Numbers 20:22
And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh, and came unto mount Hor.
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(22) And the children of Israel . . . —Better, And they journeyed from Kadesh; and the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, came unto Mount Hor. The insertion of the words “the whole congregation,” as in Numbers 20:1, probably denotes that the people were broken up and dispersed during a considerable portion of their wilderness life, and that it was only on particular occasions that they were gathered together.

And came unto Mount Hor.—It cannot be inferred from this statement that Mount Hor, near Petra, the modern Hârûn (see Stanley’s “Sinai and Palestine,” p. 86), was only one day’s journey from Kadesh. It is evident from Numbers 10:33 that the places of encampment may have been distant from each other several days’ journey. The name Hor is thought by some to be another form of the Hebrew har, a mountain. The same name is given in Numbers 34:7 to a mountain which is supposed by some to be a branch of Lebanon. (See Note in loc.)

20:22-29 God bids Aaron prepare to die. There is something of displeasure in these orders. Aaron must not enter Canaan, because he had failed in his duty at the waters of strife. There is much of mercy in them. Aaron, though he dies for his transgression, dies with ease, and in honour. He is gathered to his people, as one who dies in the arms of Divine grace. There is much significancy in these orders. Aaron must not enter Canaan, to show that the Levitical priesthood could make nothing perfect; that must be done by bringing in a better hope. Aaron submits, and dies in the method and manner appointed; and, for aught that appears, with as much cheerfulness as if he had been going to bed. It was a great satisfaction to Aaron to see his son, who was dear to him, preferred; and his office preserved and secured: especially, to see in this a figure of Christ's everlasting priesthood. A good man would desire, if it were the will of God, not to outlive his usefulness. Why should we covet to continue any longer in this world, than while we may do some service in it for God and our generation?Mount Hor - The modern Jebel Harun, situated on the eastern side of the Arabah, and clause to Petra. This striking mountain, rising on a dark red bare rock, to a height of near 5,000 feet above the Mediterranean, is remarkable far and near for its two summits, on one of which is still shown a small square building, crowned with a dome, called the Tomb of Aaron. 22. the children of Israel … came unto mount Hor—now Gebel Haroun, the most striking and lofty elevation in the Seir range, called emphatically "the mount" [Nu 20:28]. It is conspicuous by its double top. Whose inhabitants were then called Horims, Deu 2:12, and Esau the Horite, Genesis 36:20.

And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh,.... Not directly, but after they had continued there some time, and had furnished themselves with provisions for their journey, which they bought of the Edomites, see Judges 11:17, "the whole congregation" is observed to Journey from hence, not one of them being lost by the king of Edom's coming out against them; these went out complete and perfect, safe and sound:

and came unto Mount Hor; which, according to Bunting (f), was forty eight miles from Kadesh; this had not its name from the Horim or Horites, nor they from that, their name being written with a different letter, but from Harar, a mountain, for the word itself signifies a mountain; wherefore it may be rendered, "a mountain of the mountain", which Jarchi interprets a mountain on the top of a mountain. Josephus (g) says, that here stood a city, formerly called Arce, since Petra, surrounded with an high mountain, where Aaron went and died; and Pliny says (h) of Petra, that it is encompassed with inaccessible mountains.

(f) Travels of the Patriarchs, &c. p. 83. (g) Antiqu. l. 4. c. 4. sect. 7. (h) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 28.

And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh, and came unto mount Hor.
22. mount Hor] The site is unknown: but it is stated to be ‘by the border of the land of Edom’ (Numbers 20:23), and ‘on the edge’ of it (Numbers 33:37). In spite of this, tradition (found as early as Josephus and repeated by Jerome and Eusebius) places it near Petra; and this view is represented in the modern Jebel Nebi Hârûn, a mountain near Petra. But Petra lay some distance within the Edomite border, which stretched westward of the Arabah. Jebel Madurah, a mountain N.E. of Kadesh and a short distance south of the Dead Sea, suits the data in the text and is the best conjecture which has yet been made (Trumbull, Kadesh-Barnea, 127–139). If, however, the Israelites moved north-east from Kadesh, they did not move south-east towards the Red Sea (Numbers 21:4). See on Numbers 21:10-11.

In Deuteronomy 10:6 Aaron is related to have died not at Mt Hor but at Môsçrâh (Numbers 33:30 f. Môsçrôth), of which nothing is known. It may perhaps have been situated in the neighbourhood of Mt Hor.

22–29. The death of Aaron.

