Numbers 33:3
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.
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(3-5) And they departed . . . —In these verses the departure from Rameses, at which place the Israelites seem to have been gathered together previously to the exodus, is related as in Exodus 12:37. The places of encampment from Succoth to the wilderness of Sinai (Numbers 33:6-15) agree with those which are recorded in Exodus 13:20 (Succoth and Etham), 14:2 (Pi-hahiroth and Migdol), 15:22 (the wilderness, i.e., of Shur), 15:23-27 (Marah and Elim), 16:1 (wilderness of Sin), 17:1 (Rephidim), except that there is no mention in Exodus of the station at the Red Sea (Numbers 33:10), and of the stations at Dophkah and Alush (Numbers 33:12-13). The first two stations named after the departure from Sinai, viz., Kibroth-hattaavah, or the graves of lust, and Hazeroth, enclosures, agree with those which are found in Numbers 11:34-35. The next station named in this list is Rithmah. Now, according to Numbers 12:16, the next encampment after Hazeroth was in the wilderness of Paran, from whence Moses, in obedience to the Divine command, sent the spies to search out the land of Canaan (Numbers 13:3). If, then, we compare these two accounts, and take into further consideration the fact that the Wady Abu Retemat is not far distant from Kadesh, and that, according to Robinson (I., p. 279), it abounds with the retem, or broom, and that near it there is a copious spring of water called Ain el Kudeirât, it seems reasonable to infer that the encampment at Rithmah which is recorded in this chapter is the same as that at Kadesh, “in the wilderness of Paran,” as recorded in Numbers 12:16. If this inference be admitted, it is reasonable to conclude further that the seventeen places of encampment which are mentioned in Numbers 33:19-36 between Rithmah and Kadesh are those at which the Israelites pitched their camps during the thirty-eight years of wandering in the wilderness. An apparent difficulty, however, arises on this supposition out of a comparison of Numbers 33:30-33 of this chapter with Deuteronomy 10:6-7, where we find mention made of four places which appear to be identical with those named in this chapter, viz., Beeroth of the children of Jaakan, Mosera, Gudgodah, and Jotbath, which correspond to Bene-jaakan, i.e., the children of Jaakan (an abbreviation, probably, of Beeroth-bene-Jaakan, i.e., the wells of the sons of Jaakan), Moseroth, the plural form of Mosera, Hor-hagidgad, i.e., the cave of Gidgad or Gudgodah, and Jotbathah, an alternative form of Jotbath. The apparent difficulty, however, of the identification arises out of the fact that whereas in this chapter the Israelites are said to have journeyed from Moseroth to Bene-jaakan, they are represented in Deuteronomy 10:6 to have journeyed “from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera.” It is evident, however, that in Deuteronomy 10, where the account is manifestly parenthetical, the reference is to the journeys of the Israelites after the final breaking up of the encampment at Kadesh, at the expiration of the thirty-eight years of wandering in the wilderness; whereas, if the supposition stated above is correct, the reference in this chapter is to the period of the wanderings in the wilderness after the first departure from Kadesh. In this case a change in the order of encampments presents no difficulty, inasmuch as whilst the Israelites, at the later period, must, in all probability, have taken the most direct course open to them from Kadesh to Ezion-geber, there is no improbability involved in the supposition that at the earlier period, whilst wandering about in the wilderness, their places of encampment should have been determined not so much by geographical considerations as by the particular advantages which each spot presented in regard to pasturage and water. It may be observed, further that if the supposition above stated is correct, it will account for the fact that, whereas seventeen places of encampment between Rithmah and Ezion-geber are named in Numbers 33:19-35, no intermediate stations between Ezion-geber and Kadesh are mentioned in Numbers 33:36, the same places of encampment, as may reasonably be inferred, being selected (if, indeed, any formal encampments were made during so hasty a journey) on the return to Kadesh as had been previously occupied on the journey from Kadesh to Ezion-geber, which is at the northern extremity of the Elanitic Gulf.

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.

