18 3 The Israelites ought not to follow the manners of the Egyptians and Canaanites. 6 The marriages that are unlawful.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the Lord your God.

After the [a]doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the manner of the land of Canaan, whither I will bring you, shall ye not do, neither walk in their ordinances.

But do after my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God.

Ye shall keep therefore my statutes, and my judgments, (A)which if a man do, he shall then live in them: [b]I am the Lord.

¶ None shall come near to any of the kindred of his flesh to [c]uncover her shame: I am the Lord.

Thou shalt not uncover the shame of thy father, nor the shame of thy mother, for she is thy mother, thou shalt not discover her shame.

(B)The shame of thy father’s [d]wife shalt thou not discover: for it is thy father’s shame.

Thou shalt not discover the shame of thy [e]sister, the daughter of thy father, or the daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home or born without: thou shalt not discover their shame.

10 The shame of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, thou shalt not, I say, uncover their shame: for it is thy [f]shame.

11 The shame of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father (for she is thy sister) thou shalt not, I say, discover her shame.

12 (C)Thou shalt not uncover the [g]shame of thy father’s sister: for she is thy father’s kinswoman.

13 Thou shalt not discover the shame of thy mother’s sister: for she is thy mother’s kinswoman.

14 Thou shalt not uncover the shame of thy [h]father’s brother: that is, thou shalt not go in to his wife, for she is thine [i]aunt.

15 (D)Thou shalt not discover the shame of thy daughter-in-law: for she is thy son’s wife: therefore shalt thou not uncover her shame.

16 (E)Thou shalt not discover the shame of thy [j]brother’s wife: for it is thy brother’s shame.

17 Thou shalt not discover the shame of the wife and of her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, nor her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her shame: for they are thy kinsfolks, and it were wickedness.

18 Also thou shalt not take a wife with her sister, during her life to [k]vex her, in uncovering her shame upon her.

19 (F) Thou shalt not also go unto a woman to uncover her shame, as long as she is put [l]apart for her disease.

20 Moreover, thou shalt not give thy self to thy neighbor’s wife by carnal copulation, to be defiled with her.

21 (G)Also thou shalt not give thy [m]children to [n]offer them unto [o]Molech, neither shalt thou defile the Name of thy God: for I am the Lord.

22 Thou shalt not lie with the male as one lieth with a woman: for it is abomination.

23 (H)Thou shalt not also lie with any beast to be defiled therewith, neither shall any woman stand before a beast, to lie down thereto: for it is [p]abomination.

24 Ye shall not defile yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the Nations are defiled which I will cast out before you:

25 And the land is defiled: therefore I will [q]visit the wickedness thereof upon it, and the land [r]shall vomit out her inhabitants.

26 Ye shall keep therefore mine ordinances, and my judgments, and commit none of these abominations, as well he that is of the same country, as the stranger that sojourneth among you.

27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled:

28 And shall not the land spew you out if ye defile it, as it [s]spewed out the people that were before you?)

29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, the persons that do so, shall [t]be cut off from among their people.

30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinances, that ye do not any of the abominable customs, which have been done before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: for I am the Lord your God.


  1. Leviticus 18:3 Ye shall preserve yourselves from these abominations following, which the Egyptians and Canaanites use.
  2. Leviticus 18:5 And therefore ye ought to serve me alone, as my people.
  3. Leviticus 18:6 That is, to lie with her, though it be under title of marriage.
  4. Leviticus 18:8 Which is thy stepmother.
  5. Leviticus 18:9 Either by father or mother, born in marriage or otherwise.
  6. Leviticus 18:10 They are her children whose shame thou hast uncovered.
  7. Leviticus 18:12 Or, secrets.
  8. Leviticus 18:14 Which thine uncle doth discover.
  9. Leviticus 18:14 Hebrew, thy father’s brother’s wife.
  10. Leviticus 18:16 Because the idolaters, among whom God’s people had dwelt and should dwell, were given to these horrible incests, God chargeth his to beware of the same.
  11. Leviticus 18:18 By seeing thine affliction more bent to her sister than to her.
  12. Leviticus 18:19 Or while she hath her flowers.
  13. Leviticus 18:21 Hebrew, of thy seed.
  14. Leviticus 18:21 Or, to make them pass.
  15. Leviticus 18:21 Which was an idol of the Ammonites, unto whom they burned and sacrificed their children, 2 Kings 23:10. This seemed to be the chief and principal of all idols: and as the Jews write, was of a great stature, and hollow within, having seven places or chambers within him: one was to receive meal that was offered: another turtle doves: the third, a sheep: the fourth, a ram: the fifth a calf: the sixth an ox: the seventh a child. This idol’s face was like a calf: his hands were ever stretched out to receive gifts: his priests were called Chemarim, 2 Kings 23:5; Hos. 10:5; Zeph. 1:4.
  16. Leviticus 18:23 Or, confusion.
  17. Leviticus 18:25 I will punish the land where such incestuous marriages and pollutions are suffered.
  18. Leviticus 18:25 He compareth the wicked to evil humors and surfeiting, which corrupt the stomach, and oppress nature, and therefore must be cast out by vomit.
  19. Leviticus 18:28 Both for their wicked marriages, unnatural copulations, idolatry or spiritual whoredom with Molech and such like abominations.
  20. Leviticus 18:29 Either by the civil sword or by some plague that God will send upon such.

Unlawful Sexual Relations

18 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God.(A) You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.(B) You must obey my laws(C) and be careful to follow my decrees.(D) I am the Lord your God.(E) Keep my decrees and laws,(F) for the person who obeys them will live by them.(G) I am the Lord.

“‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.

“‘Do not dishonor your father(H) by having sexual relations with your mother.(I) She is your mother; do not have relations with her.

“‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife;(J) that would dishonor your father.(K)

“‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister,(L) either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.(M)

10 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you.

11 “‘Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister.

12 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister;(N) she is your father’s close relative.

13 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister,(O) because she is your mother’s close relative.

14 “‘Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.(P)

15 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law.(Q) She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her.(R)

16 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife;(S) that would dishonor your brother.

17 “‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter.(T) Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.

18 “‘Do not take your wife’s sister(U) as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.

19 “‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness(V) of her monthly period.(W)

20 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife(X) and defile yourself with her.

21 “‘Do not give any of your children(Y) to be sacrificed to Molek,(Z) for you must not profane the name of your God.(AA) I am the Lord.(AB)

22 “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman;(AC) that is detestable.(AD)

23 “‘Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.(AE)

24 “‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you(AF) became defiled.(AG) 25 Even the land was defiled;(AH) so I punished it for its sin,(AI) and the land vomited out its inhabitants.(AJ) 26 But you must keep my decrees and my laws.(AK) The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27 for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. 28 And if you defile the land,(AL) it will vomit you out(AM) as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

29 “‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people. 30 Keep my requirements(AN) and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God.(AO)’”

Bible Gateway Sponsors