|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:10-20 We have here the removes of the children of Israel, till they came to the plains of Moab, from whence they passed over Jordan into Canaan. The end of their pilgrimage was near. They set forward. It were well if we did thus; and the nearer we come to heaven, were so much the more active and abundant in the work of the Lord. The wonderful success God granted to his people, is here spoken of, and, among the rest, their actions on the river Arnon, at Vaheb in Suphah, and other places on that river. In every stage of our lives, nay, in every step, we should notice what God has wrought for us; what he did at such a time, and what in such a place, ought to be distinctly remembered. God blessed his people with a supply of water. When we come to heaven, we shall remove to the well of life, the fountain of living waters. They received it with joy and thankfulness, which made the mercy doubly sweet. With joy must we draw water out of the wells of salvation, Isa 12:3. As the brazen serpent was a figure of Christ, who is lifted up for our cure, so is this well a figure of the Spirit, who is poured forth for our comfort, and from whom flow to us rivers of living waters, Joh 7:38,39. Does this well spring up in our souls? If so, we should take the comfort to ourselves, and give the glory to God. God promised to give water, but they must open the ground. God's favours must be expected in the use of such means as are within our power, but still the power is only of God.
Verse 18. - By the direction of the lawgiver, בִּמְחֹקֵק. Literally, "by the lawgiver," or, as some prefer, "with the scepter." The meaning of michokek is disputed (see on Genesis 49:10), but in either ease the meaning must be practically as in the A.V. It speaks of the alacrity with which the leaders of Israel, Moses himself amongst them, began the work even with the insignia of their office. And from the wilderness... to Mattanah. Beer was still in the desert country eastward of the cultivated belt: from thence they crossed, still on the north of Arnon, and probably leaving it somewhat to the south, into a more settled country.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The princes digged the well,.... The princes and heads of the several tribes:
the nobles of the people digged it; the seventy elders, according to the Targum of Jonathan:
by the direction of the lawgiver; either the Lord himself, the lawgiver of his people, who pointed out the spot, and directed the princes where to dig, that is, be did this by Moses; and who, as Jarchi thinks, is the lawgiver, and not amiss: the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem render the word by Scribes, in the plural number, and interpret them of Moses and Aaron: and this the princes and nobles "dug with their staves"; either their walking sticks, or their rods, the ensigns of their authority; with these they smote the ground, or stuck them in a soft and sandy place, upon which the waters bubbled up and flowed out. Dr. Shaw (n) chooses to render the words, "with their united applause", or "clapping of hands", as the word in Chaldee signifies; or it may be expressed, as by Dr. Hunt, quoted by him, "by describing" or "marking out" the figure or fashion of the well "with staves". Mr. Ainsworth thinks that this well signified Christ, the fountain of gardens, and well of living waters; and the waters of it the Spirit and his graces, which are a well of living water springing up unto everlasting life; the means of which are the labours of the governors of the church, the ministers of Christ,by preaching the word, and opening the Scriptures; and such grace is worthy of a song, and to be had with joy out of the wells of salvation, Isaiah 12:3,
and from the wilderness they went to Mattanah; from the wilderness near Arnon, which came out of the coasts of the Amorites, Numbers 21:13 to a place which signifies a gift. The Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem render it,"and from the wilderness it was given to them for a gift''that is, the well; and so the people of God, that are called out of the wilderness of this world, and come up from it, are called to partake of the gifts and blessings of grace, which are freely given unto them of God.
(n) Travels, p. 67. Ed. 2.
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