Verses 1–8

Here is, I. A general order given concerning the offerings of the Lord, which were to be brought in their season, Num. 28:2. These laws are here given afresh, not because the observance of them was wholly disused during their thirty-eight years’ wandering in the wilderness (we cannot think that they were so long without any public worship, but that at least the daily lamb was offered morning and evening, and doubled on the sabbath day; so bishop Patrick conjectures); but that many of the sacrifices were then omitted is plainly intimated, Amos 5:25; quoted by Stephen, Acts 7:42. Did you offer unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? It is implied, “No, you did not.” But, whether the course of sacrifices had been interrupted or no, God saw fit now to repeat the law of sacrifices, 1. Because this was a new generation of men, that were most of them unborn when the former laws were given; therefore, that they might be left without excuse, they have not only these laws written, to be read to them, but again repeated from God himself, and put into a less compass and a plainer method. 2. Because they were now entering upon war, and might be tempted to think that while they were engaged in that they should be excused from offering sacrifices. Inter arma silent leges—law is little regarded amidst the clash of arms. No, says God, my bread for my sacrifices even now shall you observe to offer, and that in the due season. They were peculiarly concerned to keep their peace with God when they were at war with their enemies. In the wilderness they were solitary, and quite separate from all other people, and therefore there they needed not so much their distinguishing badges, nor would their omission of sacrifices be so scandalous as when they came into Canaan, when they mingled with other people. 3. Because possession was now to be given them of the land of promise, that land flowing with milk and honey, where they would have plenty of all good things. “Now” (says God), “When you are feasting yourselves, forget not to offer the bread of your God.” Canaan was given to them upon this condition, that they should observe God’s statutes, Ps. 105:44; 45.

II. The particular law of the daily sacrifice, a lamb in the morning and a lamb in the evening, which, for the constancy of it as duly as the day came, is called a continual burnt-offering (Num. 28:3), which intimates that when we are bidden to pray always, and to pray without ceasing, it is intended that at least every morning and every evening we offer up our solemn prayers and praises to God. This is said to be ordained in Mount Sinai (Num. 28:6), when the other laws were given. The institution of it we have, Exod. 29:38. Nothing is here added in the repetition of the law, but that the wine to be poured out in the drink-offering is ordered to be strong wine (Num. 28:7), the riches and most generous and best-bodied wine they could get. Though it was to be poured out upon the altar, and not drunk (they therefore might be ready to think the worst would serve to be so thrown away), yet God requires the strongest, to teach us to serve God with the best we have. The wine must be strong (says Ainsworth) because it was a figure of the blood of Christ, the memorial of which is still left to the church in wine, and of the blood of the martyrs, which was poured out as a drink-offering upon the sacrifice and service of our faith, Phil. 2:17.