|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
33:1-49 This is a brief review of the travels of the children of Israel through the wilderness. It is a memorable history. In their travels towards Canaan they were continually on the remove. Such is our state in this world; we have here no continuing city, and all our removes in this world are but from one part a desert to another. They were led to and fro, forward and backward, yet were all the while under the direction of the pillar of cloud and fire. God led them about, yet led them the right way. The way God takes in bringing his people to himself is always the best way, though it does not always seem to us the nearest way. Former events are mentioned. Thus we ought to keep in mind the providences of God concerning us and families, us and our land, and the many instances of that Divine care which has led us, and fed us, and kept us all our days hitherto. Few periods of our lives can be thought upon, without reminding us of the Lord's goodness, and our own ingratitude and disobedience: his kindness leaves us without excuse for our sins. We could not wish to travel over again the stages we have passed, unless we could hope, by the grace of God, to shun the sins we then committed, and to embrace such opportunities of doing good as we have let slip. Soon will our wanderings end, and our eternal state be fixed beyond recall; how important then is the present moment! Happy are those whom the Lord now guides with his counsel, and will at length receive to his glory. To this happiness the gospel calls us. Behold now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. Let sinners seize the opportunity, and flee for refuge to the hope set before them. Let us redeem our time, to glorify God and serve our generation; and he will carry us safely through all, to his eternal kingdom.
Verse 1. - These are the journeys. The Hebrew word מַסְעֵי is rendered σταθμοί by the Septuagint, which means "stages" or "stations." It is, however, quite rightly translated "journeys," for it is the act of setting out and marching from such a place to such another which the word properly denotes (cf. Genesis 13:3; Deuteronomy 10:11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
These are the journeys of the children of Israel,.... Which are related in this chapter following:
which went forth out of the land of Egypt: whither their fathers went and stayed, and were kept in hard bondage, but in due time were delivered from it, and came out from thence:
with their armies; in great numbers, and in an orderly manner, in rank and file, and like so many squadrons, see Exodus 7:4, under the hand of Moses and Aaron: who were sent to the king of Egypt to require their dismission, and who were the instruments under God of their deliverance, and were the leaders of them; as of them out of Egypt, so through the wilderness, in their, several journeys here recorded.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Nu 33:1-15. Two and Forty Journeys of the Israelites—from Egypt to Sinai.
1. These are the journeys of the children of Israel—This chapter may be said to form the winding up of the history of the travels of the Israelites through the wilderness; for the three following chapters relate to matters connected with the occupation and division of the promised land. As several apparent discrepancies will be discovered on comparing the records here given of the journeyings from Sinai with the detailed accounts of the events narrated in the Book of Exodus and the occasional notices of places that are found in that of Deuteronomy, it is probable that this itinerary comprises a list of only the most important stations in their journeys—those where they formed prolonged encampments, and whence they dispersed their flocks and herds to pasture on the adjacent plains till the surrounding herbage was exhausted. The catalogue extends from their departure out of Egypt to their arrival on the plains of Moab.
went forth … with their armies—that is, a vast multitude marshalled in separate companies, but regular order.
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