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What tribe would bump up against another tribe. The exact boundaries would be determined by headcount with the larger tribes getting more territory than the smaller tribes because they needed it. Let me remind you how it was that Joseph came to be two tribes Ephraim and Manasseh neither of which went by his name. Back in Genesis 48 we get the story of the Patriarch Jacob, in Egypt, on the verge of death and so calling his favorite son and Vizier of Egypt, Joseph, to his bedside. In what I call the cross-handed blessing, Jacob laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim the younger of his two grandsons , and his left hand on Manasseh.

And he blessed these two children by making them his OWN sons! Jacob literally and officially NOT symbolically adopted Ephraim and Manasseh away from Joseph and told Joseph that his future children could remain his. This must have staggered and upset Joseph to no end, for not only had his father Jacob taken his own sons from him BUT he gave the greater blessing to the 2nd born son and the lesser blessing to the firstborn son. By all that was customary, traditional, and right in the eyes of any Hebrew or Middle Easterner Jacob had broken all the rules!

But, by those same traditions, once a blessing was given it was irreversible for any reason. So with his adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh, suddenly Jacob had 14 sons and not For a time there was 14 tribes of Israel and not However before Israel left Egypt the tribal name of Joseph was dropped and replaced with 2 tribes, both coming from his loins: Ephraim and Manasseh. Get the picture: the tribe of Joseph split into two, with one son Ephraim representing one line of Joseph, and the other son Manasseh representing a second line of Joseph.

But removing the tribal name of Joseph still leaves us with 13 tribes of Israel. Later, out in the Wilderness, God would adopt the tribe of Levi away from the nation of Jacob the nation of Israel and thus we are back to 12 tribes plus Levi. They would serve Yehoveh as His priests and as those who cared for His sanctuary.

Thus since the Levites were no longer a tribe of Israel, they had no right to inherit any part of the Promised Land. Further, as we covered one chapter back, the Lord would share some of His holy property with them a unique privilege that would never be afforded to the 12 tribes. However the Levites had to live somewhere so they were to be given cities within each of the 12 tribal territories as well as some pastureland outside of each city for their livestock.

So we get this mysterious and quite profound lesson from what God ordained for His servants, His priests, the tribe of Levi:. What does this say to us in the 21st century when it is made abundantly clear in the New Testament that as disciples of Yeshua, as Believers in the God of Israel, that we are His new priesthood? This is the mindset about our position before God, and in our relationship with this world, that we are to adopt.

We are to see our inheritance as God Himself, and thus not strive to build up treasures that moth and rust doth corrupt at the cost of our relationship with the Lord. Thus we see the priests and Levites that do NOT work full time at the Temple having jobs, trades, and so forth to support themselves and their families.

They are not to achieve economic advantage by being a servant of God. At some point the reasonable need for receiving a decent living and thus being paid for carrying the Gospel to others can turn into selling the Gospel for profit. A passion and a duty can become no more than a profession.

The first tribe on the west side of the Jordan to receive their inheritance was Judah. Verse 8 begins the story of just how it was that it happened this way. The camp of Israel was still located in Gilgal; and some of the clan leaders of the tribe of Judah approached Joshua; specifically it was the clan of Kalev Caleb who sought to receive their land inheritance NOW. So in rather typical Middle Eastern fashion Kalev reminds Joshua of what happened many years earlier, out in the wilderness, when Moses put together a scouting party of 12 to reconnoiter the Land of Canaan.

Kalev and the man he is now beseeching to give him land, Joshua, were among those But the scouting party returned with bad news: the enemy was too well fortified and there were fierce warriors called the Anakim, giants, who were sure to annihilate Israel. Kalev and Joshua, however, disagreed not with the assessment but with the conclusion. They agreed that the challenge was great and dangerous but that if God be with them, victory was theirs.

The majority won out and Israel was turned back into the desert to wander for 38 more years. This is actually rather startling when we understand what this means. Kenaz was descended from Edom, a non-Israelite tribe. So here we have Kalev who is closely tied to the Edomites, but yet a member of the tribe of Judah, asking for his land inheritance.

And that is exactly as God intended. The Lord told Abraham that any foreigner who wanted to join the Hebrews should be welcomed, with the understanding that to join meant to worship only the God of Abraham. Later we find in the early development of the nation of Israel founded by Jacob that most of the people that he took with him as Israelites to Egypt were actually foreigners that he had captured from Shechem.

Kalev reminds Joshua that Moses promised to given him the land of his choice; particularly land that Kalev had personally scouted out. We get an interesting and helpful piece of information in verse 10; it says that a Kalev was 40 years old when he went with the group of 12 scouts into Canaan, and that this event occurred 45 years earlier making Kalev 85 years old.

Since Israel was out of Egypt for about 2 years when they arrived at Kadesh-Barnea and organized the scouting party, that means that at the time of this meeting between Kalev and Joshua, about 7 years had passed since Israel had crossed over the Jordon River. So all these battles we have been reading about have taken place during a 7-year time span.

We also find out that the Anakim, that race of giants, controlled the area of Hebron. Now, in reality, Kalev asked for a whole lot more than what he wound up with.

Good Question...

He wanted all the land that he set his foot upon in Canaan; but he got Hebron and the contiguous land. And of course this was a reward for his steadfastness in standing with Moses and the Lord, facing down his brethren, and taking a most unpopular position that Israel should ignore the strength of the enemy and proceed in faith to attack Canaan.

Any tribal society would understand this perfectly. Just as different tribes were more and less populous and more and less powerful than others, so were the clans within the tribes that formed the tribes. A tribe was only a collection of clans; warfare within a tribe was between clans. Kalev getting first choice of land within the tribe of Judah meant his was undoubtedly the most powerful clan within Judah. Yet as choice as was the land that Kalev asked for, it was an unconquered land. Understand that the division of land at this point was to serve several purposes among which was that the tribe who received a certain territory had to finish conquering it, and then they had the task of maintaining control and dominance over it indefinitely.

