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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus

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FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus 24: On Blasphemy


v.1-9 Olive Oil and Bread Set Before the Lord

v.10-12 Blasphemy

v.13-22 Laws of Blasphemy, Taking Life & Injury

v.23 Execution



v.1-9 Olive Oil and Bread Set Before the Lord


v.1 The Lord said to Moses,

v.2 “Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning continually.

v.3 Outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, Aaron is to tend the lamps before the Lord from evening till morning, continually. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.

v.4 The lamps on the pure gold lampstand before the Lord must be tended continually.

v.5 “Take the finest flour and bake twelve loaves of bread, using about 7 pounds [3.2k] for each loaf.

v.6 Arrange them in two stacks, six in each stack, on the table of pure gold before the Lord.

v.7 By each stack put some pure incense as a memorial portion to represent the bread and to be a food offering presented to the Lord.

v.8 This bread is to be set out before the Lord regularly, Sabbath after Sabbath, on behalf of the Israelites, as a lasting covenant.

v.9 It belongs to Aaron and his sons, who are to eat it in the sanctuary area, because it is a most holy part of their perpetual share of the food offerings presented to the Lord.”


[Notes: Provision is made to keep the lamps in the Tabernacle burning and bread to be put on the table in there each Sabbath ‘for God'.]



v.10-12 Blasphemy


v.10 Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite.

v.11 The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. (His mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.)

v.12 They put him in custody until the will of the Lord should be made clear to them.


[Notes: Here we find an unpleasant aside. An Israelite woman had obviously married an Egyptian man and had a son by him. The son, as he grows up appears somewhat intemperate and curses the Lord in public. In the light of all that has been happening, this creates horror! It also provokes a response from heaven. To understand something of the severity of this, see our preliminary notes at the start of chapter 26 which equally apply here. Even as the judgment that followed the incident of the golden calf at Sinai appears horrific, no doubt this will to the modern mind, but remember this is in the very earliest of days of this embryonic nation where defiance, even by one, person could create a sense of permissiveness that would open the door to the unravelling of the nation.]



v.13-22 Laws of Blasphemy, Taking Life & Injury


v.13 Then the Lord said to Moses:

v.14 Judgment is declared

v.14 “Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him.


v.15-17 A series of death penalties seek to protect the nation and life

v.15 Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who curses their God will be held responsible;

v.16 anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.

v.17 “‘Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death.


v.18-22 Secondary instructions about harms caused

v.18 Anyone who takes the life of someone's animal must make restitution—life for life.

v.19 Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner:

v.20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury.

v.21 Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a human being is to be put to death.

v.22 You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the Lord your God.'”


[Notes: The realities of having to be part of a stoning and watching your stones bringing down a fellow human being, would be forever stored in the memory and no doubt cause a response of, “We must never let happen again!” The honour of God and human life were to be considered sacrosanct. Injuring others or their livestock required serious responses for justice to be seen to be done in this primitive society.]



v.23 Execution


v.23 Then Moses spoke to the Israelites, and they took the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him. The Israelites did as the Lord commanded Moses.


[Notes: See all preceding notes.]