Numbers 15

1 God spoke to Moses:
2 "Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them, When you enter your homeland that I am giving to you
3 and sacrifice a Fire-Gift to God, a Whole-Burnt-Offering or any sacrifice from the herd or flock for a Vow-Offering or Freewill-Offering at one of the appointed feasts, as a pleasing fragrance for God,
4 the one bringing the offering shall present to God a Grain-Offering of two quarts of fine flour mixed with a quart of oil.
5 With each lamb for the Whole-Burnt-Offering or other sacrifice, prepare a quart of oil and a quart of wine as a Drink-Offering.
6 "For a ram prepare a Grain-Offering of four quarts of fine flour mixed with one and a quarter quarts of oil
7 and one and a quarter quarts of wine as a Drink-Offering. Present it as a pleasing fragrance to God.
8 "When you prepare a young bull as a Whole-Burnt-Offering or sacrifice for a special vow or a Peace-Offering to God,
9 bring with the bull a Grain-Offering of six quarts of fine flour and two quarts of oil.
10 Also bring two quarts of wine as a Drink-Offering. It will be a Fire-Gift, a pleasing fragrance to God.
11 "Each bull or ram, each lamb or young goat, is to be prepared in this same way.
12 Carry out this procedure for each one, no matter how many you have to prepare.
13 "Every native-born Israelite is to follow this procedure when he brings a Fire-Gift as a pleasing fragrance to God.
14 In future generations, when a foreigner or visitor living at length among you presents a Fire-Gift as a pleasing fragrance to God, the same procedures must be followed.
15 The community has the same rules for you and the foreigner living among you. This is the regular rule for future generations. You and the foreigner are the same before God.
16 The same laws and regulations apply to both you and the foreigner who lives with you."
17 God spoke to Moses:
18 "Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them, When you enter the land into which I'm bringing you,
19 and you eat the food of that country, set some aside as an offering for God.
20 From the first batch of bread dough make a round loaf for an offering - an offering from the threshing floor.
21 Down through the future generations make this offering to God from each first batch of dough.
22 "But if you should get off the beaten track and not keep the commands which God spoke to Moses,
23 any of the things that God commanded you under the authority of Moses from the time that God first commanded you right up to this present time,
24 and if it happened more or less by mistake, with the congregation unaware of it, then the whole congregation is to sacrifice one young bull as a Whole-Burnt-Offering, a pleasing fragrance to God, accompanied by its Grain-Offering and Drink-Offering as stipulated in the rules, and a he-goat as an Absolution-Offering.
25 The priest is to atone for the entire community of the People of Israel and they will stand forgiven. The sin was not deliberate, and they offered to God the Fire-Gift and Absolution-Offering for their inadvertence.
26 The whole community of Israel including the foreigners living there will be absolved, because everyone was involved in the error.
27 "But if it's just one person who sins by mistake, not realizing what he's doing, he is to bring a yearling she-goat as an Absolution-Offering.
28 The priest then is to atone for the person who accidentally sinned, to make atonement before God so that it won't be held against him.
29 "The same standard holds for everyone who sins by mistake; the native-born Israelites and the foreigners go by the same rules.
30 "But the person, native or foreigner, who sins defiantly, deliberately blaspheming God, must be cut off from his people:
31 He has despised God's word, he has violated God's command; that person must be kicked out of the community, ostracized, left alone in his wrongdoing."
32 Once, during those wilderness years of the People of Israel, a man was caught gathering wood on the Sabbath.
33 The ones who caught him hauled him before Moses and Aaron and the entire congregation.
34 They put him in custody until it became clear what to do with him.
35 Then God spoke to Moses: "Give the man the death penalty. Yes, kill him, the whole community hurling stones at him outside the camp."
36 So the whole community took him outside the camp and threw stones at him, an execution commanded by God and given through Moses.
37 God spoke to Moses:
38 "Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them that from now on they are to make tassels on the corners of their garments and to mark each corner tassel with a blue thread.
39 When you look at these tassels you'll remember and keep all the commandments of God, and not get distracted by everything you feel or see that seduces you into infidelities.
40 The tassels will signal remembrance and observance of all my commandments, to live a holy life to God.
41 I am your God who rescued you from the land of Egypt to be your personal God. Yes, I am God, 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."

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