NOTES ON The Fourth Book of MOSES called NUMBERS

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXXV
Chapter XXXVI

This book is thus entitled, because of the numbers of the children of Israel, so often mentioned therein, an eminent accomplishment of God's promise to Abraham, that his seed should be as the stars of heaven for multitude. It also relates two numberings of them, one at mount Sinai, chap. 1. the other, thirty - nine years after. And there are not three men of the same in the last account that were in the first. The book is almost equally divided, between histories and laws intermixed. An abstract of much of this book we have in a few words, Psa 95:10. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation: and an application of it to ourselves, Heb 4:1. Let us fear lest we come short!

Chapter I

Orders given to Moses to number the people, ver. 1 - 4. Persons named to assist him therein, ver. 5 - 16. The particular number of each tribe, ver. 17 - 43. The sum of all together, ver. 44 - 46. The Levites excepted, ver. 47 - 54.

1 In the wilderness - Where now they had been a full year or near it, as may be gathered by comparing this place with Exo 19:1 40:17.
2 Take the sum - This is not the same muster with that Exo 38:26, as plainly appears, because that was before the building of the tabernacle, which was built and set up on the first day of the first month, Exo 40:2, but this was after it, on the first day of the second month. And they were for different ends; that was to tax them for the charges of the tabernacle; but this was for other ends, partly that the great number of the people might be known to the praise of God's faithfulness, in making good his promises of multiplying them, and to their own encouragement: partly for the better ordering their camp and march, for they were now beginning their journey; and partly that this account might he compared with the other in the close of the book, where we read that not one of all this vast number, except Caleb and Joshua were left alive; a fair warning to all future generations to take heed of rebelling against the Lord. It is true, the sums and numbers agree in this and that computation, which is not strange, because there was not much time between the two numberings, and no eminent sin among the people in that interval, whereby God was provoked to diminish their numbers. Some conceive that in that number, Exo 30:11 - 16 and 38:25,26, the Levites were included, which are here excepted, Num 1:47, and that in that interval of time, there were grown up as many more men of those years as there were Levites of the same age. Israel - So the strangers mixed with them, were not numbered. Their fathers - The people were divided into twelve tribes, the tribes into great families, Num 26:5, these great families into lesser families called the houses of their fathers, because they were distinguished one from another by their fathers.
5 Reuben - The tribes are here numbered according to the order or quality of their birth, first the children of Leah, then of Rachel, and then of the handmaids.
12 Deuel - Called Reuel, Num 3:14, the Hebrew letters Daleth and Resh being often changed.
19 He numbered them - For ought that appears in one day.
20 By their generations - That is, the persons begotten of Reuben's immediate children, who are here subdivided into families, and they into houses, and they into particular persons.
27 Threescore and fourteen thousand - Far more than any other tribe, in accomplishing Jacob's prophecy, Gen 49:8 - 12.
33 Ephraim - Above 8000 more than Manasseh, towards the accomplishment of that promise, Gen 48:20, which the devil in vain attempted to defeat by stirring up the men of Gath against them, 1Chr 7:21,22.
37 Thirty five thousand - The smallest number, except one, though Benjamin had more immediate children than any of his brethren, Gen 46:21, whereas Dan had but one immediate son, Gen 46:23, yet now his number is the biggest but one of all the tribes, and is almost double to that of Benjamin. Such great and strange changes God easily can, and frequently doth make in families, 1Sam 2:5. And therefore let none boast or please themselves too much in their numerous offspring.
49 Levi - Because they were not generally to go out to war, which was the thing principally eyed in this muster, Nu 1:3,20,45, but were to attend upon the service of the tabernacle. They that minister upon holy things, should not entangle themselves in secular affairs. The ministry itself is work enough for a whole man, and all little enough to be employed in it.
50 The tabernacle of testimony - So called here, and Exo 38:21, because it was made chiefly for the sake of the ark of the testimony, which is often called the testimony.
51 That cometh nigh - The stranger elsewhere is one of another nation, here one of another tribe. So as to do the offices mentioned, Nu 1:50.
53 No wrath - From God, who is very tender of his worship, and will not suffer the profaners of it go unpunished! whose wrath is called simply wrath by way of eminency, as the most terrible kind of wrath.

Chapter II

Orders concerning the camp,

  1. A general order, ver. 1,2.
  2. Particular directions for posting each of the tribes, in four squadrons.

In the vanguard, on the east, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun, ver. 3 - 9. In the right wing, southward, Reuben, Simeon, and Gad, ver. 10 - 16. The tabernacle in the midst, ver. 17. In the rear, westward, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin, ver. 18 - 24. In the left wing, northward, Dan, Asher, and Naphtali, ver. 25 - 31. The conclusion of the appointment, ver. 32 - 34.

2 His own standard - It is manifest there were four great standards or ensigns, which here follow, distinguished by their colours or figures; also there were other particular ensigns belonging to each of their fathers houses or families. Far off - Partly out of reverence to God and his worship, and the portion, allotted to it, and partly for caution, lest their vicinity to it might tempt them to make too near approaches to it. It is supposed they Were at 2000 cubits distance from it, which was the space between the people and the ark; and it is not improbable, because the Levites encamped round about it, between them and the tabernacle. It is observable, those tribes were placed together, that were nearest of kin to each other. Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun were the three youngest sons of Leah, and Issachar and Zebulun would not grudge to be under Judah, their elder brother. Reuben and Simeon would not be content with their place. Therefore Reuben, Jacob's eldest son, is chief of the next squadron. Simeon doubtless is willing to be under him. And Gad, the son of Leah's handmaid, is fitly added to him, in Levi's room. Ephraim Manasseh, and Benjamin are all the posterity of Rachel. Dan the eldest son of Bilhah leads the rest; to them are added the two younger sons of the handmaids. So much of the wisdom of God appears even in these smaller circumstances!
3 Judah - This tribe was in the first post, and in their marches led the van, not only because it was the most numerous, but chiefly because Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, was to descend from it: Yea, from the loins of Nahshon, who is here appointed the chief captain of it.
17 In the midst - This is not to be understood strictly, but largely; for in their march they were divided, and part of that tribe marched next after Judah, Num 10:17, and the other part exactly in the midst of the camp.
18 Ephraim - Who is here preferred before his brother, according to the prophecy, Gen 48:19,20.
31 The Camp of Dan - The strongest camp next after Judah, and therefore he comes in the rear, as Judah marched in the front, that the tabernacle might be best guarded where there was most danger.

Chapter III

In this chapter we have an account,
  1. Of the priests, ver. 1 - 4.
  2. The work of the Levites, taken instead of the first - born, ver. 5 - 13.
  3. Of the number, place and charge of each family; the Gershonites, ver. 14 - 26. The Kohathites, ver. 27 - 32. The Merarites, ver. 33 - 39.
  4. Of the first - born, ver. 40 - 51.

1 These - Which follow in this chapter. The generations - The kindred or family. Moses his family and children are here included under the general name of the Amramites, Nu 3:27, which includes all the children and grand - children of Amram, the persons only of Aaron and Moses being excepted. And the generations of Moses are thus obscurely mentioned, because they were but common Levites, the priesthood being given solely to Aaron's posterity, whence Aaron is here put before Moses, who elsewhere is commonly named after him. In Sinai - Nadab and Abihu, were then alive, though dead at the time of taking this account.
4 In the sight of Aaron - Under his inspection and direction, and as their father's servants or ministers in the priest's office.
6 Present them - Offer them to the Lord for his special service. This was promised to them before, and now actually conferred.
7 His charge - That is, Aaron's, or those things which are committed principally to Aaron's care and oversight. Of the congregation - That is, of all the sacrifices and services which are due to the Lord from all the people, because the people might not perform them, in their own persons, therefore they were to be performed by some particular persons in their stead; formerly by the first - born, Num 8:16, and now by the Levites. Before the tabernacle - Not within the tabernacle, for the care of the things within the holy place was appropriated to the priests, as the care of the most holy place was to the high - priest.
8 Of the children of Israel - Those things which all the children of Israel are in their several places and stations obliged to take care of, though not in their persons, yet by others in their stead.
9 Given to him - To attend upon him and observe his orders, and ease him of his burden.
10 The stranger - That is, every one who is of another family than Aaron's; yea, though he be a Levite. That cometh nigh - To execute any part of the priest's office.
12 The first - born - Who were God's property, Exo 13:12, and to whom the administration of holy things was formerly committed, which now was taken away from them, either because they had forfeited this privilege by joining with the rest of their brethren in the idolatrous worship of the calf, or because they were to be mainly concerned in the distribution and management of the inheritances which now they were going to possess, and therefore could not be at leisure to attend upon the service of the sanctuary: and God would not commit it to some other persons in each tribe, which might be an occasion of idolatry, confusion, division, and contempt of sacred things, but to one distinct tribe, which might be entirely devoted to that service, and particularly to the tribe of Levi; partly out of his respect to Moses and Aaron, branches of this tribe; partly as a recompence of their zeal for God against idolaters, and partly because it was the smallest of the tribes, and therefore most likely to find both employment in, and maintenance for the work.
15 From a month old - Because at that time the first - born, in whose stead the Levites came, were offered to God. And from that time the Levites were consecrated to God, and were, as soon as capable, instructed in their work. Elsewhere they are numbered from twenty - five years old, when they were entered as novices into part of their work, Num 8:24, and from thirty years old, when they were admitted to their whole office.
25 The tabernacle - Not the boards, which belonged to Merari, Nu 3:36, but the ten curtains. The tent - The curtains of goats hair. The coverings - That is, the coverings of rams - skins and badgers - skins.
26 The cords - By which the tabernacle was fastened to the pins, and stretched out, Exo 35:18.
27 Of Kohath - This family had many privileges above the others: of that were Moses and Aaron, and all the priests: they had the chief place about the tabernacle, and the care of the most holy things here, and in the land of Canaan they had twenty three cities, which were almost as many as both their brethren received. Yet the posterity of Moses were not at all dignified or distinguished from other Levites. So far was he from seeking any advantage or honour for his own family.
28 Keeping - That is, appointed for that work, as soon as they were capable of it. Of the sanctuary - That is, of the holy things contained in or belonging to the sanctuary.
31 The hanging - Which covered the most holy place, for all other hangings belonged to the Gershonites. The service - That is, all the other furniture belonging to it.
32 Chief - Next under the high - priest; whence he is called the second priest, 2Kings 25:18, and in case of the high - priest's absence by sickness or other necessary occasions, he was to perform his work, and he had a superiority over all the rest of the priests and Levites. The chief of the Levites - That is, over those three persons, who were each the chief of their several families, Num 3:24,31,34.
38 For the charge - Either in their stead, that charge which they were obliged to keep, if God had not committed it to those: or for their benefit; for their preservation, as the word may be rendered.
39 Two and twenty thousand - If the particular numbers mentioned Num 3:22,28,34, be put together, they make 22,300. But the odd 300 are omitted here, either according to the use of the holy scripture, where in so great numbers small sums are commonly neglected, or, because they were the first - born of the Levites, and therefore belonged to God already, and so could not be given to him again instead of the other first - born. If this number of first - born seem small to come from 22,000 Levites, it must be considered, that only such first - born are here named as were males, and such as continued in their parents families, not such as had erected new families of their own. Add to this, that God so ordered things by his wise providence for divers weighty reasons, that this tribe should be much the least of all the tribes, as is evident by comparing the numbers of the other tribes, from twenty years old, Num 1:3 - 49, with the number of this from a month old; and therefore it is not strange if the number of their first - born be less than in other tribes.
41 Instead of the first - born - Such as are now alive of them, but those which should be born of them hereafter are otherwise disposed. Of the Levites - Not that they were to be taken from the Levites, or to be sacrificed to God, any more than the Levites themselves were; but they together with the Levites were to be presented before the Lord by way of acknowledgment, that the Levites might be set apart for God's service, and their cattle for themselves as God's ministers, and for their support in God's work.
46 For those that are to be redeemed - 'Tis probable, in the exchange they began with the eldest of the first - born, and so downwards, so that those were to be redeemed, who were the two hundred, seventy three youngest of them.
47 Five shekels - Which was the price paid for the redemption of a first - born a month old.

Chapter IV

A command to number the Levites from thirty to fifty years old, ver. 1 - 3. The charge of the Kohathites, ver. 4 - 20. Of the Gershonites, ver. 21 - 28. Of the Merarites, ver. 29 - 33. The number of each, ver. 34 - 45. Of all in general, ver. 46 - 49.

3 From thirty - This age was prescribed, as the age of full strength of body, and therefore most proper for their laborious work of carrying the parts and vessels of the tabernacle, and of maturity of judgment, which is necessary for the right management of holy services. Whence even John and Christ entered not upon their ministry till that age. Indeed their first entrance upon their work was at their 25th year, when they began as learners, and acted under the inspection and direction of their brethren; but in their 30th year they were compleatly admitted to a full discharge of their whole office. But David, being a prophet, and particularly directed by God in the affairs of the temple, made a change in this matter, because the magnificence of the temple, and the great multitude of sacred utensils and sacrifices, required a greater number of attendants than formerly was necessary. Until fifty - When they were exempted from the toilsome work of carrying burdens, but not discharged from the honourable and easy work done within the tabernacle, Num 8:26. All that enter - That is, that do and may enter, having no defect, nor other impediment.
5 They shall take down - For upon this necessary occasion the inferior priests are allowed to come into the holy of holies, which otherwise was peculiar to the high - priest. The covering veil - The second veil, wherewith the ark was covered while the tabernacle stood, Exo 40:3. Cover the ark - Because the Levites, who were to carry the ark, might neither see, nor immediately touch it.
6 Badgers - skins - Whereby the ark was secured from the injuries of the weather.
7 The dishes - Upon which the shew - bread was put. Continual bread - So called because it was continually to be there, even in the wilderness; where though they had only manna for themselves, yet they reserved corn for the weekly making of these loaves, which they might with no great difficulty procure from some of the people bordering upon the wilderness.
11 The golden altar - All covered with plates of gold.
12 The instruments of ministry - The sacred garments used by the priests in their holy ministrations. Cover them - All these coverings were designed,
  1. For safety, that these holy things might not be filled by rain, or tarnished by the sun.
  2. For decency, most of them had a cloth of blue, or purple, or scarlet over them; the ark, a cloth wholly of blue, perhaps an emblem of the azure skies, which are spread between us and the Majesty on high;
  3. For concealment. It was a fit sign of the darkness of that dispensation. The holy things were then covered. But Christ hath now destroyed the face of the covering.
13 The altar - Hence we may conclude, that they did offer sacrifices at other times, though not so constantly and diligently, as they did in Canaan. Moreover the taking away of the ashes only doth sufficiently imply that the fire was preserved, which as it came down from heaven, Lev 9:24. So it was by God's command to be continually fed, and kept burning, and therefore doubtless was put into some vessel, which might be either fastened to the altar and put within this covering, or carried by some person appointed thereunto.
15 Bear it - Upon their shoulders. Afterward the priests themselves, being multiplied, carried these things, though the Levites also were not excluded. They shall not touch - Before they are covered.
16 Eleazar - He himself is to carry these things, and not to commit them to the sons of Kohath. The oversight - The care that all the things above mentioned be carried by the persons and in the manner expressed.
18 Cut not off - Do not by your neglect provoke God to cut them off for touching the holy things.
19 To his service - To that which is peculiarly allotted to him, the services, and burdens being equally distributed among them.
25 The curtains - The curtains or covering of goats - hair. The tabernacle - The ten curtains which covered the boards of the tabernacle; for the boards themselves were carried by the Merarites. His covering - The covering of rams - skins which was put next over those ten curtains.
26 Which is round about - Which court compassed both the tabernacle and the altar.
28 Under the hand - Under his conduct and direction.
31 The sockets - Which were as the feet upon which the pillars stood.
32 Ye shall reckon - Every part and parcel shall be put in an inventory; which is required here rather than in the fore - going particulars; because these were much more numerous than the former; because being meaner things, they might otherwise have been neglected; and also to teach us, that God esteems nothing small in his service, and that he expects his will should be observed in the minutest circumstances. The death of the saints is represented us the taking down of the tabernacle. The immortal soul, like the most holy things, is first covered and taken away, carried by angels unseen, and care is taken also of the body, the skin and flesh, which are as the curtains, the bones and sinews, which are as the bars and pillars. None of these shall be lost. Commandment is given concerning the bones, a covenant made with the dust. They are in safe custody, and shall be produced in the great day, when this tabernacle shall be set up again, and these vile bodies made like the glorious body of Jesus Christ.
44 Three thousand - Here appears the wisdom of Divine Providence, that whereas in the Kohathites and Gershonites, whose burdens were fewer and easier, there were but about a third part of them fit for service; the Merarites, whose burdens were more and heavier, had above half of them fit for this work.

Chapter V

A command to remove the unclean out of the camp, ver. 1 - 4. Laws concerning restitution, ver. 5 - 10. The law concerning a woman suspected of adultery, ver. 11 - 31.

