Leviticus 20:       This chapter deals with the death penalty.  This is a penalty that was instituted by Elohim for breaking many of His commandments.  Elohim instituted this law for good reason.  Adequate punishment of crime is for the moral good of the people.  Justice and righteousness demands punishment.
We do not believe in the death penalty much any more in today’s world.  When we do have it used, it is always so long after the crime that the criminal scarcely remembers what he did.
Soft-hearted and soft-headed men have decided that we are too enlightened to have the death penalty today.  But Elohim’s Word says that it is the most humanitarian procedure for the good of mankind.

(Lev 20:1 NASB)  Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Lev 20:1:      Elohim is only speaking to Moses in this instance because Moses is the law-giver.  Elohim is speaking about the penal code and the death penalty.
The death penalty is not pretty.  The violations spoken of here are not pretty either and they must be dealt with.



(Lev 20:2 NASB)  “You shall also say to the sons of Israel, ‘Any man from the sons of Israel or from the aliens sojourning in Israel, who gives any of his offspring to Molech, shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones.

Lev 20:2:      The worship of Molech constituted building a fire under the idol until he is red-hot and then placing a baby in the arms of the statue.  This was a horrible practice.  Judah eventually fell into that sin (Jer. 7:30-31).
The 12th century rabbi Rashi, commenting on Jeremiah 7:31 stated:
Tophet is Moloch, which was made of brass; and they heated him from his lower parts; and his hands being stretched out, and made hot, they put the child between his hands, and it was burnt; when it vehemently cried out; but the priests beat a drum, that the father might not hear the voice of his son, and his heart might not be moved.


(Lev 20:3 NASB)  ‘I will also set My face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Molech, so as to defile My sanctuary and to profane My holy name.

Lev 20:3:      Elohim says He will set His face against those who sacrifice their children.  To do this defiles His Sanctuary and His holy name.


(Lev 20:4 NASB)  ‘If the people of the land, however, should ever disregard that man when he gives any of his offspring to Molech, so as not to put him to death,
(Lev 20:5 NASB)  then I Myself will set My face against that man and against his family; and I will cut off from among their people both him and all those who play the harlot after him, by playing the harlot after Molech.

Lev 20:5:      If we are soft-hearted and soft-headed in our judgments of these things, then we are guilty also.


(Lev 20:6 NASB)  ‘As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.

Lev 20:6:      We are not to be involved in false religion of any kind, especially if it involves mediums or spiritists.  The Prophet Isaiah tells us that spiritists and mediums that do not speak according to Torah and their Testimonies do not have His light in them (Isaiah 8:18-20).
There are some who claim to have a “hotline” to God and get special messages from Him.  Those who do this virtually never follow or even acknowledge Torah.  How are they different from mediums or spiritists?


(Lev 20:7 NASB)  ‘You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the LORD your God.
(Lev 20:8 NASB)  ‘And you shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

Lev 20:8:      We are to consecrate ourselves and be holy.  We are to keep His statutes and practice them.  If we do so then Elohim will sanctify us.  The Hebrew word for sanctify is “qadash.”  6942. qadash, kaw-dash’; a prim. root; to be (causat. make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally):–appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow, (be, keep) holy (-er, place), keep, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify (-ied one, self), X wholly.
This verse is saying “Keep my statutes and practice them; I am Yahweh who pronounces you clean.”


(Lev 20:9 NASB)  ‘If there is anyone who curses his father or his mother, he shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother, his bloodguiltiness is upon him.

Lev 20:9:      This is why discipline of our children is of the utmost importance.  If we do not discipline them to have respect for authority and for their father and mother, then we are not doing our jobs as parents.  If they do not have that respect, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.
We need to remember that our children (like us) tend to be rebellious and we need to treat them as such.  All of us left unattended tend to have evil in our hearts, even our children.  And they need corporal instruction in order to understand the severity of their sin (Prov. 20:20, 30:17, 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14).


(Lev 20:10 NASB)  ‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

Lev 20:10:      Adultery is a plague on our society.  It is an evil that we have come to accept and even promote.  We should be ashamed of ourselves when we promote this kind of sin that Elohim specifically states is worthy of death.


(Lev 20:11 NASB)  ‘If there is a man who lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.

Lev 20:11:      This is essentially a repeat of Leviticus 18:8.  The Hebrew term for nakedness here implies sexuality and/or sexual relations.
This is a description of Ham and his incident with Noah (Gen. 9:22-27).  It is most likely that the nakedness of his father that Ham saw was actually him having sexual relations with his Noah’s wife.  If so, the offspring of this union may have been Ham.  That would explain why Noah cursed only this one son of Ham.


(Lev 20:12 NASB)  ‘If there is a man who lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed incest, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.

