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  • Alan Salwei

Leviticus 24:10-16 - Hallowed Be Thy Name

Seemingly little sins are a massively big deal before our holy God.

Read / Listen

Read Leviticus 24:10-16

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 100

Q. Is blasphemy of God’s name

by swearing and cursing

really such serious sin

that God is angry also with those

who do not do all they can

to help prevent it and forbid it?

A. Yes, indeed.

No sin is greater,

no sin makes God more angry

than blaspheming his name.

That is why he commanded

the death penalty for it.



This account of the punishment for blasphemy shows the seriousness with which the defamation of the name of God was taken. During a fight between two boys, one blasphemed the name of God with a curse. The guilty party is described as having a father who was Egyptian and a mother who was an Israelite. The significance of this description is that his father’s heritage made him a foreigner, and while those considered foreigners to the Israelites were protected by the Law, they were likewise expected to keep the Law. This is demonstrated in the same harsh punishment being given to one considered a foreigner as would be given to any Israelite.

Moses sought the Lord’s instruction on how to handle this situation. God commanded Moses to have all those who heard the curse to lay their hands on the guilty party’s head. In doing so they are identifying the offender and placing the blame solely upon him for their having heard this blasphemous language.

The misuse of the name of God was a serious offense, and the occurrences in Leviticus chapter 24 show how none were spared from the consequences of such defamation of the name of God.

Dig Deeper

It is important to keep in mind when reading about the type of punishment delivered in Leviticus 24 that we are not Israelites living under Mosaic law. In Romans 7:4-6, Paul writes:

4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Paul’s teaching to the Romans is that because of Jesus’ death on our behalf, we are released from the old covenant law. This is why these types of stoning’s are not present today, they are not a part of the New Covenant of grace ushered in by Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote in verse 6, “we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not the old way of the written code.”

We live under the New Covenant and do not hold to the “old written” code of the laws meant to instruct the Israelites on how to live as a society. However, God’s moral law remains intact. Breaking the third commandment through blaspheming the name of God is still a serious sin. While the consequence is not a physical death, this sin does make one worthy of condemnation. While we trust in the grace given through Jesus, we also recognize that misusing the name of the Lord falls short of our calling to live a life full of gratitude for the grace we have been given.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, hallowed (holy) is your name;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Help us to know the seriousness of our sin, that we may turn away from it ourselves, and do all we can to turn others from it as well;



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 2 Corinthians 13


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