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Adam Clarke Commentary

Numbers 7

Introduction

When the tabernacle was fully set up, it appeared that the princes of the twelve tribes had prepared six covered wagons, drawn by two oxen each, one wagon for two tribes, for the service of the tabernacle, Numbers 7:1 -3. Moses is commanded to receive this offering, and distribute the whole to the Levites according to their service, Numbers 7:4 , Numbers 7:5 . Moses does so, and gives two wagons and four oxen to the sons of Gershon, Numbers 7:6 , Numbers 7:7 ; and four wagons and eight oxen to the sons of Merari, Numbers 7:8 . The sons of Kohath have none, because they were to bear the ark, etc., on their shoulders, Numbers 7:9 . Each prince is to take a day for presenting his offerings, Numbers 7:10 , Numbers 7:11 . On the first day Nahshon, of the tribe of Judah, offers a silver charger, a silver bowl, a golden spoon, a young bullock, a ram, a lamb, and a kid, for a Sin-Offering; two oxen, five rams, five he-goats, and five lambs, for a Peace-Offering, Numbers 7:12 -17. On the second day Nethaneel, of the tribe of Issachar, offers the like, Numbers 7:18 -23. On the third day Eliab, of the tribe of Zebulun, offers the like, Numbers 7:24 -29. On the fourth day Elizur, of the tribe of Reuben, offers the like, Numbers 7:30 -35. On the fifth day Shelumiel, of the tribe of Simeon, made a similar offering, Numbers 7:36 -41. On the sixth day Eliasaph, of the tribe of Gad, made his offering, Numbers 7:42 -47. On the seventh day Elishama, of the tribe of Ephraim, made his offering, Numbers 7:48 -53. On the eighth day Gamaliel, of the tribe of Manasseh, made his offering, Numbers 7:54 -59. On the ninth day Abidan, of the tribe of Benjamin, made his offering, Numbers 7:60 -65. On the tenth day Ahiezer, of the tribe of Dan, made his offering, Numbers 7:66 -71. On the eleventh day Pagiel, of the tribe of Asher, made his offering, Numbers 7:72 -77. On the twelfth day Ahira, of the tribe of Naphtali, made the same kind of offering, Numbers 7:78 -83. The sum total of all vessels and cattle which were offered was twelve silver chargers, and twelve silver bowls; twelve golden spoons; twelve bullocks, twelve rams, and twelve kids; twenty-four bullocks, sixty rams, sixty he-goats, and sixty lambs, Numbers 7:84 -88. The offerings being ended, Moses goes into the tabernacle, and hears the voice of the Lord from the mercy-seat, Numbers 7:89 .

Verse 1

On the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle - The transactions mentioned in this chapter took place on the second day of the second month of the second year after their departure from Egypt; and the proper place of this account is immediately after the tenth chapter of Leviticus.

Verse 3

Six covered wagons - שש עגלת צב shesh egloth tsab, six tilted wagons, the Septuagint translate ἑξ ἁμαξας λαμπηνικας, with which the Coptic agrees; but what lampenic chariots were, no person pretends to know. Covered or tilted is probably the meaning of the original. The wagons were given for the more convenient exporting of the heavier parts of the tabernacle, which could not be conveniently carried on men's shoulders.

Verse 5

According to his service - That is, distribute them among the Levites as they may need them, giving most to those who have the heaviest burdens to bear.

Verse 7

Two wagons - unto the sons of Gershon - The Gershonites carried only the curtains, coverings, and hangings, Numbers 4:25 . And although this was a cumbersome carriage, and they needed the wagons, yet it was not a heavy one.

Verse 8

Four wagons - unto the sons of Merari - Because they had the boards, bars, pillars, and sockets of the tabernacle to carry, Numbers 4:31 , Numbers 4:32 , therefore they had as many more wagons as the Gershonites.

Verse 9

Unto the sons of Kohath he gave none - Because they had the charge of the ark, table, candlestick, altars, etc., Numbers 4:5 -15, which were to be carried upon their shoulders; for those sacred things must not be drawn by beasts.

Verse 10

And the princes offered - Every prince or chief offered in the behalf, and doubtless at the expense, of his whole tribe.

