Numbers 7:5
Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and you shall give them to the Levites, to every man according to his service.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Numbers 7:5-8. According to his service — More or fewer, as the nature of their service, and of the things to be carried required. And as the Gershonites had the less burdensome things to carry, (Numbers 4:25,) they had the fewer carriages allowed them. Four wagons to the sons of Merari — Proportionable to their great burden, Numbers 4:28; Numbers 4:33.

Under the hand (or inspection) of Ithamar — For he had the care both of the Gershonites and Merarites, Numbers 4:28; Numbers 4:33.7:1-9 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.Covered wagons - Some prefer to render "litter Isaiah 66:20 wagons:" i. e. litters which were not on wheels, but borne by two oxen, one in front and one behind. Such conveyances would probably be more convenient than wheeled wagons in the rough country to be traversed. 4, 5. The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation—They exhibited a beautiful example to all who are great in dignity and in wealth, to be foremost in contributing to the support and in promoting the interests of religion. The strictness of the injunctions Moses had received to adhere with scrupulous fidelity to the divine model of the tabernacle probably led him to doubt whether he was at liberty to act in this matter without orders. God, however, relieved him by declaring His acceptance of the freewill offerings, as well as by giving instructions as to the mode of their distribution among the Levites. It is probable that in doing so, He merely sanctioned the object for which they were offered, and that the practical wisdom of the offerers had previously determined that they should be distributed "unto the Levites, to every man according to his service"—that is, more or fewer were assigned to each of the Levitical divisions, as their department of duty seemed to require. This divine sanction it is of great importance to notice, as establishing the principle, that while in the great matters of divine worship and church government we are to adhere faithfully to the revealed rule of faith and duty, minor arrangements respecting them may be lawfully made, according to the means and convenience of God's people in different places. "There is a great deal left to human regulation—appendages of undoubted convenience, and which it were as absurd to resist on the ground that an express warrant cannot be produced for them, as to protest against the convening of the people to divine service, because there is no Scripture for the erection and ringing of a church bell" [Chalmers]. i.e. More or fewer of them, as the nature of their service and of the things to be carried required. Take it of them,.... The present of the wagons and oxen, by which it appears that this freewill offering of the princes was according to his mind and will, and what they were influenced and guided to by his Spirit, and was well pleasing in his sight, and acceptable to him:

that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; be made use of, and employed in carrying the tabernacle, and the things of it, from place to place, when the Israelites journeyed:

and thou shalt give them to the Levites; to ease them, whose business it was to bear and carry the several parts of the tabernacle, and the vessels of it:

to every man according to his service; whether lighter or heavier, for such difference there was in the three divisions of the Levites; and according as their work was, they had more or fewer wagons and oxen given them, as it follows, Numbers 7:7.

Take it of them, that they may be to do the {b} service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service.

