Page images


15 "One ordinance shall be both for you of

the congregation, and also for the stranger 1 The law of the meat offering and the drink offering. 13, 29 The stranger is under the same law.

that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for 17 The law of the first of the dough for an heave ever in your generations : as ye are, so shall offering. 22 The sucrifice for sin of ignorance. the stranger be before the LORD. 30 The punishment of presumption. 32 He that 16 One law and one manner shall be for violated the sabbath is stoned. 37 The law of

you, and for the stranger that sojourneth fringes.

with you. AND the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 17 | And the LORD spake unto Moses,

2 'Speak unto the children of Israel, and saying, say unto them, When ye be come into the 18 Speak unto the children of Israel, and land of your habitations, which I give unto say unto them, When ye come into the land you,

| whither I bring you, 3 And will make an offering by fire unto | 19 Then it shall be, that, when ye eat of the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice ?in the bread of the land, ye shall offer up an 8performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, heave offering unto the Lord. or in your solemn feasts, to make a "sweet 20 Ye shall offer up a cake of the first of savour unto the LORD, of the herd, or of the | your dough for an heave offering: as ye do flock:

the heave offering of the threshingfloor, so 4 Then 'shall he that offereth his offering shall ye heave it. unto the Lord bring a meat offering of a 21 Of the first of your dough ye shall give tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth unto the Lord an heave offering in your part of an hin of oil.

generations. 5 And the fourth part of an hin of wine 22 | And if ye have erred, and not obfor a drink offering shalt thou prepare with served all these commandments, which the the burnt offering or sacrifice, for one lamb. | Lord hath spoken unto Moses,

6 Or for a ram, thou shalt prepare for a 23 Even all that the LORD hath commeat offering two tenth deals of flour mingled manded you by the hand of Moses, from the with the third part of an hin of oil.

day that the Lord commanded Moses, and 7 And for a drink offering thou shalt offer | henceforward among your generations; the third part of an hin of wine, for a sweet 24 Then it shall be, if ought be committed savour unto the LORD.

by ignorance 'without the knowledge of the 8 And when thou preparest a bullock for | congregation, that all the congregation shall a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice in perform offer one young bullock for a burnt offering, ing a vow, or peace offerings unto the LORD: for a sweet savour unto the LORD, with his

9 Then shall he bring with a bullock a | meat offering, and his drink offering, accordmeat offering of three tenth deals of flour ing to the #manner, and one kid of the goats mingled with half an hin of oil.

for a sin offering. 10 And thou shalt bring for a drink offer- 25 And the priest shall make an atoneing half an hin of wine, for an offering made ment for all the congregation of the children by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD. of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them; for

11 Thus shall it be done for one bullock, it is ignorance: and they shall bring their or for one ram, or for a lamb, or a kid. offering, a sacrifice made by fire unto the

12 According to the number that ye shall Lord, and their sin offering before the LORD, prepare, so shall ye do to every one accord for their ignorance: ing to their number.

26 And it shall be forgiven all the con13 All that are born of the country shall gregation of the children of Israel, and the do these things after this manner, in offering stranger that sojourneth among them; seean offering made by fire, of a sweet savour ing all the people were in ignorance. unto the LORD.

27 9 And if any soul sin through igno14 And if a stranger sojourn with you, or rance, then he shall bring a she goat of the whosoever be among you in your generations, first year for a sin offering. and will offer an offering made by fire, of a 28 And the priest shall make an atonesweet savour unto the LORD; as ye do, soment for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, shall he do.

when he sinneth by ignorance before the

1 Levit. 23. 10. 366

2 Levit. 22. 21. 3 Heb, separating.

7 Heb. from the eyes,

Exod. 29. 18. 8 Or, ordinance.

5 Levit. 2. 1. Levit. 4. 27.

6 Exod. 12. 49. Chap. 9. 14.

LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it man shall be surely put to death: all the shall be forgiven him.

congregation shall stone him with stones 29 Ye shall have one law for him that without the camp. 10 sinneth through ignorance, both for him 36 And all the congregation brought that is born among the children of Israel, and him without the camp, and stoned him with for the stranger that sojourneth among them. stones, and he died; as the LORD com

30 q But the soul that doeth ought "pre | manded Moses. sumptuously, whether he be born in the land, | 37 | And the LORD spake unto Moses, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; saying, and that soul shall be cut off from among his 38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and people.

bid 13them that they make them fringes in 31 Because he hath despised the word of the borders of their garments throughout the LORD, and hath broken his command-their generations, and that they put upon ment, that soul shall utterly be cut off : his the fringe of the borders a riband of blue : iniquity shall be upon him.

39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, 32 s And while the children of Israel that ye may look upon it, and remember all were in the wilderness, they found a man the commandments of the LORD, and do that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. them; and that ye seek not after your own

33 And they that found him gathering heart and your own eyes, after which ye. sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, use to go a whoring : and unto all the congregation.

40 That ye may remember, and do all my 34 And they put him "?in ward, because commandments, and be holy unto your God. it was not declared what should be done to | 41 I am the LORD your God, which him.

| brought you out of the land of Egypt, to 35 And the LORD said unto Moses, The be your God: I am the LORD your God.

thent, that sol be upon the cl

10 Heb. doeth. 11 Heb. with an high hand. 12 Levit. 2. 4, 12. 13 Deut. 22. 12. Matth. 23. 5.

24. “ If ought be committed by ignorance." -This law is different from that concerning sins of ignorance as specified in Levit. iv.: and it is therefore probable that a different class of offences is intended. It is very commonly thought that the law there is for the less aggravated infractions of the moral law, and that now before us for those of the ceremonial law, that is, of that law which prescribed the usages of divine worship; and the different ceremonies of purification which were to be performed in the various instances which the law specifies.

30. Presumptuously.-Joy ya, be-yad ramah, “with a high hand.” It is desirable to obtain a clear idea of what is here meant, as this will enable us the better to understand the apparent severity of the ensuing punishment of the sabbath-breaker, and of other punishments of a similar character. Upon the whole we think that the most explanatory understanding is that stated by Michaelis; who is of opinion that while it certainly implies will-trangression, it does not apply to the wilful violation of every Mosaic commandment, but only of the ceremonial law as distinguished from the criminal. This is indeed evident from the fact that many offences, which the criminal law must regard as wilful and deliberate, have a much milder punishment than is here assigned to sius of presumption. Sinning “ with a high hand" would therefore indicate an offence against the ceremonial law, open and daring, in which the sinner has no desire to conceal that he has transgressed the law of God. Thus in the strongest manner he “reproacheth the Lord," and " hath despised the word of the Lord.” “It appears to me,” says Michaelis, “ that transgressing the law presumptuously, or with a high hand, is here to be understood of transgressions committed publicly in defiance of the law, and therefore amounting to a sort of renouncement of religion.”....“ Capital punishments," he continues, "on account of transgressions of the ceremonial law, must have been very frequent indeed, if we are to understand the phrase, with a high hand, as equivalent to wilful or deliberate in a moral sense; and yet in the Biblical history, we find but very little notice of the infliction of such punishments." (* Commentaries,' Art. 249.)

32. They found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.”—This remarkable incident will perhaps be the better understood when regarded in connection with the immediately preceding law, relative to sins of presumption as distinguished from sins of ignorance and as to be punished with extirpation. It seems indeed that the fact is related as an example of the application of the preceding law. This is the only example in the Bible of a person punished capitally for breaking the sabbath, although the crime itself is often mentioned in the Prophets; and this therefore is the place for a few observations as to a punishment which to us is apt to seem severely disproportioned to the offence, which, taken in its mere external aspect, was merely that of picking up some sticks, or straw, or stubble. Was this labour? Might not the man have thought such an act allowable without infraction of the law ? Few people have read this passage without asking such questions. The act itself of gathering sticks was certainly not forbidden on the sabbath ; but the having a fire in a house, and the employment of it for dressing victuals, was expressly forbidden. Thus then if we acquit the man of one branch of offence, we must find him guilty of the other guilty of sabbath-breaking. But then the question recurs, on what ground the crime itself of sabbath-breaking was made so highly penal by the Hebrew law? The answer is found in the strong probability that the man “sinned with a high hand"-audaciously, and with open contempt of a well known command. Let us therefore look to the declared object of the institution, to ascertain the degree of criminality which its presumptuous infraction involved. The seventh day was to be kept holy in remembrance of God's having, after the six days of creation, rested on the seventh day from all his works. The imitation of this rest was to be to the Hebrews a sign of the covenant between the God who made heaven and earth, and them-of his being peculiarly their God (see Exod. xxxi. 13. 17); and therefore the prescribed observance of this institution was equivalent to a weekly profession that the people acknowledged and revered the Creator of heaven and earth

as the true and only God; and the law was thus, as Michaelis observes, closely connected with the fundamental principles of the Mosaic legislation, whose object was to keep the people from idolatry, and maintain the worship of one

doing so exposed himself to the punishment of death. It ought further to be observed, that Jehovah being in a civil sense the king of the Israelites and the founder of their government, to disown him, by this or any other act, was at the same time a crime against the state, and was therefore liable to punishment on this ground also. We think that these considerations will exhibit the grounds on which this sabbath-breaker was punished with death; his crime (though trifling in words) being evidently of the wilful and presumptuous character to which the statements in this and the preceding note refer.

34. “ And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.”—Death had been declared the punishment of a profanation of the sabbath in Exod. xxxi. 14 ; xxxv. 2; but not the manner of death. It is therefore thought by some that this was the question to be decided. Taken in connection with what had previously been said concerning sins of ignorance and sins of presumption, it seems, however, quite as probable that the doubtful point was, under which of the two classes of sin this man's crime should be classed, and, consequently, whether the capital punishment had been incurred or not. On many occasions it could only be clearly known to the criminal himself and to the great “Searcher of hearts,” to whom the question was now submitted, whether the offender sinned through ignorance or error, or with that audacious defiance of the law and contempt against God, which seems to have constituted the deep crime to be punished with death.

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

Verse 38. “ Fringes." —According to Herodotus, the dress of the Egyptians consisted of a linen garment, over which was worn a white woollen cloak or shawl. The former, which seems to have been often, if not generally, worn without the other, was fringed at the bottom; and as it is probable that the Israelites while in Egypt, and till they entered Canaan, conformed to the Egyptian costume, it is thought by Le Clerc and others, that the “ fringes" now noticed

previously unknown; and if there were any real analogy, it may as well have arisen from the Egyptians having borrowed a Jewish usage at some time in the course of the long period between the times of Moses and Herodotus. Con. cerning the form of this fringe perhaps nothing positive can be determined. Some endeavour to ascertain its character by examining the two Hebrew words by which it is expressed. These are n'y'y, zizith, in the present text, and . gedilim, in Deut. xxii. 12. The former of these words elsewhere (as in Ezek. viii. 3) means a lock of hair; and the latter a rope, such as that with which Dalilah bound Samson (Judges xiv. II, 12); and it is hence imagined that these fringes consisted of many threads which hung like hair, and were twisted like a rope. As to the “riband of blue” in the next verse, to be put upon the fringe; the word should be “thread," not “riband;" or else it may signify a lace, as it is rendered in Exod. xxxix. 31. It may therefore have been either a blue thread twisted with a white one through the whole fringe, or else a lace by which the fringe was fastened to the edge of the garment. There are many commentators of authority, however, who think, from the explanation in Deut. xxii., that the “fringes” were no other than strings with tassels at the end, fastened to the four corners of the upper garment, the proper use of these strings being to fasten the corners together. Of this opinion are the modern Jews, as appears by the following description, taken chiefly from Levi's Ceremonies of the Jews:'-Every male of the Jewish nation is obliged to have a garment with fringes at the four corners; and every morning when they put on these garments they take the fringes in their hand, and say “ Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who hast sanctified us with thy commandments, and commanded us the commandment of the fringes!” What they understand by the direction of the text appears from his description of the zizith or robe in question. It is made of two square pieces with two long pieces like straps joined to them, in order that one of the said pieces may hang down before upon the breast, and the other behind ; at the extremity of the four corners are fastened the strings, each of which has five knots besides the tassel, signifying the five books of the law. The Rabbins, under whose instruction this profound analogy has been established, further observe that each string consisted of eight threads, which, with the number of knots and the numeral value of the letters in the word zizith, make 613, which is, according to them, the exact number of the precepts in the law. From this they argue the importance of this command, since he who observes it, they say, in effect observes the whole law!

There have been various conjectures as to the object of this law. The most probable is that the “ fringe" was intended as a sort of badge or livery, by which, as well as by circumcision and by the fashion of their beards, and by their peculiar diet, the Hebrews were to be distinguished froin other people. Be this as it may, much superstition came in the end to be connected with the use of these fringes. The Pharisees are severely censured by our Saviour for the ostentatious hypocrisy with which they made broad the borders of their garments. Our Lord himself wore the fringe, which is commonly called in the New Testament the "hem or border," and it was this part of his dress which the sick desired to touch, under the impression that the contact would make them whole. It was probably the peculiar sanctity of this part of the dress, which directed attention to it in preference, for we inay be certain that Christ himself did not point it out. We think that we may thus obtain a new light on the subject which has escaped observation. In Luke viii. 43, a woman having an issue of blood comes behind him, touches the “ border" of his garment, and is healed. She afterwards falls down at his feet and acknowledges what she had done. Hence the “ fringe," so to call it, was not, as the modern Jews think, before exclusively, but behind also, if not wholly behind ; and hence also the same fringe could scarcely have been at the bottom of the robe, as the other account supposes. We may therefore ask whether it was not in fact such an embroidered edge, of various breadth, as we now see wrought with coloured worsted or silk around the opening for the neck and down the breast of the abba, or woollen mantle, now in use among the Arabs (see the note on Exod. xxii. 27), and which is a very ancient article of dress, and probably in use among the Jews. This border might, on the one hand, be touched by a person behind the wearer, while on the other, the part in front would be under his own eye, as the law seems to require. We would by no means make a stand upon this conjecture; but being founded on a real Oriental usage, it is at least entitled to as much attention as the others, which are not so. Further information on the subject of these fringes may be found in Ainsworth's ' Annotations, and Jennings's · Jewish Antiquities.'


cvery one of them, and the Lord is among

them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves i The rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Aliram. 23

| above the congregation of ihe LORD? Mloses separateth the people from the rebels tents. 31 The earth swalloweth up Korah, and a fire

fire. 4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon consumeth others.. 36 The censers are reserved | his face: to holy use. 41 Fourteen thousand and seven 5 And he spake unto Korah and unto all hundred are slain by a plugue for murmuring his company, saving. Even to morrow the against Moses and Auron. 46 Aaron by incense

LORD will shew who are his, and who is stayeth the plague.

holy; and will cause him to come near unto Now 'Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of him: even him whom he hath chosen will he Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and cause to come near unto him. Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son 6 This do; Take you censers, Korah, of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:

and all his company; 2 And they rose up before Moses, with 7. And put fire therein, and put incense certain of the children of Israel, two hun- | in them before the Lord to morrow : and it dred and fifty princes of the assembly, 'fa- shall be that the man whom the Lord doth mous in the congregation, men of renown: I choose, he shall be lioly: ye take too much

3 And they gathered themselves toge- | upon you, ye sons of Levi. ther against Moses and against Aaron, and 8 And Moses said unto Korah, Hcar, I said unto them, 'Ye take too much upon pray you, ye sons of Levi: you, seeing all the congregation are holy, 9 Seemeth it but a small thing unto you,

Chap. 27.3. Ecclus. 45. 18. Jude 11.

2 Chap. 26. 2.

3 lleb. It is much for you,

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

that the God of Israel hath separated you, vineyards: wilt thou 'put out the eyes of from the congregation of Israel, to bring these men ? we will not come up. you near to himself to do the service of the 15 And Moses was very wroth, and said tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before unto the LORD, 'Respect not thou their offer. the congregation to minister unto them? ing: I have not taken one ass from them,

10 And he hath brought thee near to him, neither have I hurt one of them. and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with 16 And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou thee: and seek ye the priesthood also ? and all thy company before the LORD, thou,

11 For which cause both thou and all thy and they, and Aaron, to morrow: company are gathered together against the 17 And take every man his censer, and LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur put incense in them, and bring ye before against him?

the LORD every man his censer, two hun12 | And Moses sent to call Dathan and dred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We each of you his censer. will not come up:

18 And they took every man his censer, 13 Is it a small thing that thou hast and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, brought us up out of a land that floweth and stood in the door of the tabernacle of with milk and honey, to kill us in the wil- | the congregation with Moses and Aaron. derness, except thou make thyself altogether 1 19 And Korah gathered all the congrea prince over us?

gation against them unto the door of the 14 Moreover thou hast not brought us tabernacle of the congregation: and the into a land that floweth with milk and glory of the LORD appeared unto all the honey, or given us inheritance of fields and congregation.

* Heb. bore out. sGen. 4.4.

« PreviousContinue »