The more I study the Bible, the more I am convinced that my own understanding is flawed. Now, when it comes to matters I know little or nothing about, which is almost everything, to be honest, I endeavor to follow Proverbs 3:5-6 and lean not on my own understanding but acknowledge the Lord and walk in the righteous path he has set before me. However, when we’re dealing with such things as word meaning, I believe my education is sufficient to grant an understanding I can lean on. I’m certain that I am not alone in this type of thinking. I’m going to cover some verses in Leviticus that challenged this way of thinking and touch upon an interesting narrative within Leviticus that stands out between all of the laws and regulations.

Logical Fallacies

For years, I yearned to learn Hebrew and Greek that I might be able to read the Bible in an original context. I have learned that I can learn far more by listening to the Holy Spirit and following his lead than I could ever learn through reading the Bible in Hebrew or Greek. When I read this passage today, I was prompted to look further into it.

“Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning continually.”

Leviticus 24:2 (NIV)

This verse brought a few questions to mind. Did this mean the Israelites had to keep the lamps burning all the time? If so, how could they do this when they were moving from place to place? The next verse might shed some light on the issue, or it might not, depending on one’s thinking.

“Outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, Aaron is to tend the lamps before the Lord from evening till morning, continually. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.”

Leviticus 24:3 (NIV)

When I first read this verse I noticed the contrast between having the lamps lit from evening till morning continually and being lit all the time. I suppose my mind glossed over the contrast. Perhaps thinking that Aaron was to do it at night and someone else during the day, or maybe the use of “continually” was like the use of “all.” Frankly, though, I really didn’t give it as much thought as a contradiction to the previous verse. I know the Bible doesn’t contradict itself. This is my error. Not believing that the Bible could contradict itself, but leaning on my understanding and my “education.” 

If I had these verses in another format. For instance, instructions on how to manage my new set of lamps. I’d have not hesitated for a second to think they didn’t make sense. Instead, because they were in the Bible, I went a different route and wondered how they could keep the lamps lit when they were moving. Did they move the entire tent? We can see how silly those thoughts are if we really think about them. 

If I were reading another translation, such as the English Standard Version (ESV), this wouldn’t have been an issue for these verses because it uses different English words.

“Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil from beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly.”

Leviticus 24:2 (ESV)

The ESV uses the word “regularly” instead of “continually.” In this case, the ESV translation is better than most because it gave a more accurate interpretation of the Hebrew word “tamid,” which is best translated as “regular.”

This doesn’t mean that the ESV translation, or any other translation, is always going to have the best translation. What it does mean to me is that I need to remember that God is logical and if I read something in the Bible that isn’t logical, then there’s a reason why I’m understanding it as being illogical. In this case, I turned away from logic to a degree and pursued a logical question based on an illogical conclusion. 

The Blasphemer

Most of Leviticus is peppered with laws and regulations. However, in Leviticus 24:10-11, we step into a narrative.

Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite. The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.)

Leviticus 24:10-11 (NIV)

What happens in these verses is straightforward on the surface. As we look a little further in, we can see some interesting points of note. 

We don’t know how old the “son” is in these verses. I think it’s safe to say that the son isn’t a young child or a very old man. I don’t see him as a young child because I think the text would have been different, and I don’t see a man getting into a fight with a young child. I also don’t see a very old man in this position of getting into a fight. I see the “son” as a teenager or perhaps even a slightly older male. 

The text tells us the teenager (young man) “went out among the Israelites.” I don’t see this as merely stating he went out for a walk. We are also told the young man isn’t a “pure” Israelite. His father was an Egyptian, and his mother an Israelite. We can presume he’s not living in the Israelite camp but outside it. We know his mother was from the Danite tribe. 

As I was researching Leviticus 24:10, I discovered some fascinating information. I’m not saying this is in the Bible because it’s not. What’s in the Bible is what we have here in the text. Jewish tradition gives us a background that’s interesting and very dramatic. 

It’s said the young man’s father was an Egyptian overseer who killed Shelmoth’s original husband and took her for his own. Furthermore, Jewish tradition says this Egyptian is the same Egyptian that Moses killed in Exodus 2:12. I told you there was drama. What we see here, in Leviticus 24:10-11 is the man’s son going out amongst the Danites and claiming a place with the Israelites because his mother is also a Danite. Hence, the fight. The issue was likely taken before a minor judge since it wouldn’t have been important enough to be judged by Moses. When the young man was ruled against (He was told he couldn’t live in the Danite camp), he cursed God, the judges, and the people. After cursing God, he was taken to Moses for judgment. 

I don’t know if this story is true. After reading a dozen or so commentaries, I can say it is part of Jewish tradition, and I expect that there is some truth in it. I thought it was a cool story worthy of a re-telling here for interest’s sake. Something true is that this is the first time someone was stoned for blaspheming. This punishment became the punishment for such offenses. 

We all have the tendency to lean on our understanding. No matter our education, we rely upon the things we’ve learned. Sometimes the more we think we’ve learned, the more we lean on our understanding. This is why it’s important to include the Lord in all we do. When we include the Lord even when we think we know something, he will show us the correct way. The danger lies not so much in taking advantage of our education but believing our education is more complete than the knowledge and wisdom of God. 

Do you know God? God knows you, and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away. 

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.