Leviticus 20 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Leviticus 20)

Verse 2

[2] 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.

The people — Here follow the punishments of the crimes forbidden in the former chapters.

Verse 3

[3] 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.

I will set my face against that man — Deal with him as an enemy, and make him a monument of my justice.

To defile my sanctuary — Because the sanctuary was defiled by gross abominations committed in that city or land where God's sanctuary was: or because by these actions they declared to all men that they esteemed the sanctuary and service of God abominable and vile, by preferring such odious idolatry before it.

And to profane my name — Partly by despising it themselves, partly by disgracing it to others, and giving them occasion to blaspheme it, and to abhor the true religion.

Verse 4

[4] 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:

Hide their eyes — Wink at his fault, and forbear to accuse and punish him.

Verse 6

[6] 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.

To go a whoring — To seek counsel or help from them.

Verse 8

[8] And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.

Who sanctify you — Who separate you from all nations, and from their impurities and idolatries, to be a peculiar people to myself; and who give you my grace to keep my statutes.

Verse 9

[9] 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.

Curseth — This is not here meant of every perverse expression, but of bitter reproaches or imprecations.

His blood shall be upon him — He is guilty of his own death: he deserves to die for so unnatural a crime.

Verse 12

[12] 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.

Confusion — By perverting the order which God hath appointed, and making the same off-spring both his own child and his grandchild.

Verse 13

[13] 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.

Put to death — Except the one party was forced by the other. See Deuteronomy 22:25.

Verse 14

[14] 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.

They — All who consented to it.

Verse 15

[15] And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.

Slay the beast — Partly for the prevention of monstrous births, partly to blot out the memory of so loathsome a crime.

Verse 17

[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 hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

See her nakedness|-In this and several of the following verses, uncovering nakedness plainly appears to mean not marriage, but fornication or adultery.

Verse 20

[20] 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.

They shall die childless — Either shall be speedily cut off ere they can have a child by that incestuous conjunction; if this seem a less crime than most of the former incestuous mixtures, and therefore the magistrate forbear to punish it with death; yet they shall either have no children from such an unlawful bed, or their children shall die before them.

Verse 21

[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.

His brother's wife — Except in the case allowed by God, Deuteronomy 25:5.

Verse 27

[27] 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.

A man or a woman that hath a familiar spirit, shall surely be put to death — They that are in league with the devil, have in effect made a covenant with death: and so shall their doom be.