Leviticus 24:15
And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin.
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(15) Whosoever curseth his God.—As Moses had to appeal to God for direction, the Lord has not only declared what should be done with this particular offender, but lays down a general law for the punishment of blasphemers. As the criminal who is the immediate occasion of this enactment is an Egyptian, directions are given, in the first place, about the treatment of Gentiles who temporarily sojourn among the Hebrews, and who have not as yet renounced their faith in their own God. If such a Gentile curses his own God in whom he still professes to believe, he shall bear his sin; he must suffer the punishment for his sin from the hands of his co-religionists, whose feelings he has outraged. The Israelites are not to interfere to save him from the consequence of his guilt; for a heathen who reviles the god in whom he believes is not to be trusted in other respects, and sets a bad example to others, who might be led to imitate his conduct.

Leviticus 24:15-16. Whosoever curseth his God — Speaketh of him reproachfully. Shall bear his sin — That is, the punishment of it; shall not go unpunished, He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord — This is a repetition of the same sin in other words, which is common. As this law is laid down in general terms, Leviticus 24:15, so both the sin and the punishment are particularly expressed, Leviticus 24:16. All the congregation — To show their zeal for God, and to beget in them the greater dread and abhorrence of blasphemy.24:10-23 This offender was the son of an Egyptian father, and an Israelitish mother. The notice of his parents shows the common ill effect of mixed marriages. A standing law for the stoning of blasphemers was made upon this occasion. Great stress is laid upon this law. It extends to the strangers among them, as well as to those born in the land. Strangers, as well as native Israelites, should be entitled to the benefit of the law, so as not to suffer wrong; and should be liable to the penalty of this law, in case they did wrong. If those who profane the name of God escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgments. What enmity against God must be in the heart of man, when blasphemies against God proceed out of his mouth. If he that despised Moses' law, died without mercy, of what punishment will they be worthy, who despise and abuse the gospel of the Son of God! Let us watch against anger, do no evil, avoid all connexions with wicked people, and reverence that holy name which sinners blaspheme.Lay their hands upon his head - As a protest against the impiety of the criminal, symbolically laying the guilt upon his head. Compare the washing of hands, Deuteronomy 21:6; Matthew 27:24.

Let all the congregation stone him - See Leviticus 20:2 note.

14. Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp—All executions took place without the camp; and this arrangement probably originated in the idea that, as the Israelites were to be "a holy people" [De 7:6; 14:2, 21; 26:19; 28:9], all flagrant offenders should be thrust out of their society.

let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, &c.—The imposition of hands formed a public and solemn testimony against the crime, and at the same time made the punishment legal.

i. e. Speaketh of him reproachfully, and with contempt. They therefore are greatly mistaken that understand this of the heathen gods, whom their worshippers are forbidden to reproach or curse. But Moses is not here giving laws to heathens, but to the Israelites; nor would he concern himself so much to vindicate the honour of idols; nor doth this agree either with the design of the holy Scriptures, which is to beget a contempt and detestation of all idols and idolatry, or with the practice of the holy prophets, who used oft to vilify them. See 1 Kings 18:27 Jeremiah 10:11.

Shall bear his sin, i. e. the punishment of it; shall not go unpunished. Some say he was to be beaten with stripes, others say with death, which is described Leviticus 24:16. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel,.... On this occasion, and gave them some laws and rules concerning the above affair, and other things:

saying, whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin; which some understand of anyone of another nation, that cursed the God he used to serve in his own country; but it can hardly be thought that a law should be made by the one only living and true God, to preserve the honour and credit of false gods, when he is so jealous of his own glory; and those are spoken of in Scripture with the greatest contempt, as dunghill deities, and are actually cursed, Jeremiah 10:11; but they are rather to be interpreted of judges and all civil magistrates, who, as Aben Ezra observes, are sometimes called Elohim or gods, Psalm 82:1; and the rather, as it is probable this man had cursed his judges, and so this is a distinct sin from what follows; and not only the manner of expressing it, but the punishment of it, seem to be different; for the phrase, "to bear his sin", is used where the punishment is not expressly declared, and is by Jarchi and others interpreted of cutting off from his people, but in what way is not certain; whereas the punishment of a blasphemer of God is before and after clearly expressed; see Leviticus 20:19.