3 That they defile not the camp - By which God would intimate the danger of being made guilty by other mens sins, and the duty of avoiding intimate converse with wicked men. I dwell - By my special and gracious presence.
6 Any sin that men commit - Heb. any sins of men, that is, sins against men, as deceits or wrongs, whereby other men are injured, of which he manifestly speaks. Against the Lord - Which words may be added, to shew that such injuries done to men are also sins against God, who hath commanded justice to men, as well as religion to himself. Guilty - That is, shall be sensible of his guilt, convicted in his conscience.
7 They shall confess their sin - They shall not continue in the denial of the fact, but give glory to God, and take shame to themselves by acknowledging it. The principal - That is, the thing he took away, or what is equivalent to it. And add - Both as a compensation to the injured person for the want of his goods so long, and as a penalty upon the injurious dealer, to discourage others from such attempts.
8 No kinsman - This supposes the person injured to be dead or gone, into some unknown place, and the person injured to be known to the injurer. To the priest - Whom God appointed as his deputy to receive his dues, and take them to his own use, that so he might more chearfully and entirely devote himself to the ministration of holy things. This is an additional explication to that law, Lev 6:2, and for the sake thereof it seems here to be repeated.
9 Unto the priest - To offer by his hands.
10 Every man's hallowed things - Understand this not of the sacrifices, because these were not the priest's peculiar, but part of them was offered to God, and the remainder was eaten by the offerer as well as by the priest; but of such other things as were devoted to God, and could not be offered in sacrifice; as suppose a man consecrated an house to the Lord, this was to be the priest's.
12 If a man's wife - This law was given partly to deter wives from adulterous practices, and partly to secure wives against the rage of their hard - hearted husbands, who otherwise might upon mere suspicions destroy them, or at least put them away. There was not like fear of inconveniences to the husband from the jealousy, of the wife, who had not that authority and power, and opportunity for the putting away or killing the husband, as the husband had over the wife. Go aside - From the way of religion and justice, and that either in truth, or in her husband's opinion.
15 The man shall bring her to the priest - Who first strove to persuade her to own the truth. If she did, she was not put to death, (which must have been, if it had been proved against her) but only was divorced and lost her dowry. Her offering - By way of solemn appeal to God, whom hereby she desired to judge between her and her husband, and by way of atonement to appease God, who had for her sins stirred up her husband against her. He shall pour no oil - Both because it was a kind of sin - offering, from which these were excluded, and because she came thither as a delinquent, or suspected of delinquency, unpleasing both to God and men; as one that wanted that grace and amiableness and joy which oil signified, and that acceptance with God which frankincense denoted, Psa 141:2. Bringing iniquity to remembrance - Both to God before whom she appeared as a sinner, and to her own conscience, if she was guilty; and, if she were not guilty of this, yet it reminded her of her other sins, for which this might be a punishment.
16 Before the Lord - That is, before the sanctuary where the ark was.
17 Holy water - Water of purification appointed for such uses. This was used, that if she were guilty, she might be afraid to add profaneness to her other crime. An earthen vessel - Because, after this use, it was to be broken in pieces, that the remembrance of it might be blotted out as far as was possible. Dust - An emblem of vileness and misery. From the floor of the tabernacle - Which made it holy dust, and struck the greater terror into the woman, if she were guilty.
18 Before the Lord - Before the tabernacle with her face towards the ark. Uncover her head - Partly that she might be made sensible how manifest she and all her ways were to God; partly in token of her sorrow for her sin, or at least for any cause of suspicion which she had given. In her hands - That she herself might offer it, and thereby call God to be witness of her innocency. Bitter - So called either from the bitter taste which the dust gave it, or from the bitter effects of it upon her, if she were guilty. That causeth the curse - Not by any natural power, but by a supernatural efficacy.
19 By an oath - To answer truly to his question, or to declare whether she be guilty or no, and after such oath shall say as follows.
21 An oath - That is, a form of cursing, that when they would curse a person, they may wish that they may be as miserable as thou wast. Thy thigh - A modest expression, used both in scripture, as Gen 46:26, Exo 1:5, and other authors. To rot - Heb. to fall, that is, to die or waste away. To swell - Suddenly and violently till it burst, which the Jews note was frequent in this case. And it was a clear evidence of the truth of their religion.
22 Amen, amen - That is, so let it be if I be guilty. The word is doubled by her as an evidence of her innocency, and ardent desire that God would deal with her according to her desert.
23 In a book - That is, in a scroll of parchment, which the Hebrews commonly call a book. Blot them out - Or scrape them out and cast them into the bitter water. Whereby it was signified, that if she was innocent, the curses should be blotted out and come to nothing; and, if she were guilty, she should find in her the effects of this water which she drank, after the words of this curse had been scraped and put in.
24 To drink - That is, after the jealousy - offering was offered.
28 Conceive seed - That is, shall bring forth children, as the Jews say, in case of her innocency, she infallibly did, yea though she was barren before.
31 Guiltless - Which he should not have been, if he had either indulged her in so great a wickedness, and not endeavoured to bring her to repentance or punishment, or cherished suspicions in his breast, and thereupon proceeded to hate her or cast her off. Whereas now, whatsoever the consequence is, the husband shall not be censured for bringing such curses upon her, or for defaming her, if she appear to be innocent. Her iniquity - That is, the punishment of her iniquity, whether she was false to her husband, or by any light carriage gave him occasion to suspect her.

Chapter VI

The law of the Nazarites. What they were to abstain from, ver. 1 - 8. How to be cleansed from casual uncleanness, ver. 9 - 12. How to be discharged from their vow, ver. 13 - 21. The form of blessing the people, ver. 22 - 27.

2 Man or woman - For both sexes might make this vow, if they were free and at their own disposal: otherwise their parents or husbands could disannul the vow. A vow of a Nazarite - Whereby they sequestered themselves from worldly employments and enjoyments, that they might entirely consecrate themselves to God's service, and this either for their whole lifetime, or for a less and limited space of time.
3 Nor eat grapes - Which was forbidden him for greater caution to keep him at the farther distance from wine.
4 All the days of his separation - Which were sometimes more, sometimes fewer, as he thought fit to appoint.
5 No razor - Nor scissors, or other instrument to cut off any part of his hair. This was appointed, partly as a sign of his mortification to worldly delights and outward beauty; partly as a testimony of that purity which hereby he professed, because the cutting off the hair was a sign of uncleanness, as appears from Num 6:9, partly that by the length of his hair he might be constantly minded of his vow; and partly that he might reserve his hair entirely for God, to whom it was to be offered. Holy - That is, wholly consecrated to God and his service, whereby he shews that inward holiness was the great thing which God required and valued in these, and consequently in other rites and ceremonies.
7 His father - Wherein he was equal to the high - priest, being, in some sort, as eminent a type of Christ, and therefore justly required to prefer the service of God, to which he had so fully given himself, before the expressions of his affections to his dearest and nearest relations. The consecration - That is, the token of his consecration, namely, his long hair.
9 He shall shave his head - Because his whole body, and especially his hair was defiled by such an accident, which he ought to impute either to his own heedlessness, or to God's providence so ordering the matter, possibly for the punishment of his other sins, or for the quickening him to more purity and detestation of all dead works, whereby he would be defiled.
11 A sin - offering - Because such a pollution was, though not his sin, yet the chastisement of his sin. He sinned - That is, contracted a ceremonial uncleanness, which is called sinning, because it was a type of sin, and a violation of a law, tho' through ignorance and inadvertency. Hallow - Begin again to hallow or consecrate it.
12 The days of his separation - As many days as he had before vowed to God. Lost - Heb. fall, to the ground, that is, be void or of none effect.
14 A sin - offering - Whereby he confessed his miscarriages, notwithstanding the strictness of his vow and all the diligence which he could use, and consequently acknowledged his need of the grace of God in Christ Jesus the true Nazarite. For peace - offerings - For thankfulness to God, who had given him grace to make and in some measure to keep such a vow. So he offered all the three sorts of offerings, that he might so far fulfil all righteousness and profess his obligation to observe the will of God in all things.
15 Their meal - offering - Such as generally accompanied the sacrifices.
18 At the door - Publickly, that it might be known that his vow was ended, and therefore he was at liberty as to those things from which he had restrained himself for a season, otherwise some might have been scandalized at his use of his liberty. The fire - Upon which the flesh of the peace - offerings was boiled.
19 The shoulder - The left - shoulder, as it appears from Num 6:20, where this is joined with the heave - shoulder, which was the right - shoulder, and which was the priests due in all sacrifices, Lev 7:32, and in this also. But here the other shoulder was added to it, as a special token of thankfulness from the Nazarites for God's singular favours vouchsafed unto them. The hands - That he may give them to the priest, as his peculiar gift.
20 May drink wine - And return to his former manner of living.
21 That his hand shall get - Besides what he shall voluntarily give according to his ability.
23 On this wise - Heb. Thus, or in these words: yet they were not tied to these very words; because after this we have examples of Moses and David and Solomon, blessing the people in other words.
24 Bless thee - Bestow upon you all manner of blessings, temporal and spiritual. Keep thee - That is, continue his blessings to thee, and preserve thee in and to the use of them; keep thee from sin and its bitter effects.
25 Shine upon thee - Alluding to the shining of the sun upon the earth, to enlighten, and warm, and renew the face of it. The Lord love thee, and make thee know that he loves thee. We cannot but be happy, if we have God's love; and we cannot but be easy, if we know that we have it.
26 Lift up his countenance - That is, look upon thee with a chearful and pleasant countenance, as one that is well pleased with thee and thy services. Peace - Peace with God, with thy own conscience, and with all men; all prosperity is comprehended under this word.
27 Put my name - Shall call them by my name, shall recommend them to me as my own people, and bless them and pray unto me for them as such; which is a powerful argument to prevail with God for them.

Chapter VII

The offerings of the princes upon the dedication of the tabernacle, ver. 1 - 9. Upon the dedication of the altar, ver. 10 - 88, Which God graciously accepts, ver. 89.

1 On the day - It seems day is for time, and on the day, for about the time. For all the princes did not offer these things upon one and the same day, but on several days, as here it follows. And so this chapter comes in its proper place, and those things were done in the second month of the second year after the tabernacle and altar, and all other instruments thereof were anointed, as is here expressed; and after the Levites were separated to the service of the tabernacle, and appointed to their several works, which was done about a month after the tabernacle was erected, and after the numbering of the people, Num 1:2 - 49, when the princes here employed in the offerings were first constituted; and after the disposal of the tribes about the tabernacle, the order of which is here observed in the time of their offerings.
2 Offered - In the manner and days hereafter mentioned.
3 Waggons - For the more convenient and safe carriage of such things as were most cumbersome.
5 According to his service - More or fewer, as the nature of their service and of the things to be carried required.
9 Upon their shoulders - Because of the greater worth and holiness of the things which they carried.
10 The altar - Of burnt - offerings, and incense too, as appears from the matter of their offerings. Not for the first dedication of them, for it is apparent they were dedicated or consecrated before this time by Moses and Aaron: but for a farther dedication of them, these being the first offerings that were made for any particular persons or tribes. In the day - That is, about the time, as soon as it was anointed.
11 On his day - And in this offering they followed the order of their camp, and not of their birth.
13 Charger - A large dish or platter; to be employed about the altar of burnt - offering, or in the court; not in the sanctuary, for all its vessels were of gold.
17 Peace - offerings - Which are more numerous because the princes and priests, and some of the people made a feast before the Lord out of them.
87 Their meal - offering - Which was not mentioned before, because it was sufficiently understood from the law which required it.
88 After it was anointed - Which words are very conveniently added to explain in what sense he had so oft said, that this was done in the day when it was anointed, namely, not exactly, but in a latitude, a little after that it was anointed.
89 To speak with him - To consult God upon occasion. The mercy - seat - Which Moses standing without the veil could easily hear. And this seems to be added in this place, to shew that when men had done their part, God was not wanting in the performance of his part, and promise. God's speaking thus to Moses by an audible voice, as if he had been cloathed 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.

Chapter VIII

Directions concerning the lamps, ver. 1 - 4. Concerning cleansing the Levites, ver. 5 - 8. Concerning the presenting them to God, ver. 9 - 22. Concerning their age and service, ver. 23 - 26.

2 When thou lightest the lamps - The priests lighted the middle lamp from the fire of the altar; and the rest one from another; signifying that all light and knowledge comes from Christ, who has the seven spirits of God, figured by the seven lamps of fire. Over against the candlestick - On that part which is before the candlestick, Heb. over against the face of the candlestick - That is, in that place towards which the candlestick looked, or where the candlestick stood in full view, that is, upon the north - side, where the table of shew - bread stood, as appears from hence, because the candlestick stood close to the boards of the sanctuary on the south - side, Exo 26:35. And thus the lights were on both sides of the sanctuary, which was necessary, because it was dark in itself, and had no window.
4 Of beaten gold - Not hollow, but solid gold, beaten out of one piece, not of several pieces joined or soldered together.
7 Of purifying - Heb. of sin, that is, for the expiation of sin. This water was mixed with the ashes of a red heifer, Num 19:9, which therefore may seem to have been prescribed before, though it be mentioned after; such kind of transplacings of passages being frequent in scripture. Shave all their flesh - This external rite signified the cutting off their inordinate desire of earthly things and that singular purity of heart and life which is required in the ministers of God.
8 A young bullock - The same sacrifice which was offered for a sin - offering for the whole congregation, because the Levites came in the stead of all the first - born, who did in a manner represent the whole congregation.
10 The children of Israel - Not all of them, which was impossible, but some in the name of all the princes or chiefs of each tribe, who used to transact things in the name of their tribes. Put their hands - Whereby they signified their transferring that right of ministering to God from the first - born in whose hands it formerly was, to the Levites, and their entire resignation and dedication of them to God's service.
11 For an offering - Heb. for a wave - offering. Not that Aaron did so wave them, which he could not do, but that he caused them to imitate that motion, and to wave themselves toward the several parts of the world: whereby they might signify their readiness to serve God, according to their capacity wheresoever they should be.
12 Lay their hands - To signify that they were offered by them and for them.
13 Set the Levites before Aaron - Give the Levites to them, or to their service. Unto the Lord - For to him they were first properly offered, and by him given to the priests in order to his service.
15 Go in - Into the court, where they were to wait upon the priests at the altar of burnt - offering; and, at present, into the tabernacle, to take it down and set it up.
19 To do the service of Israel - To serve God in their stead, to do what otherwise they had been obliged to do in their own persons. To make an atonement - Not by offering sacrifices, which the priests alone might do, but by assisting the priests in that expiatory work, and by a diligent performance of all the parts of their office, whereby God was pleased both with them and with the people. That there be no plague - This is added as a reason why God appointed them to serve in the tabernacle, that they might guard it, and not suffer any of the people to come near it, or meddle with holy things, which if they did, it would certainly bring a plague upon them.
26 In the tabernacle - By way of advice, and assistance in lesser and easier works.

Chapter IX

Orders concerning eating the passover on the 14th day of the first month, ver. 1 - 5. On the 14th day of the second month, by those who had been hindered, ver. 8 - 12. Concerning the negligent and the stranger, ver. 13, 14. Concerning the pillar of cloud and fire, ver. 15 - 23

1 In the first month - And therefore before the numbering of the people, which was not till the second month, Num 1:1,2. But it is placed after it, because of a special case relating to the passover, which happened after it, upon occasion whereof he mentions the command of God for keeping the passover in the wilderness, which was done but once, and without this command they had not been obliged to keep it at all, till they came to the land of Canaan.
6 They came - For resolution of their difficulty.
7 An offering - Which if we neglect, we must be cut off, and if we keep it in these circumstances, we must also be cut off. What shall we do?
10 Unclean or in a journey - Under these two instances the Hebrews think that other hindrances of like nature are comprehended; as if one be hindered by a disease, or by any other such kind of uncleanness; which may seem probable both from the nature of the thing, and the reason of the law which is the same in other cases.
14 A stranger - Who is a proselyte.
15 Namely, the tent of the testimony - Or, the tabernacle above the tent of the testimony, that is, that part of the tabernacle in which was the testimony, or the ark of the testimony; for there the cloudy pillar stood. This was an evident token of God's special presence with, and providence over them. And this cloud was easily distinguished from other clouds, both by its peculiar figure and by its constant residence in that place. Fire - That they might better discern it and direct themselves and their journeys or stations by it. Had it been a cloud only, it had scarce been visible by night: And had it been a fire only, it would have been scarce discernable by day. But God was pleased to give them sensible demonstrations, that he kept them night and day.
17 Was taken up - Or, ascended on high, above its ordinary place, by which it became more visible to all the camp.
18 The motion or stay of the cloud is fitly called the command of God, because it was a signification of God's will and their duty.
19 The charge - That is, the command of God, that they should stay as long as the cloud stayed.
21 When the cloud abode - This is repeated again and again, because it was a constant miracle, and because it is a matter we should take particular notice of, as highly significant and instructive. It is mentioned long after by David, Psa 105:39, and by the people of God after their captivity, Neh 9:19. And the guidance of this cloud is spoken of, as signifying the guidance of the Blessed Spirit, Isa 63:14. The Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest, and so didst thou lead the people.

And thus, in effect, does he guide, all those, who commit their ways unto the Lord. So that they may well say, Father, thy will be done! Dispose of me and mine as thou pleasest. Here I am, waiting on my God, to journey and rest at the commandment of the Lord. What thou wilt, and where thou wilt: only let me be thine, and always in the way of my duty.

Chapter X

Orders concerning the silver trumpets, ver. 1 - 10. The removal of the Israelites to Paran, ver. 11 - 28. The treaty of Moses with Hobab, ver. 29 - 32. His prayer at the removal and resting of the ark, ver. 33 - 36.

2 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.
6 For their journeys - As a sign for them to march forward, and consequently for the rest to follow them.
9 Ye shall be saved - If you use this ordinance of God with trust and dependance upon God for help.
10 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.
12 Paran - From which they travelled to other places, and then returned into it again, Num 12:16.
21 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.
29 Raguel - Called also Reuel, Exo 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, Exo 18:27, but Hobab was young and fitter for these journeys, and therefore entreated by Moses to stay and bear them company.
30 I will not go - So he might sincerely say, though afterward he was overcome by the persuasions of Moses.
31 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, Exo 18:19 - 27. And it is probable, this was the wise son of a wise father.
33 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.
34 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.
36 Return - Or, give rest, that is, a safe and quiet place, free from enemies and dangers.

Chapter XI

The punishment of the murmurers stopt by the prayer of Moses, ver. 1 - 3. The fresh murmuring of the people, ver. 4 - 6. The description of manna, ver. 7 - 9. The murmuring of Moses, ver. 10 - 16. God's answer, ver. 16 - 23. The appointment of the seventy elders, ver. 24 - 30. Quails sent with a plague, ver. 31 - 35.

