Help me understand this.


I have started reading the Old Testament to help my understanding of the New Testament. In Numbers 16, 32- 36; we see a man who collects wood on the Sabbath, and the Lord commands Israel to stone him to death. Yet, in the Gospel (the book and verse escapes me), we see that God (Jesus) tells us that the Sabbath was made for man, not the other way around. I don’t get it, God doesn’t change. So what is the Lord trying to say?


Numbers 16 32-36 talks about the revolt of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. They challenged Moses’ authority. Check again and give me the verses your talking about.


I see now what verses you meant, its chapter 15, I didn’t notice it till now. The Israelites had just left Egypt after 400 years, they did not know God. They complained often and challenged Moses’ authority often. This chapter and the previous ones talk about violations to the law and revolts against Moses’ authority. This chapter concludes with the ordinance concerning tassels, which is meant to be a reminder of God’s law. The Israelites needed strong reminders of God’s law at this time in history.


The apostles picked and ate the grain because they were hungry, i.e., out of necessity. (Matthew 12:1) The Book of Numbers does not say why the man was collecting the wood on the sabbath but, for consistency’s sake, we can assume that he was not doing it out of necessity but for some other reason.


For that matter, I have a hard time understanding/reconciling why God tells the Israelites to stone people to death for what seems to be really insignificant offenses, and why he tells them to utterly destroy another civilization and kill man, woman, and child and destroy their buildings and crops, etc.
Why does this not seem to match up with Jesus’ teachings?
What am I missing?


I believe you are missing the context. What was the condition of the choosen people with regard to their relationship with God? How were God’s interventions and instructions meant to protect them and teach them?


Try reading this. It’s the best thing I’ve read regarding the very difficult passages of the OT. Really good.


wow blessedtoo…thank you so much for that link. I now understand how God could seemingly “be so cruel”. It is very hard for me to understand OT literature, bah. :mad:


Oh, I am so glad you read it!!! I post this link all the time and rarely does anyone actually take the time to read it! I found it so helpful in explaining the complex theology of the OT. God bless you for your open heart!


Numbers 15

30 " ‘But **anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes the LORD, and that person must be cut off from his people. **31 Because he has despised the LORD’s word and broken his commands, that person must surely be cut off; his guilt remains on him.’ "

32 While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, 34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses.

Verse 30, is the key to the text. This man was deliberately sinning aganist the Lord. There are traditions that says he was collecting the wood to make an idol. Another tradition has him as being either lazy or drunk when he should have been collecting wood, and thus he went out to collect wood without reguard towards the holiness of God.


Mark 2

23One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"
25He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

27Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

John 9:14
Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.

Matthew 12:10
and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

Mark 3:2
Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.

Luke 6:7
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.

Luke 13:10
A Crippled Woman Healed on the Sabbath ] On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues,

Luke 13:14
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

Luke 14:3
Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?”

John 5:10
and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

John 7:23
Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath?

In Jesus and David’s case it was a matter of need, and not a deliberate sin. Jesus also, made men whole on the sabbath.

Luke 14:5
And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an *** or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?

Jesus taught that there was a difference between doing something that is neccessary on the sabbath vs doing something that is not neccessary.

If an animal fell into a well, one would rescue that animal from drowning.


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