“They kept the man in custody until the Lord’s will in the matter should become clear to them.” (Leviticus 24:12, NLT).
During their wilderness wandering, the Israelites took a man into custody who had an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father. He had been in a fight with an Israelite man and during the fight, the man with the Egyptian father blasphemed God.
When this happened, the Israelites took him into custody and brought him to Moses for judgment. While Moses was waiting to hear from the Lord about the matter, they held him in custody without harming him, not taking matters into their own hands.
Because the man who committed the blasphemy had an Egyptian father, possibly as the result of a sexual assault or intermarriage or some other nefarious act, the Israelites had reason to be prejudiced against him.
And, blasphemy was a particularly egregious crime, a capital offense.
But they waited for God’s judgment on the man.
The Israelites exercised restraint and demonstrated trust in God’s will. They waited on God instead of inciting mob rule.
Oh, that as God’s people we would learn this important lesson both individually and collectively: to exercise restraint and wait for God’s will to be clear to us before we take matters into our own hands.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, NLT)