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Molech

Leviticus 20 (Vayikra) Summary

Leviticus 20 (Vayikra) continues the theme of Israel being a holy people. YHVH forbids Israel and the stranger with them to dedicate their children to Molek. YHVH declares their punishment. The next topic is necromancy and those engaged with this activity. The penalties for sexual violations connects to chapter 18. Israel is told not to accept the customs of the people in the land. This chapter ends with the penalty for mediums.

Leviticus 20 (Vayikra) Outline

Leviticus 20 (Vayikra) can be navigated in three possible ways. (1) The traditional verse division, (2) Jewish tradition of daily reading called Torah Portions, and (3) the Literary Layout per Jacob Milgrom. Click the caret below to navigate using the Torah Portions and Literary Layout.

Click to see Leviticus 20 Outline

Torah Portions:

  1. Fifth Reading – vv. 1-7 – Parsha Kedoshim
  2. Sixth Reading – vv. 8-22 – Parsha Kedoshim
  3. Seventh Reading – vv. 23-27 – Parsha Kedoshim

Literary Layout:

  1. Introduction – vv. 1-2a
  2. Penalties for Molek Worship – vv. 2b-5
  3. Penalties for Necromancy – v. 6
  4. Opening Exhortation – vv. 7,8
  5. Penalties for Sexual Violations – vv. 9-21
  6. Closing Exhortation – vv. 22-26
  7. Appendix: Penalty for Mediums – v. 27

Leviticus 20 Structure:

Jacob Milgrom’s suggestion for Leviticus 20 structure.

Leviticus 20 Structure

Leviticus 20 (Vayikra) English Verses

Parsha Kedoshim #30
~ Holy Ones ~

FIFTH READING

→ Introduction

1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying:
2 Moreover, thou shalt say to the children of Israel:

→ Penalties for Molek Worship

Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
3 I also 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.
4 And if the people of the land do at all hide their eyes from that man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and put him not to death;
5 then I will set My face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go astray after him, to go astray after Molech, from among their people.

→ Penalties for Necromancy

6 And the soul that turneth unto the ghosts, and unto the familiar spirits, to go astray after them, I will even set My face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

→ Opening Exhortation

7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am the LORD your God.

SIXTH READING

8 And keep ye My statutes, and do them: I am the LORD who sanctify you.

→ Penalties for Sexual Violations

9 For whatsoever man there be that curseth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
11 And the man that lieth with his father’s wife – he hath uncovered his father’s nakedness – both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
12 And if a man lie with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have wrought corruption; their blood shall be upon them.
13 And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
14 And if a man take with his wife also her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.
15 And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death; and ye shall slay the beast.
16 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.
17 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 shameful thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of the children of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.
18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness – he hath made naked her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood – both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
19 And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister, nor of thy father’s sister; for he hath made naked his near kin; they shall bear their iniquity.
20 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.
21 And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is impurity: he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.

→ Closing Exhortation

22 Ye shall therefore keep all My statutes, and all Mine ordinances, and do them, that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, vomit you not out.

SEVENTH READING

23 And ye shall not walk in the customs of the nation, which I am casting out before you; for they did all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.
24 But I have said unto you: ‘Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the LORD your God, who have set you apart from the peoples.
25 Ye shall therefore separate between the clean beast and the unclean, and between the unclean fowl and the clean; and ye shall not make your souls detestable by beast, or by fowl, or by anything wherewith the ground teemeth, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean.
26 And ye shall be holy unto Me; for I the LORD am holy, and have set you apart from the peoples, that ye should be Mine.

→ Appendix: Penalty for Mediums

27 A man also or a woman that divineth by a ghost or a familiar spirit, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones; their blood shall be upon them.

Leviticus 20 (Vayikra) English Verses

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Leviticus ChaptersLeviticus 20 ResourcesCopyright

WSB Links

  1. Parsha Kedoshim – The Parsha page containing Stats, Readings, and additional links.
  2. Sefer Vayikra- Chapter 20 – The Hebrew text for this chapter.
  3.  Leviticus/Vayikra Chapter 20 Interlinear – Coming Soon

Online Resources

  1. Bible Hub Interlinear Chapter 20

Offline Resources

Chumash

  1. The Schocken Bible: Volume 1, The Five Books of Moses | Schocken Books | Everett Fox – My Hebrew teacher, Yoel HaLevi, has stated this is the best English translation he has heard. It is a first in a three-volume series translated by rabbis for Jewish English readers.
  2. The Steinsaltz Humash | Koren Publishers | Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz – The Late Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz was renowned for his Koren Talmud. He has been called the modern Rashi.
  3. The Pentateuch & Haftorahs | The Soncino Press | Dr. J.H. Hertz – The Late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire was renowned for his writings and teachings. Many consider this a must have for any personal library. In the Preface Dr. Hertz calls this “a People’s Commentary”.
  4. The Living Torah | Maznaim Publishing | Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan – Rabbi Kaplan is well known for working with texts from Kabbalah. In the Translator’s Introduction he writes, “It (this book) is meant to be a book that can be given to a boy on the day of his Bar Mitzvah, and yet remain the subject of lifelong study.”

Commentaries

  1. Leviticus: A Book of Ritual and Ethics: Continental Commentaries| Fortress Press | Professor Joseph Milgrom – He is the leading authority on the book of Leviticus. This is the scaled down version of his three-volume work in the Archor Bible Series.
  2. The JPS Torah Commentary: Leviticus | Jewish Publication Society | Dr. Baruch A. Levine – This is a semi-scholarly work that is required reading for anyone wanting to study the book of Leviticus.
  3. Covenant & Conversation Commentary | Schocken Books | Rabbi Jonathan Sacks – The Late Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ last published commentary on the Torah.
  4. The Parsha with Rabbi Juravel: Sefer Vayikra | MC Publications | Rabbi M. Feinzeig – Rabbi Juravel is well-known for his teachings for children. This series were created from his famous children’s teachings. In my opinion, everyone new to Jewish studies should start their studies here.

Hebrew Resources

  1. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon | Hendrickson Pub. | Francis Brown – One of the most used Hebrew and English Lexicons among serious Bible students.
The Holy Scriptures
According to the Masoretic Text
The Jewish Publication Society translation
[1917] – Public Domain