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the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 15

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-36

Ordinances Concerning Various Offerings

v. 1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

v. 2. Speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them, When ye be come into the land of your habitations which I give unto you, when they would live under normal conditions, to which they were all looking forward,

v. 3. and will make an offering by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, whereby the gift was separated from the rest of the worshiper's goods, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savor unto the Lord, of the herd, or of the flock,

v. 4. then shall he that offereth his offering unto the Lord bring a meat-offering of a tenth deal of flour (about two and one-half quarts) mingled with the fourth part of an hin of oil (about one quart). This was the regular meal- or meat-offering which was intended to accompany the bloody sacrifices. Cf Leviticus 2.

v. 5. And the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink-offering shalt thou prepare with the "burnt offering or sacrifice for one lamb, the libation varying with the value of the victims.

v. 6. Or for a ram, thou shalt prepare for a meat-offering two-tenth deals of flour (a little more than five quarts) mingled with the third part of an hin of oil (about one-third of a gallon).

v. 7. And for a drink-offering thou shalt offer the third part of an hin of wine for a sweet savor unto the Lord.

v. 8. And when thou preparest a bullock for a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice in performing a vow, or peace-offerings unto the Lord,

v. 9. then shall he (the worshiper) bring with a bullock a meat-offering of three-tenth deals of flour mingled with half an hin of oil.

v. 10. And thou shalt bring for a drink-offering half an hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord. And not only was the quantity of the meal and the drink-offering increased according to the value of the victims, but also according to the number of victims brought at one time, in one sacrifice.

v. 11. Thus shall it be done for one bullock, or for one ram, or for a lamb, or a kid.

v. 12. According to the number that ye shall prepare, so shall ye do to every one according to their number. This law, moreover, as most of those concerning worship, applied to strangers that were received into the congregation of the Lord as well as to the native Israelites.

v. 13. All that are born of the country, the native Jews, shall do these things after this manner, in offering an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord.

v. 14. And it a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever be among you in your generations, having been accepted into the Jewish Church in the customary manner, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord, as ye do, so he shall do.

v. 15. One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, members of the Jewish Church by birth, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance forever in your generations; as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord.

v. 16. One law and one manner shall be for you and for the stranger that sojourneth with you. Under New Testament conditions this holds true with double importance; we ought to reach the point without further parley or delay when we accord to those who join us in more mature years the same cordial welcome which we give to our children, who enter into communicant membership almost automatically, by confirmation. There is a fine hint here for mission-work.

v. 17. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

v. 18. Speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them, When ye come into the land whither I bring you, this being not a remote possibility, but a definite certainty,

v. 19. then it shall be that, when ye eat of the bread of the land, ye shall offer up an heave-offering unto the Lord, a part of the blessing lifted off and presented to the Lord.

v. 20. Ye shall offer up a cake of the first of your dough, of the first coarse meal that was ground from the grain, for an heave-offering; as ye do the heave-offering of the threshing-floor, so shall ye heave it, the reference being to the firstlings of the harvest, which were consecrated to the Lord. Like all offerings of first-fruits this sacrificial cake was given to the priests.

v. 21. of the first of your dough ye shall give unto the Lord an heave-offering in your generations.

v. 22. And if ye have erred and not observed all these commandments which the Lord hath spoken unto Moses,

v. 23. even all that the Lord hath commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day that the Lord commanded Moses, and henceforward among your generations, for the sins of omission are just as bad as the sins of commission, Leviticus 4:13-21,

v. 24. then it shall be, if aught be committed by ignorance without the knowledge of the congregation, because they were not aware of certain precepts and regulations, that all the congregation shall offer one young bullock for a burnt offering, for a sweet savor unto the Lord, with his meat-offering, and his drink-offering, according to the manner, as it was prescribed by the ordinance, and one kid of the goats for a sin-offering, the offering of the rulers thus being included with that of the people as a whole, Leviticus 4:23.

v. 25. And the priest shall make an atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them, their relationship to God would be restored through the sacrifice; for it is ignorance, and they shall bring their offering, a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord, and their sin-offering before the Lord, for their ignorance;

v. 26. and it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth among them, seeing all the people were in ignorance. The Lord permitted a distinction to be made, but the sin of ignorance brought guilt upon the people just the same.

v. 27. And if any soul, one of the ordinary members of the congregation, sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she-goat of the first year for a sin-offering, Leviticus 4:27-28.

v. 28. And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the Lord, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him. Leviticus 4:35.

v. 29. Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.

v. 30. But the soul that doeth aught presumptuously, in a high-handed manner, in spite of better knowledge, with deliberate wickedness, whether he be born in the land or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord, for every deliberate, willful wickedness is blasphemy in the face of the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people, he was to suffer the death penalty.

v. 31. Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken His commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him. Translated into terms of the New Testament, this rule reminds us of the fact that the open, rebellious, unrepentant sinner, in whose case all brotherly admonitions have no effect, must be excluded from the Christian congregation by the act known as excommunication.

Verses 32-36

The Sabbath-Breaker Stoned.

v. 32. And while the children of Israel were in trie wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath-day. The incident, the exact time of which is not given, took place some time during the long years of the wilderness journey, and is here inserted as an example of a presumptuous sin.

v. 33. And they that found him gathering sticks, that caught him in the act of openly transgressing the Law of God, brought him unto Moses and Aaron and unto all the congregation. The matter was brought to the official knowledge of the entire assembly, for all the people would be involved in the guilt unless steps were taken to remove it.

v. 34. And they put him in ward, not as a punishment, but to prevent his escape, because it was not declared what should be done to him, the judges in charge of his case were not altogether clear under the present circumstances whether the offender was to receive capital punishment.

v. 35. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp, the execution taking place outside, in order not to defile the camp.

v. 36. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died, as the Lord commanded Moses. So the guilt was removed from the congregation, and the offender received his just reward. The members of Christian congregations should never forget that they will become partakers of other men's sins if they permit evil-doing to go on in their midst and do not take the steps prescribed by God for the removal of the malicious sinner by excommunication.

Verses 37-41

The Fringes Of The Garments

v. 37. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

v. 38. Speak unto the children of Israel and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments, blossomlike ornaments of twisted cords or tassels, in the four corners of the upper garment, which was used as a throw, or mantle, Deuteronomy 22:12, throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a riband of blue, fasten the tassels to the edge of the garment with a hyacinth-colored thread;

v. 39. and it shall be unto you for a fringe, a tassel, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them, and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a-whoring; they should not act according to the ideas suggested by the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, for the result would surely be spiritual unfaithfulness;

v. 40. that ye may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy unto your God. These tassels, which our Lord Jesus also wore in obedience to the Law, Matthew 9:20; Luke 8:44, and which were to remind the wearer of all the provisions of God's holy will, were made exceptionally large and conspicuous by the Pharisees, for they wanted to make the impression of unusual holiness, Matthew 23:5.

v. 41. I am the Lord, your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord, your God. While the garments of the priests had a special symbolical meaning, yet these distinctive ornaments on the dress of all the Israelites served to remind them of the special relationship which existed between them and the Lord. This fellowship between the believers and the Lord is still more intimate in the New Testament, and they ought to keep this fact in mind at all times, even without special reminders.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Numbers 15". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/numbers-15.html. 1921-23.
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