1 Complained - Or, murmured, the occasion whereof seems to be their last three days journey in a vast howling wilderness, and thereupon the remembrance of their long abode in the wilderness, and the fear of many other tedious journeys, whereby they were like to be long delayed from coming to the land of milk and honey, which they thirsted after. The fire of the Lord - A fire sent from God in an extraordinary manner, possibly from the pillar of cloud and fire, or from heaven. The uttermost parts - Either because the sin began there among the mixed multitude, or in mercy to the people, whom he would rather awaken to repentance than destroy; and therefore he sent it into the skirts and not the midst of the camp.
2 The people - The murmurers, being penitent; or others for fear.
3 Taberah - This fire; as it was called Kibroth - hattaavah from another occasion, Nu 11:34,35, and Num 33:16. It is no new thing in scripture for persons and places to have two names. Both these names were imposed as monuments of the peoples sin and of God's just judgment.
4 Israel also - Whose special relation and obligation to God should have restrained them from such carriage. Flesh - This word is here taken generally so as to include fish, as the next words shew. They had indeed cattle which they brought out of Egypt, but these were reserved for breed to be carried into Canaan, and were so few that they would scarce have served them for a month.
5 Freely - Either without price, for fish was very plentiful, and fishing was there free, or with a very small price. And this is the more probable because the Egyptians might not taste of fish, nor of the leeks and onions, which they worshipped for Gods, and therefore the Israelites, might have them upon cheap terms.
6 Our soul - Either our life, as the soul signifies, Gen 9:5, or our body, which is often signified by the soul. Dried away - Is withered and pines away; which possibly might be true, through envy and discontent, and inordinate appetite.
7 As coriander - seed - Not for colour, for that is black, but for shape and figure. Bdellium - Is either the gum of a tree, of a white and bright colour, or rather a gem or precious stone, as the Hebrew doctors take it; and particularly a pearl wherewith the Manna manifestly agrees both in its colour, which is white, Exo 16:14, and in its figure which is round.
8 Fresh oil - Or, of the most excellent oil; or of cakes made with the best oil, the word cakes being easily supplied out of the foregoing member of the verse; or, which is not much differing, like wafers made with honey, as it is said Exo 16:31. The nature and use of Manna is here thus particularly described, to shew the greatness of their sin in despising such excellent food.
10 In the door of his tent - To note they were not ashamed of their sin.
11 Not found favour - Why didst thou not hear my prayer, when I desired thou wouldest excuse me, and commit the care of this unruly people to some other person.
12 Have I begotten them? - Are they my children, that I should be obliged to provide food and all things for their necessity and desire?
14 To bear - The burden of providing for and satisfying them. Alone - Others were only assistant to him in smaller matters; but the harder and greater affairs, such as this unquestionably was, were brought to Moses and determined by him alone.
15 My wretchedness - Heb. my evil, my torment, arising from the insuperable difficulty of my office and work of ruling this people, and from the dread of their utter extirpation, and the dishonour which thence will accrue to God and to religion, as if, not I only, but God also were an impostor.
16 To be elders - Whom thou by experience discernest to be elders not only in years, and name, but also in wisdom and authority with the people. And according to this constitution, the Sanhedrim, or great council of the Jews, which in after - ages sat at Jerusalem, and was the highest court of the judgment among them, consisted of seventy men.
17 I will come down - By my powerful presence and operation. I will put it on them - That is, I will give the same spirit to them which I have given to thee. But as the spirit was not conveyed to them from or through Moses, but immediately from God, so the spirit or its gifts were not by this means impaired in Moses. The spirit is here put for the gifts of the spirit, and particularly for the spirit of prophecy, whereby they were enabled, as Moses had been and still was, to discern hidden and future things, and resolve doubtful and difficult cases, which made them fit for government. It is observable, that God would not, and therefore men should not, call any persons to any office for which they were not sufficiently qualified.
18 Sanctify themselves - Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel, in the way of his judgments. Prepare yourselves by true repentance, that you may either obtain some mitigation of the plague, or, whilst your bodies are destroyed by the flesh you desire and eat, your souls may be saved from the wrath of God. Sanctifying is often used for preparing, as Jer 6:4 12:3. In the ears of the Lord - Not secretly in your closets, but openly and impudently in the doors of your tents, calling heaven and earth to witness.
20 At your nostrils - Which meat violently vomited up frequently doth. Thus God destroys them by granting their desires, and turns even their blessings into curses. Ye have despised the Lord - You have lightly esteemed his bounty and manifold blessings, you have slighted and distrusted his promises and providence after so long and large experience of it. Who is among you - Who is present and resident with you to observe all your carriage, and to punish your offences. This is added as a great aggravation of the crime, to sin in the presence of the judge. Why came we forth out of Egypt? - Why did God do us such an injury? Why did we so foolishly obey him in coming forth?
21 Six hundred thousand footmen - Fit for war, besides women and children. That Moses speaks this as distrusting God's word is evident; and that Moses was not remarkably punished for this as he was afterward for the same sin, Num 20:12, may be imputed to the different circumstances of this and that sin: this was the first offence of the kind, and therefore more easily passed by; that was after warning and against more light and experience. This seems to have been spoken secretly: that openly before the people; and therefore it was fit to be openly and severely punished to prevent the contagion of that example.
24 Moses went out - Out of the tabernacle, into which he entered to receive God's answers from the mercy - seat. The seventy men - They are called seventy from the stated number, though two of them were lacking, as the Apostles are called the twelve, Mt 26:20, when one of that number was absent. Round the tabernacle - Partly that the awe of God might be imprinted upon their hearts, that they might more seriously undertake and more faithfully manage their high employment, but principally, because that was the place where God manifested himself, and therefore there he would bestow his spirit upon them.
25 Rested on them - Not only moved them for a time, but took up his settled abode with them, because the use and end of this gift was perpetual. They prophesied - Discoursed of the word and works of God in a marvellous manner, as the prophets did. So this word is used, 1Sam 10:5,6 Joel 2: 28 1Cor 14:3. Yet were they not hereby constituted teachers, but civil magistrates, who together with the spirit of government, received also the spirit of prophesy, as a sign and seal both to themselves and to the people, that God had called them to that employment. They did not cease - Either for that day, they continued in that exercise all that day, and, it may be, all the night too, as it is said of Saul, 1Sam 19:24, or, afterwards also, to note that this was a continued gift conferred upon them to enable them the better to discharge their magistracy; which was more expedient for them than for the rulers of other people, because the Jews were under a theocracy or the government of God, and even their civil controversies were decided out of that word of God which the prophets expounded.
26 In the camp - Not going to the tabernacle, as the rest did, either not having seasonable notice to repair thither: or, being detained in the camp by sickness, or some urgent occasion, not without God's special providence, that so the miracle might be more evident. Were written - In a book or paper by Moses, who by God's direction nominated the fittest persons.
27 Told Moses - Fearing lest his authority should be diminished by their prophesying; and thereby taking authority to themselves without his consent.
28 One of his young men - Or, one of his choice ministers, which may be emphatically added, to note that even great and good men may mistake about the works of God. Forbid them - He feared either schism, or sedition, or that by their usurpation of authority, independently upon Moses, his power and esteem might be lessened.
29 Enviest thou for my sake - Art thou grieved because the gifts and graces of God are imparted to others besides me? Prophets - He saith prophets, not rulers, for that he knew was absurd and impossible. So we ought to be pleased, that God is glorified and good done, tho' to the lessening of our own honour.
30 Into the camp - Among the people, to exercise the gifts and authority now received.
31 A wind from the Lord - An extraordinary and miraculous wind both for its vehemency and for its effects. Quails - God gave them quails once before, Exo 16:13, but neither in the same quantity, nor with the same design and effect as now. From the sea - Principally from the Red - sea, and both sides of it where, by the reports of ancient Heathen writers, they were then in great numbers, and, no doubt, were wonderfully increased by God's special providence for this very occasion. Two cubits high - Not as if the quails did cover all the ground two cubits high for a day's journey on each side of the camp, for then there had been no place left where they could spread them all abroad round about the camp; but the meaning is, that the quails came and fell down round about the camp for a whole day's journey on each side of it, and that in all that space they lay here and there in great heaps, which were often two cubits high.
32 Stood up - Or rather rose up, which word is often used for beginning to do any business. All that night - Some at one time, and some at the other, and some, through greediness or diffidence, at both times. Ten homers - That is, ten ass loads: which if it seem incredible, you must consider,
  1. That the gatherers here were not all the people, which could not be without great inconveniences, but some on the behalf of all, while the rest were exercised about other necessary things. So the meaning is not, that every Israelite had so much for his share, but that every collector gathered so much for the family, or others by whom he was intrusted.
  2. That the people did not gather for their present use only, but for a good while to come, and being greedy and distrustful of God's goodness, it is not strange if they gathered much more than they needed.
  3. That the word, rendered homers, may signify heaps, as it doth, Exo 8:14 Jud 15:16 Hab 3:15, and ten, is often put for many, and so the sense is, that every one gathered several heaps. If yet the number seems incredible, it must be farther known,
  4. That Heathen and other authors affirm, in those eastern and southern countries quails are innumerable, so that in one part of Italy, within the compass of five miles, there were taken about an hundred thousand of them every day for a month together. And Atheneus relates, that in Egypt, a country prodigiously populous, they were in such plenty, that all those vast numbers of people could not consume them, but were forced to salt and keep them for future use. They spread them - That so they might dry, salt and preserve them for future use, according to what they had seen in Egypt.
33 Chewed - Heb. cut off, namely from their mouths. A very great plague - Probably the pestilence. But the sense is, before they had done eating their quails, which lasted for a month. Why did God so sorely punish the peoples murmuring for flesh here, when he spared them after the same sin, Exo 16:12. Because this was a far greater sin, and aggravated with worse circumstances; proceeding not from necessity, as that did, when as yet they had no food, but from mere wantonness, when they had Manna constantly given them; committed after large experience of God's care and kindness, after God had pardoned their former sins, and after God had in a solemn and terrible manner made known his laws to them.
34 Kibroth - hattaavah - Heb. the graves of lust, that is, of the men that lusted, as it here follows. And it notes that the plague did not seize upon all that eat of the quails, for then all had been destroyed, but only upon those who were inordinate both in the desire and use of them.

Chapter XII

Miriam and Aaron murmur against Moses, ver. 1 - 3. God calls them to an account for it, ver. 4 - 9. Miriam becoming leprous, Aaron humbles himself, and Moses prays for her, ver. 10 - 13. She is healed, but shut out of the camp for seven days, ver. 14 - 16.

1 Miriam - Miriam seems to be first named, because she was the first mover of the sedition; wherefore she is more eminently punished. The Ethiopian - Either,
  1. Zipporah, who is here called an Ethiopian, in the Hebrew a Cushite, because she was a Midianite: the word Cush being generally used in scripture, not for Ethiopia properly so called below Egypt, but for Arabia. If she be meant, probably they did not quarrel with him for marrying her, because that was done long since, but for being swayed by her and her relations, by whom they might think he was persuaded to chose seventy rulers, by which co - partnership in government they thought their authority and reputation diminished. And because they durst not accuse God, they charge Moses, his instrument, as the manner of men is. Or,
  2. some other woman, whom he married either whilst Zipporah lived, or rather because she was now dead, though that, as many other things, be not recorded. For, as the quarrel seems to be about his marrying a stranger, it is probable it was a fresh occasion about which they contended. And it was lawful for him as well as any other to marry an Ethiopian or Arabian woman, provided she were, a sincere proselyte.
2 By us - Are not we prophets as well as he? so Aaron was made, Exo 4:15,16, and so Miriam is called, Exo 15:20. And Moses hath debased and mixed the holy seed, which we have not done. Why then should he take all power to himself, and make rulers as he pleaseth, without consulting us. The Lord heard - Observed their words and carriage to Moses.
3 Meek - This is added as the reason why Moses took no notice of their reproach, and why God did so severely plead his cause. Thus was he fitted for the work he was called to, which required all the meekness he had. And this is often more tried by the unkindness of our friends, than by the malice of our enemies. Probably this commendation was added, as some other clauses were, by some succeeding prophet. How was Moses so meek, when we often read of his anger? But this only proves, that the law made nothing perfect.
4 Suddenly - To stifle the beginnings of the sedition, that this example might not spread amongst the people. Come out - Out of your private dwellings, that you may know my pleasure and your own doom.
5 In the door - While they stood without, not being admitted into the tabernacle, as Aaron used to be; a sign of God's displeasure.
6 Among you - if you be prophets, yet know there is a difference among prophets, nor do I put equal honour upon all of them.
7 In all my house - That is, whom I have set over all my house, my church and people, and therefore over you; and who hath discharged his office faithfully, and not partially as you falsely accuse him.
8 Mouth to mouth - That is, distinctly, by an articulate voice; immediately, not by an interpreter, nor by shadows and representations in his fancy, as it is in visions and dreams; and familiarly. Apparently - Plainly and certainly. Dark speeches - Not in parables, similitudes, dark resemblances; as by shewing a boiling pot, an almond tree, &c. to Jeremiah, a chariot with wheels, &c. to Ezekiel. The similitude - Not the face or essence of God, which no man can see and live, Exo 33:20, but some singular manifestation of his glorious presence, as Exo 33:11,20. Yea the Son of God appeared to him in an human shape, which he took up for a time, that he might give him a foretaste of his future incarnation. My servant - Who is so in such an eminent and extraordinary manner.
9 He departed - From the door of the tabernacle, in token of his great displeasure, not waiting for their answer. The removal of God~s presence from us, is the saddest token of his displeasure. And he never departs, till we by our sin and folly drive him from us.
10 From the tabernacle - Not from the whole tabernacle, but from that part, whither it was come, to that part which was directly over the mercy - seat, where it constantly abode. Leprous - She, and not Aaron, either because she was chief in the transgression or because God would not have his worship interrupted or dishonoured, which it must have been if Aaron had been leprous. White - This kind of leprosy was the most virulent and incurable of all. It is true, when the leprosy began in a particular part, and thence spread itself over all the flesh by degrees, and at last made it all white, that was an evidence of the cure of the leprosy, Lev 13:12,13. But it was otherwise when one was suddenly smitten with this universal whiteness.
11 Lay not the sin - Let not the guilt and punishment of this sin rest upon us, upon her in this kind, upon me in any other kind, but pray to God for the pardon and removal of it.
12 As one dead - Because part of her flesh was putrefied and dead, and not to be restored but by the mighty power of God. Like a still - born child, that hath been for some time dead in the womb, which when it comes forth, is putrefied, and part of it consumed.
14 Spit in her face - That is, expressed some eminent token of indignation and contempt, which was this, Job 30:10 Isa 50:6. Ashamed - And withdraw herself, from her father's presence, as Jonathan did upon a like occasion, 1Sam 20:34. So though God healed her according to Moses's request, yet he would have her publickly bear the shame of her sin, and be a warning to others to keep them from the same transgression.
15 Journeyed not - Which was a testimony of respect to her both from God and from the people, God so ordering it, partly lest she should be overwhelmed by such a publick rebuke from God, and partly lest, she being a prophetess, the gift of prophesy should come into contempt.
16 Paran - That is, in another part of the same wilderness.

Chapter XIII

The sending of the spies into Canaan, ver. 1 - 17. The instructions given them, ver. 18 - 20. Their journey and return, ver. 21 - 25. Their report, ver. 26 - 33.

1 Speak unto Moses - In answer to the peoples petition about it, as is evident from Deu 1:22. And it is probable, the people desired it out of diffidence of God's promise.
2 A ruler - A person of wisdom and authority.
8 Oshea - Called also Joshua, Nu 13:16.
11 Of Joseph - The name of Joseph is elsewhere appropriated to Ephraim, here to Manasseh; possibly to aggravate the sin of the ruler of this tribe, who did so basely degenerate from his noble ancestor.
16 Jehoshua - Oshea notes a desire of salvation, signifying, Save we pray thee; but Jehoshua, or Joshua, includes a promise of salvation, He will save. So this was a prophecy of his succession to Moses in the government, and of the success of his arms. Joshua is the same name with Jesus, of whom Joshua was a type. He was the Saviour of God's people from the powers of Canaan, Christ from the powers of hell.
17 Southward - Into the southern part of Canaan, which was the nearest part, and the worst too, being dry and desert, and therefore fit for them to enter and pass through with less observation. Into the mountain - Into the mountainous country, and thence into the valleys, and so take a survey of the whole land.
18 What it is - Both for largeness, and for nature and quality.
19 In tents - As the Arabians did; or in unwalled villages, which, like tents, are exposed to an enemy.
20 Fat - Rich and fertile.
21 Zin - In the south of Canaan, differing from the wilderness of Sin, which was nigh unto Egypt. To Hamath - From the south they passed through the whole land to the northern parts of it; Rehob was a city in the north - west part, Hamath, a city in the north - east.
22 By the south - Moses having described their progress from south to north, more particularly relates some memorable places and passages. They came - Heb. He came, namely, Caleb, as appears from Jos 14:9,12,14. For the spies distributed their work among them, and went either severally, or by pairs; and it seems the survey of this part was left to Caleb. Anak - A famous giant, whole children these are called, either more generally, as all giants sometimes were, or rather more specially because Arbah, from whom Hebron was called Kiriath - arbah, was the father of Anak, Jos 15:13. And this circumstance is mentioned as an evidence of the goodness of that land, because the giants chose it for their habitation. Before Zoan - This seems to be noted to confront the Egyptians, who vainly boasted of the antiquity of their city Zoan above all places.
23 Upon a staff - Either for the weight of it, considering the, length of the way they were to carry it, or for the preservation of it whole and entire. In those eastern and southern countries there are vines and grapes of an extraordinary bigness as Strabo and Pliny affirm.
24 Eschol - That is, a cluster of grapes.
25 They returned after forty days - 'Tis a wonder the people had patience to stay forty days, when they were just ready to enter Canaan, under all the assurances of success they could have from the Divine power, proved by a constant series of miracles, that had hitherto attended them. But they distrusted God, and chose to be held in suspence by their own counsels, rather than to rest upon God's promise! How much do we stand in our own light by unbelief?
26 Kadesh - Kadesh - barnea, which some confound with Kadesh in the wilderness of Sin, into which they came not 'till the fortieth year after their coming out of Egypt, as appears from Num 33:37,38, whereas they were in this Kadesh in the second year, and before they received the sentence of their forty years abode in the wilderness.
27 They told him - In the audience of the people.
29 The Amalekites in the south - Where we are to enter the land, and they who were so fierce against us that they came into the wilderness to fight with us, will, without doubt, oppose us when we come close by their land, the rather, to revenge themselves for their former loss. Therefore they mention them, though they were not Canaanites. In the mountains - In the mountainous country, in the south - east part of the land, so that you cannot enter there without great difficulty, both because of the noted strength and valour of those people, and because of the advantage they have from the mountains. By the sea - Not the mid - land sea, which is commonly understood by that expression, but the salt or dead sea, as appears,
  1. Because it is that sea which is next to Jordan,
  2. Because the Canaanites dwelt principally in those parts, and not near the mid - land sea. So these guard the entrance on the east - side, as the others do on the south.
30 Caleb - Together with Joshua, as is manifest from Nu 14:6,7,30, but Caleb alone is here mentioned, possibly because he spake first and most, which he might better do, because he might be presumed to be more impartial than Joshua, who being Moses's minister might be thought to speak only what he knew his master would like. Stilled the people - Which implies either that they had began to murmur, or that by their looks and carriage, they discovered the anger which boiled in their breasts. Before Moses - Or, towards Moses, against whom they were incensed, as the man who had brought them into such sad circumstances. Let us go up and possess it - He does not say, Let us go up and conquer it. He looks on that to be as good as done already: but, Let us go up and possess it! There is nothing to be done, but to enter without delay, and take the possession which our great Lord is now ready to give us! Thus difficulties that lie in the way of salvation, vanish away before a lively faith.
31 The men - All of them, Joshua excepted. Stronger - Both in stature of body and numbers of people. Thus they question the power, and truth, and goodness of God, of all which they had such ample testimonies.
32 Eateth up its inhabitants - Not so much by civil wars, for that was likely to make their conquest more easy; but rather by the unwholesomeness of the air and place, which they guessed from the many funerals, which, as some Hebrew writers, not without probability affirm, they observed in their travels through it: though that came to pass from another cause, even from the singular providence of God, which, to facilitate the Israelites conquest, cut off vast numbers of the Canaanites either by a plague, or by the hornet sent before them, as is expressed, Jos 24:12.

