Numbers 10:33
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
So they set out from the mountain of the LORD and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest.

New Living Translation
They marched for three days after leaving the mountain of the LORD, with the Ark of the LORD's Covenant moving ahead of them to show them where to stop and rest.

English Standard Version
So they set out from the mount of the LORD three days’ journey. And the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them three days’ journey, to seek out a resting place for them.

New American Standard Bible
Thus they set out from the mount of the LORD three days' journey, with the ark of the covenant of the LORD journeying in front of them for the three days, to seek out a resting place for them.

King James Bible
And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days' journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
They set out from the mountain of the LORD on a three-day journey with the ark of the LORD's covenant traveling ahead of them for those three days to seek a resting place for them.

International Standard Version
So they traveled from the mountain of the LORD, a three-day trip, with the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD traveling in front of them—a three day trip to explore a place for them to rest.

NET Bible
So they traveled from the mountain of the LORD three days' journey; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD was traveling before them during the three days' journey, to find a resting place for them.

New Heart English Bible
They set forward from the Mount of the LORD three days' journey. The ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them three days' journey, to seek out a resting place for them.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So they left the mountain of the LORD and traveled for three days. The ark of the LORD's promise went ahead of them a distance of three days' journey to find them a place to rest.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And they set forward from the mount of the LORD three days' journey; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them three days' journey, to seek out a resting-place for them.

New American Standard 1977
Thus they set out from the mount of the LORD three days’ journey, with the ark of the covenant of the LORD journeying in front of them for the three days, to seek out a resting place for them.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Thus they departed from the mount of the LORD three days' journey, and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days' journey, searching out a resting place for them.

King James 2000 Bible
And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days' journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them.

American King James Version
And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days' journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them.

American Standard Version
And they set forward from the mount of Jehovah three days journey; and the ark of the covenant of Jehovah went before them three days journey, to seek out a resting-place for them.

Douay-Rheims Bible
So they marched from the mount of the Lord three days' journey, and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them, for three days providing a place for the camp.

Darby Bible Translation
And they set forward from the mountain of Jehovah [and went] three days' journey; and the ark of the covenant of Jehovah went before them in the three days' journey, to search out a resting-place for them.

English Revised Version
And they set forward from the mount of the LORD three days' journey; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them three days' journey, to seek out a resting place for them.

Webster's Bible Translation
And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days' journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days' journey, to seek a resting-place for them.

World English Bible
They set forward from the Mount of Yahweh three days' journey. The ark of the covenant of Yahweh went before them three days' journey, to seek out a resting place for them.

Young's Literal Translation
And they journey from the mount of Jehovah a journey of three days; and the ark of the covenant of Jehovah is journeying before them the journey of three days, to spy out for them a resting-place;
Study Bible
Moving from Sinai to Paran
32"So it will be, if you go with us, that whatever good the LORD does for us, we will do for you." 33Thus they set out from the mount of the LORD three days' journey, with the ark of the covenant of the LORD journeying in front of them for the three days, to seek out a resting place for them. 34The cloud of the LORD was over them by day when they set out from the camp.…
Cross References
Numbers 10:12
and the sons of Israel set out on their journeys from the wilderness of Sinai. Then the cloud settled down in the wilderness of Paran.

Deuteronomy 1:33
who goes before you on your way, to seek out a place for you to encamp, in fire by night and cloud by day, to show you the way in which you should go.

Isaiah 11:10
Then in that day The nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious.

Jeremiah 31:2
Thus says the LORD, "The people who survived the sword Found grace in the wilderness-- Israel, when it went to find its rest."
Treasury of Scripture

And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days' journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them.

the mount

Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest …

Exodus 19:3 And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him out of the mountain, …

Exodus 24:17,18 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on …

the ark

Deuteronomy 9:9 When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, …

Deuteronomy 31:26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the …

Joshua 4:7 Then you shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off …

Judges 20:27 And the children of Israel inquired of the LORD, (for the ark of …

1 Samuel 4:3 And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel …

Jeremiah 3:16 And it shall come to pass, when you be multiplied and increased in …

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, …

went before

Exodus 33:14,15 And he said, My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest…

Deuteronomy 1:33 Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch …

Joshua 3:2-6,11-17 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host…

Jeremiah 31:8,9 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them …

Ezekiel 20:6 In the day that I lifted up my hand to them, to bring them forth …

a resting place

Psalm 95:11 To whom I swore in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

Isaiah 28:12 To whom he said, This is the rest with which you may cause the weary …

Isaiah 66:1 Thus said the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my …

Jeremiah 6:16 Thus said the LORD, Stand you in the ways, and see, and ask for the …

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…

Hebrews 4:3-11 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have …

(33) Three days' journey.--The place at which the first protracted halt was made appears to have been either at Taberah, which means burning, or at Kibroth-hattaavah, the graves of lust. (Comp. Numbers 11:3; Numbers 33:16; see also Note on Numbers 11:34.)