This indicates a pause in the action. But we should notice that at this point only the smallest distribution of land had taken place; only one clan from one tribe Judah had by now received any allocation of property within the Land of Canaan. Even though the earlier verses spoke about Ephraim and Manasseh in the context of them not giving any of their territory to the Levites except for some cities, this did NOT indicate a land distribution as of yet. The tribes fully understood that at the same time they would be settling portions of their tribal land inheritance the good stuff , they had the responsibility to drive out or kill the Canaanites who held onto certain areas within their land the not so good stuff.

It may lodge in the vagina, or it may actually fall out of the body through the vagina. If it does so, it becomes edematous and swells up like a balloon. Conception becomes impossible, and the woman's procreative life has effectively ended …" [72]. Apparently the translators of the New Revised Standard Version took the view described above, since they rendered the phrase in question: "when the L ORD makes your womb discharge, … your uterus drop!

Verses explain additional acts that were to take place before the woman drank the water. They are not in chronological sequence with verses Drinking the water was the last step in the ritual, which took place in the tabernacle courtyard. Nothing further was done, and we can assume that the woman went home to await the results at some future time. The man whom Moses referred to in verse 31 is "the man" who accused his wife of unfaithfulness.

He incurred no guilt before God for being jealous of his wife's fidelity. This case raises some questions: Why was only the woman punished if she had been unfaithful? The answer seems to be that her male companion in sin was unknown. If she was proven to be unfaithful, and the adulterer was identifiable, both partners should have suffered death by stoning Lev.

What about a wife who suspected that her husband had been unfaithful to her? Did she not have the same recourse as the husband? Evidently she did not. The Israelites were to observe God's revealed line of authority consistently. A man was directly responsible to God, but a woman was directly responsible to her father if unmarried or her husband if married. Thus a wife was responsible to her husband in a way that the husband was not responsible to his wife. This does not mean that marital infidelity was a worse sin for a wife than it was for a husband.

It simply explains how God wanted the Israelites to handle infidelity in the case of a wife. Perhaps God Himself retained the responsibility for judging a husband who was unfaithful to his wife cf. This procedure protected the wife of an extremely jealous husband, who might otherwise continue to accuse her. He would suffer shame by her proven innocence, and public embarrassment, since this was a public ceremony. It is harmful to the sanctity of the community at large, and destructive of one of the bases of community life. Within God's covenant with Israel, there could be no hidden sin among God's people nor any hidden suspicion of sin.

Maintaining purity in marriage is likewise essential to assure God's blessing in the church cf. The emphasis in this section continues to be on the importance of maintaining purity in the camp, so that God's blessing on Israel might continue unabated. The "Nazirite" from the Hebrew root nazar , meaning "to separate" illustrated the consecrated character of all the Israelites, and of the nation as a whole, in an especially visible way.

The Nazirite "vow of separation" was normally temporary. There are two biblical examples of life-long Nazirites: Samson and Samuel. John the Baptist may have been a third case, but we do not know for sure that he lived as a Nazirite before he began his public ministry. This "vow of separation" was also normally voluntary.

Any male or female could take this vow, that involved dedication to God's service. The vow itself required three commitments. These were not the vow itself, but grew out of it as consequences:. The separated one abstained from any and all fruits of the "grape vine" v. Perhaps God commanded this because: "… its fruit was regarded as the sum and substance of all sensual enjoyment. The Nazirite was required to leave his or her hair uncut "no razor shall pass over his head … he shall let the locks of hair on his head grow long"; v. The significance of this restriction has had many interpretations by the commentators, as have the other restrictions.

The most probable explanation, I believe, connects with the fact that hair represented the strength and vitality of the individual cf. In many nations at this time, people devoted their hair to their gods. He offered it, therefore, in place of his own body, as a sign that he himself was a 'living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God. The third commitment was to avoid any physical contact with a human corpse "do not go near to a dead person". This is perhaps the easiest restriction to explain. It seems that since the Nazirite had dedicated himself to a period of separation to God, and from sin, he should avoid contact with the product of sin, namely, death.

Perhaps, too, since death was an abnormal condition, contact with dead bodies caused defilement. If the Nazirite broke his vow through no fault of his own, he had to follow the prescribed ritual for cleansing, and then begin the period of his vow again vv. If someone died suddenly in one's presence, for example, the vow could be temporarily suspended v. After the emergency had passed, there were provisions for completing the vow vv.

The Nazirite did not withdraw from society, except in the particulars of these restrictions. He lived an active life of service in Israel. His dedication to God did not remove him from society, but affected his motivation and activities as he lived. The Nazirite lived as a priest temporarily, in the sense that he lived under more stringent laws of holiness, and served God more directly than other Israelites did.

His service was not generally the same as the priests', but sometimes it involved some sanctuary service, as well as other types of service e. Complete holiness was not the sole prerogative of the priesthood or the Levites. The Nazirite vow shows that even laypersons, men and women in everyday walks of life, could enter into a state of complete devotion to God. Thus this segment of text teaches that any person in God's nation could be totally committed to holiness. When the time of the Nazirite's vow expired, he had to go through a prescribed ritual called "the law of the Nazirite" vv.

Burning his cut hair on the brazen altar under his peace offering v. It also ensured that no one would misuse his hair, possibly in a pagan ritual. The Nazirite ate part of his "vow fulfillment offering" v. He thus physically enjoyed part of the fruits of his dedication to God. Salvation is a gift of God to those who believe, not a reward to those who behave.

The Promised Land? Promised to who? and why?