Chapter XIV

The murmuring of the people against Moses and Aaron, ver. 1 - 4. Their fruitless endeavour to still them, ver. 5 - 10. God's threatening utterly to destroy them, ver. 11 - 12. The intercession of Moses, ver. 13 - 19. The decree that all that generation should die in the wilderness, ver. 20 - 35. The immediate death of the spies, ver. 36 - 39. The ill success of those who would go up notwithstanding, ver. 40 - 45.

2 Against Moses and Aaron - As the instruments and occasions of their present calamity. That we had died in this wilderness - It was not long before they had their desire, and did die in the wilderness.
3 The Lord - From instruments they rise higher, and strike at God the cause and author of their journey: by which we see the prodigious growth and progress of sin when it is not resisted. A prey - To the Canaanites whose land we were made to believe we should possess.
4 A captain - Instead of Moses, one who will be more faithful to our interest than he. Into Egypt - Stupendous madness! Whence should they have protection against the hazards, and provision against all the wants of the wilderness? Could they expect either God's cloud to cover and guide them, or Manna from heaven to feed them? Who could conduct them over the Red - sea? Or, if they went another way, who should defend them against those nations whose borders they were to pass? What entertainment could they expect from the Egyptians, whom they had deserted and brought to so much ruin?
5 Fell on their faces - As humble and earnest suppliants to God, the only refuge to which Moses resorted in all such straits, and who alone was able to govern this stiff - necked people. Before all the assembly - That they might awake to apprehend their sin and danger, when they saw Moses at his prayers, whom God never failed to defend, even with the destruction of his enemies.
6 Rent their clothes - To testify their hearty grief for the peoples blasphemy against God and sedition against Moses, and that dreadful judgment which they easily foresaw this must bring upon the congregation.
8 Delight in us - If by our rebellion and ingratitude we do not provoke God to leave and forsake us.
9 Bread - We shall destroy them as easily as we eat our bread. Their defence - Their conduct and courage, and especially God, who was pleased to afford them his protection 'till their iniquities were full, is utterly departed from them, and hath given them up as a prey to us. With us - By his special grace and almighty power, to save us from them and all our enemies. Only rebel not against the Lord - Nothing can ruin sinners but their own rebellion. If God leaves them, 'tis because they drive him from them, and they die, because they will die.
10 Appeared - Now in the extremity of danger to rescue his faithful servants, and to stop the rage of the people. In the tabernacle - Upon or above the tabernacle, where the cloud usually resided, in which the glory of God appeared now in a more illustrious manner. When they reflected upon God, his glory appeared not, to silence their blasphemies: but when they threatened Caleb and Joshua, they touched the apple of his eye, and his glory appeared immediately. They who faithfully expose themselves for God, are sure of his special provision.
12 I will smite them - This was not an absolute determination, but a commination, like that of Nineveh's destruction, with a condition implied, except there be speedy repentance, or powerful intercession.
16 Not able - His power was quite spent in bringing them out of Egypt, and could not finish the work he had begun and had sworn to do.
17 Be great - That is appear to be great, discover its greatness: namely, the power of his grace and mercy, or the greatness of his mercy, in pardoning this and their other sins: for to this the following words manifestly restrain it, where the pardon of their sins is the only instance of this power both described in God's titles, Nu 14:18, and prayed for by Moses Nu 14:19, and granted by God in answer to him, 14:20. Nor is it strange that the pardon of sin, especially such great sins, is spoken of as an act of power in God, because undoubtedly it is an act of omnipotent and infinite goodness.
18 Visiting the iniquity - These words may seem to be improperly mentioned, as being a powerful argument to move God to destroy this wicked people, and not to pardon them. It may be answered, that Moses useth these words together with the rest, because he would not sever what God had put together. But the truer answer seems to be, that these words are to be translated otherwise, And in destroying he will not utterly destroy, though he visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation.
20 I have pardoned - So far as not utterly to destroy them.
21 With the glory of the Lord - With the report of the glorious and righteous acts of God in punishing this rebellious people.
22 My glory - That is, my glorious appearances in the cloud, and in the tabernacle. Ten times - That is, many times. A certain number for an uncertain.
24 Caleb - Joshua is not named, because he was not now among the people, but a constant attendant upon Moses, nor was he to be reckoned as one of them, any more than Moses and Aaron were, because he was to be their chief commander. He had another spirit - Was a man of another temper, faithful and courageous, not acted by that evil spirit of cowardice, unbelief, disobedience, which ruled in his brethren but by the spirit of God. Fully - Universally and constantly, through difficulties and dangers, which made his partners halt. Whereinto he went - In general, Canaan, and particularly Hebron, and the adjacent parts, Jos 14:9.
25 In the valley - Beyond the mountain, at the foot whereof they now were, Num 14:40. And this clause is added, either
  1. As an aggravation of Israel's misery and punishment, that being now ready to enter and take possession of the land, they are forced to go back into the wilderness or
  2. As an argument to oblige them more willingly to obey the following command of returning into the wilderness, because their enemies were very near them, and severed from them only by that Idumean mountain, and, if they did not speedily depart, their enemies would fall upon them, and so the evil which before they causelessly feared would come upon them; they, their wives and their children, would become a prey to the Amalekites and Canaanites, because God would not assist nor defend them. By the way of the Red - sea - That leadeth to the Red - sea, and to Egypt, the place whither you desire to return.
28 As ye have spoken - When you wickedly wished you might die in the wilderness.
30 You - Your nation; for God did not swear to do so to these particular persons.
32 Your carcases - See with what contempt they are spoken of, now they had by their sin made themselves vile! The mighty men of valour were but carcases, now the Spirit of the Lord was departed from them! It was very probably upon this occasion, that Moses wrote the ninetieth psalm.
33 Forty years - So long as to make up the time of your dwelling in the wilderness forty years; one whole year and part of another were past before this sin or judgment. Your whoredoms - The punishment of your whoredoms, of your apostacy from, and perfidiousness against your Lord, who was your husband, and had married you to himself.
34 Each day for a year - So there should have been forty years to come, but God was pleased mercifully to accept of the time past as a part of that time. Ye shall know my breach of promise - That as you have first broken the covenant between you and me, by breaking the conditions of it, so I will make it void on my part, by denying you the blessings promised in that covenant. So you shall see, that the breach of promise wherewith you charged me, lies at your door, and was forced from me by your perfidiousness.
37 By the plague - Either by the pestilence, or by some other sudden and extraordinary judgment, sent from the cloud in which God dwelt, and from whence he spake to Moses, and wherein his glory at this time appeared before all the people, Nu 14:10, who therefore were all, and these spies among the rest, before the Lord.
38 But Joshua and Caleb lived still - Death never misses his mark, nor takes any by oversight who are designed for life, tho' in the midst of those that are to die.
39 And the people mourned greatly - But it was now too late. There was now no place for repentance. Such mourning as this there is in hell; but the tears will not quench the flames.
40 Gat them up - Designed or prepared themselves to go up.
45 The Canaanites - Largely so called, but strictly the Amorites. Hormah - A place so called afterwards, Nu 21:3, from the slaughter or destruction of the lsraelites at this time.

Chapter XV

Laws, concerning meal - offerings and drink offerings, ver. 1 - 16. Concerning dough for heave - offerings, ver. 17 - 21. Sacrifices for sins of ignorance, ver. 22 - 29. Concerning presumptuous sinners, ver. 30,31. An instance in the sabbath - breaker, ver. 32 - 36. Concerning fringes on the borders of their garments, ver. 37 - 41.

2 I give you - Will certainly give you, not withstanding this great provocation. And for their better assurance hereof he repeats and amplifies the laws of sacrifices, whereby through Christ he would be reconciled to them and theirs upon their repentance.
3 A sacrifice - A peace - offering.
4 A tenth deal - The tenth part of an Ephah, that is, about five pints. An hin contained about five quarts.
6 Two tenth - deals - Because this belonged to a better sacrifice than the former; and therefore in the next sacrifice of a bullock, there are three tenth deals. So the accessory sacrifice grows proportionably with the principal.
8 Peace - offerings - Such as were offered either freely or by command, which may be called peace - offerings or thank - offerings, by way of eminency, because such are offered purely by way of gratitude to God, and with single respect to his honour, whereas the peace - offerings made in performance of a vow were made and offered, with design of getting some advantage by them.
12 Their number - As many cattle as ye sacrifice, so many meal and drink - offerings ye shall offer.
15 Before the Lord - As to the worship of God: his sacrifices shall be offered in the same manner and accepted by God upon the same terms, as yours: which was a presage of the future calling of the Gentiles. And this is added by way of caution, to shew that strangers were not upon this pretence to partake of their civil privileges.
19 When ye eat - When you are about to eat it: for before they eat it, they were to offer this offering to God. The bread - That is, the bread - corn.
20 The threshing floor - That is, of the corn in the threshing floor, when you have gathered in your corn.
22 All these commandments - Those now spoken of, which concern the outward service of God, or the rites or ceremonies belonging to it. And herein principally this law may seem to differ from that Lev 4:13, which speaks of some positive miscarriage, or doing that which ought not to have been done, about the holy things of God; whereas this speaks only of an omission of something which ought to have been done about holy ceremonies.
30 Reproacheth the Lord - He sets God at defiance, and exposeth him to contempt, as if he were unable to punish transgressors.
32 On the sabbath - day - This seems to be added as an example of a presumptuous sin: for as the law of the sabbath was plain and positive, so this transgression of it must needs be a known and wilful sin.
33 To all the congregation - That is, to the rulers of the congregation.
34 They - That is, Moses and Aaron, and the seventy rulers. What should be done - That is, in what manner he was to be cut off, or by what kind of death he was to die, which therefore God here particularly determines: otherwise it was known in general that sabbath - breakers were to be put to death.
38 Fringes - These were certain threads or ends, standing out a little further than the rest of their garments, lest there for this use. In the borders - That is, in the four borders or quarters, as it is, Deut 22:12. Of their garments - Of their upper garments. This was practiced by the Pharisees in Christ's time, who are noted for making their borders larger than ordinary. A ribband - To make it more obvious to the sight, and consequently more serviceable to the use here mentioned. Of blue - Or, purple.
39 For a fringe - That is, the ribband, shall be unto you, shall serve you for a fringe, to render it more visible by its distinct colour, whereas the fringe without this was of the same piece and colour with the garment, and therefore less observeable. That ye seek not - Or, enquire not for other rules and ways of serving me than I have prescribed you. Your own heart, and eyes - Neither after the devices of your own hearts, as Nadab and Abihu did when they offered strange fire; nor after the examples of others which your eyes see, as you did when you were set upon worshipping a calf after the manner of Egypt. The phylacteries worn by the Pharisees in our Lord's time, were a different thing from these. Those were of their own invention: these were a divine institution.
40 Be ye holy - Purged from sin and sincerely devoted to God.
41 I am the Lord your God - Though I am justly displeased with you for your frequent rebellions, for which also I will keep you forty years in the wilderness, yet I will not utterly cast you off, but will continue to be your God.

Chapter XVI

Korah, Dathan and Abiram, rise up against Moses, ver. 1 - 4. Moses reasons with them, ver. 5 - 11. Sends for Dathan and Abiram, who refuse to come, ver. 12 - 14. His proposal to Korah, ver. 15 - 19. The punishment of the rebels, ver. 20 - 35. Their censers preserved for a memorial, ver. 36 - 40. A new insurrection stopped by a plague, ver. 41 - 45. Aaron stays the plague, ver. 46 - 50.

1 The son of Izhar - Amram's brother, Exo 6:18, therefore Moses and he were cousin germans. Moreover, Izhar was the second son of Kohath, whereas Elizaphan, whom Moses had preferred before him, and made prince or ruler of the Kohathites, Num 3:30, was the son of Uzziel, the fourth son of Kohath. This, the Jewish writers say, made him malcontent, which at last broke forth into sedition. Sons of Reuben - These are drawn into confederacy with Korah, partly because they were his next neighbours, both being encamped on the south - side, partly in hopes to recover their rights of primogeniture, in which the priesthood was comprehended, which was given away from their father.
2 Rose up - That is, conspired together, and put their design in execution. Before Moses - Not obscurely, but openly and boldly, not fearing nor regarding the presence of Moses.
3 They - Korah, Dathan and Abiram, and the rest, who were all together when Moses spake those words, Nu 16:5 - 7, but after that, Dathan and Abiram retired to their tents, and then Moses sent for Korah and the Levites, who had more colourable pretences to the priesthood, and treats with them apart, and speaks what is mentioned, Nu 16:8 - 11. Having dispatched them, he sends for Dathan and Abiram, Nu 16:12, that he might reason the case with them also apart. Against Aaron - To whom the priesthood was confined, and against Moses, both because this was done by his order, and because before Aaron's consecration Moses appropriated it to himself. For whatever they intended, they seem not now directly to strike at Moses for his supreme civil government, but only for his influence in the disposal of the priesthood. Ye take too much - By perpetuating the priesthood in yourselves and family, with the exclusion of all others from it. All are holy - A kingdom of priests, an holy nation, as they are called, Exo 19:6, a people separated to the service of God, and therefore no less fit to offer sacrifice and incense, than you are. Among them - By his tabernacle and cloud, the tokens of his gracious presence, and therefore ready to receive sacrifices from their own hands. Ye - Thou Moses, by prescribing what laws thou pleasest about the priesthood, and confining it to thy brother; and thou Aaron by usurping it as thy peculiar privilege.
4 On his face - Humbly begging that God would direct and vindicate him. Accordingly God answers his prayers, and strengthens him with new courage, and confidence of success.
5 To - morrow - Heb. In the morning, the time appointed by men for administering justice, and chosen by God for that work. Some time is allowed, partly that Korah and his company might prepare themselves and their censers, and partly to give them space for consideration and repentance. He will cause him - He will by some evident token declare his approbation of him and his ministry.
8 Ye sons of Levi - They were of his own tribe, nay, they were of God's tribe. It was therefore the worse in them thus to mutiny against God and against him.
9 To minister to them - So they were the servants both of God and of the church, which was an high dignity, though not sufficient for their ambitious minds.
11 Against the Lord - Whose chosen servant Aaron is. You strike at God through Aaron's sides.
12 Dathan and Abiram - To treat with them and give them, as he had done Korah and his company, a timely admonition. Come up - To Moses's tabernacle, whither the people used to go up for judgment. Men are said in scripture phrase to go up to places of judgment.
14 These men - Of all the people who are of our mind: wilt thou make them blind, or persuade them that they do not see what is visible to all that have eyes, to wit, that thou hast deceived them, and broken thy faith and promise given to them?
15 Respect not their offering - Accept not their incense which they are now going to offer, but shew some eminent dislike of it. He calls it their offering, though it was offered by Korah and his companions, because it was offered in the name and by the consent of all the conspirators, for the decision of the present controversy between them and Moses. I have not hurt one of them - I have never injured them, nor used my power to defraud or oppress them, as I might have done; I have done them many good offices, but no hurt: therefore their crime is without any cause or provocation.
16 Before the Lord - Not in the tabernacle, which was not capable of so many persons severally offering incense, but at the door of the tabernacle, where they might offer it by Moses's direction upon this extraordinary occasion. This work could not be done in that place, which alone was allowed for the offering up of incense; not only for its smallness, but also because none but priests might enter to do this work. Here also the people, who were to be instructed by this experiment, might see the proof and success of it.
18 Fire - Taken from the altar which stood in that place, for Aaron might not use other fire. And it is likely the rememberance of the death of Nadab and Abihu deterred them from offering any strange fire.
19 Against them - That they might be witnesses of the event, and, upon their success, which they doubted not of, might fall upon Moses and Aaron. And it seems by this that the people were generally incensed against Moses, and inclined to Korah's side. The glory appeared - In the cloud, which then shone with greater brightness and majesty, as a token of God's approach and presence.
22 The spirits - And this is no empty title here, but very emphatical. Thou art the maker of spirits, destroy not thy own workmanship! O thou who art the preserver of men, and of their spirits, the Lord of spirits, Job 12:10, who as thou mayst justly destroy this people, so thou canst preserve whom thou pleasest: the father of spirits, the souls. Deal mercifully with thy own children: the searcher of spirits, thou canst distinguish between those who have maliciously railed this tumult, and those whose ignorance and simple credulity hath made them a prey to crafty seducers. Of all flesh - Of all mankind: the word flesh is often put for men. One man - Korah, the ringleader of this sedition.
24 The congregation - Whom for your sakes I will spare upon the condition following.
25 Unto Dathan - Because they refused to come to him. The elders - The seventy rulers, whom he carried with him for the greater solemnity of the action, and to encourage them in their work, notwithstanding the obstinate and untractable nature of the people they were to govern.
27 Stood in the door - An argument of their foolish confidence, obstinacy and impenitency, whereby they declared that they neither feared God, nor reverenced man.
28 All these works - As the bringing of the people out of Egypt; the conducting of them through the wilderness; the exercising authority among them; and giving laws to them concerning the priesthood.
29 The death of all men - By a natural death. The visitation of all men - By plague, or sword, or some usual judgment. The Lord hath not sent me - I am content that you take me for an imposter, falsely pretending to be sent of God.
32 All that appertained unto Korah - That is, all his family which were there, women, children, and servants; but his sons, who were spared, Num 26:11,58 1Ch 6:22,37, were absent either upon some service of the tabernacle, or upon some other occasion, God so ordering it by his providence either because they disliked their fathers act, or upon Moses's intercession for them. This expression may intimate, that Korah himself was not here, but that he continued with his two hundred and fifty men before the Lord, where they were waiting for God's decision of the controversy. Nor is it probable that their chief captain would desert them, and leave them standing there without an head, especially, when Aaron his great adversary, abode there still, and did not go with Moses to Dathan. And Korah may seem to have been consumed with those two hundred and fifty. And so much is intimated, Nu 16:40, that no stranger come near to offer incense before the Lord, that he be not as Korah, and as his company, that is, destroyed, as they were, by fire from the Lord. And when the Psalmist relates this history, Psa 106:17 - 18, the earth's swallowing them up is confined to Dathan and Abiram, Psa 106:17, and for all the rest of that conspiracy it is added, Psa 106:18. And a fire was kindled in their company, the flame burnt up the wicked.
33 Into the pit - Into the earth, which first opened itself to receive them, and then shut itself to destroy them.
35 From the Lord - From the cloud, wherein the glory of the Lord appeared.
37 To Eleazer - Rather than to Aaron, partly because the troublesome part of the work was more proper for him, and partly lest Aaron should be polluted by going amongst those dead carcasses; for it is probable this fire consumed them, as lightning sometimes doth, others, by taking away their lives, and leaving their bodies dead upon the place. Out of the burning - From among the dead bodies of those men who were burnt. Yonder - Far from the altar and sanctuary, into an unclean place, where the ashes were wont to be cast: by which God shews his rejection on of their services. They are hallowed - By God's appointment, because they were presented before the Lord by his express order, Nu 16:16,17.
38 Their own souls - That is, their own lives: who were the authors of their own destruction. The altar - Of burnt - offerings, which was made of wood, but covered with brass before this time, Exo 27:1,2, to which this other covering was added for farther ornament, and security against the fire, continually burning upon it. A sign - A warning to all strangers to take heed of invading the priesthood.
40 To him - To Eleazer. These words belong to Num 16:38, the meaning is, that Eleazer did as God bade him.
41 On the morrow - Prodigious wickedness and madness so soon to forget such a terrible instance of Divine vengeance! The people of the Lord - So they call those wicked wretches, and rebels against God! Tho' they were but newly saved from sharing in the same punishment, and the survivors were as brands plucked out of the burning, yet they fly in the face of Moses and Aaron, to whose intercession they owe their preservation.
42 They - Moses and Aaron, who in all their distresses made God their refuge.
43 Moses and Aaron came - To hear what God, who now appeared, would say to them.
45 They fell upon their faces - To beg mercy for the people; thus rendering Good for Evil.
46 Incense - Which was a sign of intercession, and was to be accompanied with it. Go unto the congregation - He went with the incense, to stir up the people to repentance and prayer, to prevent their utter ruin. This he might do upon this extraordinary occasion, having God's command for his warrant, though ordinarily incense was to be offered only in the tabernacle.
48 The living - Whereby it may seem that this plague, like that fire, Nu 11:1, began in the uttermost parts of the congregation, and so proceeded destroying one after another in an orderly manner, which gave Aaron occasion and direction so to place himself, as a mediator to God on their behalf.

