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the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 15

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



Of meat and drink offerings, Numbers 15:1-16.

The law of the first of the dough for a peace-offering, Numbers 15:17-21.

The sacrifice for sins of ignorance of the whole congregation, Numbers 15:22-26; or when a single soul is guilty, Numbers 15:27-29.

Punishments for presumptuous sinners, Numbers 15:30,Numbers 15:31.

Of the man that gathered sticks on the sabbath day, and his death, Numbers 15:32-36.

God commandeth them to wear fringes on their garments, Numbers 15:37,Numbers 15:38.

The use thereof, Numbers 15:39-41.

Verse 2

i.e. Will certainly give you notwithstanding this great provacation, and my unchangeable commination. And for their better assurance hereof, he repeats and amplifies the laws of sacrifices, whereby through Christ he was or would be reconciled to them and theirs upon their repentance.

Verse 3

A sacrifice, i.e. a peace-offering, as appears,

1. Because that word put by itself is oft so taken, as Exodus 18:12; Leviticus 17:5,Leviticus 17:8; Leviticus 23:37; Deuteronomy 12:27.

2. Because the offerings for sins and trespasses had no meat-offerings and drink-offerings attending upon them, excepting only the case of the

leper’s cleansing, Leviticus 14:10.

3. Because this is explained by and called peace-offereings, Numbers 15:8.

4. From the words here following, because peace-offerings were commonly offerede either in performance of a vow, or freely, or by God’s command in their solemn feasts, all which are here expressed.

Verse 4

A tenth deal, or tenth part, to wit, of an ephah, i.e. an omer, Exodus 16:36.

Mingled with oil; wherein it seems to differ from such meat-offerings as were solitary, and not accessories to other sacrifices.

Verse 6

Two tenth deals; because this belonged to a better sacrifice than the former; and therefore in the next sacrfice of a bullock there are three tenth deals. So the accessory sacrifice grows proportionably with the principal.

Verse 8

i.e. Or any other peace-offerings, to wit, such as were offered either freely or by command, which may be called

peace-offerings or thank-offerings, by way of eminency, because such are offered purely by way of gratitude to God, and with single respect to his command and honour; whereas the peace-offerings made it performance of a vow were made and offbred by way of contract, and with design of getting some advantage by them.

Verse 12

i.e. As many cattle as ye sacrifice, so many meat and drink offerings ye shall offer.

Verse 14

A stranger, to wit, proselyte, for such offerings were not accepted from others.

Verse 15

i.e. As to the worship of God; his sacrifices shall be offered in the same manner, and accepted by God upon the same terms, as yours; which was a presage of the future calling of the Gentiles. And this is added by way of caution and distinction, to show that strangers were not upon this pretence to partake of thcir civil privileges.

Verse 19

When ye eat, i.e. when you are about to eat it; for before they did eat it, they were to offer this offering to God.

Of the bread, i.e. the bread-corn, as that word is used. Job 28:5; Psalms 104:15; Isaiah 28:22.

Unto the Lord, i.e. to the priest of the Lord, as appears from Ezekiel 44:30.

Verse 20

i.e. Of the corn in the threshing-floor, as Deuteronomy 16:13, when you have gathered in your corn.

So shall ye heave it, i.e. you shall offer this in the same proportion, to the same persons, i.e. the priests, and with the same rites.

Verse 22

To wit, those now spoken of, those which concern the outward worship and servicc of God, or the rites or ceremonies belonging to it. And herein principally this law may seem to differ from that Leviticus 14:13, which speaks of some positive miscarriage, or doing that which ought not to have been done about the holy things of God, whereas this speaks only of an omissiou of somcthing which ought to have been done about holy ccrcmonies. But besides this, that law, Leviticus 4:13, concerns the whole congregration of Israel, as it is there expressed, but this concerns only the congregation, or a congregation, as it is here expressed, Numbers 15:24, i.e. any particular congregation of Israelites, whether of a whole tribe meeting together by their representatives, or a lesser congregation, such as there were to be many in Canaan; and the words rendered all the congregation may be, and are by some here, rendered every congregation. And by virtue of this law, as some suppose, the Israelites newly after their return from the captivity offered twelve bullocks, one for each tribe, Ezra 8:35.

