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Adam Clarke Commentary

Numbers 15

Introduction

Directions concerning the different offerings they should bring unto the Lord when they should come to the land of Canaan, Numbers 15:1 -3. Directions relative to the meat-offering, Numbers 15:4 ; to the drink-offering, Numbers 15:5 . Of the burnt-offering, vow-offering, peace-offering, drink-offering, etc., Numbers 15:6 -12. All born in the country must perform these rites, Numbers 15:13 , and the strangers also, Numbers 15:14 -16. They shall offer unto the Lord a heave-offering of the first-fruits of the land, Numbers 15:17 -21. Concerning omissions through ignorance, and the sacrifices to be offered on such occasions, Numbers 15:22 -29. He who sins presumptuously shall be cut off, Numbers 15:30 , Numbers 15:31 . History of the person who gathered sticks on the Sabbath, Numbers 15:32 . He is brought to Moses and Aaron, Numbers 15:33 . They put him in confinement till the mind of the Lord should be known on the case, Numbers 15:34 . The Lord commands him to be stoned, Numbers 15:35 . He is stoned to death, Numbers 15:36 . The Israelites are commanded to make fringes to the borders of their garments, Numbers 15:37 , Numbers 15:38 . The end for which these fringes were to be made, that they might remember the commandments of the Lord, that they might be holy, Numbers 15:39 -41.

Verse 2

When ye be come into the land - Some learned men are of opinion that several offerings prescribed by the law were not intended to be made in the wilderness, but in the promised land; the former not affording those conveniences which were necessary to the complete observance of the Divine worship in this and several other respects.

Verse 3

And will make an offering - For the different kinds of offerings, sacrifices, etc., see Leviticus 1:2 , Leviticus 1:7 .

Verse 5

The fourth part of a hin - The quantity of meal and flour was augmented in proportion to the size of the sacrifice with which it was offered. With a Lamb or a Kid were offered one tenth deal of flour, (the tenth part of an ephah, see on Exodus 29:40 (note)), the fourth part of a hin of oil, and the fourth part of a hin of wine. With a Ram, two tenth deals of flour, a third part of a hin of oil, and a third part of a hin of wine. With a Bullock, three tenth deals of flour, half a hin of oil, and half a hin of wine. See Numbers 15:4 -11.

Verse 14

If a stranger sojourn - See the notes on Leviticus 19:33 ;Lev 22:9. When the case of the Jewish people is fairly considered, and their situation with respect to the surrounding idolatrous nations, we shall see the absolute necessity of having but one form of worship in the land. That alone was genuine which was prescribed by the Almighty, and no others could be tolerated, because they were idolatrous. All strangers - all that came to sojourn in the land, were required to conform to it; and it was right that those who did conform to it should have equal rights and privileges with the Hebrews themselves, which we find was the case. But under the Christian dispensation, as no particular form of worship is prescribed, the types and ceremonies of the Mosaic institution being all fulfilled, unlimited toleration should be allowed; and while the sacred writings are made the basis of the worship offered to God, every man should be allowed to worship according to his own conscience, for in this respect every one isBut to his conscience and his God alone."

Verse 20

Ye shall offer - the first of your dough - Concerning the offerings of first-fruits, see the notes on Exodus 22:29 .

Verse 24

If aught be committed by ignorance - See the notes on Leviticus 4:2 , and Leviticus 5:17 . The case here probably refers to the whole congregation; the cases above, to the sin of an individual.

Verse 25

The priest shall make an atonement - Even sins committed through ignorance required an atonement; and God in his mercy has provided one for them.

Verse 30

But the soul that doeth aught presumptuously - Bold daring acts of transgression against the fullest evidence, and in despite of the Divine authority, admitted of no atonement; the person was to be cut off - to be excluded from God's people, and from all their privileges and blessings.Probably the presumption mentioned here implied an utter contempt of the word and authority of God, springing from an idolatrous or atheistical mind. In such a case all repentance was precluded, because of the denial of the word and being of God. It is probably a case similar to that mentioned Hebrews 6:4 -8 (note); Hebrews 10:26 -31 (note); on which passages see the notes.

Verse 32

They found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath - This was in all likelihood a case of that kind supposed above: the man despised the word of the Lord, and therefore broke his commandment; see Numbers 15:31 . On this ground he was punished with the utmost rigor of the law.

Verse 36

Stoned him - See the note on Leviticus 24:23 .

Verse 38

Bid them - make them fringes - We learn from Numbers 15:39 that these fringes were emblematical of the various commands of God. That there was any analogy between a fringe and a precept, it would be bold to assert; but when a thing is appointed to represent another, no matter how different, that first object be comes the regular representative or sign of the other. There is no analogy between the term bread and the farinaceous nutritive substance thereby signified; but because this term is used to express and represent that thing, every person thus understands it; and when the word bread is seen or heard, a perfect knowledge, not of the letters which compose that word, but of the thing signified by it, is conveyed to the mind. So the fringes, being appointed by God to represent and bring to mind the commandments of God, Numbers 15:39 , the mention or sight of them conveyed the intelligence intended. All the Jews wore these, and so probably did our Lord; see Matthew 9:20 , where the word κρασπε ον is rather to be understood of the fringe than of the hem of his garment.

Numbers 15


  1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
  2 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,
  3 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:
  4 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.
  5 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.
  6 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.
  7 And for a drink offering thou shalt offer the third part of an hin of wine, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
  8 And when thou preparest a bullock for a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice in performing a vow, or peace offerings unto the LORD:
  9 Then shall he bring with a bullock a meat offering of three tenth deals of flour mingled with half an hin of oil.
  10 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.
  11 Thus shall it be done for one bullock, or for one ram, or for a lamb, or a kid.
  12 According to the number that ye shall prepare, so shall ye do to every one according to their number.
  13 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.
  14 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.
  15 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.
  16 One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.
  17 And the LORD spake unto 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, that, when ye eat of the bread of the land, ye shall offer up an heave offering unto the LORD.
  20 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.
  21 Of the first of your dough ye shall give unto the LORD an heave offering in your generations.
  22 And if ye have erred, and not observed all these commandments, which the LORD hath spoken unto Moses,
  23 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;
  24 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.
  25 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:
  26 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.
  27 And if any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering.
  28 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.
  29 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.
  30 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.
  31 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.
  32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
  33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
  34 And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.
  35 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.
  36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.
  37 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
  38 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:
  39 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:
  40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.
  41 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.

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