Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
The mansions. These mansions, or journeys of the children of Israel from Egypt to the land of promise, were figures, according to the Fathers, of the steps and degrees by which Christians, leaving sin, are to advance from virtue to virtue, till they come to the heavenly mansions, after this life, to see and enjoy God. (Challoner) --- Conduct. Literally, "hand." Aaron died before they came to the last of these 42 stations, or encampments. (Haydock) --- The observance of the law, and the true worship of God, can alone insure us eternal happiness, and enable us to sing Holy, &c. (St. Jerome, ep. ad Fab.) (Worthington)
Which. Hebrew, "and Moses wrote down their departure and their marches, by the commandment of the Lord; and these are their journeys, according to their going out." These are the places of any note in that wide and dreary desert, near which the Israelites passed. All the encampments are not intended to be specified. The people marched on slowly, and sought for pasturage, with all diligence. The names of these more remarkable places, have been so differently pronounced, that many of them have been greatly confounded; (Calmet) and interpreters vary so much in their situation, that nothing can be decided with certainty. (Haydock)
Ramesses, a city of great note, about 60 miles from the Red Sea, Exodus i. 11. (Calmet)
Gods. Their idols were thrown down. (St. Jerome, ep. 127.) See Exodus xii. 12. (Menochius)
Soccoth, the second station. (Haydock) --- Etham. Septuagint, "Butham," the Butum of Herodotus, (ii. 75,) situated in a plain.
Beelsephon; perhaps the city of Clysma, or Colzan, where the Hebrews crossed the sea.
Etham, or Sur. Exodus xv. 22. --- Mara, 60 miles to the south of the Red Sea. (Calmet)
Elim. "The wood of palm-trees, five days' journey from Jericho." (Strabo) See Exodus xv.
Red Sea. This encampment is not specified before. (Calmet) --- It was the seventh in order. (Haydock)
Sin. Farther from the promised land than that of Tsin, (chap. xx. 1,) or Cades-barne.
Num 33:12 . Septuagint and Eusebius read, Raphca; (Calmet) D and R, in Hebrew, are easily confounded. (Haydock) --- This encampment is passed over in Exodus, as well as the following at Alus.
Raphidim and Sinai. See Exodus xvii., and xix. 1.
Lust. After three days' journey, passing by the station of burning, chap. x. 33., and xi. 3.
Haseroth, near Cades-barne, the same as Aserim, ("the unwalled towns" of the Heveans, extending as far as Gaza,) or Asor, called afterwards Esron, on the south of Chanaan, Josue xi. 10. Moses does not specify here the memorable encampment at Cades-barne, where the Israelites arrived, after 11 days' march from Horeb, Deuteronomy i. 2, 19. It was not far from Asor, on the frontiers of Idumea, (Calmet) in the desert of Pharan, chap. xiii. 1.
Rethma. The situation of this and the following station, cannot be fixed.
Lebna. A strong place besieged by Sennacherib, (4 Kings xix. 8,) between Cades and Gaza, Josue x. 29. The Hebrews encamped a long while about Mount Seir, Deuteronomy ii. 1.
Ressa was in the same neighbourhood. St. Hirarion converted its inhabitants.
Arada. Herad, Adar, or Barad, are probably the same place, on the southern limits of Chanaan, four miles from Maceloth, the Malatis of Eusebius.
Hesmona, or Asemona, a city of the tribe of Juda, towards Egypt, chap. xxxiv. 4.
Gadgad. These three stations are placed in a different order, Deuteronomy x. 6. But some word has been transposed, as Aaron died on Mount Hor, when the Hebrews encamped at Mosera, or Moseroth, a second time. (Calmet)
Jetebatha. It may be rendered also "Hills of concupiscence," famous for torrents of water, Deuteronomy x. 7.
Asiongaber. Some place this station on the Mediterranean, where Strabo fixes the city of Gassion Gaber, the Beto Gabria of Ptolemy. But the Scripture informs us it lay on the Red Sea, 3 Kings ix. 16. Cellarius thinks most probably upon the Elanitic gulf, to the east of that of Suez, or Heroopolis, where Josephus maintains Asiongaber or Bernice stood. The Hebrews came to this station from that of Elat, Deuteronomy ii. 8. (Calmet)
Sin, or Tsin. Cades is another name of the same desert. Near the city of Cades-barne, the Hebrews encamped a long while, and had plenty of water; but here they murmured for want of it, and Mary departed this life, chap. xx. (Calmet)
Hor, at a place called Mosera, Deuteronomy x. 6. This was the road from Arabia to Chanaan, and the Hebrews attempted to enter by it, but were repulsed by the king of Arad, though they afterwards defeated him at Horma, chap. xxi. 3.
Salmona, where it is thought by some that God sent the fiery serpents, chap. xxi. 6. The Israelites being refused a passage by the Idumeans and Moabites, God orders them to measure back their steps towards Asiongaber, and to go round their territories. (Calmet)
Dibongad, is often called Dibon. Moses observes, (chap. xxi.) that the Hebrews passed by or encamped at various places, before they came to this town. It is sometimes attributed to Ruben, and at other times to Gad, being on the confines of both tribes. (Calmet)
Moabites. Here they were deluded by wicked women, chap. xxv. (Haydock) --- From these 42 stations, the Fathers take occasion to shew, how we must advance in a spiritual life. (Du Hamel)
Pillars. Hebrew, stones placed on high "to be seen." Septuagint, "towers of the sentinels." Chaldean, "temples, where they adore their idols."
Land of its old inhabitants, and of the places dedicated to superstitious purposes. (Haydock) --- Hebrew, "occupy the land." Septuagint, "drive out the inhabitants, and dwell there."
Nails. Septuagint, "goads," &c., by which they will force you in a manner to gratify your curiosity, by an imitation of their idol worship; and thus will prove to you more dangerous, than if you had nails piercing your eyes. See Josue xxiii. 13., and Ezechiel xxviii. 24. These abandoned nations must not be spared through a false pity, Deuteronomy xx. 16. (Calmet) --- The Israelites, however, proved negligent, and God made use of the remains of these nations to scourge his people, and to train them for war. (Du Hamel)