Numbers 15

1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you have come into the land of your habitations, which I give to you, 3 and will make an offering by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice, to accomplish a vow, or as a freewill offering, or in your set feasts, to make a pleasant aroma to the LORD, of the herd, or of the flock; 4 then he who offers his offering shall offer to the LORD a meal offering of one tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with the fourth part of a hin of oil. 5 You shall prepare wine for the drink offering, the fourth part of a hin, with the burnt offering, or for the sacrifice, for each lamb. 6 “‘Or for a ram, you shall prepare for a meal offering two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with the third part of a hin of oil; 7 and for the drink offering you shall offer the third part of a hin of wine, of a pleasant aroma to the LORD. 8 When you prepare a bull for a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice, to accomplish a vow, or for peace offerings to the LORD; 9 then shall he offer with the bull a meal offering of three tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with half a hin of oil: 10 and you shall offer for the drink offering half a hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to the LORD. 11 Thus shall it be done for each bull, or for each ram, or for each of the male lambs, or of the young goats. 12 According to the number that you shall prepare, so you shall do to everyone according to their number. 13 “‘All who are native-born shall do these things in this way, in offering an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to the LORD. 14 If a stranger lives as a foreigner with you, or whoever may be amongst you throughout your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to the LORD; as you do, so he shall do. 15 For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner, a statute forever throughout your generations. As you are, so shall the foreigner be before the LORD. 16 One law and one ordinance shall be for you, and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner with you.’” 17 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 18 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you come into the land where I bring you, 19 then it shall be that when you eat of the bread of the land, you shall offer up a wave offering to the LORD. 20 Of the first of your dough you shall offer up a cake for a wave offering. As the wave offering of the threshing floor, so you shall heave it. 21 Of the first of your dough, you shall give to the LORD a wave offering throughout your generations. 22 “‘When you err, and don’t observe all these commandments, which the LORD has spoken to Moses, 23 even all that the LORD has commanded you by Moses, from the day that the LORD gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations; 24 then it shall be, if it was done unwittingly, without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one young bull for a burnt offering, for a pleasant aroma to the LORD, with its meal 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 children of Israel, and they shall be forgiven; for it was an error, and they have brought their offering, an offering made by fire to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their error. 26 All the congregation of the children of Israel shall be forgiven, as well as the stranger who lives as a foreigner amongst them; for with regard to all the people, it was done unwittingly. 27 “‘If one person sins unwittingly, then he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering. 28 The priest shall make atonement for the soul who errs, when he sins unwittingly before the LORD, to make atonement for him; and he shall be forgiven. 29 You shall have one law for him who does anything unwittingly, for him who is native-born amongst the children of Israel, and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner amongst them. 30 “‘But the soul who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native-born or a foreigner, the same blasphemes the LORD. That soul shall be cut off from amongst his people. 31 Because he has despised the LORD’s word, and has broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off. His iniquity shall be on him.’” 32 While the children of Israel 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 and Aaron, and to all the congregation. 34 They put him in custody, because it had not been declared what should be done to him. 35 The LORD said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him with stones outside of the camp.” 36 All the congregation brought him outside of the camp, and stoned him to death with stones, as the LORD commanded Moses. 37 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 38 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them that they should make themselves fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put on the fringe of each border a cord of blue: 39 and it shall be to you for a fringe, that you may look on it, and remember all the LORD’s commandments, and do them; and that you not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you use to play the prostitute; 40 that you may remember and do all my commandments, and 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.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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, Ex 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 up their minds by way of remembrance, 2Pe 3:1. If they were 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.”

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