Numbers 7:89
And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking to him from off the mercy seat that was on the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubim: and he spoke to him.
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Numbers 7:89. To speak with him — To consult God upon occasion. The voice of one speaking from off the mercy-seat — Which Moses, standing without the veil, could easily hear. And this seems to be added in this place to show that when men had done their part, God was not wanting in the performance of his part and promise. It also explains the manner how God communicated his will to Moses, not by some impression upon his mind in a vision, or by representing things to him in a dream; but by a clear and distinct voice, which he heard of one speaking to him from between the cherubim, though, at the same time, he saw no image or similitude. Thus we are to understand these expressions of God’s speaking from the mercy- seat, (Exodus 25:22; Leviticus 1:1,) and his calling to particular persons, Numbers 12:4-5. And hence it is, that the most holy place, where the ark and mercy-seat were, whence the divine voice proceeded, is called Debir, the oracle, 1 Kings 6:23. We may observe further here, that God’s speaking thus to Moses by an audible voice, as if he had been clothed with a body, was an earnest of the incarnation of the Son of God, when in the fulness of time the Word should be made flesh, and speak in the language of the sons of men. That he who spake to Moses was the Eternal Word, was the belief of many of the ancients. For all God’s communion with man is by his Son, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.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.With him - i. e. as marginal, "with God," not (as some) with himself.

He heard the voice of one speaking - Rather, he heard the voice speaking, or conversing. The effect was as though Moses was audibly addressed by another person: how this effect was produced we are not told.

Thus was the promise of Exodus 25:20-22 fulfilled; and that as an immediate response on the part of God to the cheerful readiness with which the tribes had made their offerings, and supplied everything needful for the Holy place and its service. All being now complete as God had appointed, and the camp purified from defilements, God meets Moses the mediator of the people, not as before on the peak of Sinai far away, but in the midst of them, in the dwelling-place which He henceforth vouchsafed to tenant.

89. And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him—As a king gives private audience to his minister, so special license was granted to Moses, who, though not a priest, was admitted into the sanctuary to receive instructions from his heavenly King as occasion demanded.

then he heard the voice of one speaking to him—Though standing on the outer side of the veil, he could distinctly hear it, and the mention of this circumstance is important as the fulfilment, at the dedication of the tabernacle, of a special promise made by the Lord Christ Himself, the Angel of the Covenant, commanding its erection (Ex 25:22). It was the reward of Moses' zeal and obedience; and, in like manner, to all who love Him and keep His commandments He will manifest Himself (Joh 14:21).

Into the tabernacle of the congregation; into which Moses, though no priest, was permitted to enter by God’s special license.

To speak with him, i.e. to consult God upon occasion.

From off the mercy-seat, which Moses standing without the veil could easily hear. And this seems to be added in this place, to show that when men had done their part in the dedication of the tabernacle, altars, &c., God was not wanting in the performance of his part, and promise made, Exodus 25:22. And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation, to speak with him,.... With God, to consult him on some affair or another, or to learn whether he had anything else to communicate to him, to be delivered to the children of Israel; or whether he had any directions and instructions to give him about the presents and gifts of the princes, since this seems to be immediately after their offerings:

then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him; the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it, the voice of the Spirit; but rather the voice of the Shechinah, or Word of God, the eternal "Logos", is what was heard; who in the fulness of time was to be made flesh, and dwell among men, and be heard, and seen, and handled by them; for as for the voice of the Father, the was not heard at any time, John 5:37,

from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; upon the ark in which the law was, called the testimony, was the mercy seat; over that were placed two cherubim shadowing it, and between these was the seat of the divine Majesty, which he had now taken, and from hence the voice of him speaking, was heard; which, as it follows upon the presents and offerings of the princes, may be interpreted, of the divine approbation and acceptance of them, since it was promised by the Lord to Moses, that upon their building a tabernacle for him he would dwell in it; and upon the making a mercy seat with the cherubim over the ark, he would there meet with Moses, and commune with him; all which being done to his mind he fulfils his promise: though it seems that at this time Moses did not go into the most holy place, only into the tabernacle of the congregation, the outward sanctuary, the court of the tabernacle; and there he heard the voice, as Jarchi observes, coming out of the most holy place, and from the mercy seat there, which was so loud, clear, and distinct, as to be well heard and understood by him; he supposes the voice went out from heaven to between the two cherubim, and from thence to the tabernacle of the congregation: and he spake unto him; what he spoke is not said, unless it is what follows in the next chapter.

And when Moses was gone into the {h} tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from {i} between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.

(h) That is, the sanctuary.

(i) According as he had promised in Ex 25:22.

89. An isolated and mutilated fragment describing the intercourse of God with Moses in the sanctuary, and relating the fulfilment of Exodus 25:22. The words ‘with him’ imply that Jehovah has been mentioned previously in the original context of the passage. The verbs ‘went,’ ‘heard’ and ‘spake’ are not frequentative, describing what usually happened. It is a single incident, introducing some words of Jehovah which have been lost. They cannot be the commands in the following chapter, for in that case Numbers 7:1 would be a meaningless repetition.Verse 89. - And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation. Rather, "the tent of meeting." Hebrew, ohel moed, where God had promised to meet with him (Exodus 25:22). To speak with him, i.e., with God, as implied in the word "meeting." He heard the voice of one speaking unto him. Rather, "he heard the voice conversing with him," making itself audible to him. מִדַּבֵּר, part. Hithpael, as in Ezekiel 2:2. Here is a distinct statement of the supernatural fact that God spake to Moses with an audible human voice, and (no doubt) in the Hebrew language, from out the empty darkness behind the veil. In the fact, indeed, of God so speaking audibly there was nothing new (see Genesis 3:8; Genesis 17:1, &c.), nor in the fact of his so speaking to Moses (see Exodus 3:4 and Exodus 33:9); but this records the fulfillment of that promise which was part of God's covenant with Israel, that he would at all times converse with Moses as their mediator from above the mercy-seat (see on Exodus 25:20-22, and cf. Deuteronomy 5:23-28). And he spake unto him, i.e., God spake unto Moses: the voice made itself audible, and by the voice God himself spake unto him. It is quite obvious that this statement more properly belongs to an earlier period, viz., to that immediately succeeding the consecration of the tabernacle. On the day it was set up Moses was not able to enter it (Exodus 40:35), but no doubt he did so very soon afterwards, and received from the mouth of the Lord, speaking in the holiest, all the commandments and ordinances recorded in Leviticus and in the beginning of this book. Perhaps the first communication made to him in this way concerned the offerings of the princes when first brought near (verses 4, 11), and for that reason the statement may have been appended to the record of those offerings.

All the princes brought the same gifts. The order in which the twelve princes, whose names have already been given at Numbers 1:5-15, made their presentation, corresponded to the order of the tribes in the camp (ch. 2), the tribe-prince of Judah taking the lead, and the prince of Naphtali coming last. In the statements as to the weight of the silver kearoth and the golden cappoth, the word shekel is invariably omitted, as in Genesis 20:16, etc. - In Numbers 7:84-86, the dedication gifts are summed up, and the total weight given, viz., twelve silver dishes and twelve silver bowls, weighing together 2400 shekels, and twelve golden spoons, weighing 120 shekels in all. On the sacred shekel, see at Exodus 30:13; and on the probable value of the shekel of gold, at Exodus 38:24-25. The sacrificial animals are added together in the same way in Numbers 7:87, Numbers 7:88.
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