Numbers 15 Commentary

Numbers 15 Commentary

Chapter 15 begins with details on special gifts to the LORD in the land of promise. Any special gift should be made together with a grain offering. Based on regulations concerning grain offerings of Leviticus Chapter 2, you want to conclude that the same rules apply regarding grain offerings. Only a handful was used and the rest was given to Aaron and his sons. The picture of the LORD’S generosity is beautifully painted here. Whenever the LORD is worshipped, man is blessed. Indeed the worship of the LORD blesses the saint.

Again we see how the LORD distinguishes between the rich and the poor. Any sacrifice from the herd attracts a bigger amount of flour while smaller animals – usually given by less rich people – require smaller amounts of flour. The underlying idea stresses the importance of responsibility. With more comes more responsibility. All were stewards before the LORD. The rich as well as the poor poured equal worship regardless of size of sacrifice.

The LORD provisions a way for escaping punishment when the community or individual sins unintentionally. But there appears to be no way for a defiant sinner. Now we can understand the connection between chapters 14 and 15. We came to chapter 15 and thought we just skipped some pages! The story that was flowing nicely, painfully though, was rudely interrupted by what we would consider as repeated instructions. But it’s still one story being told. Here Israel is the defiant sinner. There is simply no way out for them. The LORD will cut them off one by one until an entire generation of sinners is wiped out. Only if there was a mediator!

These pages are looking forward. Moses could only do so much. His mediation role had been stretched to its limit. Under these conditions the thief who had deliberately and willingly chosen a life of crime would not receive forgiveness. The thief who admitted his crimes and accepted a death penalty had no chance at all. Jesus is that man who is higher than Moses – the LORD God Himself who alone could stoop down and save the situation. The forgiveness shown at the cross exemplifies it perfectly! Many of us still receive forgiveness for the sins we intentionally commit. I’m grateful to the LORD for this.

Then we have the story of a Sabbath law breaker! The LORD commands that the law breaker is stoned to death. Again we can see that we are being reminded of Israel’s sin and what it should mean. Israel has just broken the Sabbath. The rest in the land of promise is the Sabbath that Israel has just rejected.

The tassels on their clothes are not a fashion situation but a reminder of the LORD’S COMMANDS. It is a fitting way to end the chapter and also reflect on the events of chapters 13 and 14.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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