These are the journeys of the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron.Numbers 33:1-2. These are the journeys of Israel — As the peculiar providence of God remarkably appeared in the protection and miraculous preservation of the Israelites, from the time they left Egypt till they came to the borders of Canaan, so Moses was particularly commissioned to preserve a history of them for the benefit of posterity. In execution of this commission, he wrote their goings out — Kept an account of their journeys, and of all the remarkable occurrences in the way, for his own satisfaction and the instruction of others. And he here recapitulates the principal stages of their long journey, and sets them all before the reader in one view, that those who would take the pains to examine might be satisfied that it was only by a train of unprecedented miracles that such a multitude of people had been fed and preserved every day, for forty years together, in a barren and unhospitable desert, Jeremiah 2:6; Deuteronomy 29:6. These are their journeys — It is to be observed that Moses only mentions those places where they encamped for some time, passing by others where they only halted for a little refreshment.
And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the LORD: and these are their journeys according to their goings out.
And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.Numbers 33:3-4. They departed from Rameses — Whither they repaired, by order of Moses, from all parts of the land. Upon their gods — Either their princes and rulers, who are sometimes called gods in Scripture; for God slew the firstborn, not only of the meaner sort, but even of their king and princes: or, their false gods, those beasts which the Egyptians worshipped as gods; for the firstborn of men and beasts were then killed. Probably their images also were thrown down, as Dagon afterward before the ark.
For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments.
And the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth.
And they departed from Succoth, and pitched in Etham, which is in the edge of the wilderness.
And they removed from Etham, and turned again unto Pihahiroth, which is before Baalzephon: and they pitched before Migdol.
And they departed from before Pihahiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days' journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah.
And they removed from Marah, and came unto Elim: and in Elim were twelve fountains of water, and threescore and ten palm trees; and they pitched there.
And they removed from Elim, and encamped by the Red sea.Numbers 33:10-11. By the Red sea — Not by that part of it where they had lately passed over, but more southerly, toward the Arabian desert. This station is omitted in Exodus. The wilderness of Sin — Where the manna first began to fall, Exodus 16:1.
And they removed from the Red sea, and encamped in the wilderness of Sin.
And they took their journey out of the wilderness of Sin, and encamped in Dophkah.Numbers 33:12-14. Dophkah — Alush — Neither of these stations is mentioned in Exodus, nothing remarkable, it seems, having fallen out in those places. But several remarkable things happened in Rephidim, recorded Exodus 17.
And they departed from Dophkah, and encamped in Alush.
And they removed from Alush, and encamped at Rephidim, where was no water for the people to drink.
And they departed from Rephidim, and pitched in the wilderness of Sinai.Numbers 33:15-16. The wilderness of Sinai — Here they arrived about forty- seven days after they left Egypt, and stayed almost a year, receiving the laws contained in Exodus and Leviticus, and the first twelve chapters of this book. Kibroth-hattaavah — Where such numbers were destroyed for despising the manna, and lusting after flesh, Numbers 11:33.
And they removed from the desert of Sinai, and pitched at Kibrothhattaavah.
And they departed from Kibrothhattaavah, and encamped at Hazeroth.
And they departed from Hazeroth, and pitched in Rithmah.Numbers 33:18. They pitched in Rithmah — A place not mentioned in Exodus, but which appears, from Numbers 12:16, to have been in the wilderness of Paran, not far from Kadesh-barnea.
And they departed from Rithmah, and pitched at Rimmonparez.
And they departed from Rimmonparez, and pitched in Libnah.
And they removed from Libnah, and pitched at Rissah.
And they journeyed from Rissah, and pitched in Kehelathah.
And they went from Kehelathah, and pitched in mount Shapher.
And they removed from mount Shapher, and encamped in Haradah.
And they removed from Haradah, and pitched in Makheloth.
And they removed from Makheloth, and encamped at Tahath.
And they departed from Tahath, and pitched at Tarah.
And they removed from Tarah, and pitched in Mithcah.
And they went from Mithcah, and pitched in Hashmonah.
And they departed from Hashmonah, and encamped at Moseroth.
And they departed from Moseroth, and pitched in Benejaakan.
And they removed from Benejaakan, and encamped at Horhagidgad.
And they went from Horhagidgad, and pitched in Jotbathah.
And they removed from Jotbathah, and encamped at Ebronah.