God did not require the taking of vows under the Mosaic Law cf. Consequently the fact that Paul took a Nazirite vow Acts , and paid the expenses of others who had taken one Acts , does not indicate that he was living under the Law of Moses. He was simply practicing a Jewish custom, that had prevailed into the Church Age, as the Mosaic Law regulated that custom. Though Jesus was not a Nazirite, He exemplified what those dedicated to God should look like in their behavior, regardless of when they happen to live. Some well-meaning Christian teachers, throughout the centuries, have been confusing many believers, by encouraging them to submit to certain regulations that are unique to the Mosaic Law.

This is legalism. If someone chooses not to eat pork, for example, for health reasons, that is entirely up to him or her. But if that person thinks that he or she will be more pleasing to God by not doing so, they are mistaken cf. Acts 10; 1 Tim. There is more personal freedom under the New Covenant than there was under the Old.

The location of this benediction in this context indicates that one of the priest's central tasks was to be a source of blessing for God's people. This blessing, like the preceding Nazirite legislation, deals with the purification of Israel. As the nation prepared to move out toward the Promised Land, God gave this benediction to the priests to offer for the sanctification of the people. God's will was to bless all His people, not just the Nazirites. The priests were the mediators of this blessing from God to the Israelites.

This blessing was threefold, and each segment contained two parts. In each line of poetry, the second part was a particular application of the general request stated in the first part. The first part hoped for God's action, that would result in the people's benefit in the second part. The three blessings were increasingly emphatic.

Even the structure of the blessing in Hebrew is artful. Line one consists of 15 letters 3 words , line two of 20 letters 5 words , and line three of 25 letters 7 words. God's "blessing" is His goodness poured out. The priest called on Him, not only to provide for His people, but to defend "keep," guard them from all evil cf. God's "face" is the revelation of His personality i. It radiates as fire does, consuming evil and bestowing light and warmth, and it shines as the sun, promoting life. God's graciousness refers to the manifestation of His favor and grace in the events of life.

The priests, in pronouncing this blessing, would be calling on God to manifest His "power" for His people. Specifically, this would produce "peace" Heb. This sheds light on Hebrew orthography and morphology. Also its date ca. This rendering seems to capture the spirit of God's promise in this benediction. This blessing has always been a very important part of Israel's worship, even to the present day, in Judaism.

The nature of the blessing was that of an oracle, a sure word from God that He had accepted the sacrifice and was pleased with the worshipper. The contents of the blessing were protection, gracious dealings, and peace with God, which assuredly produced the effect of joy, security, and confidence on the part of the people. The material in this major section Lev. The revelation of ordinances and instructions designed to enhance the spiritual sanctification of the Israelites as they journeyed to the Promised Land ends with chapter 6.

The narrative of events that transpired just before the nation began marching resumes with chapter 7. Chronologically, chapters 7—9 precede chapters 1—6. The "presentation" this chapter records—an elaborate ceremony of dedicatory offerings lasting 12 days—jumps back chronologically, and took place at the time when the Israelites dedicated the tabernacle and the brazen altar vv.

First, the 12 Israelite tribes presented as a contribution gift "six wagons covered carts " and "12 oxen" to the Merarite and Gershonite Levites, to use in their service of carrying the materials of the tabernacle vv. Of the six wagons, the Gershonites received two wagons and the Merarites four.

The Kohathites needed no wagons, since they carried the sanctuary furniture with poles on their shoulders cf. Day in second year [99]. Completion of tabernacle. Laws for offerings begin. Offerings for altar begin. Ordination of priests begins. Ordination of priests completed. Offerings for altar completed. Passover for those unclean. The cloud moves, the camp begins its trek. This long section—this chapter is the second longest in the Bible—records the presentation of gifts for the altar v. The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm The Israelites spread the presentation out over 12 days, one per day, because it took a whole day to receive and sacrifice what each tribe presented.

Each tribe offered exactly the same gifts: "one silver dish" and "one silver bowl," each "full of fine flour mixed with oil," "one gold pan full of incense," a year-old "bull," "ram," and "male lamb" "for a burnt offering" , a "male goat" "for a sin offering" , "two oxen," "five rams," "five male goats," "five male lambs" for "peace offerings" No tribe was superior or inferior to the others in this respect. Each had equal privilege and responsibility before God to worship and serve Him. Moses faithfully recorded the presentation of each gift, even though the record is repetitious and reads redundantly, probably because each gift had equal value before God cf.

As each tribal leader and his tribe was mentioned, members of that tribe would take special pleasure. Each would sense, 'These were our gifts. This was our moment to give to the Lord. These were the honeymoon days of the marital relationship of the Lord and Israel see Jer Each of the gifts is relished, as presentations by a lover in the early days of the bliss of marriage. He knows our names John and has recorded them individually in His heavenly register Luke ; Phil. When we stand before the Lord, He will see us individually, 'and then shall every man have praise of God' 1 Cor.

Nobody will be overlooked and nobody will be lost in the crowd. The fact that Moses "heard God's the voice speaking to him" when "he went into" the tabernacle, from the Most Holy Place, from above the mercy seat, indicates God's acceptance of these gifts v. They touched His heart. Moses, as the representative of the nation, and God, enjoyed a close relationship because of this sacrifice of worship. Evidently Moses heard "a the voice" speaking to him "from above the mercy seat … between the two cherubim"—and that voice was God's! This sets the question of Christian liberality in its true perspective, and the scriptural principle is not difficult to see.

Where people are conscious of the blessing of God in their lives, they will give spontaneously—and keep on giving. Finance in the church is directly related to faith and consecration. Note the moral order evidenced in chapters 6 and 7. First there was separation , then worship , then blessing , and then service ch. The lighting of and continual burning of the "lamps" in the tabernacle symbolized the consecration of the Levites, who were to represent the whole nation as lights to the world vv.

