243 – Numbers 29 – Appeasing Convocation

There is a Bible study principle that should be regularly employed in order to reach accurate conclusions about the text we are studying. That principle is referred to as correlation. Simply put it is considering related passages together. In our case, we want to take a look at Numbers 29:1-2 and its companion reference in Leviticus 23:23-25. Here they are together.


Numbers 29:1-2 (LEB)

1 “ ‘On the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you will have a holy convocation; ⌊you will not do any regular work⌋. It will be a day for you of blowing trumpets. 

2 You will offer a burnt offering as a fragrance of appeasement for Yahweh: one bull, one ram, and seven male lambs ⌊in their first year⌋; they will be without defect.


Leviticus 23:23-25 (LEB)

23 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 

24 “Speak to the ⌊Israelites⌋, saying, ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ⌊you must have⌋ a rest period, a remembrance of the trumpet blast, a holy assembly

25 You must not do ⌊any regular work⌋, and you shall present an offering made by fire to Yahweh.’ ”


One of the first questions I have about Numbers 29:1 is, “what does holy convocation mean?” Reading these two passages together helps to influence our understanding of the word.


The Numbers reference says “convocation”, and Leviticus 23:24 uses the words holy assembly. We can confirm our understanding by looking up the word(s) in the original Hebrew.


Convocation is מִקְרָא summons; assembly; reading, recitation.


Holy of course means unique/set apart, pure. So this assembly of the Nation of Israel is to be a unique time of worship to Yahweh.


A thought occurred to me as I was reading through. We hit on it the last time we talked about Numbers 29. Yahweh commanded the Israelites to observe convocations, feasts, Sabbaths, etc. These are not simply ritualistic religious observances. It is important to God that the nation “remember” various events or encounters they’ve had with God. It’s important for us to celebrate Yahweh’s goodness. 


Although the rainbow has been hijacked in our society, Yahweh created it to remind himself and us that He had destroyed the earth with a flood and would never again do so. 


You notice in both passages they are to do no regular work or experience a day of rest. They are still to bring a sacrifice, which requires a type of work, but it’s not regular work. They were to work to worship Yahweh through sacrifice, or as the Lexham English Bible states it, “a burnt offering as a fragrance of appeasement for Yahweh”. 


I think it would be time well spent to learn about the Old Testament sacrifices, feasts, and observances because each of them pointed forward to Jesus as the Lamb of God, the perfect (without defect and complete) sacrifice of Yahweh. The Old Testament sacrifices didn’t truly appease Yahweh (Isaiah 1, Psalm 51). His wrath was only truly appeased in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ God’s only begotten son.


Jesus is worthy of worship. Do you know Him?

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