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Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at

Numbers 28

Numbers 28:16-31

16. And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD.

16. Mense autem primo decima quarta die mensis, Pesah est Jehovae.

17. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.

17. Et in decimo quinto die mensis hujus solennitas: septem diebus panis infermentatorum comedetur.

18. In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein:

18. Die primo convocatio sancta erit: omne servile non facietis.

19. But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven lambs of the first year: they shall be unto you without blemish:

19. Offeretis autem oblationem ignitam, et holocaustum Jehovae juvencos fihos bovis duos, et arietem unum, et septem agnos anniculos: immaculati erunt vobis.

20. And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil: three tenth deals shall ye offer for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram;

20. Et minha eorum erit simila permixta oleo, tres decimae in singulos juvencos, et duas decimas in singulos arietes facietis.

21. A several tenth deal shalt thou offer for every lamb, throughout the seven lambs:

21. Singulas decimas facies in agnos singulos in septem agnis.

22. And one goat for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you.

22. Et hircum in sacrificium pro peccato unum, ad expiandum vos.

23. Ye shall offer these beside the burnt offering in the morning, which is for a continual burnt offering.

23. Praeter holocaustum matutinum: quod est holocaustum juge, facietis ista.

24. After this manner ye shall offer daily, throughout the seven days, the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.

24. Secundum haec facietis singulis diebus septem dierum, panem oblationis ignitae odoris quietis Jehovae: ultra holocaustum juge fiet, et libamen ejus.

25. And on the seventh day ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work.

25. Septimo autem die convocatio sancta erit vobis: omne opus servile non facietis.

26. Also in the day of the firstfruits, when ye bring a new meat offering unto the LORD, after your weeks be out, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work:

26. Porro die primitiarum quando offeretis minham novato Jehovae in hebdomadibus vestris, convocatio sancta erit vobis: omne opus servile non facietis.

27. But ye shall offer the burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the LORD; two young bullocks, one ram, seven lambs of the first year;

27. Et offeretis holocaustum in odorem quietis Jehovah: juvencos filios bovis duos, arietem unum, et septem agnos anniculos.

28. And their meat offering of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals unto one bullock, two tenth deals unto one ram,

28. Et oblationem eorum similam permixtam oleo, tres decimas in singulos juvencos, duas decimas per arietes singulos.

29. A several tenth deal unto one lamb, throughout the seven lambs;

29. Singulas decimas per agnos singulos, septem agnis.

30. And one kid of the goats, to make an atonement for you.

30. Hircum caprarum unum ad expiandum vos.

31. Ye shall offer them beside the burnt offering, and his meat offering, (they shall be unto you without blemish) and their drink offerings.

31. Praeter holocaustum juge et minham ejus facietis: immaculati erunt vobis et libamina eorum.


16. And in the fourteenth day. It is true that the instruction here given has some connection with the feast of the passover, but since the sacrifices are avowedly treated of, and no mention is made of its other observances, except in this place, I have connected it with the continual sacrifice, as its concomitant or part. Moses cursorily refers, indeed, to what we have already seen, i.e., that the people should abstain from leaven for seven days, and eat unleavened bread; but he afterwards descends to the main point of which he here proposed to treat, viz., that the people should slay two bullocks as a burnt-offering, a ram, and seven lambs, together with a goat for a sin-offering; and that this sacrifice should be repeated through the whole week. In order, then, that the reverence paid to the passover should be increased, this extraordinary sacrifice was added to the continual one, partly that they might thus be more and more stimulated to devote themselves to God; partly that they might acknowledge how familiarly He had embraced them with His favor, inasmuch as He took these offerings from their flocks and herds, and required the sacred feast to be prepared for Him out of their cellars and granaries also; partly, too, that professing themselves to be worthy of eternal death, they should fly to Him to ask for pardon, and at the same time should understand that there was but one way of reconciliation, i.e., when God should be propitiated by sacrifice.

26. Also in the day of thefirst-fruits. Moses delivers the same commandment as to another festival, viz., that on which they offered their first-fruits. Then, also, he instructs them, the continual sacrifice was to be increased by the addition of two bullocks, one ram, seven lambs, a goat for a sin-offering, together with the minha and a libation, with the object, of which I have already spoken. A perplexing difficulty here arises, because in Leviticus 23, one bullock is mentioned instead of two, and, on the contrary, two rams instead of one.  238 Some think that an option was left to the priests in this matter; but when I consider how precisely God’s commands were given in everything, I question whether such an alternative was left to their discretion. The notion that God had once been content with a single bullock, as some think, because they were not abundant in the desert, appears to me a subterfuge. I confess I do not know how to get out of this difficulty, unless perhaps we say, that inasmuch as sufficiently exact provision had been made, in all other particulars, that nothing should be done without reason, in this respect only they were reminded that God in Himself cares not for greater or less victims. Nor does any reverence prevent us from saying that, as it sometimes happens in minor matters, a wrong number may have crept in from the carelessness of scribes;  239 and this is probably the most natural solution. The more correct reading, in my opinion, is, that they should offer two bullocks and one ram; but since it is elsewhere explained why God appointed this day, he only briefly recites here: “When they bring the fainha with the first-fruits."



“Josephus and Maimonides understand that they were distinct sacrifices. Aben-Ezra and others think that it was left to the priest which he would offer.” — Brightwell on the Pentateuch, in loco.


The conjecture of C. receives no support from the modern collections of various readings; for though the number two is wanting in one of Kennicott’s MSS., the word for bullocks is in the plural in that same MS.; and the two most ancient versions, viz., the LXX. and the Syriac agree with the received text both here and in Le 23:8. — W.

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