Numbers 15

Supplementary Offerings

1 The LORD said to Moses,
2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘After you enter the land I am giving you as a home
3 and you present to the LORD food offerings from the herd or the flock, as an aroma pleasing to the LORD—whether burnt offerings or sacrifices, for special vows or freewill offerings or festival offerings—
4 then the person who brings an offering shall present to the LORD a grain offering of a tenth of an ephah[a] of the finest flour mixed with a quarter of a hin[b] of olive oil.
5 With each lamb for the burnt offering or the sacrifice, prepare a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering.
6 “ ‘With a ram prepare a grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah[c] of the finest flour mixed with a third of a hin[d] of olive oil,
7 and a third of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Offer it as an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
8 “ ‘When you prepare a young bull as a burnt offering or sacrifice, for a special vow or a fellowship offering to the LORD,
9 bring with the bull a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah[e] of the finest flour mixed with half a hin[f] of olive oil,
10 and also bring half a hin of wine as a drink offering. This will be a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
11 Each bull or ram, each lamb or young goat, is to be prepared in this manner.
12 Do this for each one, for as many as you prepare.
13 “ ‘Everyone who is native-born must do these things in this way when they present a food offering as an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
14 For the generations to come, whenever a foreigner or anyone else living among you presents a food offering as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, they must do exactly as you do.
15 The community is to have the same rules for you and for the foreigner residing among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the foreigner shall be the same before the LORD:
16 The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigner residing among you.’ ”
17 The LORD said to Moses,
18 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land to which I am taking you
19 and you eat the food of the land, present a portion as an offering to the LORD.
20 Present a loaf from the first of your ground meal and present it as an offering from the threshing floor.
21 Throughout the generations to come you are to give this offering to the LORD from the first of your ground meal.

Offerings for Unintentional Sins

22 “ ‘Now if you as a community unintentionally fail to keep any of these commands the LORD gave Moses—
23 any of the LORD’s commands to you through him, from the day the LORD gave them and continuing through the generations to come—
24 and if this is done unintentionally without the community being aware of it, then the whole community is to offer a young bull for a burnt offering as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, along with its prescribed grain offering and drink offering, and a male goat for a sin offering.[g]
25 The priest is to make atonement for the whole Israelite community, and they will be forgiven, for it was not intentional and they have presented to the LORD for their wrong a food offering and a sin offering.
26 The whole Israelite community and the foreigners residing among them will be forgiven, because all the people were involved in the unintentional wrong.
27 “ ‘But if just one person sins unintentionally, that person must bring a year-old female goat for a sin offering.
28 The priest is to make atonement before the LORD for the one who erred by sinning unintentionally, and when atonement has been made, that person will be forgiven.
29 One and the same law applies to everyone who sins unintentionally, whether a native-born Israelite or a foreigner residing among you.
30 “ ‘But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or foreigner, blasphemes the LORD and must be cut off from the people of Israel.
31 Because they have despised the LORD’s word and broken his commands, they must surely be cut off; their guilt remains on them.’ ”

The Sabbath-Breaker Put to Death

32 While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day.
33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly,
34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him.
35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.”
36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses.

Tassels on Garments

37 The LORD said to Moses,
38 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel.
39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes.
40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.
41 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out 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."