Verse 24

In Leviticus 4:0 the bullock is for a sin-offering, here it is for a burnt-offering, either because they are different laws, as hath been said; or because here is added a new penalty, to breed the greater caution and diligence in the Israelites, who had given many instances, and now a fresh and eminent instance, of their heedlessness in observing the commands of God; and so, besides that bullock for a sin-offering, which he leaves to be gathered out of Leviticus 4:11, he now requires another bullock for a burnt-offering.

Verse 30

Ought; understand such things as ought not to be done and things relating to the worship of God;

presumptously, Heb. with a high or lifted hand i. e. knowingly willfully, boldly, resolvedly, deliberately, designedly. So this phrase is elsewhere used. See Exodus 14:8; Leviticus 26:21; Numbers 33:3; Job 15:26; Psalms 19:13.

Reproacheth the Lord, i.e. he sets God at defiance, and exposeth him to contempt, as if he were unworthy of any regard, and unable to punish transgressors.

Verse 31

i.e. The punishment shall be confined to himself, and not fall upon the congregation, as it will do, if they neglect to cut him off.

Verse 32

This seems to be added as an example of a presumptuous sin; for as the law of the sabbath was plain and positive, so this transgression of it must needs be a known and wilful sin.

Verse 33

i.e. To the rulers of the congregation, who, as they represented and governed the congregation, are called by the name of the congregation.

Verse 34

i.e. Moses and Aaron, and the seventy rulers last mentioned.

What should be done to him, i.e. in what manner he was to be cut off, or by what kind of death he was to die, which therefore God here particularly determines; otherwise it was known in general that sabbath-breakers were to be put to death, from Exodus 31:14; Exodus 35:2.

Verse 38

Fringes were certain threads or ends of their garments, standing out a little further than the rest of their garments, left there for this use.

In the borders, i.e. in the four borders or quarters, as it is Deuteronomy 22:12. Heb. wings, which is oft used for borders or ends, as Ruth 3:9; 1 Samuel 15:27; 1 Samuel 24:5, &c.

Of their garments, i.e. of their upper garment, or that wherewith they covered themselves, as is expressed Deuteronomy 22:12. This was practised by the Pharisees in Christ’s time, who are noted for making their borders larger than ordinary, Matthew 23:5; and by Christ himself, as may gathered from Luke 8:44.

A riband, to make it more obvious to the sight, and consequently more serviceable to the use here mentioned.

Of blue, or, of a purple colour, as the Jewish writers agree, whose opinion is the more considerable, because it was matter of constant practice among them.

Verse 39

It, i.e. the riband,

shall be unto you, i.e. shall serve you

for the fringe, to wit, to render it more visible and notorious by its certain, and remarkable, and distinct colour, whereas the fringe without this was of the same piece and colour with the garment, and therefore less observable. Or, it, i.e. the riband, shall be in your fringes, or, put to your fringes, fastened to them, that by looking upon it you may remember, that your eye may affect your mind and heart.

That ye seek not, or, inquire not, for other rules or ways of serving me than I have prescribed you.

After your own heart, and your own eyes, i.e. neither after the devices and inventions of your own minds or hearts, as Nadab and Abihu did when they offered strange fire, and as you now did, when you pretended to serve and please me by going up the hill and towards Canaan without and against my command; nor after the examples or inventions of others which your eyes see, as you did when you were set upon worshipping a calf after the manner of Egypt. To go a whoring, i.e. to depart from me, and to prefer your own fancies before my commands, and to live only by present sight or sense, and not at all by faith in my promises.

Verse 41

Though I am justly displeased with you, for your frequent and horrid rebellions, for which also I will keep you forty years in the wilderness, yet I will not utterly cast you off, but will continue to be your God, to preserve and provide for you there, and after that time to bring you into Canaan.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Numbers 15". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/numbers-15.html. 1685.
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