Penalties for Breaking the Law (Leviticus 20:1 – 22:16)

Penalties for crimes in Israel were severe.  Many things were considered capital crimes, worthy of death, in their legal system:  offering children to idols, consulting with mediums, cursing one’s father or mother, adultery, and incest. Priests were to conduct themselves in specific ways as well: he shall not touch anything dead and defile himself, except for the case of a close relative, no shaving of the head or face, no cuttings in the skin.  They could not profane the name of the Lord.  They could not marry a harlot or a divorced woman.  He could not uncover his head nor tear his clothes, nor serve the temple with any physical defect.  Only those who were clean could eat of the holy food of the temple.

Restrictions, laws, and prohibitions are not popular among the society in which we live.  However, the call to holiness and separateness is still valid today, as mingling with or embracing unholy practices and things corrupts a man’s character.  Hold to God fully and shun evil.  Touch not the unclean and God will draw near to you!

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