New European Commentary

 

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Deeper Commentary

 

Lev 24:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying-
The whole congregation of Israel were to bring a small amount of oil and flour for the bread each week. The constantly burning oil and presence of the small loaves was a symbol of how Israel were continually before Him. Yet the amount of oil and flour required each week was miniscule in comparison to the size of all Israel- there were probably three million of them at the time this law was given (Ex. 12:37). But God is the God of small things. In the very small things we offer Him, we are remembered before Him. Israel were taught that this tiny offering of oil and flour each week was so highly significant; offering even very small things shouldn’t be seen by us as unnecessary or insignificant before God. The way Jesus noticed the widow offering two tiny coins and commented upon it is proof of this (Lk. 21:2).

Lev 24:2 Command the children of Israel, that they bring to you pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually-
"Pure olive oil" apparently refers to olive juice which bursts naturally from the first ripe olives. But we enquire where Israel obtained olive oil from in the wilderness, especially such "pure" olive oil to such great amounts as required here? Perhaps they had been given lots of it as they left Egypt and gave it to the priests. But for 40 years? I suggest as on Ex. 27:8 that this was God's ideal intention, and many of these laws were applicable only in contexts when obedience to them was possible. God's law is not therefore at all a reflection of a God who is a literalist or legalist. For by its nature, the law of Moses shows that He was not like that.

Lev 24:3 Outside of the veil of the Testimony, in the Tent of Meeting, shall Aaron keep it in order from evening to morning before Yahweh continually: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations.
Lev 24:4 He shall keep in order the lamps on the pure gold lampstand before Yahweh continually-

The lampstand is used as a symbol of the ecclesia in the visions of Revelation 2 and 3. The purpose of the ecclesia is to enable the oil of the Spirit to be burnt, to turn it into light. We are to keep our own personal light burning continually, day and night. Jesus had this in mind when He likened us to women waiting for the bridegroom to come at night, whose oil lamps should not be allowed to go out (Mt. 25:8).

Lev 24:5 You shall take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes of it: two tenth parts of an ephah shall be in one cake.
Lev 24:6 You shall set them in two rows, six on a row, on the pure gold table before Yahweh-

The bread on the table connects with the breaking of bread at the table of the Lord under the New Covenant. The bread was replaced- as it were eaten by God- each week (:8). Whilst there is no specific command as to how frequently we should break bread, it would seem from Acts 20:7 that some of the early Christians did it weekly, and this is no bad example for us to follow.

 


Lev 24:7 You shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it may make the bread be for a memorial, even an offering made by fire to Yahweh.
Lev 24:8 Every Sabbath day he shall set it in order before Yahweh continually. It is on the behalf of the children of Israel an everlasting covenant.
Lev 24:9 It shall be for Aaron and his sons; and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire by a perpetual statute.

Lev 24:10 The son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel; and the son of the Israelite woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp.
Lev 24:11 The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name, and cursed; and they brought him to Moses. His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan-

If we marry out of the family of faith, our children may well not have the reverence towards the true God which they should have.


Lev 24:12 They put him in custody, until the will of Yahweh about this should be declared to them.
Lev 24:13 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 24:14 Bring out of the camp him who cursed; and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him.
Lev 24:15 You shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin.
Lev 24:16 He who blasphemes the name of Yahweh, he shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him: the foreigner as well as the native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.

Lev 24:17 He who strikes any man mortally shall surely be put to death.
Lev 24:18 He who strikes an animal mortally shall make it good, life for life.
Lev 24:19 If anyone injures his neighbour; as he has done, so shall it be done to him:
Lev 24:20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he has injured someone, so shall it be done to him-

When the Lord Jesus gave His commandments as an elaboration of Moses' Law, that Law was still in force. He didn't say 'When I'm dead, this is how you should behave...'. He was showing us a higher level; but in the interim period until the Law was taken out of the way, He was opening up the choice of taking that higher level, even though making use of the concessions which Moses offered would not have been a sin during that period. Thus He spoke of not insisting on " an eye for an eye" ; even though in certain cases the Law did allow for this. He was saying: 'You can keep Moses' Law, and take an eye for an eye. But there is a higher level: to simply forgive'.

 


Lev 24:21 He who kills an animal shall make it good; and he who kills a man shall be put to death.
Lev 24:22 You shall have one kind of law, for the foreigner as well as the native-born; for I am Yahweh your God’-

If we have unbelievers into our homes or any situation where we are in charge of the social situation, we are to ensure that God’s principles are upheld. Again translating this into modern terms- if parents have unbelieving children in their home to play with their own children, God’s principles are still to be upheld by the visitors.


Lev 24:23 Moses spoke to the children of Israel; and they brought out him who had cursed out of the camp, and stoned him with stones. The children of Israel did as Yahweh commanded Moses.