For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2004 James Melough

18:1.  “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,”


18:2.  “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the Lord your God.”


Since, as has been noted already, Moses represents law, as Aaron does grace, God’s speaking here only to Moses tells us that this pronouncement is one of law unmingled with grace, a fact confirmed by the words, “I am the Lord your God.”  He will brook no infraction.


18:3.  “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.”


Egypt represents the world of business and pleasure living in independence of God, as Canaan does the realm of fleshly lust.  Egypt had been the land of their bondage; and Canaan was meant by God to be the land of their emancipation and blessing, but alas, their eager adoption of the sinful ways of the Canaanites quickly transformed it into the unhappy realm of chastisement, as their aping the wicked ways of the Canaanites evoked God’s judgment. 


The professing, but apostate church has walked all too faithfully in Israel’s evil footsteps, and with the same result: she has made herself heiress of chastisement rather than blessing, all the signs around us pointing to the imminence of the rapture of the true Church, and the destruction of the harlot travesty which has sought to seize her place on the earth.


To walk in the ordinances of the Canaanites was to conform to their institutions, something the harlot church has done all too diligently.


18:4.  “Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God.”


Having introduced Himself in verse two by the words, “I am the Lord your God,” He uses it five more times - the number of responsibility - declaring, “I am the Lord,” thus reminding them that they were responsible to obey Him, or to suffer His wrath if they disobeyed.  We who constitute the Church are likewise responsible to obey Him, or to experience His anger.


18:5.  “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.”


A statute is an enactment or ordinance; and a judgment means a verdict, sentence, or charge.  Israel was responsible to obey God’s laws, and to carry out His commandments, obedience being concomitant with life and blessing; and disobedience, with chastisement and death.  This is not to be construed, however, as teaching salvation by works; but rather, as stating that eternal life comes through that faith in Christ as Savior which gladly expresses itself in obedience, as He Himself said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” John 14:15, and again, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, amd will manifest myself to him,” John 14:21.


18:6.  “None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord.”


This begins the section in which God identifies those blood relatives whom His people were not to marry.


18:7.  “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.”


To have sexual intercourse with one’s mother is equivalent to exposing the nakedness of his father, and is forbidden by God.


18:8.  “The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness.”


The wife here is clearly not one’s mother, but rather his step mother.  Sexual intercourse with her is also strictly forbidden.


18:9.  “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.”


The forbidden woman here is generally understood to be one’s half sister, the child of one’s own father, by a woman other than the individual’s mother; or the child of one’s own mother, begotten by a man other than one’s own father.


18:10.  “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.”


The forbidden woman here is one’s granddaughter.


18:11.  “The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover here nakedness.”


The forbidden woman here is one’s half-sister, i.e., the daughter of one’s father, but by a woman other than the individual’s mother, e.g., a previous wife.


18:12.  “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman.”


The woman here is one’s paternal aunt.


18:13.  “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: she is thy mother’s near kinswoman.”


The woman in question is one’s maternal aunt.


18:14.  “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.


The woman here is one’s aunt by marriage, i.e., the wife of the individual’s paternal uncle.


18:15.  “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.”


18:16.  “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness.”


These verses are self-explanatory.


18:17.  “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.”


The relationship forbidden here is with one’s stepdaughter, or with the daughter of a stepdaughter or stepson.


18:18.  “Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.”


God tolerated polygamy (the patriarchs had multiple wives), and divorce, but He did not approve of it, see Matthew 19:8, “... Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”  A man might marry his wife’s sister, but not while the first wife lived.


18:19.  “Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.”


The uncleanness here was her menstrual period: see comments on chapter 15:19-28.


18:20.  “Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbor’s wife, to defile thyself with her.”


Adultery was forbidden by the seventh commandment, see Exodus 20:14.


18:21.  “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.”


The worship of Molech, the god of the Ammonites, is believed by many to have included child sacrifice by burning, though some take the reference to be to the dedication of children as cult prostitutes.


The profanation of God’s name is the failure to show the reverence that is due to His name, see Exodus 20:7.


18:22.  “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”


This forbids homosexuality, God’s abhorrence of it being declared in His calling it “abomination,” which means loathsome, detestable, enormous sin.  His hatred of it is further emphasized in His scathing denunciation of homosexuals, see Romans 1:24-32.


18:23.  “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.”


Bestiality is a capital offence: the person and the beast are both to be put to death, see Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 20:15-16, and Deuteronomy 27:21.  “confusion” is also rendered perversion, violation of nature, foul thing. This sin is unique in that it is a perversion of the natural order.


18:24.  “Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:”


To be defiled means to be unclean, foul, contaminated, polluted, impure, filthy; and it was for these sins that God had cast out the Canaanites.  The Israelites who would engage in the same evil practices would also be cast out of the land, the Diaspora being the proof that they had indeed incurred the same guilt as their Canaanite predecessors.


18:25.  “And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.”


The enormity of the Canaanites’ guilt is declared in their being likened to vomit, and the land likened to a stomach which spewed out that which nauseated it.  Israel’s expulsion from the land is the proof that they too had sickened God by the same evil doings. The coming terrible Tribulation judgments, in which millions will perish, and which will be the outpouring of God’s wrath against the wickedness of today’s evil world, are foreshadowed in His judgment upon the Canaanites and upon Israel.


18:26.  “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:”


Abomination means loathsome, detestable, enormous sin.  Israel was not only to abstain from all such wickedness, but was  responsible to ensure that Gentiles who might dwell in her midst were also to keep themselves free from all such pollution.


18:27.  “(For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;)”


18:28.  “That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.”


18:29.  “For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.”


18:30.  “Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinances, 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.”


God here continues to emphasize that it was the wickedness of the Canaanites which had provoked His wrath, and caused Him to expel them from the land, this reiteration of their iniquity being the warning to Israel that they would suffer the same fate if they aped the Canaanites’ evil ways.


The warning is no less to the apostate church, for she too is about to be destroyed for the same sin: aping the ways of the wicked world; nor will He spare the individual professing believer who is guilty of the same offences.

[Leviticus 19]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough