Numbers 15

1 And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of your dwellings, which I give unto you,
3 and will make an offering by fire to Jehovah, a burnt-offering or a sacrifice for the performance of a vow, or as a voluntary offering, or in your set feasts, to make a sweet odour to Jehovah, of the herd or of the flock,
4 then shall he that presenteth his offering to Jehovah bring as oblation a tenth part of fine flour mingled with a fourth part of a hin of oil;
5 and of wine for a drink-offering shalt thou offer the fourth part of a hin with the burnt-offering, or with the sacrifice, for one lamb.
6 And for a ram thou shalt offer as oblation two tenth parts of fine flour mingled with oil, a third part of a hin,
7 and of wine for a drink-offering shalt thou offer the third part of a hin; for a sweet odour to Jehovah.
8 And when thou offerest a bullock for a burnt-offering, or a sacrifice for the performance of a vow, or for a peace-offering to Jehovah,
9 then shall they present with the bullock as oblation three tenth parts of fine flour mingled with half a hin of oil;
10 and of wine shalt thou present half a hin, for a drink-offering, as an offering by fire, of a sweet odour to Jehovah.
11 Thus shall it be done for one ox, or for one ram, or for a lamb, or for a kid;
12 according to the number that ye offer, so shall ye do to every one according to their number.
13 And all that are born in the land shall do these things thus, in presenting an offering by fire of a sweet odour to Jehovah.
14 And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whoever be among you throughout your generations, and will offer an offering by fire of a sweet odour to Jehovah, -- as ye do, so shall he do.
15 As to the congregation, there shall be one statute for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an everlasting statute throughout your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be, before Jehovah.
16 One law and one ordinance shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.
17 And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying,
18 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land whither I bring you,
19 then it shall be, when ye eat of the bread of the land, that ye shall offer a heave-offering to Jehovah;
20 the first of your dough shall ye offer, a cake, for a heave-offering; as the heave-offering of the threshing-floor, so shall ye offer this.
21 Of the first of your dough ye shall give to Jehovah a heave-offering throughout your generations.
22 And if ye sin inadvertently, and do not all these commandments, which Jehovah hath spoken unto Moses,
23 all that Jehovah hath commanded you through Moses, from the day that Jehovah gave commandment, and henceforward throughout your generations;
24 then it shall be, if ought be committed by inadvertence [hid] from the eyes of the assembly, that the whole assembly shall offer one young bullock for a burnt-offering, for a sweet odour to Jehovah, and its oblation and its drink-offering according to the ordinance, and one buck of the goats for a sin-offering.
25 And the priest shall make atonement for the whole assembly of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them; for it was a sin of inadvertence, and they have brought before Jehovah their offering, as an offering by fire to Jehovah, and their sin-offering for their [sin of] inadvertence;
26 and it shall be forgiven the whole assembly of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth among them; for with all the people there was [a sin of] inadvertence.
27 And if one soul sin through inadvertence, then he shall present a yearling she-goat for a sin-offering.
28 And the priest shall make atonement for the soul that hath done inadvertently, when he sinneth by inadvertence before Jehovah, to make atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.
29 For him that is born in the land among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them -- there shall be one law for you, for him who doeth anything through inadvertence.
30 But the soul that doeth ought with a high hand, whether born in the land, or a stranger, he reproacheth Jehovah; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
31 For he hath despised the word of Jehovah, and hath broken his commandment: that soul shall surely be cut off; his iniquity is upon him.
32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness they found a man gathering sticks on the sabbath day.
33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to the whole assembly.
34 And they put him in custody, for it was not declared what should be done to him.
35 And Jehovah said to Moses, The man shall certainly be put to death: the whole assembly shall stone him with stones outside the camp.
36 And the whole assembly led him outside the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died, as Jehovah had commanded Moses.
37 And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying,
38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them tassels on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations, and that they attach to the tassel of the corners a lace of blue;
39 and it shall be unto you for a tassel, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of Jehovah, and do them; and that ye seek not after [the lusts of] your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye go a whoring;
40 that ye may remember and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.
41 I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am Jehovah your God.

Numbers 15 Commentary

Chapter 15

The law of the meat-offering and the drink-offering The stranger under the same law. (1-21) The sacrifice for the sin of ignorance. (22-29) The punishment of presumption The sabbath-breaker stoned. (30-36) The law for fringes on garment. (37-41)

Verses 1-21 Full instructions are given about the meat-offerings and drink-offerings. The beginning of this law is very encouraging, When ye come into the land of your habitation which I give unto you. This was a plain intimation that God would secure the promised land to their seed. It was requisite, since the sacrifices of acknowledgment were intended as the food of God's table, that there should be a constant supply of bread, oil, and wine, whatever the flesh-meat was. And the intent of this law is to direct the proportions of the meat-offering and drink-offering. Natives and strangers are placed on a level in this as in other like matters. It was a happy forewarning of the calling of the Gentiles, and of their admission into the church. If the law made so little difference between Jew and Gentile, much less would the gospel, which broke down the partition-wall, and reconciled both to God.

Verses 22-29 Though ignorance will in a degree excuse, it will not justify those who might have known their Lord's will, yet did it not. David prayed to be cleansed from his secret faults, those sins which he himself was not aware of. Sins committed ignorantly, shall be forgiven through Christ the great Sacrifice, who, when he offered up himself once for all upon the cross, seemed to explain one part of the intention of his offering, in that prayer, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. It looked favourably upon the Gentiles, that this law of atoning for sins of ignorance, is expressly made to extend to those who were strangers to Israel.

Verses 30-36 Those are to be reckoned presumptuous sinners, who sin designedly against God's will and glory. Sins thus committed are exceedingly sinful. He that thus breaks the commandment reproaches the Lord. He also despises the word of the Lord. Presumptuous sinners despise it, thinking themselves too great, too good, and too wise, to be ruled by it. A particular instance of presumption in the sin of sabbath-breaking is related. The offence was gathering sticks on the sabbath day, to make a fire, whereas the people were to bake and seethe what they had occasion for, the day before, ( Exodus 16:23 ) . This was done as an affront both to the law and to the Lawgiver. God is jealous for the honour of his sabbaths, and will not hold him guiltless who profanes them, whatever men may do. God intended this punishment for a warning to all, to make conscience of keeping holy the sabbath. And we may be assured that no command was ever given for the punishment of sin, which, at the judgment day, shall not prove to have come from perfect love and justice. The right of God to a day of devotion to himself, will be disputed and denied only by such as listen to the pride and unbelief of their hearts, rather than to the teaching of the Spirit of truth and life. Wherein consists the difference between him who was detected gathering sticks in the wilderness on the day of God, and the man who turns his back upon the blessings of sabbath appointments, and the promises of sabbath mercies, to use his time, his cares, and his soul, in heaping up riches; and waste his hours, his property, and his strength in sinful pleasure? Wealth may come by the unhallowed effort, but it will not come alone; it will have its awful reward. Sinful pursuits lead to ruin.

Verses 37-41 The people are ordered by the Lord to make fringes on the borders of their garments. The Jews were distinguished from their neighbours in their dress, as well as in their diet, and thus taught not to be conformed to the way of the heathen in other things. They proclaimed themselves Jews wherever they were, as not ashamed of God and his law. The fringes were not appointed for trimming and adorning their clothes, but to stir ( 2 Peter. 3:1 ) tempted to sin, the fringe would warn them not to break God's commandments. We should use every means of refreshing our memories with the truths and precepts of God's word, to strengthen and quicken our obedience, and arm our minds against temptation. Be holy unto your God; cleansed from sin, and sincerely devoted to his service; and that great reason for all the commandments is again and again repeated, "I am the Lord your God."

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Corban, see Lev. 1.2.
  • [b]. Or 'for dedication.'
  • [c]. or 'calf.'
  • [d]. Lit. 'heave:' see Lev. 8.27; 22.15.
  • [e]. Same as Ezek. 44.30 and 'coarse meal,' Neh. 10.37.
  • [f]. Or 'fringes' or 'a flower,' i.e. to attract attention.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO NUMBERS 15

In this chapter the children of Israel are instructed about the meat offerings and drink offerings, and the quantities of them, which were always to go along with their burnt offerings and peace offerings they should offer when they came into the land of Canaan, Nu 15:1-12; and they are told that the same laws and ordinances would be binding equally on them that were of the country, and on the strangers in it, Nu 15:13-16; and an order is given them to offer a cake of the first dough for an heave offering, Nu 15:17-21; and they are directed what sacrifices to offer for sins of ignorance, both of the congregation and particular persons, Nu 14:22-29; but as for presumptuous sinners, they were to be cut off, Nu 14:30,31; and an instance is recorded of stoning a sabbath breaker, Nu 14:32-36; and the chapter is concluded with a law for wearing fringes on the borders of their garments, the use of which is expressed, Nu 14:35-41.

Numbers 15 Commentaries