The high priest was in charge of the "lampstand" cf. The consecration of the priests had taken place earlier cf. On that occasion the people had only looked on Lev. Now God was setting apart to His service the whole tribe of Levi "the Levites" , that He had taken substituted as His dedicated "first fruits offering" in place of all the firstborn sons of the Israelites vv.

This time the people played a role , by "lay[ing] their hands" on the Levites v. The Levites stood in the place of the people as their close representatives, whereas the priests were closer to God and further from the people. The consecration "separation" proceeded after the high priest had lit the lamps vv. First the Levites "washed" their bodies and "clothes" with "purifying water" and trimmed their hair shaved "their whole body"; Heb. Thus the Levites became "living sacrifices" unto God cf.

Shaving their whole bodies v. Only Levites between the ages of "25" and "50 years" old could "perform service" in the tent of meeting vv. Carrying the tabernacle each time the nation traveled was a task for which there were stricter qualifications cf. As stated previously, the Levites had to be between 30 to 50 years old to carry the tabernacle cf. Perhaps the five years of difference, between the Levites' minimum age to serve in the tabernacle, and to carry the tabernacle, were an apprenticeship.

Through the laying on of hands they in some sense represent the people at large, and constitute an offering from the people. Unlike the priests they do not receive anointing or special vestments. Like laymen they wash their clothes for the special rites. They are perhaps something of a bridge between priests and people. It is sometimes said that there is no "retirement" from serving the Lord—that "retirement" has no biblical support.

But under the Mosaic Law, the Levites were forced to "retire" lit. Under the New Covenant, no such forced retirement is commanded. However, because of physical or other legitimate needs, one might have to cut back his or her service, or redirect his or her energies, in the service of Christ. If so, one should not feel guilty when "retiring. Both the proper setting of the lamps and the distinction of the Levites from the community are further elements in the purification of the nation in preparation for the holy task God had prepared for her.

The Passover at Sinai and instructions for a supplementary Passover On the first anniversary of the Passover in Egypt, just after the Israelites had dedicated the tabernacle, they observed this feast as a memorial feast "appointed time" , just as God "had commanded" v. This first memorial Passover feast took place in the first month of the second year after the Exodus v. The census in chapter 1 occurred in the second month of the same year This fact shows that at least these two events census and Passover , as described in Numbers, are not in chronological order.

God graciously gave an ordinance, that people who were "unclean" or were on a "journey" when the rest of the nation celebrated the Passover, could eat it exactly one month later "in the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight"; vv. However, to preclude negligence in observing the primary Passover, in view of this exception, God prescribed the death penalty for anyone who did not observe it at the preferred time if he or she could v. This regulation applied equally to foreigners "aliens" living among the Israelites, who had identified with the Abrahamic Covenant through circumcision v.

Most of the males were already circumcised cf. The Israelites themselves even played a part in their formulation. The time had come for the Israelites to resume their journey, now that the people had celebrated the Passover. All that remained for the Israelites to know i.

Moses recorded God's revelation of that in this section. The cloudy pillar "the cloud" stood over "covered" "the tabernacle" vv. Apparently it did not cover the entire camp of Israel. God may have chosen a "pillar of cloud" to lead Israel, in order to teach: His heavenly origin, sovereignty over His people, protection from heat and cold , provision shelter , and presence as at Mt.

The comparatively lengthy description of God's direction of Israel with the cloud "at" or "according to the command of the L ORD ," 7 times; vv. The Israelites were to remain where they were camped exactly as long as God wanted them to remain at each encampment. Their experiences along the way were not accidental but providential. This description also expressed the "excitement of the occasion. One way the Israelites discovered how God was leading them, was to look at the revelation of Himself that He provided in the cloud.

He did not explain His movements, but their duty was to follow in faith. The writer's concern to make this point can be seen in that seven times in this brief narrative, it is said that they 'obeyed the commandment of the Lord' and thus traveled when the cloud lifted from the tabernacle and moved , 20, 23; cf. Ex The chapter closes with another reference to the Israelites' careful and exact obedience to Yahweh's instructions "they kept the L ORD 's charge, according to the command of the L ORD through Moses" , an important theme in this book. God ordered that the priests Aaron's sons must announce His movement of the people by blowing "two silver trumpets," because the Israelites would not be able to watch the cloud continuously, or perhaps could not see it from every part of the camp.

The blasts from the "trumpets," sounded for "summoning the [entire] congregation," would reach the farthest tents in the camp cf. The size and shape of these trumpets probably approximated those that appear on a panel on the Arch of Titus that still stands in Rome. The Israelites may have fashioned them after Egyptian models, pictures of which appear on several old Egyptian monuments. The priests also used these trumpets in times of "war" in Canaan. They used them to call the people to arms, and to remind them to seek God's help so He would deliver them v. They also announced the "feasts" of Israel, and the "first [day] of each new month of your months ," to remind the people to remember their God "as a reminder of you before your God"; v.

The tone throughout this section is one of discipline and order. God is a God of order, and this would be reflected in the conduct of the Israelites' camp see 1 Cor. In this chapter, we have the first reference to the new moon celebration "first of your months"; v.

Who Are the 144,000 and What Is Their Purpose?

The appearance of the new moon signaled the beginning of a new month. The Jews viewed the first day of each new month as consecrated to God, in a way similar to the Sabbath cf. They marked this fresh beginning with special sacrifices , over which the priests blew the silver trumpets v.

On the new moon of the seventh month, the Blowing of Trumpets, the people did no work Lev. In Israel's later history, the priests blew these trumpets on other festal occasions as well Ezra ; Neh. The picture is a far cry from the scene which Moses saw when he first returned from the mountain and found the nation celebrating before the golden calf: 'the people were running wild and Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies' Ex In other words, the author is trying to make a point with this narrative.

