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Numbers 15:1-13

Context
Sacrificial Rulings

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.

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 Lord (SJLA); D. J. McCarthy, “The Symbolism of Blood and Sacrifice,” JBL 88 (1969): 166-76; “Further Notes on the Symbolism of Blood and Sacrifice,” JBL 92 (1973): 205-10; J. Milgrom, “Sin Offering or Purification Offering,” VT 21 (1971): 237-39; N. H. Snaith, “Sacrifices in the Old Testament,” VT 7 (1957): 308-17; R. J. Thompson, Penitence and Sacrifice in Early Israel; R. de Vaux, Studies in Old Testament Sacrifice.

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 b.c.). The drink offering was poured out at the base of the altar (see Sir 50:15 and Josephus, Ant. 3.9.4 [3.234]).

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.”



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