Numbers 10:30
And he said unto him, I will not go; but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred.
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(30) And he said unto him, I will not go . . . —It is not expressly stated in the narrative whether Hobab did or did not ultimately accompany the Israelites on their march. It appears most probable, however, that the renewed solicitation of Moses proved effectual. In any case, it is certain from Judges 1:16 that the Kenites, as a body, “went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah,” and that “they went and dwelt among the people.” (See Judges 1:16; Judges 4:11; 1Samuel 15:6; 2Kings 10:15; compared with 1Chronicles 2:55.)

Numbers 10:30. I will not go — So he might sincerely say, though afterward he was overcome by the persuasions of Moses.

10:29-32 Moses invites his kindred to go to Canaan. Those that are bound for the heavenly Canaan, should ask and encourage their friends to go with them: we shall have none the less of the joys of heaven, for others coming to share with us. It is good having fellowship with those who have fellowship with God. But the things of this world, which are seen, draw strongly from the pursuit of the things of the other world, which are not seen. Moses urges that Hobab might be serviceable to them. Not to show where they must encamp, nor what way they must march, the cloud was to direct that; but to show the conveniences of the place they marched through, and encamped in. It well consists with our trust in God's providence, to use the help of our friends.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. 29. Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite—called also Reuel (the same as Jethro [Ex 2:18, Margin]). Hobab, the son of this Midianite chief and brother-in-law to Moses, seems to have sojourned among the Israelites during the whole period of their encampment at Sinai and now on their removal proposed returning to his own abode. Moses urged him to remain, both for his own benefit from a religious point of view, and for the useful services his nomad habits could enable him to render. So he might truly and sincerely say, though after this speech he was overcome by the entreaties and persuasions of Moses. Or he did go and settle his affairs, and afterwards return; for we find his posterity settled among the Israelites. See Judges 1:16 4:11,18, &c.

And he said unto him, I will not go,.... Which was a very peremptory answer, he seemed determined, and at a point about it for the present, though it is, probable he afterwards changed his mind, like the young man in the parable, Matthew 21:29,

but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred; which were prevailing motives with him, his native country, his relations, and father's house; to this resolution he came, both because of his substance, and because of his family, as Jarchi.

And he said unto him, I will not go; but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred.
30. Ḥobab’s words shew that the route from Sinai to his home in Midian (which was on the east of the Golf of Akaba) was in a different direction from the route to Canaan. This is one of the many indications that Sinai did not lie in the position traditionally assigned to it, and found in modern maps, at the south of the peninsula; otherwise the route of the Israelites would have coincided with that of Ḥobab for a large part of the distance. The site of Sinai seems to have been further north, in the region of Ḳadesh. See the writer’s Exodus, pp. xcviii–cvi1 [Note: Driver (Exodus in this series, pp. 177–191) inclines to the traditional site.] .

Numbers 10:30The conversation in which Moses persuaded Hobab the Midianite, the son of Reguel (see at Exodus 2:16), and his brother-in-law, to go with the Israelites, and being well acquainted with the desert to act as their leader, preceded the departure in order of time; but it is placed between the setting out and the march itself, as being subordinate to the main events. When and why Hobab came into the camp of the Israelites-whether he came with his father Reguel (or Jethro) when Israel first arrived at Horeb, and so remained behind when Jethro left (Exodus 18:27), or whether he did not come till afterwards-was left uncertain, because it was a matter of no consequence in relation to what is narrated here.

(Note: The grounds upon which Knobel affirms that the "Elohist" is not the author of the account in Numbers 10:29-36, and pronounces it a Jehovistic interpolation, are perfectly futile. The assertion that the Elohist had already given a full description of the departure in vv. 11-28, rests upon an oversight of the peculiarities of the Semitic historians. The expression "they set forward" in Numbers 10:28 is an anticipatory remark, as Knobel himself admits in other places (e.g., Genesis 7:12; Genesis 8:3; Exodus 7:6; Exodus 12:50; Exodus 16:34). The other argument, that Moses' brother-in-law is not mentioned anywhere else, involves a petitio principii, and is just as powerless a proof, as such peculiarities of style as "mount of the Lord," "ark of the covenant of the Lord," היטיב to do good (Numbers 10:29), and others of a similar kind, of which the critics have not even attempted to prove that they are at variance with the style of the Elohist, to say nothing of their having actually done so.)

The request addressed to Hobab, that he would go with them to the place which Jehovah had promised to give them, i.e., to Canaan, was supported by the promise that he would do good to them (Hobab and his company), as Jehovah had spoken good concerning Israel, i.e., had promised it prosperity in Canaan. And when Hobab declined the request, and said that he should return into his own land, i.e., to Midian at the south-east of Sinai (see at Exodus 2:15 and Exodus 3:1), and to his kindred, Moses repeated the request, "Leave us not, forasmuch as thou knowest our encamping in the desert," i.e., knowest where we can pitch our tents; "therefore be to us as eyes," i.e., be our leader and guide, - and promised at the same time to do him the good that Jehovah would do to them. Although Jehovah led the march of the Israelites in the pillar of cloud, not only giving the sign for them to break up and to encamp, but showing generally the direction they were to take; yet Hobab, who was well acquainted with the desert, would be able to render very important service to the Israelites, if he only pointed out, in those places where the sign to encamp was given by the cloud, the springs, oases, and plots of pasture which are often buried quite out of sight in the mountains and valleys that overspread the desert. What Hobab ultimately decided to do, we are not told; but "as no further refusal is mentioned, and the departure of Israel is related immediately afterwards, he probably consented" (Knobel). This is raised to a certainty by the fact that, at the commencement of the period of the Judges, the sons of the brother-in-law of Moses went into the desert of Judah to the south of Arad along with the sons of Judah (Judges 1:16), and therefore had entered Canaan with the Israelites, and that they were still living in that neighbourhood in the time of Saul (1 Samuel 15:6; 1 Samuel 27:10; 1 Samuel 30:29).

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