Verse 13

One silver charger - קערת kaarath, a dish, or deep bowl, in which they kneaded the paste. See Exodus 25:29 . One silver bowl - מזרק mizrak, a bason, to receive the blood of the sacrifice in. See on Exodus 27:3 (note).

Verse 14

One spoon - כף caph, a censer, on which they put the incense. See Exodus 25:29 . It is worthy of remark that the different tribes are represented here as bringing their offerings precisely in the same order in which they encamped about the tabernacle. See Numbers 2 and Numbers 10.Tribe Chief Verse Location 1. Judah Nahshon 12 2. Issachar Nethaneel 18 East 3. Zebulun Eliab 24 4. Reuben Elizur 30 5. Simeon Shelumiel 36 South 6. Gad Eliasaph 42 7. Ephraim Elishama 48 8. Manasseh Gamaliel 54 West 9. Benjamin Abidan 60 10. Dan Ahiezer 66 11. Asher Pagiel 72 North 12. Naphtali Ahira 78 It is worthy of remark also, that every tribe offers the same kind of offering, and in the same quantity, to show, that as every tribe was equally indebted to God for its support, so each should testify an equal sense of obligation. Besides, the vessels were all sacrificial vessels, and the animals were all clean animals, such as were proper for sacrifices; and therefore every thing was intended to point out that the people were to be a holy people, fully dedicated to God, and that God was to dwell among them; hence there were fine flour and oil, for a meat-offering, Numbers 7:13 . A bullock, a ram, and a lamb, for a burnt-offering, Numbers 7:15 , Numbers 7:16 . Five oxen, five rams, five he-goats, and five lambs, for a peace-offering, Numbers 7:17 . Thus, as the priests, altars, etc., were anointed, and the tabernacle dedicated, so the people, by this offering, became consecrated to God. Therefore every act here was a religious act.

Verse 48

On the seventh day - Both Jewish and Christian writers have been surprised that this work of offering went forward on the seventh day, which they suppose to have been a Sabbath, as well as on the other days. But1. There is no absolute proof that this seventh day of offering was a Sabbath.2. Were it even so, could the people be better employed than in thus consecrating themselves and their services to the Lord?We have already seen that every act was a religious act; and we may rest assured that no day was too holy for the performance of such acts as are recorded here.

Verse 72

On the eleventh day - The Hebrew form of expression, here and in the 78th verse, has something curious in it. ביום עשתי עשר יום beyom ashtey asar yom, In the day, the first and tenth day; ביום שנים עשר יום beyom sheneym asar yom, In the day, two and tenth day. But this is the idiom of the language, and to an original Hebrew our almost anomalous words eleventh and twelfth, by which we translate the original, would appear as strange as his, literally translated, would appear to us. In reckoning after twelve, it is easy to find out the composition of the words thirteen, as three and ten, fourteen, four and ten, and so on; but eleven and twelve bear scarcely any analogy to ten and one, and ten and two, which nevertheless they intend. But this is a subject of philology rather than of Biblical criticism.

Verse 84

This was the dedication of the altar, in the day, etc. - Meaning here the time in which it was dedicated; for as each tribe had a whole day for its representative or prince to present the offerings it had provided, consequently the dedication, in which each had his day, must have lasted twelve days: the words therefore, in this text, refer to the last day or twelfth, in which this dedication was completed.

Verse 88

After that it was anointed - By the anointing the altar was consecrated to God; by this dedication it was solemnly appointed to that service for which it had been erected.

