Leviticus 24 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Leviticus 24)

Verse 2

[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.

To cause the lamps to burn — Heb. the lamp: yet Revelation 4:5, by seven lamps of fire before the throne. For there are diversities of gifts, but one spirit.

Verse 3

[3] Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the LORD continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations.

Aaron — Either by himself, or by his sons, Exodus 25:37.

Verse 4

[4] He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the LORD continually.

The pure candlestick — So called, partly because it was made of pure gold, partly because it was to be always kept clean.

Verse 5

[5] And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake.

Thou — By the priests or Levites, whose work it was to prepare them, 1 Chronicles 9:32.

Twelve cakes — Representing the twelve tribes.

Verse 6

[6] And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD.

Two rows — Not one above another, but one beside another, as the frankincense put upon each, Leviticus 24:7, shews.

Verse 7

[7] And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

Pure frankincense — Unmixed and uncorrupted, or of the best sort, to be burnt before the Lord.

On the bread — And this was done every time that the bread was changed.

For a memorial — For that part which properly belonged to God, whereas the rest belonged to the priests.

Verse 8

[8] Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.

From the children of Israel — And these cakes are said to be received from or offered by the children of Israel, bought with the money which they contributed.

By an everlasting covenant — By virtue of that compact made between me and them, by which they were obliged to keep this amongst other commands, and, they so doing, I am obliged to be their God and to bless them. And this may be here called an everlasting covenant, not only because it was to endure as long as the Jewish polity stood, but also because this was to stand everlastingly, or continually, and therefore the new cakes were first brought before the old were taken away.

Verse 9

[9] And it shall be Aaron's and his sons'; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the LORD made by fire by a perpetual statute.

It — The old bread now to be taken away.

Made by fire — The incense was offered by fire, and that for or instead of the bread, and therefore the bread was reputed as if it had been so offered.

Verse 10

[10] And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp;

Whose father was an Egyptian — This circumstance seems noted, partly to shew the danger of marriages with persons of wicked principles, and partly by this severity against him who was a stranger by the father, and an Israelite by the mother, to shew that God would not have this sin go unpunished amongst his people, what-soever he was that committed it.

Went out — Out of Egypt, being one of that mixed multitude, which came out with the Israelites, Exodus 12:32. It is probable, this was done when the Israelites were near Sinai.

Verse 11

[11] And the Israelitish woman's son blasphemed the name of the LORD, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses: (and his mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:)

The name of the Lord — The words of the Lord, or of Jehovah, are supplied out of Leviticus 24:16, where they are expressed; here they are omitted perhaps for the aggravation of his crime. He blasphemed the name so called by way of eminency; that name which is above every name; that name which a man should in some sort tremble to mention; which is not to be named without cause or without reverence.

And cursed — Not the Israelite only, but his God also, as appears from Leviticus 24:15,16.

And they brought him — Either the people who heard him, or the inferior magistrate, to whom he was first brought.

Verse 12

[12] And they put him in ward, that the mind of the LORD might be shewed them.

That the mind of the Lord might be shewed — For God had only said in general, that he would not hold such guiltless, that is, he would punish them, but had not declared how he would have them punished by men.

Verse 14

[14] Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.

Lay their hands upon his head — Whereby they gave public testimony that they heard this person speak such words, and did in their own and all the peoples names, demand justice to be executed upon him, that by this sacrifice God might be appeased, and his judgments turned away from the people, upon whom they would certainly fall if he were unpunished.

Stone him — The same punishment which was before appointed for those who cursed their parents.

Verse 15

[15] And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin.

Whosoever curseth his God — Speaketh of him reproachfully.

Shall bear his sin — That is, the punishment of it; shall not go unpunished.

Verse 16

[16] And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: 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.

He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord — This is a repetition of the same sin in other words, which is common. As this law is laid down in general terms, Leviticus 24:16.

All the congregation — To shew their zeal for God, and to beget in them the greater dread and abhorrence of blasphemy.

Verse 17

[17] And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.

He that killeth — This law is repeated here, to prevent the mischievous effects of men's striving together, which as here it caused blasphemy, so it might in others lead to murder.

Verse 22

[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.

One law — That is, in matters of common right, but not as to church privileges.

Verse 23

[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.

Stone him with stones — This blasphemer was the first that died by the law of Moses. Stephen the first that died for the gospel, died by the abuse of the law. The martyr and the malefactor suffered the same death; but how vast the difference between them.