He shows that after the incident of the golden calf the Mosaic Law was able to bring order and obedience to the nation. The Law, necessitated by the disobedience of the people, was having its effect on them. As the nation left Mt. Sinai, the people were at their strongest spiritually, having received the Law and having committed themselves to following it faithfully. The first 10 chapters of Numbers contrast with the next 10, which record Israel's terrible regression and failure.

The Israelites had been at Mt. Sinai for almost one year Exod. All that Moses recorded as occurring between Exodus and Numbers took place during those twelve months. Cole collected the dated events mentioned during the wilderness wanderings: []. Calendar of Events from the Exodus to the Plains of Moab. Even though the eastern Sinai Peninsula contains several oases, and some grazing land, these could not have provided for the two million or so Israelites, not to mention all their animals, during their stay there.

Merrill believed Israel's population was more than two and a half million. The trip from Sinai to Kadesh on Canaan's southern border was normally a journey of only 11 days Deut. Verses 11 and 12 summarize the whole journey from Sinai to Kadesh, that the writer described in more detail in — The "wilderness of Paran" v. This forms the southernmost portion of the Promised Land, the presumed staging area for the assault on the land itself. The principal lines of assault on the land of Canaan are from the southwest, following the Way of the Sea from Egypt, and from the northwest, following the Way of the Sea from Phoenicia.

Israel's staging for attack in the Desert of Paran was a brilliant strategy. In this way they would avoid the fortified routes to the west, presumably under the control of Egypt. This unusual line of attack from the south would stun the inhabitants of the land. They would come like a sirocco blast from the desert, and the land would be theirs, under the hand of God.

The Israelites broke camp "moved out" , and proceeded to march as the Lord had commanded them vv. The "tabernacle" receives special attention in this description of the marching order, in keeping with its central importance in the nation. This land was representative of the whole earth. As man was placed in the Garden of Eden to keep and rule it, so Israel would be placed in Canaan to keep and rule it as a fiefdom from the Great King. At last, when the saving purposes of the Lord will have been accomplished, all the earth—indeed all creation—will fall under the rule of mankind, who will 'have dominion over all things.

Verses record an incident that took place before the Israelites left Sinai. This section is a flashback of secondary importance to the departure from Sinai. He was evidently Moses' brother-in-law, [] though some scholars believe that Hobab was from the clan of Reuel. In a sense this is an act of evangelism. Hobab did not come easily. But subsequent biblical texts indicate that he did come.

As such, he is like Ruth who joins Naomi en route to the Land of Promise, leaving all behind, with a promise of something ahead that is of more value than anything left at home. But Hobab's knowledge of the land would assist them in making other decisions as they moved from place to place. Charles Spurgeon said: 'We ought to learn from this, I think, that while we ever seek the guidance of God in providence, yet we may frequently find direction and guidance in the use of our own common sense, our own discretion with which the Lord had endowed us. God wants us to act intelligently as well as believingly, and the spiritually minded Christian knows how to use both heart and mind in discerning God's will Rom.

Such is the weakness of the human heart. We profess to trust God, and then look to man. We find it easier to lean on a puny mortal whom we can see, than on the almighty Lord Himself whom we cannot see. Even though God had led Israel with the cloud, Hobab would have proven useful too, since he knew the wilderness, and could advise Moses concerning its terrain, oases, and other features. The name of Moses' father-in-law, normally "Jethro," is recorded as "Reuel" here v. He was Zipporah's father cf.

The Israelites apparently carried "the ark … in front of" the whole nation as they marched v. The cloud hovered above the ark, and led those carrying it and the entire nation, as the Israelites moved forward. This reminded the people that God was their Leader, and that they were to follow His leading.

Moses' two prayers, the first whenever the cloud moved "set out"; v. Israel's "enemies" v. There is no sense here of the impending doom that awaits Israel's rebellion in the wilderness. The rebellion and judgment of the unbelieving generation chs. These chapters explain why Israel failed to enter the Promised Land immediately, and subsequently had to spend the next 38 years in the wilderness. The end of chapter 10 is the high point of the Book of Numbers, spiritually speaking.

The beginning of chapter 11 records the beginning of the spiritual decline of Israel that resulted in God judging the nation. He not only postponed the fulfillment of His promise to bring her into the Promised Land, but the entire older generation had to die off, while wandering in the wilderness for 38 years. Within these chapters are innumerable instances of his continuing grace. The reader of these texts goes astray if he or she focuses solely on God's wrath or on the constant provocations to his anger by his meandering people.

The more impressive feature in this text is God's continuing mercy against continuing, obdurate rebellion. These chapters are similar to Exodus —, in that they record Israel's experiences in transit from one location to another. Archaeologists have not determined the location of "Taberah" v. It must have been an insignificant spot geographically, since Moses did not include it in the list of Israel's encampments in chapter 33 cf.

Or it may have been the same place where the following incident took place: Kibroth-hattaavah. It was a significant spot spiritually, however. Not long after Israel left Sinai, the people began to grumble again. The first rebellion of the redeemed people came on the third day of marching toward the Mount of God after their miraculous crossing of the Sea of Reeds Exod Now, three days out on their triumphal march to Canaan from Mount Sinai, they fall back into their complaining behavior.

The pattern of 'three days' in both cases shows both similarity of actions as well as an intemperate, impatient attitude on the part of the people. To warn them that their dissatisfaction could develop into more serious rebellion, God sent "fire" on "the outskirts of the camp.

Evidently the people recognized this event as a warning from God, so they "cried out" to Moses—whose intercession moved God to withhold further discipline. The people named the site "Taberah" "burning" in memory of this event. This is one of the ongoing themes of Scripture and is a particular truism in the Book of Numbers. This is the third time in the Pentateuch that an event such as this happened. God had wrestled with Jacob after he had parted from his father-in-law, and before he reentered the Promised Land Gen.

