Theme: This passage reminds us of how the name of God is to be honored by all.
This is the second time that the instructions given by God to the people of Israel were interrupted in Leviticus in order to report a terrible tragedy of sin (the first being in chapter 10). Just as the sons of Aaron dishonored God's tabernacle, the man in this story dishonored God's name. The instructions for care for the holy articles in the tabernacle is put on hold in order to emphasize that the name of God is to be honored by all.
I. THE SIN THAT WAS COMMITTED (vv. 10-11).
A. The man in this story was a part of the mixed multitude that followed the people of Israel (Ex. 12:38). They were a continual trouble to Israel. The man's father was an Egyptian. This illustrates the reasons why God tells us not to be unequally yoked to an unbeliever (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
B. He may have been in conflict with another because he wanted to be joined to the tribe of Dan but could not. He fought an Israelite; and in the process, dared to blaspheme “the Name”. Apparently, he used God's name as a curse. This sin (a breaking of the third commandment (Ex. 20:7), was more than just a careless act. It was an attack upon the very character of God. This man—who would have seen the mighty hand of God at work personally—should have known better.
II. THE INSTRUCTION THAT WAS GIVEN (vv. 12-22).
A. The man was put into custody until a clear word from God could be given. It isn't wise to be hasty in administering judgment. The mind of the Lord should be sought first.
B. The Lord instructed that the man be taken outside the camp and stoned. Those who heard him should lay their hands on him in order to testify of what they heard; and then all the congregation was to take part in the execution. God reminded the people that whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord has committed a sin worthy of death.
C. Because this sin was an attack on the first table of the law, God then proceeds to give further instruction regarding sins that violate the second table of the law. These laws restrain man from administering too great a punishment for certain sins. But note that the punishment was to be the same for a stranger who attached himself to the people of God as it would be for the people themselves.
III. THE PUNISHMENT THAT WAS ADMINISTERED (v. 23).
A. The people administered the judgment in accordance with the command of God. What a sobering thing this must have been to do! But also, what an impact it would have had on them of the utter holiness of the name of God!
B. Remember that this man knew more than many knew. He—an Egyptian—saw the power of God; and yet dared to blaspheme Him. His sin is an illustration of Hebrews 10:26-31.