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In this chapter is a repetition of several laws concerning sacrifices, as the law of the daily sacrifice morning and evening, ( Numbers 28:1-8) of those that were offered every week on the sabbath day, ( Numbers 28:9,10) and every month on the first day of the month, ( Numbers 28:11-15) and on the seven days of unleavened bread, ( Numbers 28:16-25), and at the feast of weeks, ( Numbers 28:26-31).
Ver. 1 . And the Lord spake unto Moses , etc.] The number of the children of Israel being taken, and orders given to divide the land unto them, according to their numbers; it was thought proper by the Lord to renew, or to put in mind of, the laws concerning sacrifices which had been made, and which they were to observe when they came into the land of Canaan; and the rather this was necessary, as it was now thirty eight years ago since these laws were first made, and during that time were much in disuse, at least some of them: and besides, this was a new generation of men that were sprung up, those that were at Mount Sinai at the giving of the law being all dead, except a very few; and now Moses also was about to die, and would be no more with them to remind them of these laws, and see that they were observed; and a successor of him being appointed and constituted, it may be likewise on his account, as well as the people’s, that these laws were repeated: saying ; as follows.
Ver. 2 . Command the children of Israel, and say unto them , etc.] For what follows concerned them all; namely, the offering of their daily, weekly, monthly, and anniversary sacrifices, which were not for private persons, but for the whole congregation; and these might be considered by them not merely as commands and duties to be observed, but as tokens of the divine favour to them, that notwithstanding all their rebellions and provocations in the wilderness, sacrifices for sin were ordered, continued, and accepted of by the Lord; and his acceptance of them, and well pleasedness in them, may easily be observed in the expressions used concerning them: my offering, and my bread ; by “offering” may be meant in general all sacrifices which were offered to the Lord, and by his command; and more especially the burnt offering, which was wholly and peculiarly his, and is after explained by sacrifices made by fire, and it is chiefly of burnt offerings this chapter treats; and by “bread” may be meant either the shewbread, which was set upon a table before the Lord continually, as his bread; so the Targum of Jonathan, “my oblation, the bread of the order of my table, shall the priests eat, but what ye offer on the altar no man has power to eat;” or else the meat offering, or rather, as it may be called, the bread offering, which always went along with burnt offerings; though the copulative “and”, which is not in the text, may be omitted, and both may signify the same, “my offering”, that is, “my bread”; for the sacrifices were the food of God, the provisions of his house, of which there were all sorts in the sacrifices, flesh, bread, and wine; particularly the daily sacrifice was his food every day, and the fat of sacrifices burnt is called the food of the offering made by fire, ( Leviticus 3:16), so Jarchi interprets it, “my offering”, this is the blood; “my bread”, the “amurim”, or fat that covereth the inward parts, which were burnt on the altar: for my sacrifices made by fire for a sweet savour unto me ; which respects burnt offerings, wholly consumed by fire, and were entirely the Lord’s, and which he smelled a sweet savour in, or were acceptable to him: these the children of Israel were to observe to offer unto him in their due season ; the daily sacrifice, morning and evening; not before morning, nor after evening, as Aben Ezra observes; and so all the rest at the proper time fixed, whether weekly, monthly, or yearly. The Jews, from this phrase, “observe to offer unto me”, conclude the necessity of fixing stations, or stationary men, as Jarchi notes; so the tradition is, “these are the stations, as it is said, “command the children of Israel, etc.” but how can the offering of a man be offered, and he not stand by it? wherefore the former prophets appointed twenty four courses, and to every course there was a station at Jerusalem of priests, Levites, and Israelites; and when the time of each course came to go up, the priests and Levites went up to Jerusalem, and the Israelites who belonged to that course went into their cities, and read the history of the creation f432 :” now these stations, or stationary men, were substitutes for, or representatives of all Israel, and stood by the sacrifices when they were offered, in which all Israel were concerned, as particularly in the daily sacrifice, which is here first taken notice of.
