Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Leviticus 20:3

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 2-5

Molech, literally, “the King”, called also Moloch, Milcom, and Malcham, was known in later times as “the abomination of the Ammonites” 1 Kings 11:5. He appears to have been the fire-god of the eastern nations; related to, and sometimes made identical with, Baal, the sun-god. The nature of the rite and of the impious custom called passing children through the fire to Molech is very doubtful. The practices appear to have been essentially connected with magical arts, probably also with unlawful lusts, and with some particular form of profane swearing. The rite in the time of Moses belonged to the region rather of magic than of definite idolatrous worship, and may have been practiced as a lustral charm, or fire-baptism, for the children of incest and adultery.

Leviticus 20:2

Stone him with stones - The commonest form of capital punishment. It was probably preferred as being the one in which the execution was the act of the whole congregation.

Leviticus 20:3

Defile my sanctuary - i. e. pollute the people as identified with their sanctuary.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Are we shocked at the unnatural cruelty of the ancient idolaters in sacrificing their children? We may justly be so. But are there not very many parents, who, by bad teaching and wicked examples, and by the mysteries of iniquity which they show their children, devote them to the service of Satan, and forward their everlasting ruin, in a manner even more to be lamented? What an account must such parents render to God, and what a meeting will they have with their children at the day of judgment! On the other hand, let children remember that he who cursed father or mother was surely put to death. This law Christ confirmed. Laws which were made before are repeated, and penalties annexed to them. If men will not avoid evil practices, because the law has made these practices sin, and it is right that we go on that principle, surely they should avoid them when the law has made them death, from a principle of self-preservation. In the midst of these laws comes in a general charge, Sanctify yourselves, and be ye holy. It is the Lord that sanctifies, and his work will be done, though it be difficult. Yet his grace is so far from doing away our endeavours, that it strongly encourages them. Work out your salvation, for it is God that worketh in you.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 320

It is often the case that parents are not careful to surround their children with right influences. In choosing a home they think more of their worldly interests than of the moral and social atmosphere, and the children form associations that are unfavorable to the development of piety and the formation of right characters. Then parents allow the world to engross their time, strength, and thought; and when the Sabbath comes, it finds them so utterly exhausted that they have nought to render to God on His holy day, no sweet piety to grace the home and make the Sabbath a delight to their children. They are seldom visited by a minister, for they have placed themselves out of reach of religious privileges. An apathy steals over the soul. The children are contaminated by evil communications, and the tenderness of soul that they once felt dies away and is forgotten. 5T 320.1

Parents who denounce the Canaanites for offering their children to Moloch, what are you doing? You are making a most costly offering to your mammon god; and then, when your children grow up unloved and unlovely in character, when they show decided impiety and a tendency to infidelity, you blame the faith you profess because it was unable to save them. You are reaping that which you have sown—the result of your selfish love of the world and neglect of the means of grace. You moved your families into places of temptation, and the ark of God, your glory and defense, you did not consider essential; and the Lord has not worked a miracle to deliver your children from temptation. 5T 320.2

You who profess to love God, take Jesus with you wherever you go; and, like the patriarchs of old, erect an altar to the Lord wherever you pitch your tent. A reformation in this respect is needed, a reformation that shall be deep and broad. Parents need to reform; ministers need to reform. They need God in their households. They need to build the waste places of Zion, to set up her gates and make strong her walls for a defense of the people. 5T 320.3

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