Cross References 86

  • 1. S Leviticus 23:10
  • 2. S Leviticus 1:2
  • 3. ver 24; S Leviticus 1:9; Genesis 8:21; Exodus 29:18
  • 4. Leviticus 1:3; Numbers 28:13; Numbers 28:19,27
  • 5. S Leviticus 7:16; Leviticus 22:18,21; S Ezra 1:4
  • 6. Leviticus 23:1-44
  • 7. S Leviticus 2:1; Leviticus 6:14
  • 8. S Exodus 16:36
  • 9. S Leviticus 3:7
  • 10. S Leviticus 10:9; Numbers 28:7,14
  • 11. S Genesis 35:14
  • 12. S Leviticus 5:15
  • 13. Numbers 28:12; Numbers 29:14
  • 14. S Leviticus 23:13
  • 15. Ezekiel 46:14
  • 16. ver 5
  • 17. Leviticus 23:13; Numbers 28:14; Numbers 29:18
  • 18. S Leviticus 1:9
  • 19. S Exodus 12:5; S Leviticus 1:5
  • 20. S Leviticus 22:18
  • 21. S Leviticus 3:6; Leviticus 1:3; Leviticus 3:1
  • 22. Leviticus 2:1
  • 23. S Leviticus 14:10
  • 24. Numbers 28:14
  • 25. Leviticus 23:13
  • 26. Leviticus 1:9
  • 27. Ezra 7:17
  • 28. S Leviticus 16:29
  • 29. Leviticus 1:9
  • 30. Leviticus 3:17; Numbers 10:8
  • 31. S Exodus 12:19,43; S Exodus 22:21
  • 32. S Leviticus 22:18
  • 33. ver 25
  • 34. ver 14,21; ver 29; Numbers 9:14
  • 35. Exodus 12:49; S Leviticus 22:18; Numbers 9:14
  • 36. S Leviticus 23:10
  • 37. Joshua 5:11,12
  • 38. Numbers 18:8
  • 39. Exodus 34:26; S Leviticus 23:14; Deuteronomy 26:2,10
  • 40. S Leviticus 2:14; S Numbers 18:27
  • 41. S Genesis 50:10
  • 42. S Leviticus 23:14
  • 43. Ezekiel 44:30; Romans 11:16
  • 44. S Leviticus 4:2
  • 45. ver 21
  • 46. ver 25,26
  • 47. S Leviticus 5:15
  • 48. Leviticus 4:14
  • 49. S ver 3
  • 50. Leviticus 2:1
  • 51. Leviticus 23:13; Numbers 6:15
  • 52. Leviticus 4:3
  • 53. Leviticus 4:20; S Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17
  • 54. ver 22,S 24
  • 55. ver 14
  • 56. Leviticus 4:3
  • 57. S ver 24
  • 58. Leviticus 4:27
  • 59. Leviticus 4:3; Numbers 6:14
  • 60. Numbers 8:12; Numbers 28:22
  • 61. Leviticus 4:20; Leviticus 4:35
  • 62. S Exodus 12:49
  • 63. Numbers 14:40-44; Deuteronomy 1:43; Deuteronomy 17:13; Psalms 19:13
  • 64. ver 14
  • 65. 2 Kings 19:6,20; Isaiah 37:6,23; Ezekiel 20:27
  • 66. S Genesis 17:14; S Job 31:22
  • 67. S Numbers 14:11
  • 68. 1 Samuel 15:23,26; 2 Samuel 11:27; 2 Samuel 12:9; Psalms 119:126; Proverbs 13:13
  • 69. S Leviticus 5:1; Ezekiel 18:20
  • 70. S Numbers 12:16
  • 71. Exodus 31:14,15; Exodus 35:2,3
  • 72. Numbers 9:8
  • 73. Exodus 31:14,15; Deuteronomy 21:21
  • 74. S Leviticus 20:2; Leviticus 24:14; Luke 4:29; Acts 7:58
  • 75. S Leviticus 20:2
  • 76. S Exodus 31:14
  • 77. Jeremiah 17:21
  • 78. Leviticus 3:17; Numbers 10:8
  • 79. Deuteronomy 22:12; Matthew 23:5
  • 80. Deuteronomy 4:23; Deuteronomy 6:12; Psalms 73:27
  • 81. S Leviticus 17:7; Judges 2:17; Psalms 106:39; Jeremiah 3:2; Hosea 4:12
  • 82. Psalms 78:37; Jeremiah 7:24; Ezekiel 20:16
  • 83. S Genesis 26:5; Deuteronomy 11:13; Psalms 103:18; Psalms 119:56
  • 84. S Leviticus 11:44; Romans 12:1; Colossians 1:22; 1 Peter 1:15
  • 85. S Genesis 17:7
  • 86. S Exodus 20:2

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. That is, probably about 3 1/2 pounds or about 1.6 kilograms
  • [b]. That is, about 1 quart or about 1 liter; also in verse 5
  • [c]. That is, probably about 7 pounds or about 3.2 kilograms
  • [d]. That is, about 1 1/3 quarts or about 1.3 liters; also in verse 7
  • [e]. That is, probably about 11 pounds or about 5 kilograms
  • [f]. That is, about 2 quarts or about 1.9 liters; also in verse 10
  • [g]. Or "purification offering" ; also in verses 25 and 27

Chapter Summary


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