Numbers 36 Bible Commentary

John Darby’s Synopsis

(Read all of Numbers 36)
The following commentary covers Chapters 34, 35, and 36.

God's care over His people

Finally, God takes care of His people in all respects; He marks the limits of the country they were to enjoy. He settles the taking possession, the portion of His servants, the Levites, who were not to have any inheritance.

The six cities of refuge, and Israel's present and future

Six of their cities were to be refuges for those who had unintentionally committed murder; a precious type of God's dealings with Israel, who, in their ignorance, killed the Christ. In this sense, God judges them to be innocent. They are guilty of blood which they could not bear, but guilty in their ignorance, like Saul himself, who is a striking figure, as one born out of due time (ektroma, 1 Cor. 15: 8), of this same position. Such a murderer, however, remains out of his possession until the death of the priest living in those days.

And so it will be with regard to Israel. As long as Christ retains His actual priesthood above, Israel will remain out of their possession, but under the safe keeping of God. The servants of God at least, who have no inheritance, serve as a refuge to them, and understand their position, and recognise them as being under the keeping of God. When this priesthood above, such as it now is, ends, Israel will return into their possession. If they did before, it would be to pass over the blood of Christ, as if the shedding of it were no matter, and the land would be defiled thereby. Now, the actual position of Christ is always a testimony to this rejection, and of His death in the midst of the people.

God maintains the inheritance, however, as He has appointed it (chap. 36).

The relationship between the desert journey and the possession of the promises and rest

This last part, then, of the book presents, not the passage itself through the desert, but the relationship between that position, and the possession of the promises and of the rest which follows. It is in the plains of Moab that Moses bore testimony, and a true testimony, to the perverseness of the people; but where God justified them, shewing His counsels of grace, in taking their side against the enemy, without even their knowledge, and pursued all the designs of His grace and of His determinate purpose for the complete establishment of His people in the land He had promised them. Blessed be His name! Happy are we in being allowed to study His ways!