And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall {g} bear his sin.

(g) Shall be punished.

Verses 15, 16. - In accordance with the judicial decision on the man is framed the general law against blasphemy and its penalty. It runs as follows: Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him. It has been questioned whether two offenses or one are here contemplated, whether cursing his God is one offense, bearing his sin being its punishment, and blaspheming the Name of the Lord another and greater offense, for which the punishment is stoning; or whether the latter offense and punishment are a more specific statement of the offense and punishment which had only generally been described before. Those who take the first view point out that the present offender was an Egyptian, and urge that had he cursed his God, that is, the Egyptian god or gods, he would only have had to bear his sin; but that as he had blasphemed the Name of Israel's God, Jehovah, he was to be stoned. The second explanation, however, is the truer one. The Scriptures recognize but one God, and he is the Lord Jehovah. Whoever curses him shall bear his sin, that is, shall be guilty in such a way that his sin must be purged either by punishment or by sacrifice, and it is then further declared that this particular sin can be purged only by the death of the offender at the hand of the congregation. The preparation of the shew-bread and the use to be made of it are described here for the first time; though it had already been offered by the congregation at the consecration of the tabernacle, and placed by Moses upon the table (Exodus 39:36; Exodus 40:23). Twelve cakes (challoth, Leviticus 2:4) were to be made of fine flour, of two-tenths of an ephah each, and placed in two rows, six in each row, upon the golden table before Jehovah (Exodus 25:23.). Pure incense was then to be added to each row, which was to be (to serve) as a memorial (Azcarah, see Leviticus 2:2), as a firing for Jehovah. על נתן to give upon, to add to, does not force us to the conclusion that the incense was to be spread upon the cakes; but is easily reconcilable with the Jewish tradition (Josephus, Ant. iii. 10, 7; Mishnah, Menach. xi. 7, 8), that the incense was placed in golden saucers with each row of bread. The number twelve corresponded to the number of the twelve tribes of Israel. The arrangement of the loaves in rows of six each was in accordance with the shape of the table, just like the division of the names of the twelve tribes upon the two precious stones on Aaron's shoulder-dress (Exodus 28:10). By the presentation or preparation of them from the fine flour presented by the congregation, and still more by the addition of incense, which was burned upon the altar every Sabbath on the removal of the loaves as azcarah, i.e., as a practical memento of the congregation before God, the laying out of these loaves assumed the form of a bloodless sacrifice, in which the congregation brought the fruit of its life and labour before the face of the Lord, and presented itself to its God as a nation diligent in sanctification to good works. If the shew-bread was a minchah, or meat-offering, and even a most holy one, which only the priests were allowed to eat in the holy place (Leviticus 24:9, cf. Leviticus 2:3 and Leviticus 6:9-10), it must naturally have been unleavened, as the unanimous testimony of the Jewish tradition affirms it to have been. And if as a rule no meat-offering could be leavened, and of the loaves of first-fruits prepared for the feast of Pentecost, which were actually leavened, none was allowed to be placed upon the altar (Leviticus 2:11-12; Leviticus 6:10); still less could leavened bread be brought into the sanctuary before Jehovah. The only ground, therefore, on which Knobel can maintain that those loaves were leavened, is on the supposition that they were intended to represent the daily bread, which could no more fail in the house of Jehovah than in any other well-appointed house (see Bhr, Symbolik i. p. 410). The process of laying these loaves before Jehovah continually was to be "an everlasting covenant" (Leviticus 24:8), i.e., a pledge or sign of the everlasting covenant, just as circumcision, as the covenant in the flesh, was to be an everlasting covenant (Genesis 17:13).
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