Monday, June 25, 2007

Numbers 29

Numbers 29: Rules for Special Days

Synopsis

This chapter continues with some rules for special days: The Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

  • Feast of Trumpets
    • On the first day of the seventh month, the Israelites were to have a sacred assembly, and do no regular work. They were to sound their trumpets, hence the name “Feast of Trumpets.” (The name “Feast of Trumpets” doesn’t actually appear in the text, but that’s what both the NIV and the ESV are calling it, in their headings.)
    • In addition to the regular daily/monthly offerings, they were to offer the following:
      • A burnt offering, consisting of: one young bull, one ram, and seven male year-old lambs, all without defect.
      • Grain offerings: 6.5 litres of fine flour mixed with oil for the bull; 4.5 litres for the ram; and 2 litres for each lamb.
      • They were also to offer one male goat, as a sin offering.
  • Day of Atonement
    • On the tenth day of the seventh month, the Israelites were to “deny themselves” (the footnote for verse 7 says that this could also be translated that they had to “fast”), and do no work.
    • In addition to the regular daily/monthly offerings, they were to offer the following:
      • A burnt offering, consisting of: one young bull, one ram, and seven male year-old lambs, all without defect.
      • Grain offerings: 6.5 litres of fine flour mixed with oil for the bull; 4.5 litres for the ram; and 2 litres for each lamb.
      • They were also to offer one male goat, as a sin offering.
  • Feast of Tabernacles
    • On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, they were to hold another sacred assembly, and do no regular work. This was to kick off a festival, which they were to celebrate for seven days.
    • On each day of the festival, they were to present a series of offerings, of bulls, rams, and lambs. (And they were to provide the appropriate grain and drink offerings, for each animal; the amounts of flour to use are the same as in the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Trumpets, above; you’ll have to look back at Numbers 28, to get the appropriate drink offerings that were to be used.) Here were the sacrifices they were to make:
      • Day 1: 13 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
      • Day 2: 12 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
      • Day 3: 11 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
      • Day 4: 10 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
      • Day 5: 9 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
      • Day 6: 8 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
      • Day 7: 7 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
      • Day 8: 1 young bull, 1 ram, and 7 male lambs

      In addition, they were to have another assembly on the eighth day, doing no regular work.

Thoughts

I believe all of these rules have been given in earlier chapters. In fact, in the earlier accounts, the reason for the name of the “Feast of Tabernacles” is given: during this time, the Israelites were to live in tents (or “booths,” or “tabernacles,” depending on how you want to translate it.)

I find the progression of sacrifices given, for the Feast of Tabernacles, to be very interesting. Every day they offer the same number of rams and lambs, while the number of bulls decreases—until the last day, when the number of rams and lambs decreases as well!



Out of curiosity, I read a bit of Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary—I don’t know how well that link will work, but it should—since there was a link to it in Bible Gateway.

There were more sacred solemnities in the seventh month than in any other. It was the space between harvest and seed-time. The more leisure we have from the pressing occupations of this life, the more time we should spend in the immediate service of God.

Since I’m on a roll, he also had something to say specifically about the Feast of Tabernacles:

Soon after the day of atonement, the day in which men were to afflict their souls, followed the feast of Tabernacles, in which they were to rejoice before the Lord. Their days of rejoicing were to be days of sacrifices. A disposition to be cheerful does us good, when it encourages our hearts in the duties of God’s service. All the days of dwelling in booths they must offer sacrifices; while we are here in a tabernacle state, it is our interest, as well as our duty, constantly to keep up communion with God. The sacrifices for each of the seven days are appointed. Every day there must be a sin-offering, as in the other feasts. Our burnt-offerings of praise cannot be accepted of God, unless we have an interest in the great sacrifice which Christ offered, when he made himself a Sin-offering for us. And no extraordinary services should put aside stated devotions. Every thing here reminds us of our sinfulness. The life that we live in the flesh must be by the faith of the Son of God; until we go to be with him, to behold his glory, and praise his mercy, who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. To whom be honour and glory for ever. Amen.
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