EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Numbers 7:11
. Each prince in his day —
Thus the dedication continued no less than twelve days, which made it very solemn, and gave to every tribe an opportunity, by its representative, to express their devotion and reverence to God, and to receive tokens of gracious acceptance From him. And in this offering they followed the order of their camp, and not of their birth.
7:10-89 The princes and great men were most forward in the service of God. Here is an example to those in authority, and of the highest rank; they ought to use their honour and power, their estate and interest, to promote religion and the service of God in the places where they live. Though it was a time of joy and rejoicing, yet still, in the midst of their sacrifices, we find a sin-offering. As, in our best services, we are conscious that there is sin, there should be repentance, even in our most joyful services. In all approaches to God we must by faith look to Christ as the Sin-offering. They brought their offerings each on a day. God's work should not be done confusedly, or in a hurry; take time, and we shall have done the sooner, or, at least, we shall have done the better. If services are to be done for twelve days together, we must not call it a task and a burden. All their offerings were the same; all the tribes of Israel had an equal share in the altar, and an equal interest in the sacrifices offered upon it. He who now spake to Moses, as the Shechinah or Divine Majesty, from between the Cherubim, was the Eternal Word, the second Person in the Trinity; for all God's communion with man is by his Son, by whom he made the world, and rules the church, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.
To the Gershonites, who had to transport the hangings and coverings of the tabernacle, two wagons are assigned: to the Merarites, who had the charge of the solid parts of the tabernacle, four wagons. The furniture and vessels the Kohathites were to carry on their own shoulders. Compare Numbers 3:25-26
, Numbers 3:31
, Numbers 3:36-37
11. They shall offer … each prince on his day, &c.—Eastern princes were accustomed anciently, as they are in Persia still on a certain yearly festival, to sit upon their thrones in great state, when the princes and nobles, from all parts of their dominions, appear before them with tributary presents, which form a large proportion of their royal revenue. And in the offering of all gifts or presents to great personages, every article is presented singly and with ostentatious display. The tabernacle being the palace of their great King, as well as the sanctuary of their God, the princes of Israel may be viewed, on the occasion under notice, as presenting their tributary offerings, and in the same manner of successive detail, which accords with the immemorial usages of the East. A day was set apart for each, as much for the imposing solemnity and splendor of the ceremony, as for the prevention of disorder and hurry; and it is observable that, in the order of offering, regard was paid to priority not of birth, but of rank and dignity as they were ranked in the camp—beginning at the east, proceeding to the south, then to the west, and closing with the north, according to the course of the sun.
As well for the greater solemnity and splendour of the work, as for the prevention of confusion. And in this offering they follow the order of their camp, and not of their birth.
And the Lord said unto Moses,.... For before this was said to him, even what follows, Moses knew not, as the same writer observes, how they should offer, in what order, whether according to their birth, or whether according to the journeying of their camps, or whether they should offer together, or one after another, one day after another (g); this affair is set in a clear light:
they shall offer their offering each prince on his day; one on one day, and the other on the next, and so on successively for twelve days running; and this was ordered for the greater solemnity of the service, and that it might be taken notice of, and each have the honour and credit of it; and this was done, not according to the order of their birth, but as their standards were fixed, first Judah, and those under him, and so the rest in course:
for the dedicating of the altar; see Numbers 7:10.
(g) Vid. Siphri apud Yalkut in loc. And the LORD said unto Moses, They shall offer their offering, each prince on his day, for the dedicating of the altar.