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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Numbers

(Return to Old Testament Contents)

 

 

CONTEXT:

PART 3: To Refusal & Judgment

The third part finds Israel at the border of the Promised Land, sending in spies, and then refusing to go in. Chapter 15 reiterates rules and looks to the future when they do go in.

Ch.13: [Action] Exploring the Land & Report of the Spies

- sending spies in to assess the land

Ch.14: [Action] Refusing Entry & Judgment

- a negative report and a rebellious people

Ch.15: [Law] Offerings in the Land & [Action] a Disobedience

- nevertheless hope for the future

   

   

FRAMEWORKS: Numbers 15: Offerings in the Land & a Disobedience

 

v.1-7 Supplementary Offerings

v.8-12 A Bull Burnt Offering

v.13-16 Same Rules for all

v.17-21 A Ground Meal Offering

v.22-31 Offerings for Unintentional Sins

v.32-36 A Sabbath-Breaker Put to Death

v.37-41 Tassels on Garments as a Reminder

 

 

v.1-7 Supplementary Offerings

 

v.1 The Lord said to Moses,

v.2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘After you enter the land I am giving you as a home

v.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

v.4 then the person who brings an offering shall present to the Lord a grain offering of a tenth of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of olive oil.

v.5 With each lamb for the burnt offering or the sacrifice, prepare a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering.

v.6 “‘With a ram prepare a grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with a third of a hin of olive oil,

v.7 and a third of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Offer it as an aroma pleasing to the Lord .

 

[Notes: The wording of v.2 – “After you enter the land” – perhaps explains why tis batch of laws are inserted here. It is almost as if the Lord is saying, “Yes, this generation will not enter but the next generation will. The verses above almost appear as a summary of offerings from the herds or the flocks. These will be bulked out in what follows to reiterate that this will continue to be a covenant community for whom Offerings will play a significant part.]

 

 

v.8-12 A Bull Burnt Offering

 

v.8 “‘When you prepare a young bull as a burnt offering or sacrifice, for a special vow or a fellowship offering to the Lord,

v.9 bring with the bull a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with half a hin of olive oil,

v.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.

v.11 Each bull or ram, each lamb or young goat, is to be prepared in this manner.

v.12 Do this for each one, for as many as you prepare.

 

[Notes: A burnt offering bull to be accompanied by a grain offering and drink offering – all seen as gifts to the Lord.]

 

 

v.13-16 Same Rules for all

 

v.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.

v.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.

v.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:

v.16 The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigner residing among you.'”

 

[Notes: Whoever is offering such a sacrifice must do it in accordance with the rules laid down.]

 

 

v.17-21 A Ground Meal Offering

 

v.17 The Lord said to Moses,

v.18 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land to which I am taking you

v.19 and you eat the food of the land, present a portion as an offering to the Lord.

v.20 Present a loaf from the first of your ground meal and present it as an offering from the threshing floor.

v.21 Throughout the generations to come you are to give this offering to the Lord from the first of your ground meal.

 

[Notes: When they enter and take the land, harvest crops etc., to be offered first as an offering to the Lord. A constant reminder why they are there and of His goodness in His provision for them.]

 

 

v.22-31 Offerings for Unintentional Sins

 

v.22-26 Unintentional sins of the community

v.22 “‘Now if you as a community unintentionally fail to keep any of these commands the Lord gave Moses—

v.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—

v.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.

v.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.

v.26 The whole Israelite community and the foreigners residing among them will be forgiven, because all the people were involved in the unintentional wrong.

 

v.27-29 Unintentional sins of the individual

v.27 “‘But if just one person sins unintentionally, that person must bring a year-old female goat for a sin offering.

v.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.

v.29 One and the same law applies to everyone who sins unintentionally, whether a native-born Israelite or a foreigner residing among you.

 

v.30,31 Intentional Sins

v.30 “‘But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or foreigner, blasphemes the Lord and must be cut off from the people of Israel.

v.31 Because they have despised the Lord 's word and broken his commands, they must surely be cut off; their guilt remains on them.'”

 

[Notes: Moving beyond thank offerings here comes the reminder of offerings being the way that sins of the covenant community are dealt with].

 

 

v.32-36 A Sabbath-Breaker Put to Death

 

v.32 While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day.

v.33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly,

v.34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him.

v.35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.”

v.36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses.

 

[Notes: To the modern untutored mind, the above incident may appear quite horrific. What we fail to understand is that this was an embryonic nation that had been created by God for several specific reasons. We laid these out at the beginning of Leviticus 26 but it may be useful to reproduce them here.

 

What we may lightly refer to as the ‘Israel Project' that the Lord embarked upon back with Abraham and which had continued to the present time when Israel have been constituted as a nation, can be seen in the big picture as having three vital goals:

•  To create a nation that will reveal the Lord to the rest of the world.

•  To create a workshop to reveal the sinfulness of mankind and thus our need of a Saviour and a plan of salvation.

•  To create, eventually, what we refer to as a nation with a ‘God environment' into which the Son of God can come from heaven, a nation prepared by God, a nation with a lot of God-knowledge in which, eventually, the plan of God can be revealed as having been there from before the foundation of the world.

 

For these three reasons, if we will think about it seriously, we will see that it is vital for this ‘project' to be maintained, by teaching, by encouragement and, if necessary, by strong discipline, whatever is needed to bring this people to their senses and get them back on track when they have drifted away. Israel have accepted this calling and entered into a covenant relationship with God to be a holy people, a light to the world. If these three suggested goals above are to be worked through, it is imperative that blatant transgressions of the agreed laws, must be clearly dealt with as both examples to remind everyone of the covenant laws AND to act as a deterrent to stop the nation unravelling and ceasing to fulfil these above goals which are for the benefit of the whole world.

 

Always hold these things in the back of your mind when reading what happens to Israel – especially the disciplinary judgments or corrections such as we find here.]

 

 

v.37-41 Tassels on Garments as a Reminder

 

v.37 The Lord said to Moses,

v.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.

v.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.

v.40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.

v.41 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord your God.'”

 

[Notes: Sometimes today, someone might put a rubber band around a finger or a wrist to act as a reminder of something they do not want to forget to do. These tassels were a practical reminder to the people of who they were and their calling and, no doubt, these instructions appear here as a reminder not to be law-breakers. They are called to be a holy people.]

      

   

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 16