Chapter XVII

The blossoming of Aaron's rod, ver. 1 - 9. It is laid up for a memorial, ver. 10,11. The people are terrified, ver. 12,13.

2 Of every one - Not of every person, but of every tribe. A rod - That staff, or rod, which the princes carried in their hands as tokens of their dignity and authority. Every man's name - Every prince's: for they being the first - born, and the chief of their tribes might above all others pretend to the priesthood, if it was communicable to any of their tribes, and besides each prince represented all his tribe: so that this was a full decision of the question. And this place seems to confirm, that not only Korah and the Levites, but also those of other tribes contested with Moses and Aaron about the priesthood, as that which belonged to all the congregation they being all holy.
3 Aaron's name - Rather than Levi's, for that would have left the controversy undecided between Aaron and the other Levites, whereas this would justify the appropriation of the priesthood to Aaron's family. One rod - There shall be in this, as there is in all the other tribes, only one rod, and that for the head of their tribe, who is Aaron in this tribe: whereas it might have been expected that there should have been two rods, one for Aaron, and another for his competitors of the same tribe. But Aaron's name was sufficient to determine both the tribe, and that branch or family of the tribe, to whom this dignity should be affixed.
4 Before the testimony - That is, before the ark of the testimony, close by the ark. I will meet with you - And manifest my mind to you, for the ending of this dispute.
6 Among their rods - Was laid up with the rest, being either one of the twelve, as the Hebrews affirm, or the thirteenth, as others think.
8 Into the tabernacle - Into the most holy place, which he might safely do under the protection of God's command, though otherwise none but the high - priest might enter there, and that once in a year.
10 To be kept for a token - it is probable, the buds and blossoms and fruit, all which could never have grown together, but by miracle, continued fresh, the same which produced them in a night preserving them for ages.
12 We perish - Words of consternation, arising from the remembrance of these severe and repeated judgments, from the threatening of death upon any succeeding murmurings, and from the sense of their own guilt and weakness, which made them fear lest they should relapse into the same miscarriages, and thereby bring the vengeance of God upon themselves.
13 Near - Nearer than be should do; an error which we may easily commit. Will God proceed with us according to his strict justice, till all the people be cut off?

Chapter XVIII

The Work of the priests and Levites, ver. 1 - 7. The maintenance of the priests, ver. 8 - 20. Of the Levites, ver. 21 - 24. The portion they are to pay to the priests, ver. 25 - 32.

1 Shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary - Shall suffer the punishment of all the usurpations, or pollutions of the sanctuary, or the holy things, by the Levites, or any of the people, because you have power from me to keep them all within their bounds. Thus the people are in good measure secured against their fears. Also they are informed that Aaron's high dignity was attended with great burdens, having not only his own, but the people's sins to answer for; and therefore they had no such reason to envy him, if the benefits and dangers were equally considered. The iniquity of your priesthood - That is, Of all the errors committed by yourselves, or by you permitted in others in things, belonging to your priesthood.
2 Unto thee - About sacrifices and offerings and other things, according to the rules I have prescribed them. The Levites are said to minister to Aaron here, to the church, Num 16:9, and to God, Deu 10:8. They shall not contend with thee for superiority, as they have done, but shall be subordinate to thee. Thy sons with thee - Or, both to thee, and to thy sons with thee: Which translation may seem to be favoured by the following words, before the tabernacle, which was the proper place where the Levites ministered. Besides, both the foregoing words, and the two following verses, entirely speak of the ministry of the Levites, and the ministry of the priests is distinctly spoken of, Nu 18:5.
3 They charge - That is, that which thou shalt command them and commit unto them.
5 The sanctuary - Of the holy, and of the most holy place.
6 To you they are given as a gift - We are to value it as a great gift of the divine bounty, to have those joined to us, that will be helpful and serviceable to us, in the service of God.
7 The altar - Of burnt - offering. Within the veil - This phrase here comprehends both the holy and the most holy place. As a gift which I have freely conferred upon you, and upon you alone; and therefore let no man henceforth dare either to charge you with arrogance in appropriating this to yourselves, or to invade your office.
8 I have given them - Not only the charge, but the use of them for thyself and family. By reason of the anointing - That is, because thou art priest, and art to devote thyself wholly to my service.
9 Most holy - Such as were to be eaten only by the priests, and that in the sanctuary. Reserved - That is, such sacrifices or parts of sacrifices as were not burnt in the fire. Render unto me - By way of compensation for a trespass committed against me, in which case a ram was to be offered, which was a most holy thing, and may be particularly designed here.
10 In the most holy place - In the court of the priests, where there were places for this use, which is called the most holy place, not simply and absolutely, but in respect of the thing he speaks of because this was the most holy of all the places appointed for eating holy things, whereof some might be eaten in any clean place in the camp, or in their own house.
13 Whatsoever is first ripe - Not only the first - fruits of the oil and wine, and wheat now mentioned, but all other first - fruits of all other grains, and all fruit trees. Clean - And none else, because these were first offered to God, and by consequence given to priests; but for those which were immediately given to the priests, the clean and unclean might eat of them.
14 Devoted - Dedicated to God by vow or otherwise, provided it be such a thing as might be eaten: for the vessels or treasures of gold and silver which were dedicated by Joshua, David, or others, were not the priests, but appropriated to the uses of the temple.
15 Of men - Which were offered to God in his temple, and to his service and disposal.
16 Those that are to be redeemed - Namely, of men only, not of unclean beasts, as is manifest from the time and price of redemption here mentioned, both which agree to men; the time, Num 18:16, the price, Num 3:46,47, but neither agree to unclean beasts, which were to be redeemed with a sheep, Exo 13:13, and that after it was eight days old.
17 Holy - Namely, in a peculiar manner, consecrated to an holy use, even to be sacrificed to God. Deu 15:19.
18 The flesh - All the flesh of them, and not only some parts, as in other sacrifices.
19 A covenant of salt - A durable and perpetual covenant; so called here and 2Ch 13:5, either, because salt is a sign of incorruption, as being of singular use to preserve things from corruption: or, because it is ratified on their part by salt, which is therefore called the salt of the covenant, for which the priests were obliged to take care, that it should never be lacking from any meat - offering, Lev 2:13. And this privilege conferred upon the priests is called a covenant because it is given them conditionally, upon condition of their service, and care about the worship of God.
20 In their land - In the land of the children of Israel. You shall not have a distinct portion of land, as the other tribes shall. The reason of this law, was, partly because God would have them wholly devoted to his service, and therefore free from worldly incumbrances; partly, because God had abundantly provided for them otherwise, by tithes and first - fruits and oblations; and partly that by this means being dispersed among the several tribes, they might have the better opportunity for teaching and watching over the people. I am thy part - I have appointed thee a liberal maintenance out of my oblations.
21 The tenth - For the tithes were all given to the Levites, and out of their tithes the tenth was given to the priests.
22 Nigh - So nigh as to do any proper act to the priests or Levites.
23 Their iniquity - The punishment due not only for their own, but also for the people's miscarriage, if it be committed through their connivance or negligence. And this was the reason why the priests withstood King Uzziah, when he would have burnt incense to the Lord.
24 An heave - offering - An acknowledgment that they have all their land and the fruits of it from God's bounty. Note the word heave - offering, which is for the most part understood of a particular kind of offerings heaved or lifted up to the Lord, is here used for any offering.
26 Ye shall offer up an heave - offering - They who are employed in assisting the devotions of others, must be sure to pay their own as an heave - offering. Prayers and praises, or rather the heart lifted up in them, are now our heave - offerings.
27 As though it were the corn - It shall be accepted of you as much as if you offered it out of your own lands and labours.
28 To Aaron - And to his children, who were all to have their share herein.
29 Your gifts - Not only out of your tithes, but out of the other gifts which you receive from the people, and out of those fields which shall belong to your cities. Offer - To the priest. As many gifts, so many heave - offerings; you shall reserve a part out of each of them for the priest. The hallowed part - the tenth part, which was the part or proportion that God hallowed or sanctified to himself as his proper portion.
31 Every place - In every clean place, and not in the holy place only.
32 Neither shall ye pollute the holy things - As you will do, if you abuse their holy offerings, by reserving that entirely to yourselves, which they offer to God to be disposed as he hath appointed, namely, part to you, and part to the priests.

Chapter XIX

The manner of preparing the water of purification, ver. 1 - 10. Of using it, ver. 11 - 22.

2 Red - A fit colour to shadow forth the bloody nature of sin, and the blood of Christ, from which this water and all other rites had their purifying virtue. No blemish - A fit type of Christ. Upon which never came yoke - Whereby may be signified, either that Christ in himself was free from all the yoke or obligation of God's command, till for our sakes he put himself under the law; or that Christ was not forced to undertake our burden and cross, but did voluntarily chuse it. He was bound and held with no other cords but those of his own love.
3 Eleazar - Who was the second priest, and in some cases, the deputy of the high - priest. To him, not to Aaron, because this service made him unclean for a season, and consequently unfit for holy ministrations, whereas the high - priest was, as far as possibly he could, to be preserved from all sorts of defilement, fit for his high and holy work. Without the camp - Partly because it was reputed an unclean and accursed thing, being laden with the sins of all the people; and partly to signify that Christ should suffer without the camp, in the place where malefactors suffered.
4 Before the tabernacle - Or, towards the tabernacle, standing at a good distance from it, even without the camp, yet turning and looking towards it. For here is no intimation that he went into the camp before this work was done, but rather the contrary is implied, Nu 19:7. And because being defiled by this work he could not come near the tabernacle, it was sufficient for him to turn and look towards it. This signified his presenting this blood before the Lord by way of atonement for his and the people's sins, and his expectation of acceptance and pardon only from God, and from his mercy - seat in the tabernacle. And this typified the satisfaction that was made to God, by the death of Christ, who by the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, and did as it were sprinkle his own blood before the sanctuary, when he said, Into thy hands I commend my spirit!
5 Burn the heifer - To signify the sharp and grievous sufferings of Christ for our sins. Her blood - All of it, but what was spent in sprinkling.
6 Cedar - wood, hyssop, scarlet - All which are here burnt, and as it were offered to God, that they might be sanctified to this holy use for the future; for of these kinds of things was the sprinkle made wherewith the unclean were sprinkled, Lev 14:4.
7 Shall be unclean - Partly to teach us the imperfection of the Levitical priesthood, in which the priest himself was defiled by some parts of his work, and partly to shew that Christ himself, though he had no sin of his own, yet was reputed by men, and judged by God, as a sinful person, by reason of our sins which were laid upon him.
9 For a water - Or, to the water, that is, to be put to the water, or mixed with it. Of separation - Appointed for the cleansing of them that are in a state of separation, who for their uncleanness are separated from the congregation. It is a purification for sin - Heb. a sin, that is, an offering for sin, or rather a mean for expiation or cleansing of sin. And this was a type of that purification for sin, which our Lord Jesus made by his death.
10 The stranger - A proselyte.
12 With it - With the water of separation. On the third day - To typify Christ's resurrection on that day by which we are cleansed or sanctified.
13 Whosoever toucheth - If this transgression be done presumptuously; for if it was done ignorantly, he was only to offer sacrifice. Defiled - By approaching to it in his uncleanness: for holy things or places were ceremonially defiled with the touch of any unclean person or thing. Is upon him - He continues in his guilt, not now to be washed away by this water, but to be punished by cutting off.
16 With a sword - Or by any other violent way.
17 Running water - Waters flowing from a spring or river, which are the purest. These manifestly signify God's spirit, which is oft compared to water, and by which alone true purification is obtained. Those who promise themselves benefit by the righteousness of Christ, while they submit not to the influence of his spirit, do but deceive themselves; for they cannot be purified by the ashes, otherwise than in the running water.
20 That shall not purify himself - Shall contemptuously refuse to submit to this way of purification.
21 Shall wash his clothes - Because he is unclean. It is strange, that the same water should cleanse one person, and defile another. But God would have it so, to teach us that it did not cleanse by any virtue in itself, or in the work done, but only by virtue of God's appointment: to mind the laws of the imperfection of their priesthood, and their ritual purifications and expiations, and consequently of the necessity of a better priest and sacrifice and way of purifying; and to shew that the efficacy of God's ordinances doth not depend upon the person or quality of his ministers, because the same person who, was polluted himself could and did cleanse others. He that toucheth the water - Either by sprinkling of it, or by being sprinkled with it; for even he that was cleansed by it, was not fully cleansed as soon as he was sprinkled, but only at the even of that day.
22 The unclean person - Not he who is so only by touching the water of separation, Nu 19:21, but he who is so by the greater sort of uncleanness, which lasted seven days, and which was not removed without the use of this water of purification.

Chapter XX

This chapter begins the history of the fortieth year of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. Little is recorded of them from the beginning of their second year till this, which brought them to the borders of Canaan. Here is,

  1. The death of Miriam, ver. 1.
  2. The fetching water out of the rock, ver. 2 - 13.
  3. The treaty with the Edomites, ver. 14 - 21.
  4. The death of Aaron and installment of Eleazar, ver. 22 - 29.

1 Then - To wit, after many stations and long journeys here omitted, but particularly described, Num 33:1 - 49. Zin - A place near the land of Edom, distinct and distant from that Sin, Exo 16:1. The first month - Of the fortieth year, as is evident, because the next station to this was in mount Hor, where Aaron died, who died in the fifth month of the fortieth year, Num 33:38. Moses doth not give us an exact journal of all occurrences in the wilderness, but only of those which were most remarkable, and especially of those which happened in the first and second, and in the fortieth year. Miriam died - Four months before Aaron, and but a few more before Moses.
2 No water - Which having followed them through all their former journeys, began to fail them here, because they were now come near countries, where waters might be had by ordinary means, and therefore God would not use extraordinary, lest he should seem to prostitute the honour of miracles. This story, though like that, Exo 17:1 - 7, is different from it, as appears by divers circumstances. It is a great mercy, to have plenty of water; a mercy which if we found the want of, we should own the worth of.
3 Before the Lord - Suddenly, rather than to die such a lingering death. Their sin was much greater than that of their parents, because they should have taken warning by their miscarriages, and by the terrible effects of them, which their eyes had seen.
8 The rod - That which was laid up before the Lord in the tabernacle; whether it was Aaron's rod, which was laid up there, Num 17:10, or Moses's rod by which he wrought so many miracles. For it is likely, that wonder - working rod, was laid up in some part of the tabernacle, though not in or near the ark, where Aaron's blossoming rod was put.
9 From before the Lord - Out of the tabernacle.
12 Ye believed me not - But shewed your infidelity: which they did, either by smiting the rock, and that twice, which is emphatically noted, as if he doubted whether once smiting would have done it, whereas he was not commanded to smite so much as once, but only to speak to it: or by the doubtfulness of these words, Num 20:10. Must we fetch water out of the rock? which implies a suspicion of it, whereas they should have spoken positively and confidently to the rock to give forth water. And yet they did not doubt of the power of God, but of his will, whether he would gratify these rebels with this farther miracle, after so many of the like kind. To sanctify me - To give me the glory of my power in doing this miracle, and of my truth in punctually fulfilling my promise, and of my goodness in doing it notwithstanding the peoples perverseness. In the eyes of Israel - This made their sin scandalous to the Israelites, who of themselves were too prone to infidelity; to prevent the contagion, God leaves a monument of his displeasure upon them, and inflicts a punishment as publick as their sin.
13 Meribah - That is, strife. In them - Or, among them, the children of Israel, by the demonstration of his omnipotency, veracity, and clemency towards the Israelites, and of his impartial holiness and severity against sin even in his greatest friends and favourites.
14 All the travel - All the wanderings and afflictions of our parents and of us their children, which doubtless have come to thine ears.
16 An Angel - The Angel of the Covenant, who first appeared to Moses in the bush, and afterward in the cloudy pillar, who conducted Moses and the people out of Egypt, and through the wilderness. For though Moses may be called an angel or messenger yet it is not probable that he is meant, partly because Moses was the person that sent this message; and partly because another angel above Moses conducted them, and the mention hereof to the Edomites, was likely to give more authority to their present message. In Kadesh - Near, the particle in being so often used.
17 The wells - Or, pits, which any of you have digged for your private use, not without paying for it, Num 20:19, but only of the waters of common rivers, which are free to all passengers. No man's property ought to be invaded, under colour of religion. Dominion is founded in providence, not in Grace.
18 By me - Through my country: I will not suffer thee to do so: which was an act of policy, to secure themselves from so numerous an host.
19 Said - That is, their messengers replied what here follows.
23 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron - So these two dear brothers must part! Aaron must die first: but Moses is not likely to be long after him. So that it is only for a while, a little while, that they are separated.
24 Because they rebelled - This was one but not the only reason. God would not have Moses and Aaron to carry the people into Canaan, for this reason also, to signify the insufficiency of the Mosaical law and Aaronical priesthood to make them perfectly happy, and the necessity of a better, and to keep the Israelites from resting in them, so as to be taken off from their expectation of Christ.
26 His garments - His priestly garments, in token of his resignation of his office. Put them on Eleazar - By way of admission and inauguration to his office.
27 In the sight of all the congregation - That their hearts might be more affected with their loss of so great a pillar, and that they all might be witnesses of the translation of the priesthood from Aaron to Eleazar.
28 And Moses stript Aaron - And Death will strip us. Naked we came into the world: naked we must go out. We shall see little reason to be proud of our cloaths, our ornaments, or marks of honour, if we consider how soon death will strip us of all our glory, and take the crown off from our head! Aaron died there - He died in Mosera, Deu 10:6. Mosera was the general name of the place where that station was, and mount Hor a particular place in it. Presently after he was stript of his priestly garments, he laid him down and died. A good man would desire, if it were the will of God, not to outlive his usefulness. Why should we covet to continue any longer in this world, than while we may do God and our generation some service?
29 Saw - Understood by the relation of Moses and Eleazar, and by other signs. Thirty days - The time of publick and solemn mourning for great persons.

