Exodus 22:19
Whoever lies with an animal must surely be put to death.
AbominationsJ. Orr Exodus 22:16-21

This series of precepts deals with seduction, witchcraft, bestiality, and the sin of sacrificing to other gods than Jehovah. The case of the seducer might have been brought under the laws embodying the principle of restitution. It forms a transition to the others, in which we pass from the sphere of judicial right to what is negatively and positively due from Israel as "an holy people" to Jehovah.

1. Seduction. Lewdness in every form is sternly reprobated by the law of Moses (cf. Deuteronomy 22:13-30). The man who seduced an unbetrothed maid was to be compelled to marry her; or, if her parents refused, was to pay her a dowry.

2. Witchcraft. With equal strictness was forbidden all trafficking, whether in pretence or in reality, with unholy powers. The crime - a violation of the first principles of the theocracy - was to be punished with death. There cannot be perfect love to God, and communion with him, and trafficking with the devil at the same time. The witchcraft condemned by the law was evil in itself, and was connected with foolish and wicked rites (cf. Deuteronomy 18:9-15).

3. Bestiality. This, as an inversion of the order of nature, and in itself an act of the grossest abominableness, was "surely" to be punished with death.

4. Sacrificing to other gods. Possibly this crime is mentioned here as, in a sense, the spiritual counterpart of the vices above noted, i.e., as involving

(1) Spiritual adultery,

(2) The worshipping of "devils" (Leviticus 18:7; Deuteronomy 32:17),

(3) Filthy and impure rites (cf. Deuteronomy 23:17, 18). - J.O.

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
The Bible regards witchcraft —

1. As a stern and diabolical reality (Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:9).

2. As unlawful trafficking with the unseen world (Leviticus 19:31; Isaiah 8:19, "For the living to the dead," i.e., on behalf the living to the dead).

3. As sometimes trickery and imposture (Isaiah 8:19), "that peep and mutter" (probably ventriloquise. See art. Smith's Bible Dictionary, Smith's Dic. Bible).

4. As filthy defilement (Leviticus 19:31).

5. As deserving death (Leviticus 20:6. cf. text).

6. As one of the crimes for which the Canaanites were destroyed.

7. As inconsistent with a trust in God (Isaiah 8:19).

8. As frustrated by God (Isaiah 44:25).

9. As a power from which the godly have nothing to fear, for there is no solitary prayer in the whole Bible to be protected from its enchantments, and no thanksgiving for deliverance from them. In this country we only meet with it now in the form of spiritualism, and as such —


1. Because it destroys all faith in the person and providence of God, and hence imperils the hopes, aspirations, and safety of the soul.

2. Because it tends to debase man's moral standards, and to obliterate the fact of sin.

3. Because its direct aim is to subvert Christianity, and to abolish the Word of God.

4. Because it comes before the imagination and the affections with plausible appeals.


1. Its performances, like the old witchcraft, take place in the dark, and under circumstances the force of which requires the exertions of the strongest will. On the contrary, the grand facts of both Old and New Testaments were "not done in a corner," but in the light of day.

2. It is chary of the open exhibition of its credentials to the critic and the unbeliever; this privilege is reserved for those who first believe in the magician and in his powers. The miracles and other credentials of the Bible — court scrutiny — were mainly for the conviction of those who disbelieved.

3. And why does it shun the light? For the old reason (John 3:19-21).


1. Because expressly forbidden in the Word of God. Christ and His apostles meet the spirits not in darkened cabinets but with open exorcism.

2. Because of its avowed mission to pry into and traffic with the unrevealed matters of the spirit-world. God has emphatically set His face against this (Deuteronomy 29:29).

3. Because it is "another gospel" (Galatians 1:8).

IV. It is partly gross IMPOSTURE.

1. Spiritual realities are solemn and imposing, and worthy in every way of the high source from which they emanate. When God communicated to the prophets and apostles we do not hear that it was on dancing tables, illegible inscriptions on slates, or through books made luminous by phosphoric oil. We do not hear of angels or spirits, whether in Old Testament or New, pulling men's hair, scattering sweetmeats, rapping on walls, hurling bed pillows, appearing in regimentals, or handling hot coals.

