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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Numbers 28

Verses 1-31

Commands regarding offerings chs. 28-29

Another step in preparing to enter Canaan involved setting forth in an organized fashion all the sacrifices that God required the priests to offer for the whole nation during a year. These offerings maintained fellowship with God. These two chapters contain a list of the minimum number of sacrifices that they were to offer each year for the nation as a whole. Individuals could and did bring other sacrifices in addition to these.

"The real key to successful conquest of Canaan and happy living within its borders was continual fellowship with God. Hence it was that God at this time presented to the new generation by way of Moses a finalized and complete set of regulations for offerings, most of which had already been given at Sinai. Their observance would encourage an intimate worship of God by the people in the land (cf. Exodus 23:14-17; Exodus 29:38-42; Exodus 31:12-17; Leviticus 23; Numbers 25:1-12)." [Note: Jensen, pp. 110-11.]

"As we, the modern readers of Numbers, think scripturally, this overwhelming emphasis on sacrificial worship has one intent: to cause each reader to think of the enormity of the offense of our sin against the holiness of God, thus driving the repentant sinner to the foot of the Cross. All sacrifices-whether of the morning or evening, of Sabbath or New Moon-have their ultimate meaning in the death the Savior died. Apart from his death, these sacrifices were just the killing of animals and the burning of their flesh with attendant ceremonies. After his death, sacrifices such as these are redundant-indeed, offensive-for they would suggest that something was needed in addition to the Savior’s death. But before his death, these sacrifices were the very means God gave his people in love to help them face the enormity of their sin, the reality of their need for his grace, and-in some mysterious way-to point them to the coming cross of Savior Jesus." [Note: Allen, "Numbers," p. 949.]

The arrangement in which Moses listed the sacrifices here is by their frequency: daily (Numbers 28:3-8), weekly (Numbers 28:9-10), monthly (Numbers 28:11-15), and yearly in chronological order (Numbers 28:16 to Numbers 29:38). Meal and drink offerings accompanied burnt offerings.

"In this cycle of holy periods, regulated as it was by the number seven, and ever expanding into larger and larger circles, there was embodied the whole revolution of annually recurring festivals, established to commemorate the mighty works of the Lord for the preservation and inspiration of His people." [Note: Keil and Delitzsch, 3:218.]

The chart below indicates what the priests offered on each special day. Note the prominence of the number seven.

OccasionDayBurnt OfferingsSin OfferingsReferences
BullsRamsLambsGoats
A.DailyEvery Day2Numbers 28:3-8
B.WeeklyEvery Sabbath2+ANumbers 28:9-10
C.MonthlyFirst of every new month (the new moon)217+A1Numbers 28:11-15 (cf. 10:10; 1 Samuel 20:5; 1 Samuel 20:25; 1 Samuel 20:29)
D.Passover14th of 1st month1+ANumbers 28:16
E.Unleavened Bread15th - 21st of 1st monthBNumbers 28:17-25
1st day217+A1
2nd day217+A1
3rd day217+A1
4th day217+A1
5th day217+A1
6th day217+A1
7th day217+A1
F.Firstfruits4th of 3rd month217+A1Numbers 28:26-31
G.Trumpets1st of 7th month1+C1+C7+A+C1Numbers 29:1-6
H.Atonement10th of 7th month117+A2Numbers 29:7-11
I.Tabernacles15th - 22nd of 7th monthBNumbers 29:12-38
1st day13214+A1
2nd day12214+A1
3rd day11214+A1
4th day10214+A1
5th day9214+A1
6th day8214+A1
7th day7214+A1
8th day117+A1

Each day was to be a day of worship for the Israelites. They offered sacrifices daily for this purpose. The Sabbath was a special day of worship. It was a day of rest for all but the priests for whom this day meant additional service.

"The Tabernacle’s daily offering of two lambs with a few pints of oil, flour and wine is as nothing compared with (e.g.) the daily offering of 5,500 loaves, 54 cakes, 204 jugs of beer, up to 50 geese, an ox, and a variety of other items all regularly presented at either of the two Ramesside temples just mentioned [in western Thebes in the thirteenth century B.C.]." [Note: Kenneth Kitchen, The Bible In Its World, p. 86.]

"Every year in future the priests will have to sacrifice 113 bulls, 32 rams, and 1086 lambs and offer more than a ton of flour and a thousand bottles of oil and wine." [Note: G. Wenham, Numbers, p. 197.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Numbers 28". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/numbers-28.html. 2012.