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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 24

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-2


Leviticus 23 has shown the great prophetic line in God’s history of salvation. The first four feasts have found their application in the church. The application of the three feasts of the seventh month to Israel is yet to come. Leviticus 24 makes clear how the prophetic state of Israel is. The first part (Leviticus 24:1-1 Samuel :) shows the service of the high priest in the sanctuary, which he performs at night. The second part (Leviticus 24:10-Isaiah :) shows why Israel is set aside. To this end, an event serves as an illustration. This event is the second to occur in Leviticus, after the death of Aaron’s sons in Leviticus 10. This event must also serve to demonstrate an important principle.

Oil for the Light

Leviticus 24:2-Numbers : are a verbatim repetition of what we read in Exodus 27 (Exodus 27:20-Ecclesiastes :). In Numbers we see that Aaron executes the command (Numbers 8:3). The oil used must be brought by the Israelites. The people are involved in maintaining the light in the sanctuary. In this way God determines that the whole people ensure that there is light in the sanctuary. It is their responsibility to live in accordance with that light. The following event (Leviticus 24:10-Isaiah :) shows that they have failed.

Verses 3-4

The Light Must Burn Continually

The high priest must ensure that the light from the lampstand continually burns at night. To do this, he must supply the candlestick with oil. Prophetically, this indicates that the people, even though they may seem lost and find themselves in spiritual darkness, are separate from God, yet through the high priesthood of the Lord Jesus in heaven they remain as a remembrance before God.

The light shines in the sanctuary. The world does not see it. It highlights the heavenly things by which we can already see what our heavenly blessings are (John 16:13). We also may spread that light. We do this by talking about these things with other believers. The light of the lampstand falls in the first place on the lampstand itself, that is, the Lord Jesus will be the subject of the conversation.

The lamps must remain burning at night, when the people are enveloped in darkness. The people sleep, but will be brought back to life by the blowing of the trumpet (Leviticus 23:24). Until then, the High Priest ensures that the light in the sanctuary continues to shine.

The service of the people before God takes place periodically, at prescribed times. The service of the Lord Jesus as the High Priest to the people is not periodically, but continually and uninterrupted. It is also an encouragement to us that the Lord always thinks of us, even if we do not always think of Him.

Verses 5-9

The Showbread

There is also care for the bread on the table of showbread. What is said here about the showbread is an addition to what we read about them in Exodus 25 (Exodus 25:23-Amos :).

The twelve showbreads represent the twelve tribes of Israel. The pure incense on it indicates that from the people, according to God’s advice, a pleasant fragrance rises in His sanctuary. The fragrance speaks of the Lord Jesus, because in themselves the people have nothing that is pleasing to God.

In the sanctuary we see how God’s plans continue to shine brightly, even if the people are unfaithful. In the light of the lampstand God constantly sees the showbreads: picture of the people, carried by the table, picture of the Lord Jesus. It always says: “before the LORD” (Leviticus 24:3; Leviticus 24:4Leviticus 24:6; Leviticus 24:8).

The showbreads are made of fine flour. This is also used to make the grain offering (Leviticus 2:1). It is the fruit of the earth and speaks of the Lord Jesus as the perfect Man on earth. He is also the life of the believers and therefore the twelve showbreads speak of the people of God.

The priests make themselves one with the people by eating this bread. Those who are used to being in God’s presence feed themselves with the thought that God loves His people despite their failures. They will share in God’s love for His people and that will inspire them to serve that people, despite their infidelity.

Verses 10-23

Blasphemy and the Punishment for It

After having seen in the sanctuary what the people are before God, this event shows in picture what the external condition of the whole people is. Through her connection with an Egyptian man, an Israeli woman has given birth to a blaspheming son. The woman married this Egyptian during the time that she was still in slavery with the people in Egypt.

Her husband and son belong to the “mixed multitude” who went up from Egypt with the Israelites (Exodus 12:38). But the son proves that his heart has remained connected with Egypt. There is no respect whatsoever for the LORD. He even defies Him by blaspheming “the Name” in an argument with an Israelite.

The ‘Name’ refers to the whole of God’s being, not a particular representation of God as shown separately in each Name. The man does not only speak evil of it, but ‘curses’ the Name, which means he blasphemes the Name. He accuses that name of evil things against his better judgment.

This is a picture of the spiritual state of the people of Israel, of which Jerusalem is the model par excellence. What is true for Israel, is what said of Jerusalem: “The great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:8).

Israel’s greatest sin is the blaspheming of the Lord Jesus. They killed Him. That is the picture that emerges in Leviticus 24:17. That is why the people have been put to death, which means that God has rejected them. It is now Lo-Ammi, which means “not my people” (Hosea 1:9). The woman is from the tribe of Dan. This tribe has an unfavorable sound and meaning among the tribes of Israel (Genesis 49:16-Esther :; Judges 17:1-1 Chronicles :; Judges 18:1-Obadiah :). It is noteworthy that this case of blasphemy is connected to this tribe.

As for the case itself, it is not clear what should happen to the son. Therefore he is put in custody until there is a statement of the LORD about the punishment to be applied. This is one of the four cases where Moses has to wait for a Divine answer in a situation where it is not clear how to act (Numbers 9:6-2 Chronicles :; Numbers 15:32-Zephaniah :Numbers 27:1-1 Kings :).

The LORD determines that the man must be stoned. But first, all who have heard the blaspheme must put their hands on his head. The putting on of hands means the making of one with the object on which the hands are put on. In this case, they put the guilt of the crime they witnessed on the head of the offender. They thus relieve themselves.

This blasphemer of the Name is the first to be subjected to the death penalty under the law of Moses. Later this law is abused by ungodly judges to condemn the Lord Jesus to death (Matthew 26:65-Revelation :). Stephen will be the first martyr for the Name of the Lord Jesus by abuse of this law by the same criminal judges (Acts 6:11).

The provisions for retaliation for injury or manslaughter already apply to Israel at that time (Exodus 21:12-Zephaniah :). The case of the son of the Egyptian is the reason to declare these rules of retaliation also applicable to the foreign national (Leviticus 24:22). The “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” principle indicates that the penalty should be in line with the crime, not higher and not lower. It is a righteous punishment.

The two sections in this chapter are not in chronological order. In the history of the people it will be that first Israel will be rejected because of their sin and then the night will come for the people, the night in which the high priest keeps the light on. It is the grace of God that He has reversed that order. He knows the stubbornness of His people, but he acts according to his own purpose. This intention will be carried out because of the service of the Lord Jesus now in the sanctuary.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Leviticus 24". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/leviticus-24.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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