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Sexual Relations


The L ord spoke to Moses, saying:

2 Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: I am the L ord your God. 3You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not follow their statutes. 4My ordinances you shall observe and my statutes you shall keep, following them: I am the L ord your God. 5You shall keep my statutes and my ordinances; by doing so one shall live: I am the L ord.

6 None of you shall approach anyone near of kin to uncover nakedness: I am the L ord. 7You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 8You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is the nakedness of your father. 9You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born abroad. 10You shall not uncover the nakedness of your son’s daughter or of your daughter’s daughter, for their nakedness is your own nakedness. 11You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, begotten by your father, since she is your sister. 12You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s sister; she is your father’s flesh. 13You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister, for she is your mother’s flesh. 14You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother, that is, you shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt. 15You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law: she is your son’s wife; you shall not uncover her nakedness. 16You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife; it is your brother’s nakedness. 17You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, and you shall not take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter to uncover her nakedness; they are your flesh; it is depravity. 18And you shall not take a woman as a rival to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.

19 You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. 20You shall not have sexual relations with your kinsman’s wife, and defile yourself with her. 21You shall not give any of your offspring to sacrifice them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the L ord. 22You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23You shall not have sexual relations with any animal and defile yourself with it, nor shall any woman give herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it: it is perversion.

24 Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for by all these practices the nations I am casting out before you have defiled themselves. 25Thus the land became defiled; and I punished it for its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26But you shall keep my statutes and my ordinances and commit none of these abominations, either the citizen or the alien who resides among you 27(for the inhabitants of the land, who were before you, committed all of these abominations, and the land became defiled); 28otherwise the land will vomit you out for defiling it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. 29For whoever commits any of these abominations shall be cut off from their people. 30So keep my charge not to commit any of these abominations that were done before you, and not to defile yourselves by them: I am the L ord your God.

5. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes. Although Moses introduces this passage, where he exhorts the Israelites to cultivate chastity in respect to marriage, and not to fall into the incestuous pollutions of the Gentiles, yet, as it is a remarkable one, and contains general instruction, from whence Paul derives his definition of the righteousness of the Law, (Romans 10:5,) it seems to me to come in very appropriately here, inasmuch as it sanctions and confirms the Law by the promise of reward. The hope of eternal life is, therefore, given to all who keep the Law; for those who expound the passage as referring to this earthly and transitory life are mistaken. 195195     “This some understand only of temporal life and prosperity in this world, Origen, Tostat. Oleaster, Vatablus; and make this to be the meaning, — that, as the transgressors of the Law were to die, so they which kept it should preserve their life, Thom. Aquin. 1. 2. q. 100, a. 12; but I prefer rather Hesychius’ judgment, — Per quas oeterna vita hominibus datur,” etc. — Willet Hexapla, in loco. There appears to be unusual discrepancy on this point between the commentators, whether Romanist or Protestant. Bush and Holden apply it to temporal life. Bonar says, “If, as most think, we are to take, in this place, the words ‘live in them,’ as meaning ‘eternal life to be got by them,’ the scope of the passage is, that so excellent are God’s laws, and every special minute detail of these laws, that if a man were to keep these always and perfectly, the very keeping would be eternal life to him. And the quotations in Romans 10:5, and Galatians 3:12, would seem to determine this to be the true and only sense here.” C.’s view appears to be confirmed by our Lord’s reply in Matthew 19:17, referred to in Poole’s Synopsis. The cause of this error was, because they feared that thus the righteousness of faith might be subverted, and salvation grounded on the merit of works. But Scripture does not therefore deny that men are justified by works, because the Law itself is imperfect, or does not give instructions for perfect righteousness; but because the promise is made of none effect by our corruption and sin. Paul, therefore, as I have just said, when he teaches that righteousness is to be sought for in the grace of Christ by faith, (Romans 10:4,) proves his statement by this argument, that none is justified who has not fulfilled what the Law commands. Elsewhere also he reasons by contrast, where he contends that the Law does not accord with faith as regards the cause of justification, because the Law requires works for the attainment of salvation, whilst faith directs us to Christ, that we may be delivered from the curse of the Law. Foolishly, then, do some reject as an absurdity the statement, that if a man fulfills the Law he attains to righteousness; for the defect does not arise from the doctrine of the Law, but from the infirmity of men, as is plain from another testimony given by Paul. (Romans 8:3.) We must observe, however, that salvation is not to be expected from the Law unless its precepts be in every respect complied with; for life is not promised to one who shall have done this thing, or that thing, but, by the plural word, full obedience is required of us. The pratings of the Popish theologians about partial righteousness are frivolous and silly, since God embraces at once all the commandments; and who is there that can boast of having thoroughly fulfilled them? If, then, none was ever clear of transgression, or ever will be, although God by no means deceives us, yet the promise becomes ineffectual, because we do not perform our part of the agreement.

