The Silver Trumpets
Numbers 10:1-10
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…

The blowing of the silver trumpets by Aaron and his sons has generally been taken to denote the preaching of the gospel. But the interpretation is a mistaken one, and arises from confounding the trumpet of jubilee (Leviticus 25:9; Luke 4:16) with the silver trumpet. Although bearing the same name in the English Bible, these are quite different instruments, and are called by different Hebrew names. The former is the shophar or cornet, which, as its name implies, was of horn, or at least horn-shaped; whereas the latter, the chatsotser, was a long' straight tube of silver with a bell-shaped mouth. The true intention of the silver trumpets is distinctly enough indicated in the law before us. They were to be to the children of Israel for a memorial before their God (verse 10); the promise was that when the trumpets were blown, the people should be remembered before the Lord their God, and he would save them from their enemies (verse 9). In other words, the blowing of the silver trumpets was a figure of PRAYER (cf. Acts 10:4). An exceedingly striking and suggestive figure it is.

I. IT PRESENTS CERTAIN ASPECTS OF PRAYER WHICH CAN HARDLY BE TOO MUCH REMEMBERED. For one thing, it admonishes us that prayer ought to be an effectual fervent exercise (James 5:16). A trumpet-tone is the opposite of a timid whisper. There is a clear determinate ring in the call of a silver trumpet. This is not meant to suggest that there ought to be loud and vehement speaking in prayer. But it does mean that we are to throw heart into our prayers and put forth our strength. The spirit of adoption cries, Abba Father (see 2 Chronicles 13:14). When we call on God we ought to stir ourselves up to take hold of him (Isaiah 64:7.) Moreover, the silver trumpet emits a ringing, joyous sound. In almost every instance in which the blowing of these trumpets is mentioned in Scripture, it is suggestive of gladness, hope, exultation. And ought not a note of gladness, hope, exultation to pervade our prayers? When we pray we are to use a certain holy boldness; we are to draw near; we are to speak in full assurance of faith. This, I confess, may be pressed too far. There was nothing of the trumpet-tone in the publican's prayer. There may be acceptable prayer in a sigh, in a cry of anguish, in the groaning of a prisoner. But it is not the will of God that his children's ordinary intercourse with him should be of that sort. They are to call on him with a gladsome confidence that he is able and ready to help them. And many of them do this. There are Christian people whose prayers are always rising into the ringing' tones of the silver trumpet. I have spoken first of the general design or spiritual intention of this ordinance of the silver trumpets. Let us now note THE PARTICULARS: -

1. It belonged to the priest's office (verse 8). It is not to be confounded with the Levitical service of song, instituted long after by David.

2. It served a variety of secular uses. Public assemblies were convened by the sounding of the trumpets, as they are convened among us by the ringing of bells (verses 2, 3, 7). And they were the bugles by which military signals were given (verses 4-6). That it was the priests who blew the trumpets on all such occasions reminds us that Israel was, in a special sense, "an holy nation;" and may also carry forward our minds to the time when "holiness to the Lord" will be written on the life of all Christian nations in all their relations.

3. The blowing of the silver trumpets found place chiefly in the service of the sanctuary. The particulars are noted in verse 10, and are of uncommon interest for the Christian reader.

(1) The trumpets were to be blown over the sacrifices. How this was done appears from the example related in 2 Chronicles 29:26-28. The intention was as much as to say, "O thou that dwellest in the heavens, give ear to us when we cry; remember all our offerings and accept our burnt sacrifice. Grant us the wish of our heart, and fulfill all our counsel."

(2) The sacrifices particularly named as to be thus signalized are the burnt offering and the peace offering. Not the sin offering. The omission can hardly have been accidental. When I have fallen into some notable sin, I am to humble myself before God with shame. The cry of the publican is what befits me, rather than trumpet-toned exultation. The sin offering is most acceptably presented without blowing of trumpets. As for the burnt offering, which denotes dedication; and the peace offering, which speaks of communion with God and of our communion with each other in the Lord; these are most acceptable when they are attended with gladness and thankful exultation in God.

(3) The blowing of the silver trumpets was especially to abound at the great solemnities. That is to say, at the new moons, at the three great festivals, the "solemn days" of the Jewish year, and on all days of special gladness (cf. 2 Chronicles 5:12; 2 Chronicles 7:6; Ezra 3:10; Nehemiah 12:35).

(4) Above all other solemn days, the first day of the seventh month was to be thus distinguished. The seventh month was that in which the Feast of Tabernacles happened - at the full moon, in the end of September or beginning of October, after the Lord had crowned the year with his goodness. The new moon of this month was the Feast of the Blowing of Trumpets (cf. Leviticus 23:24); and fitly ushered in the Feast of Ingathering, the most joyous of all the festivals of the year. - B.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

WEB: Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,

The Silver Trumpets
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