Numbers 12:16
And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) In the wilderness of Paran.—See Note on Numbers 10:12. It appears from the 26th verse of the following chapter that the encampment was at Kadesh, which has been supposed by some to be identical with Rithniah (Numbers 33:18).

12:10-16 The cloud departed, and Miriam became leprous. When God goes, evil comes: expect no good when God departs. Her foul tongue, as Bishop Hall says, was justly punished with a foul face. Aaron, as priest, was judge of the leprosy. He could not pronounce her leprous without trembling, knowing himself to be equally guilty. But if she was thus punished for speaking against Moses, what will become of those who sin against Christ? Aaron, who joined his sister in speaking against Moses, is forced for himself and his sister, to beseech him, and to speak highly of him whom he had so lately blamed. Those who trample upon the saints and servants of God, will one day be glad to make court to them. It is well when rebukes produce confession of sin and repentance. Such offenders, though corrected and disgraced, shall be pardoned. Moses made it appear, that he forgave the injury done him. To this pattern of Moses, and that of our Saviour, who said, Father, forgive them, we must conform. A reason is given for Miriam's being put out of the camp for seven days; because thus she ought to accept the punishment of her sin. When under the tokens of God's displeasure for sin, it becomes us to take shame to ourselves. This hindered the people's progress in their march forward towards Canaan. Many things oppose us, but nothing so hinders us in the way to heaven, as sin.If her father ... - i. e. If her earthly parent had treated her with contumely (compare Deuteronomy 25:9) she would feel for a time humiliated, how much more when God has visited her thus?

And the Lord spake - The mission of the spies was first suggested by the Israelites themselves. See Deuteronomy 1:22.

16. pitched in the wilderness of Paran—The station of encampments seems to have been Rithma (Nu 33:19). Hazeroth, where they abode, as is said, Numbers 11:35, for Miriam’s sake.

In the wilderness of Paran, i.e. in another part of the same wilderness, as may be gathered from Numbers 10:12: see also Deu 33:2. It is possible they might have removed out of one part of that wilderness into another wilderness, and then returned again into another part of it, as we know the Israelites had many strange windings and turnings in their wilderness travels. And this part was more especially called Rithmah, Numbers 33:18, and Kadesh-barnea, Numbers 13:26 Deu 1:19, which were two noted places in that part, both which seem to be comprehended within their camp, or near adjoining to it.

And afterwards the people removed from Hazeroth,.... After seven days, where they had been so long at least; the cloud being returned to the tabernacle, and having been taken up, which was the signal for motion, the camps of Israel, in their order, removed and marched forward:

and pitched in the wilderness of Paran; at a place in it called Rithmah, Numbers 33:18; which, according to Bunting (m), was eight miles from Hazeroth, near to which was another place called Kadesh, or else this was another name of Rithmah, see Numbers 13:3; and now the Israelites were very near the land of promise, and from hence they sent spies to make their observations on it, and bring a report of it; and had it not been for their ill conduct in that affair, in all probability would have been quickly in it, but on that account were kept out thirty eight years longer: it was on the twenty eighth or twenty ninth of the month Sivan the Israelites came to this place, according to the Jewish writers (n), which month answers part of our May and part of June.

(m) Travels, &c. p. 82. (n) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 8. p. 24. & Meyer. Annotat. in ib. p. 338.

And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of {a} Paran.

(a) That is, in Rithmah, which was in Paran, Nu 33:18.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. wilderness of Paran] See on Numbers 10:12.

Verse 16. - In the wilderness of Paran. It is somewhat strange that this note of place should be used a second time without explanation (see chapter Numbers 10:12, 33). Probably it is intended to mark the fact that they were still within the limits of Paran, although on the very verge of their promised laud. In the list of stations given in chapter Numbers 33, it is said (verse 18), "They departed from Hazeroth, and pitched in Rithmah." This is with some probability identified with the Wady Redemat, which opens front the mountain mass of the Azazimat into the singular plain of Kudes, or Kadesh, the scene of the decisive events which followed.



Numbers 12:16The people did not proceed any farther till the restoration of Miriam. After this they departed from Hazeroth, and encamped in the desert of Paran, namely at Kadesh, on the southern boundary of Canaan. This is evident from ch. 13, more especially v. 26, as compared with Deuteronomy 1:19., where it is stated not merely that the spies, who were sent out from this place of encampment to Canaan, returned to the congregation at Kadesh, but that they set out from Kadesh-barnea for Canaan, because there the Israelites had come to the mountains of the Amorites, which God had promised them for an inheritance.

With regard to the situation of Kadesh, it has already been observed at Genesis 14:7, that it is probably to be sought for in the neighbourhood of the fountain of Ain Kades, which was discovered by Rowland, to the south of Bir Seba and Khalasa, on the heights of Jebel Helal, i.e., at the north-west corner of the mountain land of Azazimeh, which is more closely described at Numbers 10:12, where the western slopes of this highland region sink gently down into the undulating surface of the desert, which stretches thence to El Arish, with a breadth of about six hours' journey, and keeps the way open between Arabia Petraea and the south of Palestine. "In the northern third of this western slope, the mountains recede so as to leave a free space for a plain of about an hour's journey in breadth, which comes towards the east, and to which access is obtained through one or more of the larger wadys that are to be seen here (such as Retemat, Kusaimeh, el Ain, Muweileh)." At the north-eastern background of this plain, which forms almost a rectangular figure of nine miles by five, or ten by six, stretching from west to east, large enough to receive the camp of a wandering people, and about twelve miles to the E.S.E. of Muweileh, there rises, like a large solitary mass, at the edge of the mountains which run on towards the north, a bare rock, at the foot of which there is a copious spring, falling in ornamental cascades into the bed of a brook, which is lost in the sand about 300 or 400 yards to the west. This place still bears the ancient name of Kudēṡ. There can be no doubt as to the identity of this Kudēṡ and the biblical Kadesh. The situation agrees with all the statements in the Bible concerning Kadesh: for example, that Israel had then reached the border of the promised land; also that the spies who were sent out from Kadesh returned thither by coming from Hebron to the wilderness of Paran (Numbers 13:26); and lastly, according to the assertions of the Bedouins, as quoted by Rowland, this Kudes was ten or eleven days' journey from Sinai (in perfect harmony with Deuteronomy 1:2), and was connected by passable wadys with Mount Hor. The Israelites proceeded, no doubt, through the wady Retemat, i.e., Rithmah (see at Numbers 33:18), into the plain of Kadesh. (On the town of Kadesh, see at Numbers 20:16.)

(Note: See Kurtz, History of the Old Covenant, vol. iii. p. 225, where the current notion, that Kadesh was situated on the western border of the Arabah, below the Dead Sea, by either Ain Hasb or Ain el Weibeh, is successfully refuted.)

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