Numbers 7:1
And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Numbers 7:1. On the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle — Which he did on the first day of the first month of the second year after their coming out of Egypt, Exodus 40:17-18. Here we may observe, as in many other places, particularly Genesis 2:4; Genesis 35:3, that day is put for an indefinite time, and on the day is a Hebraism signifying about, or after such a time, (see Numbers 7:84; Numbers 7:88.) Therefore, it might be better rendered, What time Moses had fully set up, &c.; for the offerings here mentioned were made in the second month of the second year after the tabernacle and altar and all other instruments thereof were anointed, as is here expressed; after the Levites were separated to the service of the tabernacle, and appointed to their several works, which was about a month after the tabernacle was erected; after the numbering of the people, (chap. 1,) when the princes here employed in the offerings were first constituted; and after the disposal of the tribes about the tabernacle, the order of which is here observed in the time of their offerings.

7:1-9 The offering of the princes to the service of the tabernacle was not made till it was fully set up. Necessary observances must always take place of free-will offerings. The more any are advanced, the greater opportunity they have of serving God and their generation. No sooner was the tabernacle set up, than provision is made for the removal of it. Even when but just settled in the world, we must be preparing for changes and removes, especially for the great change.On the day that - i. e. "at the time that," compare Genesis 2:4. The presentation of the gifts in fact occupied twelve days, as the sequel shows.

The enactments set forth in the chapters from Leviticus 10 to Numbers 6 inclusive, were doubtless promulgated at various times between the consecration of the tabernacle and the departure from Sinai, but are for convenience set out connectedly. The contents of the present chapter are accordingly placed after them. The order pursued throughout is justly noted as one which would naturally suggest itself to a narrator who was contemporary with the events.

CHAPTER 7

Nu 7:1-89. The Princes' Offerings.

1. the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle—Those who take the word "day" as literally pointing to the exact date of the completion of the tabernacle, are under a necessity of considering the sacred narrative as disjointed, and this portion of the history from the seventh to the eleventh chapters as out of its place—the chronology requiring that it should have immediately followed the fortieth chapter of Exodus, which relates that the tabernacle was reared on the first day of the first month of the second year [Ex 40:17]. But that the term "day" is used in a loose and indeterminate sense, as synonymous with time, is evident from the fact that not one day but several days were occupied with the transactions about to be described. So that this chapter stands in its proper place in the order of the history; after the tabernacle and its instruments (the altar and its vessels) had been anointed (Le 8:10), the Levites separated to the sacred service—the numbering of the people, and the disposal of the tribes about the tabernacle, in a certain order, which was observed by the princes in the presentation of their offerings. This would fix the period of the imposing ceremonial described in this chapter about a month after the completion of the tabernacle.The tabernacle being fully finished, the twelve princes offer gifts; which are delivered to the Gershonites and the Merarites, Numbers 7:1-11. What they offered in particular of silver, gold, vessels, and beasts, Numbers 7:12-83. The sum thereof, Numbers 7:84-88. God spake to Moses from the mercy-seat, Numbers 7:89.

On the day; either,

1. Precisely; and so this history, as many others, is put out of its proper place, and this chapter, and the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th, should follow next after Exo 40 and this day is the same on which the tabernacle was erected, which was the first day of the first month of the second year, Exodus 40:17,18. Or,

2. Largely, day being put for time, and

on the day for about the time, or, a little after the time. And thus it seems to be taken here, because all the princes did not offer these things upon one and the same day, but on several days, as here it follows. And so there is no disorder in the history, and this chapter comes in its proper place, and those things were done in the second month of the second year after the tabernacle, and altar, and all other instruments thereof were anointed, as is here expressed; and after the Levites were separated to the service of the tabernacle, and appointed to their several works, as is manifest from Numbers 7:5-9, which was done about a month after the tabernacle was erected, &c.; and after the numbering of the people, Num 1, when the princes here employed in the offerings were first constituted; and after the disposal of the tribes about the tabernacle, the order of which is here observed in the time of their offerings. Anointed it, Leviticus 8:10.

And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle,.... Not on the very exact day on which it was first reared up, for that was on the first day of the first month of the second year from the coming up of Israel out of Egypt, Exodus 40:17; whereas the following offerings of the princes were not offered, and many other things previous to them, recorded in the preceding chapters, were not done, until after the first day of the second month of that year, Numbers 1:1; though the Jews say (e) the first of Nisan, or of the first month, was the first for various things, and the first on which the princes offered; but no one particular day can be intended, because the princes were twelve days successively offering their offerings; wherefore "the day" here only denotes the time about which it was when this service was performed; when the tabernacle was not only set up, but "fully" set up, when everything relating to it was in its proper place and order; when not only it was put together, and all the vessels and instruments of it in their due place, but also when the people of Israel, for whose sake it was erected, that the Lord God might dwell among them, were numbered, and their camps formed and pitched around the tabernacle; and the Levites were taken and numbered also, who were to serve at it, and their place and service were appointed unto them about it; for then, and not till then, was the service of it completed, and its proper place and situation fixed and settled:

and had anointed it; with the holy oil Moses was directed to make and anoint it with, Exodus 30:23,

and sanctified it: set it apart for holy use and service, to be an habitation for God, and the place of his worship:

and all the instruments thereof; the ark, table, candlestick, &c.

