Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 24

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-23

Leviticus 24:2. Cause the lamps to burn continually. The heathens also had lamps in their temples. In France it is amusing to see a dim light glimmering through the church windows; and truly it is hardly decent to leave such good company as Mary and Peter without a candle.

Leviticus 24:10. Whose father was an Egyptian. Exodus 12:38. We read that a mixed multitude emigrated from Egypt with the Israelites, and left the yoke of their oppressors behind. These mixed marriages produced an ill- educated race.

Leviticus 24:11. Blasphemed the name of the Lord and cursed. It is supposed, after the affair was decided by the magistrates, and according to the law of God, that the man cursed the Lord. Hence it was the foulest of blasphemy. Others suppose that he merely invoked the curse of God to alight on his opponent.

Leviticus 24:14. Lay their hands upon his head. This most solemn ceremony was in fact an appeal to God and man, that the evidence was true; and an invocation, if not true, that the guilt and punishment might recoil on their own heads. It was also a transfer of the guilt on the head of the guilty, and the witnesses cleared themselves and the country of blasphemy against the Lord. The paucity of these punishments teaches princes to mitigate the just severity of the laws. But instead of this, we let all blasphemy go unpunished.

Leviticus 24:20. Breach for breach. This is also a gentile law, called among the Romans, Lex talionis.


The God of light and love, in whom is no darkness, would not suffer his sacred pavilion to be a dark and gloomy habitation, but always illuminated and joyful with the light or fire which fell from heaven, burning on the candlestick. Hereby it was made a figure of heaven, where the Lord God and the Lamb are the light of the place: and of the light of the gospel, whereby he illuminates a dark and benighted world. Christian churches are peculiarly God’s ever-burning lights, reflecting the glory of his righteousness and truth. The people being here anew commanded to supply the oil, and Aaron to keep the lamps burning, may teach us that the people should most willingly supply whatever is wanting to the cause of God; and that ministers so encouraged should constantly display the light of truth and a good example, to the glory of God and the joy of his people.

In civil society sins and calamities daily occur, and it is the object of discipline and of law to eradicate them whenever they appear. Having had frequent occasion to notice marriages with irreligious persons, here is another sad case, arising probably from a bad education. The Egyptian father of the blasphemer had habituated the ears of his unhappy son to licentious language, which led him to destruction in the day of provocation: and how can children be properly educated when the head of the house is an alien from God?

The contention of the above men seems to have occasioned a repetition of the law respecting murder and retaliation. How many in this age, who kill their neighbour with murderous usage, when they have an advantage in private battle, escape with a verdict of manslaughter! It would be wise in juries to consult the safety of their own conscience, as well as the preservation of a murderer: for God will revise the decision of human courts. Let young men learn to avoid the children of anger and strife; many being thereby hurried into a vortex of mischief and destruction, which they little suspected in the earlier stages of vice. Above all, let them abhor and detest the diabolical language of blasphemous men. To invoke the curse of God to descend on a brother, is all that a fiend could do: and how is a wretch of this description capable of sustaining the relation of friendship with his neighbour. His looks and language are a terror to the wise and good.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 24". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.