Leviticus 24 (NRSV)
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly. 3Aaron shall set it up in the tent of meeting, outside the curtain of the covenant, to burn from evening to morning before the Lord regularly; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. 4He shall set up the lamps on the lampstand of pure gold before the Lord regularly.
HERE is “Burn in Me” by Paul Wilbur, singer-songwriter, worship leader, and pastor in the Messianic music genre.
The Bread for the Tabernacle
5You shall take choice flour, and bake twelve loaves of it; two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. 6You shall place them in two rows, six in a row, on the table of pure gold. 7You shall put pure frankincense with each row, to be a token offering for the bread, as an offering by fire to the Lord. 8Every sabbath day Aaron shall set them in order before the Lord regularly as a commitment of the people of Israel, as a covenant forever. 9They shall be for Aaron and his descendants, who shall eat them in a holy place, for they are most holy portions for him from the offerings by fire to the Lord, a perpetual due.
Matthew 12:1-7 (CEV)
One Sabbath, Jesus and his disciples were walking through some wheat fields. His disciples were hungry and began picking and eating grains of wheat. Some Pharisees noticed this and said to Jesus, “Why are your disciples picking grain on the Sabbath? They are not supposed to do that!”
Jesus answered: You surely must have read what David did when he and his followers were hungry. He went into the house of God, and then they ate the sacred loaves of bread that only priests are supposed to eat. Haven’t you read in the Law of Moses that the priests are allowed to work in the temple on the Sabbath? But no one says that they are guilty of breaking the law of the Sabbath. I tell you that there is something here greater than the temple. Don’t you know what the Scriptures mean when they say, “Instead of offering sacrifices to me, I want you to be merciful to others”? If you knew what this means, you would not condemn these innocent disciples of mine.
Blasphemy and Its Punishment
10A man whose mother was an Israelite and whose father was an Egyptian came out among the people of Israel; and the Israelite woman’s son and a certain Israelite began fighting in the camp. 11The Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the Name in a curse. And they brought him to Moses—now his mother’s name was Shelomith, daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan— 12and they put him in custody, until the decision of the Lord should be made clear to them.
Psalm 138:2 (NIV)
I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
13The Lord said to Moses, saying: 14Take the blasphemer outside the camp; and let all who were within hearing lay their hands on his head, and let the whole congregation stone him. 15And speak to the people of Israel, saying: Anyone who curses God shall bear the sin. 16One who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death; the whole congregation shall stone the blasphemer. Aliens as well as citizens, when they blaspheme the Name, shall be put to death.
Mark 14:61-64 (NLT)
But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
Jesus said, “I Am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?”
“Guilty!” they all cried. “He deserves to die!”
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 pronouncing the name “Jehovah” instead of “Yahweh.”
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.”
17Anyone who kills a human being shall be put to death. 18Anyone who kills an animal shall make restitution for it, life for life. 19Anyone who maims another shall suffer the same injury in return: 20fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; the injury inflicted is the injury to be suffered. 21One who kills an animal shall make restitution for it; but one who kills a human being shall be put to death.
One of the purposes of the law is to provide an equitable retaliation for an injured party. The extent must be defined and restricted. These verses, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” give us the principle of a punishment equal to, or fitting for, the crime. The Latin phrase lex talionis is often used to refer to this principle.
22You shall have one law for the alien and for the citizen: for I am the Lord your God.
23Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel; and they took the blasphemer outside the camp, and stoned him to death.
The people of Israel did as the Lord had commanded Moses.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.