Numbers 15

  1. The narrative of the previous chapters is interrupted with this one. What reason there may be for this is seen in the notion of sin committed unintentionally and intentionally. The first portion of the chapter is with regard to the offerings of sacrifice. With these offerings there is a propriety to that which is to be offered, and there is no compromise on it (15:1-21).
  2. In 15:22-36, the Lord addresses those who sin unintentionally and those who sin on purpose (intentionally). Wenham said that the Hebrew word that speaks of this unintentional sinning is also associated with the differentiation between manslaughter and murder: “Murder is planned in advance, whereas manslaughter, as defined in Numbers 35:16-28, is committed by accident or in the heat of the moment” (p. 130). With such a distinction we get a better sense of what we are to understand. The NKJV uses an important word in 15:30 that is used also in 14:44; “But the person who does anything presumptuously…” I underscored this word on purpose. Note how it is illustrated in the next section (15:32-36).
  3. The Lord commanded that each Israelite have a symbolic item sewn within in their clothing to give them a constant reminder of the importance of remembering to keep God’s commands (15:37-41).
  4. Application: The teaching in 15:30 is not a teaching that is exclusive to the Old Testament. If the Lord regarded presumptuous sins as He did then, why would any think that He would regard them less today? Presumptuous sins by an individual take away the Lord’s authority and place it with an “authority” that is foreign.