Verse 89

To speak with him - To confer with God, and to receive farther discoveries of his will. He heard the voice of one speaking unto him - Though Moses saw no similitude, but only heard a voice, yet he had the fullest proof of the presence as well as of the being of the Almighty. In this way God chose to manifest himself during that dispensation, till the fullness of the time came, in which the Word was made flesh, and Dwelt Among Us. No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.The mercy-seat - See the note on Exodus 25:17 . As God gave oracular answers from this place, and spoke to Moses as it were face to face, hence the place was called the Oracle, דביר debir, or speaking place, from דבר dabar, he spoke, 1 Kings 6:23 . And as this mercy-seat represented our blessed Redeemer, so the apostle says that God, who had at sundry times, and in divers manners, Spoken in time past to the fathers by the prophets, hath, in these last days, Spoken unto us by his Son. Hebrews 1:1 , Hebrews 1:2 . Hence the incarnated Christ is the true דביר debir or oracle, in and by whom God speaks unto man. On this occasion we find there were offered12 silver chargers each weighing 130 shekels.12 silver bowls, each 70 shekels.Total amount of silver vessels 2,400 shekels.12 golden spoons, each weighing 10 shekels.Total amount of golden vessels 120 shekels.Besides the above there wereBullocks 12 Rams 12 Lambs 12 Goats 24 Rams 60 He-goats 60 Lambs 60 - Total 240 clean beasts for sacrifice.By which we may at once see that though the place in which they now sojourned was a wilderness, as to cities, villages, and regular inhabitants, yet there was plenty of pasturage, else the Israelites could not have furnished these cattle, with all the sacrifices necessary for different occasions, and especially for the passover, which was celebrated during their sojourning in the desert, and which itself must have required an immense number of lambs, (see Numbers 9) when each family of the 600,000 males was obliged to provide one for itself.

Numbers 7


  1 And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them;
  2 That the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, who were the princes of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered:
  3 And they brought their offering before the LORD, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes, and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle.
  4 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
  5 Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service.
  6 And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites.
  7 Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, according to their service:
  8 And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.
  9 But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.
  10 And the princes offered for dedicating of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes offered their offering before the altar.
  11 And the LORD said unto Moses, They shall offer their offering, each prince on his day, for the dedicating of the altar.
  12 And he that offered his offering the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah:
  13 And his offering was one silver charger, the weight thereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them were full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
  14 One spoon of ten shekels of gold, full of incense:
  15 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
  16 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
  17 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nahshon the son of Amminadab.
  18 On the second day Nethaneel the son of Zuar, prince of Issachar, did offer:
  19 He offered for his offering one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
  20 One spoon of gold of ten shekels, full of incense:
  21 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
  22 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
  23 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nethaneel the son of Zuar.
  24 On the third day Eliab the son of Helon, prince of the children of Zebulun, did offer:
  25 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
  26 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
  27 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
  28 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
  29 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Eliab the son of Helon.
  30 On the fourth day Elizur the son of Shedeur, prince of the children of Reuben, did offer:
  31 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
  32 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
  33 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
  34 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
  35 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Elizur the son of Shedeur.
  36 On the fifth day Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, prince of the children of Simeon, did offer:
  37 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
  38 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
  39 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
  40 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
  41 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.
  42 On the sixth day Eliasaph the son of Deuel, prince of the children of Gad, offered:
  43 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, a silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
  44 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
  45 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
  46 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
  47 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Eliasaph the son of Deuel.
  48 On the seventh day Elishama the son of Ammihud, prince of the children of Ephraim, offered:
  49 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
  50 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
  51 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
  52 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
  53 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Elishama the son of Ammihud.
  54 On the eighth day offered Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, prince of the children of Manasseh:
  55 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
  56 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
  57 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
  58 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
  59 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.
  60 On the ninth day Abidan the son of Gideoni, prince of the children of Benjamin, offered:
  61 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
  62 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
  63 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
  64 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
  65 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Abidan the son of Gideoni.
  66 On the tenth day Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, prince of the children of Dan, offered:
  67 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
  68 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
  69 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
  70 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
  71 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.
  72 On the eleventh day Pagiel the son of Ocran, prince of the children of Asher, offered:
  73 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
  74 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
  75 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
  76 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
  77 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Pagiel the son of Ocran.
  78 On the twelfth day Ahira the son of Enan, prince of the children of Naphtali, offered:
  79 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:
  80 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:
  81 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:
  82 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:
  83 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Ahira the son of Enan.
  84 This was the dedication of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve chargers of silver, twelve silver bowls, twelve spoons of gold:
  85 Each charger of silver weighing an hundred and thirty shekels, each bowl seventy: all the silver vessels weighed two thousand and four hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:
  86 The golden spoons were twelve, full of incense, weighing ten shekels apiece, after the shekel of the sanctuary: all the gold of the spoons was an hundred and twenty shekels.
  87 All the oxen for the burnt offering were twelve bullocks, the rams twelve, the lambs of the first year twelve, with their meat offering: and the kids of the goats for sin offering twelve.
  88 And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed.
  89 And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.

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