(b) That is, to carry things.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 5. - Take it of them. It was the first absolutely voluntary offering made for the service of God, and as such altogether acceptable. Former "free-will offerings" had been at the least invited this had not. The Priestly or Aaronic Blessing. - The spiritual character of the congregation of Israel culminated in the blessing with which the priests were to bless the people. The directions as to this blessing, therefore, impressed the seal of perfection upon the whole order and organization of the people of God, inasmuch as Israel was first truly formed into a congregation of Jehovah by the fact that God not only bestowed His blessing upon it, but placed the communication of this blessing in the hands of the priests, the chosen and constant mediators of the blessings of His grace, and imposed it upon them as one portion of their official duty. The blessing which the priests were to impart to the people, consisted of a triple blessing of two members each, which stood related to each other thus: The second in each case contained a special application of the first to the people, and the three gradations unfolded the substance of the blessing step by step with ever increasing emphasis. - The first (Numbers 6:24), "Jehovah bless thee and keep thee," conveyed the blessing in the most general form, merely describing it as coming from Jehovah, and setting forth preservation from the evil of the world as His work. "The blessing of God is the goodness of God in action, by which a supply of all good pours down to us from His good favour as from their only fountain; then follows, secondly, the prayer that He would keep the people, which signifies that He alone is the defender of the Church, and that it is He who preserves it with His guardian care" (Calvin). - The second (Numbers 6:25), "Jehovah make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee," defined the blessing more closely as the manifestation of the favour and grace of God. The face of God is the personality of God as turned towards man. Fire goes out from Jehovah's face, and consumes the enemy and the rebellious (Leviticus 10:2, cf. Numbers 17:10; Numbers 20:3; Exodus 13:22; Psalm 34:17), and also a sunlight shining with love and full of life and good (Deuteronomy 30:20; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 43:3; Psalm 44:4). If "the light of the sun is sweet, and pleasant for the eyes to behold" (Ecclesiastes 11:7), "the light of the divine countenance, the everlasting light (Psalm 36:10), is the sum of all delight" (Baumg.). This light sends rays of mercy into a heart in need of salvation, and makes it the recipient of grace. - The third (Numbers 6:26), "Jehovah lift up His face to thee, and set (or give) thee peace" (good, salvation), set forth the blessing of God as a manifestation of power, or a work of power upon man, the end of which is peace (shalom), the sum of all the good which God sets, prepares, or establishes for His people. אל פּנים נשׁא, to lift up the face to any one, is equivalent to looking at him, and does not differ from עינים נשׁא or שׂים (Genesis 43:29; Genesis 44:21). When affirmed of God, it denotes His providential work upon man. When God looks at a man, He saves him out of his distresses (Psalm 4:7; Psalm 33:18; Psalm 34:16). - In these three blessings most of the fathers and earlier theologians saw an allusion to the mystery of the Trinity, and rested their conclusion, (a) upon the triple repetition of the name Jehovah; (b) upon the ratio praedicati, that Jehovah, by whom the blessing is desired and imparted, is the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and (c) upon the distinctorum benedictionis membrorum consideratio, according to which bis trina beneficia are mentioned (cf. Calovii Bibl. illustr. ad h. l.). There is truth in this, though the grounds assigned seem faulty. As the threefold repetition of a word or sentence serves to express the thought as strongly as possible (cf. Jeremiah 7:4; Jeremiah 22:29), the triple blessing expressed in the most unconditional manner the thought, that God would bestow upon His congregation the whole fulness of the blessing enfolded in His Divine Being which was manifested as Jehovah. But not only does the name Jehovah denote God as the absolute Being, who revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Spirit in the historical development of His purpose of salvation for the redemption of fallen man; but the substance of this blessing, which He caused to be pronounced upon His congregation, unfolded the grace of God in the threefold way in which it is communicated to us through the Father, Son, and Spirit.

(Note: See the admirable elaboration of these points in Luther's exposition of the blessing. Luther refers the first blessing to "bodily life and good." The blessing, he says, desired for the people "that God would give them prosperity and every good, and also guard and preserve them." This is carried out still further, in a manner corresponding to his exposition of the first article. The second blessing he refers to "the spiritual nature and the soul," and observes, "Just as the sun, when it rises and diffuses its rich glory and soft light over all the world, merely lifts up its face upon all the world;...so when God gives His word, He causes His face to shine clearly and joyously upon all minds, and makes them joyful and light, and as it were new hearts and new men. For it brings forgiveness of sins, and shows God as a gracious and merciful Father, who pities and sympathizes with our grief and sorrow. The third also relates to the spiritual nature and the soul, and is a desire for consolation and final victory over the cross, death, the devil, and all the gates of hell, together with the world and the evil desires of the flesh. The desire of this blessing is, that the Lord God will lift up the light of His word upon us, and so keep it over us, that it may shine in our hearts with strength enough to overcome all the opposition of the devil, death, and sin, and all adversity, terror, or despair.")

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