And they departed from Ebronah, and encamped at Eziongaber.Numbers 33:35. Ezion-gaber — A seaport town situated on the Red sea, in the land of Edom, near Arabia Felix, Deuteronomy 2:8; 2 Chronicles 8:17. All the encampments, from Numbers 33:16 to this place, were wanderings backward again toward the Red sea, for thirty-eight years together. They were led to and fro, backward and forward, as in a maze or labyrinth, and yet were all the while under the direction of the pillar of cloud and fire. He led them about, (Deuteronomy 32:10,) and yet led them the right way, Psalm 107:7. The way God takes in bringing his people to himself is always the best way, all circumstances considered, although it does not always appear to us the nearest way, and is often a way in which the Lord would not have led us, unless to chastise us for our sins, and save us from the love of them.
And they removed from Eziongaber, and pitched in the wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh.
And they removed from Kadesh, and pitched in mount Hor, in the edge of the land of Edom.
And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of the LORD, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the first day of the fifth month.Numbers 33:38. Aaron went up at the commandment of the Lord, and died — Good men’s goings are ordered of the Lord, and a peculiar providence, watching over all their concerns, appoints the time and place of their death. Let us go on in the way of duty, and leave it to him to call us hence, when, and where, and how he pleases.
And Aaron was an hundred and twenty and three years old when he died in mount Hor.
And king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel.
And they departed from mount Hor, and pitched in Zalmonah.
And they departed from Zalmonah, and pitched in Punon.
And they departed from Punon, and pitched in Oboth.
And they departed from Oboth, and pitched in Ijeabarim, in the border of Moab.
And they departed from Iim, and pitched in Dibongad.
And they removed from Dibongad, and encamped in Almondiblathaim.
And they removed from Almondiblathaim, and pitched in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo.
And they departed from the mountains of Abarim, and pitched in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.
And they pitched by Jordan, from Bethjesimoth even unto Abelshittim in the plains of Moab.Numbers 33:49. Abel-shittim — The place where the people sinned in the matter of Peor, called simply Shittim, Numbers 25:1; but here Abel-shittim, for the grievous mourning (Abel signifying mourning) which was there, both for the heinous crimes committed, and the severe judgments inflicted. This was their forty-second and last station, before their entrance into Canaan, and here we left them in the last transactions of this history.
And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,Numbers 33:50-52. Ye shall drive out all the inhabitants — They were to be entirely rooted out, that the Israelites might not be seduced by their abominable idolatries, Exodus 23:33; Deuteronomy 20:16-18. And destroy all their pictures — Which seem to have been stones curiously engraven and set up for worship, Deuteronomy 16:22. Destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places — The chapels, altars, groves, or other means of worship here set up.
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;
Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:
And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.
And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man's inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.Numbers 33:54. Ye shall divide the land by lot — As they gradually conquered the country, they were to divide it among the tribes, according to the rules and proportions before prescribed them, Numbers 26:54-55.
But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.Numbers 33:55. If ye will not drive out the inhabitants — Those of them whom ye suffer to remain in the land through your cowardice, slothfulness, or friendship toward them, shall be a great plague to you, and bring sore calamities upon you; see Ezekiel 28:24. Joshua intimates the same to them before he died, Numbers 23:13. Of this also an angel puts them in mind, Jdg 2:3. And so it came to pass, as we read there, (Numbers 33:14,) and throughout that whole book. Shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides — Both vexatious and pernicious. Whosoever, by neglecting, through the Spirit, (to be sought by prayer,) to mortify the deeds of the body, and to crucify the flesh, with its sinful lusts, shall permit sinful tempers and desires to remain in his heart, will one day find by experience that these evil dispositions will be to his soul what the ancient inhabitants of Canaan were to the Israelites; they will be as pricks in his eyes, and thorns in his flesh — A continual source of trouble and vexation, depriving him of true peace and comfort. But is it our privilege to be delivered from these corrupt passions and inclinations? Certainly it is, as much as it was the privilege of the Israelites to be delivered from the Canaanites. For Christ gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, (Titus 2:14,) might sanctify and cleanse his church, and render it without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, Ephesians 5:26-27. And God promises, by Ezekiel, (Ezekiel 36:25,) From all your filthiness and idols will I cleanse you. And faithful is he that hath promised, who also will do it for all those that earnestly call upon, firmly confide in, and perseveringly seek him in the way he has appointed.
Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.Numbers 33:56. I shall do unto you as I thought to do unto them — Make you their slaves; or rather, you shall flee before them, and be expelled the land, as they should have been.