New Defender's Study Bible Notes
15:2 come into the land. Despite all their disobedience and rebellion, God still purposed to bring the children of Israel into the promised land, in accord with His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
15:4 shall he that offereth. The reason why a number of new legal regulations are inserted here between the historical narratives of Numbers 14 and 16 can only be that this was the point in time when Moses received them from the Lord. This is an incidental confirmation of the Mosaic authorship of Numbers. Any later “redactor” would surely have included them with the other regulations on the offerings in Leviticus.
15:31 despised the word. Nowhere did the Mosaic laws provide any offerings whereby the willful sinner–one who had deliberately and intentionally rebelled against God’s Word–could receive forgiveness. The example in Numbers 15:32-36 graphically illustrates this truth. David’s experience, however, as described in the Psalm 51 (also in II Samuel 12:9-13), illustrates the fact that a genuine believer could be spared and restored through sincere repentance and confession. Nevertheless, even in such a case, severe temporal chastisement was incurred (II Samuel 12:14-18).
15:35 put to death. This decree of God to execute a man for breaking God’s fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8-11) seems harsh and anachronistic to us today, when men for the most part no longer believe in God’s completed creation and therefore have no incentive to obey His command to commemorate that fact by observing His rest-day. God, however, considered it vitally important, and had given clear warning that breaking it–at least for those who had voluntarily entered into His covenant relation with them–was a capital crime (see note on Exodus 31:15). This deliberate flouting of God’s law by a man who knew better and did it anyway was thus a “presumptuous” sin (Numbers 15:30), for which no offering was available to make atonement. In the gospel age, such a sin corresponds to the willful sin of Hebrews 10:26, for which “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” Such a person “hath trodden under foot the Son of God,...and hath done despite to the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29). See footnotes on Hebrews 10:26 and 10:29.
15:38 fringes in the borders. The Hebrew word for “fringes” evidently means “tassels.” It is used elsewhere only in Ezekiel 8:3, there translated “lock” (that is, of hair). It seems primarily to have been a memory aid, their very clothing thus always reminding them to keep all God’s commandments (Numbers 15:40).