both the altars, and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them,

and sanctified them; the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering, and all appertaining: thereunto; according to Ben Gersom, this finishing of the whole was at the end of the seven days of consecration of Aaron and his sons, Exodus 29:35.

(e) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 7. p. 21. Baal Hatturim in loc.

And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. on the day that] If this is understood strictly, it is the date given in Exodus 40:17, and is one month earlier than the date of Numbers 1:1. But the following verse (‘them that were numbered’) presupposes the census and the appointment of the tribal chiefs which occurred after the erection of the Tabernacle. Either the writer of this chapter was later than the writer of ch. 1, and failed to notice the discrepancy, or ‘on the day that’ must be understood loosely to mean ‘at the time when’—‘after.’ Cf. Numbers 7:84 (‘in the day when it was anointed’) with Numbers 7:88 (‘after that it was anointed’).

The anointing of the Tabernacle and the Altar was commanded in Exodus 40:9 f.

Verse 1. - On the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle. This expression, "on the day" (Hebrew, בְּיום; Septuagint, ἡμέρᾳ), has given rise to considerable difficulty. Strictly speaking it should mean the first day of the first month of the second year (Exodus 40:17); and so the Targum of Palestine, "It was on the day which begins the month Nisan." It is, however, quite clear from the narrative itself, as well as from its position, that the offerings were not actually made until after the taking of the census and the distribution of their respective duties to the Levitical families, i.e., until the eve of the departure from Sinai. Moreover, since the same phrase, בְּיום, occurs in verse 10, it is certain that it cannot apply to the actual presentation of the offerings, which was spread over twelve days (verse 11). The majority, therefore, of the commentators would read בְּיום here as in Genesis 2:4, "at the time." It is, however, impossible to admit that there is any similarity whatever between the two passages. In Genesis 2:4 the context itself, as well as the subject matter, oblige us to understand the phrase in the looser sense; but in a plain historical account such as the present the obligation is all the other way. Either the date here given is a mistake (which, on any supposition, is most improbable), or it must be referred to the intention and inception of the princely offerings, the actual presentation being made at the time indicated in the narrative, i.e., in the first half of the second month. And had anointed it. From Leviticus 8:10, as compared with Exodus 40:35, it would rather appear that Moses did not anoint the tabernacle on the day it was set up, but on some subsequent day. It is, however, a mistake to suppose that the tabernacle and the holy things were anointed through seven successive days: the statement in Leviticus 8:33-35 refers only to the consecration of the priests. Since the anointing of the tabernacle was connected with the setting of it up, as the last act of one ceremonial, and was only unavoidably postponed, there is nothing remarkable in the two things being spoken of as if they had taken place on one and the same day. Numbers 7:1Presentation of Dedicatory Gifts by the Princes of the Tribes. - Numbers 7:1. This presentation took place at the time (יום) when Moses, after having completed the erection of the tabernacle, anointed and sanctified the dwelling and the altar, together with their furniture (Leviticus 8:10-11). Chronologically considered, this ought to have been noticed after Leviticus 8:10. But in order to avoid interrupting the connection of the Sinaitic laws, it is introduced for the first time at this point, and placed at the head of the events which immediately preceded the departure of the people from Sinai, because these gifts consisted in part of materials that were indispensably necessary for the transport of the tabernacle during the march through the desert. Moreover, there was only an interval of at the most forty days between the anointing of the tabernacle, which commenced after the first day of the first month (cf. Exodus 40:16 and Leviticus 8:10), and lasted eight days, and the departure from Sinai, on the twentieth day of the second month (Numbers 10:11), and from this we have to deduct six days for the Passover, which took place before their departure (Numbers 9:1.); and it was within this period that the laws and ordinances from Leviticus 11 to Numbers 6 had to be published, and the dedicatory offerings to be presented. Now, as the presentation itself was distributed, according to Numbers 7:11., over twelve or thirteen days, we may very well assume that it did not entirely precede the publication of the laws referred to, but was carried on in part contemporaneously with it. The presentation of the dedicatory gifts of one tribe-prince might possibly occupy only a few hours of the day appointed for the purpose; and the rest of the day, therefore, might very conveniently be made use of by Moses for publishing the laws. In this case the short space of a month and a few days would be amply sufficient for everything that took place.
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