LEVITICUS CHAPTER 24.
Additional Ordinances. Punishment of Blasphemy.
OF THE OIL AND THE
SHOWBREAD. - V.1. And the Lord spake unto
Moses, saying, v.2. Command the
children of Israel that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the
light, to cause the lamps to burn continually. Cp. Ex. 27, 20. 21. This oil
was exceptionally pure, because all leaves, parts of branches and twigs, and all
other foreign matter was removed; and the olives from which this oil was gained
were not stamped or pressed in presses, but merely cut and beaten, a process
which caused the oil to drain off without any other juices of the fruit. V.3. Without
the veil of the testimony, the curtain which hid the Ark of the Covenant
with the tables of the testimony from the eyes of all the children of Israel, in
the Tabernacle of the Congregation, in the Holy Place, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the Lord
continually, that is, he was to place the lamps filled with the pure oil on
the seven-armed candlestick and light them in the evening, and put them in order
in the morning by cleaning them and trimming their wicks. It
shall be a statute forever in your generations. V.4.
He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the Lord continually.
This was a function which was expressly delegated to the priests while the
Levitical precepts were in force. V.5. And
thou shalt take fine flour, wheaten flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof;
two-tenth deals (a little more than five quarts) shall
be in one cake. V.6. And thou shalt
set them in two rows, or heaps, six
on a row, upon the pure table before the Lord, upon the table of showbread
made of pure gold, on the north side of the altar of incense, in the Holy Place,
V.7. And thou shalt put pure frankincense
upon each row, the pure natural gum, as a gift from the people, the twelve
tribes of Israel being represented by the twelve cakes of the showbread. The
frankincense, according to Jewish tradition, was placed beside each heap of
showbread in golden censers, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by
fire unto the Lord, its sweet odor serving to bring the people into
remembrance before the Lord. v.8. Every
Sabbath he, the priest on duty, shall
set it in order before the Lord continually, being taken from the children of
Israel by an everlasting covenant. In this unbloody sacrifice the
congregation brought the fruit of its activity, of its life, and of its
sanctification before the face of the Lord, and thus presented itself to Him as
a people diligent in good works. V.9. And
it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’; and they shall eat it in the holy place,
it belonged to the food which they consumed somewhere in the Sanctuary or in its
court; for it is most holy unto him of
the offerings of the Lord made by fire by a perpetual statute. It was a
symbol and guarantee of the eternal covenant which existed between Jehovah and
His people. We Christians have a more perfect table, at which our communion with
God and the covenant of His mercy are renewed as often as we come in true faith,
namely, the table of His Supper.
A BLASPHEMER STONED. - V.10. And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, one of the mixed multitude that went up with the children of Israel out of Egypt, Ex. 12, 38, went out among the children of Israel, he left his tent and that part of the camp appointed for his people and mingled with the true Israelites; and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp, engaged in a quarrel; v.11. and the Israelitish woman’s son blasphemed the name of the Lord and cursed; he uttered “the Name” (of God) with irreverence and contempt, the climax being reached in his bold denunciation of Jehovah. Any blasphemy against the name of Jehovah, as against the name above all names, was not only blasphemy against the God of Israel, but also against the religion of His revelation, against the covenant with Jehovah, and thus against the holy source of all consecrations, as one commentator has it. And they brought him unto Moses, that is, those that were witnesses of the blasphemy; (and his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan;) v.12. and they put him in ward, they secured or imprisoned him, that the mind of the Lord might be showed them, for the measure of punishment and the form of death in such a case had not yet been expressly stated. V.13. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, v.14. Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, thereby ridding themselves of all complicity in the guilt which might have rested upon them on account of their being witnesses of the sin, and let all the congregation stone him. Under the form of government which was directly responsible to God capital punishment was imposed for transgressions of this nature. V.15. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, with reference to this execution, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin, that is, the guilt and then also the punishment of sin as the Lord laid it upon the people under His direct government. V.16. And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, utters the name above all names in a spirit of levity and contempt, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him, the emphasis upon the execution being very strong; as well the stranger as he that is born in the land, Israelite or non-Israelite, all that were under the jurisdiction of the government, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death. And the Lord now expands this ordinance to include some other cases in which He demanded similar punishment. V.17. And he that killeth any man, strikes him down so that his life is taken, shall surely be put to death. V.18. And he that killeth a beast shall make it good, beast for beast. V.19. And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbor, any bodily harm or the loss of any organ; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him: v.20. breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again, for the law of restitution demanded reparation. V.21. And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it; and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death. V.22. Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger as for one of your own country; for I am the Lord, your God. The same laws that were given to the Israelites were to apply to the non-citizen that chose to live in their country. Cp. Ex. 21, 12 ff. V.23. And Moses spake to the children of Israel that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the Lord commanded Moses, thus putting away the evil out of their midst. A Christian congregation has no jurisdiction over life and death, but notorious and unrepentant sinners, such as blasphemers, should be excluded from their organization; and it is self-evident among Christians that the law of love demands restoration of all goods in which one’s neighbor has been harmed.