Today we begin Numbers Chapter 15.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Version, click here.
“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘When you have come into the land where you are going to live, which I am giving to you…'”-Numbers 15:1-2
In our study of the last two chapters of Numbers (13 and 14) we witnessed the unfaithfulness of the people of Israel as they failed to trust the Lord concerning His promise to give them the Land of Canaan.
One might think because of their gross rebellion, the Lord would reject His people and take back the covenants He had made with them.
Turns out no such thing.
Numbers Chapter 15 demonstrates the opposite.
Take a look at the opening words of this chapter:
“When you have come into the land where you are going to live…”.
Notice it doesn’t say “IF you have come into the land…“
Nope, God’s statement is clearly based on the assumption that regardless of which generation makes it, His people Israel are without a doubt going to inherit the Land of Canaan per God’s original promise to Abraham.
This is further evidence God has indeed offered SALACH (divine forgiveness) to His People and now His focus will be on the implementation of the divine plan to get His people into the promised land, even if it won’t be until another 40 years.
That’s another important thing to keep in mind.
All of the rules and commands being outlined in this chapter are not to take effect until AFTER the Israelites take the Land of Canaan and are properly settled.
And the truth be told, given their current situation and environment, it would be practically impossible to carry out all of the ordered sacrifices as families wouldn’t have access to the required resources of animals, grain and wine etcetera unless they were properly settled.
Now the truth be told, a lot of Biblical scholars have doubted the authenticity of this chapter for this very reason.
“Why would God give rules and commands to a generation that is not even going to enter the Promised Land?”…
…”Why would God hand out instructions that won’t take effect until 40 years later?” is their reasoning.
Hence, many of these scholars will argue this portion of Scripture was inserted here much later (some estimate as late as 200 B.C.).
However, I don’t agree with them.
I can see the logical continuity from the last two chapters up to this chapter in Numbers.
The previous two chapters (Numbers 13 and 14) dealt with the people’s rebellion, a rebellion so horrible it had Moses fearful the Lord would not honor the covenants He had just entered into with His people.
This chapter serves to reassure us that the Lord will indeed bring His People into Canaan.
And from a larger perspective, this chapter also teaches us that repentance followed by obedience can restore our relationship with HASHEM.