In these passages, does "a woman" include a man's own wife, or is that not included and it's just referring to women that he is not married to?

Leviticus 18:19 “You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. (ESV)

Leviticus 20:18 If a man lies with a woman during her menstrual period and uncovers her nakedness, he has made naked her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from among their people. (ESV)

  • This is all women, including a man's wife. There is no distinction made among types of women here.
    – Dottard
    Commented Feb 17, 2020 at 6:31
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    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


Does “a woman” in Leviticus 18:19 and 20:18 refer to all women including a man's wife or just women who were not his wife.

Yes , it includes all women including his Wife.

If during intercourse a woman inadvertently has a menstrual discharge, her husband was unclean for seven days, the same as his wife:

Leviticus 15:24 (NASB)

24 "If a man actually lies with her so that her menstrual impurity is on him, he shall be unclean seven days, and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean."

If they continued sexual relationship whilst she was menstruating ,thus showing contempt for God's Law, the penalty of death was imposed on both, husband and wife.

"If there is a man" means anyone including her husband.

Leviticus 20:18 Bible (NASB)

18 "If there is a man who lies with a menstruous woman and uncovers her nakedness, he has laid bare her flow, and she has exposed the flow of her blood; thus both of them shall be cut off from among their people."

For the above reasons, when ceremonial cleanness was required, as, for example, when men were sanctified for a military expedition, they were obliged to refrain from having intercourse with their wives.​1 Samuel 21:4- 5 ; 2 Samuel 11:8-11.

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