On Human Sacrifice and Immoralities
20 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Moreover, you shall say to the children of Israel,
‘Any Israelite or any stranger residing in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech (the god of the Ammonites) [as a human sacrifice] shall most certainly be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3 I will also set My face against that man [opposing him, withdrawing My protection from him] and will cut him off from his people [excluding him from the atonement made for them], because he has given some of his children to Molech, so as to defile My sanctuary and profane My holy name. 4 If the people of the land should ever tolerate that man when he gives any of his children [as a burnt offering] to Molech, and fail to put him to death [as My law requires], 5 then I shall set My face against that man and against his [extended] family, and I will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him in [a]playing the prostitute (commit apostasy) with Molech.
6 ‘As for the person who turns to mediums [who consult the dead] or to spiritists, to play the prostitute after them, I shall set My face against that person and will cut him off from his people [excluding him from the atonement made for them].(A) 7 You shall consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am the Lord your God. 8 You shall keep My statutes and do them. I am the Lord who sanctifies you.
9 ‘If anyone curses his father or mother, he shall most certainly be put to death; he has cursed his father or mother; his blood is on him [that is, he bears full responsibility for the consequences].
10 ‘The man who commits adultery with another’s wife, even his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall most certainly be put to death.(B) 11 The man who lies [intimately] with his father’s wife has [b]uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall most certainly be put to death; their blood is on them. 12 If a man lies [intimately] with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall most certainly be put to death; they have committed incest; their blood is on them. 13 If a man lies [intimately] with a male as if he were a woman, both men have committed a detestable (perverse, unnatural) act; they shall most certainly be put to death; their blood is on them. 14 It is immoral and shameful if a man marries a woman and her mother; all three shall be burned in fire, so that there will be no immorality among you.(C) 15 If a man has intimate relations with an animal, he shall most certainly be put to death; you shall kill the animal also. 16 If a woman approaches any animal to mate with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall most certainly be put to death; their blood is on them.
17 ‘If a man 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 [responsibility for] his guilt. 18 If a man lies [intimately] with a woman during her menstrual cycle and uncovers her nakedness, he has exposed her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood; both of them shall be cut off from their people [excluding them from the atonement made for them]. 19 You shall not uncover the nakedness of (have intimate relations with) your mother’s sister or your father’s sister, for such a one has uncovered his blood relative; they will bear their guilt. 20 If there is a man who lies [intimately] with his uncle’s wife, he has uncovered his uncle’s nakedness; they will bear their sin. They will die childless. 21 If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is a hated and unclean thing; he has uncovered his brother’s nakedness. They will be childless.
22 ‘Therefore keep all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out [as it did those before you].(D) 23 You shall not follow the statutes (laws, practices, customs) of the nation which I am driving out before you; for they did all these things, and therefore I have loathed them. 24 But I have said to you, “You are to inherit and take possession of their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land [of plenty] [c]flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has separated you from the peoples (pagan nations). 25 You are therefore to make a distinction between the [ceremonially] 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 crawls on the ground, which I have set apart from you as unclean. 26 You are to be holy to Me; for I the Lord am holy, and have set you apart from the peoples (nations) to be Mine.
27 ‘A man or woman who is a medium [who pretends to consult the dead] or who is a spiritist shall most certainly be put to death, and be stoned with stones; their blood is on them.’”
- Leviticus 20:5 I.e. abandon the true God for an idol.
- Leviticus 20:11 See note 18:7.
- Leviticus 20:24 This phrase referred to the abundant fertility of the land of Canaan. Milk (typically that of goats and sheep) was associated with abundance; “honey” referred mainly to syrups made from dates or grapes and was the epitome of sweetness. Bees’ honey was very rare and was considered the choicest of foods.
New International Version
Punishments for Sin
20 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “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.(A) The members of the community are to stone him.(B) 3 I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people;(C) for by sacrificing his children to Molek, he has defiled(D) my sanctuary(E) and profaned my holy name.(F) 4 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,(G) 5 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.
6 “‘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.(H)
12 “‘If a man has sexual relations with his daughter-in-law,(V) both of them are to be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads.
13 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.(W) They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
16 “‘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.
17 “‘If a man marries his sister(AC), the daughter of either his father or his mother, and they have sexual relations, it is a disgrace. They are to be publicly removed(AD) from their people. He has dishonored his sister and will be held responsible.(AE)
18 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period,(AF) 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.(AG)
19 “‘Do not have sexual relations with the sister of either your mother or your father,(AH) for that would dishonor a close relative; both of you would be held responsible.
22 “‘Keep all my decrees and laws(AM) and follow them, so that the land(AN) where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations(AO) I am going to drive out before you.(AP) Because they did all these things, I abhorred them.(AQ) 24 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.”(AR) I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.(AS)
25 “‘You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds.(AT) 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. 26 You are to be holy to me(AU) because I, the Lord, am holy,(AV) and I have set you apart from the nations(AW) to be my own.