The Sanctuary Lamp.[a] 1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Command the children of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the lamp, that the light might burn continually. 3 Aaron is to place it outside of the veil of the Testimony, in the tent of meeting, burning it from evening to morning before the Lord forever. This shall be a statute forever, from one generation to the next. 4 He shall place the lamps upon the pure golden lampstand, before the Lord forever.
The Bread Offering. 5 “You shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes, two-tenths of an ephah in each cake. 6 You shall set them in two rows, six cakes to a row, on the pure golden table before the Lord. 7 You shall sprinkle pure frankincense[b] upon each row, on the bread, so that it might be a memorial offering made by fire to the Lord. 8 Every Sabbath he shall set it in order before the Lord forever. It is an everlasting covenant for the children of Israel. 9 It belongs to Aaron and his sons who are to eat it in a holy place, for it is a most holy part of his portion of the offerings made by fire to the Lord. This is a statute forever.”
10 Consequences of Blasphemy.[c] The son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel, and this son of the Israelite woman got into a fight with an Israelite man. 11 The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the name of the Lord and cursed. They brought him to Moses. His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. 12 They put him under guard until the will of the Lord might be revealed to them. 13 The Lord spoke to Moses saying, 14 “Bring the one who has cursed outside of the camp. Let everyone who heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the assembly stone him. 15 You shall speak to the children of Israel saying, ‘Whoever curses his God shall bear his guilt. 16 He who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death. All of the assembly shall stone him, the alien as well as the native born. He who blasphemes the Lord shall be put to death.[d]
17 “ ‘He who kills any man must be put to death. 18 He who kills an animal shall make restitution for it, an animal for an animal. 19 When a man wounds a neighbor, whatever he has done shall be done to him: 20 broken bone for broken bone, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. In whatever way he wounded another, so it shall be done to him. 21 He who kills an animal shall make restitution and he who kills a man shall be put to death. 22 You shall have one set of laws for both the alien and for the native born. I am the Lord, your God.’ ”
23 Moses told the children of Israel that they should bring the man who had cursed outside of the camp and stone him to death. The children of Israel did as the Lord had commanded Moses.
- Leviticus 24:1 The meaning of this twofold rite was that God is always present among his people and that worship should be uninterrupted.
- Leviticus 24:7 Pure frankincense: the sprinkling of incense did not relate to flavoring for the bread but was burned as a memorial offering alongside it.
- Leviticus 24:10 This story of an incident that occurred in the wilderness not only shows that blasphemy must be punished but also provides an opportunity for recalling the law of talion (Deut 19:21), although this passage does not properly belong in this liturgical context. This severe legislation represented progress for society in that period, since it prevented excessive vendettas. See Ex 21:18-26. But the Gospel will go further (Mt 5:38-43).
- Leviticus 24:16 Of all the transgressions, it is not certain why blasphemy was handled this way; perhaps to bind such a serious sin against God.