Literally a "railing accusation" against anyone (Judges 1:9). "Evil speaking" is probably meant by it in Colossians 3:8. But it is more often used in the sense of any speech directly dishonoring God (1 Kings 21:10; 2 Samuel 12:14; Psalm 74:18; Isaiah 52:5; Romans 2:24). Stoning was the penalty, as upon the son of Shelomith, a woman of Dan, and of an Egyptian father (Leviticus 24:11); Stephen was so treated by a sudden outbreak of Jewish zeal (Acts 7:57-60). The Savior would have been stoned for the blasphemy alleged as the ground of His condemnation (Matthew 26:65; Luke 5:21; John 10:36); but the Romans, to whom He was delivered, used crucifixion.
So the fulfillment of the prophecy (contrary to what might have been expected, seeing that crucifixion was not a Jewish punishment) was brought about, "they pierced My hands and My feet" (Psalm 22:16; compare John 18:31-32; John 19:6-7). The Jews, in spite of themselves, fulfilled the prophecies to the letter (John 11:50-52). The hearer of the blasphemy rent his garment, which might never be mended, and laid his hand, putting the guilt wholly, on the offender's head. The Jews, because of Leviticus 24:16, superstitiously shrank from even naming Jehovah. In Exodus 22:28, "thou shalt not curse the gods" (elohim) refers to disrespectful language toward magistrates. From Exodus 23:13, "make no mention of the name of other gods," they thought themselves bound to turn the idols' names into nicknames, as Baal into Bosheth, Beth-aven for Beth-el, Beel-zebul for Beel-zebub.
When the Jewish rulers, who had such numerous proofs of Jesus' Messiahship, shut their hearts against conviction, and at last stifled conscience and the light so utterly as to attribute His miracles of love, as the casting out of unclean spirits, to the help of the prince of demons, Christ pronounced that they were either committing or on the verge of committing the sin against the Holy Spirit which is forgiven neither in this world nor in the world to come, though all sin against the Son of man can be forgiven (Matthew 12:31, etc.; Mark 3:28, etc.).
None can now commit formally the same sin of attributing Jesus' miracles against Satan's kingdom to Satan's help, so evident a self contradiction that nothing short of a seared conscience, and a hardened determination to resist every spiritual impression and even malign the Spirit's work before other men, could have given birth to such a sin. But a man may commit virtually the same sin by continued malignant resistance of the gracious Spirit in one's own heart, with, at the same time, blasphemous and Satanic misrepresentation of it to others. He who has committed it is so given over to a reprobate mind as to have no pang of conscience about it, and the very fear of anyone that he has committed it is proof positive that he has not, for if he had he would have been "past feeling" (Hebrews 6:4-6; 1 John 5:16).