-This chapter has two distinct parts beginning with the LORD’s command for the lamp and the bread in His sanctuary of the Tabernacle and later the Temple. Oil beaten from olives would make for a continual light in His presence. This was to be a perpetual statute throughout their generations. They were to be kept in order on the pure gold lampstand before the LORD. Then they were instructed to take fine flour and bake 12 cakes, line them up in two rows of six on the pure gold table before the LORD. They were also required to put pure frankincense on each row as a memorial portion for the bread; it was to be an offering by fire to the LORD (Leviticus 24:1-7). The sons of Aaron were to eat of it weekly as a symbol of God’s everlasting covenant with Israel, His portion forever (Leviticus 24:8-9).
-In the middle of these legal stipulations for the inner court of the LORD, a narrative is introduced of a struggle between a son of an Israelite woman whose father was an Egyptian and an Israelite. In the process of this fight the son of the Israelite woman from the tribe of Dan whose father was an Egyptian cursed the Name of the LORD by blaspheming. This lad was brought to Moses, and he was put in custody so that they might receive a clear command from God on the matter. It was not long before the LORD gave direction to have the one who cursed Him brought outside the camp, have the witnesses place their hands on his head, and then have the guilty one stoned to death with stones from the congregation. God instructs, “If anyone curses God, then he will bear his sin (Leviticus 24:15).” The LORD goes on further to pronounce a death sentence on anyone who blasphemes His Name, alien or native (Leviticus 24:16).
-The well-known section aptly titled “an eye for an eye” constitutes the concluding seven verses of this chapter (Leviticus 24:17-23). Here we see the justification for the death penalty in Israel as well as the principle of retribution. It is a standardized method of dealing with conflicts whether it be the stranger or the native in the land. Because God is just and fair, so should His Law be. Remember however that these laws were meant to restrain evil, they could not impute any righteousness. For that a sacrifice had to be made, which pointed ultimately to Jesus Christ.
-*Application* First, the light and the bread are indicative of the coming Messiah and His eternal presence through His Holy Spirit. The Spirit, like this statute, is to be perpetual and continual in the believer’s life. Jesus Himself said that He was the Light of the world and the Bread of life (John 6:33-35, 48-51; 8:12). Let’s live in His glory continually (Matthew 5:14-16). The frankincense symbolizes the great Name of God in His Divinity and is an emblem of prayer (Malachi 1:11). This is probably the reason for this narrative we have here dealing with the Name of God and the blaspheming of it. In the New Testament we are warned by our Lord not to blaspheme His Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31-32). This is the unpardonable sin, a rejection of His saving Name. There is much debate, even in the Christian world concerning the statutes on the death penalty and retribution for wrongs done. Most in our culture tend to err on the side of grace, which is not a terrible thing if you’ve ever been caught in your trespasses. The principles of pay backs is important to consider here, and we will be blessed if we have the heart of Zaccheus when we realize we have done people wrong (Luke 19:1-9). It all comes back down to the heart now doesn’t it?