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Go to Bible: Leviticus 24
|Lev 24:1||- (top)|
“regularly.” In many English versions, the Hebrew text is translated as “continuously,” but in this context that gives the wrong impression. The oil lamps burned continuously in the sense that they continued to be burned night after night, every night of the year, year after year, but they were not burned 24 hours per day, they were only burned at night (Lev. 24:3). Given that fact, “regularly” catches the sense of the text better than “continuously.”(top)
“the curtain of the Testimony.” The “curtain of the Testimony” was the curtain that hung between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, where the ark of the covenant was. The ark of the covenant was sometimes called “the Testimony” because it contained the tablets with the Ten Commandments, which Israel vowed to obey and thus they were a “testimony” to what Israel had committed themselves to.(top)
“He must tend the lamps on the pure gold menorah.” The menorah was a lampstand, and on it were set seven oil lamps that were burned from evening until morning every day. In this context, “continually” does not mean that the oil lamps burn continually, but rather that there is a continual tending of the lamps, day after day. The lamps were to burn every night of the year.(top)
“12 cakes.” The Bread of the Presence was to be baked in a round form, like a huge pancake.
“two-tenths of an ephah.” An ephah is a dry measure that is about 23 quarts (5.6 gallons; 22 liters). So two-tenths of an ephah is roughly four and a half quarts, or a little over a gallon of fine flour. So these would have been very large wheat cakes, and they would have been stacked up on the table in two separate stacks. An ephah was one-tenth of a homer (Ezek. 45:11).(top)
|Lev 24:6||- (top)|
|Lev 24:7||- (top)|
|Lev 24:8||- (top)|
“It will belong to Aaron and his sons, and they are to eat it.” So when the old bread was replaced by new bread on the Sabbath, the priests who were serving got to eat the bread that had been on the table since the last Sabbath.(top)
|Lev 24:10||- (top)|
|Lev 24:11||- (top)|
|Lev 24:12||- (top)|
|Lev 24:13||- (top)|
|Lev 24:14||- (top)|
“Anyone, anyone.” “Anyone” is repeated in the Hebrew text for emphasis, but that emphasis does not occur in most English translations. The text is clear that no one is excluded from the consequences of their actions.
“who curses his God.” This could also be understood in a more general manner: “Whoever curses his god will bear his sin.” In that case, “god” could refer to other things besides the God of Israel (cp. Fox, The Schocken Bible).(top)
“death, yes, death...stone, yes, stone.” The Hebrew text uses the figure of speech polyptoton for emphasis. God makes the point very clearly and powerfully: anyone who blasphemes the name of Yahweh was to be executed.
[For more on the figure polyptoton and the way it is translated, see commentary on Genesis 2:16.]
[See figure of speech “polyptoton.”](top)
“And if a man takes the life of any human being.” The Hebrew text is more idiomatic than the English translation reflects, and reads more like, “And if anyone strikes down the soul of a human being….” In this case, “strikes down” means “kill” and “soul” refers to the human life. The essence of the verse is “Anyone who takes another person's life must be put to death” (NLT). Modern societies have abandoned this law of God, even though He created people and ostensibly should know how to run a society. Generally, modern societies let murderers go after some prison time, or keep them alive and house, feed, clothe, and medically care for them until they die, which is often decades, and during that time they often cause much harm and danger to society. But have our “modern sensibilities” made society any better or safer? No. Instead, we are a very unsafe society and have a horrible prison problem. The Bible commands that murderers be put to death.
[For more on the death penalty, see commentary on Exodus 21:12.]
“life for life.” This is one of the verses in the Bible that shows that animals have the same life force (nephesh or “soul”) that humans do. It is often taught that humans have a soul but animals do not. That is not correct. The Bible shows us that the invisible life force in animals is the same as the invisible life force in humans. The Bible usually refers to it as nephesh (Hebrew), and psuchē (Greek), and those words often get translated as “soul,” although sometimes when they are used of animals they are not translated as “soul” because of human theology. In a context like this, the nephesh, the “soul,” is the life of the animal.
[For more on “soul,” see Appendix 16: “Usages of ‘Soul.’”](top)
|Lev 24:19||- (top)|
|Lev 24:20||- (top)|
“He who kills an animal is to make restitution.” This verse settles an issue that has come up in these modern times. There are environmentalists who state that animals are just as important as humankind. That is not what the Bible says. Animals are not made in the image of God, and many of them are specifically stated to be a source of food (cp. Gen. 9:3) and of domestic blessings. Biblically, the life of an animal is not valued as highly as the life of a human being.
[For more on the death penalty, see commentary on Exodus 21:12.](top)
|Lev 24:22||- (top)|
“stoned him with stones.” The standard method of killing a criminal was to stone them with stones (cp. Lev. 20:2; 24:23; Num. 15:35; Deut. 13:10; 21:21). Some people have asserted that the Jews just dropped one huge stone on the person, but there is no evidence for that in the Bible. Also, stoning with stones was how Achan and his family were killed (Josh. 7:25), and how the Jews killed Stephen (Acts 7:58-60).
[For more on stoning people to death, see commentary on Leviticus 20:2.](top)