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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Numbers 28

 

 

Introduction

CHAP. XXVIII.

The laws concerning the burnt-offerings, sabbath, passover, and first-fruits, are repeated.

Before Christ 1452.


Verse 1

Numbers 28:1. And the Lord spake unto Moses The stated sacrifices and services of the tabernacle having now been omitted, or at least very much interrupted, for many years, on account of the frequent and tedious travels of the Israelites; (see Deuteronomy 12:8.) and this new generation not having heard the ordinances relating to them at the first institution, (see Numbers 28:6.) and being now shortly to take up their residence in the promised land, where they were obliged to the most punctual observance of them; God commands Moses to repeat them to the people in the following order of daily, weekly, monthly, and anniversary sacrifices: which having before fully explained, we shall, in the course of these chapters, direct the reader for such explanations to the margins of our Bibles.


Verse 5

Numbers 28:5. Meat-offering Or bread-offering; and so where-ever it occurs in this and the following chapters.


Verse 7

Numbers 28:7. The strong wine to be poured unto the Lord See Leviticus 10:9. This strong wine, of whatever sort it was, was to be the best of the kind; it being but reasonable that the best should be offered to God. The same reverence for religion taught the heathens to offer to their gods the most excellent wine they had; which is imitated in those words we meet with so often in Homer, both in the Iliad and Odyssey, of men's pouring out upon their sacrifices, αιθοπα οινον, black wine, or of the deepest colour, red as blood, which was the richest of all. Herodian, describing the sacrifices of Heliogabalus, says, he poured out many flaggons of the oldest and most excellent wine on the altars, οινου παλαιοτατου και καλλιστου, lib. 5: cap. 13. In like manner Virgil, mentioning a libation of wine offered to the gods, calls it, honorem laticum, the honour or prime of the liquor. See Scacchi, Myrothec. I. 11. c. 42.

REFLECTIONS.—The generation to whom these laws had been given were dead; their children, therefore, hear a solemn recapitulation of them. They were ready to enter upon a state of warfare, and might be tempted to neglect the Divine institutions; but there was double need to secure their peace with God, when they were at war with the Canaanites. The daily sacrifice is first ordained for a continual burnt-offering, typical of that sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, who ever appears with his blood before God, to make atonement for our sins.


Verse 11

Numbers 28:11. And in the beginnings of your months, ye shall offer As the first stated sacrifice was daily, Numbers 28:3 the second weekly, Numbers 28:9 so the third was monthly, to be offered upon the first day of every month: and it is thought by some to have been ordained in opposition to the idolatry of the Gentiles, who were wont to worship the new moon with great rejoicings. See Spencer, de Leg. Heb. lib. 3: Dissert. 4. But as one of the most natural divisions of time is by the periodical revolutions of the moon, which, in the more serene climates, could be easily observed by all; so it is not improbable, as Le Clerc has well remarked, that the solemn celebration of the new moon, in honour of the true God, was in use even before the rise of idolatry, and might make a part of the patriarchal religion; consequently, this law of Moses may be considered only as the revival of a primitive sacred institution, which idolatry had abused to superstition. Besides the celebration of the new moons by sacrifices and the sound of trumpets, ch. Numbers 10:10 the Jews were wont upon these days to assemble for receiving instruction from their prophets, 2 Kings 4:23 to feast and make merry together, 1 Samuel 5:12; 1 Samuel 5:12 and it was customary on those days to shut up shop, and abstain from ordinary servile labour, as is hinted, Amos 8:5. See Goodwin's Moses and Aaron, b. 3: ch. 7. We find the first day of the month was much observed among the heathens. The Athenians had a law to offer sacrifices upon the new moons; and Plutarch says it was a most holy day, ιεροτατη ημερα ; and on it they were wont to go up to the Acropolis, there to pray for the public welfare of the city, as well as for their own private happiness. See S. Petit. Comment. in Leg. Atticas.


Verse 15

Numbers 28:15. One kid—unto the Lord Grotius judiciously observes, that the words to the Lord are here added to make the Hebrews more sensible that it was to the true God they were now to offer, and not to the moon; of which planet, the kid, with his two horns, being an emblem, was therefore chosen for a sacrifice: God thus reclaiming to himself what idolatry had superstitiously sanctified.

REFLECTIONS.—1. On the sabbath, the daily sacrifice, with its oblations, was doubled; intimating to us the necessity of improving these holy days, by repeated attendance at God's house, and double diligence in the exercises of religious conversation, meditation, prayer, and praise. On the new moons, besides the daily sacrifice, two bullocks, a ram, and seven lambs were offered, with their several meat and drink-offerings, and a kid of the goats for a sin-offering. Even when we are offering sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, it is the sin-offering of our Divine Lord once offered, which makes all our services pleasing to God. Our best sacrifices themselves need this atonement. 2. On the seven days after the passover, was the feast of unleavened bread; the first and last of which were days of holy convocation: and every day of the seven, the same sacrifices were repeated as on the new moon. They need not grudge the number or value of their sacrifices, when they considered the deliverance they commemorated. A soul delivered by Jesus Christ from the bondage of corruption, thinks he can never enough express his gratitude to his Redeemer.


Verse 27

Numbers 28:27. Two young bullocks, &c.— The reader may observe, that here are two bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs, required to be offered at this feast of Pentecost, or weeks; whereas in Leviticus 23:18 only one bullock, and two rams, and seven lambs are required; which difference is thus reconciled; these sacrifices, here specified, of two bullocks, a ram, and seven lambs, with their meat and drink-offerings, together with a kid of atonement, being precisely the same which are above prescribed upon the monthly festivals, and on the days of unleavened bread, are thought to be additional sacrifices, over and above those, which were before appointed to be offered with the two loaves of bread in Leviticus 23:17-18. It is observable, says Bishop Patrick, that there is not so much as one peace-offering ordered in all this chapter, which was a sort of sacrifice most for the benefit of those who brought them to the altar; but all burnt-offerings, (except a few sin-offerings) which were wholly for the honour of God, and in acknowledgment of his sovereign dominion over them, and of the duty they owed him. And as the sin-offerings were shadows of that great sacrifice of God's own Son, which was one day to be offered for the sins of men, out of his infinite love to them; so the whole burnt-offerings, which were always of the most perfect creatures, the finest flour, the choicest fruits of the earth, and the best liquor, were shadows of that excellent degree of piety which the Son of God intended to bring into the world, which would move men, out of love to God, to give themselves wholly up to him, and to devote all they had, even their own lives, to his service.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Numbers 28:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/numbers-28.html. 1801-1803.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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