Chapter XXI

The defect of Arad, ver. 1 - 3. The people murmur and are plagued with fiery serpents, ver. 4 - 6. They are healed by looking on the brazen serpent, ver. 7 - 9. They journey forward, ver. 10 - 20. Conquer Sihon, ver. 21 - 31. And Og, ver. 33 - 35.

1 King Arad - Or rather, the Canaanite King of Arad: for Arad is not the name of a man, but of a city or territory. And he seems to be called a Canaanite in a general sense, as the Amorites and others. The south - Of Canaan, towards the east, and near the dead sea. Of the spies - Not of those spies which Moses sent to spy the land, for that was done thirty eight years before this, and they went so privately, that the Canaanites took no notice of them, nor knew which way they came or went; but of the spies which he himself sent out to observe the marches and motions of the Israelites. Took some of them prisoners - Which God permitted for Israel's humiliation, and to teach them not to expect the conquest of that land from their own wisdom or valour.
2 I will utterly destroy them - I will reserve no person or thing for my own use, but devote them all to total destruction.
3 They utterly destroyed them - Neither Moses nor the whole body of the people did this but a select number sent out to punish that king and people, who were so fierce and malicious that they came out of their own country to fight with the Israelites in the wilderness; and these, when they had done this work, returned to their brethren into the wilderness. But why did they not all now go into Canaan, and pursue this victory? Because God would not permit it, there being several works yet to be done, other people must be conquered, the Israelites must be farther humbled and tried and purged, Moses must die, and then they shall enter, and that in a more glorious manner, even over Jordan, which shall be miraculously dried up, to give them passage. Hormah - That is, utter destruction.
4 By way of the Red - sea - Which leadeth to the Red - sea, as they must needs do to compass the land of Edom. Because of the way - By reason of this journey, which was long and troublesome, and unexpected, because the successful entrance and victorious progress which some of them had made in the borders of Canaan, made them think they might have speedily gone in and taken possession of it, and so have saved the tedious travels and farther difficulties, into which Moses had again brought them.
5 Against God - Against Christ, their chief conductor, whom they tempted, 1Cor 10:19. Thus contemptuously did they speak of Manna, whereas it appears it yielded excellent nourishment, because in the strength of it they were able to go so many and such tedious journeys.
6 Fiery serpents - There were many such in this wilderness, which having been hitherto restrained by God, are now let loose and sent among them. They are called fiery from their effects, because their poison caused an intolerable heat and burning and thirst, which was aggravated with this circumstance of the place, that here was no water, Num 21:5.
8 A fiery serpent - That is, the figure of a serpent in brass, which is of a fiery colour. This would require some time: God would not speedily take off the judgment, because he saw they were not throughly humbled. Upon a pole - That the people might see it from all parts of the camp, and therefore the pole must be high, and the serpent large. When he looketh - This method of cure was prescribed, that it might appear to be God's own work, and not the effect of nature or art: and that it might be an eminent type of our salvation by Christ. The serpent signified Christ, who was in the likeness of sinful flesh, though without sin, as this brazen serpent had the outward shape, but not the inward poison, of the other serpents: the pole resembled the cross upon which Christ was lifted up for our salvation: and looking up to it designed our believing in Christ.
9 He lived - He was delivered from death, and cured of his disease.
10 In Oboth - Not immediately, but after two other stations mentioned, Nu 33:43,44.
12 The valley of Zared - Or rather, by the brook of Zared, which ran into the dead sea.
13 On the other side - Or rather, on this side of Arnon, for so it now was to the Israelites, who had not yet passed over it. Between Moab and the Amorites - Though formerly it and the land beyond it belonged to Moab, yet afterwards it had been taken from them by Sihon. This is added to reconcile two seemingly contrary commands of God, the one that of not meddling with the land of the Moabites, Deu 2:9, the other that of going over Arnon and taking possession of the land beyond it, Deu 2:24, because, saith he, it is not now the land of the Moabites, but of the Amorites.
14 The book of the wars of the Lord - This seems to have been some poem or narration of the wars and victories of the Lord, either by: or relating to the Israelites: which may be asserted without any prejudice to the integrity of the holy scripture, because this book doth not appear to have been written by a prophet, er to be designed for a part of the canon, which yet Moses might quote, as St. Paul doth some of the heathen poets. And as St. Luke assures us, that many did write an history of the things done, and said by Christ, Luke 1:1, whose writings were never received as canonical, the like may be conceived concerning this and some few other books mentioned in the old testament. The brooks - The brook, the plural number for the singular, as the plural number rivers is used concerning Jordan, Psa 74:15, and concerning Tigris, Nah 2:6, and concerning Euphrates, Psa 137:1, all which may be to called because of the several little streams into which they were divided.
15 Ar - A chief city in Moab.
16 Beer - This place and Mattanah, Nahaliel, and Bamoth named here, Nu 21:19, are not mentioned among those places where they pitched or encamped, Nu 33:1 - 49. Probably they did not pitch or encamp in these places, but only pass by or through them. I will give them water - In a miraculous manner. Before they prayed, God granted, and prevented them with the blessings of goodness. And as the brasen serpent was the figure of Christ, so is this well a figure of the spirit, who is poured forth for our comfort, and from him flow rivers of living waters.
17 Spring up - Heb. ascend, that is, let thy waters, which now lie hid below in the earth, ascend for our use. It is either a prediction that it should spring up, or a prayer that it might.
18 With their staves - Probably as Moses smote the rock with his rod, so they struck the earth with their staves, as a sign that God would cause the water to flow out of the earth where they smote it, as he did before out of the rock. Perhaps they made holes with their staves in the sandy ground, and God caused the water immediately to spring up.
20 Pisgah - This was the top of those high hills of Abarim.
21 Sent messengers - By God's allowance, that so Sihon's malice might be the more evident and inexcusable, and their title to his country more clear in the judgment of all men, as being gotten by a just war, into which they were forced for their own defence.
22 Let me pass - They spoke what they seriously intended and would have done, if he had given them quiet passage.
24 From Arnon - Or, which reached from Arnon; and so here is a description or limitation of Sihon's conquest and kingdom, that is, extended only from Arnon, unto the children of Ammon; and then the following words, for the border of the children of Ammon was strong, come in very fitly, not as a reason why the Israelites did not conquer the Ammonites, for they were absolutely forbidden to meddle with them, Deu 3:8, but as a reason why Sihon could not enlarge his conquests to the Ammonites, as he had done to the Moabites. Jabbok - A river by which the countries of Ammon and Moab were in part bounded and divided. Strong - Either by the advantage of the river, or by their strong holds in their frontiers.
26 Was the city of Sihon - This is added as a reason why Israel took possession of this land, because it was not now the land of the Moabites, but in the possession of the Amorites. The former king - The predecessor of Balak, who was the present king. See the wisdom of providence, which prepares long before, for the accomplishing God's purposes in their season! This country being designed for Israel, is before - hand put into the hand of the Amorites, who little think they have it but as trustees, till Israel comes of age. We understand not the vast reaches of providence: but known unto God are all his works!
27 In proverbs - The poets or other ingenious persons, of the Amorites or Canaanites, who made this following song of triumph over the vanquished Moabites: which is here brought in, as a proof that this was now Sihon's land, and as an evidence of the just judgment of God in spoiling the spoilers, and subduing those who insulted over their conquered enemies. Come into Heshbon - These are the words either of Sihon speaking to his people, or of the people exhorting one another to come and possess the city which they had taken. Of Sihon - That which once was the royal city of the king of Moab, but now is the city of Sihon.
28 A fire - The fury of war, which is fitly compared to fire. Out of Heshbon - That city which before was a refuge and defence to all the country, now is turned into a great annoyance. It hath consumed Ar - This may be understood not of the city Ar, but of the people or the country subject or belonging to that great and royal city. The lords of the high places - The princes or governors of the strong holds, which were frequently in high places, especially in that mountainous country, and which were in divers parts all along the river Arnon. So the Amorites triumphed over the vanquished Moabites. But the triumphing of the wicked is short!
29 People of Chemosh - The worshippers of Chemosh: so the God of the Moabites was called. He, that is, their God, hath delivered up his own people to his and their enemies; nor could he secure even those that had escaped the sword, but suffered them to be carried into captivity. The words of this and the following verse seem to be not a part of that triumphant song made, by some Amoritish poet, which seems to be concluded, Nu 21:28, but of the Israelites making their observation upon it. And here they scoff at the impotency not only of the Moabites, but of their God also, who could not save his people from the sword of Sihon and the Amorites.
30 Though you feeble Moabites, and your God too, could not resist Sihon, we Israelites, by the help of our God, have shot, with success and victory, at them, at Sihon and his Amorites. Heshbon - The royal city of Sihon, and by him lately repaired, Is perished - Is taken away from Sihon, and so is all his country, even as far as Dibon.
32 Jaazer - One of the cities of Moab formerly taken from them by Sihon, and now taken from him by the Israelites.
33 Og - Who also was a king of the Amorites. And it may seem that Sihon and Og were the leaders or captains of two great colonies which came out of Canaan, and drove out the former inhabitants of these places. Bashan - A rich country, famous for its pastures and breed of cattle, and for its oaks.

Chapter XXII

Balak's fear of Israel, ver. 1 - 4. His message to Balaam, who refuses to come, ver. 5 - 14. On the second message he goes, ver. 15 - 21. He is rebuked by an angel, ver. 22 - 35. His interview with Balak, ver. 36 - 41.

1 The plains of Moab - Which still retained their ancient title, though they had been taken away from the Moabites by Sihon, and from him by the Israelites. By Jericho - That is, over against Jericho.
3 Sore afraid - As it was foretold both in general of all nations, Deu 2:25, and particularly concerning Moab, Exo 15:15.
4 The elders - Called the kings of Midian, Nu 31:8, and princes of Midian, Jos 13:21, who though divided into their kingdoms yet were now united upon the approach of the Israelites their common enemy, and being, as it seems, a potent and crafty people, and neighbours to the Moabites, these seek confederacy with them. We read of Midianites near mount Sinai, Exod. 2, and 3, which seem to have been a colony of this people, that went out to seek new quarters, as the manner of those times was, but the body of that people were seated in those parts. Lick up - That is, consume and utterly destroy, in which sense the fire is said to lick up the water and sacrifices, 1Ki 18:38. All that are round about us - All our people, who live in the country adjoining to each city, where the princes reside.
5 Balaam - Who is called a prophet, 2Pet 2:16, because God was pleased to inspire and direct him to speak the following prophecies. Indeed many of the Jewish writers say, that Balaam had been a great prophet, who for the accomplishment of his predictions, and the answers of his prayers, had been looked upon justly as a man of great interest with God. However it is certain, that afterwards for his covetousness, God departed from him. Beor - Or, Bosor, 2Pet 2:15, for he had two names, as many others had. Pethor - A city in Mesopotamia. By the river - By Euphrates, which is called the river, by way of eminency, and here the river of Balaam's land or country, to wit, of Mesopotamia.
6 Curse them for my sake and benefit; use thy utmost power, which thou hast with thy Gods, to blast and ruin them. We may smite them - Thou by thy imprecations, and I by my sword.
8 This night - The night was the time when God used to reveal his mind by dreams. The Lord - Heb. Jehovah, the true God, whom he here mentions, either for his own greater reputation, as if he consulted not with inferior spirits, but with the supreme God; or rather because this was Israel's God, and the only possible way of ruining them was by engaging their God against them: as the Romans and other Heathens, when they went to besiege any city, used enchantments to call forth that God under whose peculiar protection they were. Of Moab - And of Midian too.
9 What men are these - He asks this that Balaam by repeating the thing in God's presence might be convinced and ashamed of his sin and folly, in offering his service in such a business: and for a foundation to the following answer.
20 If the men come - On this condition he was to go.
22 Because he went - Because he went of his own accord, with the princes of Moab, and did not wait till they came to call him, which was the sign and condition of God's permission, but rather himself rose and called them. The apostle describes Balaam's sin here to be, that he ran greedily into an error for reward, Jude 1:11. For an adversary - To oppose, if not to kill him. His servants with him - The rest of the company being probably gone before them. For in those ancient times there was more of simplicity, and less of ceremony, and therefore it is not strange that Balaam came at some distance, after the rest, and attended only by his own servants.
28 Opened the mouth - Conferred upon her the power of speech and reasoning for that time.
29 Balaam said - Balaam was not much terrified with the ass's speaking, because perhaps he was accustomed to converse with evil spirits, who appeared to him and discoursed with him in the shape of such creatures. Perhaps he was so blinded by passion, that he did not consider the strangeness of the thing.
31 On his face - In token of reverence and submission.
32 Thy way is perverse - Springing from covetousness.
33 I had slain thee - I had slain thee alone, and not her, therefore her turning aside and falling down was wholly for thy benefit, not for her own, and thy anger against her was unjust and unreasonable.
35 Go with the men - I allow thee to go, upon the following terms.
36 In the utmost coast - Not far from the camp of the Israelites, whom he desired him to curse.
40 The princes - Whom the king had left to attend him.
41 The high places of Baal - Consecrated to the worship of Baal, that is, of Baal Peor, who was their Baal or God. The utmost part - That is, all that people, even to the utmost and remotest of them, as appears by comparing this with, Nu 23:13. He hoped that the sight of such a numerous host ready to break in upon his country would stir up his passion.

Chapter XXIII

Balaam's first attempt to curse Israel, turned into a blessing, ver. 1 - 10. His second attempt with like success, ver. 11 - 24. The preparation for a third attempt, ver. 25 - 30.

1 Build seven altars - To the true God, otherwise he would not have mentioned it to God, as an argument why he should grant his requests, as he doth, Nu 23:4. And though Balak was averse from God and his worship, yet he would be easily overruled by Balaam, who doubtless told him that it was in vain to make an address to any other than the God of Israel, who alone was able either to bless or curse them as he pleased. Seven - This being the solemn and usual number in sacrifices.
3 Stand by thy burnt - offering - As in God's presence, as one that offers thyself as well as thy sacrifices to obtain his favour. I will go - To some solitary and convenient place, where I may prevail with God to appear to me. Sheweth me - Reveals to me, either by word or sign. An high place - Or, into the plain, as that word properly signifies.
7 His parable - That is, his oracular and prophetical speech; which he calls a parable, because of the weightiness of the matter, and the liveliness of the expressions which is usual in parables. Jacob - The posterity of Jacob.
9 The rocks - Upon which I now stand. I see him - I see the people, according to thy desire, Nu 22:41, but cannot improve that sight to the end for which thou didst design it, to curse them. The people shall dwell alone - This people are of a distinct kind from others, God's peculiar people, separated from all other nations, as in religion and laws, so also in divine protection; and therefore enchantments cannot have that power against them which they have against other persons and people.
10 The dust - The numberless people of Jacob or Israel, who according to God's promise, are now become as the dust of the earth. Of the righteous - Of this righteous and holy people. The sense is, they are not only happy above other nations in this life, and therefore in vain should I curse them, but they have this peculiar privilege, that they are happy after death: their happiness begins where the happiness of other people ends; and therefore I heartily wish that my soul may have its portion with theirs when I die. Was not God now again striving with him, not only for the sake of Israel, but of his own soul?
12 Must I not - Ought I not? Is it not my duty? Canst thou blame me for it?
13 Thou shalt not see them all - Perhaps he thought the sight of all them might discourage him, or as it did before, raise his fancy to an admiration of the multitude and felicity of the people.
15 While I meet the Lord - To consult him, and to receive an answer from him.
18 Rise up - This word implies the diligent attention required; rouse up thyself and carefully mind what I say.
19 That he should lie - Break his promises made to his people for their preservation and benediction. Repent - Change his counsels or purposes; unless he see iniquity in Jacob.
21 Iniquity - Not such as in the Canaanites: Such as he will punish with a curse, with utter destruction. The Lord is with him - He hath a favour for this people, and will defend and save them. The shout of a king - That is, such joyful and triumphant shouts as those wherewith a people congratulate the approach and presence of their King: when he appears among them upon some solemn occasion, or when he returns from battle with victory. This expression implies God's being their King and ruler, and their abundant security and confidence in him.
22 Out of Egypt - Namely, by a strong hand, and in spite of all their enemies, and therefore it is in vain to seek or hope to overcome them. He - Israel, whom God brought out of Egypt, such change of numbers being very common in the Hebrew language. The sense is, Israel is not now what he was in Egypt, a poor, weak, dispirited, unarmed people, but high and strong and invincible. An unicorn - The word may mean either a rhinoceros, or a strong and fierce kind of wild goat. But such a creature as an unicorn, as commonly painted, has no existence in nature.
23 Against Jacob - Nor against any that truly believe in Christ. What hath God wrought - How wonderful and glorious are those works which God is now about to do for Israel! These things will be a matter of discourse and admiration to all ages.
24 As a great Lion - As a lion rouseth up himself to fight, or to go out to the prey, so shall Israel stir up themselves to warlike attempts against their enemies. He shall not lie down - Not rest or cease from fighting and pursuing.
28 Peor - An high place called Beth - peor, Deu 3:29. That is, the house or temple of Peor, because there they worshipped Baal - peor.

