Numbers 15:30-36


The key to understanding this passage is in verse 30.  Presumptuous sin reaps the penalty of death.  It is not necessarily the act that causes sin, but the motive behind that act.  Just as it is not necessarily the act that causes obedience, but the motive behind that act.  The motive of the man who was gathering sticks on the Sabbath was evidently against the clear cut commandments of God.  It was not just the gathering of sticks on the Sabbath that caused the man to lose his life, it was the clear rebellion against the commandment of God.


Verse 30. But the soul that doeth [ought] presumptuously, [whether he be] born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.



Verse 31  Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity [shall be] upon him.



Verse 32  And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.



Verse 33  And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.

It is not just gathering sticks on the Sabbath day that is the sin.  It is that he proceeded to do just like he had always done right after God, through Moses, had given the commandment not to work on the Sabbath day.


Verse 34  And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.

Exodus 31:14 and Exodus 35:2 both say that the person that works on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.  The point here is that Israel didn't know how to put the man to death.


Verse 35  And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.

God declares that the man shall surely be put to death just exactly like the law stated in Exodus 31:14, and 35:2.  He was not killed because he was gathering sticks on the Sabbath day, but because he was presumptuous (a belief that God really didn't mean what He said and that He wouldn't do what He said He would do) in his sins.


Verse 36  And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.