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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Numbers 15

 

 


Verses 1-41

Numbers 15. A Number of detached Regulations (from P).

Numbers 15:1-16. The Quantities of Flour, Oil, and Wine appropriate to various Sacrifices.—The practice of adding such accompaniments to flesh-offerings preserves the primitive idea that certain sacrifices were meals of which the deity partook (cf. Judges 9:13, 1 Samuel 1:24, Bel. 3-6). The use of corn and wine in sacrifice could have come into vogue only after Israel had ceased to be a pastoral and had become an agricultural people. Wine probably replaced milk, which, though it does not occur among the offerings prescribed in the Jewish law, was offered by the Arabs, as also by the Carthaginians (a Phœnician race). Milk formed the libation at the early Latin festival, the feriae Latinae. An ephah (p. 115) measured approximately a bushel (71 pints); a hin (p. 115), 1½ gallons (12 pints).

Numbers 15:14. stranger, i.e. proselyte (LXX); and so in Numbers 15:16; Numbers 15:29.

Numbers 15:17-21. A "First Part" of a Batch of Bread to be Offered.

Numbers 15:20. dough: the LXX supports this rendering as against the mg.—heave offering—heave: better, "contribution—contribute."

Numbers 15:22-31. Offerings Required as Atonement for Sins of Ignorance.—This law differs in some respects from the corresponding one in Leviticus 4.

Numbers 15:32-36. The Form of Execution for a Sabbath-breaker.—This law is supplementary to that in Exodus 31:14. The execution of the offender by stoning at the hands of the congregation distributed the responsibility of destroying the life of a fellow kinsman.

Numbers 15:37-41. Tassels to be Attached to the Corners of Garments.—Such tassels (mg.) are here regarded as reminders of Yahweh's commandments (Numbers 15:39); but at an earlier period they were probably amulets and in origin perhaps survivals of a totemistic stage of religion. When animals were thought to be divine, the wearing of their hides would be one means of securing participation in their superhuman qualities; and it may therefore be suggested that a tasselied garment really represented a skin once worn in barbarous religious rites, the tassels at the four corners answering to the animal's four legs. Such tassels are the "borders" of Matthew 14:36; Matthew 23:5.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Numbers 15:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/numbers-15.html. 1919.

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