#RePost: 76 Things Banned In Leviticus (And Their Penalties!)

76 Things Banned in Leviticus (and their
by ***DAVE on WED 13-JUN-12 12:16AM · 101 COMMENTS
I ran across this this list first via Fred Clark , tracking it back
to here — a list of 76 actions proclaimed as sinful or
forbidden in Leviticus.
Leviticus is a funny book for modern Christians. Along with
Deuteronomy and swathes of Exodus and Numbers, it lays out
the Law for the Israelites. But it’s largely ignored by modern
Christians because it’s felt that Jesus replaced the Law (except
where He didn’t) and that Paul said a lot of it didn’t apply
(except for the parts that did). And for all of that, many are
still willing to cite Leviticus for things that they think are
sinful, while ignoring it for things they don’t.
In other words, people tend to cherry-pick which of the
Levitican laws (or, for that matter, all of the Old Covenant,
not to mention most of the Bible) they think still apply, and
which don’t.
This cherry-picking is sometimes reasoned, and sometimes
not. Sometimes it’s based on personal taste — I think that’s
okay, so we can ignore that law. Everyone does that these
days, so it must be fine. I think that’s icky, so we should cite it
frequently as sinful. Sometimes it’s based on reasoning —
e.g., comparing them to the Greatest Commandments as Jesus
laid them out and seeing if they still seem to apply:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all
your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest
commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as
yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two
I prefer the latter approach.
So here are 76 things in Leviticus, with verse references, that
are banned. It’s by no means exhaustive. As an extension of
original list, I’m going to try to include the stated penalties
for each act. Consider which of these you (if you’re of such
persuasion) think still apply, and which we get a pass on, and
why you believe so.
Some of the items specify the penalty or punishment. Many
fall back to Leviticus 4 and 5 , which lists, based on who
commits the sin and whether they knew it was a sin or not,
what sort of sacrificial offering animal needs to be given up.
The text except for what’s in [square brackets] is from here .
1. Burning any yeast or honey in offerings to God
(2:11) [Normal penalty.]
2. Failing to include salt in offerings to God (2:13)
[Normal penalty.]
3. Eating fat (3:17) [That one’s “a lasting
ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you
live.” All fat is to be saved for offerings to God. Normal
4. Eating blood (3:17) [Normal penalty]
5. Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve
witnessed (5:1) [“They will be held responsible.”]
6. Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve been
told about (5:1) [Which sounds like hearsay. At any rate,
“they shall be held responsible.”]
7. Touching an unclean animal (5:2) [NIV translates this as
touching “the carcass” of an unclean animal. So if Rover dies,
or you’re a worker in a pork plant, you’re in trouble here.
Normal penalty.]
8. Carelessly making an oath (5:4) [Even if you don’t
realize you have. Normal penalty.]
9. Deceiving a neighbour about something trusted to them
(6:2) [Return the item and a 20% penalty, plus normal
10. Finding lost property and lying about it (6:3) [Return the
item and a 20% penalty, plus normal penalty.]
11. Bringing unauthorised fire before God (10:1) [God will
smite you.]
12. Letting your hair become unkempt (10:6) [“You will die”
and God will be angry at everyone. May only apply to the
13. Tearing your clothes (10:6) [“You will die” and God will
be angry at everyone. May only apply to the priesthood.]
14. Drinking alcohol in holy places (bit of a problem for
Catholics, this ‘un) (10:9) [“You will die.” May only apply to
the priesthood.]
15. Eating an animal which doesn’t both chew cud and has a
divided hoof (cf: camel, rabbit, pig) (11:4-7) [“You will be
16. Touching the carcass of any of the above (problems here
for rugby) (11:8) [“You will be unclean.”]
17. Eating – or touching the carcass of – any seafood without
fins or scales (11:10-12) [“You will be unclean.”]
18. Eating – or touching the carcass of – eagle, the vulture,
the black vulture, the red kite, any kind of black kite, any kind
of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind
of hawk, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the
white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the stork, any kind of
heron, the hoopoe and the bat. (11:13-19) [“You will be
19. Eating – or touching the carcass of – flying insects with
four legs, unless those legs are jointed (11:20-22) [“You will
be unclean.”]
20. Eating any animal which walks on all four and has paws
(good news for cats) (11:27) [“You will be unclean.” Also
applies to touching their carcasses.]
21. Eating – or touching the carcass of – the weasel, the rat,
any kind of great lizard,the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall
lizard, the skink and the chameleon (11:29) [“You will be
22. Eating – or touching the carcass of – any creature which
crawls on many legs, or its belly (11:41-42) [“You will be
23. Going to church within 33 days after giving birth to a boy
(12:4) [Actually, she’s unclean a week, and then another 33
days. Then she has to offer up a sacrifice.]
24. Going to church within 66 days after giving birth to a girl
(12:5) [Actually, she’s unclean a week, and then another 66
days. Then she has to offer up a sacrifice.]
25. Having sex with your mother (18:7) [The penalty for all
the sexual sins in ch. 18 is that the participants are to be “cut
off” from their people. Some have additional penalties
mentioned below.]
26. Having sex with your father’s wife (18:8) [In 20:11, both
are to be put to death.]
