And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.The trumpet was a straight instrument, differing in this respect from the curved horn or cornet; and is represented, among the other spoils of the temple, on the Arch of Titus. See Exodus 25:23 cut. From Egyptian monuments it appears that the Jewish trumpet was copied from that used in the armies of the Pharaohs. The cornet was at first a simple ram's horn Joshua 6:4, and the metal instrument of later times preserved the original shape.
And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.
When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.Blow an alarm - i. e. along continuous peal. Compare Numbers 10:7, ye shall blow, but not sound an alarm: i. e. blow in short, sharp notes, not in a continuous peal. A third and a fourth alarm were probably blown as signals.
When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.
But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.
And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.The sons of Aaron - As the trumpets were emblematic of the voice of God, the priests only were to use them. At this time there were only two "sons of Aaron;" but in later times, when the number of priests was greater, more trumpets were used; we read of seven in the times of Joshua and David (see the marginal references.); and of a hundred and twenty in that of Solomon 2 Chronicles 5:12.
And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.For examples of the employment of trumpets in war compare marginal references and 2 Chronicles 20:28. By employment of them was signified the dependence of God's people on His aid.
Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.In the day of your gladness - Compare Numbers 29:1; Leviticus 23:24; 2 Chronicles 29:27; Ezra 3:10; Nehemiah 12:35, Nehemiah 12:41; Psalm 81:3.
And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony.At this point commences the second great division of the book, extending to the close of Numbers 14. The remaining verses of the present chapter narrate the actual break up of the camp at Sinai and the order of the march.
And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran.The wilderness of Paran - See Genesis 14:6 note. The wilderness is mentioned here by anticipation. The earliest halting-places, Kibroth-hattaavah and Hazeroth, were not within its limits Numbers 11:35; Numbers 12:16.
And they first took their journey according to the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.Rather, And they journeyed (or, set forth) in the order of precedence according to (i. e. established by) the commandment of the Lord, etc., and described in Numbers 10:14-28.
In the first place went the standard of the camp of the children of Judah according to their armies: and over his host was Nahshon the son of Amminadab.According to their armies - Compare Numbers 1:3. There were three tribal hosts in each camp; and each tribe had of course its subdivisions.
And over the host of the tribe of the children of Issachar was Nethaneel the son of Zuar.
And over the host of the tribe of the children of Zebulun was Eliab the son of Helon.
And the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set forward, bearing the tabernacle.A more precise determination of the method of executing the order given in Numbers 2:17. The appointed place of the tabernacle, in the midst of the host, was represented during the march by the ark, the holy vessels, etc. carried by the Kohathites. The actual structure of the tabernacle was borne in advance by the Gershonites and Merarites, immediately behind the camp of Judah; so as to be set up ready against the arrival of the sacred utensils borne by the Kohathites. Compare Numbers 2; 4,
And the standard of the camp of Reuben set forward according to their armies: and over his host was Elizur the son of Shedeur.
And over the host of the tribe of the children of Simeon was Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.
And over the host of the tribe of the children of Gad was Eliasaph the son of Deuel.
And the Kohathites set forward, bearing the sanctuary: and the other did set up the tabernacle against they came.
And the standard of the camp of the children of Ephraim set forward according to their armies: and over his host was Elishama the son of Ammihud.
And over the host of the tribe of the children of Manasseh was Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.
And over the host of the tribe of the children of Benjamin was Abidan the son of Gideoni.
And the standard of the camp of the children of Dan set forward, which was the rereward of all the camps throughout their hosts: and over his host was Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.
And over the host of the tribe of the children of Asher was Pagiel the son of Ocran.
And over the host of the tribe of the children of Naphtali was Ahira the son of Enan.
Thus were the journeyings of the children of Israel according to their armies, when they set forward.
And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel.Hobab, the son of Raguel - Or Reuel Exodus 2:18. Reuel was probably not identical with Jethro: and Hobab was the brother-in-law, not the father-in-law, of Moses; the Hebrew word translated in the King James Version "father-in-law," signifying simply any relation by marriage (Exodus 3:1 note). Hobab Judges 1:16; Judges 4:11 eventually accompanied the Israelites and obtained a settlement with them in the land of Canaan. Hobab and Jethro may have been brethren and sons of Reuel.
And he said unto him, I will not go; but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred.
And he said, Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes.Thou mayest be to us instead of eyes - A proverbial expression still in use in the East. Hobab would indicate the spots where water, fuel, and pasture might be found, or warn them of the dangers from hurricanes, and point out localities infested by robbers.
And it shall be, if thou go with us, yea, it shall be, that what goodness the LORD shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee.
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.Three days' journey - Probably a technical expression for such a distance as could not be traversed in a single day, and therefore not without intervals of encampment and due provision: compare Genesis 30:36; Exodus 3:18; Exodus 5:3; Exodus 8:27; Exodus 15:22. The technical use of the phrase "Sabbath-day's journey" for another average distance, Acts 1:12, is similar.
The ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them - From Numbers 10:21; Numbers 2:17 it would appear that the usual place of the ark during the march was in the midst of the host. It was evidently an exceptional case when, in Joshua 3:3, Joshua 3:6, the ark preceded the people into the bed of the Jordan. Hence, the words "went before them" do not here imply local precedence. The phrase, or its equivalent, is used of a leader going out in command of his troops, Numbers 27:17; Deuteronomy 31:3; 1 Samuel 18:16; 2 Chronicles 1:10; and similarly the ark may well be said to have gone at the head of the Israelites, when it was borne solemnly in the midst of them as the outward embodiment of the presence whose sovereign word was their law.
A resting place - literally, "rest." It is commonly understood of each successive encampment; or, in particular, of the first encampment. Yet the term would hardly be here employed, did it not carry with it a higher meaning, pointing to the promised rest of Canaan, for which the Israelites were now in full march, and from the speedy enjoyment of which no sentence of exclusion as yet debarred them. Compare the marginal references.
And the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp.
And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.Each forward movement and each rest of the ark was made to bear a sacramental character. The one betokened the going forth of God against His enemies; the other, His gathering of His own people to Himself: the one was the pledge of victory, the other the earnest of repose.
Numbers 10:36 may be translated: "Restore" (i. e. to the land which their fathers sojourned in), "O Lord, the ten thousands of the thousands of Israel." (Compare Psalm 85:4, where the verb in the Hebrew is the same.)
And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel.