Leviticus 18 – Reading Note – Who should we have sex with?


  • Most of the laws in chapter 18 are rules forbidding sex with people closely related to you (incest) but there are also laws forbidding sex with in-laws, who are not related to you by blood.
  • The command that a man was not to have sex with his sister was given twice, although using different words. (18: 9, 11). I wonder if this law applied to adopted siblings.
  • There was a law not to marry your wife’s sister while your wife was still alive. This would condemn Jacob who married both Rachel and Leah. (18:18).
  • And adultery was forbidden, of course. (18:20)
  • 18:22 is the verse prohibiting homosexuality, calling it “detestable”. But this was for men. Women were not mentioned.
  • The command not to sacrifice children to Molech was given, arguably to protect children, but also because such an action would profane God’s name. (18:21)
  • As far as the documentary hypothesis is concerned, the God is referred to in chapter 18 as “Yahweh, your Elohim”, and sometimes as either “your Elohim” or “Yahweh”.  The combination of the two names seems to suggest “Elohim” to be a general name for deities and “Yahweh” as a special name for Israel’s deity.
  • God forbade sex with animals, not just for men, but for women too. It was the first command in the chapter that seemed to reference women. The command was that a man must not have sex with an animal, and a woman was not to present herself to an animal to have sexual relations. Women appear to be seen as passive recipients in this process. That would explain why the commands against unlawful sexual relations target the men, not the women. (18:23)
  • God stressed that he was driving out the Canaanites because they did all the things he had just warned them against (Adultery, Incest, Homosexuality, Sex with animals, child sacrifice, etc.) Man, those were rotten people! (18: 24 – 28)
  • God said that the actions of the Canaanites had defiled themselves and the land. So he punished the land for its sin and the land vomited the inhabitants out. That is a strange way of putting it. It deserves a trip to the library.

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I’m Tracy

4 thoughts on “Leviticus 18 – Reading Note – Who should we have sex with?”

    1. Normally, I wouldn’t touch the issue with a ten-foot pole but since you asked nicely…

      I am a Christian. Therefore, I take the Bible as the ultimate source of guidance for oral issues. From reading the Bible, I get the impression that God hates homosexuality the same way he hates every other sin (e.g lying, cheating stealing and fornication). He hates them because they hurt us, him and/or the people around us (among other reasons) and since I aim to hate what God hates and love what he loves, I hate it too.

      However, I think the same of homosexuals as I think of everyone else. We’re all sinners. As long as we confess our sins, repent of them and turn to him to save us, God forgives us.

      I hope that helps.

  1. Ok, that brings up two more questions to my mind.
    1) Why/how do you think homosexuality would hurt us?
    2) If you think of them as the same as everyone else, do you believe that they are deserving of the same rights as us? Why is everyone determined to ensure that gay couples can’t get married?

    1. First, let me thank you for asking questions rather than making assumption. Many people do not do that and it is a wonderful trait to cultivate.

      1. Homosexuality hurts us in the same way every sin hurts us. They separate us from God who is our creator and sustainer. They dull us to themselves so that the more we commit them, the less able we are to see their consequences and avoid them. And ultimately, they condemn us to hell.

      But Homosexuality, like the others, goes further. According to my research, (and it is not extensive) sex between homosexuals, especially anal sex which male homosexuals practice, exposes them to several health risks because the organs are not being used the way they are supposed to be. Homosexuality relationships also correlates with other issues – higher incidence of domestic violence, a shortened life span, increased suicide rates and higher incidence of infidelity. While these things may not be caused directly by homosexual activities, they are reason enough to avoid them. The beauty of God’s laws is that following them protects us from issues like these.

      2. Allowing Gay marriage, however, is a different issue. Firstly because it has to do with what the state should allow. Since the state is responsible for protecting every one of its citizens, any laws it passes have to take into account the well-being of not just individual members of society, but society as a whole. Let me first point out that Gay couples do have the same rights as everyone else. They have the right to marry someone who is legally of age, not closely related to them, not already married and of the opposite sex. Both homosexuals and heterosexuals have those same rights. Heterosexuals do not have the right to marry whoever they love. What supporting gay marriage would do is simply remove the restriction on the gender of people getting married.

      I don’t have a solid position on it yet. A lot of people oppose it for horrible and ridiculous reasons, but some people do make good arguments that removing that restriction would be bad for homosexuals (because it would encourage homosexuality and consequently, the horrible results I already mentioned) and that it would be bad for society as a whole.

      It would take a lot more space to write that, but I know several people who have done so and done it well. A friend of mine, Wintery Knight has a post on his blog that handles this in more depth. I recommend that you read it if you want to know more about those objections to same-sex marriage. Here is the link to the post: A secular case against same sex marriage

      I hope I have been helpful. Thanks once again for your questions. I have not proof-read this so feel free to point out any errors you spot.

      Have a wonderful day.

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