15:1 1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 15:2 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘When you enter the land where you are to live, 2 which I am giving you, 3 15:3 and you make an offering by fire to the Lord from the herd or from the flock (whether a burnt offering or a sacrifice for discharging a vow or as a freewill offering or in your solemn feasts) to create a pleasing aroma to the Lord, 15:4 then the one who presents his offering to the Lord must bring 4 a grain offering of one-tenth of an ephah of finely ground flour mixed with one fourth of a hin of olive oil. 5 15:5 You must also prepare one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering 6 with the burnt offering or the sacrifice for each lamb. 7 15:6 Or for a ram, you must prepare as a grain offering two-tenths of an ephah of finely ground flour mixed with one-third of a hin of olive oil, 15:7 and for a drink offering you must offer one-third of a hin of wine as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 15:8 And when you prepare a young bull as a burnt offering or a sacrifice for discharging a vow or as a peace offering to the Lord, 15:9 then a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of finely ground flour mixed with half a hin of olive oil must be presented 8 with the young bull, 15:10 and you must present as the drink offering half a hin of wine with the fire offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 15:11 This is what is to be done 9 for each ox, or each ram, or each of the male lambs or the goats. 15:12 You must do so for each one according to the number that you prepare.
15:13 “‘Every native-born person must do these things in this way to present an offering made by fire as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 15:14 If a resident foreigner is living 10 with you – or whoever is among you 11 in future generations 12 – and prepares an offering made by fire as a pleasing aroma to the Lord, he must do it the same way you are to do it. 13 15:15 One statute must apply 14 to you who belong to the congregation and to the resident foreigner who is living among you, as a permanent 15 statute for your future generations. You and the resident foreigner will be alike 16 before the Lord. 15:16 One law and one custom must apply to you and to the resident foreigner who lives alongside you.’”
15:17 The Lord spoke to Moses: 15:18 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘When you enter the land to which I am bringing you 17 15:19 and you eat 18 some of the food of the land, you must offer up a raised offering 19 to the Lord. 15:20 You must offer up a cake of the first of your finely ground flour 20 as a raised offering; as you offer the raised offering of the threshing floor, so you must offer it up. 15:21 You must give to the Lord some of the first of your finely ground flour as a raised offering in your future generations.
15:22 21 “‘If you 22 sin unintentionally and do not observe all these commandments that the Lord has spoken to Moses – 15:23 all that the Lord has commanded you by the authority 23 of Moses, from the day that the Lord commanded Moses and continuing through your future generations – 15:24 then if anything is done unintentionally 24 without the knowledge of 25 the community, the whole community must prepare one young bull for a burnt offering – for a pleasing aroma to the Lord – along with its grain offering and its customary drink offering, and one male goat for a purification offering. 15:25 And the priest is to make atonement 26 for the whole community of the Israelites, and they will be forgiven, 27 because it was unintentional and they have brought their offering, an offering made by fire to the Lord, and their purification offering before the Lord, for their unintentional offense. 15:26 And the whole community 28 of the Israelites and the resident foreigner who lives among them will be forgiven, since all the people were involved in the unintentional offense.
15:27 “‘If any person 29 sins unintentionally, then he must bring a yearling female goat for a purification offering. 15:28 And the priest must make atonement for the person who sins unintentionally – when he sins unintentionally before the Lord – to make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven. 15:29 You must have one law for the person who sins unintentionally, both for the native-born among the Israelites and for the resident foreigner who lives among them.
15:30 “‘But the person 30 who acts defiantly, 31 whether native-born or a resident foreigner, insults 32 the Lord. 33 That person 34 must be cut off 35 from among his people. 15:31 Because he has despised 36 the word of the Lord and has broken 37 his commandment, that person 38 must be completely cut off. 39 His iniquity will be on him.’” 40
15:32 When the Israelites were 41 in the wilderness they found a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 42 15:33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and to the whole community. 15:34 They put him in custody, because there was no clear instruction about what should be done to him. 15:35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must surely be put to death; the whole community must stone 43 him with stones outside the camp.” 15:36 So the whole community took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, 44 just as the Lord commanded Moses.
15:37 The Lord spoke to Moses: 15:38 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them to make 45 tassels 46 for themselves on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and put a blue thread 47 on the tassel of the corners. 15:39 You must have this tassel so that you may look at it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and obey them and so that you do not follow 48 after your own heart and your own eyes that lead you to unfaithfulness. 49 15:40 Thus 50 you will remember and obey all my commandments and be holy to your God. 15:41 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord your God.”