God had sought to kill Moses after he had left Sinai and had parted from his father-in-law, and before he rejoined the Israelites Exod. Now God sent fire from heaven to the Israelites, after they had left Sinai and Moses' father-in-law, and before they entered the Promised Land. Each incident cast a foreboding mood over events, and hinted that something worse might have followed soon.

Remember the fire from heaven on Sodom in Genesis 19, and compare. The "rabble" or "worthless foreigners" CEV, v. It did not take these particular people long to become discontented with conditions in the desert, and to complain about their bland diet of manna. Their grumbling quickly infected the Israelites v.

These malcontents despised God's provision of manna for them, and longed for the stronger flavors they had enjoyed in Egypt. They failed to take heed to the warning God had given at Taberah. Luis Palau believed that God intended the manna to be boring, because He never intended that the Israelites should stay in the wilderness. The heart seeks elsewhere for its nourishment; it wants something else; it remembers what the flesh used to enjoy in the world, whilst it forgets the bondage in which it was held. As believers of the church era, we must be careful of the strong flavors of the interesting and stimulating fare—that the world has to offer—and not imbibe these things too much.

Too much participation in these things can make us feel bored with and lose interest in what God has provided for our spiritual nourishment, which may seem bland and unappealing by comparison. God's provision for our nourishment and growth, our manna, are His written Word and His incarnate Word, the Bread of Life cf. They are fellow travelers with the world and with the church people. They like to have a church banquet, but they don't want the Bible study. They don't want to be forward in the march, close to the ark of God; they want to stay way in the back because they are not sure but what they may want to turn and go back some time.

They are not quite clear about what they believe. They are never happy when others are having a real time of spiritual blessing. They're uncomfortable in the church, but they are also uncomfortable with the world. They just don't seem to fit in.

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They are a square peg in a round hole and they are the troublemakers. Moses must have felt caught in the middle vv. On the one hand, the people seemed to be mutinous, and on the other, God was angry because of their attitude v. The discomfort of desert travel seems to have affected him , too. Moses failed to look to God for His wisdom and provision.

So he became frustrated. This frustration seems traceable to Moses' taking on more responsibility for the people than God intended. Moses' use of the mother figure to describe God "conceived … brought them forth [gave birth to] … carry them in your bosom as a nurse," v. Normally the Bible presents God as a male , because He relates to people in traditionally male roles, primarily.

However, He also deals with us in ways that are more typically female , and in these instances He compares Himself to females. God again accommodated Himself to Moses' weakness vv. He did this so that their complaining would not grow into mob violence. God's "Spirit" rested on "[was] upon," filled, controlled Moses in a special measure v.

God now gave these elders His Spirit in similar fashion, and with Him , the ability to prophesy v. Bible students are divided as to whether this provision of helpers for Moses was a good thing or a bad thing. Some believe that it was bad, like when the people demanded a king in Samuel's day and the Lord gave them Saul 1 Sam. I tend to favor the second view, because the text does not give any indication that this was a bad thing. The people's discontent with God and His will for them v. They claimed to have been happy in Egypt vv.

But they forgot that they had been slaves. In the wilderness it would have been very much a luxury. In any event, the offense of the demand for meat was just part of the larger offense of romanticizing the time in Egypt, where there had always been an abundance of fish and fresh vegetables.

They were saying in effect that the entire so-called 'deliverance' from slavery had turned out to be one huge disappointment. God's gracious provision of "meat" was a mixed blessing. He gave them what they requested, but kept them there "for a whole month" v. It is that there are times when God grants an unwarranted request in order that men may learn through experience the folly of their desires. This punishment was not vindictive, but disciplinary, and designed to teach the people to accept what God sent them as best for them. God permitted their trials in the wilderness, to prepare the nation, namely the younger generation, for the hardships they would face when they entered the land.

God's promise to provide meat stretched Moses' faith to its limit "Should [Can enough] flocks and herds be slaughtered … or should all the fish of the sea be gathered … to be sufficient for them? God reminded Moses that His "power" was limitless. Even Moses had temporarily forgotten the miracles in Egypt. Verse 21 seemingly supports the view that there were only about , Israelites who left Egypt in the Exodus, rather than perhaps 2,, or more. Exodus says that there were "about , men on foot, aside from children.

Evidently the elders' prophesying was a singular occurrence; it happened only on this one occasion "they did not do it again," v. This incident indicates that God's bestowal of the Holy Spirit at that time was temporary. The Spirit had not previously been on these elders. Furthermore it was selective. The Spirit was not "upon" all the Israelites in the same way as He was "upon" these elders. Contrast this to our day, when the Spirit indwells all believers permanently John ; , 13; Acts 2. It is not surprising that Jewish interpreters see this "Spirit" as Moses' human spirit rather than the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps only their ability to prophesy ceased v. Leon Wood refuted the view that prophesying involved ecstatic utterances speaking in tongues.

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The prophesying in view probably involved praising God cf. Joshua's "jealousy" for Moses' honor in the nation vv. Mark , but he had greater concern for Moses' honor than for the good of the people. Shall we reject those whom Christ has owned, or restrain any from doing good because they are not in everything of our mind [ in agreement on everything ]?

Moses realized that Israel would have been better off if God had given "all the people … His Spirit" and the gift of prophecy. What a demonstration of Moses' humility this statement of his presents cf. John ! God has , however, given all Christians His Spirit, and the ability to praise Him. God may have included this incident involving Joshua in the narrative because of his later role as Israel's leader. He may have included it to emphasize the value of the gift of the Holy Spirit as well, that God graciously gave the people, even in their rebellious condition.

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We see that Moses understood that the issue was not for him to decide but for God. If necessary God would act on his servant's behalf. The "Spirit" Heb. The wind blew from the southeast Ps. Normally quails migrated to the northeast, from central Africa, so the direction from which these quails came was an unusual and supernatural provision of the Lord. The latter interpretation seems more probable to me.

