Numbers 10 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Numbers 10)

Verse 2

[2] Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.

Two trumpets — For Aaron's two sons: though afterwards the number of the trumpets was much increased, as the number of the priests also was. These trumpets were ordained, both for signification of the great duty of ministers, to preach the word; and for use, as here follows.

Verse 6

[6] When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.

For their journeys — As a sign for them to march forward, and consequently for the rest to follow them.

Verse 9

[9] And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.

Ye shall be saved — If you use this ordinance of God with trust and dependance upon God for help.

Verse 10

[10] Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.

In the days of your gladness — Days appointed for rejoicing and thanksgiving to God for former mercies, or deliverances.

Your solemn days — Your stated festivals.

For a memorial — That God may remember you for good to accept and bless you. God then takes pleasure in our religious exercises, when we take pleasure in them. Holy work should be done with holy joy.

Verse 12

[12] And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran.

Paran — From which they travelled to other places, and then returned into it again, Numbers 12:16.

Verse 21

[21] And the Kohathites set forward, bearing the sanctuary: and the other did set up the tabernacle against they came.

The others — The Gershonites, and Merarites, who therefore marched after the first camp, a good distance from, and before the Kohathites, that they might prepare the tabernacle for the reception of its utensils, which the Kohathites brought some time after them.

Verse 29

[29] And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel.

Raguel — Called also Reuel, Exodus 2:18, who seems to be the same with Jethro; it being usual in scripture for one person to have two or three names. And therefore this Hobab is not Jethro, but his son, which may seem more probable, because Jethro was old and unfit to travel, and desirous, as may well be thought, to die in his own country, whither he returned, Exodus 18:27, but Hobab was young and fitter for these journeys, and therefore entreated by Moses to stay and bear them company.

Verse 30

[30] And he said unto him, I will not go; but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred.

I will not go — So he might sincerely say, though afterward he was overcome by the persuasions of Moses.

Verse 31

[31] And he said, Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes.

Thou mayest be to us instead of eyes — To direct and guide us: for though the cloud determined them to a general place, yet many particulars might be unknown to Moses, wherein Hobab, having long lived in those parts, might be able to advise him, as concerning the conveniences of water for their cattle, concerning the safety or danger of the several parts, by reason of serpents or wild-beasts, or enemies, in the parts adjoining to them, that so they might guard themselves better against them. Or, this is to be understood of his directing them not so much in their way. as about great and difficult matters, wherein the counsel he had from God did not exclude the advice of men, as we see in Hobab's father Jethro, Exodus 18:19-27. And it is probable, this was the wise son of a wise father.

Verse 33

[33] And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days' journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them.

Three days — With continued journeys; only it seems probable, that the cloud made little pauses that they might have time for sleep and necessary refreshments.

The ark went before them — Altho' in their stations it was in the middle, yet in their marches it went before them; and the cloud was constantly over the ark whether it stood or went; therefore the ark is said to go before and direct them, not as if the ark could be seen of all the camps, which being carried only upon mens shoulders was impossible; but because the cloud, which always attended upon the ark, and did, together with the ark, constitute, in a manner, one sign of God's presence, did lead and direct them.

To search out — A metaphorical expression, for discovering to them; for the ark could not search, and God, who knew all places and things, needed not to search.

Verse 34

[34] And the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp.

By day — And by night too, as was expressed before. So we must learn to compare places of scripture, and to supply the defects of one out of another, as we do in all authors.

Verse 36

[36] And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel.

Return — Or, give rest, that is, a safe and quiet place, free from enemies and dangers.