March 2 – Laws Concerning Sexual Purity

Parental Caution: Per the title above, today’s reading deals exclusively with sexual relationships and, as such, may not be appropriate for younger children. I recommend that parents read this devotional privately to determine if they feel it should be discussed with their children at this time.


  • Marriage
    • Deut. 21:10-14; 24:5; 22:13-21
  • Divorce
    • Deut. 24:1-4
  • Sexual Violations
    • Lev. 18:1-5
  • Adultery
    • Deut. 5:18
    • Lev. 18:20
    • Deut. 22:22-24
    • Lev. 19:20-22
    • Num. 5:11-31
  • Fornication
    • Lev. 19:29
    • Deut. 23:17-18
  • Incest
    • Lev. 18:6-8; 20:11; 18:9, 11; 20:17; 18:10, 12-14; 20:19-20; 18:15; 20:12; 18:16; 20:21; 18:17; 20:14; 18:18
  • Violations of Uncleanness
    • Lev. 18:19; 20:18; 18:22; 20:13
  • Bestiality
    • Lev. 18:23; 20:15-16
  • Lev. 18:24-30; 20:24
  • Deut. 22:5


In today’s reading, we learn of GOD’s instructions to the Israelites regarding sexual purity. Here are the laws discussed:

  1. GOD permitted Israelites to marry women who were taken captive following battles with other nations. (Deut. 21:10-14)
  2. New husbands were to remain at home with their wife for one year after they were married. They could not go to war or have other duties during this time.
  3. Deut. 22:13-21 explains what to do if a man suspects his new wife was not a virgin.
  4. If a man divorced his wife he was to give her a certificate of divorce to protect her. It appears that the divorced woman was permitted to marry another man but never could remarry the one(s) who divorced her.
  5. Adultery was forbidden. Couples caught in the act were to be stoned to death.
  6. A special test was to be given to any woman whose husband suspected her to have been unfaithful. The priest would give the woman bitter water to drink and place a conditional curse upon her. If she had not been unfaithful to her husband then the water would not harm her, but if she had it would cause terrible pain in her abdomen and she would be barren, unable to have children.
  7. Prostitution was forbidden.
  8. Israelites were forbidden to have sexual relations with any close relative.
  9. Sexual activity was forbidden during a woman’s menstrual cycle.
  10. Homosexuality was forbidden.
  11. Bestiality was forbidden.
  12. Cross-dressing was forbidden.

In addition to the specific punishments for individual violation of GOD’s commands, He gave the following warning:

Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the LORD your God.
(Lev. 18:24-30 NKJV)


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