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Numbers 15:28-30

Context
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.

Deliberate Sin

15:30 “‘But the person 1  who acts defiantly, 2  whether native-born or a resident foreigner, insults 3  the Lord. 4  That person 5  must be cut off 6  from among his people.

1 tn Heb “soul.”

2 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 Lord said. It is as if the sinner was about to attack God, or at least lifting his hand against God. The implication of the expression is that it was done in full knowledge of the Law (especially since this contrasts throughout with the sins of ignorance). Blatant defiance of the word of the Lord is dealt with differently. For similar expressions, see Exod 14:8 and Num 33:3.

3 tn The verb occurs only in the Piel; it means “to blaspheme,” “to revile.”

4 tn The word order in the Hebrew text places “Yahweh” first for emphasis – it is the Lord such a person insults.

5 tn Heb “soul.”

6 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.



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