2. Spiritual realities in the Bible were never discovered to be small tricks.

3. Spiritual realities in the Bible have never been explained by natural phenomena as have much of the legerdemain of modern magic.

V. It is uniformly USELESS.

1. For harm (Isaiah 8:19), when there is a firm trust in God.

2. For good (Luke 16:27-31), when there is no such trust.

(J. W. Burn.)

Mount Sinai
Animal, Beast, Certainly, Connection, Death, Lies, Lieth, Relations, Sex, Sexual, Surely
1. Of Theft
5. Of damage
7. Of trespasses
14. Of borrowing
16. Of fornication
18. Of witchcraft
19. Of bestiality
20. Of idolatry
21. Of strangers, widows, and fatherless
25. Of usury
26. Of pledges
28. Of reverence to magistrates
29. Of the first fruits
31. Of torn flesh

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Exodus 22:19

     4605   animals, religious role
     5735   sexuality
     6237   sexual sin, nature of
     7346   death penalty

Exodus 22:18-20

     5025   killing

Excursus on Usury.
The famous canonist Van Espen defines usury thus: "Usura definitur lucrum ex mutuo exactum aut speratum;" [96] and then goes on to defend the proposition that, "Usury is forbidden by natural, by divine, and by human law. The first is proved thus. Natural law, as far as its first principles are concerned, is contained in the decalogue; but usury is prohibited in the decalogue, inasmuch as theft is prohibited; and this is the opinion of the Master of the Sentences, of St. Bonaventura, of St. Thomas
Philip Schaff—The Seven Ecumenical Councils

Parable of the Importunate Widow.
^C Luke XVIII. 1-8. ^c 1 And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 saying, There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man [an utterly abandoned character]: 3 and there was a widow in that city; and she came oft unto him, saying, Avenge me of [rather, Do justice to me as to] mine adversary. [In Scripture language widowhood is symbolic of defenselessness (Ex. xxii. 22-24; Deut. x. 18; xxvii. 19; Mal. iii. 5; Mark xii. 40),
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Ciii. Zacchæus. Parable of the Pounds. Journey to Jerusalem.
(Jericho.) ^C Luke XIX. 1-28. ^c 1 And he entered and was passing through Jericho. [This was about one week before the crucifixion. Jericho is about seven miles from the Jordan and about seventeen and a half from Jerusalem.] 2 And behold, a man called by name Zacchaeus; and he was a chief publican, and he was rich. [See p. 76. It is probable that Zacchæus was a sub-contractor under some Roman knight who had bought the privilege of collecting taxes at Jericho, or perhaps the privilege of all
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Epistle Xl. To Mauricius Augustus.
To Mauricius Augustus. Gregory to Mauricius, &c. The Piety of my Lords in their most serene commands, while set on refuting me on certain matters, in sparing me has by no means spared me. For by the use therein of the term simplicity they politely call me silly. It is true indeed that in Holy Scripture, when simplicity is spoken of in a good sense, it is often carefully associated with prudence and uprightness. Hence it is written of the blessed Job, The man was simple and upright (Job i. 1).
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Appeal to the Christian Women of the South
BY A.E. GRIMKE. "Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not within thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place: but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this. And Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer:--and so will I go in unto the king,
Angelina Emily Grimke—An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South

