Scriptures

Leviticus 20

Introduction

‘The LORD said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death. The members of the community are to stone him. I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people; for by sacrificing his children to Molek, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. If the members of the community close their eyes when that man sacrifices one of his children to Molek and if they fail to put him to death, I myself will set my face against him and his family and will cut them off from their people together with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek.’ Leviticus 20:1-5

Punishments For Sin

Not only did God give the Israelites laws to remind them they were to be different from the nations around them, He also gave them consequences for breaking His laws.

Most of the sins mentioned here are in relation to the Canaanite God, Molek, 2 Kings 23:10. To sacrifice their children to Molek was nothing less than spiritual adultery, which God took very seriously, so seriously that the punishment was to be stoning to death.

Molek Worship

Molek was the fire god, a bronze idol which was used for human sacrifices. Mainly human children were offered to him. The inside was hollow and a fire was lit inside making the idol red hot, the victim was then placed on the outstretch arms of the idol. There would be screams from the victims but this would be drowned out by the drums. This took place in the valley of Hinnom and it became known as the valley of the Drums, Tophet.

Idolatry

If a prophet tempted others to get involved in idolatry, they were not to listen to the prophet’s advice to worship other gods. They were to worship only and the false prophet who spoke rebellion was to be put to death, Deuteronomy 13:1-5.

If a relative or close friend tempted others to get involved in idolatry, they weren’t to be listened to. The one who spoke to him was not to pity him, spare him, or hide him, instead he was to be the first one to stone him and then all the other people were to join in, Deuteronomy 13:6-11. Such action was to cause great fear in Israel, Deuteronomy 13:12-18.

If a whole city turned to idolatry then it was to be completely destroyed, even the cattle were to be killed, everything was to be burned in the middle of the open square. The city was not to be rebuilt, no one was to take any booty for themselves, and those who faithfully served God would be blessed, Deuteronomy 13:12-18.

‘I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people. ‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy.’ Leviticus 20:6-8

Anyone one who turned to mediums and spiritists were to be cut off from Israel, and those who practiced such were to be stoned to death, Leviticus 20:27 / John 8:7.

There is a long list of practices like this which were strictly forbidden, human sacrifices, Deuteronomy 18:10, divination, witchcraft, omen interpreters, sorcerer, spell casters, Deuteronomy 18:11, spiritist, one who calls up the dead, such things are an abomination to God, Deuteronomy 18:12- 14.

The Canaanites and other nations around them truly believed in demons and spirits, they were very superstitious. However, we must remember that God didn’t forbid these practices because they were real, He forbid them because He knew they weren’t real and didn’t want His people to believe in the things that the Canaanites were making up in their minds.

Even in today’s society the people who practice these things use to them to create fear in people’s minds and vulnerable people who don’t know God’s Word are easily deceived into thinking that these people have some sort of supernatural power.

‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head. ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbour—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death. ‘If a man has sexual relations with his father’s wife, he has dishonoured his father. Both the man and the woman are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. ‘If a man has sexual relations with his daughter-in-law, both of them are to be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads. ‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. ‘If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you. ‘If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he is to be put to death, and you must kill the animal. ‘If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. ‘If a man marries his sister, the daughter of either his father or his mother, and they have sexual relations, it is a disgrace. They are to be publicly removed from their people. He has dishonoured his sister and will be held responsible. ‘If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them are to be cut off from their people. ‘Do not have sexual relations with the sister of either your mother or your father, for that would dishonour a close relative; both of you would be held responsible. ‘If a man has sexual relations with his aunt, he has dishonoured his uncle. They will be held responsible; they will die childless. ‘If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonoured his brother. They will be childless.’ Leviticus 20:9-21

If a child is at the age of accountability and they cursed their father or mother, they were to be put to death by stoning, Exodus 21:17. Anyone who was involved in illicit sexual relations outside the marriage relationship was also to be put to death, Leviticus 18:6-20 / Leviticus 18:22-23.

The examples given here are adultery, having sexual relations with your stepmother, your own daughter in law, homosexuality, bestiality, a mother and her daughter, half-sister, a woman who has her monthly period, an aunt, uncle’s wife and a brother’s sister, all of which were punishable by stoning to death, Leviticus 18:6-23.

The phrase, ‘they will be childless’, may have a couple of meanings. It could refer to someone being stoned to death before they are able to have children of their own or it could be referring to those who have been stoned to death before they had a chance to get married, Leviticus 20:9.

‘Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. But I said to you, ‘You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations. ‘You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those that I have set apart as unclean for you. You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. ‘A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’ Leviticus 20:22-27

Terms And Conditions

As we saw at the end of Leviticus 18:24-30, when it comes to God’s promise for the Israelites to live in the Promised land, Genesis 15:16 / Genesis 50:24-25, there were terms and conditions attached to the promise.

They had to fully obey God’s laws, but if they allowed themselves to be influenced from the Canaanite culture and get involved in idolatry then they would forfeit the land.

Israel’s future was in Israel’s own hands, obedience meant they would be blessed in the land but disobedience meant they would be removed from it and lose it all together. They had to learn that they were different from the nations around them, God is a holy God and His people also need to be holy.

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DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Ephesians 2:10

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