Ver. 3 . And thou shalt say unto them , etc.] Having directed Moses to command the people of Israel to observe to offer all the sacrifices of God in general, the Lord proceeds to order him to speak of them to them particularly and distinctly; this, according to Jarchi, is an admonition to the sanhedrim: this is the offering made by fire, which ye shall offer unto the Lord; the daily burnt offering, which was wholly consumed by fire: two lambs of the first year without spot, day by day for a continual burnt offering ; this law was made before, and is directed to in ( Exodus 29:38) where the same things are said as here, only, as a further descriptive character of the lambs, they are here said to be “without spot”; so all sacrifices were to be without blemish, whether expressed or not; and in this, as in other things, these lambs were typical of Christ, the Lamb of God, without spot and blemish; and are said to be a “continual” burnt offering, because they were offered every day in the week, without any intermission, on any account whatever, which is frequently observed in this chapter: and this was to continue, and did continue until the Messiah came, who put an end to it by the sacrifice of himself, as to any real use of it; and was in fact made to cease a few years after, by the utter destruction of Jerusalem, and was before that a little while interrupted in the times of Antiochus, ( Daniel 8:11,12 9:27).
Ver. 4 . The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning , etc.] Every morning, to make atonement for the sins of the night, as the Targum of Jonathan: and the other lamb shall thou offer at even ; or “between the two evenings”, to make atonement for the sins of the day, as the same Targum; in which they prefigured Christ, the Lamb of God, who continually, every day, morning and night, and every moment, takes away the sins of his people, through the virtue and efficacy of his sacrifice, ( John 1:29), (see Gill on “ Exodus 29:39”).
Ver. 5 . And the tenth part of an ephah of flour for a meat offering , etc.] Which always went along with the burnt offering: mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil : which in those times and countries was used instead of butter; and fine flour and this mingled together made a “minchah”, or bread offering, as it should rather be called; of the measures used, (see Gill on “ Exodus 29:40”).
Ver. 6 . It is a continual burnt offering , etc.] For the meat offering was burnt as well as the lambs, at least part of it: which was ordained in Mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord ; that is, this law concerning the daily burnt offering was made on Mount Sinai, so long ago as the children of Israel were there; and it was then ordered that they should continually offer such a sacrifice by fire, which would be grateful and acceptable unto God, especially when done in faith of the sacrifice of his Son it was a type of; or which sacrifice was “made” or offered at Mount Sinai, when the law of it was first given there: hence Aben Ezra observes, that this is a sign that they did not offer burnt offerings in the wilderness after they journeyed from Sinai; but then, though sacrifices were not so frequently offered by them as afterwards, yet one would think that the daily sacrifice would not be omitted, which seemed to be always necessary; nor would there be any, or but little use of the altar, and the fire continually burning on it, if this was the case; (see Amos 5:25).
Ver. 7 . And the drink offering thereof [shall be] the fourth [part] of an hin for the one lamb , etc.] For the lamb offered in the morning, along with the meat offering of which went a drink offering, which was of wine, and strong wine too, as the next clause expresses it; the quantity of which was the fourth part of an hin, which was about a quart and half a pint of our measure: in the holy [place] shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the Lord [for] a drink offering ; that is, in the court of the tabernacle upon the altar of burnt offering, which stood there: the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem interpret it of old choice wine, old wine being reckoned best, (see Luke 5:39), and though this wine was poured out on the altar, and not properly drank by any, yet it was to be the strongest, best, and choicest that could be got, as it was reasonable it should; since it was poured out as a libation or drink offering to the Lord, which was his way of drinking it, as the burning of the sacrifice was his way of eating that; all which was typical of the sufferings, sacrifice, and bloodshed of Christ, which are well pleasing and acceptable to the Lord; (see Isaiah 53:10 Ephesians 5:2).
Ver. 8 . And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even , etc.] As before directed, ( Numbers 28:4): as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, shalt thou offer it ; some think that “caph”, “as”, is put for “beth”, “with”, the letters being similar, and so render the words, “with the meat offering of the morning, and with the drink offering thereof”; but there is no need of such a version, nor is it with propriety; and the meaning is, that a meat offering and a drink offering were to go with the lamb offered at evening, of the same sort, and in like manner, as were offered with the lamb of the morning: a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord ; this is repeated, to encourage the people to offer it, and to show how very acceptable it was to the Lord, especially the antitype of it.
Ver. 9 . And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot , etc.] Just such as were appointed for the daily sacrifice: and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil ; that is, two tenth parts of an ephah of flour mixed with two fourth parts of an hin of oil; of oil olive, as the Targum of Jonathan expresses it, which is always meant, wherever oil is mentioned; which made one meat offering to them doubled for both lambs, or two meat offerings of the same quantity with those of the daily sacrifice, one for one lamb, and the other for the other: and the drink offering thereof : which was of a like quantity of wine doubled, in proportion to the meat offering; when these lambs, with the meat and drink offerings, were offered up, is not said, whether the one in the morning after, and the other in the evening before the daily sacrifice, which is not improbable, or both together.
Ver. 10 . This is the burnt offering of every sabbath , etc.] Or, “of the sabbath in its sabbath” f434 , that is, as Jarchi observes, the burnt offering of one sabbath was not to be offered on another, but only on its own; so that if the sabbath was past, and the offering not offered, it ceased; it was not to be renewed the following sabbath; every sacrifice was to be offered in its own season, ( Numbers 28:2), beside the continual burnt offering, and its drink offering ; and meat offering also, over and above the two lambs of the daily sacrifice; with the offerings that were appendages to them, two other lambs, with proportionate meat and drink offerings, were offered also; the other were not to be omitted on account of these, showing that more religions service was to be performed on sabbath days than on others: it may be rendered “after” or “upon”, to which sense Aben Ezra interprets it, after the daily sacrifice; because, says he, he puts upon it the burnt offering of the sabbath; which seems to confirm what has been suggested on the preceding verse, that these lambs were offered morning and evening after the daily sacrifice, and indeed there was nothing offered before that.
Ver. 11 . And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the Lord , etc.] On the first day of every month, when the new moon appeared; that this was religiously observed appears from the blowing of the trumpets over the sacrifices on this day, from attendance on the word of the Lord, by his prophets, on this day, and from abstinence from worldly business on it, ( Numbers 10:10 2 Kings 4:23 Amos 8:5) two young bullocks, and one ram, seven rams of the first year without spot ; this was the burnt offering, and a very large and costly one it was: more creatures were offered on this day than on a sabbath day; not that this was a more holy day than that, but this was but once a month, and therefore the expense might be the more easily bore, whereas that was every week.
Ver. 12-14. And three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one bullock , etc.] The quantities of flour in the meat offering, for each bullock, and for the ram, and for each lamb, are the same as in ( Numbers 15:4-10) only the quantity of oil for each is not here expressed, which for a bullock was half an hin of oil, for a ram the third part of an hin, and for a lamb the fourth part; and likewise the quantity of wine in the drink offerings for each of them is the same here as there; which, according to the Targum of Jonathan, was to be wine of grapes, and not any other: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the year ; or, “of the month in its month” f435 ; it was to be offered at its appointed time every month, and not to be deferred to another: Jarchi has the same remark here as on verse ten. (See Gill on “ Numbers 28:10”).
Ver. 15 . And one kid of the goats, for a sin offering unto the Lord, shall be offered , etc.] This was an offering of a different sort, not a burnt offering, but a sin offering, typical of Christ, who was made an offering for sin; and it was of that sort of sin offerings which were to be eaten, as the Jews say f436 ; for there were some that were not, even such whose blood was brought into the sanctuary, ( Leviticus 6:30). Maimonides f437 observes, that this phrase, “unto the Lord”, is very particular and expressive, and that the design of it is, to observe that it was offered to the Lord, and not to the moon, as the Egyptians did: besides the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering ; though the burnt offering of this day was so very large, consisting of so many creatures; and besides that a goat for a sin offering; yet the daily sacrifice was not to be omitted, and what belonged to that.
Ver. 16 . And in the fourteenth day of the first month , etc.] The month Nisan, as the Targum of Jonathan or Abib, which, upon the Israelites coming out of Egypt, and on that account, was made the first month; otherwise Tisri or September was the first month, (see Exodus 12:2 13:4), [is] the passover of the Lord ; a feast in which a lamb was killed and eaten, in memory of the Lord’s passing over the houses of the Israelites, when he slew the firstborn in Egypt; (see Exodus 12:6,18,23,27).
Ver. 17 . And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast , etc.] Not of the passover, that was the day before, but of unleavened bread, which began on this day, and lasted seven days, ( Leviticus 23:6) which is what the Jews call the Chagigah: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten ; (see Exodus 12:15,18).
Ver. 18 . In the first day shall be an holy convocation , etc.] The first of the seven days, which was kept in a very religious manner: ye shall do no manner of servile work therein ; except by preparing food to eat; (see Exodus 12:16).
Ver. 19 . But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto the Lord , etc.] Which was to be of the creatures next mentioned: two young bullocks , etc. the same with the burnt offering on the first day of the month, ( Numbers 28:11).
Ver. 22 . And one goat [for] a sin offering, to make atonement for you .] For notwithstanding all their services and sacrifices, and though this day was an holy convocation, yet there was need of a sin offering to expiate their guilt, typical of Christ, who takes away the sins of our holy things as well as all other sins: this sin offering also was of that sort which were eaten; for Maimonides says f438 , the goat of the sin offering was eaten on the second day of the passover, which was the sixteenth of Nisan.
Ver. 23 . Ye shall offer these beside the burnt offering in the morning , etc.] The daily morning sacrifice, and also besides the daily evening sacrifices, though it is not expressed: which is for a continual burnt offering ; and not to be intermitted on any account, let the sacrifices of the day be ever so numerous; great care is taken to observe this.
Ver. 24 . After this manner ye shall offer daily throughout the seven days , etc.] That is, two bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs, for a burnt offering, on everyone of the seven days; but then they were not all holy convocations, only the first and last: the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord ; it seems by this that only the burnt offering was offered up every day, but not a goat of the sin offering, that was peculiar to the first day: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering ; which is again repeated, that it might be diligently observed.
Ver. 26 . Also in the day of the firstfruits , etc.] When the firstfruits of the wheat harvest were brought unto the Lord, which was the day of Pentecost, fifty days from the sheaf of the wave offering being brought: when ye bring a new meat offering unto the Lord ; that is, a meat offering made of the new corn, which were two wave loaves of two tenth deals of fine flour, baked with leaven, ( Leviticus 23:15-17) after your weeks be out ; the seven weeks from the passover to Pentecost, even seven complete sabbaths or weeks, ( Leviticus 23:15) ye shall have an holy convocation, ye shall do no servile work ; (see Leviticus 23:21).
Ver. 27-30. But ye shall offer the burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the Lord , etc.] Which was of the same kind, and was of the same number of creatures as on the first day of the month, and on the seven days of unleavened bread, ( Numbers 28:11,19,24), and the meat offering which went along with this was of the same quantity of flour to each creature as in the above mentioned sacrifices; and on this day also was offered a kid of the goats for a sin offering; and there were also peace offerings which are not mentioned here, nor is there any mention of any in the whole chapter; (see Leviticus 23:19).
Ver. 31 . And ye shall offer them besides the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering , etc.] The daily sacrifice of the morning and evening, so often mentioned in this chapter, and so frequently inculcated as not to be omitted, either in the weekly, monthly, or anniversary festivals; it being so necessary a sacrifice, and so eminent a type of the great sacrifice of the Messiah: they shall be unto you without blemish, and their drink offerings ; the flour, of which the meat offerings were made, was to be pure and clean, and free from vermin; and the wine for the drink offering was not to be palled, and dead, and dreggy: of the former, it is said in the Misnah f439 , “the treasurer puts his hand into it (the flour); if there comes any dust with it,” it is rejected; if it produces worms, it is rejected: this, the commentators say f440 , is to be understood, if the greatest part of it is such; and with respect to the latter, Jarchi says, our Rabbins learn from hence (this passage of Scripture) that wine in which flour rises (or a dregginess like flour) it is unfit for drink offerings, for they should be perfect: this denotes the purity of Christ, the bread of life, and his spotless and perfect sacrifice, when his soul was poured out unto death.