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Numbers 7:1-3

Context
The Leader’s Offerings

7:1 1 When Moses had completed setting up the tabernacle, 2  he anointed it and consecrated it and all its furnishings, and he anointed and consecrated the altar and all its utensils. 7:2 Then the leaders of Israel, the heads of their clans, 3  made an offering. They were the leaders of the tribes; they were the ones who had been supervising 4  the numbering. 7:3 They brought 5  their offering before the Lord, six covered carts 6  and twelve oxen – one cart for every two of the leaders, and an ox for each one; and they presented them in front of the tabernacle.

1 sn This long and repetitious chapter has several parts to it: the introduction (vv. 1-3), the assigning of gifts (vv. 4-9), the time of presentation (vv. 10-11), and then the tribes (vv. 12-83), and then a summary (vv. 84-89).

2 tn The construction of this line begins with the temporal indicator (traditionally translated “and it came to pass”) and then after the idiomatic “in the day of” (= “when”) uses the Piel infinitive construct from כָּלָה (kalah). The infinitive is governed by the subjective genitive, “Moses,” the formal subject of the clause. The object of the infinitive is the second infinitive, “to set up” (לְהָקִים, lÿhaqim). This infinitive, the Hiphil, serves as the direct object, answering the question of what it was that Moses completed. The entire clause is an adverbial clause of time.

sn This chapter belongs chronologically after Lev 8:11, because Aaron and his sons were not yet made the celebrants and officiants of the new shrine (completed in Exodus). Here then chapters 7-9 are actually earlier than chapters 1-6, and form a supplement by adding information not found in Exodus and Leviticus. The first verse here recapitulates the first act of Moses in consecrating the shrine (Exod 30:23-31).

3 tn Heb “the house of their fathers.”

4 tn The form is the Qal active participle from the verb “to stand” (עָמַד, ’amad). The form describes these leaders as “the ones standing over [the ones numbered].” The expression, along with the clear indication of the first census in chapter 1, shows that this was a supervisory capacity.

5 tn Heb “and they brought.”

6 sn For a discussion and drawings, see W. S. McCullough, IDB 1:540. But see also D. J. Wiseman, IBD 1:254.



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