Verse 22. - And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation (see note on verse 1), journeyed from Kadesh, and came unto Mount Her. If the narrative follows the order of time, we must suppose that the Edomites at once blocked the passes near to Kadesh, and thus compelled the Israelites to journey southwards for some distance until they were clear of the Azazimat; they would then turn eastwards again and make their way across the plateau of Paran to the Arabah at a point opposite Mount Hen It is supposed by many, although it finds no support in the narrative itself, that the armed resistance offered by Edom is out of chronological order in verse 20, and only occurred in fact when the Israelites had reached the neighbourhood of Mount Her, and were preparing to ascend the Wady Ghuweir. On the name of Mount Her (הֹר הָהָר) see on Numbers 34:7, 8. There can be no doubt that tradition is right in identifying it with the Jebel Harun (mount of Aaron), a lofty and precipitous mountain rising between the Arabah and the site of Petra. On one of its two summits the tomb of Aaron is still shown, and although this is itself worthless as evidence, yet the character and position of the mountain are altogether in agreement with the legend. Numbers 20:22Death of Aaron at Mount Hor. - The Israelites left Kadesh, and passed along the road just mentioned to Mount Hor. This mountain, which was situated, according to Numbers 33:37, on the border of the land of Edom, is placed by Josephus (Ant. iv. 4, 7) in the neighbourhood of Petra; so also by Eusebius and Jerome: "Or mons, in quo mortuus est Aaron, juxta civitatem Petram." According to modern travellers, it is Mount Harun, on the north-western side of Wady Musa (Petra), which is described by Robinson (vol. ii. p. 508) as "a cone irregularly truncated, having three ragged points or peaks, of which that upon the north-east is the highest, and has upon it the Muhammedan Wely, or tomb of Aaron," from which the mountain has received its name "Harun," i.e., Aaron (vid., Burckhardt, Syr. pp. 715, 716; v. Schubert, Reise, ii. pp. 419ff.; Ritter, Erdkunde, xiv. pp. 1127ff.). There can be no doubt as to the general correctness of this tradition;

(Note: There is no force whatever in the arguments by which Knobel has endeavoured to prove that it is incorrect. The first objection, viz., that the Hebrews reached Mount Hor from Kadesh in a single march, has no foundation in the biblical text, and cannot be inferred from the circumstance that there is no place of encampment mentioned between Kadesh and Mount Hor; for, on the one hand, we may clearly see, not only from Numbers 21:10, but even from Exodus 17:1, as compared with Numbers 33:41. and Numbers 33:12., that only those places of encampment are mentioned in the historical account where events occurred that were worthy of narrating; and, on the other hand, it is evident from Numbers 10:33, that the Israelites sometimes continued marching for several days before they formed an encampment again. The second objection - viz., that if Hor was near Petra, it is impossible to see how the advance of the Hebrews from Kadesh to Hor could be regarded by the king of Arad, who lived more than thirty hours' journey to the north, as coming (Numbers 33:40), not to mention "coming by the way of the spies" (Numbers 21:1), and how this king could come into conflict with the Hebrews when posted at Petra - rests upon the erroneous assumption, that the attack of the king of Arad did not take place till after the death of Aaron, because it is not mentioned till afterwards. Lastly, the third objection - viz., that a march from Kadesh in a south-westerly direction to Wady Musa, and then northwards past Zalmona to Phunon (Numbers 33:41), is much too adventurous - is overthrown by Numbers 21:4, where the Israelites are said to have gone from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea. (See the notes on Numbers 21:10.))

for even if the Mohammedan tradition concerning Aaron's grave is not well accredited, the situation of this mountain is in perfect harmony with the statement in Numbers 20:23 and Numbers 33:37, viz., that the Israelites had then reached the border of the land of Edom. The place where the people encamped is called Mosera in Deuteronomy 10:6, and Moseroth in the list of stations in Numbers 33:30, and is at all events to be sought for in the Arabah, in the neighbourhood of Mount Hor, though it is altogether unknown to us. The camp of 600,000 men, with their wives, children, and flocks, would certainly require a space miles wide, and might therefore easily stretch from the mouths of the Wady el Weibeh and Wady Ghuweir, in the Arabah, to the neighbourhood of Mount Harun. The place of encampment is called after this mountain, Hor, both here and in Numbers 33:37., because it was there that Aaron died and was buried. The Lord foretold his death to Moses, and directed him to take off Aaron's priestly robes, and put them upon Eleazar his son, as Aaron was not to enter the promised land, because they (Aaron and Moses) had opposed the command of Jehovah at the water of strife (see at Numbers 20:12). "Gathered to his people," like the patriarchs (Genesis 25:8, Genesis 25:17; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:33).

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