1 sn The wilderness wandering officially having begun, these rules were then given for the people to be used when they finally entered the land. That they would be provided here would be of some encouragement to the nation after their great failure. God still spoke of a land that was to be their land, even though they had sinned greatly. This chapter collects a number of religious rules. The first 16 verses deal with rulings for sacrifices. Then, vv. 17-36 concerns sins of omission. Finally, rules concerning tassels are covered (vv. 37-41). For additional reading, see G. B. Gray, Sacrifice in the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon, 1925); B. A. Levine, In the Presence of the
2 tn Heb “the land of your habitations.”
3 tn The Hebrew participle here has the futur instans use of the participle, expressing that something is going to take place. It is not imminent, but it is certain that God would give the land to Israel.
4 tn The three words at the beginning of this verse are all etymologically related: “the one who offers his offering shall offer.”
5 sn Obviously, as the wording of the text affirms, this kind of offering would be made after they were in the land and able to produce the grain and oil for the sacrifices. The instructions anticipated their ability to do this, and this would give hope to them. The amounts are difficult to determine, but it may be that they were to bring 4.5 liters of flour and 1.8 liters each of oil and wine.
6 sn The drink-offering was an ancient custom, mentioned in the Ugaritic tablets of Ras Shamra (14th century
7 tn Heb “for the one lamb,” but it clearly means “for each lamb.”
8 tn The text changes from direct address here to the third person form of the verb. If the MT is correct, then to make a smooth translation it would need to be made a passive (in view of the fact that no subject is expressed).
9 tn Heb “according to thus shall it be done.”
10 tn The word גּוּר (gur) was traditionally translated “to sojourn,” i.e., to live temporarily in a land. Here the two words are from the root: “if a sojourner sojourns.”
11 tn Heb “in your midst.”
12 tn The Hebrew text just has “to your generations,” but it means in the future.
13 tn The imperfect tenses must reflect the responsibility to comply with the law, and so the classifications of instruction or obligation may be applied.
14 tn The word “apply” is supplied in the translation.
15 tn Or “a statute forever.”
16 tn Heb “as you, as [so] the alien.”
17 tn The relative clause is literally, “which I am causing you to enter there.” The final adverb is resumptive, and must be joined with the relative pronoun.
18 tn The verse has a temporal clause that actually continues or supplements the temporal clause of the preceding verse. It is made up of the temporal indicator, the infinitive construct with the preposition, and the suffixed subjective genitive: “and it shall be when you eat.” Here it is translated simply “and eat” since the temporal element was introduced in the last verse.
19 tn This is the תְּרוּמָה (tÿrumah), the “raised offering” or “heave offering” (cf. KJV, ASV). It may simply be called a “contribution” (so NAB). The verb of the sentence is from the same root: “you shall lift up/raise up.” It was to be an offering separated from the rest and raised up to the
20 tn Or “the first of your dough.” The phrase is not very clear. N. H. Snaith thinks it means a batch of loaves from the kneading trough – the first batch of the baking (Leviticus and Numbers [NCB], 251).
21 sn These regulations supplement what was already ruled on in the Levitical code for the purification and reparation offerings. See those rulings in Lev 4-7 for all the details. Some biblical scholars view the rules in Leviticus as more elaborate and therefore later. However, this probably represents a misunderstanding of the purpose of each collection.
22 tn The verb is the plural imperfect; the sin discussed here is a sin committed by the community, or the larger part of the community.
23 tn Heb “hand.”
24 tn The idea of לִשְׁגָגָה (lishgagah) seems to be that of “inadvertence” or “without intent.” The text gives no indication of how this offense might be committed, or what it might include. It probably describes any transgressions done in ignorance of the Law that involved a violation of tabernacle procedure or priestly protocol or social misdemeanor. Even though it was done unintentionally, it was still a violation and called for ritual purification.
25 tn Heb “[away] from the eyes of the community.”
26 tn The verb is the Piel perfect with vav (ו) consecutive (וְכִפֶּר, vÿkhipper) to continue the instruction of the passage: “the priest shall make atonement,” meaning the priest is to make atonement for the sin (thus the present translation). This verb means “to expiate,” “to atone for,” “to pacify.” It describes the ritual events by which someone who was separated from the holy
27 tn Or “they will be forgiven.”
