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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus

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Leviticus 18 : Avoiding Wrong Sexual Relations

 

v.1-5 Introductory Warning – avoid the practices of Egypt

v.6-23 Honour God's Design AND Existing Close Relationships

v.24-30 General Warning about the Practices of the Land

 

 

v.1-5 Introductory Warning – avoid the practices of Egypt

 

v.1 The Lord said to Moses,

v.2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God.

v.3 You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.

v.4 You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God.

v.5 Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.

 

[Notes: The avoidance of ‘in-breeding' is not specified as such although that is no doubt behind some of the following prohibitions. The bigger pressure noted here, and in the closing seven verses, is that these things listed below are signs of lawlessness as found back in Egypt and in the Promised Land they are about to occupy. The ‘creation mandate' includes, “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh,” (Gen 2:24) and the clear inference is that God's design for humanity is one man with one woman for life and anything outside of that is less than God's desire. (Polygamy although not specifically spoken against, is clearly seen to create problems).]

 

 

v.6-18 Honour God's Design for Existing Close Relationships

 

v.6 “‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.

v.7 “‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.

v.8 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your father's wife; that would dishonor your father.

v.9 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father's daughter or your mother's daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.

v.10 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter; that would dishonor you.

v.11 “‘Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father's wife, born to your father; she is your sister.

v.12 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your father's sister; she is your father's close relative.

v.13 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your mother's sister, because she is your mother's close relative.

v.14 “‘Do not dishonor your father's brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.

v.15 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son's wife; do not have relations with her.

v.16 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother's wife; that would dishonor your brother.

v.17 “‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.

v.18 “‘Do not take your wife's sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.

 

[Notes: Science details the disorders that often occur when there is family inbreeding and this may be behind these prohibitions. However when the word ‘dishonour' occurs five times in these verses they perhaps are clues that speak to disrespect and disharmony that can so easily occur when relationship boundaries are crossed, as the modern record of divorce activity so often shows. For all these reasons, sexual activity – often indicating intimacy of relationship as well as lust – outside of established relationships according to God's design, tends to act as a catalyst for relationship breakup and undermining of the basic building blocks of civilisation.]

 

v.19-23 Contrary to God's Design Prohibitions

 

v.19 “‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.

v.20 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor's wife and defile yourself with her.

v.21 “‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.

v.22 “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.

v.23 “‘Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.

 

[Notes: Verse 19 speaks to respect for a woman, verse 20 speaks to order of community life and civilization, verse 21 speaks against pagan atrocities, verse 22 clearly speaks against same gender sex being outside God's design, and verse 23 against the abhorrence of paganism that crosses all of God's design boundaries.]

 

 

v.24-30 General Warning about the Practices of the Land

 

v.24 “‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled.

v.25 Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.

v.26 But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things,

v.27 for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled.

v.28 And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

v.29 “‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people.

v.30 Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God.'”

 

[Notes: The summary encapsulated in these concluding verses reveals God's abhorrence of the depravity levels to which the Canaanites had fallen and come as strong warning to Israel to remain holy and never go down these same paths.]

       

    

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 19