Yearly Reading: Leviticus 24-27
One who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death; the whole congregation shall stone the blasphemer. Aliens as well as citizens, when they blaspheme the Name shall be put to death. Leviticus 24:16 NRSV
Jewish law from Leviticus is clear that stoning was the way to put a blasphemer to death, whether an Israelite or a foreigner. Everyone would therefore participate in the death blows - Leviticus says "the whole congregation." No one would be the executioner. This would be death by committee. This story is also the one place in Leviticus that the law is laid down as it happens - the issue of blaspheming was not raised by God but by the situation of a man who actually curses God's name.
I have always been curious about the fact that Jesus was hung on a cross rather than stoned to death. Although it was the religious leadership that was against him on religious grounds - including blasphemy- they were able to make him sound like he had a terrorist agenda so that the Roman government hung Jesus on a cross. Obviously God had a plan. I think if Jesus had been stoned to death, his demise would have been either kept secret or caused a Jewish riot. Also, in bringing the Romans into the execution, God was able to bring the Gentiles into the Way.
God, we know you had a plan with Jesus' death - and resurrection- just as you have a plan for our lives. Thank you for Jesus and his giving up of life for our lives. In His name we pray. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims