Devotional Readings, M'Cheyne Bible Reading Notes

Numbers 29-30 – I have a number of thoughts on these chapters…And note there is a lot of Bull discussed here.i

Ok, these are not likely the most theological significant. But after so many numerous readings of Numbers, it felt like I was finally getting some idea of the sacrifices and offerings. Chapter 29 is rich in it’s details.

I found several links to tables or charts that summarize the offerings. (Note: for reference only I have not researched any of the other materials by these authors so use caution)

The Five Levitical Offerings

Offerings in Leviticus Chart. I made this chart to help simplify what’s often confusing about the sacrifices. You can download it here.

And this one covers the ones in the current text.

Numbers 28-30

And one author presented a table of perhaps the most extreme of the regularly required offerings:

The Striking Quantity of Sukkot Sacrifices

In describing the offerings for Sukkot, the holiday offering section in Parashat Pinchas stipulates the sacrifice of a total of seventy bulls as burnt offerings spread over the seven-day autumn pilgrimage festival (Numbers 29:12-34), in addition to the other sacrifices of the day. This huge number of offerings is striking, especially in comparison with other Pentateuchal festivals, none of which requires more than two bulls per day.

For illustration, see the chart below compares the offerings of Sukkot, and Matzot, the spring New Year festival:

Again I caution and use discernment when using materials on links I share.

Finally, in chapter 30 John Gill offers some meaningful commentary in understanding vows and oaths.

Curiously much of the chapter is in regard to a father’s’ or husbands role in overseeing any vows and oaths made by their daughters or wives. Probably not the most politically correct teachings today but certainly a call to men to speak up and not just hold their peace accepting everything the women in their lives do.

The closest the NT comes to this idea is in this passage.

Wives and Husbands

Eph 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Eph 5:23  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Eph 5:24  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Eph 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Eph 5:28  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Eph 5:29  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

Eph 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Eph 5:31  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Eph 5:33  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Numbers 30:1

And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes,…. Or the princes of them, who could more easily be convened, and who used to meet on certain occasions, and on whom it lay to see various laws put in execution:

concerning the children of Israel; how they ought to conduct and behave in the following case, it being an affair which concerned them all:

saying, this is the thing which the Lord hath commanded; relating to vows. Aben Ezra is of opinion that this was delivered after the battle with Midian, of which there is an account in the following chapter, and is occasioned by what was said, to the tribes of Gad and Reuben, Num 32:24.

do that which hath proceeded out of your mouth; to which they replied:

thy servants will do as my lord commandeth; upon which the nature of a vow, and the manner of keeping it, are observed; but the occasion of it rather seems to be what is said towards the close of the foregoing chapter, Num 29:39, that the various sacrifices there directed were to be offered in their season, besides the vows and freewill offerings; and when these were ratified and confirmed, and when null and void, and to be fulfilled or neglected, is the principal business of this chapter.

Numbers 29:39  These things ye shall do unto the LORD in your set feasts, beside your vows, and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your meat offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings.

Numbers 30:2

If a man vow a vow unto the Lord,…. Which must be in a thing that is lawful to be done, which is not contrary to the revealed will and mind of God, and which may tend to the glory of God, the honour of religion, the service of the sanctuary, the good of a man’s self or of his neighbour; or in things purely indifferent, which may, or may not be done, without offence to God or man; as that he will not eat such a thing for such a time, or he will do this or the other thing, as Jarchi observes; who moreover says, that he may forbid himself what is forbidden, and forbid what is free and lawful; but he may not make free or lawful what is forbidden, that is, he may not vow to do a thing which is contrary to the law of God, such a vow will not stand: and he was to be of such an age before he could make a vow that would be valid; according to the Targum of Jonathan, he must be thirteen years of age; it is said in the Misnah (p),”a son of twelve years and one day, his vows are examined; a son of thirteen years and one day, his vows are firm, and they examine the whole thirteenth year before that time; although they say we know to whose name (or on whose account) we vow or consecrate, their vow is no vow, nor their consecration no consecration; but after that time, though they say we know not to whose name (or, on whose account) we vow or consecrate, their vow is a vow, and their consecration a consecration:”

or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; to his vow adds an oath for the greater confirmation of it, and to lay himself under the greater obligation to perform it:

he shall not break his word; or profane it (q) but punctually perform it; men should be careful how they vow, and not rashly do it; but when they have vowed, they ought to perform; see Ecc 5:4,

he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth; it is not in his power to revoke his vow or make it null: the Misnic doctors (r) say, a man can loose all vows, excepting his own. R. Judah says, not the vows of his wife, nor those which are between her and others; that is, as one of the commentators (s) explains it, such vows which are not made to afflict, or respect not fasting; but according to the Targum of Jonathan, though a man cannot loose his vows, or free himself from them, yet the sanhedrim, or court of judicature, can, or a wise man that is authenticated thereby, as Jarchi says, or three private persons; but these are such traditions; which make void the commandment of God, as our Lord complains, Mat 15:1.

(p) Niddah, c. 5. sect. 6. (q) לא יחל (r) Negaim, c. 5. sect. 5. (s) Bartenora in Misn. Negaim, c. 5. sect. 5.

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