The Bible Slam: Numbers Chapter 15

Back in Chapter 11, the Israelites were complaining because they were sick and tired of eating manna.  God sent a huge number of quail to them and those who gorged on the meat died.  In this chapter, the Israelites are given more instructions about animal sacrifices, grain offerings, and wine offerings for "a sweet savour unto the Lord." It must have taken an incredible amount of self-discipline to burn up animals, wine and breads at the tabernacle, while restricting their own diets to manna.

All of these sacrificial rules are kind of complicated (we're talking chapters and chapters of them throughout the Old Testament), so as a safe harbor provision, if people forgot a rule or unintentionally did the wrong thing, they could make another offering for forgiveness for the sins they committed but didn't know they committed.

Midway into this chapter, the Israelites discovered a man collecting wood on the Sabbath, so Moses — "the most meek of all the men on the face of the earth" according to Numbers 12 –had them stone him to death.

Then, instructions are given for tassels to be sewn on clothing so that people wouldn't forget all the commandments.

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Discussion Points.

Keeping the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments. Breaking it carried a pretty big penalty.  As Skeptics Annotated (Numbers Chapter 15) points out,

Immediately after ordering the execution of the sabbath breaker, God gets down to some more important business — like instructing the people on how to make fringes on their garments.

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