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Leviticus 24:10-16

Context
A Case of Blaspheming the Name

24:10 Now 1  an Israelite woman’s son whose father was an Egyptian went out among the Israelites, and the Israelite woman’s son and an Israelite man 2  had a fight in the camp. 24:11 The Israelite woman’s son misused the Name and cursed, 3  so they brought him to Moses. (Now his mother’s name was Shelomith daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.) 24:12 So they placed him in custody until they were able 4  to make a clear legal decision for themselves based on words from the mouth of the Lord. 5 

24:13 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 24:14 “Bring the one who cursed outside the camp, and all who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the whole congregation is to stone him to death. 6  24:15 Moreover, 7  you are to tell the Israelites, ‘If any man curses his God 8  he will bear responsibility for his sin, 24:16 and one who misuses 9  the name of the Lord must surely be put to death. The whole congregation must surely stone him, whether he is a foreigner or a native citizen; when he misuses the Name he must be put to death.

1 tn Heb “And.”

2 tn Heb “the Israelite man,” but Smr has no article, and the point is that there was a conflict between the man of mixed background and a man of full Israelite descent.

3 tn The verb rendered “misused” means literally “to bore through, to pierce” (HALOT 719 s.v. נקב qal); it is from נָקַב (naqav), not קָבַב (qavav; see the participial form in v. 16a). Its exact meaning here is uncertain. The two verbs together may form a hendiadys, “he pronounced by cursing blasphemously” (B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 166), the idea being one of the following: (1) he pronounced the name “Yahweh” in a way or with words that amounted to “some sort of verbal aggression against Yahweh himself” (E. S. Gerstenberger, Leviticus [OTL], 362), (2) he pronounced a curse against the man using the name “Yahweh” (N. H. Snaith, Leviticus and Numbers [NCBC], 110; G. J. Wenham, Leviticus [NICOT], 311), or (3) he pronounced the name “Yahweh” and thereby blasphemed, since the “Name” was never to be pronounced (a standard Jewish explanation). In one way or another, the offense surely violated Exod 20:7, one of the ten commandments, and the same verb for cursing is used explicitly in Exod 22:28 (27 HT) prohibition against “cursing” God. For a full discussion of these and related options for interpreting this verse see P. J. Budd, Leviticus (NCBC), 335-36; J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 408-9; and Levine, 166.

4 tn The words “until they were able” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.

5 tn The Hebrew here is awkward. A literal reading would be something like the following: “And they placed him in custody to give a clear decision [HALOT 976 s.v. פרשׁ qal] for themselves on the mouth of the Lord.” In any case, they were apparently waiting for a direct word from the Lord regarding this matter (see vv. 13ff).

6 tn The words “to death” are supplied in the translation as a clarification; they are clearly implied from v. 16.

7 tn Heb “And.”

8 sn See the note on v. 11 above and esp. Exod 22:28 [27 HT].

9 sn See the note on v. 11 above.



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