Chapter 24


Tabernacle Oil and Bread

    • The Lord told Moses to tell the Israelites to bring pure olive oil to keep the lampstand inside the Tabernacle burning continually. Aaron was to keep the lamps burning all night long. This was to be a permanent law to be kept throughout their generations.

      – Guzik writes, “The lamps in the tabernacle – standing on the solid gold lampstand – were the only source of light for the tabernacle. They had to be tended to continually, supplied with pure olive oil and trimmed wicks, so they would continually give light…Jesus never stopped being the light of the world (John 8:12); He never took a break from it. As well, we are never to take a break from being the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), but we can only do this as we are continually supplied with oil (the Holy Spirit) and have our wicks trimmed (undergo training through trials).”

    • The Lord also said, “You must bake twelve loaves of bread, using 4 quarts of flour for each loaf, to be placed on the gold table in the Tabernacle. This bread should be arranged in two stacks, each containing 6 loaves. Pure frankincense must be placed near each stack to serve as a representative portion of bread and a fire offering for the Lord. This bread is to be laid out each Sabbath day as a gift from the Israelites as an ongoing expression of the eternal covenant. These loaves of bread belong to Aaron and his descendants and they must be eaten in a holy place.”

      • Traditionally called the ‘showbread’, twelve flat loaves (Exodus 25:30) of this bread, the ‘Bread of the Presence,’ were to be placed on the table in the Holy Place each Sabbath (Exodus 25:23-30). This bread was considered part of the priest’s portion of the offerings. David and his men ate this bread while fleeing from Saul (1 Samuel 21:1-6; see Matthew 12:1-8)…Since a portion of this bread was to be burned as a representative offering (see 2:2), it would have been made without yeast (that is, unleavened; see 2:11).” (NLT Illustrated Study Bible)

A Case of Blasphemy

    • One day a fight broke out in the camp between a man of mixed heritage (his mother, Shelomith, was an Israelite of the tribe of Dan, and his father was an Egyptian) and an Israelite man. During the fight, the man of mixed heritage cursed and blasphemed the Name of the Lord. He was taken to Moses for judgment and he was held in custody until the Lord’s will in the matter was made clear.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “A large body of non-Israelites, including other Semitic people as well as Egyptians came out of Egypt with Israel (Exodus 12:38)…A quarrel broke out between the man and a full-blooded Israelite. In the altercation, the man who was half-Egyptian verbally cursed the Israelite, using the name of God in an irreverent manner. In biblical times, a name was more than a means of identification; it represented a person’s character, reputation, and origin. God is holy, and He was to be regarded as holy in all of Israel’s life (10:3). The Israelites had been instructed to treat God’s name with reverence (Exodus 20:7). Using His name in a curse reflected a sinful attitude toward God Himself (Leviticus 24:15), and it deserved death (24:13-16).”

      • Guzik adds, “It seems that it was common for Egyptians to curse their many gods. The root of this man’s sin is he considers the Lord God of Israel on the same level as the petty Egyptian gods.”

    • The Lord told Moses to take the man who had blasphemed outside the camp, have all the people who had heard him blaspheme lay their hands on his head, then the whole community was to stone him. The Lord also told Moses to tell the Israelites the following:

      • If anyone curses his God, they will be punished for their sin. Anyone, whether they are a native Israelite or a foreigner living among the Israelites, who blasphemes the Name of the Lord must be stoned to death by the Israelite community. Anyone who kills someone must be put to death. Anyone who kills someone else’s animal must pay full price for it- a live animal for the one they killed. Anyone who injures someone must be dealt with according to the injury they inflicted- an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. These standards apply to both native Israelites and foreigners who are living among the Israelites. I am the Lord your God.”

        • Guzik notes, “To keep themselves from blaspheming the name of the Lord, the Jews, in their traditions, went to extreme lengths to avoid saying or writing the name of God – because, in their thinking, you could not blaspheme God’s name if you never said it…So, only the High Priest was allowed to pronounce the holy name of God (Yahweh), and only once a year – on the day of atonement. The proper pronunciation of the name would be passed on from the high priest to his successor, with the former’s last breath. This is why where was confusion for many years about the exact pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton (YHWH), some mistakenly pronouncing the name ‘Jehovah’ instead of ‘Yahweh’ or ‘Yah-veh.’…The Jews also did not write the name of God, because if that paper were destroyed, it might be considered blasphemy or taking the name of the Lord in vain. So, they would write Adonai (‘Lord’) instead of Yahweh, and instead of ‘God’ write ‘G-d’ and refer to God with names like ‘the Name’ instead of saying ‘God.’” Many modern Jews continue this practice today.

        • Many people have taken eye for eye, tooth for tooth as a command; instead, God intended it as a limit – so no man or judge would be able to make up his own punishment. Human nature wants to hurt our attacker worse than they hurt us; God here puts a limit on the vengeful tendency of man…Jesus rightly condemned the taking of this command regarding law and order in the community and applying it to personal relationships, where love, forgiveness, and going the extra mile – not equal retribution – is to be the rule (Matthew 5:38-42).” (Guzik)

    • After Moses had given all these instructions to the Israelites, they obeyed the Lord by taking the man who had blasphemed outside the camp and stoned him to death.