Leviticus 18 Commentary

Leviticus 18 Commentary


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.
Leviticus 18 verse 3. NIV. The subject is sexual immorality. The chapter shows an entire list of sexual perversion from which the saint must distinguish themselves. The call to come out of her and be separate cannot be any louder for the saint today. We do well to read these lines again and again.

Chapter 18 is underlined by verse 3. God’s people are to look at sexuality with different lenses. Views, thoughts and mannerisms concerning sexuality should be different from that of Egypt and Canaan. We cannot be the same. The LORD expects us to be different.

“No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.”
Leviticus 18 verse 6. NIV

Verses 6 summaries the core message here. But there is more. Wrong sex will either dishonor self or others. Child sacrifice is mentioned. Sex with animals is also included on the list. It’s an ‘X’ list which angers God so much that He decides to completely destroy Canaan.

Israel is to find life by this law. Without this law Israel will suffer the same fate as Canaan. Living by these practices will attract God’s wrath. The opposite is also true hence, “Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord” Leviticus 18 verse 5. NIV

So Leviticus 18 gives a detailed reason why Canaan will be destroyed. It is not an act of injustice on the part of the LORD that a land occupied by others is given to Israel. It is an act of just and importantly holy judgment on Canaan that their destruction is ordered.

All the above things were being done in Canaan. Men dishonoring themselves with anyone in skirt regardless – mother, sister, daughter, cousin….anyone. Men dishonoring themselves with animals. Women dishonoring themselves with animals. In addition child sacrifice to demons was common. There was no respect for life. Life today isn’t very different. Then you know just how troubled the LORD is.

Interesting there isn’t any remedial rituals specified for these sins. The punishment is removal from God’s community.

So do not defile the land and give it a reason to vomit you out, as it will vomit out the people who live there now. Leviticus 18 verse 28. The key point here is that the LORD is repeating the Genesis chapter 3 curse. The land remains cursed because of sin. Hidden in these lines is a promise that holiness would null or slow down or blunt the curse. With holiness the LORD would allow the land to be productive and the community of God’s people would thrive in it.

With chapter 18 we see the beginning of sacred laws reflecting the holiness of God. The LORD refers to His name each time He takes a breath in between the instructions to Moses. It’s a reference to the holiness of the LORD and an emphasis on the one and only reason why man must keep these laws.

We do well to read these chapters again and again. Chapters 18 and 19.

Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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