The sanctuary lamp. The showbread. Blasphemy and its punishment.
VERSE 1. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
VERSE 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.
a lamp to burn continually. In ancient days, a candle burned in the Tent of Meeting. But in our day, the light is to shine from within us. How can you let your light shine? Read more »
The idea of a sanctuary light begins in this verse. In Jewish synagogues, the sanctuary light continues to this day.
In later centuries, Christians will copy it, putting a candle on a stand. Or a light bulb on the wall. Some Christians even claim this as a Christian idea.
Later in Jewish history, a rack of seven lamps will be added. They will be like light bulbs. They will light up the Tent of Meeting.
Numbers 8:2. “Speak to Aaron, and tell him, ‘When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lamp stand.’ ”
VERSE 3. Outside of the veil of the Testimony, in the Tent of Meeting, Aaron shall keep it in order from evening to morning before the LORD continually. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations.
from evening to morning. The sanctuary light burns all night long.
VERSE 4. He shall keep in order the lamps on the pure gold lamp stand before the LORD continually.
VERSE 5. “You shall take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes of it: two tenths of an efah shall be in one cake.
an efah. One efah is about 22 liters or about 2/3 of a bushel.
VERSE 6. You shall set them in two rows, six on a row, on the pure gold table before the LORD.
VERSE 7. You shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it may be to the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire to the LORD.
pure frankincense. The showbread is highly scented.
VERSE 8. Every Sabbath day he shall set it in order before the LORD continually. It is an everlasting covenant on the behalf of the children of Israel.
VERSE 9. It shall be for Aaron and his sons. They shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him of the offerings of the LORD made by fire by a perpetual statute.”
they shall eat it. The eating of bread was mandatory. If you were gluten-intolerant, you could not minister as a Levite priest.
Or else you would eat the bread. And become terribly ill.
VERSE 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.
strove together. They fought.
VERSE 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.
blasphemed the Name, and cursed. That is, blasphemed the Name with a curse.
The Name in question was יְהוָֽה (“Yhvh”). That is the name of the LORD God.
The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed יְהוָֽה (“Yhvh”).
In later centuries Christians would take this Jewish definition of “blasphemy” and apply it to whatever they disagreed with.
VERSE 12. They put him in custody until the LORD’s will should be declared to them.
VERSE 13. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
VERSE 14. “Bring him who cursed out of the camp; and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him.
let all who heard him lay their hands on his head. The punishment of a blasphemer was based on eyewitness testimony.
VERSE 15. You shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin.
VERSE 16. He who blasphemes the LORD’s name, he shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him. The foreigner as well as the native-born shall be put to death when he blasphemes the Name.
blasphemes the LORD’s name. He blasphemed יְהוָֽה (“Yhvh”).
VERSE 17. “ ‘He who strikes any man mortally shall surely be put to death.
VERSE 18. He who strikes an animal mortally shall make it good, life for life.
VERSE 19. If anyone injures his neighbor, it shall be done to him as he has done:
VERSE 20. fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. It shall be done to him as he has injured someone.
Limb for limb, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life. This is straight from the Code of Hammurabi.
But the Law of Moses assumes equality before the court, whereas Hammurabi does not.
eye for eye. Mohandas K. Gandhi commented on this verse, saying:
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind
VERSE 21. He who kills an animal shall make it good; and he who kills a man shall be put to death.
VERSE 22. You shall have one kind of law for the foreigner as well as the native-born; for I am the LORD your God.’ ”
VERSE 23. Moses spoke to the children of Israel; and they brought him who had cursed out of the camp, and stoned him with stones. The children of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses.
stoned him with stones. This is their first execution.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.