Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Nu 15:1-41. The Law of Sundry Offerings.
1, 2. The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel—Some infer from Nu 15:23 that the date of this communication must be fixed towards the close of the wanderings in the wilderness; and, also, that all the sacrifices prescribed in the law were to be offered only after the settlement in Canaan.
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land of your habitations, which I give unto you,
And will make an offering by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the LORD, of the herd, or of the flock:
3. make an offering by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering—It is evident that a peace offering is referred to because this term is frequently used in such a sense (Ex 18:12; Le 17:5).
Then shall he that offereth his offering unto the LORD bring a meat offering of a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of oil.
4. tenth deal—that is, an omer, the tenth part of an ephah (Ex 16:36).
fourth part of an hin of oil—This element shows it to have been different from such meat offerings as were made by themselves, and not merely accompaniments of other sacrifices.
And the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering shalt thou prepare with the burnt offering or sacrifice, for one lamb.
Or for a ram, thou shalt prepare for a meat offering two tenth deals of flour mingled with the third part of an hin of oil.
6-12. two tenth deals—The quantity of flour was increased because the sacrifice was of superior value to the former. The accessory sacrifices were always increased in proportion to the greater worth and magnitude of its principal.
And for a drink offering thou shalt offer the third part of an hin of wine, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
And when thou preparest a bullock for a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice in performing a vow, or peace offerings unto the LORD:
Then shall he bring with a bullock a meat offering of three tenth deals of flour mingled with half an hin of oil.
And thou shalt bring for a drink offering half an hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
Thus shall it be done for one bullock, or for one ram, or for a lamb, or a kid.
According to the number that ye shall prepare, so shall ye do to every one according to their number.
All that are born of the country shall do these things after this manner, in offering an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
13-16. a stranger—one who had become a proselyte. There were scarcely any of the national privileges of the Israelites, in which the Gentile stranger might not, on conforming to certain conditions, fully participate.
And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever be among you in your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD; as ye do, so he shall do.
One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD.
One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land whither I bring you,
Then it shall be, that, when ye eat of the bread of the land, ye shall offer up an heave offering unto the LORD.
19. when ye eat of the bread of the land, ye shall offer up an heave offering—The offering prescribed was to precede the act of eating.
unto the Lord—that is, the priests of the Lord (Eze 44:30).
Ye shall offer up a cake of the first of your dough for an heave offering: as ye do the heave offering of the threshingfloor, so shall ye heave it.
20. heave offering of the threshing-floor—meaning the corn on the threshing-floor; that is, after harvest.
so shall ye heave it—to the priests accompanying the ceremony with the same rites.
Of the first of your dough ye shall give unto the LORD an heave offering in your generations.
And if ye have erred, and not observed all these commandments, which the LORD hath spoken unto Moses,
22. if ye have erred, and not observed all these commandments, &c.—respecting the performance of divine worship, and the rites and ceremonies that constitute the holy service. The law relates only to any omission and consequently is quite different from that laid down in Le 4:13, which implies a transgression or positive neglect of some observances required. This law relates to private parties or individual tribes; that to the whole congregation of Israel.
Even all that the LORD hath commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day that the LORD commanded Moses, and henceforward among your generations;
Then it shall be, if ought be committed by ignorance without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one young bullock for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour unto the LORD, with his meat offering, and his drink offering, according to the manner, and one kid of the goats for a sin offering.
24-26. if aught be committed by ignorance—The Mosaic ritual was complicated, and the ceremonies to be gone through in the various instances of purification which are specified, would expose a worshipper, through ignorance, to the risk of omitting or neglecting some of them. This law includes the stranger in the number of those for whom the sacrifice was offered for the sin of general ignorance.
And the priest shall make an atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them; for it is ignorance: and they shall bring their offering, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their ignorance:
And it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth among them; seeing all the people were in ignorance.
And if any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering.
27-29. if any soul sin through ignorance—not only in common with the general body of the people, but his personal sins were to be expiated in the same manner.
And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.
Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.
But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
30. the soul that doeth aught presumptuously—Hebrew, "with an high" or "uplifted hand"—that is, knowingly, wilfully, obstinately. In this sense the phraseology occurs (Ex 14:8; Le 26:21; Ps 19:13).
the same reproacheth the Lord—sets Him at open defiance and dishonors His majesty.
Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.
31. his iniquity shall be upon him—The punishment of his sins shall fall on himself individually; no guilt shall be incurred by the nation, unless there be a criminal carelessness in overlooking the offense.
And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
32-34. a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day—This incident is evidently narrated as an instance of presumptuous sin. The mere gathering of sticks was not a sinful act and might be necessary for fuel to warm him or to make ready his food. But its being done on the Sabbath altered the entire character of the action. The law of the Sabbath being a plain and positive commandment, this transgression of it was a known and wilful sin, and it was marked by several aggravations. For the deed was done with unblushing boldness in broad daylight, in open defiance of the divine authority—in flagrant inconsistency with His religious connection with Israel, as the covenant-people of God; and it was an application to improper purposes of time, which God had consecrated to Himself and the solemn duties of religion. The offender was brought before the rulers, who, on hearing the painful report, were at a loss to determine what ought to be done. That they should have felt any embarrassment in such a case may seem surprising, in the face of the sabbath law (Ex 31:14). Their difficulty probably arose from this being the first public offense of the kind which had occurred; and the appeal might be made to remove all ground of complaint—to produce a more striking effect, so that the fate of this criminal might be a beacon to warn all Israelites in the future.
And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.
And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
35, 36. The Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death—The Lord was King, as well as God of Israel, and the offense being a violation of the law of the realm, the Sovereign Judge gave orders that this man should be put to death; and, moreover, He required the whole congregation unite in executing the fatal sentence.
And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:
38. bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments—These were narrow strips, in a wing-like form, wrapped over the shoulders and on various parts of the attire. "Fringe," however, is the English rendering of two distinct Hebrew words—the one meaning a narrow lappet or edging, called the "hem" or "border" (Mt 23:5; Lu 8:44), which, in order to make it more attractive to the eye and consequently more serviceable to the purpose described, was covered with a riband of blue or rather purple color; the other term signifies strings with tassels at the end, fastened to the corners of the garment. Both of these are seen on the Egyptian and Assyrian frocks; and as the Jewish people were commanded by express and repeated ordinances to have them, the fashion was rendered subservient, in their case, to awaken high and religious associations—to keep them in habitual remembrance of the divine commandments.
And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:
That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.
I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.
41. I am the Lord your God—The import of this solemn conclusion is, that though He was displeased with them for their frequent rebellions, for which they would be doomed to forty years' wanderings, He would not abandon them but continue His divine protection and care of them till they were brought into the land of promise.