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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 24

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-23


Here Moses is told to command the children of Israel that they bring pure olive oil for the seven lamps, never allowing the supply of oil to lapse, so that the lamps would burn continually (vv. 1-2). For the light from these was to light up the lampstand itself. In the holy place the light was always to shine upon Him who is the Sustainer of the light, the Lord Jesus. The light speaks of testimony, and Christ is always the Object of all testimony for God. The light is maintained by the constant supply of the oil (the Spirit of God), while the wicks are there, not to be displayed, but to burn, just as believers are to burn for the Lord, not to display themselves. In fact, the wicks must be often trimmed so that the light might burn brightly, a reminder of the self-judgment that we find constantly necessary. The more brightly the light shines, the less we shall see of the wick. If the wick has not been trimmed, this will draw one's attention more to the wick than to the light, and the smell of the wick will draw attention too!

The light does not speak of a publicly declared testimony, as the trumpets do, but rather of the constant testimony of our daily conduct, which we are not to allow to lapse. It was also priestly work to trim the lamps (vv. 3-4). just as the Lord Jesus deals with us to produce self-judgment, which will be spontaneous if we ourselves practice our proper priestly functions. That is, we shall fully cooperate with Him in this necessary work.


The priests also were in charge of keeping the table furnished with bread. The table pictures Christ as the Sustainer of fellowship or communion, and the twelve loaves of bread, changed every week, while symbolizing the twelve tribes of Israel, are at the same time significant of all the saints of God today, all privileged to enjoy the fellowship of the Father and the Son in unity.

Is this fellowship only occasional? By no means. Fresh bread was to be arranged on the table every Sabbath day (v. 8). Thus, our fellowship with God and with His saints is to be continual, never allowed to become stale. Just as the priests were responsible for this, so, if we are functioning as priests, we shall always be in communion with the Lord.

The bread was placed in two rows, six in a row (v. 6), for fellowship is necessarily between two parties. Frankincense was also to be put on the loaves (v. 7). Frankincense means whiteness . It speaks of the Lord Jesus in the perfect purity of His humanity, which will impart proper, godly character to our communion.

When replaced, the bread that was removed each Sabbath day was then to be eaten by Aaron and his sons. It was not for all Israel, but for the priestly family. Today, all believers are priests (1 Peter 2:5), so that they are identified with Christ. our Great High Priest in communion together, enjoying that which reminds us of Himself and His great work of sacrifice and suffering for our sake. For one week the bread was to be displayed, but not eaten. This display was the testimony of what true fellowship is, though not the actual partaking. But at the end of the week the priests were to eat it, thus figuratively in a practical way entering into the blessedness of communion with God through His beloved Son. We today may learn in God's word what is the meaning of fellowship, but we need also to feast on Christ Himself, the bread of life.


Following the verses that have spoken of the pure light and pure fellowship of the sanctuary, a shocking contrast meets us in this section. A fight takes place between two men, and one of them (whose mother was an Israelite, but his father Egyptian) blasphemed the name of the Lord and cursed (vv. 10-11). Though Israel has not even realized it, this is just what the nation has done when they rejected the Lord Jesus. They blasphemed and insulted the Son of God. Though the priests in Israel had a favored place in the temple of God, as verses 1-9 have shown, yet they showed utter contempt for the Lord of that temple when He came among them. (Luke 22:63-65).

The offending man was put in custody, for there was to be calm deliberation as regards judgment of the case. Then the Lord told Moses to take him outside the camp, where the witnesses were to lay their hands on his head, as bearing witness to what had been done. Then all the congregation was called upon to stone him to death (v. 14). This was solemn, humiliating work, but the law was absolute. Being under law, there was no alternative. Though today, under grace, no such sentences are to be carried out, yet we must not think that the evil is any less serious than at that time. Of course, God hates the evil just as He did then, but He now patiently bears with it until the time of judgment will come.

The Lord however gives plain orders that anyone who blasphemed the name of the Lord must be put to death (vv. 15-16). At the same time He adds to this other serious judgments. A murderer was to be also put to death. Israel became guilty of this also in their murder of the Lord Jesus.

If one killed an animal belonging to another, he must make this good by giving him an animal of the same value. If one harmed another physically, he was to receive the same treatment himself, “fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (vv. 19-20). This is righteous law pure and simple, justice without mercy. For a second time it is insisted that an animal killed required restitution, but the killing of a human called for the death penalty (v. 21). Of course animals were killed in sacrifice, but these were the property of the offerer.

Any stranger who lived among the Israelites was subject to the same law as all others (v. 22). This would surely remind us that any stranger who comes to partake of the privileges of fellowship in any assembly is thereby subject to the same discipline as all others.

Verse 23 tells us that the sentence of death was carried out in the case of the man who had blasphemed the name of the Lord. The people stoned him to death as God had commanded.

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Leviticus 24". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/leviticus-24.html. 1897-1910.
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