Deuteronomy 27

Deuteronomy 27:11-26

11. And Moses charged the people the same day, saying,

11. Praecepitque Moses populo eo die, dicendo:

12. These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin.

12. Hi stabunt ad benedicendum populo super montem Garizim, quando transieris Jordanem, Simon, et Levi, et Juda, et Issachar, et Joseph, et Benjamin:

13. And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Ashur, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.

13. Isti vero stabunt ad maledictionem in monte Ebal, Ruben, Gad, et Aser, et Zebulon, Dan et Nephthali.

14. And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice,

14. Loquentur autem Levitae, ac dicent ad omnem virum Israel voce excelsa:

15. Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place: and all the people shall answer and say, Amen.

15. Maledictus vir ille qui fecerit sculptile, et conflatile, abominationem Jehovae, opus manuum artificis, et posuerit in abscondito: et respondebunt universus populus, ac dicent, Amen.

16. Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother: and all the people shall say, Amen.

16. Maledictus qui vilipenderit patrem suum, aut matrem suam: et dicet universus populus, Amen.

17. Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor’s land-mark: and all the people shall say, Amen.

17. Maledictus qui transfert terminum proximi sui, et dicet universus populus, Amen.

18. Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way: and all the people shall say, Amen.

18. Maledictus qui aberrare facit caecum in via: et dicet universus populus, Amen.

19. Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow: and all the people shall say, Amen.

19. Maledictus qui pervertit judicium peregrini, pupilli, et viduae: et dicet universus populus, Amen.

20. Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife; because he uncovereth his father’s skirt: and all the people shall say, Amen.

20. Maledictus qui coierit cum uxore patris sui, quia discooperuit oram patris sui, et dicet universus populus, Amen.

21. Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast: and all the people shall say, Amen.

21. Maledictus qui coierit cum quovis animali, et dicet universus populus, Amen.

22. Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother: and all the people shall say, Amen.

22. Maledictus qui coierit cum sorore sua, filia patris sui, vel filia matris suae, et dicet universus populus, Amen.

23. Cursed be he that lieth with his mother-in-law: and all the people shall say, Amen.

23. Maledictus qui coierit cum socru sua: et dicet universus populus, Amen.

24. Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbor secretly: and all the people shall say, Amen.

24. Maledictus qui percusscrit proximum suum abscondite: et dicet universus populus, Amen.

25. Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person: and all the people shall say, Amen.

25. Maledictus qui acceperit munus, ut percutiat plaga animae sanguinem innocentem: et dicet universus populus, Amen.

26. Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them: and all the people shall say, Amen.

26. Maledictus qui non stabilierit verba Legis istius faciendo illa: et dicet universus populus, Amen.


11. And Moses charged the people the same day. In order that both the promises and threats might have more efficacy in affecting the minds of all, God enjoined not only that they should be proclaimed in a solemn rite, but also that they should be approved by the people in a loud voice, and sealed, as it were, by their consent. It is elsewhere recorded that this was faithfully performed by Joshua. (Joshua 8:33.) Let it suffice to say at present that they were all summoned, and conducted before God to subscribe to them, so that henceforth all subterfuge might be put an end to. The tribes of Israel were divided into two parties, that they might stand opposite to each other, and that the blessings might sound forth from one side, and the curses from the other, 196196     “Comme correspondantes.” — Fr. “It was also customary on some occasions to dance round the altars whilst they sung the sacred hymns, which consisted of three stanzas or parts; the first of which, called strophe, was sung in turning from east to west; the other, named antistrophe, in returning from west to east: then they stood before the altar and sung the epode, which was the last part of the song.” — Potter’s Antiq. of Greece, Book II. chap. 4. like ἀντίστροφοι. I confess I do not know why the descendants of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin, were chosen by God to proclaim the blessings, rather than the others; 197197     “The six nobler tribes answered amen to the blessings; the six more ignoble to the curses, viz., four who descended from the children of the hand-maids, i.e., Gad, Asher, Dan, and Naphtali, to whom Reuben is added, because he had defiled his father’s bed incestuously; and Zebulun, because he was the youngest son of Leah. So Raban and Theod., q. 34.” — Corn. a Lapide, in loco. for there is no force in the opinion of the Hebrew writers that those who descended from free mothers were placed in the post of highest dignity: since the tribe of the first-born, Reuben, was united with some who sprang from the bond-maids; unless, perhaps, we may say that the descendants of Reuben were degraded into the second class as a mark of ignominy; but, since both the blessings and curses were offered in the name of the whole people, it is not a point of much importance. For, if this division 198198     “De six a six.” — Fr. was made to bear witness to their common consent, it was equivalent to their all alike confessing that the transgressors of the Law were accursed, and those who kept it blessed; and consequently I am not very curious to know why, in their common office, God preferred some to the others. Moses will elsewhere relate that the tribes, which are here separated, were then united together. It would perhaps be a probable conjecture that God, who well knew what would hereafter be the inheritance of every tribe, placed them severally in that station which would correspond to their future allotment.

In order that the sanction might have more solemnity, God chose that the Levites should dictate the words as if He Himself spoke from heaven; for, since they were appointed to be the expounders of the Law, as it behooved them faithfully to repeat what God had dictated out of His own mouth, so they were heard with greater attention and reverence.

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