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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 15

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-41

Laws regarding various Offerings

1-16. Meal and Drink Offerings. The offerings here referred to are those presented along with other sacrifices (see on the Meal Offering, Leviticus 2), and an enactment is made regulating the proportion of meal, oil, and wine to be used along with a lamb (Numbers 15:4-5), a ram (Numbers 15:6-7), and a bullock (Numbers 15:8-10) respectively. These laws seem to have been given at Kadesh during the long sojourn there.

4. Tenth deal] i.e. the tenth part of an ephah, which is about a bushel. A hin is about a gallon and a half: see Exodus 16:16; Exodus 29:40.

14. Stranger] see on Exodus 9:14.

17-21. The Offering of the First Fruits.

20. Your dough] Probably a coarse kind of meal: cp. Ezekiel 44:30.

22-31. Additional Laws regarding Sin Offerings (1) for the congregation (Numbers 15:22-26) and (2) for the individual (Numbers 15:27-31).

30. Presumptuously] lit. ’with a high hand, ’wilfully: seeon Leviticus 4:2. Reproacheth the Lord] bringeth a reproach upon the Lord: i.e. causeth His name to be dishonoured.

32-36. The Punishment of the Sabbath Breaker.

This incident is designed to illustrate Numbers 15:30, Numbers 15:31. It tells how the man who reproached the Lord, by breaking the sabbath commandment, was utterly cut off, i.e. put to death, as the Lord commanded Moses.

38. Fringes in the borders of their garments] RM ’twisted threads.’ The original form of these is uncertain. Judging from later times, they would be, not ornamental festoons running along the edge of the garment, but tassels attached to each of its four corners by a thread of blue. A religious importance was attached to the wearing of these tassels. They were a visible reminder to the Jews of their obligation to keep the commandments of Jehovah (Numbers 15:39). In all probability what we have here is the hallowing of an ancient custom, as these tassels seem to have been worn by the early Persians, among others. The Jews attached an ever-increasing importance to these symbolical ornaments of dress: cp. Matthew 14:36; Matthew 9:20; Matthew 23:5. The modern survivai is the Jewish tallith, or prayer-cloth, consisting of a strip of cloth with fringes on its border, which is thrown over the shoulders during the service in the synagogue.

39. All the commandments] The Rabbis enumerated 613 commandments in the Law. It so happens that the numerical value of the letters in the Hebrew word for fringe (zisith) is exactly 600. To make this number up to 613 the tassel was made of eight threads with five knots. In this way each tassel represented the 613 commandments, and the wearing of it was said to be of equal merit with the keeping of the whole law. This is a good example of Rabbinical interpretation and of external scrupulosity. Go a whoring] see on Exodus 34:15.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Numbers 15". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/numbers-15.html. 1909.
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