The sickness of the people "very severe plague" was a judgment for their greed. They wanted something for themselves that God had not chosen for them. The gift, whatsoever it be, may become your idol, my let down your affections to earth; and thus, whilst your prayers have been granted, God has sent leanness withal into your soul [cf. He longed for a community led not by a person like himself but a community guided by God's Spirit [v. After their month at Kibroth-hattaavah "Graves of Craving" , the people journeyed on to Hazeroth "Enclosures" , where the events recorded in the next chapter took place cf.

Perhaps it was God's exaltation of Moses , indirectly, by His bestowing the gift of prophecy on the elders, that provoked the envy of Miriam and Aaron. After all, God was reminding the people—and in no small way—of Moses' special endowment with the Spirit, when He blessed the elders with the Spirit. The priority of her name over Aaron's, and the feminine gender of the verb in the Hebrew text translated "spoke," indicate this v. The Cushite woman Moses had married was probably not Zipporah Exod. Zipporah was from Midian , which was in Arabia.

At this time, Cush was a name for Upper Egypt Ethiopia. Merrill, however, believed that "Cushite" described people who lived in Arabia, and not just in "Cush proper," in which case Moses' wife here may not actually have been black , and may have been Zipporah. After all, he had married her several years before this incident. The repetition of the phrase "for he had married a Cushite woman" v. This would better explain Miriam's objection at this time.

We may assume, therefore, that Zipporah had died , and that Moses had remarried. Moses wrote in Psalm that a normal lifespan was about 70 years. He would have been in his early eighties at this time, so it is very possible that Zipporah had died of old age, assuming she was about the same age as he.

There is no textual reason to believe, however, that Moses was married to two women at the same time, though that is possible. Also, marriage to a Cushite was within the will of God. God had only forbidden the Israelites from marrying Canaanites Exod. Evidently Miriam and Aaron felt that their leading roles in Israel, as prophetess Exod. Perhaps Miriam saw in Moses' new wife a threat to her own role as the leading female in Israel. Moses' marriage to the Cushite woman may have been nothing more than an excuse for Miriam's jealousy. The statement of Moses' humility "the man Moses was very humble," v.

We need not conclude that another writer added it later, necessarily, since it is essential to the argument of this passage. Because while it is highly unlikely that Moses, who was called "the most humble man on earth" here, would have written this about himself, it is possible that God instructed him to insert this statement. That another writer added it later is a distinct possibility, however. It is possible that—on the basis of etymology, usage, and context—the qere reading of the Hebrew word used here is preferable.

The Hebrew word should then be translated "miserable" rather than "meek. This verse may be a description of Moses' utter sense of brokenness as he experienced his brother and sister's betrayal. The writer of Hebrews noted the reference to Moses' faithfulness in verse 7 in Hebrews and 5. God spoke with Moses as friends converse "mouth to mouth," v.

Michael Fishbane suggested that Paul had verse 8 in mind when he wrote 1 Corinthians He punished her with leprosy , the disease that specially symbolized sin Lev. Frank Cross suggested that Miriam's punishment of white as snow, "leprous" skin was a divine response to her prejudice against her black sister-in-law. While Moses needs a veil to hide his glory, Miriam needs one to hide her shame. Similarly, one of the first signs given to vindicate God's election of Moses as leader of his people was the sign of 'leprosy, white as snow' Ex In the initial narratives dealing with the work of Moses, Moses himself doubted his calling and consequently became a leper.

Here, however, it is Miriam who doubts and thus becomes a leper. We should also note that the other sign given to vindicate the role of Moses in the earlier narrative was the serpent that came from Moses' rod Ex So also here, when Moses' authority is further questioned by the people at the end of their time in the wilderness Nu , God responds by sending serpents against them Ironically, Aaron had wanted to be like Moses v.

Spitting in the face v. The people suffered, too, as a result of Miriam's and Aaron's rebellion: God halted their progress toward the Promised Land again v. There is surely in his prayer an implicit recognition of the different kind of authority that Moses had.

Indeed, he is acknowledging that Moses possessed a power in intercession with God that he himself could not exercise, hence his appeal to his brother. These three failures to be content with God's provisions and plans—at Taberah, Kibroth-hattaavah, and Hazeroth—prepared the Israelites for an even more serious failure at Kadesh cf. As we read the record of the Israelites' experiences after they left Mt. Sinai, we might ask why God allowed them to experience so much difficulty.

There are several reasons: to teach them to accept what He sent as best, to prepare them for hardships in the land, to develop character in them, and to train them to depend on Him. This is often why God allows us , as well, to experience so many difficulties cf. The events recorded in chapters 13 and 14 took place while Israel was at Kadesh. Jacob Milgrom noted a chiastic literary arrangement of this section: []. Kadesh stood in the Desert of Zin, which was a section of the great Paran Wilderness.

Instead of advancing into Canaan, the people asked Moses if they could send spies ahead of them. They did so, "that they may search out the land for us, and bring back to us word of the way by which we should go up, and the cities which we shall enter" Deut. Moses allowed this Deut. Clearly the Israelites were not rebelling against God by sending the spies, but neither were they stepping forward in bold obedience with strong confidence in God, as they should have done. It would have been here that they would have sanctified themselves for their campaign of conquest of the land.

Why did God not lead Moses to record here vv. The reason may be that this was not the sin that resulted in God's postponement of their entrance into Canaan. Their reaction to the spies' report caused that result. The mission of the spies had some genuine value to the Israelites vv. Their personal qualifications for this mission may have been the basis for their selection.

Joshua's earlier name, Hoshea, simply means 'he has saved'. In the name Hoshea, the person or god who saves is not made clear.