And the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them.--It has been inferred from the fact that the Kohathites had the charge of the ark (Numbers 3:31), and that they were to set forward, "bearing the sanctuary," after the second or southern camp, i.e., in the midst of the host, that the position of the ark during the journeys was in that place, and not in front. The obvious objection to this supposition arising out of the fact that the cloud which directed the march rested upon, or over, the ark may be overcome by the consideration that the cloud appears to have extended over the whole of the host during the journeys, and to have served as a protection from the scorching heat (see Numbers 10:34; also Exodus 13:21; Nehemiah 9:12; Psalm 105:39). On the other hand, the natural interpretation of this verse is that the ark was borne in front of the host, and did not merely serve to direct its line of march as a general, whose station might be in any part of an army. This interpretation is confirmed by Exodus 13:21, Deuteronomy 1:33, and also by the position which the ark occupied at the passage of the Jordan. In the latter case the people were expressly directed to go after the ark (Joshua 3:3); and in Numbers 10:11 the same word is used which occurs in this verse, "the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan." It will not follow, however, as a necessary inference, that the ark uniformly occupied the same position in all the journeys, and it cannot be denied that Numbers 10:21 presents a difficulty, partly arising from the ambiguity of meaning which is to be attached to the word mikdash, sanctuary, and partly from the omission of any word in the Hebrew corresponding to the words in italics, the other. Ibn Ezra thinks that this three days' journey was different from all the other journeys in respect of the position of the ark.

Verse 33. - And they departed. These words mark the moment of actual departure, which has been anticipated in the general statement of verse 12. It was one of the supreme moments in the life of Israel - one of those beginnings or "departures" which lead to untold gain or loss; it was, in fact, although they knew it not, the commencement of a march which for almost all of them should know no end except within a hasty grave. No doubt, during the months spent at Sinai, every preparation had been made for the onward journey; but none the less it was a stupendous enterprise to march that vast host, so largely composed of women and children, so little inured to such fatigue, and so impatient of such discipline, for three consecutive days into a wilderness. Three days' journey. This expression is apparently a general one, and not to be strictly pressed (cf. Genesis 30:36; Exodus 3:18; Exodus 15:22). At the same time it implies

(1) that the host twice halted for the night during the journey, and

(2) that the whole journey was regarded as one and in some sense as complete in itself.

The terminus ad quem of this three days' journey is given us in verse 12; it was to take them across the intervening belt of sand, and to land them fairly within the "wilderness of Paran." During this journey no doubt the march would be pushed on as steadily as possible, but it is not likely that it would cover so much as thirty miles. A modern army, unencumbered with non-combatants, does not make more than ten miles a day over difficult country, nor can cattle be driven faster than that. Even to accomplish that rate, and to keep the whole multitude together, as the narrative implies, required supernatural aid and strength. For the direction of the march see notes on chapter 13. The ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them. It is obvious that what is apparently affirmed here is apparently at variance with Numbers 2:17 and verse 21 of this chapter, which speak of the holy things - of which the ark was the most holy - as carried by the Kohathites in the very midst of the long line of march. Three opinions have been held on the subject.

1. That the ark was really carried with the other "holy things," and only "went before" metaphorically, as a general may be said to lead his troops, although he may not be actually in front of them; to which it is obvious to reply that if the ark did not actually precede the host, there was no possible way in which it could direct their movements; the cloud alone would be the visible expression of the Divine guidance.

2. That the "holy things" generally were ordered to be carried in the midst of the host by the Kohathites, but that God reserved the place of the ark itself to his own immediate disposition. A general does not include himself in his own marching orders, however minute; and the ark was the outward symbol of God's own personal presence and guidance. It is, therefore, not at all surprising that the first intimation of the position of the ark on the march should be given at the moment when the march actually commenced.

