Oil for the lamps, The shew-bread. (1-9) The law of blasphemy, blasphemer is stoned. (10-23)
Verses 1-9 The loaves of bread typify Christ as the Bread of life, and the food of the souls of his people. He is the Light of his church, the Light of the world; in and through his word this light shines. By this light we discern the food prepared for our souls; and we should daily, but especially from sabbath to sabbath, feed thereon in our hearts with thanksgiving. And as the loaves were left in the sanctuary, so should we abide with God till he dismiss us.
Verses 10-23 This offender was the son of an Egyptian father, and an Israelitish mother. The notice of his parents shows the common ill effect of mixed marriages. A standing law for the stoning of blasphemers was made upon this occasion. Great stress is laid upon this law. It extends to the strangers among them, as well as to those born in the land. Strangers, as well as native Israelites, should be entitled to the benefit of the law, so as not to suffer wrong; and should be liable to the penalty of this law, in case they did wrong. If those who profane the name of God escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgments. What enmity against God must be in the heart of man, when blasphemies against God proceed out of his mouth. If he that despised Moses' law, died without mercy, of what punishment will they be worthy, who despise and abuse the gospel of the Son of God! Let us watch against anger, do no evil, avoid all connexions with wicked people, and reverence that holy name which sinners blaspheme.
Leviticus 24:1-23 . OIL FOR THE LAMPS.
2. Command the children of Israel--This is the repetition of a law previously given ( Exodus 27:20 Exodus 27:21 ).
pure oil olive beaten--or cold-drawn, which is always of great purity.
3, 4. Aaron shall order it from the evening unto the morning--The daily presence of the priests was necessary to superintend the cleaning and trimming.
4. upon the pure candlestick--so called because of pure gold. This was symbolical of the light which ministers are to diffuse through the Church.
5-9. take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes--for the showbread, as previously appointed ( Exodus 25:30 ). Those cakes were baked by the Levites, the flour being furnished by the people ( 1 Chronicles 9:32 , 23:29 ), oil, wine, and salt being the other ingredients ( Leviticus 2:13 ).
two tenth deals--that is, of an ephah--thirteen and a half pounds weight each; and on each row or pile of cakes some frankincense was strewed, which, being burnt, led to the showbread being called "an offering made by fire." Every Sabbath a fresh supply was furnished; hot loaves were placed on the altar instead of the stale ones, which, having lain a week, were removed, and eaten only by the priests, except in cases of necessity ( 1 Samuel 21:3-6 ; also Luke 6:3 Luke 6:4 ).
10. the son of an Israelitish woman, &c.--This passage narrates the enactment of a new law, with a detail of the circumstances which gave rise to it. The "mixed multitude" [ Exodus 12:38 ] that accompanied the Israelites in their exodus from Egypt creates a presumption that marriage connections of the kind described were not infrequent. And it was most natural, in the relative circumstances of the two people, that the father should be an Egyptian and the mother an Israelite.
11. And the Israelitish woman's son blasphemed the name of the Lord--A youth of this half-blood, having quarrelled with an Israelite [ Leviticus 24:10 ], vented his rage in some horrid form of impiety. It was a common practice among the Egyptians to curse their idols when disappointed in obtaining the object of their petitions. The Egyptian mind of this youth thought the greatest insult to his opponent was to blaspheme the object of his religious reverence. He spoke disrespectfully of One who sustained the double character of the King as well as the God of the Hebrew people; as the offense was a new one, he was put in ward till the mind of the Lord was ascertained as to his disposal.
14. Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp--All executions took place without the camp; and this arrangement probably originated in the idea that, as the Israelites were to be "a holy people" ( Deuteronomy 7:6 , Deuteronomy 14:2 Deuteronomy 14:21 , 26:19 , 28:9 ), all flagrant offenders should be thrust out of their society.
let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, &c.--The imposition of hands formed a public and solemn testimony against the crime, and at the same time made the punishment legal.
16. as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death--Although strangers were not obliged to be circumcised, yet by joining the Israelitish camp, they became amenable to the law, especially that which related to blasphemy.
17-22. he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death--These verses contain a repetition of some other laws, relating to offenses of a social nature, the penalties for which were to be inflicted, not by the hand of private parties, but through the medium of the judges before whom the cause was brought.
23. the children of Israel did as the Lord's commanded--The chapter closes with the execution of Shelomith's son [ Leviticus 24:14 ]--and stoning having afterwards become the established punishment in all cases of blasphemy, it illustrates the fate of Stephen, who suffered under a false imputation of that crime [ Acts 7:58 Acts 7:59 ].