Leviticus 20:21
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.
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(21) His brother’s wife.—See Leviticus 18:16.

Leviticus 20:21. His brother’s wife — Except in the case allowed by God, Deuteronomy 25:5.

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.They shall die childless - Either the offspring should not be regarded as lawfully theirs, nor be entitled to any hereditary privileges, or they should have no blessing in their children. 20. they shall die childless—Either by the judgment of God they shall have no children, or their spurious offspring shall be denied by human authority the ordinary privileges of children in Israel. Except in the case allowed by God, Deu 25:5.

An unclean thing; an abominable thing, like the uncleanness of a menstruous woman, which is oft expressed by this word: Heb. a separation or removing, i.e. a thing deserving separation or exclusion from society with others; or a thing to be removed out of sight or out of the world.

And if a man shall take his brother's wife,.... To his wife, whether in his life, as the Targum of Jonathan adds, or whether after his death, unless when there is no issue, then he was obliged to it by another law, Deuteronomy 25:5; which is now ceased, and the law in Leviticus 18:16; here referred to, stands clear of all exceptions:

it is an unclean thing; or a "separation" (k) from which a man should remove and keep at a distance, as from menstruous women, of whom this word is used; and so denotes that it is by all means to be avoided, as an abominable and detestable thing; and it is observed that of all copulations it is only used of this: and the Jewish writers, as Aben Ezra and others, observe that this case is somewhat like that of a menstruous woman, who in the time of her separation is unlawful, but when out of it lawful; and so, in this case, a brother's wife might not be taken, he being alive; but after his death she might, if she had no son, according to the law before referred to, but that is now abolished:

he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; his wife's, which was his brother's; which through nearness of kin, he ought not to have done; and the same holds good of a wife's sister, the relation being the same:

they shall be childless; they shall have none by such a marriage or copulation, and die without any; and as this supposes the brother's wife to have children by her first husband, or otherwise while the Jewish law lasted, it would not have been unlawful to marry her husband's brother; the meaning may be, that these should die before them, or rather, as some think, those that might be born of such a marriage should not be reckoned legitimate, and so not inherit.

(k) "separatio", Drusius,

And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's {h} nakedness; they shall be childless.

(h) Read Le 18:16.

Leviticus 20:21No 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.
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