Epistle xvii. To Felix, Bishop of Messana.
To Felix, Bishop of Messana. To our most reverend brother, the Bishop Felix, Gregory, servant of the servants of God [246] . Our Head, which is Christ, to this end has willed us to be His members, that through His large charity and faithfulness He might make us one body in Himself, to whom it befits us so to cling that, since without Him we can do nothing, through Him we may be enabled to be what we are called. From the citadel of the Head let nothing divide us, lest, if we refuse to be His members,
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Feast of the Dedication. The Jews Attempt to Stone Jesus and He Retires to Peræa.
(Jerusalem and Beyond Jordan.) ^D John X. 22-42. ^d 22 And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem: 23; it was winter; and Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. [The feast of dedication was one of eight days' duration and began upon the 25th Chisleu, which, according to the calculation of M. Chevannes, fell upon the nineteenth or twentieth of December, a.d. 29. The feast was kept in honor of the renovation and purification of the temple in the year b.c. 164, after it had been desecrated
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

A Summary of the Christian Life. Of Self-Denial.
The divisions of the chapter are,--I. The rule which permits us not to go astray in the study of righteousness, requires two things, viz., that man, abandoning his own will, devote himself entirely to the service of God; whence it follows, that we must seek not our own things, but the things of God, sec. 1, 2. II. A description of this renovation or Christian life taken from the Epistle to Titus, and accurately explained under certain special heads, sec. 3 to end. 1. ALTHOUGH the Law of God contains
Archpriest John Iliytch Sergieff—On the Christian Life

Jesus' Last Public Discourse. Denunciation of Scribes and Pharisees.
(in the Court of the Temple. Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30.) ^A Matt. XXIII. 1-39; ^B Mark XII. 38-40; ^C Luke XX. 45-47. ^a 1 Then spake Jesus ^b 38 And in his teaching ^c in the hearing of all the people he said unto ^a the multitudes, and to his disciples [he spoke in the most public manner], 2 saying, ^c 46 Beware of the scribes, ^a The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat: 3 all things whatsoever they bid you, these do and observe: but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Circumcision, Temple Service, and Naming of Jesus.
(the Temple at Jerusalem, b.c. 4) ^C Luke II. 21-39. ^c 21 And when eight days [Gen. xvii. 12] were fulfilled for circumcising him [The rite was doubtless performed by Joseph. By this rite Jesus was "made like unto his brethren" (Heb. ii. 16, 17); that is, he became a member of the covenant nation, and became a debtor to the law--Gal. v. 3] , his name was called JESUS [see Luke i. 59], which was so called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. [Luke i. 31.] 22 And when the days of their
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Development of the Earlier Old Testament Laws
[Sidenote: First the principle, and then the detailed laws] If the canon of the New Testament had remained open as long as did that of the Old, there is little doubt that it also would have contained many laws, legal precedents, and ecclesiastical histories. From the writings of the Church Fathers and the records of the Catholic Church it is possible to conjecture what these in general would have been. The early history of Christianity illustrates the universal fact that the broad principles are
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament

The Blessing of Jacob Upon Judah. (Gen. Xlix. 8-10. )
Ver. 8. "Judah, thou, thy brethren shall praise thee; thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; before thee shall bow down the sons of thy father. Ver. 9. A lion's whelp is Judah; from the prey, my son, thou goest up; he stoopeth down, he coucheth as a lion, and as a full-grown lion, who shall rouse him up? Ver. 10. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto Him the people shall adhere." Thus does dying Jacob, in announcing
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Eighth Commandment
Thou shalt not steal.' Exod 20: 15. AS the holiness of God sets him against uncleanness, in the command Thou shalt not commit adultery;' so the justice of God sets him against rapine and robbery, in the command, Thou shalt not steal.' The thing forbidden in this commandment, is meddling with another man's property. The civil lawyers define furtum, stealth or theft to be the laying hands unjustly on that which is another's;' the invading another's right. I. The causes of theft. [1] The internal causes
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

The book of Exodus--so named in the Greek version from the march of Israel out of Egypt--opens upon a scene of oppression very different from the prosperity and triumph in which Genesis had closed. Israel is being cruelly crushed by the new dynasty which has arisen in Egypt (i.) and the story of the book is the story of her redemption. Ultimately it is Israel's God that is her redeemer, but He operates largely by human means; and the first step is the preparation of a deliverer, Moses, whose parentage,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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