Lev 20:12:      Elohim sees that when a woman is married to a man, her nakedness now belongs to him.  If a man has sexual relations with his daughter-in-law, it is therefore incest against the son.  They are both to be put to death.


(Lev 20:13 NASB)  ‘If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.

Lev 20:13:      This is one commandment that Churches tend to embrace while forgetting the others pertaining to adultery.  The Hebrew word for “detestable” is “tow’ebah.”  It refers to something disgusting.  But it is the same word used in reference to eating unclean creatures (Deut. 14:3).


(Lev 20:14 NASB)  ‘If there is a man who marries a woman and her mother, it is immorality; both he and they shall be burned with fire, that there may be no immorality in your midst.

Lev 20:14:      Marrying a woman and her daughter is another form of incest.  Keep in mind that polygamy is not described as a sin.  This type of polygamy is called a sin.  It seems strange to me that a culture embraces adultery but condemns polygamy.  Hugh Hefner has three girlfriends and is admired for it while a man who performed marriages for polygamists was on the FBI ten most wanted list.  Which is worse??


(Lev 20:15 NASB)  ‘If there is a man who lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death; you shall also kill the animal.
(Lev 20:16 NASB)  ‘If there is a woman who approaches any animal to mate with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.

Lev 20:16:      These sins include some unspeakable acts.  Adultery in every form was to be punished by death.


(Lev 20:17 NASB)  ‘If there is a man who takes his sister, his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace; and they shall be cut off in the sight of the sons of their people. He has uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he bears his guilt.

Lev 20:17:      I have heard of a man and woman later in life getting married and the children they had in a previous marriage get together and wed also.  Is that condemned in this command?  Apparently so.


(Lev 20:18 NASB)  ‘If there is a man who lies with a menstruous woman and uncovers her nakedness, he has laid bare her flow, and she has exposed the flow of her blood; thus both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

Lev 20:18:      This is a sin that is not spoken of much by people today.  But it is one that Elohim takes very seriously.  That is one of the sins He condemned Israel for and had them taken off into captivity for (Ezek. 22:8-10).  It is one, when honored, is known by Elohim (Ezek. 18:5-9).


(Lev 20:19 NASB)  ‘You shall also not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister or of your father’s sister, for such a one has made naked his blood relative; they shall bear their guilt.

(Lev 20:20 NASB)  ‘If there is a man who lies with his uncle’s wife he has uncovered his uncle’s nakedness; they shall bear their sin. They shall die childless.
(Lev 20:21 NASB)  ‘If there is a man who takes his brother’s wife, it is abhorrent; he has uncovered his brother’s nakedness. They shall be childless.

Lev 20:21:      It would appear that these sexual sins mean that those engaging in them should die, or be killed by the government, before they have children.


(Lev 20:22 NASB)  ‘You are therefore to keep all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them, so that the land to which I am bringing you to live will not spew you out.

Lev 20:22:      The reason Elohim threw the Canaanites out of the land is that they were practicing all those things.  Elohim is not a respecter of persons.  He did the same thing to the Israelites when they broke His laws and He will do the same to any country.


(Lev 20:23 NASB)  ‘Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I shall drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them.

Lev 20:23:      Elohim had the people in the nations surrounding Palestine destroyed.  They had pagan practices which involved many of the things described in this chapter and they were eaten up with disease.
Israel was forbidden to take or touch anything in the city of Jericho after it was destroyed.  Apparently that city also was infested with disease.  Remember the only person spared in that city?  It was Rahab, the prostitute.
But Elohim specifically states not to “follow the customs” of these pagan nations.  It was during these customs that these nasty sexual practices took place.  Adaptations of those customs are adopted by many Churches with Christmas, Easter, sun worship, and other pagan customs.


(Lev 20:24 NASB)  ‘Hence I have said to you, “You are to possess their land, and I Myself will give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from the peoples.

Lev 20:24:      It was a land flowing with milk and honey.  Elohim was providing it to His people because He loves them.  Not because they are such wonderful and jolly folks.  He gave them His Torah for the same reason.


(Lev 20:25 NASB)  ‘You are therefore to make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; and you shall not make yourselves detestable by animal or by bird or by anything that creeps on the ground, which I have separated for you as unclean.

Lev 20:25:      For those who agree with the laws of sexual purity in this chapter, they must also agree with this command also.  He says that we make ourselves “detestable” by eating unclean creatures.


(Lev 20:26 NASB)  ‘Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.

Lev 20:26:      We are to be set-apart because He is set-apart.  We are to be like Him.


(Lev 20:27 NASB)  ‘Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.'”

Lev 20:27:      It is interesting to note that the sins mentioned here are not sins against the state or against property.  The sins condemned here are sins against Elohim and against self and against family.
Patrick McGuire

Copyright 2014
Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.
Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
Fort Smith, Arkansas

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