others. And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter,.... Take her to be his wife, or commit lewdness with her, whether she be his sister by both father and mother's side, or whether by one only, either way she is his sister, and it is not lawful to marry her, or lie with her, see Leviticus 18:9,

and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; which is not to be understood of an immodest view, exposing to each other what should not be seen, and pleasing themselves wills such obscene sights, but of the act of lying together, for so it is afterwards explained by a phrase frequently used to express that action by; and it denotes, as Aben Ezra observes, their mutual consent and agreement in it:

it is a wicked thing; and by no means to be done; it is a breach of a former law, it is a scandalous and reproachful thing, and the word is sometimes used for reproach, as in Proverbs 14:34,

and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people; by death, either by the hand of the civil magistrate, or by the hand of God, by the pestilence, as the Targum of Jonathan; Ben Gersom interprets it, of their dying childless, as in some following cases, Leviticus 20:20,

he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; or lay with her, which explains a preceding clause:

he shall bear his iniquity; the punishment of it, and he alone, as Aben Ezra observes.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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.
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