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Moses' renaming of Joshua may have been an act of ritual adoption. Rainfall averages inches per year in the Negev, making it semi-arid. The "hill country" v. Later Moses used the term more specifically, of part of the territory God gave the tribes of Ephraim and Judah.

The "time of the first ripe grapes" v. This seems more likely than that the Lebo-hamath mentioned stood about 50 miles north of Damascus, miles north of the Sea of Chinnereth Galilee. The "Anakites" "descendants of Anak," v. Moses gave it special emphasis here, because it was near Hebron that God had promised to give Abraham the land Gen. From Hebron, Abraham had set out to defeat a coalition of kings Gen. The only piece of real estate Abraham possessed in Canaan was in Hebron, and there he and the other patriarchs lay buried.

The spies, of course, knew these historical facts, and memories of these patriarchal events should have strengthened their faith in Yahweh as they passed through Hebron. The "valley of Eshcol" was apparently just north of Hebron, on the travel route to Jerusalem. From this, it came to mean a whole bunch or "cluster" of grapes.

A huge cluster of grapes , carried on a pole between two men, has long been a symbol of the land of Israel. This figure illustrates the great agricultural productivity of the land. It still is a popular symbol of modern Israel today, and is the logo of Israel's Department of Tourism. In this cluster of grapes the Israelites had an earnest down payment of many more good things to come cf. The spies reported that "the land" was indeed as fruitful as they had heard "does flow with milk and honey," v. Everything the spies said, from this word on, was uncalled for.

It was not their job to determine if the Israelites could overcome the Canaanites. God had promised that He would give the land to His people. From the human viewpoint, Israel was to face a formidable foe. It was the "strong people" and the "fortified cities" in Canaan that discouraged the spies v. These "Hittites" v. As they had despised God's provisions and plans chs. They reckoned only on their own natural ability, and failed to rely on God's supernatural ability v. The spies described the tallest and largest of the Anakites as "Nephilim" v. The Nephilim were, "the demi-gods who lived on the earth before the flood Gn.

The word "Nephilim" means "strong ones" or "tyrants," not "people of gigantic stature," though it came to refer to superhuman giants. The spies concluded that the Anakites were relatives of the Nephilim. There was no excuse now for this failure to trust Him to lead them victoriously into Canaan.

If our daily prayer is, 'Thy will be done,' and if we walk in obedience to God's will, then what is there to complain about? A complaining spirit is evidence of an ungrateful heart and an unsurrendered will. By our grumbling, we're daring to say that we know more than God does about what's best for His people! Whenever we choose to do something that is contrary to God's will, we say, in effect, "I want to go back to Egypt. They also "fell on their faces in the presence of all … the congregation," suggesting they prayed for the nation in this hour of its rebellion v. Moreover, "Joshua" and "Caleb" warned the people against turning back vv.

They rightly identified the true actions and attitudes of the Israelite majority, as "rebellion" against God and "fear" of the Canaanites v. They reminded the people that God "was is with" them v. As a faithful mediator, Moses again interceded for the disobedient Israelites vv. Many modern pastors would have left their people, if they responded as the Israelites did here, but these leaders did not.

They humbled themselves and committed themselves to enduring the consequences of their peoples' lack of faith. God rewarded them for their commitment. We should leave those who are stubborn only if God clearly leads us to do so. The failure of the Israelites grew out of unbelief cf. They failed to believe that God would give them the land of their enemies as He had promised.

Often in Scripture we read of people asking God, "How long? However, here it is God who asked this question of Moses cf. This illustrates the intimate relationship that Moses and God enjoyed Was God's threatened action, to wipe out or "smite" the people, a real possibility, or was He only testing Moses' reaction with this offer? God had threatened a similar punishment at Sinai when the Israelites had made the golden calf Exod. If He had actually done this, God could still have fulfilled His promises to Abraham, by destroying and dispossessing all the other living Israelites, and by sparing only Moses and his descendants.

However, God could not have fulfilled the prophetic promises that He had given through Jacob Gen. There would have to be descendants of Judah , from whom a "great ruler" would come Gen. Perhaps God meant that He would completely destroy that older generation of Israelites immediately wiping them out in one blow, instead of gradually; cf.

God also said that He would give Moses and his descendants a much larger place in the nation "I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they". Perhaps, if God had gone through with this offer, other peoples would have later regarded "Moses" as the "father of the Israelite nation.

They failed to trust in God. This section of text teaches us important lessons about inadequacy and adequacy. The 10 spies, who did not want the Israelites to enter the land, felt inadequate cf. John In this, they were being realistic. However, they should have compensated for their feelings of personal inadequacy, by reminding themselves of God's complete adequacy cf. God was teaching the Israelites a basic lesson of the life of faith, namely, that the real power in the lives of God's people is God's.

As we trust and obey God, He releases His power through us. We are never adequate in ourselves, but God empowers the obedient and trusting. Jesus taught His disciples the same lesson when He multiplied the loaves and fishes—twice. Moses interceded again, much as he had done at Sinai cf. Moses based his appeal on God's reputation among the Egyptians vv. He also cited God's promise that He would be patient "slow to anger … forgiving iniquity"; vv. This was God's testing of Moses, and was similar to the test that Abraham faced when God told him to sacrifice Isaac Gen.

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The fact that God granted the people "pardon," in response to Moses' intercession, is another indication of His grace vv. James ]. The failure of the Israelites would not frustrate God's purpose to manifest His "glory" throughout "the earth," through the seed of Abraham v.

Even though the present generation would die in the wilderness, Caleb and Joshua, not mentioned here in v. The "ten times" the Israelites tested God v. Another, less likely view, is that the Lord was referring to the ten spies, not to ten historic instances of testing. Evidently the measure of their iniquity had reached its full capacity, from God's viewpoint, with this tenth rebellion cf.