3. That the usual place for the ark was no doubt with the sanctuary, as implied in the orders, but that o a this special occasion the ark went to the front in consequence of some Divine intimation, just as it did at the crossing of Jordan and at the taking of Jericho. Certainly there is much reason in this view, considering how momentous and formidable was their first assay at marching from their temporary home towards that unknown land beyond the northern horizon. If the deep waters of Jordan might fright them, or the walls of Jericho defy them, well might they shrink from plunging into the broken, stony, and intractable country into which the ark and the cloud now led them. We shall probably think that either habitually or at least occasionally the ark did go before, and that the feet of them that bare it were supernaturally directed, either by the movements of the cloud, or by some more secret intimation, towards the destined place of rest. It is allowed by all that the cloud preceded and directed the march, and it would be strange indeed if these twin symbols of the Divine presence had been so far separated from one another; for the accustomed place of the cloud was above the tabernacle, i.e., above the ark, yet outside of the tabernacle, so as to be visible to all. And they departed from the mount of the Lord three days' journey,...., From Mount Sinai, so called, because the Lord descended upon it, and gave the law from it; so the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan,"from the mount on which the glory of the Lord (or of his Shechinah or divine Majesty) was revealed.''This they left, after they had been nearly twelve months about it, and travelled three days' journey from it before the cloud rested, so as to abide, otherwise is stopped no doubt to give them time to eat their food, and take sleep and rest. The Targum of Jonathan expressly says, they went thirty six miles on that day; but, according to Bunting (o), Taberah or Kibrothhattaavah, to which the children of Israel first came, and where they abode a month, was but eight miles from Sinai; wherefore the three days' journey were not successively one after another, but the first day's journey was to Taberah, where they continued a month; the second day's journey was to Hazeroth, where they stayed seven days; and the third day's journey was to the wilderness of Paran, and there the cloud rested, Numbers 10:12; and there was their resting place, for there they continued long, from whence the spies were sent to the good land, and whither they returned after forty days, Numbers 13:1,

and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them in the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them; the ark being carried by the Kohathites, must proceed in the middle of the camps, after the camps of Judah and Reuben, and before the camps of Ephraim and Dan, according to the order of the marches of the children of Israel, Numbers 10:21; wherefore Aben Ezra thinks, that this three days' journey was different from all their other journeys; and that in this the ark went before them, which in other journeys was carried in the midst of them; yet others think it may be said to go before, though in the middle; just as a general of an army may be said to go before, and lead his army, though he is not directly in the front of it; so the cloud being always over the ark, directing the march, it may be said to go before and point out a convenient place to rest in; for searching cannot be properly ascribed to the ark, nor even to the Lord himself, and can only signify pointing out or discovering a proper place to take up their abode in: this ark of the covenant, so called because the covenant or law was laid up in it, was a type of Christ the end of the law for righteousness, and who is the forerunner of his people, is gone before them to prepare a place for them; and the three days' journey may have respect to his resurrection from the dead on the third day for their justification, which is the foundation of their rest, peace, and joy.

(o) Travels of the Patriarchs, &c. p. 82. 33. they departed … three days' journey—the first day's progress being very small, about eighteen or twenty miles.

ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them—It was carried in the center, and hence some eminent commentators think the passage should be rendered, "the ark went in their presence," the cloud above upon it being conspicuous in their eyes. But it is probable that the cloudy pillar, which, while stationary, rested upon the ark, preceded them in the march—as, when in motion at one time (Ex 14:19) it is expressly said to have shifted its place.10:33-36 Their going out and coming in, gives an example to us to begin and end every day's journey and every day's work with prayer. Here is Moses's prayer when the ark set forward, Rise up, and let thine enemies be scattered. There are those in the world who are enemies to God and haters of him; secret and open enemies; enemies to his truths, his laws, his ordinances, his people. But for the scattering and defeating of God's enemies, there needs no more than God's arising. Observe also the prayer of Moses when the ark rested, that God would cause his people to rest. The welfare and happiness of the Israel of God, consist in the continual presence of God among them. Their safety is not in their numbers, but in the favour of God, and his gracious return to them, and resting with them. Upon this account, Happy art thou, O Israel! who is like unto thee, O people! God will go before them, to find them resting-places by the way. His promise is, and their prayers are, that he will never leave them nor forsake them.
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Alphabetical: a and ark before covenant days during find for from front in journey journeying LORD mount mountain of out place rest resting seek set So the them they those three Thus to traveled went with

OT Law: Numbers 10:33 They set forward from the Mount (Nu Num.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
Numbers 10:32
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