Chapter XXIV

Balaam inspired by God, blesses Israel again, ver. 1 - 9. Answers Balak's reproof, ver. 10 - 13. Utters several prophecies, ver. 14 - 24 Goes home, ver. 25.

1 At other times - In former times. Toward the wilderness - Where Israel lay encamped, expecting what God of his own accord would suggest to him concerning this matter.
2 Came upon him - Inspired him to speak the following words.
3 Whose eyes are open - Heb. Who had his eyes shut, but now open. The eyes of his mind, which God had opened in a peculiar and prophetical manner, whence prophets are called Seers, 1Sam 9:9. It implies that before he was blind and stupid, having eyes, but not seeing nor understanding.
4 The vision - So called properly, because he was awake when this was revealed to him: A trance - Or, extasy, fainting and falling upon the ground, as the prophets used to do.
6 As the valleys - Which often from a small beginning are spread forth far and wide. As gardens - Pleasant and fruitful and secured by a fence. As lign - aloes - An Arabian and Indian tree of a sweet smell, yielding shade and shelter both to man and beast; such is Israel, not only safe themselves, but yielding shelter to all that join themselves to them. Which the Lord hath planted - Nature, not art.
7 He shall pour the water - That is. God will abundantly water the valleys, gardens, and trees, which represent the Israelites; he will wonderfully bless his people, not only with outward blessings, of which a chief one in those parts was plenty of water, but also with higher gifts and graces, with his word and spirit, which are often signified by water, and at last with eternal life, the contemplation whereof made Balaam desire to die the death of the righteous. His seed shall be in many waters - This also may be literally understood of their seed, which shall be sown in waterish ground, and therefore bring forth a better increase. His King - That is, the King of Israel, or their chief governor. Than Agag - Than the King of the Amalekites, which King and people were famous and potent in that age, as may be guessed by their bold attempt upon so numerous a people as Israel. And it is probable, that Agag was the common name of the Amalekitish Kings, as Abimelech was of the Philistines, and Pharaoh of the Egyptians, and Caesar of the Romans.
9 He lay down - Having conquered his enemies the Canaanites, and their land, he shall quietly rest and settle himself there.
11 The Lord - Whose commands thou hast preferred before my desires and interest; and therefore seek thy recompence from him, and not from me.
17 I shall see him - Or, I have seen, or do see the star, and sceptre as it here follows, that is, a great and eminent prince, which was to come out of Israel's loins, the Messiah, as both Jewish and Christian interpreters expound it, who most eminently and fully performed what is here said, in destroying the enemies of Israel or of God's church, here described under the names of the nearest and fiercest enemies of Israel: And to him alone agrees the foregoing verb properly, I shall see him, in my own person, as every eye shall see him, when he comes to judgment. Not now - Not yet, but after many ages. A star - A title often given to, princes and eminent persons, and particularly to the Messiah, Rev 2:28 22:16. A sceptre - That is, a sceptre - bearer, a king or ruler, even that sceptre mentioned Gen 49:10. The corners - The borders, which are often used in scripture for the whole country to which they belong. Of Sheth - This seems to be the name of some then eminent, though now unknown place or prince in Moab; there being innumerable instances of such places or persons sometime famous, but now utterly lost as to all monuments and remembrances of them.
18 A possession - Which was also foretold, Gen 25:23, and in part fulfilled, 2Sam 8:14 1Chr 18:13, but more fully by Christ, Amos 9:12 Ob 1:18, who shall subdue and possess all his enemies; here signified by the name of Edom, as Jacob or Israel, his brother, signifies all his church and people. Seir - A part and, mountain of Edom.
19 Out of Jacob - Out of Jacob's loins. He that shall have dominion - David, and especially Christ. Of the city - Or from or out of this city, that is, the cities, the singular number for the plural. He shall not subdue those Moabites and Edomites which meet him in the field, but he shall pursue them even to their strongest holds and cities.
20 He looked on Amalek - From the top of Pisgah, which was exceeding high, and gave him the prospect of part of all these kingdoms. The first - Heb. the firstfruits; so called either, because they were the first of all the neighbouring nations which were embodied together in one government: or, because he was the first who fought against Israel and was vanquished by them. That victory was an earnest and first - fruit of the large harvest of victories which the Israelites should in due time get over all their enemies. He shall perish for ever - He began with God and with Israel, but God will end with him, and the firm purpose of God is, that he shall be utterly destroyed; so that Saul lost his kingdom for not executing this decree, and God's command pursuant thereunto.
21 The Kenites - The posterity or kindred of Jethro; not that part of them which dwelt among the Israelites, to whom the following words do not agree, but those of them who were mingled with the Amalekites and Midianites. Thy nest - Thy dwelling - place, so called, either because it was in an high place, as nests commonly are: or in allusion to their name, for ken in Hebrew signifies a nest.
22 The Kenite - Heb. Kain, that is, the Kenite, so called, either by a transposition of letters, which is very usual in the Hebrew tongue; or from the name of some eminent place where they lived, or person from whom they were descended, though now the memory of them be utterly lost, as it hath fared with innumerable other places and persons, famous in their generations, mentioned in ancient Heathen writers. Shall be wasted - Shall be by degrees diminished by the incursions of divers enemies, till at last the Assyrian comes to compleat the work and carries them into captivity. For the Kenites who lived partly among the ten tribes, and partly with the two tribes, were carried captive with them, part by Salmaneser, the King of Assyria, and part by Nebuchadnezzar, who also is called an Assyrian, Ezra 6:22 Isa 52:4.
23 Who shall live - How calamitous and miserable will the state of the world be, when the Assyrian, and after him the Chaldean, shall over - turn all these parts of the world? Who will be able to keep his heart from fainting under such grievous pressures? Nay, how few will escape the destroying sword?
24 Chittim - A place or people so called from Chittim the son of Javan, Gen 10:4, whose posterity were very numerous, and were first seated in the lesser Asia, and from thence sent forth colonies into the islands of the Aegean sea, and into Cyprus, afterwards into Macedonia and other parts of Greece, and then into Italy. Whence it comes to pass that by this name is understood sometimes Macedonia, as 1Mac. i. 1, and 1Mac. viii. 5, sometimes Italy, as Dan 11:29,30, and sometimes both, as in this place: for he speaks here of the scourge that God hath appointed for the Assyrian after he had done God's work in punishing of his people and the bordering nations. Now although the Assyrian and Chaldean empire was subdued by the Medes and Persians, yet the chief afflictions of that people came from two hands, both beyond the sea and brought to them by ships; first from the Grecians under Alexander and his successors, by whom that people were grievously oppressed and wasted; then from the Romans, who subdued all the Grecian empire, one great part whereof were the Assyrians largely so called. Eber - The posterity of Eber, the Hebrews, who were the chief and flower of Eber's children. He also - Not the Hebrews: they shall have a better end; all Israel shall be saved; but the afflicter or scourge of Ashur and Eber, namely, the Grecian and Roman empire. Thus Balaam, instead of cursing the church, curses Amalek, the first, and Rome, the last enemy of it!
25 To his place - To Mesopotamia; tho' afterwards he returned to the Midianites, and gave them that devilish counsel which was put in practice, Num 25:16 - 18.

Chapter XXV

The sin of Israel, ver. 1 - 3. Their punishment, ver. 4, 5. The zeal of Phinehas, with the promise annext to it, ver. 6 - 15. The command to slay the Midianites, ver. 16 - 18.

1 Shittim - And this was their last station, from whence they passed immediately into Canaan. This is noted as a great aggravation of their sin, that they committed it, when God was going to put them into the possession of their long - expected land. The people - Many of them. Whoredom - Either because they prostituted themselves to them upon condition of worshipping their God: or because their filthy God was worshipped by such filthy acts, as Priapus and Venus were. The daughters of Moab - And of Midian too; for both these people being confederated in this wicked design, the one is put for the other, and the daughters of Moab may be named, either because they began the transgression, or because they were the chief persons, possibly, the relations or courtiers of Balak.
2 They - The Moabites being now neighbours to the Israelites, and finding themselves unable to effect their design by war and witchcraft, fell another way to work, by contracting familiarity with them, and, perceiving their evil inclinations, they, that is, their daughters, invited them. Unto the sacrifices - Unto the feasts which were made of their parts of the sacrifices, after the manner of the Jews and Gentiles too, the participation whereof, was reckoned a participation in the worship of that God to whom the sacrifices were offered. Of their gods - Of their God, Baal - peor, the plural Elohim being here used, as commonly it is, for one God.
3 Joined himself - The word implies a forsaking God to whom they were joined and a turning to, and strict conjunction with, this false God. Baal - peor - Called Baal, by the name common to many false Gods, and especially to those that represented any of the heavenly bodies, and Peor, either from the hill Peor, where he was worshipped, Num 23:28, rather from a verb signifying to open and uncover, because of the obscene posture in which the idol was set, as Priapus was: or because of the filthiness which was exercised in his worship.
4 Take all the heads - Take, that is, apprehend, all the heads, that is, the chief, of the people, such as were chief in this transgression, and in place and power, who are singled out to this exemplary punishment for their concurrence with others in this wickedness, which was more odious and mischievous in them. Hang them up before the Lord - To the vindication of God's honour and justice. Against the sun - Publickly, as their sin was publick and scandalous, and speedily, before the sun go down.
5 Every one his men - Those under his charge, for as these seventy were chosen to assist Moses in the government, so doubtless the care and management of the people was distributed among them by just and equal proportions.
6 One came - This was done, when Moses had given the charge to the Judges, and, as it may seem, before the execution of it; otherwise it is probable he would not have been so foolish to have run upon certain ruin, when the examples were frequent before his eyes. To his brethren - Into the camp of the Israelites. In the sight of Moses - An argument of intolerable impudence and contempt of God and of Moses. Weeping - Bewailing the wickedness of the people, and the dreadful judgments of God, and imploring God's mercy and favour.
8 Thrust them thro' - Phineas was himself a man in great authority, and did this after the command given by Moses to the rulers to slay these transgressors, and in the very sight, and no doubt by the consent of Moses himself, and also by the special direction of God's spirit.
9 Twenty four thousand - St. Paul says twenty three thousand, 1Cor 10:8. The odd thousand here added were slain by the Judges according to the order of Moses, the rest by the immediate hand of God, but both sorts died of the plague, the word being used, as often it is, for the sword, or hand, or stroke of God.
12 My covenant of peace - That is, the covenant of an everlasting priesthood, as it is expounded, Nu 25:13, which is called a covenant of peace, partly with respect to the happy effect of this heroical action of his, whereby he made peace between God and his people; and partly with regard to the principal end of the priestly office, which was constantly to do that which Phinehas now did, even to meditate between God and men, to obtain and preserve his own and Israel's peace and reconciliation with God, by offering up sacrifices and incense, and prayers, to God on their behalf, as also by turning them away from iniquity, which is the only peace - breaker, and by teaching and pressing the observation of that law, which is the only bond of their peace.
13 At everlasting priesthood - To continue as long as the law and common - wealth of the Jews did. But this promise was conditional, and therefore might be made void, by the miscarriages of Phinehas's sons, as it seems it was, and thereupon a like promise was made to Eli of the line of Ithamar, that he and his should walk before the Lord, namely, in the office of high - priest, for ever, which also for his and their sins was made void, 1Sam 2:30. And the the priesthood returned to Phinehas's line in the time of Solomon, 1Kings 2:26,27,34.
17 The Midianites - And why not the Moabites. It is probable the Midianites were most guilty, as in persuading Balak to send for Balaam, Nu 22:4,7. So in the reception of Balaam after Balak had dismissed him, Nu 31:8, and in farther consultation with him, and in contriving the means for the executing of this wicked plot.
18 With their wiles - For under pretence of kindred and friendship and leagues, which they offered to them, instead of that war which the Israelites expected, they sought only an opportunity to insinuate themselves into their familiarity, and execute their hellish plot of bringing that curse upon the Israelites, which they had in vain attempted to bring another way.

Chapter XXVI

Orders for numbering the people, ver. 1 - 4. Their families and number, ver. 5 - 51. Directions for dividing the land between them, ver. 52 - 55. The families and number of the Levites, ver. 56 - 62. Notice taken of the death of them that were first numbered, ver. 62 - 65.

2 Take the sum - They were numbered twice before, Exo 30:11,12 Nu 1:1,2. Now they are numbered a third time, to demonstrate the faithfulness of God, both in cutting all those off whom he had threatened to cut off, Nu 14:29, and in a stupendous increase of the people according to his promise, notwithstanding all their sins, and the sweeping judgments inflicted upon them; and to prepare the way for the equal division of the land, which they were now going to possess.
7 Families - The chief houses, which were subdivided into divers lesser families. Forty three thousand seven hundred and thirty - Whereas in their last numbering they were forty six thousand five hundred; for Korah's conspiracy, as well as other provocations of theirs, had cut off many of them.
10 With Korah - According to this translation Korah was not consumed by fire with his two hundred and fifty men, but swallowed up by the earth. But others rather think he was devoured by the fire, and render these words, and the things of Korah, or belonging to Korah, namely, his tent and goods, and family, children excepted, as here follows. A sign - God made them a monument or example, to warn others not to rebel against God, or magistracy, nor to usurp the priestly office.
11 Died not - God being pleased to spare them, because they disowned their father's fact, and separated themselves both from his tent and company. Hence the sons of Korah are mentioned, 1Chr 6:22,38, and often in the book of Psalms.
12 Jachin - Called also Jarib, 1Chr 4:24. And such names might be either added or changed upon some special occasion not recorded in scripture.
14 Twenty two thousand and two hundred - No tribe decreased so much as Simeon's. From fifty nine thousand and three hundred it sunk to twenty two thousand and two hundred, little more than a third part of what it was. One whole family of that tribe, (Ohad mentioned Exo 6:15) was extinct in the wilderness. Some think most of the twenty four thousand, cut off by the plague for the iniquity of Peor, were of that tribe. For Zimri, a ring - leader in that iniquity, was a prince of that tribe. Simeon is not mentioned in Moses's blessing, Deu 33:1 - 29. And the lot of that tribe in Canaan was inconsiderable, only a canton out of Judah's lot, Jos 19:9.
18 Children of Gad - Fewer by above five thousand than there were in their last numbering.
22 The families of Judah - About two thousand more than they were, Nu 1:27, whereas the foregoing tribes were all diminished.
34 Fifty two thousand and seven hundred - Whereas they were but thirty two thousand and two hundred, in Nu 1:35. So they are now increased above twenty thousand, according to that prophecy, Gen 49:22.
38 The sons of Benjamin - Who were ten, Gen 46:21, whereof only five are here mentioned, the rest probably, together with their families, being extinct.
43 Threescore and four thousand and four hundred - All from one son and family, whereas of Benjamin who had ten sons, and five families, there were only forty five thousand and six hundred, to shew that the increase of families depends singly upon God's blessing and good pleasure.
51 These were the numbered - Very nigh as many as there were before, Nu 1:46. So wisely and marvellously did God at the same time manifest his justice in cutting off so vast a number; his mercy in giving such a speedy and numerous supply; and his truth in both.
53 The land shall be divided - The land was divided into nine parts and an half, respect being had in such division to the goodness as well as to the largeness of the several portions, and the lot gave each tribe their part. Of names - Of persons, the share of each tribe was divided amongst the several families, to some more, to some less, according to the number of the persons of each family. And withal, if one of the portions proved too large or too little for the families and persons of that tribe, they might give part of their portion to another tribe, (as Simeon and Dan had part of Judah's share) or take away a part from the portion belonging to another tribe.
55 By lot - For the tribes, not for the several families; for the distribution of it to them was left to the rulers wisdom according to the rule now given.
56 Many and few - That share, which shall by lot fall to each tribe, shall be distributed to the several families and persons in such proportions as their numbers shall require.
65 Not left a man - Only of the Levites, who being not guilty of that sin did not partake of their judgment.

Chapter XXVII

The case of Zelophehad's daughters determined, ver. 1 - 11. Notice given to Moses of his death, ver. 12 - 14. His successor provided. ver. 15 - 23.

2 By the door of the tabernacle - Nigh unto which it seems was the place where Moses and the chief rulers assembled for the administration of publick affairs, which also was very convenient, because they had frequent occasion of recourse to God for his direction.
3 In his own sin - For his own personal sins. It was a truth, and that believed by the Jews that death was a punishment for mens own sins.
4 Be done away - As it will be, if it be not preserved by an inheritance given to us in his name and for his sake. Hence some gather, that the first son of each of these heiresses was called by their father's name, by virtue of that law, Deu 25:6, whereby the brother's first son was to bear the name of his elder brother, whose widow he married. Give us a possession - In the land of Canaan upon the division of it, which though not yet conquered, they concluded would certainly be so, and thereby gave glory to God.
10 No brethren - Nor sisters, as appears from Nu 27:8.
11 A statute of judgment - A statute or rule, by which the magistrates shall give judgment in such cases.
12 Abarim - The whole tract of mountains was called Abarim, whereof one of the highest was called Nebo, and the top of that Pisgah.
13 Thou shalt be gathered unto thy people - Moses must die: but death does not cut him off; it only gathers him to his people, brings him to rest with the holy patriarchs that were gone before him. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were his people, the people of his choice, and to them death gathered him.
15 And Moses spake unto the Lord - Concerning his successor. We should concern ourselves both in our prayers and in our endeavours for the rising generation, that God's kingdom may be advanced among men, when we are in our graves.
16 The Lord of the spirits of all flesh - God of all men: the searcher of spirits, that knowest who is fit for this great employment; the father and giver and governor of spirits, who canst raise and suit the spirits of men to the highest and hardest works.
17 Go out before them - That is, who may wisely conduct them in all their affairs, both when they go forth to war, or upon other occasions, and when they return home and live in peace. A metaphor from shepherds, who in those places used not to go behind their sheep, as ours now do, but before them, and to lead them forth to their pasture, and in due time to lead them home again.
18 The spirit - The spirit of government, of wisdom, and of the fear of the Lord. Lay thy hand - By which ceremony Moses did both design the person and confer the power, and by his prayers, which accompanied that rite, obtain from God all the spiritual gifts and graces necessary for his future employment.
19 Before all the congregation - That they may be witnesses of the whole action, and may acknowledge him for their supreme ruler. Give him charge - Thou shalt give him counsels and instructions for the right management of that great trust.
20 Put some of thine honour - Thou shalt not now use him as a servant, but as a brother and thy partner in the government, that the people being used to obey him while Moses lived, might do it afterward the more chearfully.
21 Who shall ask counsel for him - When he requires him to do so, and in important and difficult matters. Of Urim - Urim is put for both Urim and Thummim. Before the Lord - Ordinarily in the tabernacle near the second veil setting his face to the ark. At his word - The word of the Lord, delivered to him by the high priest.
22 And Moses did as the Lord commanded him - It had been little to resign his honour to a son of his own. But with his own hands, first to ordain Eleazar high - priest, and now Joshua chief ruler, while his own children had no preferment at all, but were left in the rank of common Levites: this was more to his glory than the highest advancement of his family could have been. This shews him to have had a principle which raised him above all other lawgivers, who always took care to establish their families in some share of the greatness themselves possessed.

