Leviticus Chapter 18 centers on the guidelines given by God regarding unlawful sexual relations.
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God’s Rules about Sexual Relations
The Lord spoke to Moses and told him to inform the Israelites that they were not allowed to behave like the Egyptians. The sexual practices of the Egyptians were not to be performed in the land of Canaan. The Lord noted that He was the source of all their civil and moral laws and they were to obey him without question.
God Lists Restricted Relations
The Lord then noted the sexual practices of which He did not approve. He said that nobody was allowed to have sex with a close relative. He restricted having sex with one’s own mother or stepmother. He also included one’s sister, half-sister, and even stepsister. Sex with in-laws and aunts was also mentioned as being against God’s plan and wishes.
The practice of having sex with a neighbor’s wife was also pointed out as being an affront against God. Leviticus Chapter 18 also speaks against same-sex relations and also bestiality. God also stated that presenting one’s children as a sacrifice to Molech was a blasphemy unto the Lord.
God Explains His Reasons
The Lord mentioned that He banned such practices because they were common practices of the nations He intended to crush. He explained that if the Israelites conquered such lands, it was their duty to ban such behaviors so as to avoid defiling the land. The Lord also told the Israelites that when anyone was guilty of such behaviors, they were to shun them because they were, as He called them, detestable customs.
Leviticus 18 (King James Version)
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God.
3 After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.
4 Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.
5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.
6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.
7 The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
8 The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness.
9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.
10 The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness.
11 The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
12 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman.
13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she is thy mother’s near kinswoman.
14 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.
15 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness.
17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness.
18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.
19 Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.
20 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her.
21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.
22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
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.
24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.
26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:
27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;)
28 That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.
29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.