Numbers 29

The Word Made Fresh

1“On the first day of the seventh month gather the people for a sacred observance and tell them to do no work on that day. Have the trumpets sounded. 2Sacrifice a young bull, a ram, and seven yearling male lambs without any defects and burn them on the altar to raise a pleasing odor to the LORD. 3Also bring grain offerings of finely ground flour mixed with oil: one and a half gallons for the bull, a gallon for the ram, 4and a half-gallon for each lamb. 5Also sacrifice one male goat as a guilt offering to make amends for your sins. 6All this is in addition to the usual sacrifices.

7“Then on the tenth day of the same month, gather the people again for a sacred observance; observe a fast and refrain from your work. 8Make a burnt offering to the LORD to raise a pleasant odor: one young bull, one ram, and seven male yearling lambs, all without any defects. 9Include grain offerings of flour and oil – a gallon and a half for the bull, a gallon for the ram, 10and a half-gallon for each lamb. 11Sacrifice a male goat as a guilt offering in addition to the one on the first day. This is in addition to the regular daily offerings.

12“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month gather the people for a sacred observance, and again refrain from any labors. This will be a week-long festival to the LORD. 13Make these burnt sacrifices to raise a pleasing smell to the LORD: thirteen young bulls, two rams, fourteen male yearling lambs, all without any defects. 14Include a grain offering of flour mixed with oil – a gallon and half for each bull, a gallon for each ram, 15and a half gallon for each lamb. 15Then also sacrifice one male goat for a guilt offering in addition to the regular offerings.

17“On the second day sacrifice twelve bulls, two rams, fourteen male yearling lambs without defect 18along with the usual grain and drink offerings. 19Also sacrifice one male goat for a guilt offering in addition to the regular offerings.

20“On the third day sacrifice eleven bulls, two rams, fourteen male yearling lambs without defect 21along with the usual grain and drink offerings. 22Also sacrifice one male goat for a guilt offering in addition to the regular offerings.

23“On the fourth day sacrifice ten bulls, two rams, fourteen male yearling lambs without defect 24along with the usual grain and drink offerings. 25Also sacrifice one male goat for a guilt offering.

26“On the fifth day sacrifice nine bulls, two rams, fourteen male yearling lambs without defect 27along with the usual grain and drink offerings. 28Also sacrifice one male goat for a guilt offering in addition to the regular offerings.

29“On the sixth day sacrifice eight bulls, two rams, fourteen male yearling lambs without defect 30along with the usual grain and drink offerings. 31Also sacrifice one male goat for a guilt offering in addition to the regular offerings.

32“On the seventh day sacrifice seven bulls, two rams, fourteen male yearling lambs without defect 33along with the usual grain and drink offerings. 34Also sacrifice one male goat for a guilt offering in addition to the regular offerings.

35“On the eighth day gather the people for a sacred observance. 36Present to the LORD the pleasing smell of the burnt offerings of one bull, one ram, and seven male yearling lambs without defect 37along with the usual grain and drink offerings. 38Also sacrifice one male goat for a guilt offering along with its grain and drink offerings in addition to the regular daily offerings.

39“Prepare all these to the LORD in addition to individual vow and freewill offerings, your usual burnt offerings, grain and drink offerings, and peace or fellowship offerings.”

40Moses passed all the LORD’s instructions along to the people.

Commentary

1-6: The seventh month is especially hallowed and set apart. On the first day of the month the trumpets are blown to signify the beginning of special observances (verses 1-6) with specific offerings. It is known as the Festival of Trumpets, and the offerings appropriate for the day are described. This adds to the rather incomplete instructions given in Leviticus 23:23-25, where no offerings are specified.

7-11: On the tenth day of the seventh month another series of offerings are specified. Curiously, the account does not mention the purpose for the day: it is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. In Leviticus 23:26-32 the nature of the observance is emphasized, but offerings are not mentioned. Here, the offerings are prescribed in some detail, but the reasons for them are not mentioned.

12-16: The sacrifices are described which are offered each of the 8 days of the Festival of Booths (Succoth), beginning on the 15th day of the seventh month. The number of animals to be sacrificed diminishes each of the first 7 days, with a much smaller total on the 8th day. If you want to dig a little further, you might compare and contrast these verses with Leviticus 23:33-43.

Takeaway

It appears that Moses (or God, really) was establishing the people in sacred habits that regularly and powerfully drew their attention to God and made them think about their relationship with God. Do you have habits and rituals that regularly and powerfully draw your attention to God and your relationship with God?