Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Leviticus 22-24

In chapter 22, the LORD emphasizes the importance of proper handling of the sacred offerings by the priests "so they will not profane my holy name." The priests must be clean, and if any condition of uncleanness occurs, they must be cleansed before handling the sacrifices. "The priests are to keep my requirements so that they do not become guilty and die for treating them with contempt. I am the LORD, who makes them holy." He also reiterates the instructions regarding the sacrifices - they are to be "without blemish."

in chapter 23, the LORD repeats the instructions for the appointed feasts. The sabbath is "a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work." The Passover, the festival of the First Fruits, the Feast of Weeks, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles are all mentioned with times and rituals.

Leviticus 24 features the first narrative of any kind since the deaths of Nadab and Abihu in chapter 10. First, the LORD commands the Israelites to bring clear olive oil for the lamps and tells them that Aaron is to tend the lamps continually in the Tent of Meeting. Then, in verse 10, a son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father got into a fight with an Israelite and "blasphemed the Name with a curse." They put him in custody "until the will of the LORD should be made clear to them." The LORD told Moses to take him outside the camp, and that the entire assembly should stone him, "anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death." He reiterates the principle of justice, "eye for eye, tooth for tooth." And the Israelites took the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him, as the LORD had commanded.

Thoughts, questions, issues

  • For the vast majority of the book of Leviticus, nothing happens. The stoning of the blasphemer is the first narrative of any kind since the deaths of Nadab and Abihu in chapter 10, and is really only the second piece of narrative in the book. It's a book of law, and that's it, at least through the first 24 chapters.
  • It's interesting to get the stoning of the blasphemer at the same time as the reminder to let the punishment fit the crime. It's hard to get into the mind-set where death is an appropriate punishment for blasphemy.

Psalms 15

The psalmist reflects, briefly, on the good things that come to he "whose walk is blameless."

Psalm 15
A psalm of David.
1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

2 He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart

3 and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,

4 who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,

5 who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
will never be shaken.

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