Numbers 15

1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
2 Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When you come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving you,
3 and you make an offering by fire to the Lord from the herd or from the flock—whether a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering or at your appointed festivals—to make a pleasing odor for the Lord,
4 then whoever presents such an offering to the Lord shall present also a grain offering, one-tenth of an ephah of choice flour, mixed with one-fourth of a hin of oil.
5 Moreover, you shall offer one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering with the burnt offering or the sacrifice, for each lamb.
6 For a ram, you shall offer a grain offering, two-tenths of an ephah of choice flour mixed with one-third of a hin of oil;
7 and as a drink offering you shall offer one-third of a hin of wine, a pleasing odor to the Lord.
8 When you offer a bull as a burnt offering or a sacrifice, to fulfill a vow or as an offering of well-being to the Lord,
9 then you shall present with the bull a grain offering, three-tenths of an ephah of choice flour, mixed with half a hin of oil,
10 and you shall present as a drink offering half a hin of wine, as an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to the Lord.
11 Thus it shall be done for each ox or ram, or for each of the male lambs or the kids.
12 According to the number that you offer, so you shall do with each and every one.
13 Every native Israelite shall do these things in this way, in presenting an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to the Lord.
14 An alien who lives with you, or who takes up permanent residence among you, and wishes to offer an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to the Lord, shall do as you do.
15 As for the assembly, there shall be for both you and the resident alien a single statute, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you and the alien shall be alike before the Lord.
16 You and the alien who resides with you shall have the same law and the same ordinance.
17 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
18 Speak to the Israelites and say to them: After you come into the land to which I am bringing you,
19 whenever you eat of the bread of the land, you shall present a donation to the Lord.
20 From your first batch of dough you shall present a loaf as a donation; you shall present it just as you present a donation from the threshing floor.
21 Throughout your generations you shall give to the Lord a donation from the first of your batch of dough.
22 But if you unintentionally fail to observe all these commandments that the Lord has spoken to Moses—
23 everything that the Lord has commanded you by Moses, from the day the Lord gave commandment and thereafter, throughout your generations—
24 then if it was done unintentionally without the knowledge of the congregation, the whole congregation shall offer one young bull for a burnt offering, a pleasing odor to the Lord, together with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the ordinance, and one male goat for a sin offering.
25 The priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the Israelites, and they shall be forgiven; it was unintentional, and they have brought their offering, an offering by fire to the Lord, and their sin offering before the Lord, for their error.
26 All the congregation of the Israelites shall be forgiven, as well as the aliens residing among them, because the whole people was involved in the error.
27 An individual who sins unintentionally shall present a female goat a year old for a sin offering.
28 And the priest shall make atonement before the Lord for the one who commits an error, when it is unintentional, to make atonement for the person, who then shall be forgiven.
29 For both the native among the Israelites and the alien residing among them—you shall have the same law for anyone who acts in error.
30 But whoever acts high-handedly, whether a native or an alien, affronts the Lord, and shall be cut off from among the people.
31 Because of having despised the word of the Lord and broken his commandment, such a person shall be utterly cut off and bear the guilt.
32 When the Israelites were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the sabbath day.
33 Those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses, Aaron, and to the whole congregation.
34 They put him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him.
35 Then the Lord said to Moses, "The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him outside the camp."
36 The whole congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
37 The Lord said to Moses:
38 Speak to the Israelites, and tell them to make fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations and to put a blue cord on the fringe at each corner.
39 You have the fringe so that, when you see it, you will remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and not follow the lust of your own heart and your own eyes.
40 So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and you shall be holy to your God.
41 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord 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