27. Having sex with your sister (18:9) [In 20:17, if you
marry her, both are to be “publicly removed from their
28. Having sex with your granddaughter (18:10)
29. Having sex with your half-sister (18:11)
30. Having sex with your biological aunt (18:12-13) [In
20:19, he will be held responsible for the dishonor.]
31. Having sex with your uncle’s wife (18:14) [In 20:20, they
are held responsible for the dishonor, “they will die
32. Having sex with your daughter-in-law (18:15) [In 20:12,
both are to be put to death.]
33. Having sex with your sister-in-law (18:16) [In 20:21, if
you marry her, “they will be childless.”]
34. Having sex with a woman and also having sex with her
daughter or granddaughter (bad news for Alan Clark) (18:17)
[No specific penalty given, but per 20:14 if you marry both of
them, all three of you are to be “burned in fire.”]
35. Marrying your wife’s sister while your wife still lives
36. Having sex with a woman during her period (18:19)
[15:24 simply says the man will be considered unclean for 7
days. In 20:18, “Both of them are to be cut off from their
37. Having sex with your neighbour’s wife (18:20) [In 20:10,
both are to be put to death.]
38. Giving your children to be sacrificed to Molek (18:21) [In
20:2, the person is to be stoned to death.]
39. Having sex with a man “as one does with a
woman” (18:22) [In 20:13, both are to be put to death.]
40. Having sex with an animal (18:23) [In 20:15, both are to
be killed.]
41. Making idols or “metal gods” (19:4) [No penalty given.]
42. Reaping to the very edges of a field (19:9) [To be left for
the poor. No penalty given.]
43. Picking up grapes that have fallen in your vineyard
(19:10) [To be left for the poor. No penalty given.]
44. Stealing (19:11) [No penalty given.]
45. Lying (19:11) [No penalty given.]
46. Swearing falsely on God’s name (19:12) [No penalty
47. Defrauding your neighbour (19:13) [No penalty given.]
48. Holding back the wages of an employee overnight (not
well observed these days) (19:13) [No penalty given.]
49. Cursing the deaf or abusing the blind (19:14) [No penalty
50. Perverting justice, showing partiality to either the poor
or the rich (19:15) [No penalty given.]
51. Spreading slander (19:16) [No penalty given.]
52. Doing anything to endanger a neighbour’s life
(19:16) [No penalty given.]
53. Seeking revenge or bearing a grudge (19:18) [No penalty
54. Mixing fabrics in clothing (19:19) [No penalty given.]
55. Cross-breeding animals (19:19) [No penalty given.]
56. Planting different seeds in the same field (19:19) [No
penalty given.]
57. Sleeping with another man’s slave (19:20) [“Due
punishment,” but not death, just a ram for sacrifice.]
58. Eating fruit from a tree within four years of planting it
(19:23) [No penalty given. May only apply to fruit trees
planted in Israel.]
59. Practising divination or seeking omens (tut, tut astrology)
(19:26) [No penalty, but in 20:6 they will be “cut off from
their people” by God. In 20:27, they are to be stoned to
60. Trimming your beard (19:27) [No penalty given.]
61. Cutting your hair at the sides (19:27) [No penalty given.]
62. Getting tattoos (19:28) [No penalty given.]
63. Making your daughter prostitute herself (19:29) [“The
land will turn to prostitution.” No other penalty given.]
64. Turning to mediums or spiritualists (19:31) [No
penalty given.]
65. Not standing in the presence of the elderly (19:32) [No
penalty given.]
66. Mistreating foreigners – “the foreigner residing among
you must be treated as your native-born” (19:33-34) [No
penalty given.]
67. Using dishonest weights and scales (19:35-36) [No
penalty given.]
68. Cursing your father or mother (punishable by death)
(20:9) [Death, as noted.]
69. Marrying a prostitute, divorcee or widow if you are a
priest (21:7,13) [No penalty given.]
70. Entering a place where there’s a dead body as a priest
(21:11) [I.e., if you’re a priest. No penalty given.]
71. Slaughtering a cow/sheep and its young on the same day
(22:28) [May apply only to sacrificial animals. No penalty
72. Working on the Sabbath (23:3) [No penalty given.]
73. Blasphemy (punishable by stoning to death) (24:14)
74. Inflicting an injury; killing someone else’s animal;
killing a person must be punished in kind (24:17-22) [Killing
someone means death. Injuring someone mean punishment
in kind. Killing or injuring another’s animal means
punishment in kind.]
75. Selling land permanently (25:23) [No penalty given.]
76. Selling an Israelite as a slave (foreigners are fine)
(25:42) [No penalty given.]
Quite the list. Not many Christians today would go for all of
those … but most would consider some of them as laudable
commandments still applicable today.
And for good measure,I’ll add this little bit (Leviticus 35-37 ):
If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support
themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and
stranger, so they can continue to live among you. Do not take interest
or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue
to live among you. You must not lend them money at interest or sell
them food at a profit.
Yeah, like that’s going to picked up by anyone today.
UPDATE: If you like this, consider my list of 37 (or so) Things
Banned in Exodus (and their penalties)


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