Leviticus chapter 18

Twenty-four forbidden sexual practices.

 


 

TWENTY-FOUR FORBIDDEN SEXUAL PRACTICES

 

VERSE 1. The LORD said to Moses,

 

VERSE 2. “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘I am the LORD your God.

 

VERSE 3. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived. You shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. You shall not follow their statutes.

as they do in the land of Egypt. Apparently the sexual culture in Egypt was less prohibitive than it will be for the Jewish people.

as they do in the land of Canaan. Apparently the sexual culture in Canaan was less prohibitive than it will be for the Jewish people.

 

VERSE 4. You shall do my ordinances. You shall keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God.

 

VERSE 5. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my ordinances, which if a man does, he shall live in them. I am the LORD.

 

VERSE 6. “ ‘None of you shall approach any close relatives, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.

close relatives. Sex with a close relative is forbidden. That is incest is forbidden.

to uncover their nakedness. That is, “to have sexual intercourse with.”

PROTESTANT translations of the Bible are often quite circumspect when it comes to sexual words.

This probably stems from the fiercely Victorian roots of western culture. And  from the Puritanical roots of U.S. culture.

Here are a few examples:

English Standard Version (ESV): None of you shall approach any one of his close relatives to uncover nakedness. I am the LORD.

King James Version (KJV): None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.

New American Standard Bible (NASB): None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness; I am the LORD.

Other Christian cultures do not have Puritanical roots, and are therefore less circumspect. For example:

  • translations from outside the U.S.
  • translations into other languages
  • translations by non-Protestants and non-Evangelicals

Here is an example by CATHOLIC scholars:

New American Bible (NAB): None of you shall approach a close relative to have sexual intercourse. I am the LORD.

However, JEWISH translations are typically the least circumspect of all.

 

VERSE 7. “ ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, nor the nakedness of your mother: she is your mother. You shall not uncover her nakedness.

your father. Sex with your father is forbidden.

your mother. Sex with your mother is forbidden.

 

VERSE 8. “ ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife. It is your father’s nakedness.

your father’s wife. Sex with your stepmother is forbidden.

 

VERSE 9. “ ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, the daughter of your father, or the daughter of your mother, whether born at home or born abroad.

your sister. Sex with your sister is forbidden.

the daughter of your father. Sex with your half-sister is forbidden.

the daughter of your mother. Sex with your half-sister is forbidden.

 

VERSE 10. “ ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your son’s daughter, or of your daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness; for theirs is your own nakedness.

your son’s daughter. Sex with your grandchild is forbidden.

your daughter’s daughter. Sex with your grandchild is forbidden.

 

VERSE 11. “ ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, conceived by your father, since she is your sister.

your father’s wife’s daughter. Sex with your half-sister is forbidden.

 

VERSE 12. “ ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s sister. She is your father’s near kinswoman.

your father’s sister. Sex with your aunt is forbidden.

 

VERSE 13. “ ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister, for she is your mother’s near kinswoman.

your mother’s sister. Sex with your aunt is forbidden.

 

VERSE 14. “ ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother. You shall not approach his wife. She is your aunt.

your father’s brother. Sex with your uncle is forbidden.

his wife. Sex with your aunt is forbidden.

 

VERSE 15. “ ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife. You shall not uncover her nakedness.

your daughter-in-law. Sex with your daughter-in-law if forbidden.

 

VERSE 16. “ ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife. It is your brother’s nakedness.

your brother’s wife. Sex with your sister-in-law is forbidden.

 

VERSE 17. “ ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter. You shall not take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness. They are near kinswomen. It is wickedness.

a woman and her daughter. Sex with a mother and daughter is forbidden.

her son’s daughter. Sex with a woman’s grandson is forbidden.

her daughter’s daughter. Sex with a woman’s granddaughter is forbidden.

 

VERSE 18. “ ‘You shall not take a wife in addition to her sister, to be a rival, to uncover her nakedness, while her sister is still alive.

a wife in addition to her sister. Sex with your wife’s sister is forbidden.

 

VERSE 19. “ ‘You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is impure by her uncleanness.

as long as she is impure by her uncleanness. Sex with a woman during her menstrual period is forbidden.

 

VERSE 20. “ ‘You shall not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, and defile yourself with her.

your neighbor’s wife. Sex with your neighbor’s wife is forbidden.

 

VERSE 21. “ ‘You shall not give any of your children as a sacrifice to Molech. You shall not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.

You shall not give any of your children as a sacrifice. The religion of Molech required people to offer their own children to be burned alive as a religious sacrifice.

to Molech. Molech was the national god of the Ammonites.

VERSE 22. “ ‘You shall not lie with a man as with a woman. That is detestable.

as with a woman. They were not to have sex with a man, as they would have sex with a woman.

Most people interpret this to mean that men should not have sex with men.

However, it can also be interpreted that men should not have homosexual sex in the so-called “missionary position” (face-to-face).

 

VERSE 23. “ ‘You shall not lie with any animal to defile yourself with it. No woman may give herself to an animal, to lie down with it: it is a perversion.

any animal. Sex with an animal is forbidden.

 

VERSE 24. “ ‘Don’t defile yourselves in any of these things; for in all these the nations which I am casting out before you were defiled.

 

VERSE 25. The land was defiled. Therefore I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out her inhabitants.

 

VERSE 26. You therefore shall keep my statutes and my ordinances, and shall not do any of these abominations; neither the native-born, nor the stranger who lives as a foreigner among you

You therefore. These sexual prohibitions apply to all Jewish people.

nor the stranger who lives as a foreigner among you. These sexual prohibitions also apply to all non-Jewish people who live among the Jewish people.

 

VERSE 27. (for the men of the land that were before you had done all these abominations, and the land became defiled),

 

VERSE 28. that the land not vomit you out also, when you defile it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.

 

VERSE 29. “ ‘For whoever shall do any of these abominations, even the souls that do them shall be cut off from among their people.

 

VERSE 30. Therefore you shall keep my requirements, that you do not practice any of these abominable customs which were practiced before you, and that you do not defile yourselves with them. I am the LORD your God.’ ”

 


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LEVITICUS

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize, The Scapegoat, Female Sacrificial Animals

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.