Chapter XXVIII

Laws concerning the daily, ver. 1 - 8. Weekly, ver. 9 - 10. Monthly, ver 11 - 15. Yearly sacrifices, ver. 16 - 31.

2 Command the children of Israel - God here repeats some of the former laws about sacrifices, not without great reason, partly because they had been generally discontinued for thirty eight years together; partly because the generation to which the former laws had been given about these things was wholly dead, and it was fit the new generation should be instructed about them, as their parents were; partly to renew their testimonies of God's grace and mercy, notwithstanding their frequent forfeitures thereof by their rebellion: and principally because they were now ready to enter into that land, in which they were obliged to put these things in practice.
7 In the holy place - Upon the altar of burnt offerings, which was in the court of the priests, nigh to the entrance into the sanctuary.
17 The feast - Namely, of unleavened bread.
23 In the morning - And that in the evening too, as is evident from other scriptures; but the morning - sacrifice alone is mentioned, because the celebration of the feast began with it, and principally because this alone was doubtful, whether this might not be omitted when so many other sacrifices were offered in that morning, whereas there was no question but the evening sacrifice should be offered, when there were none other to be offered.
26 The day of the first fruits - In the feast of pentecost, Acts 2:1. Your weeks - The seven weeks which you are to number from the passover.

Chapter XXIX

Offerings to be made in the seventh month,

  1. At the feast of trumpets, ver. 1 - 6.
  2. In the day of atonement, ver. 7 - 11.
  3. At the feast of tabernacles, ver. 12 - 40.

6 Of the month - Belonging to every new moon.
7 Afflict your souls - Yourselves, by fasting and abstinence from all delightful things, and by compunction for your sins, and the judgments of God, either deserved by you or inflicted upon you.
12 Seven days - Not by abstaining so long from all servile work, but by offering extraordinary sacrifices each day. This was the Feast of Tabernacles. And all the days of their dwelling in booths, they must offer sacrifices. While we are in these tabernacles, 'tis our interest as well as duty, to keep up our communion with God. Nor will the unsettledness of our outward condition, excuse our neglect of God's worship.

Chapter XXX

A general rule, vows must be performed, ver. 1 - 3. Particular exceptions, of the vow of a daughter, not allowed by the father, ver. 3 - 5. And the vow of a wife, not allowed by her husband, 6 - 16.

5 In the days - Speedily, or without delay, allowing only convenient time for deliberation. And it is hereby intimated, that the day or time he had for disallowing her vow, was not to be reckoned from her vowing, but from his knowledge of her vow. The Lord shall forgive - Or, will forgive her not performing it. But this should be understood only of vows which could not be performed without invading the father's right; for if one should vow to forbear such, or such a sin, and all occasions or means leading to it, and to perform such, or such duties, when he had opportunity, no father can discharge him from such vows. If this law does not extend to children's marrying without the parent's consent, so far as to put it in the power of the parent, to disannul the marriage, (which some think it does) yet certainly it proves the sinfulness of such marriages, and obliges those children to repent and humble themselves before God and their parents.
9 Widow or divorced - Though she be in her father's house, whither such persons often returned.
10 If she vowed - If she that now a widow, or divorced, made that vow while her husband lived with her; as suppose she then vowed, that if she was a widow, she would give such a proportion of her estate to pious or charitable uses, of which vow she might repent when she came to be a widow, and might believe or repented she was free from it, because that vow was made in her husband's lifetime; this is granted, in case her husband then disallowed it; but denied, in case by silence, or otherwise he consented to it.
13 To afflict her soul - Herself by fasting, by watching, or the like. And these words are added to shew that the husband had this power not only in those vows which concerned himself or his estate, but also in those which might seem only to concern her own person, or body, and the reason is, because the wife's person or body being the husband's right; she might not do any thing to the injury of her body without his consent.
15 After he hath heard - And approved them by his silence from day to day, if after that time he shall hinder it, which he ought not to do: her non - performance of her vow shall be imputed to him, not to her.

Chapter XXXI

God commands Moses to avenge Israel of the Midianites, ver. 1,2. Moses sends them to the war, ver. 3 - 6. They slay the Midianites, ver. 7 - 12. He reproves them for sparing the women, ver. 13 - 18. Directions for purifying themselves, ver. 19 - 24. The distribution of the spirit, ver. 25 - 47. The free - will - offering of the officers, ver. 48 - 54.

3 Avenge ye the Lord - For the affront which they offered to God, by their own idolatry and lewdness, and by seducing God's people into rebellion against him. God's great care was to avenge the Israelites, Nu 31:2, and Moses's chief desire was to avenge God rather than himself or the people.
5 Twelve thousand - God would send no more, though it is apparent the Midianites were numerous and strong, because he would exercise their trust in him, and give them an earnest of their Canaanitish conquests.
6 Them and Phinehas - Who had the charge not of the army, as general, (an office never committed to a priest in all the Old Testament) but of the holy instruments, and was sent to encourage, and quicken, them in their enterprize. The holy instruments - The holy breast - plate, wherein was the Urim and Thummim, which was easily carried, and very useful in war upon many emergent occasions.
7 All the males - Namely all who lived in those parts, for colonies of them, were sent forth to remoter places, which therefore had no hand either in their former sin, or in this present ruling. And herein they did according to God's own order concerning such people, Deu 20:13, only their fault was, that they did not consider the special reason which they had to involve the women in the destruction.
13 Without the camp - Partly to put respect upon them, and congratulate with them for their happy success; and partly to prevent the pollution of the camp by the untimely entrance of the warriors into it.
17 The little ones - Which they were forbidden to do to other people, Deu 20:14, except the Canaanites, to whom this people had equaled themselves by their horrid crimes, and therefore it is not strange, nor unjust, that God, the supreme Lord of all mens lives, who as he gives them, so may take them away when he pleaseth, did equal them in the punishment. Every woman - Partly for punishment, because the guilt was general, and though some of them only did prostitute themselves to the Israelites, yet the rest made themselves accessary by their consent or approbation; and partly, for prevention of the like mischief from such an adulterous generation.
20 Your raiment - Namely, your spoil and prey. All work - All which had contracted some ceremonial uncleanness either from the dead bodies which wore them, or the tents or houses where they were, in which such dead bodies lay, or from the touch of the Israelitish soldiers, who were legally defiled by the slaughters they made.
27 Two parts - The congregation hath some share, because the warriors went in the name of all, and because all having been injured by the Midianites, all were to have some share in the reparations: but the warriors who were but 12000, have a far greater share than their brethren, because they underwent greater pains and dangers.
29 An heave - offering - In thankfulness to God for their preservation and good success.
30 One of fifty - Whereas the former part was one of five hundred; the reason of the difference is, partly, because this was taken out of the peoples portion, whose hazards being less than the others, their gains also in all reason were to be less: partly because this was to be distributed into more hands, the Levites being now numerous, whereas the priests were but few.
50 An atonement - For their error noted, Nu 31:14,15,16, and withal for a memorial, or by way of gratitude for such a stupendous assistance and deliverance. We should never take any thing to ourselves in war or trade, of which we cannot in faith consecrate a part to God, who hates robbery for burnt - offerings. But when God has remarkably preserved and succeeded us, he expects we should make some particular return of gratitude to him.

Chapter XXXII

The request of Reuben and Gad for an inheritance on this side Jordan, ver. 1 - 5. Moses's misconstruction of it, ver. 6 - 15. Their explication of it, ver. 16 - 19. The grant of their petition, ver. 20 - 42.

1 Jazer - A city and country of the Amorites; Gilead - A mountainous country, famous for pasturage
6 Ye sit here - In ease and peace, while your brethren are engaged in a bloody war.
12 The Kenezite - So called from Kenaz, his grand - father.
15 All this people - Who being moved by your counsel and example, will refuse to go over Jordan.
17 We ourselves - Either all, or as many as shall be thought necessary, leaving only so many as may be necessary to provide for the sustenance and defence of our wives and children here.
20 Before the Lord - Before the ark, which was the token of God's presence. He alludes either to the order of the tribes in their march, whereby Reuben and Gad marched immediately before the ark, or to the manner of their passage over Jordan, wherein the ark went first into Jordan, and stood there while all the tribes marched over Jordan by and before it, and these amongst the rest, as is expressly noted in these very words, that they passed over before the Lord, Jos 4:13.
22 Before the Lord - By his presence and gracious and powerful assistance.
23 Your sin - The punishment of your sin. Sin will certainly find out the sinner sooner or later. It concerns us therefore to find our sins out, that we may repent of them and forsake them, lest our sins find us out, to our confusion and destruction.
30 They shall have possession - They shall forfeit their possessions in Gilead, and be constrained to go over Jordan, and to seek possessions there among their brethren.
31 As the Lord hath said - Either at this time by thy mouth: or formerly, where he commanded us, as well as our brethren to go into Canaan and possess it.
34 Built - Repaired and fortified. For they neither had need nor leisure as yet to do more, the old cities not being burnt and ruined, as divers in Canaan were.
38 Their names changed - Either because conquerers of places used to do so: or because the names of other Gods (which Nebo and Baal - meon unquestionably were) were not to be mentioned, Exo 23:13.
40 Machir - Not to Machir himself, who doubtless was long since dead, but the family or posterity of Machir.
42 Nobah - Who, though not else where named, was doubtless an eminent person of the tribe of Manasseh. 'Tis observable, that these tribes, as they were placed before the other tribes, so they were displaced before them. They were carried captive by the king of Assyria, some years before the other tribes. Such a proportion does providence frequently observe, in balancing prosperity and adversity.

Chapter XXXIII

An account of the marches and encampments of the Israelites, from Egypt to Canaan, ver. 1 - 49. A strict command to drive out all the Canaanites.

2 And Moses wrote their goings out - When they set out, God ordered him to keep a journal of all the remarkable occurrences in the way, that it might be a satisfaction to himself and an instruction to others. It may be of use to Christians, to preserve an account of the providences of God concerning them, the constant series of mercies they have experienced, and especially those turns which have made some days of their lives more remarkable.
4 On their gods - Their false gods, namely those beasts which the brutish Egyptians worshipped as gods, which were killed with the rest, for the first - born both of men and beasts were then killed. Probably their images likewise were thrown down, as Dagon afterward before the ark.
10 By the Red - sea - By another part of that sea which they passed over.
48 Shittim - The place where the people sinned in the matter of Peor, is here called Abel - Shittim - Abel signifies mourning; and probably this place was so called, from the mourning of Israel for that sin, and the heavy punishment inflicted on the sinners.
52 Drive out - Not by banishing, but by destroying them. Pictures - Which seem to have been stones curiously engraven, and set up for worship. High Places - Chapels, altars, groves, or other means of worship there set up.

Chapter XXXIV

Directions concerning the bounds of Canaan, ver. 1 - 15. Concerning the division of it, ver. 16 - 29.

2 Coasts - Or limits or bounds, to wit, of the land beyond Jordan. Which are here particularly described,
  1. to direct and bound them in their wars and conquests, that they might not seek the enlargement of their empire, after the manner of other nations, but be contented with their own portion.
  2. To encourage them in their attempt upon Canaan, and assure them of their success. There was a much larger possession promised them, if they were obedient, even to the river Euphrates. But this, which is properly Canaan, lay in a very little compass. 'Tis but about an hundred and fifty miles in length, and about fifty in breadth. This was that little spot of ground, in which alone for many ages God was known! But its littleness was abundantly compensated by its fruitfulness: otherwise it could not have sustained so numerous a nation. See, how little a share of the world God often gives to his own people! But they that have their portion in heaven, can be content with a small pittance of this earth.
3 Your fourth quarter - Which is here described from east to west by divers windings and turnings, by reason of the mountains and rivers. The salt sea - So called from the salt and sulphurous taste of its waters. Eastward - That is, at the eastern part of that sea, where the eastern and southern borders meet.
4 From the south - Or, on the south, that is, proceeding onward towards the south. Azmon - Which is at the west - end of the mount of Edom.
5 The river of Egypt - Called Sihor, Jos 13:3, which divided Egypt from Canaan. The sea - The midland sea, called the sea emphatically, whereas the other seas, as they are called, are indeed but lakes.
6 The great sea - This midland sea from the south to the north, so far as it runs parallel with mount Libanus.
7 Hor - Not that Hor where Aaron died, which was southward, and bordering upon Edom, but another mountain, and, as it is conceived, the mountain of Libanus, which is elsewhere mentioned as the northern border of the land, and which, in regard of divers parts, or by divers people, is called by divers names, and here Hor, which signifies a mountain, by way of eminency.
17 Eleazar - Who was to act in God's name, to cast lots, to prevent contentions, to consult with God in cases of difficulty, to transact the whole business in a solemn and religious manner.
19 Judah - The order of the tribes is here different from that, Nu 1:7,26, and in other places, being conformed to the order of their several inheritances, which afterwards fell to them by lots. Which is an evident demonstration of the infinite wisdom of God's providence, and of his peculiar care over his people.

Chapter XXXV

Forty eight cities assigned to the Levites, of which six were cities of refuge, ver. 1 - 15. In what cases it was not allowed to flee to these, ver. 16 - 21. In what cases it was allowed, ver. 22 - 24. Laws concerning them, ver. 25 - 34.

3 For the cattle - For pasturage for their cattle: where they might not build houses, nor plant gardens, orchards or vineyards, no nor sow corn, for which they were abundantly provided out of the first - fruits. And these suburbs did not belong to the Levites in common, but were distributed to them in convenient proportions.
4 A thousand cubits - In the next verse it is two thousand. But this verse and the next do not speak to the same thing; this speaks of the space from whence the suburbs shall be measured, the next speaks of the space unto which that measure shall be extended; and the words may very well be read thus. And the suburbs - Shall be from the wall of the city and from without it, or, from the outward parts of it, even from a thousand cubits round about. Which are mentioned not as the thing measured, but as the space from which the measuring line should begin. And then it follows, Nu 35:5. And ye shall measure from without the city, (not from the wall of the city, as said before Nu 35:4, but from without it, that is, from the said outward space of a thousand cubits without the wall of the city round about) on the east side two thousand cubits. So in truth there were three thousand cubits from the wall of the city, whereof one thousand probably were for out - houses, stalls for cattle, gardens, vineyards and olive - yards, and the other two thousand for pasture, which are therefore called the field of the suburbs, Lev 25:34, by way of distinction from the suburbs themselves, which consist of the first thousand cubits from the wall of the city.
6 Cities for refuge - Or, of escape for manslayers: And these cities are assigned among the Levites, partly because they might be presumed to be the most proper and impartial judges between man - slayers, and wilful murderers; partly because their presence and authority would more effectually bridle the passions of the avenger of blood who might pursue him thither; and perhaps to signify, that it is only in Christ (whom the Levitical priests represented) that sinners find refuge and safety from the destroyer.
11 Unawares - Not wilfully, designedly or maliciously, but through mistake or indiscretion.
12 From the avenger - Heb. from the redeemer, or, from the next kinsman, to whom by the law belonged the right of redemption of the lands of; and vindication of the injury done to, the person deceased. Die not - Be not killed by the avenger meeting him in some other place. Before the congregation - Before the judges or elders who were appointed in every city for the decision of criminal causes, who were to examine, and that publickly before the people, whether the murder was wilful or casual.
14 On this side Jordan - Because that land was as long as Canaan, though not so broad, and besides these might be convenient for many of them that lived in Canaan.
16 If he smite him - Wittingly and wilfully, though not with premeditated malice. He shall be put to death - Yea though he were fled into the city of refuge.
19 He shall slay him - Either by himself, as the following words shew; so it is a permission, that he may do it without offence to God or danger to himself: or by the magistrate, from whom he shall demand justice: so it is a command.
24 Then - If the man - slayer flee to to the city of refuge.
26 He shall abide in it - Be confined to it, partly to shew the hatefulness of murder in God's account by so severe a punishment, inflicted upon the very appearance of it, and partly for the security of the man - slayer, lest the presence of such a person, and his conversation among the kindred of the deceased, might occasion reproach and blood - shed. The death of the high - priest - Perhaps to shew that the death of Christ (the true High - priest, whom the others represented) is the only means whereby sins are pardoned and sinners set at liberty.
27 Not guilty - Not liable to punishment from men, though not free of guilt before God. This God ordained to oblige the man - slayer to abide in his city of refuge.

Chapter XXXVI

An inconvenience if heiresses should marry into another tribe, ver. 1 - 4. An appointment that they should marry in their own tribe, ver. 5 - 9. Zelophehad's daughters marry their cousins, ver. 10 - 12. The conclusion, ver.13.

2 Our brother - Our kinsman.
6 To the family - They seem hereby to he confined not only to the same tribe, but also to the family of their tribe, as appears from the reason of the law, for God would have the inheritance of families as well as tribes kept entire and unmixed.
8 The inheritance of his fathers - This law was not general to forbid every woman to marry into another tribe, as may be reasonably concluded from the practice of so many patriarchs, kings, priests, and other holy men, who have married women of other tribes, yea sometimes of other nations, but restrained to heiresses, or such as were likely to be so. But if they had brethren, they were free to marry into any tribe, yet so that, if their brethren died, the inheritance went from them to the next a - kin of their father's tribe and family. And the principal reason why God was solicitous to preserve tribes and families unmixed was, that the tribe and family too, out of which the Messiah was to come, and by which he should be known, might be evident and unquestionable.

This document (last modified October 01, 1997) from