33:1-49 This is a brief review of the travels of the children of Israel through the wilderness. It is a memorable history. In their travels towards Canaan they were continually on the remove. Such is our state in this world; we have here no continuing city, and all our removes in this world are but from one part a desert to another. They were led to and fro, forward and backward, yet were all the while under the direction of the pillar of cloud and fire. God led them about, yet led them the right way. The way God takes in bringing his people to himself is always the best way, though it does not always seem to us the nearest way. Former events are mentioned. Thus we ought to keep in mind the providences of God concerning us and families, us and our land, and the many instances of that Divine care which has led us, and fed us, and kept us all our days hitherto. Few periods of our lives can be thought upon, without reminding us of the Lord's goodness, and our own ingratitude and disobedience: his kindness leaves us without excuse for our sins. We could not wish to travel over again the stages we have passed, unless we could hope, by the grace of God, to shun the sins we then committed, and to embrace such opportunities of doing good as we have let slip. Soon will our wanderings end, and our eternal state be fixed beyond recall; how important then is the present moment! Happy are those whom the Lord now guides with his counsel, and will at length receive to his glory. To this happiness the gospel calls us. Behold now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. Let sinners seize the opportunity, and flee for refuge to the hope set before them. Let us redeem our time, to glorify God and serve our generation; and he will carry us safely through all, to his eternal kingdom.This list was written out by Moses at God's command Numbers 33:2, doubtless as a memorial of God's providential care for His people throughout this long and trying period.

Numbers 33:3-6. For these places, see the marginal reference.

3. Rameses—generally identified with Heroopoils, now the modern Abu-Keisheid (see on [98]Ex 12:37), which was probably the capital of Goshen, and, by direction of Moses, the place of general rendezvous previous to their departure. They all repaired to

Rameses by Moses’s order from all parts of the land.

In the sight of all the Egyptians. See Exodus 14:8 Numbers 15:30.

And they departed from Rameses,.... A city in Egypt, where the children of Israel, a little before their departure, seem to have been gathered together in a body, in order to march out all together, as they did. This place the Targum of Jonathan calls Pelusium. Dr. Shaw (a) thinks it might be Cairo, from whence they set forward; see Exodus 12:37 and it was

in the first month; in the month Nisan, as the same Targum, or Abib, which was appointed the first month on this account, and answers to part of our March and April:

on the fifteenth of the first month, on the morrow after the passover; that was kept on the fourteenth, when the Lord passed over the houses of the Israelites, and slew all the firstborn in Egypt, which made way for their departure the next morning; the Egyptians being urgent upon them to be gone:

the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians; openly and publicly, with great courage and boldness, without any fear of their enemies; who seeing them march out, had no power to stop them, or to move their lips at them, nay, were willing to be rid of them; see Exodus 11:7.

(a) Travels, p. 307. Ed. 2.

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.
Verse 3. - They departed from Rameses. Hebrew, Raemses. See on Exodus 1:11; 12:37. The brief description here given of the departure from Egypt touches upon every material circumstance as related at large in Exodus 11:41. In the sight of all the Egyptians. The journey was begun by night (Exodus 12:42), but was of course con-tinned on the following day. Numbers 33:3The first and second verses form the heading: "These are the marches of the children of Israel, which they marched out," i.e., the marches which they made from one place to another, on going out of Egypt. מסּע does not mean a station, but the breaking up of a camp, and then a train, or march (see at Exodus 12:37, and Genesis 13:3). לצבאתם (see Exodus 7:4). בּיד, under the guidance, as in Numbers 4:28, and Exodus 38:21. למסעיהם מוצאיהם, "their goings out (properly, their places of departure) according to their marches," is really equivalent to the clause which follows: "their marches according to their places of departure." The march of the people is not described by the stations, or places of encampment, but by the particular spots from which they set out. Hence the constant repetition of the word ויּסעוּ, "and they broke up." In Numbers 33:3-5, the departure is described according to Exodus 12:17, Exodus 12:37-41. On the judgments of Jehovah upon the gods of Egypt, see at Exodus 12:12. "With an high hand:" as in Exodus 14:8. - The places of encampment from Succoth to the desert of Sinai (Numbers 33:5-15) agree with those in the historical account, except that the stations at the Red Sea (Numbers 33:10) and those at Dophkah and Alush (Numbers 33:13 and Numbers 33:14) are passed over there. For Raemses, see at Exodus 12:37. Succoth and Etham (Exodus 13:20). Pihahiroth (Exodus 14:2). "The wilderness" (Numbers 33:8) is the desert of Shur, according to Exodus 15:22. Marah, see Exodus 15:23. Elim (Exodus 15:27). For the Red Sea and the wilderness of Sin, see Exodus 16:1. For Dophkah, Alush, and Rephidim, see Exodus 17:1; and for the wilderness of Sinai, Exodus 19:2.
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