25. The Canaanite Warning
"Yahweh said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'I am Yahweh your Elohim (God). You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices" (Lev 18:1-3, NIV).
From this passage and the other warnings given in the 18th chapter of Leviticus, many anti-polygamists claim that as the Canaanites practised plural marriage so the Israelites should not. But this chapter does not forbid plural marriage - it merely says who you can marry and who you cannot. Indeed, taken together with all the other passages on marriage, it is clearly seen to be protecting plural marriage, not legislating against it!
As these statutes are important, let us list them and be careful to obey them:
4 You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am Yahweh your Elohim (God).
5 Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am Yahweh.
6 "'No-one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am Yahweh.
7 "'Do not dishonour your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.
8 "'Do not have sexual relations with your father's wife; that would dishonour your father.
9 "'Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father's daughter or your mother's daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.
10 "'Do not have sexual relations with your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter; that would dishonour you.
11 "'Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father's wife, born to your father; she is your sister.
12 "'Do not have sexual relations with your father's sister; she is your father's close relative.
13 "'Do not have sexual relations with your mother's sister, because she is your mother's close relative.
14 "'Do not dishonour your father's brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.
15 "'Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son's wife; do not have relations with her.
16 "'Do not have sexual relations with your brother's wife; that would dishonour your brother.
17 "'Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter [from a previous marriage]. Do not have sexual relations with either her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.
18 "'Do not take your wife's sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.
19 "'Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.
20 "'Do not have sexual relations with your neighbour's wife and defile yourself with her [adultery].
21 "'Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am Yahweh.
22 "'Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman [homosexuality]; that is detestable.
23 "'Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it [bestiality]. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.
24 "'Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled.
25 Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.
26 But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things,
27 for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled.
28 And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.
29 "'Everyone who does any of these detestable things -- such persons must be cut off from their people.
30 Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practised before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am Yahweh your Elohim (God).'" (NIV)
As we can see, the Canaanites were a depraved people and fully ripened in iniquity so it was necessary for Yahweh to clearly state what kinds of sexual relationship the Israelites could have, and what they could not. Notice, however, that He does not limit a man to one wife!
Many of the things that happened in Canaan before the Israelites conquered it are happening today. Yahweh says that sexual immorality defiles the land. Little wonder there is so much disease. Look at the AIDS epidemic. It is important, therefore, that Christians separate themselves from the heathens defiling everything around them and gather into communities where the land can be kept pure. That way Yahweh can bless them and make them prosperous.
It is our apostolic council that Christians families gather together and form large colonies separate from the heathen world where purity and holiness can prevail, and thus invite Yahweh's blessings.
This page was first created on 1 March 2003
Last updated on 26 February 2009
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