28 tn Again, rather than translate literally “and it shall be forgiven [to] them” (all the community), one could say, “they (all the community) will be forgiven.” The meaning is the same.
29 tn The Hebrew text hasוְאִם־נֶפֶשׁ אַחַת (vÿ’im-nefesh ’akhat), sometime translated “and if any soul.” But the word describes the whole person, the soul in the body; it refers here to the individual who sins.
30 tn Heb “soul.”
31 tn The sin is described literally as acting “with a high hand” – בְּיָד רָמָה (bÿyad ramah). The expression means that someone would do something with deliberate defiance, with an arrogance in spite of what the
32 tn The verb occurs only in the Piel; it means “to blaspheme,” “to revile.”
33 tn The word order in the Hebrew text places “Yahweh” first for emphasis – it is the
34 tn Heb “soul.”
35 tn The clause begins with “and” because the verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive. As discussed with Num 9:13, to be cut off could mean excommunication from the community, death by the community, or death by divine intervention.
36 tn The verb בָּזָה (bazah, “to despise”) means to treat something as worthless, to treat it with contempt, to look down the nose at something as it were.
37 tn The verb פָּרַר (parar, “to break”) can mean to nullify, break, or violate a covenant.
38 tn Heb “soul.”
39 tn The construction uses the Niphal imperfect with the modifying Niphal infinitive absolute. The infinitive makes the sentence more emphatic. If the imperfect tense is taken as an instruction imperfect, then the infinitive makes the instruction more binding. If it is a simple future, then the future is certain. In either case, there is no exclusion from being cut off.
40 sn The point is that the person’s iniquity remains with him – he must pay for his sin. The judgment of God in such a case is both appropriate and unavoidable.
41 tn The preterite of the verb “to be” is here subordinated to the next, parallel verb form, to form a temporal clause.
42 sn For this brief passage, see A. Phillips, “The Case of the Woodgatherer Reconsidered,” VT 19 (1969): 125-28; J. Weingreen, “The Case of the Woodgatherer (Numbers XV 32-36),” VT 16 (1966): 361-64; and B. J. Bamberger, “Revelations of Torah after Sinai,” HUCA 16 (1941): 97-113. Weingreen argues that there is something of the Rabbinic method of setting a fence around the Law here; in other words, if this sin were not punished, the Law would have been violated in greater ways. Gathering of wood, although seemingly harmless, is done with intent to kindle fire, and so reveals a culpable intent.
43 tn The sentence begins with the emphatic use of the infinitive absolute with the verb in the Hophal imperfect: “he shall surely be put to death.” Then, a second infinitive absolute רָגוֹם (ragom) provides the explanatory activity – all the community is to stone him with stones. The punishment is consistent with other decrees from God (see Exod 31:14,15; 35:2). Moses had either forgotten such, or they had simply neglected to (or were hesitant to) enact them.
44 tn Heb “stoned him with stones, and he died.”
45 tn The construction uses the imperative followed by perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutives. The first perfect tense may be translated as the imperative, but the second, being a third common plural form, has to be subordinated as a purpose clause, or as the object of the preceding verb: “speak…and say…that they make.”
46 sn This is a reference to the צִיצִת (tsitsit), the fringes on the borders of the robes. They were meant to hang from the corners of the upper garment (Deut 22:12), which was worn on top of the clothing. The tassel was probably made by twisting the overhanging threads of the garment into a knot that would hang down. This was a reminder of the covenant. The tassels were retained down through history, and today more elaborate prayer shawls with tassels are worn during prayer. For more information, see F. J. Stephens, “The Ancient Significance of Sisith,” JBL 50 (1931): 59-70; and S. Bertman, “Tasselled Garments in the Ancient East Mediterranean,” BA 24 (1961): 119-28.
47 sn The blue color may represent the heavenly origin of the Law, or perhaps, since it is a royal color, the majesty of the
48 tn Heb “seek out, look into.”
49 tn This last clause is a relative clause explaining the influence of the human heart and physical sight. It literally says, “which you go whoring after them.” The verb for “whoring” may be interpreted to mean “act unfaithfully.” So, the idea is these influences lead to unfaithful activity: “after which you act unfaithfully.”
50 tn This clause also serves as a purpose/result clause of the preceding – “in order that you may remember….” But because the line is so long, it is simpler to make this a separate sentence in the translation.