But the soul that doeth aught presumptuously - Bold daring acts of transgression against the fullest evidence, and in despite of the Divine authority, admitted of no atonement; the person was to be cut off - to be excluded from God's people, and from all their privileges and blessings.
Probably the presumption mentioned here implied an utter contempt of the word and authority of God, springing from an idolatrous or atheistical mind. In such a case all repentance was precluded, because of the denial of the word and being of God. It is probably a case similar to that mentioned Hebrews 6:4-8; (note); Hebrews 10:26-31; (note); on which passages see the notes.
The heavy punishments which had already overtaken the people might naturally give rise to apprehensions for the future, especially in view of the fact that on the approaching entrance into Canaan the complete observance of the Law in all its details would become imperative on them. To meet such apprehensions a distinction is emphatically drawn between sins of ignorance (Leviticus 4:13 ff) and those of presumption Numbers 15:30-31. The passage deals separately with imperfections of obedience which would be regarded as attaching to the whole nation Numbers 15:22-26, and those of individuals Numbers 15:27-30.
Without the knowledge of the congregation - literally, as marginal. The words point to an error of omission which escaped notice at the time: i. e. to an oversight.
Presumptuously - The original (compare the margin, and Exodus 14:8) imports something done willfully and openly; in the case of a sin against God it implies that the act is committed ostentatiously and in bravado.
Reproacheth the Lord - Rather, revileth or blasphemeth the Lord: compare Ezekiel 20:27.
The sin that resulted so disastrously to Uzziah was one of presumption. In violation of a plain command of Jehovah, that none but the descendants of Aaron should officiate as priests, the king entered the sanctuary “to burn incense upon the altar.” Azariah the high priest and his associates remonstrated, and pleaded with him to turn from his purpose. “Thou hast trespassed,” they urged; “neither shall it be for thine honor.” Verses 16, 18. PK 304.1
Uzziah was filled with wrath that he, the king, should be thus rebuked. But he was not permitted to profane the sanctuary against the united protest of those in authority. While standing there, in wrathful rebellion, he was suddenly smitten with a divine judgment. Leprosy appeared on his forehead. In dismay he fled, never again to enter the temple courts. Unto the day of his death, some years later, Uzziah remained a leper—a living example of the folly of departing from a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” Neither his exalted position nor his long life of service could be pleaded as an excuse for the presumptuous sin by which he marred the closing years of his reign, and brought upon himself the judgment of Heaven. PK 304.2
God is no respecter of persons. “The soul that doeth aught 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.” Numbers 15:30. PK 304.3Read in context »