Leviticus 24

 

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר   24:1

Levi. 24:1  And the Lord spoke to Moses saying,

צַו אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית לַמָּאֹור לְהַעֲלֹת נֵר תָּמִיד   24:2

Levi. 24:2  “Command the children of Israel that they bring pure beaten olive oil to you for a light, for keeping a continual light lit.”

מִחוּץ לְפָרֹכֶת הָעֵדֻת בְּאֹהֶל מֹועֵד יַעֲרֹךְ אֹתֹו אַהֲרֹן מֵעֶרֶב עַד־בֹּקֶר לִפְנֵי יְהוָה תָּמִיד חֻקַּת עֹולָם   24:3

לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם

Levi. 24:3  “Aaron shall prepare it outside the veil of the testimony, in the tent of meeting, from evening to morning, before the Lord continually.  It is an everlasting statute for your generations.”

Verses 24:2 and 3 are an echo of Exod. 27:20 and 21.

עַל הַמְּנֹרָה הַטְּהֹרָה יַעֲרֹךְ אֶת־הַנֵּרֹות לִפְנֵי יְהוָה תָּמִיד   24:4

Levi. 24:4  “He shall prepare the lamps on the pure candlestick before the Lord continually.”

וְלָקַחְתָּ סֹלֶת וְאָפִיתָ אֹתָהּ שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה חַלֹּות שְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרֹנִים יִהְיֶה הַחַלָּה הָאֶחָת   24:5

Levi. 24:5  “And you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it.  Each cake shall be of two tenths.”

Here again the intent must to be to imply two tenths of an ephah of fine flour, although the word ephah is omitted.  See Levi. 23:13.

וְשַׂמְתָּ אֹותָם שְׁתַּיִם מַעֲרָכֹות שֵׁשׁ הַמַּעֲרָכֶת עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן הַטָּהֹר לִפְנֵי יְהוָה   24:6

Levi. 24:6  “And you shall set them in two rows, six to a row, on the pure table before the Lord.”

וְנָתַתָּ עַל־הַמַּעֲרֶכֶת לְבֹנָה זַכָּה וְהָיְתָה לַלֶּחֶם לְאַזְכָּרָה אִשֶּׁה לַיהוָה   24:7

Levi. 24:7  “And you shall put pure frankincense with each row, and it shall be for a memorial to the bread, a fire offering to the Lord.”

Verses 24:6 and 7 are an expansion on commandment 123 contained in Exod. 25:30.

בְּיֹום הַשַּׁבָּת בְּיֹום הַשַּׁבָּת יַעַרְכֶנּוּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָה תָּמִיד מֵאֵת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּרִית עֹולָם   24:8

Levi. 24:8  “On every Sabbath day, he shall prepare it before the Lord continually, an everlasting covenant from the children of Israel.”

In this verse we have corroboration that the service of the Tabernacle/Temple was not suspended on the Sabbath.  Once a week, on the Sabbath, the show bread was prepared.  The pronoun he in this verse refers to Aaron.

                                                                [Return to 1Sam. 21:7]                  [Return to 1Chr. 9:32]

וְהָיְתָה לְאַהֲרֹן וּלְבָנָיו וַאֲכָלֻהוּ בְּמָקֹום קָדֹשׁ כִּי קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים הוּא לֹו מֵאִשֵּׁי יְהוָה חָק־עֹולָם   24:9

Levi. 24:9  “And it shall be for Aaron and his sons.  They shall eat it in a holy place, for it is holy of the holy things for him from the fire offerings of the Lord, an everlasting due.”

וַיֵּצֵא בֶּן־אִשָּׁה יִשְׂרְאֵלִית וְהוּא בֶּן־אִישׁ מִצְרִי בְּתֹוךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּנָּצוּ בַּמַּחֲנֶה בֶּן הַיִּשְׂרְאֵלִית   24:10

וְאִישׁ הַיִּשְׂרְאֵלִי

Levi. 24:10   And the son of an Israelite woman went out, and he was the son of an Egyptian man among the children of Israel, and the son of the Israelite woman and a man who was an Israelite strove together in the camp.

וַיִּקֹּב בֶּן־הָאִשָּׁה הַיִּשְׂרְאֵלִית אֶת־הַשֵּׁם וַיְקַלֵּל וַיָּבִיאוּ אֹתֹו אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְשֵׁם אִמֹּו שְׁלֹמִית בַּת־דִּבְרִי   24:11

לְמַטֵּה־דָן

Levi. 24:11   And the son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name and he cursed.  So they brought him to Moses.  And the name of his mother was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, belonging to the tribe of Dan.

וַיַּנִּיחֻהוּ בַּמִּשְׁמָר לִפְרֹשׁ לָהֶם עַל־פִּי יְהוָה   24:12

Levi. 24:12   And they put him in custody to be declared to them according to the mouth of the Lord.

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר   24:13

Levi. 24:13   And the Lord spoke to Moses saying,

הֹוצֵא אֶת־הַמְקַלֵּל אֶל־מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה וְסָמְכוּ כָל־הַשֹּׁמְעִים אֶת־יְדֵיהֶם עַל־רֹאשֹׁו וְרָגְמוּ אֹתֹו    24:14

כָּל־הָעֵדָה

Levi. 24:14   “Bring forth the one who had cursed to the outskirts of the camp, and let all who heard lay their hands on his head, and all the congregation shall stone him.”

וְאֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל תְּדַבֵּר לֵאמֹר אִישׁ אִישׁ כִּי־יְקַלֵּל אֱלֹהָיו וְנָשָׂא חֶטְאֹו   24:15

Levi. 24:15   “And to the children of Israel you shall declare saying, ‘If any one shall curse his God, then he shall bear his sin.’

וְנֹקֵב שֵׁם־יְהוָה מֹות יוּמָת רָגֹום יִרְגְּמוּ־בֹו כָּל־הָעֵדָה כַּגֵּר כָּאֶזְרָח בְּנָקְבֹו־שֵׁם יוּמָת   24:16

Levi. 24:16   ‘And a blasphemer of the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death.  All the congregation shall certainly cast stones at him.  As the home born, so the stranger, in his blaspheming of the Name, shall be put to death.’

This series of verses, 24:10 to 24:16 (which ends finally in v. 24:23, the last verse in this chapter), the story of the blasphemer, arises out of nowhere, completely out of context.  Why do they appear here?  It’s almost as if the scribe was involved in free association while recording this chapter.  How else to explain the details we find in Vss. 24:10 and 24:11!   I can’t reconcile the various odd aspects of this story and its appearance here.

וְאִישׁ כִּי יַכֶּה כָּל־נֶפֶשׁ אָדָם מֹות יוּמָת   24:17

Levi. 24:17   ‘And if any one would smite any soul mortally, he shall surely be put to death.’

If we take this verse at face value, it implies that those of a community who stone someone to death are themselves condemned.  Can this be a reasonable outcome of this verse?  I think not.  I believe it refers to situations in which there is one-on-one confrontation.

וּמַכֵּה נֶפֶשׁ־בְּהֵמָה יְשַׁלְּמֶנָּה נֶפֶשׁ תַּחַת נָפֶשׁ   24:19

Levi. 24:18   ‘And who might wound a beast mortally shall make amends, a life to replace a life.’

וְאִישׁ כִּי־יִתֵּן מוּם בַּעֲמִיתֹו כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה כֵּן יֵעָשֶׂה לֹּו   24:19

Levi. 24:19   ‘And if any one might put a blemish on his neighbor, as he did, so shall it be done to him.’

שֶׁבֶר תַּחַת שֶׁבֶר עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן שֵׁן תַּחַת שֵׁן כַּאֲשֶׁר יִתֵּן מוּם בָּאָדָם כֵּן יִנָּתֶן בֹּו   24:20

Levi. 24:20   ‘A breach for a breach, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; as he put a blemish on a person, so shall it be put on him.’

The words in these preceding verses 24:18 to 24:20, as well as those in Exod. 21:23 to 21:25, have been interpreted in two widely differing ways.  On the one hand, some believe that the rules in these verses imply that anyone shall pay in the same fashion as he had dealt.  To a large extent, this viewpoint is based on, and appears to be supported by, the surrounding verses as strongly suggesting equal payment for payment, cruel as that might appear to some.  However, the opposing view holds that the emphasis be placed on this word “equal.”  No more payment may be demanded for payment.  No one may take more than an eye for an eye, etc.  This view is based on a firm belief in God’s infinite and eternal mercy.  As it turns out, the latter view is also supported by the surrounding verses.  “Equal” appears to be the pivotal word in the ongoing discussion.  Does it mean equal or does it mean no more than?  I believe that no one knows.  However, I suggest that the correct interpretation is of a critical nature.  It reflects, to a degree, God’s nature.  Is God a cruel, stern, and unforgiving Taskmaster, demanding punishment for a hurtful act, whether deliberate or accidental?  Or is He a loving, merciful, caring Creator of us all, desiring to limit damage and escalation?  Each of us has to come to terms with these questions.  See my earlier discussion accompanying Exod. 21:37.

וּמַכֵּה בְהֵמָה יְשַׁלְּמֶנָּה וּמַכֵּה אָדָם יוּמָת   24:21

Levi. 24:21   ‘So who kills a beast shall make amends, and who kills a man shall be put to death.’

מִשְׁפַּט אֶחָד יִהְיֶה לָכֶם כַּגֵּר כָּאֶזְרָח יִהְיֶה כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם   24:22

Levi. 24:22   ‘The law shall be the same for you, for a stranger as well as for the home born,’ for I am the Lord, your God.”

וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֹּוצִיאוּ אֶת־הַמְקַלֵּל אֶל־מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה וַיִּרְגְּמוּ אֹתֹו אָבֶן וּבְנֵי־   24:23

יִשְׂרָאֵל עָשׂוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה

Levi. 24:23   And Moses spoke to the children of Israel and they took the one who had cursed to the outskirts of the camp and stoned him with stones.  So the children of Israel did as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Torah Commandments in this Chapter

304 The high priest shall follow the procedures for the showbread.    V. 24:6 - 24:8

305. The show bread shall be for the priests to eat in the courtyard.    V. 24:9

306. A blasphemer of the Lord's name shall be put to death by

        stoning.    V. 24:16

 

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