Leviticus 20:2 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

(2) Again, thou shalt say.—Better, And thou shalt say.

Whosoever he be.—Better, What man soever there be, as the Authorised Version renders this phrase in Lev. 17:3. (See Note on Lev. 17:8.)

That giveth any of his seed unto Molech.—It will be seen that whilst in Lev. 18:21 the law about Molech worship follows the laws of incest, the reverse is the case here, where it precedes those laws.

The people of the land.—That is, the whole community (see Lev. 4:27), who have selected the judges, and in whose name sentence is passed by the judges, are bound to execute the sentence.

Shall stone him with stones.—Lapidation was the first and the severest mode of capital punishment among the Hebrews, the three others being burning, beheading, and strangling. The Jewish canonists have tabulated the following eighteen cases in which death by stoning was inflicted: (1) of a man who has commerce with his own mother (chap 20:11); (2) or with his father’s wife (Lev. 20:12); (3) or with his daughter-in-law (Lev. 20:12); (4) or with a betrothed maiden (Deu. 22:23-24); (5) or with a male (Lev. 20:13); (6) or with a beast (Lev. 20:15); (7) of a woman who was guilty of lying with a beast (Lev. 20:16); (8) the blasphemer (Lev. 24:10-16); (9) the worshipper of idols (Deu. 17:2-5); (10) the one who gives his seed to Molech (Lev. 20:2); (11) the necromancer; (12) the wizard (Lev. 20:27); (13) the false prophet (Deu. 13:6); (14) the enticer to idolatry (Deu. 13:11); (15) the witch (Lev. 20:17); (16) the profaner of the Sabbath (Num. 15:32-36); (17) he that curses his parent (Lev. 20:9); and (18) the rebellious son (Deu. 21:18-21). As the Mosaic legislation only directs that the lapidation is to take place without the precincts of the city (Lev. 24:14; Num. 15:36), and that the witnesses upon whose evidence the criminal has been sentenced to death are to throw the first stone (Deu. 17:7), the administrators of the law during the second Temple decreed the following mode of carrying out the sentence. On his way from the court of justice to the place of execution a herald preceded the criminal, exclaiming, “So-and-so is being led out to be stoned for this and this crime, and so-and-so are the witnesses; if any one has to say anything that might save him, let him come forward and say it.” Within ten yards of the place of execution he was publicly admonished to confess his sins, within four yards he was stripped naked except a slight covering about his loins. After his hands had been bound, he was led upon a scaffolding about twice the height of a man. Here wine mingled with myrrh was mercifully given him to dull the pain of execution, and from here one of the witnesses pushed him down with great violence so that he fell upon his back. If the fall did not kill him, the other witness dashed a great stone on his breast, and if this did not kill him, all the people that stood by covered him with stones. The corpse was then nailed to the cross, and afterwards burnt. Hereupon the relatives visited both the judges and the witnesses to show that they bore no hatred towards them, and that the sentence was just. Not unfrequently, however, the excited multitude resorted to lapidation when they wished to inflict summary justice. This description will explain why the Jews said to Christ that the woman had to be stoned, and why He replied to her accusers that he who is without sin should cast the first stone (Joh. 8:5; Joh. 8:7); why the Jews wanted to stone Christ when they thought He was blaspheming (Joh. 10:31), and why they offered Him wine mingled with myrrh before his crucifixion (Mat. 27:34; Mat. 27:38; Mar. 15:23).

Consult other comments:

Leviticus 20:2 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Leviticus 20:2 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Leviticus 20:2 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Leviticus 20:2 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Leviticus 20:2 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Leviticus 20:2 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Leviticus 20:2 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Leviticus 20:2 - Geneva Bible Notes

Leviticus 20:2 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Leviticus 20:2 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Leviticus 20:2 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Leviticus 20:2 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Leviticus 20:2 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Leviticus 20:2 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Leviticus 20:2 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Leviticus 20:2 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Leviticus 20:2 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)