Numbers 15:3
And will make an offering by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet smell to the LORD, of the herd or of the flock:
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Numbers 15:3. An offering made by fire — This is a general expression for those offerings which were in whole or in part burned upon the altar. A sacrifice in performing a vow — Namely, peace-offerings, which are often called sacrifices, in general, as Exodus 18:12, and Leviticus 17:5; Leviticus 17:8. See the nature of them explained, Leviticus 3:1; Leviticus 7:11.15:1-21 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.To the Israelites of the younger generation is conveyed the hope that the nation should yet enter into the land of promise. The ordinances that follow are more likely to have been addressed to adults than to children; and we may therefore assume that at the date of their delivery the new generation was growing up, and the period of wandering drawing toward its close. During that period the meat-offerings and drink-offerings prescribed by the Law had been probably intermitted by reason of the scanty supply of grain and wine in the wilderness. The command therefore to provide such offerings was a pledge to Israel that it should possess the land which was to furnish the wherewithal for them. 3. make an offering by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering—It is evident that a peace offering is referred to because this term is frequently used in such a sense (Ex 18:12; Le 17:5). A sacrifice, i.e. a peace-offering, as appears,

1. Because that word put by itself is oft so taken, as Exodus 18:12 Leviticus 17:5,8 23:37 Deu 12:27.

2. Because the offerings for sins and trespasses had no meat-offerings and drink-offerings attending upon them, excepting only the case of the

leper’s cleansing, Leviticus 14:10.

3. Because this is explained by and called peace-offereings, Numbers 15:8.

4. From the words here following, because peace-offerings were commonly offerede either in performance of a vow, or freely, or by God’s command in their solemn feasts, all which are here expressed. And will make an offering by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering,.... The first of these respects such offerings by fire, which were not wholly burnt, but part of them were eaten by the priests, Deuteronomy 18:1; and the latter such as were wholly burnt, unless the latter can be thought to be only an explanation of the former:

or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering; these were peace offerings, some of which were for thanksgiving, and others were either a vow or a freewill offering, as here: see Leviticus 7:11,

or in your solemn feasts; as the passover, pentecost, &c. of which, and the offerings in them, see Leviticus 23:4,

to make a sweet savour unto the Lord; for acceptance with him:

of the herd or of the flock; a bullock of the one, a lamb or kid of the goats of the other; fowls are not mentioned, because burnt offerings of them required no drink offerings (f).

(f) Maimon. Maaseh Hakorbanot, c. 2. sect. 2.

And will make an offering by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savor unto the LORD, of the herd or of the flock:
3. an offering by fire] A general term covering every kind of offering that was consumed on the altar. The next words define the two species of these offerings with which the section deals, i.e. burnt- and peace-offerings, after which are mentioned the different occasions (private and public) on which the peace-offerings might be presented.

a sacrifice] This, as distinguished from the burnt-offering, means the peace-offering, of which the worshipper and priest partook. See on Numbers 6:14.

a sweet savour] a soothing odour. The expression had its origin in far-off days when the deity was supposed to be soothed or placated by the actual smell of the sacrificial smoke. In Genesis 8:21 (J ), the only Biblical occurrence of the words earlier than Ezekiel, there is a trace of the primitive conception.Verse 3. - A burnt offering, or a sacrifice, i.e., a whole burnt offering, or a slain offering. There should be a comma after the word "sacrifice." In performing a vow, or in a free-will offering, or in your solemn feasts. The burnt offering, or slain offering, might be offered in either of these three ways, in addition to the more ordinary sacrifices which do not come into question here. (cf. Deuteronomy 1:41-44). The announcement of the sentence plunged the people into deep mourning. But instead of bending penitentially under the judgment of God, they resolved to atone for their error, by preparing the next morning to go to the top of the mountain and press forward into Canaan. And they would not even suffer themselves to be dissuaded from their enterprise by the entreaties of Moses, who denounced it as a transgression of the word of God which could not succeed, and predicted their overthrow before their enemies, but went presumptuously (לעלות יעפּלוּ) up without the ark of the covenant and without Moses, who did not depart out of the midst of the camp, and were smitten by the Amalekites and Canaanites, who drove them back as far as Hormah. Whereas at first they had refused to enter upon the conflict with the Canaanites, through their unbelief in the might of the promise of God, now, through unbelief in the severity of the judgment of God, they resolved to engage in this conflict by their own power, and without the help of God, and to cancel the old sin of unbelieving despair through the new sin of presumptuous self-confidence, - an attempt which could never succeed, but was sure to plunge deeper and deeper into misery. Where "the top (or height) of the mountain" to which the Israelites advanced was, cannot be precisely determined, as we have no minute information concerning the nature of the ground in the neighbourhood of Kadesh. No doubt the allusion is to some plateau on the northern border of the valley mentioned in Numbers 14:25, viz., the Wady Murreh, which formed the southernmost spur of the mountains of the Amorites, from which the Canaanites and Amalekites came against them, and drove them back. In Deuteronomy 1:44, Moses mentions the Amorites instead of the Amalekites and Canaanites, using the name in a broader sense for all the Canaanites, and contenting himself with naming the leading foes with whom the Amalekites who wandered about in the Negeb had allied themselves, as Bedouins thirsting for booty. These tribes came down (Numbers 14:45) from the height of the mountain to the lower plateau or saddle, which the Israelites had ascended, and smote them and יכּתוּם (from כּתת, with the reduplication of the second radical anticipated in the first: see Ewald, 193, c.), "discomfited them, as far as Hormah," or as Moses expressed it in Deuteronomy 1:44, They "chased you, as bees do" (which pursue with great ferocity any one who attacks or disturbs them), "and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah." There is not sufficient ground for altering "in Seir" into "from Seir," as the lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate have done. But בּשׂעיר might signify "into Seir, as far as Hormah." As the Edomites had extended their territory at that time across the Arabah towards the west, and taken possession of a portion of the mountainous country which bounded the desert of Paran towards the north (see at Numbers 34:3), the Israelites, when driven back by them, might easily be chased into the territory of the Edomites. Hormah (i.e., the ban-place) is used here proleptically (see at Numbers 21:3).
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