LAW 101

 

Now the Law is getting tighter and more detailed.  All of this legal strictness will be important toIsrael.  Remember that this is a nation in a childish state, with no concept of right and wrong.  Some laws are for health and social needs.  Others have a more spiritual significance.  It will all be important for this young nation to know.  Farming and weaving come under these strict regulations too.

Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.  Leviticus 19:19

Now the Law ventures into the adultery that involves a servant woman who is compelled by a master or employer into adultery.  There were sexual harassment rules, but not like today.  Both parties are accountable for adultery even in this case.

And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.  And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, even a ram for a trespass offering.  And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the LORD for his sin which he hath done: and the sin which he hath done shall be forgiven him.  Leviticus 19:20-22

She is punished, but not to the usual death penalty.  He is required to atone for his sin by a special offering. 

And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of.  But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise the LORD withal.  And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you the increase thereof: I am the LORD your God.  Leviticus 19:23-25

There may be biological reasons for this.  Certain fruit trees do not bear good fruit early on.  Perhaps this allows the trees to mature in seed producing to assure a continuing crop.  In any case, it was enforced by the all seeing God under the law.

Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.  Leviticus 19:26

We notice that certain themes are repeated under the law.  Repetition is a good teaching method, and it is done a lot in Leviticus.

Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.  Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.  Leviticus 19:27-28

Later we will learn about a special calling for certain Jews.  The Nazarites are required to live by even more strict laws than this.  Samson was a Nazarite, and these more strict requirements became significant in his life.  But every Jew was required to limit the style of haircuts somewhat as Samson was under the Nazarites oath.  Tattoos were also forbidden by this.

Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.   Leviticus 19:29

You wouldn’t think you would have to tell parents not to put their daughters into prostitution.  But they had pimp daddies back then too.  It was forbidden in their day though.

Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.  Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.  Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.  Leviticus 19:30-32

Observing the Sabbath day of rest is reinforced here. Israelis forbidden to approach astrologers, magicians, or spirit mediums who try to contact the dead or false gods.  They are required to honor and learn from the older saints who know their God.

And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.  But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.  Leviticus 19:33-34

Illegal aliens were allowed and accommodated in this law; no green card required.  They were to be protected, encouraged, and loved, asIsraelwas once an alien nation inEgypt.

Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.  Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of thelandofEgypt.  Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD.  Leviticus 19:35-37

Merchants are forbidden to cheat customers in weights and measures.  God has to step in to prevent every kind of childish cheating you can imagine.  His name is now associated with the smoke and tremors that covered the mountain during the time Moses went up to the Lord.  His authority is stamped on the word with fear.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.  And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.  And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:  Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.  And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.  Leviticus 20:1-6

The false gods of this land are off-limits toIsrael.  But aliens cannot worship these Gods in the borders of Israel either.  The death penalty is enforced.  Anyone who allows this or joins in is to be killed.  God does not see any alternative lifestyles.

Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.  And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.  Leviticus 20:7-8

Even now we are to be sanctified, or different from those who do not believe.  The word means set apart, separated from them.  Obeying the words of God will do this.  We must be Holy.

For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.  And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.  And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.  And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.  If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.  And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.  And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.  And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.  Leviticus 20:9-16

These sins earn the death penalty, cursing parents, adultery, incest, bestiality, and homosexuality.  These are sins in the New Testament as well.  Paul dealt with such issues inCorinthinitially.  They were repentant, and Paul commended them in his second letter to them. 

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.  1 Corinthians 5:1-5 

Paul has allowed that this one is cast out of fellowship though, and allowed to live for the hope he may repent and be saved yet.  Some sins were not to death under the law either:

And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.  And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.  And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister, nor of thy father’s sister: for he uncovereth his near kin: they shall bear their iniquity.  Leviticus 20:17-19

This sounds like it may not mean death.  Most translations don’t make it clear how serious being “cut off” is.  It sounds like the New Testament treatment of exclusion or excommunication.  But this was bad for people who were without protection outside the camp ofIsrael. 

And if a man shall lie with his uncle’s wife, he hath uncovered his uncle’s nakedness: they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.  And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.  Leviticus 20:20-21

 It would seem the people even had to enforce chastity on these offenders.  Their lives were to be lived out without any potential of having children.  This too is harsh punishment, though short of death.

Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out.  And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.  But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people.  Leviticus 20:22-24

God has promised to make it easy forIsraelto displace the sinful nations that have occupiedCanaanbefore them.  He compares this to the land vomiting them out.  He warns that this will be his treatment forIsraeltoo if they sin against their God.  They are to be different from the world around them.

Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.  And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.  A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.  Leviticus 20:25-27

Under the law we could not touch or eat unclean animals or foods.  We must be holy in all things, and avoid honoring demonic spirits or false religion.  The powers of sin and of the fallen angels are still jealously forbidden by our God.  Death is still the penalty for these sins outside of the repentance of sin, and submission to Jesus as our Lord.  We cannot return to our old ways, but must remain Holy, with His help.  We would not have been able to keep the law any better than Israel did.  We will see how bad that was soon.

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