Numbers chapter 10

The two Shofars. They depart from Sinai. Hobab will guide them. They depart into the desert.

 


 

THE TWO SHOFARS

 

VERSE 1. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 

VERSE 2. “Make two shofars of silver. You shall make them of beaten work. You shall use them for the calling of the congregation, and for the journeying of the camps.

Make two. There are only two shofars.

shofars. Or “trumpets.”

Somehow these two shofars make a sound that can be heard for miles in every direction, and over the ordinary background noise of more than a million people.

The fact that only two Shofars could be that loud suggests a miracle took place each time they sounded.

Decades later, when they go into battle against Jericho, there will be seven Shofars:

Joshua 6:4. Seven priests shall bear seven shofars of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day, you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the shofars.

 

VERSE 3. When they blow them, all the congregation shall gather themselves to you at the door of the Tent of Meeting.

 

VERSE 4. If they blow just one, then the princes, the heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves to you.

 

VERSE 5. When you blow an alarm, the camps that lie on the east side shall go forward.

the camps that lie on the east. The three tribes to the EAST of the Tent of Meeting are listed in Numbers 2:3-9:

  • The Tribe of Judah
  • The Tribe of Issachar
  • The Tribe of Zebulun

 

VERSE 6. When you blow an alarm the second time, the camps that lie on the south side shall go forward. They shall blow an alarm for their journeys.

the camps that lie on the south. The three tribes to the SOUTH of the Tent of Meeting are listed in Numbers 2:10-17:

  • The Tribe of Reuben
  • The Tribe of Simeon
  • The Tribe of Gad

 

VERSE 7. But when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but you shall not sound an alarm.

 

VERSE 8. “The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the shofars. This shall be to you for a statute forever throughout your generations.

the priests, shall blow the shofars. Only Levitical priests can blow the shofars.

shofars. Or “trumpets.”

 

VERSE 9. When you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the shofars. Then you will be remembered before the LORD your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.

shofars. Or “trumpets.”

 

VERSE 10. “Also in the day of your gladness, and in your set feasts, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the shofars over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be to you for a memorial before your God. I am the LORD your God.”

These Shofar were “jubilee trumpets,” used in connection with Israel’s solemn feasts. They proclaimed the presence of the LORD God.

Decades later, seven of them will proclaim the presence of the LORD God to the city of Jericho:

Joshua 6:5. It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the shofar, all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the city wall will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, every man straight in front of him.”

 

THEY DEPART FROM SINAI

 

VERSE 11. In the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle of the covenant.

 

VERSE 12. The children of Israel went forward on their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud stayed in the wilderness of Paran.

 

VERSE 13. They first went forward according to the commandment of the LORD by Moses.

 

VERSE 14. First, the standard of the camp of the children of Judah went forward according to their armies. Nahshon the son of Amminadab was over his army.

the children of Judah. The Tribe of Judah is to the EAST of the Tent of Meeting, as we saw in Numbers 2:3-9.

 

VERSE 15. Nethanel the son of Zuar was over the army of the tribe of the children of Issachar.

the children of Issachar. The Tribe of Issachar is to the EAST of the Tent of Meeting, as we saw in Numbers 2:3-9.

 

VERSE 16. Eliab the son of Helon was over the army of the tribe of the children of Zebulun.

the children of Zebulun. The Tribe of Zebulun is to the EAST of the Tent of Meeting, as we saw in Numbers 2:3-9.

 

VERSE 17. The tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari, who bore the tabernacle, went forward.

 

VERSE 18. The standard of the camp of Reuben went forward according to their armies. Elizur the son of Shedeur was over his army.

the camp of Reuben. The Tribe of Reuben was to the SOUTH of the Tent of Meeting, as we saw in Numbers 2:10-17.

 

VERSE 19. Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai was over the army of the tribe of the children of Simeon.

the children of Simeon. The Tribe of Simeon was to the SOUTH of the Tent of Meeting, as we saw in Numbers 2:10-17.

 

VERSE 20. Eliasaph the son of Deuel was over the army of the tribe of the children of Gad.

the children of Gad. The Tribe of Simeon was to the SOUTH of the Tent of Meeting, as we saw in Numbers 2:10-17.

 

VERSE 21. The Kohathites set forward, bearing the sanctuary. The others set up the tabernacle before they arrived.

 

VERSE 22. The standard of the camp of the children of Ephraim set forward according to their armies. Elishama the son of Ammihud was over his army.

the children of Ephraim. The Tribe of Ephraim was to the WEST of the Tent of Meeting, as we saw in Numbers 2:18-24.

 

VERSE 23. Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur was over the army of the tribe of the children of Manasseh.

the children of Manasseh. The Tribe of Manasseh was to the WEST of the Tent of Meeting, as we saw in Numbers 2:18-24.

 

VERSE 24. Abidan the son of Gideoni was over the army of the tribe of the children of Benjamin.

the children of Benjamin. The Tribe of Benjamin was to the WEST of the Tent of Meeting, as we saw in Numbers 2:18-24.

 

VERSE 25. The standard of the camp of the children of Dan, which was the rear guard of all the camps, set forward according to their armies. Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai was over his army.

the children of Dan. The Tribe of Dan was to the NORTH of the Tent of Meeting, as we saw in Numbers 2:25-34.

 

VERSE 26. Pagiel the son of Ochran was over the army of the tribe of the children of Asher.

the children of Asher. The Tribe of Asher was to the NORTH of the Tent of Meeting, as we saw in Numbers 2:25-34.

 

VERSE 27. Ahira the son of Enan was over the army of the tribe of the children of Naphtali.

the children of Naphtali. The Tribe of Naphtali was to the NORTH of the Tent of Meeting, as we saw in Numbers 2:25-34.

 

VERSE 28. Thus were the travels of the children of Israel according to their armies; and they went forward.

 

HOBAB WILL GUIDE THEM

 

VERSE 29. Moses said to Hobab, the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are journeying to the place of which the LORD said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will treat you well; for the LORD has spoken good concerning Israel.”

Hobab, the son of Reuel the Midianite. This foreigner will guide the people of the LORD God on their epic journey.

 

VERSE 30. He said to him, “I will not go; but I will depart to my own land, and to my relatives.”

 

VERSE 31. Moses said, “Don’t leave us, please; because you know how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes.

you can be our eyes. Hobab knows the route.

 

VERSE 32. It shall be, if you go with us—yes, it shall be—that whatever good the LORD does to us, we will do the same to you.”

 

THEY DEPART INTO THE DESERT

 

VERSE 33. They set forward from the Mount of the LORD three days’ journey. The ark of the LORD’s covenant went before them three days’ journey, to seek out a resting place for them.

 

VERSE 34. The cloud of the LORD was over them by day, when they set forward from the camp.

 

VERSE 35. When the ark went forward, Moses said, “Rise up, LORD, and let your enemies be scattered! Let those who hate you flee before you!”

 

VERSE 36. When it rested, he said, “Return, LORD, to the ten thousands of the thousands of Israel.”

ten thousands. The Hebrew word is רִֽבְב֖וֹת (“riḇ·ḇō·wṯ”). It means multitude, myriad, ten thousand.

ten thousands of the thousands. This is the first time we are given the population. However, it is unclear whether to take this metaphorically or literally.

METAPHORICALLY. Most translations render it in a metaphorical way such as this: “the countless thousands of Israel.”

LITERALLY. Ten thousand times one thousand equals ten million people!

 


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