Numbers 15:1
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
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Numbers 15:1-2. When the following laws were delivered, is uncertain. But it would seem, from Numbers 15:23, to have been toward the end of their peregrinations, and not long before their settlement in Canaan, consequently at a time when part of that mutinous generation, mentioned in the former chapter, were cut off by death. If this remark be just, these laws were enjoined only to the children of the murmurers, who had not forfeited a right to the inheritance in the promised land, as their fathers had done. Le Clerc, however, is of opinion that the laws here recorded were delivered before the rebellion recorded in the former chapter.

15:1-21 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.The contents of the next five chapters must apparently be referred to the long period of wandering to which Numbers 14:33 the people were condemned. CHAPTER 15

Nu 15:1-41. The Law of Sundry Offerings.

1, 2. The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel—Some infer from Nu 15:23 that the date of this communication must be fixed towards the close of the wanderings in the wilderness; and, also, that all the sacrifices prescribed in the law were to be offered only after the settlement in Canaan.Of meat and drink offerings, Numbers 15:1-16. The law of the first of the dough for a peace-offering, Numbers 15:17-21. The sacrifice for sins of ignorance of the whole congregation, Numbers 15:22-26; or when a single soul is guilty, Numbers 15:27-29. Punishments for presumptuous sinners, Numbers 15:30,31. Of the man that gathered sticks on the sabbath day, and his death, Numbers 15:32-36. God commandeth them to wear fringes on their garments, Numbers 15:37,38. The use thereof, Numbers 15:39-41.

No text from Poole on this verse.

The Lord spake unto Moses,.... After the murmurings of the Israelites by reason of the spies, Numbers 14:2; and their being threatened with a consumption of them in the wilderness on that account, Numbers 14:12; and their defeat at Hormah, Numbers 14:45, and lest their posterity should be discouraged, and despair of ever enjoying the good land:

saying; as follows.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
1–16. Meal-offerings and Libations. These are to accompany both private and public sacrifices, and are arranged according to a fixed scale as follows (ephah = c. 1 bushel; hin = c. 1½ gallon):

  Meal.  Oil.  Wine.

With every lamb  1/10 ephah.  ¼ hin.  ¼ hin.

With every ram  2/10 ephah  ⅓ hin.  ⅓ hin.

With every bullock  3/10 ephah.  ½ hin.  ½ hin.

It will be seen that the amount in each case varies according to the size of the animal. Ezekiel, in his ideal arrangements for worship in the restored Jerusalem, has a similar scale (Ezekiel 46:5-7; Ezekiel 46:11; Ezekiel 46:14), but the amounts are larger, they are not graduated so carefully with respect to the size of the animal, and the libation of wine is not included. The present scale appears to be a later modification of Ezekiel’s.

But while the fixing of definite amounts was probably a late development, the practice of offering meal, oil and wine as an accompaniment of sacrifice was ancient. Men offered to their God the same food which they enjoyed at their own table; cf. Jdg 9:9; Jdg 9:13 (oil and wine), 1 Samuel 1:24; 1 Samuel 10:3 (meal and wine), Hosea 9:4 (wine), Micah 6:7 (oil). Leviticus 2 (P ) contains regulations for meal-offerings, without fixed amounts, but with the addition of salt and frankincense.

Verse 1. - The Lord spake unto Moses. It must have been during the years of wandering, but within those limits it is impossible even to conjecture the probable date. There is no external evidence, and the internal evidence is wholly indecisive. Neither can it be reasonably maintained that these regulations were designed to revive the hope and sustain the faith of the rising generation. Incidentally they may have had some effect in that way, but it is evident that the primary object of their promulgation was simply to supply certain defects and omissions in the Levitical legislation. Why that legislation should have had the fragmentary and unfinished character which it so evidently bears, requiring to be supplemented, here by an isolated commandment, and there by oral tradition, is an interesting and difficult question; but there can be no doubt as to the fact, and it is superfluous to look any further for the reason of the enactments here following. Numbers 15:1Regulations concerning Sacrifices. - Vv. 1-16. For the purpose of reviving the hopes of the new generation that was growing up, and directing their minds to the promised land, during the mournful and barren time when judgment was being executed upon the race that had been condemned, Jehovah communicated various laws through Moses concerning the presentation of sacrifices in the land that He would give them (Numbers 15:1 and Numbers 15:2), whereby the former laws of sacrifice were supplemented and completed. The first of these laws had reference to the connection between meat-offerings and drink-offerings on the one hand, and burnt-offerings and slain-offerings on the other.
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