Numbers 29 Commentary

Numbers 29 Commentary

We have a continuation of instructions on regular festivals. We have three festivals in this chapter – all in the seventh month. The chapter begins with the festival of Trumpets, then the festival of Atonement and lastly the important festival of Tabernacles (shelters or booths). The requirement to blow trumpets may sound strange but not entirely meaningless. It’s the blowing of trumpets that brought down the walls of Jericho. We can think of it as a declaration of the LORD’S victory in a month we can call as the Sabbath month, because of its many Sabbath events.

Again we see whole burnt offerings at these events. The animals are specially selected as food for the LORD – in whole burnt offerings. The regularity of these requirements paints for us a picture of the need for constant fellowship with the LORD. These offerings rank top. They are most holy.

The festival of tabernacles or the festival of shelters reflects the wilderness experiences. Israel is commanded to observe this festival as a way to appreciate the LORD’S presence with them in times of difficulties in the wilderness. But it’s not the difficulties that are important here but the many deliverances. The mathematics in the numbers of offerings during the festival of shelters seem to have a deeper meaning. However here the focus is on the burnt offerings. The two chapters seem to focus on burnt offerings. By these sacrifices the LORD is drawing us closer to Himself in fellowship.

During this month a total of 219 animals are sacrificed. Only 10 animals out of 219 are presented as sin offerings. The rest are offered as burnt offerings – a food offering to the LORD, an aroma pleasing to the LORD. We can see only less than 5% of these sacrifices can be considered as sin offerings. The rest are an act of deep worship put forth by the nation. Could it be that the LORD expects less repentance because saints are more drawn to him than to the world? All animals are male and without defects. Isn’t this telling us more about men’s role in leading mankind back to the LORD in real worship?

The saint is reminded of the need to be fully focused on his relationship with the LORD. It is the real reason for these festivals.

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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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