Epistles of Thomas

February 17, 2009

Leviticus 22-24

Filed under: Old Testament — Thomas @ 16:59

Chapter 22 details the procedure for ensuring that offerings to God are done in an acceptable manner. They are to ensure that everything is done to protect the holiness of God and his name. “Keep my commands and follow them. I am the Lord. Do not profane my holy name, for I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who made you holy and who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord” (22:31-33.).

The next chapter lists the sacred festivals that the people are to engage in. The first and most common is the Sabbath which takes place ever seventh day. The Passover and Unleavened Bread is mentioned next. Next the Firstfruits: “When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest” (23:10). Note that in contrast to a previous mention of the land, it is done here in the future tense making it clear that they have not yet entered the land. The Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Trumpets are mentioned next. Then the Day of Atonement which is also a day of Sabbath rest. The Festival of Tabernacles reminds the Israelites of God’s bringing them out of Egypt.

Chapter 24 begins with a description of the making of bread to be placed before the Lord and eaten by Aaron and his sons in the sanctuary area. The chapter ends with a specific incident in which a man got into a fight and blasphemed the Name with a curse. The man was the son of an Egyptian father and an Israelite mother so it might have been related to his father’s Egyptian gods but either way the case was brought before Moses for judgement. The Lord commanded that he be taken outside the camp and stoned to death by those who had heard him utter the blasphemy. This command to kill him is immediately followed by the command: “Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death” (24:17). Thus it is recognised that this man’s death was not murder because it was punishment from God. However, if those witnesses were lying they would be guilty of murder and would themselves be put to death.


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